Friday, March 12, 2010

Reluctance in Europe for sanctions on Iran

From the Washington Post, Thursday, March 11, 2010, by Steven Mufson:

Congress and the Obama administration are stepping up pressure on private companies to stop doing business with Iran, but their efforts are running into  ...reluctance in Europe and a host of elusive trading companies eager to sell gasoline and other goods to Iran.

To deter Iran from developing a nuclear weapons program, the House and the Senate have approved separate bills that would impose sanctions on companies that supply gasoline to the Islamic republic and on the insurance, reinsurance and shipping companies that facilitate such trade. And in the past few weeks, a variety of companies -- including Ingersoll Rand, Caterpillar, Siemens and Huntsman -- have indicated they will stop or have stopped doing business with Iran.

But a senior European Union official has written to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton voicing opposition to congressional efforts to impose U.S. sanctions on European companies.

In a Feb. 26 letter, Catherine Margaret Ashton, the E.U.'s high representative for foreign affairs and security policy, expressed "the EU's deep concern" about the bills because they "envisage the extraterritorial application of U.S. legislation and would therefore be contrary to the EU-U.S. understanding of 1998, under which it was agreed that such sanctions would not be applied to the EU in the light of the EU's commitment to work with the U.S. to counter the threat that Iran poses to international security."

The United States is trying to choke off the 130,000 barrels a day of gasoline that oil-rich Iran imports because it lacks adequate refining capacity.

News reports Wednesday said Royal Dutch Shell Group would no longer sell gasoline to Iran, though industry sources said Shell has not sold gasoline to Iran since last year. Trading giant Vitol also has said it would end gasoline sales to Iran.

But oil industry sources said that Iranian front companies were securing gasoline supplies from Abu Dhabi and Dubai in the United Arab Emirates and from Bahrain, and that some companies in Iraq were making purchases on Iran's behalf. "All you are doing is transferring sales from one company to another," said a trader in Kuwait.

As the United States seeks to rally international pressure, Iran has taken steps to wean itself from imports, which provide 40 percent of its gasoline supplies. Though gasoline there is still heavily subsidized, costing 38 cents a gallon, the government has cut quotas. The U.S. Energy Information Administration said Iran's refinery investments would make it self-sufficient by 2013. Iran also has been stockpiling gasoline; in January, the National Iranian Oil Products Distribution Co. said inventories rose by 3.77 million barrels in nine months, enough to supply all the country's needs for about a month.

"We've discussed ideas for putting additional pressure on Iran," said State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley, referring to talks among the five nations coordinating policy to deter Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. He said the United States has zeroed in on energy and financial firms, telling them that "if they choose to do business with Iran, it can have commercial implications."

Thursday, March 11, 2010

I Am Israel.

From YouTube's Putting It Mildly channel, January 24, 2010:

(turn up the sound)

I Am Israel.
I was born millennia before I was renamed Palestine by the conquering Romans, and before the british decided to turn my Eastern lands into Jordan, My people, the Jews, maintained communities here for three thousand years, that is until the arabs decided to massacre those Jews in 1920 (Nabi musa riots) and 1929 (Hebron massacre). hundreds of civilians were murdered, most of them women and children. Meanwhile, their brother Arab states exiled 1,000,000 Arabic Jews, Erasing their History.

I Am Israel - I've been attacked four times by five Arab armies in 60 years. I am a survivor, I won every war they waged against me. I told the Arabs who lived on my land that they were welcome to stay, but their brothers said, "leave temporarily while the Jews are taken care of". I have been offering a message of peace since the day I was born. But my enemies answered only in bombs, bullets and blood - our own, and theirs.
Realizing they could not defeat me with arms, my enemies turned to lies. Pallywood Production.

I Am Israel - time and time again my name is smeared. Though like the Muhamad Al-Dura hoax, each lie is eventually disproven. My enemies continue to claim that I am committing "genocide". Tell me, is giving educational opportunities to Palestinian Arabs "genocide" ? 20% of the students in Haifa University are Arabs. If I exiled all the Arabs in 1948, why are 20% of my citizens Arabs who vote ? Why did I give up the entire Sinai and the Gaza strip, uprooting my own people from their home, only for the HOPE of peace ?

I Am Israel - In combat ops, I risk the lives of my teenagers to minimize civilian casualties. I make every attempt to target only fighters, often putting my soldiers in harm. In war, I drop leaflets on areas to be attacked, warning civilians to evacuate - Has any other army in the history of mankind done this for it's enemy ?
I waited 8 years to stop Hamas from it's daily rocket attacks, some fell on my kindergartens, I am patient, but my patience is not infinite.

