Friday, January 05, 2007
Antisemitism and the Response of Anglo Jewish Leadership
....In the 1980s ... most analysts were describing anti Semites as an extinct species. Yet today the world's oldest hatred has not only emerged as the greatest international political growth industry – as Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks described it 'an anti Semitic tsunami' – but it has actually succeeded in once again transforming British Jews into pariahs.
...Malignant Islamic Arab anti Semitism has been at the forefront of promoting the new brew of the world's oldest disease..... But we should be under no illusions. In Western countries, it was the indigenous people, the educated classes who were responsible for generating the hatred throughout the media and in cultural and social circles.
Today, most of the world is once again accusing Jews of poisoning the wells. The Jewish state is regarded as a collective manifestation of evil incarnate. Left and Right, Christian and Moslem, Sunni and Shiite and even a number of self hating Jews, have all united, to demonize Israel. Even human rights bodies have been hijacked by our enemies.
George Orwell would have been stunned to observe that to most nations of the world Israel is regarded as a far greater threat to world peace than rogue states like Iran and North Korea.....
It is of course somewhat obscene that beyond the Arab world, the principal centers of anti Semitism are now once again to be found in Europe whose soil only 60 years ago was drenched with Jewish blood.
...At all levels Israel and the Jews are under siege. But [in the UK] the brunt of the attack emanates not from Moslems, but from indigenous Britons.... They are the ones who have made anti Semitic discourse respectable.
....It is indigenous British academics - not Moslem immigrants, who are the driving force for anti Israel boycotts and divestment campaigns at the universities.
....Today in Britain there is open chatter that the creation of Israel was a mistake and there are even increasing calls for an end to the Jewish "apartheid" state.
...In these days Liberals, Progressives, Arabs, Human Rights activists, the ultra Right, and others – are all willing to indulge in the anti Zionist frenzy and march under the banner of "we are all Hezbollah".
Reinforced by the renewed influence of replacement theology and having succumbed to the prevailing climate of post modernism which fails to distinguish between good and evil, the Church of England has displayed crude and shameless bias and employed double standards against Israel.
One would have expected the devastating impact of home bred Islamic terrorism to have created some countervailing reactions. But alas, the main response has been that the UK had become a target for terror because British foreign policy had been too pro Israeli. There are now increasing calls on the government to be more critical of Israel in order to avoid future terrorist attacks.
In this environment, Anglo Jewry, like Jewish communities in other democracies... should ...think twice about their inclination to mindlessly repeat the ritual condemnations against what is described as "Islamophobia" - despite the behavior of the radical leadership of the Moslem community and [the] failure to condemn terrorism and extremism ....
In Australia, multiculturalism was the framework of the Jewish community's integration into Australian society..... Little did we dream that two decades later multi-culturalism would be serving as a Trojan horse for Jihadists to establish themselves in Western countries and that we would have enclaves of Moslems incubating indigenous home grown terrorists.
Multi-culturalism becomes a prescription for disaster if...it provides a platform for a minority like the Moslems, to anchor themselves in a society, with the objective of asserting their separatism ... of seeking to control the state and impose their way of life on society....
The role of the Jewish community
...the problem in England is that shtadlanut, the belief that reliance on discreet appeals to those in authority rather than public protest is the effective manner of pursuing Jewish objectives, has become an accepted dogma within the Jewish establishment. ....There is to my mind considerable merit in the depiction of Anglo Jewish leaders as trembling Israelites, grateful for the protection accorded them and desperate not to rock the boat. This outlook is epitomized by Henry Grunwald, the current President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, a decent traditional Jew ...who even formally articulates the need to direct Jewish affairs on the basis of "softly softly" ... stating "why must one shout when a whisper can be heard?".
In recent years, these negative trends have been accentuated by increasingly shrill condemnations of Israel by ... Anglo Jewish anti Israeli Jewish activists, including academics, writers, actors, musicians and others including even a number of progressive Rabbis whose signatures regularly appear in petitions and advertisements hostile to Israel. This trend is exemplified by Anthony Lerman, Executive Director of the Institute for Jewish Policy Research, a body funded by Jewish philanthropists and purporting to be the premier "think tank" of Anglo Jewry.
Lerman publicly states that in view of the fact that the State of Israel and Zionism have been failures and that Israel perpetuates substantial human rights abuses, the Jewish state should be transformed into a bi-national state which would repatriate Arab refugees. Such views are increasingly being expressed by left wing Jewish fringe groups who ally themselves with Arabs and others seeking to dismantle the Jewish state. But to have such views expressed by the head of the leading Anglo Jewish think tank, funded and patronized by Jewish establishment personalities is obscene. It is symptomatic of the impotence of a communal leadership lacking the backbone to act against a chief executive officer of a purported Jewish public body which endorses the destruction of Israel. The negative impact of this anti Israeli hostility from fringe Jews is vastly underestimated.