I Am Israel - I discover new medicines to treat devastating diseases. I've developed technology for the creation of Intel, anti-virus, and cellphones. And I lead the world in scientific publications per capita.
I send humanitarian missions to developing countries, including Muslim countries. I have absorbed hundreds of Muslim refugees who faced genocide in Darfur - refugees no Muslim state would take.

I Am Israel - one of the smallest countries in the world, and probably the most stubborn - I refuse to give up hope for peace. My friends support me not because of any lobby, but because they see the truth, I am the heart of the Middle East, and the hope for it's future.
My prophet said, "Nation shall not lift up sword against nation", and I will try...
And try...
And try, until those words are true.
Because, I Am Israel.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Pope Pius XII: anti-Semite and moral coward

This concise summary, from JPost, 10/03/2010, by SHMULEY BOTEACH, is essential reading:

Eugenio Pacelli, alias Pius XII - anti-Semite, mass kidnapper, moral coward and prospective "Catholic saint"

...Pius was, of course, the man who, as cardinal secretary of state, became the first statesman, in 1933, to sign an agreement with the man he called “the illustrious Hitler,” sending him a letter expressing his confidence in his leadership. His concordat with Hitler forced the Catholic Center Party into dissolution, not only removing the last obstacle to Hitler’s goal of absolute power in Germany but also destroying any further resistance by Germany’s Catholic bishops to the Nazis.

He was the pope who famously refused, amid unmistakable evidence of thousands of Jews being shipped to slaughter in Nazi concentration camps, to ever speak out against the Holocaust. This followed Pius’s successful efforts to prevent the publication of an encyclical commissioned by his dying predecessor to condemn Nazi anti-Semitism. This is also the pope who sent Hitler birthday greetings every single year and who refused to excommunicate Hitler or any other top Nazis who were on official Catholic rolls (to give this context, the singer Sinead O’Connor was excommunicated).

He ignored the pleas of president Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill to denounce the Nazis. He later refused to endorse a joint declaration by Britain, the US and Russia condemning mass murder of Europe’s Jews, claiming that he simply could not condemn “particular” atrocities. The most he ever did was a single pronouncement during the war on the murder “of hundreds of thousands.” By then, of course, there were millions, and he did not mention Hitler, Nazi Germany or the Jews in the statement.

Most infamously, he was silent when the Germans rounded up Rome’s Jews in October 1944 for slaughter. They were being processed for extermination in a military school a few hundred yards from his window in St. Peter’s. An Italian princess, Enza Pignatelli, forced her way into the pope’s study and warned him about the imminent assault on the city’s Jewish citizens. “You must act immediately,” she cried. “The Germans are arresting the Jews and taking them away. Only you can stop them.” The pope assured her, “I will do all I can.” He made no protest and nearly all were later gassed in Auschwitz. Curiously, amid the pope’s inability to find his voice to condemn the extermination of European Jewry, when the Catholic archbishop of Berlin issued a statement mourning Hitler’s death, the pope did not reprimand him.

AUTHOR JOHN Cornwell unearths letters from Pius’s early career in Germany which reveals a stubborn, even distasteful disposition toward Jews. While papal nuncio in Germany, Pius refused to perform favors for the Jewish community on the flimsiest of grounds and describes the Munich chapter of the German Communist Party as being filthy and full of Jews. Pius refers derisively to “a group of young women, of dubious appearance, Jews like all the rest of them” and he describes communist leader Max Levien as a Jew, “pale, dirty, with drugged eyes, hoarse voice, vulgar, repulsive...”

Perhaps this would explain why, in one of the greatest acts of mass-kidnapping in history, Pius, in 1946, instructed the French Church to refuse the return of entire classes of Jewish children who were entrusted to the Church for safekeeping during the Holocaust if they had already been baptized. [Also see this and this - SL]

Now, if, as the Church maintains, Pius is being falsely maligned by his critics as a pious fraud and moral coward who disgraced a great world religion, then why doesn’t the Vatican fix the error by simply opening its archives on his pontificate that would reveal Pius’s correspondence and actions during the war?

It has thus far released a very select and carefully scrubbed collection of wartime documents that reveal next to nothing about the Church’s interactions with the Third Reich.

There is a comical element to this debate, which would be more humorous if it weren’t so tragic. It involves Pius’s defenders arguing that he purposefully refrained from condemning the Holocaust because the Jews would have fared even worse had the pope spoken out.

Worse than the Holocaust? Now that’s [not] funny.