It should be noted that the obsession of Anglo Jewry to rely exclusively on silent diplomacy is not shared by many rank and file Jews. For example, at the outset of the Intifada, the Anglo Jewish leadership refused to accede to calls to hold public protest meetings, insisting it would be counterproductive because few Jews would participate. It was pressure from the Jewish street which forced them to change their approach. The subsequent level of participation demonstrated that the mass of British Jews were frequently more assertive than their leaders.
The flow of supportive letters I receive from English Jews whenever I write on this theme, also confirms that many of them, especially the younger generation, are keen to adopt more assertive public postures.
The serious negative repercussions when those demonizing Israel and attacking Jews are not confronted are two-fold. Clearly the case for Israel is lost by default in the absence of vigorous repudiation of those demonizing Israel. But it has even worse repercussions on the Jewish community itself. In a climate which is saturated with anti Israeli venom, the absence of debate accelerates the marginalization of Jews from their roots. The cowardly behavior of parents in the presence of their children invariably undermines the self confidence of the younger generation who become less inclined to take up the cudgels for Israel after observing their parents running for cover. It will doubtlessly encourage many of them to opt out entirely. If anti Semitic and anti Israeli libels remain unanswered, we will simply lose the younger generation by default!
My experience as a leader of the Australian Jewish community has convinced me that a twin track approach of tough lobbying by a courageous community with parallel silent democracy can transform the role of a Jewish community from one of inferiority and subservience to one of pride and dignity. This should especially be so in a nation which prides itself on freedom of expression and the right to public protest.
...Today the principal disaster in England, as in many other countries, is that with Jews having failed to convey the Jewish narrative of the Arab-Israeli conflict to the public and frequently their own children, there is an almost universal acceptance of the distorted versions disseminated by the Arabs and their allies. They have succeeded in positioning Israel as a rogue state, born in sin, illegally occupying Arab territory and denying the Palestinians their basic human rights.
It is still not too late for us to galvanize ourselves in the war of ideas. But we must do so with no less determination than the countermeasures we adopt against physical terrorism.
A video of the entire symposium including contributions by Melanie Phillips, author of "Londonistan" and Professor Robert Wistrich, head of the Hebrew University Vidal Sassoon International Centre for the Study of Antisemitism will posted on the website of the Vidal Sassoon Centre at in a few weeks.
Thursday, January 04, 2007
Mark Steyn, political columnist and cultural critic, has written a remarkable book, America Alone: The End of the World as We Know It (Regnery). He combines several virtues uncommonly found together – humor, accurate reportage, and deep thinking – then applies these to what is arguably the most consequential issue of our time: the Islamist threat to the West.
Mr. Steyn offers a devastating thesis ....
He begins with the legacy of two totalitarianisms.
Traumatized by the electoral appeal of fascism, post-World War II European states were constructed in a top-down manner "so as to insulate almost entirely the political class from populist pressures." As a result, the establishment has "come to regard the electorate as children."
Second, the Soviet menace during the cold war prompted American leaders, impatient with Europe's (and Canada's) weak responses, effectively to take over their defense. This benign and far-sighted policy led to victory by 1991, but it also had the unintended and less salutary side-effect of freeing up Europe's funds to build a welfare state. This welfare state had several malign implications.
- The nanny state infantilized Europeans, making them worry about such pseudo-issues as climate change, while feminizing the males.
- It also neutered them, annexing "most of the core functions of adulthood," starting with the instinct to breed. From about 1980, birth rates plummeted, leaving an inadequate base for today's workers to receive their pensions.
- Structured on a pay-as-you-go basis, it amounted to an inter-generational Ponzi scheme, where today's workers depend on their children for their pensions.
- The demographic collapse meant that the indigenous peoples of countries like Russia, Italy, and Spain are at the start of a population death spiral.
- It led to a collapse of confidence that in turn bred "civilizational exhaustion," leaving Europeans unprepared to fight for their ways.
To keep the economic machine running meant accepting foreign workers. Rather than execute a long-term plan to prepare for the many millions of immigrants needed, Europe's elites punted, welcoming almost anyone who turned up. By virtue of geographic proximity, demographic overdrive, and a crisis-prone environment, "Islam is now the principal supplier of new Europeans," Mr. Steyn writes.
Arriving at a time of demographic, political, and cultural weakness, Muslims are profoundly changing Europe. "Islam has youth and will, Europe has age and welfare." Put differently, "Pre-modern Islam beats post-modern Christianity." Much of the Western world, Mr. Steyn flat-out predicts, "will not survive the twenty-first century, and much of it will effectively disappear within our lifetimes, including many if not most European countries." With even more drama, he adds that "it's the end of the world as we know it." (In contrast, I believe that Europe still has time to avoid this fate.)
America Alone deals at length with what Mr. Steyn calls "the larger forces at play in the developed world that have left Europe too enfeebled to resist its remorseless transformation into Eurabia." Europe's successor population is already in place and "the only question is how bloody the transfer of real estate will be." He interprets the Madrid and London bombings, as well as the murder of Theo van Gogh in Amsterdam, as opening shots in Europe's civil war and states, "Europe is the colony now."
The title America Alone refers to Mr. Steyn's expectation that the United States – with its "relatively healthy demographic profile" – will emerge as the lonely survivor of this crucible. "Europe is dying and America isn't." Therefore, "the Continent is up for grabs in a way that America isn't." Mr. Steyn's target audience is primarily American: watch out, he is saying, or the same will happen to you.
Pared to its essentials, he counsels two things: First, avoid the "bloated European welfare systems," declare them no less than a national security threat, shrink the state, and emphasize the virtues of self-reliance and individual innovation. Second, avoid "imperial understretch," don't "hunker down in Fortress America" but destroy the ideology of radical Islam, help reform Islam, and expand Western civilization to new places. Only if Americans "can summon the will to shape at least part of the emerging world" will they have enough company to soldier on. Failing that, expect a "new Dark Ages … a planet on which much of the map is re-primitivized."
The White House should exploit Iranian weakness
In Iran, demonstrations are an art form. First, the government buses in state workers. Next, officials distribute banners with revolutionary slogans. Finally, state television reports a spontaneous rally in support of the Islamic Republic. Stage-managed demonstrations, though, mask weakness. On Dec. 11, a group of students interrupted a speech by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad with chants of "Death to the Dictator." On Jan. 2, a demonstrator in Ahvaz waved a placard condemning inflation, unemployment and crime. Recent elections rebuked hardliners.
And unfortunately, rather than find a way to capitalize on such weakness, up to now, a desire for diplomacy has blinded the West. Between 2000 and 2005, European diplomats preaching engagement tripled trade with Iran. Tehran pumped 70% of the resulting hard currency windfall into its nuclear and military programs. After Secretary of State Rice offered dialogue with Iran, the regime announced it would redouble its nuclear efforts. Ahmadinejad said yesterday he would "humiliate" the United States.
European diplomats declare their strategy to be working, but privately say a nuclear Iran is inevitable. Last month's partial UN sanctions are only symbolic. Effectiveness requires comprehensive sanctions - which diplomats could lift in response to compliance. But the UN is feckless. If President Bush is sincere when he says the U.S. "will not tolerate" a nuclear-armed Iran, Washington may have to act alone. This need not mean military action, but rather willingness to exploit Iranian weakness.
The Islamic Republic is under tremendous pressure. A recent Johns Hopkins University report predicts Iran's oil industry could collapse within a decade because of poor management and disintegrating infrastructure. Already, the Islamic Republic must import 40% of its fuel needs. The Iranian economy is unable to provide jobs for 700,000 young people entering the market annually. The World Bank estimates that Iran's GDP is 30% below its 1970s levels. Experts estimate 5 million Iranians are addicted to drugs. Prostitution has skyrocketed as poverty spreads.
The White House should exploit the growing cracks in Iranian society. Just as Ronald Reagan championed striking shipyard workers in Poland in 1981, so too should Bush support independent Iranian trade unions. Forcing the regime to be accountable to its people both betters the lives of ordinary Iranians and undercuts Ahmadinejad's Dr. Strangelove fantasies. In Iran, wildcat strikes helped launch the Islamic Revolution; so too might they end it.
It is wrongheaded to criticize Bush's Axis of Evil rhetoric. Not only does straight talk dampen European willingness to invest in Iranian industry, but the willingness of Iranian democrats to speak out has grown in proportion to all the White House talk about freedom. Peace activists should applaud such effective, nonmilitary action.
Finally, U.S. public diplomacy should prioritize information over pop music. The Iranian regime would be hard-pressed to dismiss as propaganda stories of unrest and corruption originating in local Iranian papers and amplified by the Voice of America into national news.
Military action against Iran would be a tragedy, but need only occur if U.S. policy remains a muddle. Here the White House and new Congress are fortunate. If they play their cards well, this year could be Ahmadinejad's last.
Rubin, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, is co-author of "Eternal Iran: Continuity and Chaos."