Spanish anti-Semitism continues to grow

From a JPOST EDITORIAL, 10/03/2010:

...A virulently anti-Israel tribunal likened to a “lynching” by the Israeli Embassy in Madrid is the most recent in a spate of anti-Semitic incidents instigated by Spaniards....Gathering at the beginning of this month in Barcelona, which in the 13th century hosted one of Jewish history’s most illustrious communities, the tribunal, which did not include a representative of Israel, was tasked with examining “on what level the European Union and its member states are complicit in... violations on the part of Israel of the rights of the nation of Palestine.”

...meanwhile, the embassy received dozens of postcards written by Spanish schoolchildren with messages such as “Jews kill for money,” “Leave the country to the Palestinians” and “Go somewhere where they will accept you.”

And in mid-February, Ambassador to Spain Rafi Shotz protested the display of two pieces of art at the International Art Fair in Madrid with virulently anti-Israel messages. One is a sculpture of a menorah sprouting from the barrel of an Uzi sub-machine gun. The other is a highly realistic polyurethane sculpture of a hassid standing on the shoulders of a Catholic priest who is kneeling on a prostrate Muslim worshiper, called “Stairway to Heaven.”

...Ambassador Shotz ...was verbally assaulted last year with epithets such as “dirty Jew,” “Jew bastard” and “Jew murderer” when he and his wife returned from a soccer game accompanied by police....

Spain has a long, infamous history of anti-Semitism that pre-dates the Inquisition. For centuries after the 1492 Expulsion, Spaniards enforced the ban against Jews setting foot on Spanish soil. Francisco Franco’s fascist, pro-Arab dictatorship that ruled Spain from 1939 to 1975 stoked anti-Israel sentiments.

Now the left-wing prime minister, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, is aligned with anti-globalization activists whose agenda includes strong anti-Israel sentiments. During the Second Lebanon War in 2006, Zapatero, with a keffiyeh thrown around his neck, told a group of young socialists that “no one should defend themselves with abusive force which does not protect innocent human beings.”

A year earlier, he was quoted as saying that “someone might justify the Holocaust.”

Zapatero, who took power in a surprise election victory following Islamist train bombings in Madrid in 2004 and immediately pulled Spanish troops out of Iraq, was reelected in 2008. In September 2009, the Anti-Defamation League published a report titled “Polluting the Public Square: Anti-Semitic Discourse in Spain” in which it expressed concern over viciously anti-Semitic cartoons and articles in Spain’s mainstream media, and opinion polls conducted over the preceding year showing an alarming rise in anti-Semitic attitudes. All this is in a country with no more than 30,000 Jews out of a population of almost 47 million...

BAN terrorist television in Australia!!

From: The Australian March 09, 2010, by Bren Carlill, analyst at the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council:

CONCERN about domestic radicalisation and home-grown terrorism is a big part of the government's white paper on counter-terrorism released last week. So why haven't successive governments banned Hezbollah's television station, al-Manar, from screening in Australia?

After all, al-Manar is all about radicalising its viewers.

The paper advises that Hezbollah has an Australian support base. It goes on to caution that "terrorist movements with a presence or support base in Australia could become willing to engage in operational activity here".

This is no idle threat. US intelligence reports have stated that Hezbollah has cells in Europe, North and South America and Africa. The group has never constrained its actions to Israel and Lebanon, having carried out terrorist attacks in Argentina, Britain, France, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Spain, with numerous failed attempts in Asian countries.

Hezbollah established al-Manar in 1991. It has been glorifying terrorism and encouraging its viewers to follow the path of the "martyrs" who have gone before them since.

The station also regularly broadcasts anti-Jewish propaganda in sermons, miniseries and children's shows.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority has an anti-terrorism standard by which it assesses whether any TV station crosses the line between free speech and raising money or recruits for terrorist groups. The standard stipulates that TV providers must not directly recruit people or solicit funds for a terrorist organisation.

When al-Manar began broadcasting into Australia a few years ago, ACMA applied its anti-terrorism standard against its broadcasts. However, even though al-Manar extensively praises Hezbollah, ACMA cleared it to keep on broadcasting since it doesn't flash the phone number of Hezbollah's recruitment office on the screen.

The problem lies with the anti-terrorism standard's guidelines, which suggest that directly recruiting for a terrorist organisation means providing details on how to become members, and directly soliciting funds means providing bank account numbers.

This standard should be changed. Any TV station owned and-or operated by a terrorist organisation should be banned in Australia.