According to a poll taken by the Dahaf Institute for the Knesset Channel, 77 percent of Israelis are dissatisfied with Olmert's performance as prime minister.
- Forty seven percent of the 420 respondents asked to grade Olmert on his performance gave the prime minister a grade of "very poor,"
- 30% gave him a grade of "fairly bad," and
- 20% graded him as "good."
- Only one percent thought Olmert was doing a "very good" job....
- In addition, 69% of the survey participants said that the prime minister's leadership skills are not good, and
- 60% have a low opinion of Olmert's integrity.
To the question, "How would you rate Olmert's resilience under pressure?"
- 62% of the respondents said he does not deal with pressure well, while
- 37% believe Olmert deals well under pressure.
Asked what would change their opinion of the prime minister,
- 45% said their appreciation of the prime minister would improve if he would remove Defense Minister Amir Peretz from his post.
- Only four percent said they would not appreciate such a move.
- Fifty-one percent of the respondents said Peretz's dismissal would not affect their judgment of the prime minister.
- Twenty percent said they would like Olmert to dismiss IDF Chief of Staff Dan Halutz, as opposed to
- six percent of participants who said firing the army chief would decrease their appreciation for the PM.
...bringing Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf countries more firmly into the region's "moderate camp" to act as a bulwark against Syria and Iran is expected to be one of the focuses of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's talks with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak Thursday in Sharm e-Sheikh, Israeli diplomatic sources said Wednesday night.
Olmert is scheduled to fly to Sharm Thursday afternoon to meet with Mubarak, where the issue of Shalit's release will also be a focus of the discussions. ... despite persistent reports in the Arab press [and Haaretz], Israeli officials warned against expectations that Mubarak and Olmert would make any dramatic announcements regarding Shalit or a Palestinian prisoner release. Hamas leaders [and Haaretz] continued to insist Wednesday that a deal was close at hand, claiming that Israel had agreed to release hundreds of prisoners, while Israeli officials [and Jerusalem Post] denied any deal was close.
Wednesday's renewed clashes between Hamas and Fatah were also expected to arise in the meetings, with Olmert - according to diplomatic officials - interested in hearing the Egyptians' take on the situation inside Gaza, especially since Cairo has representatives inside the Gaza Strip who talk to both sides.
Regarding the co-opting of Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf countries into a regional moderate camp, which now includes Egypt and Jordan, Israeli officials said there was likely to be a discussion of ways to cooperate to reduce the danger to the region of the type of Shiite extremism coming out of Iran and currently threatening Lebanon. Mubarak is expected to brief Olmert on what he thinks Israel needed to do to bring Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf countries on board to push the diplomatic process with the Palestinians forward.
Mubarak is also expected to urge Olmert to look favorably on the recent overtures from Syria. According to Israeli assessments, the Egyptians believe that such a move could help pull the Syrians out of Iran's orbit.
Olmert is also expected to brief Mubarak on his meeting last month with Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas, and discuss a number of issues that were brought up there, including the release of PA tax revenue and the lifting of West Bank roadblocks. Olmert will also likely raise the issue of arms smuggling from Egypt into Gaza, and likely repeat Israel's frequent calls to the Egyptians to take more effective action to stop the smuggling.
This is from Jerusalem Post, Jan. 3, 2007, by HERB KAINON AND JPOST STAFF ...
Hamas: We have received new proposal to free Shalit
Ahmed Youssef, political advisor to Palestinian Authority Prime Minster Ismail Haniyeh, said on Wednesday night that Egyptian Intelligence Chief Omar Suleiman had transmitted a new proposed deal to Haniyeh in Saudi Arabia to secure the release of kidnapped IDF soldier Cpl. Gilad Shalit and that Hamas was discussing the proposal.
Israel Radio reported that Youssef told Palestinian new agency, Ma'an, that the contentious issue between the two sides was the number of Palestinian prisoners to be released by Israel. Yossef said that Israel was now prepared to release about one third of the number being demanded by Palestinians. Youssef expressed hope that Israel would relent and raise the number of prisoners to be freed with Egyptian mediation.
He claimed that Israel had agreed to release 200 prisoners who had been sentenced to long prison terms, including senior officials from Hamas and other Palestinian factions.....
...and from Haartez, Tue., January 02, 2007, by Avi Issacharoff ...
Hamas: We agree to Israeli Shalit proposal
Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said yesterday the organization has accepted a prisoner exchange offer conveyed by Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman during his visit to Saudi Arabia last weekend. ... Suleiman presented the officials with Israel's offer to release about 450 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for the release of Gilad Shalit. ...About two months after Shalit's return, Israel would release a second group of prisoners. Israel has promised to be "generous" with the numbers being released. If the deal is completed, Hamas will be able to claim that Israel agreed to free more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners, while Israel will claim that it released only 500 to 600, and that the remainder were released in negotiations with PA Chair Mahmoud Abbas....
Which Israeli Newspaper do you read?
Wednesday, January 03, 2007
Conflicting government policies relating to the so-called truce with the Palestinians are truly mind-boggling. What has unfolded over the past few weeks signals that our leadership has plainly lost the plot.
The pride of Zionism was that after 2,000 years of powerlessness the Israeli army could defend the Jewish people. In fact, our citizens' army did successfully repel the combined forces of all the Arab states seeking to annihilate us. Even now, in the wake of the blunders of our military and political leadership during the Lebanon war, the army of Israel remains the most effective military force in the region.
Yet over the past few weeks most of us have been aghast and enraged at the failure of the government to fulfill its primary responsibility - ensuring the safety and security of the civilian population.
Our leaders entered into a "truce" fully aware that the Palestinians were incapable and had no intention of even trying to genuinely curtail the terror initiatives being directed against us. Our prime minister, Ehud Olmert, kissed Mahmoud Abbas, the duplicitous successor of Yasser Arafat, and proclaimed him a moderate genuinely committed to the illusory peace process. Yet this man, who hypocritically repeats the mantra that terror attacks harm the Arab cause, sustains a genocidal culture. He not only sanctifies suicide bombers; he personally introduced legislation to provide pensions for the families of the murderers.
To this day he adamantly refuses to intervene against terror initiatives orchestrated under his jurisdiction. His own "security" forces remain actively engaged in terror initiatives and are responsible for murdering more Israeli civilians than Hamas.
Hamas accepted the truce for its own, short-term strategic requirements. But at least its leaders were honest about their intentions, proclaiming that, at a time of their choosing, they would unhesitatingly resume the battle for the liberation of all Palestine.
The IDF bitterly opposed the truce and warned the government that Israeli civilians would be at greater risk and that additional casualties would ensue. Although following the inauguration of the "truce" the Kassam rockets continued raining down on Sderot and the adjacent region, the army was explicitly precluded by the prime minister from taking defensive measures against the terrorists even if they were observed actually launching missiles against civilian targets.
The pathetic rationale of our prime minister and foreign minister was to prattle on about the enormous, positive global "diplomatic benefits" and the "good-will" Israeli restraint was achieving.
FOLLOWING A series of near-disasters, including Kassams striking a kindergarten, and only after two youngsters were critically injured did the prime minister ultimately agree to permit the IDF to fire on terrorists - but only if they were in the actual process of launching attacks. Even then he continued to deny the army the right to pursue killers after the missiles had been launched.
To top off this surrealistic scenario, the Palestinians warned that if Israel acted against the Kassam launchers, the truce would be ended!
Such shocking behavior not only disgraces our dysfunctional leaders. It reflects adversely on the entire nation.
If Israeli civilians in Tel Aviv or other major cities were under missile attack and the government insisted that the army stand by passively, the people would march on the Knesset and street riots would ensue. But apparently, if the casualties are "limited" and restricted to a border region like Sderot, this may be justified on the grounds that European politicians and even Egypt applaud us for the restraint we display while terrorists launch lethal missiles against our civilians.
Such callous indifference to the life and limb of citizens is shocking. It is of course utterly inconsistent with the sanctity of life and the obligation to defend oneself from murderers, both embedded in Jewish tradition. But even setting that aside, the fact is that other than the Palestinians and their allies, no other country in the world would, as a matter of deliberate policy, sacrifice civilians to promote diplomatic interests.
The world is now becoming accustomed to Israeli civilians being targeted by missiles, and when the day finally comes that we act we will probably be condemned for not continuing to stand by passively as our innocent civilians are killed and maimed.
But there is worse to come. We acquiesced to Gaza being flooded with new and devastating weapons, explosives and missiles via the porous Egyptian border. These arms may complement the Hizbullah buildup in the north. In addition, our government also deferred to the request of the Americans that Abbas's presidential guard be enabled to receive weapons knowing that, as in the past, it is virtually certain they will be employed against us.
And, of course, the Iranians are training and funding Hamas in the most advanced techniques of terror. They even provide financial rewards to those involved in Kassam attacks, with bonuses when Israelis are killed.
WHAT MUST the Palestinians think? They surely believe that Hassan Nasrallah was right when he described Israel as a spider web, lacking the backbone to protect its own citizens. Our enemies are becoming emboldened, celebrating the fact that whatever was left of our deterrence is disappearing. They are being encouraged to believe that by continuing to kill and maim women and children, they will ultimately force us to capitulate.