If our law enforcement agencies - and, in the case of al-Qa'ida, our defence forces - are in battle against these terrorists, why should their terrorist-promoting, racist propaganda be allowed to beam into Australian homes?

It seems as if ACMA has recognised this problem. It recently announced a new investigation into al-Manar and suggested that, at its conclusion, it will determine whether its anti-terrorism standard will need to be changed.

But this is a weighty matter beyond the responsibility of the broadcasting authority.

It's ultimately up to the government of the day to make this decision, a decision in line with existing Australian law.

The Australian criminal code states that any organisation that "directly or indirectly counsels or urges the doing of a terrorist act [or] directly praises the doing of a terrorist act in circumstances where there is a risk that such praise might have the effect of leading a person to engage in a terrorist act" will be proscribed by the Attorney-General.

Al-Manar has been doing this for years, but successive governments haven't done anything about it.

France, Spain, Germany and the US have all banned al-Manar, resulting in eight satellite providers dropping it from their services. It can no longer be seen in North or South America, most of Africa or most of Europe.

Only the Middle East, Southeast Asia and Australia are subjected to its poisonous messages.

...Al-Manar is a TV station that calls for terrorist actions, triumphs in violent jihad and martyrdom, revels in promoting overt racism and hopes to radicalise its Lebanese and international viewers in support of a terrorist organisation.

It needs to be banned.

Nazi running for Austrian president (in 2010)

From, March 08, 2010, by AFP correspondents in Vienna:

A FAR-RIGHT candidate for Austria's presidential election has brought the country's dark past to the surface once more, after denouncing a law banning Nazi groups and Holocaust denial.

Barbara Rosenkranz, 51, a regional party leader for the far-right Freedom Party (FPOe) who was nominated last week, looks to be the sole candidate to run against incumbent President Heinz Fischer, a Social Democrat, on April 25.

But her comments supporting the scrapping of Austria's tough prohibition law have renewed the debate about a Nazi heritage the small alpine country has never fully come to terms with.

Austrian leaders and the press already fear for the country's image abroad. [Why is it always the "image" that's the issue? Don't just patch up the face, fix the whole rotten body... - SL]

Under the 1947 Verbotsgesetz law, anyone who seeks to set up a Nazi organisation, propagates Nazi ideology or denies Nazi crimes can be jailed for up to 20 years.

But Ms Rosenkranz, a mother of ten and the wife of an outspoken figure in Austria's far-right scene, insists the law constitutes "an unnecessary restriction" and that, on the contrary, people should be allowed freedom of opinion.

In 2003, the European Court of Human Rights already allowed a journalist's description of her as a "closet-Nazi", noting that her attitude towards Nazism was ambiguous.

Such comments from a woman running for the country's highest office prompted scorching criticism from politicians of all colours, civil groups and the Catholic Church.

Ms Rosenkranz's own supporters also did what they could to limit the damage.

"Somebody like this is not eligible for election," said Vienna's Archbishop Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn, while the Jewish community described her as "an embarrassment for Austria."

"Rosenkranz challenges the Republic's anti-fascist foundation, that is unacceptable," Social Democrat Defence Minister Norbert Darabos said.

Meanwhile, Hans Dichand, publisher of the influential tabloid Kronen Zeitung, reversed his earlier position and urged Ms Rosenkranz to "distance herself from all national-socialist ideas", just days after he had called on voters to support her.

...[Ms Rosenkranz's] local priest revealed she had left the Church years ago and that none of her ten children - who carry old German names like Mechthild, Hildrun, Arne or Sonnhild - had been baptised.

She has also come under fire over her husband's connections with top figures in the Austrian and German far-right scene.

Horst Jakob Rosenkranz, who was once a member of the now banned neo-Nazi NPD party, still publishes a far-right newspaper called Fakten (Facts).

Ms Rosenkranz has never distanced herself from his activities, but in an interview with the daily Die Presse published overnight, she said: "I have never shown I was close to Nazism...."

...Commentators already fear the "horror scenario" of a far-right presidential win - especially if turnout remains low as expected - while anti-Semitic comments have already appeared in her support in online forums...

Also see the following postings Austria:

Monday, March 08, 2010

Unless sanctions on Iran have sharp enough teeth, it's doubtful that Iran's program will be stopped

Excerpts from address by PM Netanyahu at Knesset Special Session, 3 Mar 2010 from the MFA website:

...the international community is moving toward sanctions. We're involved in this process and held important meetings with two pivotal members of the Security Council - meetings that were fully transparent and coordinated with the United States. The first one was in Russia and the second in China.

...It's clear that Russia now understands the full significance of Iran's nuclear program, even if it hasn't been stated publicly and officially. In fact, I'm certain about this.