Our apparent willingness now to release large numbers of prisoners with blood on their hands "as a goodwill gesture" makes it clear that killing Jews no longer even guarantees incarceration.
How much longer can the people of Israel be expected to continue tolerating the outrageous spins and zigzags of our failed prime minister, or the crude rhetoric of our chameleon-like minister of defense using the media to castigate his prime minister? Or the vacuous outpourings of our foreign minister in defiance to Olmert, announcing that she intends to open an independent channel for negotiating with Abbas?
Other ministers also publicly argue with one another over crucial issues. And all this chaos prevails while our enemies gird themselves for war. Now, more than ever before, this country needs a coherent policy and a government which will speak with one voice and understand that the preservation of its citizens' lives and limbs represents its first priority. If our failed leaders are unable to move in this direction and get their act together they forfeit the moral right to lead the country. The madness must stop!
It is possible to prevent the political and security landslide. Iran can still be stopped.
The government of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is rapidly leading Israel to a political and security downfall while Iran is racing towards achieving a nuclear weapons capability.
While Iran's leaders are busy denying the Holocaust, they also continue to announce their intentions of wiping the State of Israel off the map....
Let's examine recent developments, which all have one common denominator: weak leadership.
- Hizbullah and Hamas are rapidly arming themselves ... The government continues not to react.
- Recently, the US secretary of defense said he was unable to rule out a possibility that Iran would launch a nuclear attack against Israel. ...
- The Baker-Hamilton Report recommends that the US engage in talks with Iran and Syria ...it encourages a fundamental change of direction in American policy: from isolation to negotiation.
- The Baker-Hamilton Report also argues that a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a condition to stabilizing the rest of the Middle East's core problems....
What can be learned from these bleak developments? What is the connection between them?
Weakness invites pressure. The weakness of the Olmert government only expedites the decline of Israel's stature, both in the Middle East and around the world. If the Israeli government accepts the ongoing firing of Kassams at its cities, why shouldn't the world? If Olmert's government reacts limply to Iran's statements about its intentions to destroy Israel, why should we expect the world to act against them?
Baker and Hamilton described the current mood in their report: "The majority of the political establishment in Israel has grown tired of a continuous state of a nation at war." What can we say about such words when even Olmert himself said similar things during an address he gave last year in the US: "We are tired of fighting. We are tired of being heroes. Tired of winning. Tired of beating our enemies." When even Israel's leadership sends out a message of fatigue and weakness, why should we be surprised that the world agrees?
The main principle which we should follow is this: The key to promising the existence of Israel is developing strength. ...In the meantime, we must focus on one urgent task: to curb the security and political downfall and bring Iran to a halt. This mission is possible, but it demands action on parallel shores:
- The diplomatic and PR effort: We must immediately launch an intense, international, public relations front focusing first and foremost on the US. The goal being to encourage President Bush to take up his specific promises not to allow Iran to arm itself with nuclear weapons. We must make it clear to the government, the Congress and the American public that a nuclear Iran is a threat to the US and the entire world, not only Israel. We must make it clear that it is in the utmost interest of the free world to prevent fundamental Islamic regimes from building an atom bomb.
- The independent defense effort: Simultaneously, and with no connection to our efforts overseas, Israel must make every necessary step that would enable it to independently protect its citizens. The government must subjugate all national efforts to this higher cause. It must instruct the IDF, security branches, intelligence agencies and the bodies charged with protecting the home front to take immediate action to remove the existential threat Israel faces.
....The time has come for the Israeli government to put our existence in its utmost priority. If it does so, I guarantee that both my party members and myself will give our full support in preparation against the Iranian threat, as we did in the Lebanon war. If the government does not come to its senses immediately, Mr. Olmert must make way for another leadership that would guarantee both our existence and our future.
Tuesday, January 02, 2007
March through town of Nazareth 'meant to intimidate Christians'
NAZARETH – Islamic groups held a large militant march down the main streets of Nazareth this weekend, highlighting for some here the plight of Christians in this ancient city where Muslims have become a majority and members of the dwindling Christian population say they suffer regular intimidation.
... Islamic Movement, the main Muslim political party in Nazareth, said it organized yesterday's march to celebrate Eid ul-Adha, or the Feast of the Sacrifice, which commemorates the Muslim belief Abraham was willing to sacrifice his son Ishmael for Allah.
...Islamic Movement leaders paraded down Nazareth's main thoroughfare brandishing their party's green flag. Young Muslim men in battle gear marched and beat drums as a man on loudspeaker repeatedly exclaimed in Arabic, "Allah is great." Hundreds of activists strutted screaming Islamist epithets, including "Islam is the only truth" and "Islam shall rule all."
Tens of thousands of Nazareth residents, seemingly mostly Muslim, congregated on the streets as the march passed by. Muslim children launched firecrackers into the sky, occasionally misfiring, with the small explosives landing dangerously close to the crowds. Many of the town's Christian residents stayed away from the event, with the exception of Christian shopkeepers who worked in the area. WND observed as several Muslim youth marching in the parade started to charge at three local Christian shopkeepers but the youth stopped short.
While the march was billed as a celebration, it's militant virtues were clearly visible. The event seemed more a show of force than a street party. "The march is meant to intimidate Christians," said Saleem, a Nazareth Christian resident who asked that his last name be withheld for fear of what he said was "Muslim retaliation" for speaking out. "It's part of the methods used by the Muslims in very obvious ways to create an atmosphere where the Christians should know the Muslims are the main power and we are not welcome anymore," Saleem said.
Ahmed Zohbi, a member of Nazareth's municipal council and the leader of an umbrella group consisting of the city's Islamic parties, denied Saleem's accusations, claiming there is "no problem" between Christians and Muslims in Nazareth....But Christians interviewed here said otherwise. Like Bethlehem's Christians, those in Nazareth spoke of attacks against Christian-owned shops and told stories of Christian women being raped by Muslim men. They noted several instances of interreligious violence and Muslim riots they said began when Muslims attacked Christian worshippers. The Muslims claimed Christians started the violence.
Israeli security officials say the majority of anti-Christian violence in Nazareth goes unreported because local Christians are too afraid to report crimes. One Christian resident said violence and intimidation tend to increase around the time of local elections. The Islamic parties, once in the minority, are now one seat away from dominating Nazareth's city council. "During the last elections, Muslims on the streets were openly threatening the Christians. They tried to stop some of the Christian cars from voting," said Saleem.
In October 2000, the Arab Christian mayor of Nazareth, Ramiz Jaraisy, was reportedly beaten by members of the opposing Islamist party. Nazareth's Christian population, at times the majority during the city's long history, is now at about 37 percent, according to the Israeli Bureau of Statistics, which notes a regular downward trend. The situation mirrors similar trends in West Bank and Gaza cities controlled or dominated by Muslim Arabs.
Siham el-Fahum, a Muslim Nazareth municipality member and a local historian, admits Christians are fleeing her city because of Christian-Muslim tension. "There is no doubt the situation for Christians in Nazareth is bad," el-Fahum told WND. "Christians like to live where life can be good for them, whereas Muslims are more attached to the community and will stay through tough times. Muslims in the city want more dominance and the only way to achieve that, logically, is at the expense of Christians. It's a delicate balancing act that is having negative consequences for Christians."
Like many Muslims here, el-Fahum claimed Christians several times "instigated" Muslim riots. But she said in the struggle for power, "the Muslims are definitely on the rise." She said the core of the conflict began in 1998, when Israel approved a local Muslim request to build a mosque in front of the Church of the Annunciation. Muslims wanted to build the mosque at an adjacent, 6,500-square-foot site, which they say is the burial place of a nephew of Saladin, the Muslim commander who led the army that defeated the Crusaders in 1187. The site previously housed a public school. Christians charge the site was not previously considered holy by Muslims and that the planned mosque is meant to overwhelm the church. Dave Parsons, a spokesman for the International Christian Embassy, said the proposed mosque might contain multiple spires that would tower over the Annunciation Church's large, black-coned dome.
In 2002, Israel rescinded permission to construct the mosque following worldwide outcry and protests from the Vatican and White House. Nazareth Muslims temporarily occupied the site and erected a tent mosque. Islamic Movement leaders demanded Nazareth officials deed the property over to local Muslim authorities. Muslims hold regular prayer services at the site neighboring the Annunciation church throughout the week, usually drawing large numbers of worshippers on Fridays. Yesterday's afternoon service, attended by WND, was preceded by a sermon delivered by a prominent local sheik, who shouted into a loudspeaker, "Islam will dominate the world." The sermon could be heard by clergy inside the Annunciation church.
The Islamic Movement's Zohbi told WND he is "optimistic" the mosque will eventually be built.
"It's just a matter of time before we (the Islamic parties) dominate the city council and then the situation will be different," he said. Zohbi claimed the Muslim stake to the Nazareth site predates Christianity's. He said the Church of the Annunciation "was built in the 1950s."
While the church structure was indeed completely rebuilt in 1955, several previous churches there date back to the 5th century, about the same time the original Church of the Nativity was constructed in Bethlehem.