...the last six weeks have seen a better understanding among the international community - certainly among major countries - with respect to the nature of the program and the dangers it poses. I would even say that this is accepted by almost every country in the world, including the Arab countries of the Middle East.

But there's a difference between understanding and action. There's a gap. And this gap will start to close if the international community, by way of the Security Council, imposes sanctions on Iran now. Our position is that Iranian imports of petroleum products, of gas, have to be restricted because their ability to refine petroleum is extremely limited....
The international community is moving toward lower-level sanctions, which are not unimportant, but may not be enough. The only ones proposing the kind of sanctions we're talking about are the US Congress.... But unless those sanctions have sharp enough teeth, it's doubtful that Iran's program will be stopped.

AMNESTY International has lost its way

From: The Australian February 27, 2010, by Christopher Hitchens:

AMNESTY International has lost sight of its original purpose.

...In common with all great ideas, the Amnesty concept was marvellously simple. Each local branch was asked to sponsor a minimum of three prisoners of conscience: one from a NATO country, one from a Warsaw Pact country and one from the Third -- or neutralist --World.

In time, the organisation also evolved policies that opposed the use of capital punishment or torture in all cases, but the definition of prisoner of conscience remained central.

It included a requirement that the prisoner in question be exactly that: a person jailed for the expression of an opinion.

Amnesty did not adopt people who used or advocated violence. ...So to learn of its degeneration and politicisation is to be reading about a moral crisis that has global implications.

Amnesty International has just suspended one of its senior officers, a woman named Gita Sahgal who, until recently, headed the organisation's gender unit. It's fairly easy to summarise her concern in her own words. "To be appearing on platforms with Britain's most famous supporter of the Taliban, whom we treat as a human rights defender, is a gross error of judgment," she wrote. One may think that to be an uncontentious statement, but it led to her immediate suspension.

The background is also distressingly easy to summarise. Moazzam Begg, a British citizen, was arrested in Pakistan after fleeing Afghanistan in the aftermath of the intervention in 2001. He was imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay, then released.

He has since become the moving spirit in a separate organisation calling itself Cageprisoners.

Begg does not deny his past as an Islamist activist, which took him to Afghanistan in the first place. He does not withdraw from his statement that the Taliban was the best government available to Afghanistan.

Cageprisoners has another senior member, Asim Qureshi, who speaks in defence of jihad at rallies sponsored by extremist group Hizb-ut Tahrir (banned in many Muslim countries). Cageprisoners also defends men such as Abu Hamza, leader of the mosque that sheltered Richard "Shoe Bomber" Reid among many other violent and criminal characters who have been convicted in open court of heinous offences that have nothing at all to do with freedom of expression.

Yet Amnesty International includes Begg in delegations that petition the British government about human rights. For Sahgal to say that Cageprisoners has a program that goes "way beyond being a prisoners' rights organisation" is to say the very least of it.

But that's all she had to say to be suspended from her job.

...The entire raison d'etre of the noble foundation was to defend and protect those made to suffer for their views. In theory this could include the view that women should be chattel, homosexuals and Jews and Hindus marked for slaughter, and all the rest of the lovely jihadist canon. ...It's well-nigh incredible that Amnesty should give a platform to people who are shady on this question and disgraceful that it should suspend a renowned employee who gave voice to her deep and sincere misgivings.

...It's incumbent on any member who takes the original charter seriously to withdraw funding until Begg is cut loose to run his own beautiful organisation and until Sahgal has been reinstated...

Arab Recognition of the Legitimacy of Israel is a Prerequisite for Peace

From BESA Center Perspectives Papers No. 100, March 4, 2010, by Kenneth J. Bialkin*:

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Middle East peace diplomacy aimed at ending the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and the broader Arab-Israeli conflict is bound to fail yet again unless the process is reconfigured to emphasize, as its centerpiece, Arab recognition of the Jewish People’s ancient claims to their ancestral homeland and the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish state. Waiting for this necessary change of heart among Palestinians and other Arabs concerning Israel’s legitimate Jewish character and national future is the wisest route to peace.

American diplomacy has been very active, particularly in the last three decades, in trying to bring peace between Arabs and Israelis. ...
...The peace treaties signed by Egypt and Jordan demonstrate that leaders of the Arab world can show the courage to accept Israel as a sovereign neighbor. ...the Jordanian and Egyptian arrangements remain in place and they are important for regional stability.

...some Arab countries maintain contacts with Israel or Israeli companies for mutual benefits which involve commercial, social, intellectual, medical, educational or strategic interests.