The original Annunciation church was destroyed during Muslim conquests. Reconstructed versions were burned during Crusader losses in the region. The church was rebuilt again in 1730, then later enlarged in 1877. Archeologists say the first shrine at the church site was constructed in the middle of the 4th century, comprising an altar in the cave in which Mary is said to had lived. Zohbi said he would only lead "peaceful" protests to built the mosque. Muslims in Nazareth have "no interest" in tensions or further violence with local Christians, he claimed.
But El-Fahum said it was only a matter of time before another round of anti-Christian riots were sparked. "The tension is very palatable. The Christians know it. The situation is a powderkeg that can explode again at any time."
Saddam Hussein's execution was a stage in the newly-crafted Iraq strategy Bush has promised to unveil in the New Year
The strategy, already in the works, was first revealed by DEBKA-Net-Weekly 283, Dec. 22. It hinged on the cooperation of two key national religious figures: the most revered Shiite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, and the Sunni cleric with the most influence on the Sunni Arab insurgency and the Baath, Sheik Hares al-Dari, head of the Sunna Scholars Council. The plan as conceived by the US president is not contingent on engaging either Iran or Syria.
The next stage, possibly the toughest, is to bring a form of stability and security to Baghdad, for which an infusion of troops will be required, followed by the partition of Iraq into three semi-autonomous Kurdish, Shiite and Sunni regions. Baghdad will serve as the federal capital. Its key role will be the administration of Iraq’s oil resources. Oil revenue will be distributed equitably to all three regions by a higher oil authority, whose members will not be Iraqis but Iraqi federal government appointees backed by the national army.
These arrangements which depend largely on the continuing cooperation of the two clerics are intended to pave the way for the orderly exit of US forces from Iraq.
Monday, January 01, 2007
IMMIGRATION authorities warned the Fraser government in 1976 it was accepting too many Lebanese Muslim refugees without "the required qualities" for successful integration. The Fraser cabinet was also told many of the refugees were unskilled, illiterate and had questionable character and standards of personal hygiene.
Cabinet documents released today by the National Archives under the 30-year rule reveal how Australia's decision to accept thousands of Lebanese Muslims fleeing Lebanon's 1976 civil war led to a temporary collapse of normal eligibility standards. The emergence of the documents raises the question of whether the temporary relaxation might have contributed to contemporary racial tensions in Sydney's southwest, which exploded a year ago into race-based riots in Cronulla.
Former prime minister Malcolm Fraser rejected yesterday any link and said modern Muslim youth felt alienated because governments had not done enough to help them integrate into the general community. ... But demographer Bob Birrell said the relatively depressed nature of Sydney's Muslim community could easily be linked to the lack of education and work skills of the 1970s migrants.
John Howard was accused of inflaming public hatred towards the Islamic community last February when he warned that aspects of Muslim culture posed an unprecedented challenge for Australia's immigration program. The Prime Minister said while he remained confident the overwhelming majority of Muslims would be successfully integrated, there were unique problems that previous intakes of migrants from Europe and Asia did not have. "I do think there is this particular complication because there is a fragment which is utterly antagonistic to our kind of society, and that is a difficulty," he told The Australian then. "You can't find any equivalent in Italian, Greek, or Lebanese, or Chinese or Baltic immigration to Australia. There is no equivalent of raving on about jihad, but that is the major problem." I think some of the associated attitudes towards women (are also) a problem."
....In September 1976, as a humanitarian response to the civil war raging at the time between Lebanese Christians and Muslims, cabinet agreed to relax rules requiring immigrants to be healthy, of good character and to have a work qualification. The war claimed 50,000 lives and displaced 600,000 people, many of whom fled to Cyprus, where Australia set up processing facilities in the capital, Nicosia. Australia accepted 4000 Lebanese immigrants in 1976. ...Mr Fraser told The Australian that cabinet had relaxed entry qualifications as a humanitarian response to the Lebanese civil war in line with Australia's international responsibilities.
...Immigration minister Michael MacKellar told colleagues in 1976 officials had cited concerns about health and character requirements, personal qualities and the migrants' ability to integrate. Whereas earlier Lebanese intakes had involved an even split of Christians and Muslims, the submission said 90 per cent of the migrants were Muslims and that a high percentage were illiterate and unskilled. The officials had warned that many refugees were misrepresenting their background during interviews in "deliberate attempts to conceal vital information", Mr MacKellar reported.
....Dr Birrell, who heads Monash University's Centre for Population and Urban Research, said a study last year had shown Lebanese Muslims in southwest Sydney were less well-off economically than Lebanese Christians. Dr Birrell said this reflected the lack of work skills and education of many of the refugees who arrived in the 1970s.