...The prospect that Iran may become a nuclear power has roiled the Sunni Arab world to the point where many Arab countries quietly side with Israel in seeking to block Iran from fulfilling its apparent nuclear aspirations.

The Palestinian issue remains unsolved despite the fact that the basic issues between Israel and the Palestinians are simple to state: a two-state solution; borders; Jerusalem; mutual recognition; and “End of Conflict.” Other issues such as Arab refugees, Israeli settlements, and so on, are supposed to be “soluble” in the context of a true “End of Conflict” agreement. So we are told.

But the question must be asked: If this is accurate, why has there been no real peace progress? In all previous peace initiatives, the magic-bullet formula was for Israel to make concessions so that a sovereign Palestinian state could be established. Israel was pressed to yield land and forego settlements in areas considered its homeland, which were acquired in wars following Arab aggression. The failure of those initiatives was almost always assigned to Israel’s refusal to grant the Palestinian Arabs what they “deserved,” namely, a state and relaxed security restrictions. The policy of successive US administrations to press Israel for unilateral concessions was vigorously supported by the United Nations and most of the international community where sympathy for Palestinian rhetoric can be taken for granted.

The answer to the question above is this: A peace process which rests upon Israel’s unilateral concessions is doomed to fail – unless and until the world also demands that the Arab states (including the Palestinians) recognize Israel’s legitimacy and sovereignty, explicitly and openly. Contrary to the myth that Israeli “occupation” is the result of Israeli aggression and a quest for “Lebensraum,” the Arab world must come to recognize that the Jewish claim for a state and for land and recognition did not begin in the twentieth century and is not simply compensation for the suffering of the Holocaust.

The Jewish claim for land and recognition derive from the days of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Jesus, King David and the prophets. This claim has abided for more than 3,000 years, persevering through the creation and universal reverence of the Bible. The Bible reports that in his first year (516 BCE), Cyrus, the King of Persia, in order to reverse the sacking of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon in 597 BCE, and to fulfill the prophesy of Jeremiah, proclaimed that he had been charged by the Lord to build a house in Jerusalem and to send the Jews in his kingdom to “go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the Lord God of Israel (he is the God) which is in Jerusalem” (Second Book of Chronicles 36:23). The revival of Zionism more than 100 years ago is a part of that history and its legitimacy lies in the continuous belief and aspirations of the Jewish people.

Israel has recently made it clear that any peace agreement with the Palestinians must include a clear recognition and acceptance of Israel’s right to exist as a sovereign Jewish state in the region. Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu said in his famous address in June 2009 at the BESA Center that “A fundamental prerequisite for ending the conflict is a public, binding and unequivocal Palestinian recognition of Israel as the nation state of the Jewish People.”

Netanyahu made it clear that his government has joined previous Israeli governments in accepting a demilitarized Palestinian state, which would include arrangements to protect Israel’s security concerns. (Israel still has immediate and more distant neighbors that abide by the 1967 Khartoum declaration of “No Recognition, No Negotiation and No Peace with Israel.”)

Neither the UN, the international community nor the US has ever demanded unequivocal acceptance by the Arabs to recognize and live in peace with Israel. The US has never insisted that recognition and acceptance of Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state be advanced as an independent demand in advance of an end to the conflict.

After years of unsuccessful peace strategies, it is time for a change. There are many reasons why a correction of strategy has a good chance to produce peaceful settlement for the true benefit of Israel and the Arab world. Peace is not a zero sum game where there can be only one winner and loser. The failure to convince the Arab world to internalize the right of the Jews to share the Land of Israel and to put an end to the conflict – means the conflict and the state of war will continue.

...Israel has shown willingness for major concessions under circumstances of a full peace, while displaying great reluctance for such concessions in the absence of real peace. Israel’s experience with unilateral concessions has not been good and is not likely to be repeated. ....

...For too long, Israel’s right to be recognized and accepted by the Arab world has been ignored by the international community and should no longer be ignored. The UN should be ashamed that each year it countenances General Assembly resolutions advocating the expulsion of a member state and similar outrages by a gaggle of states whose societies deny their own citizens fundamental human rights.

The US should lead the international community to correct a long-term injustice: Arab lack of respect for the legitimacy of the State of Israel and for the historical contributions and rights of the Jewish people. This is the most important prerequisite for peace.

*Kenneth J. Bialkin, a lawyer, is Chairman of the America-Israel Friendship League, former national chairman of the Anti-Defamation League, and former chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.

Dubai killing of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh strikes a blow for decency

From:The Sunday Telegraph, March 07, 2010, by Paul Howes, national secretary of the Australian Workers' Union:

...Since the allegations emerged surrounding the use of Australian passports in the assassination of Hamas arms smuggler Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai it's interesting to read how different Australian journalists have referred to the man a "Palestinian militant" implying therefore, that he, and indeed Hamas, as a whole are some kind of national liberation movement ...

It's unfortunate that so few of them seem to have sat down and read Hamas' own weird, extreme conspiracy theory, fascist racist charter.

...categorising al-Mabhouh and Hamas as "militants" or "national liberation fighters" is not just plain wrong, it provides a cover for Hamas to hide the reality of this ugly Islamo-fascist terrorist organisation under the cloak of international law.

Let's be clear: the death of al-Mabhouh is a positive outcome for those who believe in peace and justice. ...we're talking about a man who has turned Palestinian children into human bombs to murder and terrorise Israeli civilians, not to mention the terror Hamas has waged against Palestinians who are deeply worried about Hamas' fundamentalism being imposed by authoritarian diktat.

Al-Mahbouh and his Damascus military faction are said to be responsible for undermining the negotiations between Israel and Hamas to release the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

The question of the use of Australian passports in the operation in Dubai raises many issues for the Australian Government. Traditionally, Australia has been a loyal friend of Israel, no matter which party is in government. This is something that should make us all proud.

Some have argued that if Israel has illegally used Australian passports, this is not the action of a friend. Maybe. But in my view, friends stand by each other in the good times and the bad, and a friend is someone who lends a hand when the going gets tough.

That's why I'm proud that our nation has played a small, and accidental role, in the removal of the terrorist al-Mabhouh from our planet. ... it should be clear that al-Mabhouh's death is quietly welcomed by the vast majority of the moderate Arab world.

Al-Mabhouh will be mourned only in the capitals of the despotic Middle East regimes such as Iran and Syria.

Many anti-Israel activists around the world, and in Australia, have seized on the passport issue to develop a new front to push their anti-Israeli propaganda. That, too, is to be expected. But Australians shouldn't fall for the giant lie they are pushing. Israelis are actually allied with a clear majority of the Arab world fighting a war against the forces of anti-democratic Islamo-fascism.

The world defeated Nazism. Now the world must support those countries fighting Islamo-fascism.
It is a war that is being fought on the streets of Tehran, where democratic forces battle that Islamic dictatorship; it's being fought on the streets of Gaza, after Hamas launched their coup there; it's being fought in Lebanon against Hezbollah and in the mountains of Afghanistan against the remains of al-Qaeda and the Taliban.

The fighters had a small victory in a Dubai hotel.

The Australian Government has a responsibility to protect Australian interests abroad and while some may say the possible illegal use of Australian passports in the Dubai operation is against our national interests, I say they are wrong.

It is in our nation's interest and the interests of the world as a whole, to ensure democracy, liberty and freedom thrives.

It is in our interest to ensure that a free, secular and healthy democratic Palestinian state is created.

It is in our interest to ensure that when private citizens leave their homes and go to work or school that they don't have to fear suicide bombers will kill them.

This is not an easy war to fight, or to win. It has to be fought in many different theatres.

But it is in our interest to ensure that all human beings regardless of their sex, race, religion, sexual orientation and political belief can live their lives free from persecution or harassment.

Hamas and al-Mabhouh stand against all these values - values we hold dear.

Therefore, it is in our nation's interest to do whatever we can to remove these vile people from power - by any means necessary.

Rudd must shun UN anti-Semitism and boycott Durban II

From: The Australian March 16, 2009, by Nick Dyrenfurth, a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Sydney:

AS I entered the grounds of the University of Sydney during Orientation Week, plastered across virtually every pole leading up to the university's entrance was a poster signed off by the far-left group Socialist Alternative. Headlined "War: Why capitalism is to blame"  ...The message was clear. Israel, the US's proxy in the Middle East, is to blame for all the problems of the Middle East, if not the woes of the world. Get rid of Israel and we'll all live happily ever after, presumably on a strict diet of lentils and tofu. The more serious and indeed frightening symbolism at play was the clearly racist, anti-Semitic linkage of Israel, and by association Jews, with the machinations of "evil" capitalism.

None of this of course is new. The far Left and, more often, the thugs of the far Right have long peddled anti-Semitic conspiracy theories in which an all-powerful Zionist cabal controls the world's financial levers, a "fact" hidden, of course, by its control of Western media outlets and compliant governments.

Thankfully the posters had been removed by the next day. But how many students casually walking past would have come away with this image in their heads: Jewish capitalists and Israel "evil"; capitalist-oppressed Arabs "good".

The month of March is of course hunting season for the far Left. As impressionable, well-meaning first-year students begin their university studies, they are actively preyed upon by the socialist jihadists of the far Left. Most of the young Socialist Alternative recruits will disappear within a matter of months. Hopefully their departure will be prompted as much by a rejection of the group's imbecilic economic theories as these abhorrent, irresponsible attacks on Israel and the Jewish people.

...What makes the publication of such dangerous, hate-filled nonsense so frightening is the economic tsunami engulfing the world. ...the last time the world faced an economic catastrophe of this magnitude, during the Depression of the 1930s, the enormous social and economic dislocation  ...led directly to World War II and the extermination of six million European Jews in the Holocaust.

Perhaps I am giving the largely irrelevant hatemongers of the extreme Left far too much credit. Nevertheless, as has been well-documented, anti-Semitism is on the rise worldwide.

Internationally, its most prominent booster is the President of the Islamic theocracy Iran. Holocaust-denier Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is evidently hell-bent on modernising the conspiratorial tracts of the early 20th-century hoax, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. In addition to calling for Israel to be "wiped off the map", last year he claimed: "The Zionists are crooks. A small handful of Zionists, with a very intricate organisation, have taken over the power centres of the world."

...there is one practical measure the Australian Government might immediately take [to combat the rise of anti-Semitism]. Rudd should follow the lead of the Obama administration, Canada and Italy and declare his Government's intention to boycott the UN-sponsored anti-Israel hate-fest dubbed Durban II, planned for April 27.

No good can be achieved there. Apart from the small matter of a trio of dictatorships, Libya, Iran and Cuba, leading negotiations towards a statement of principle, the conference is likely to repeat the same themes that dominated final declaration of Durban I in 2001: Israel, the allegedly apartheid state, must be singled out for its racism.

Already the draft of the event's final document contains, in the words of Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini, "aggressive and anti-Semitic statements".

As Nobel laureate and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel said recently, "The anti-Israeli resolutions to be expected at Durban II will harm the UN, not Israel." By boycotting Durban II, Rudd can ensure that Australia's reputation is not similarly tarnished....

PA "talks peace" but glorifies terrorism

From Arutz Sheva, 7 March 2010, by by Maayana Miskin:

The Palestinian Authority is going ahead with plans to honor the notorious female mass-murder terrorist Dalal Mughrabi during United States Vice-President Joe Biden's visit to the region. Biden begins a three-day visit to Israel Monday evening.

One of his top goals is said to be encouraging Israel and the PA to resume negotiations, albeit through intermediaries.

On Thursday morning, the last day of Biden's visit, PA officials will gather in Ramallah to dedicate a square in honor of Mughrabi. Thursday will also be the 32nd anniversary of the 1978 attack led by Mughrabi, which is commonly known as the Coastal Road Massacre.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has protested to U.S. officials over the PA's plan to honor Mughrabi. The Obama administration has not made a formal response.

The PA's plan to go ahead with the naming ceremony was publicized Sunday by Palestinian Media Watch, based on reports in official PA daily papers. According to PA media, the ceremony will take place under the auspices of PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.

Mughrabi and other terrorists infiltrated Israel in 1978 and went on a rampage, hijacking a bus and shooting dozens of civilians. The terror squad murdered a total of 37 people. Mughrabi was killed in a shootout.

The square in Mughrabi's honor will be known as “Shahida Dalal Mughrabi Square.” The title “Shahid,” martyr, is reserved in Islam for those who die while fulfilling a religious command and who are assured of a place in paradise after death.

The following excerpt from Time Magazine, 20 March 1978, describes the Mughrabi attack:

... last week a Palestinian suicide mission left a grisly trail of carnage along Israel's main coastal highway from Haifa to Tel Aviv.

Slipping ashore from the Mediterranean on the afternoon of the Sabbath, the terrorists hijacked two buses filled with tourists and sightseers, took them on a wild ride down the road toward Tel Aviv, shooting along the way at everyone in sight, and finally destroyed one bus in an orgy of fire and death.

Official statistics put the dead at 37 (all but a few of them civilians, among them at least 10 children) and 76 wounded—a toll that exceeded the 1972 Munich massacre (11 dead) and the slaughter at a Ma'alot school in 1974 (26).

It was the worst terrorist attack in Israel's history [at the time of publication: 20 March 1978 - SL]....

Also see reports about Fatah glorifying terrorists at their recent conference, here and here.