Thursday, May 11, 2006

Olmert to ask US act against Iran

From Ynet News, 10/5/06 by Ronny Sofer :

PM set to visit Washington in two weeks for summit with President Bush; Olmert to point to link between Tehran nuclear threat, Hamas terror, demand Americans move against Iran

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is due to leave for Washington in two weeks-time and hold a summit with American President George W. Bush. The two leaders are set to meet in a bid to formulate a uniform stance on the Iranian nuclear threat and Hamas' rule in the Palestinian Authority. The PM will also attempt to ascertain the Administration's standpoint on the issue of the planned Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank.

...Diplomatic officials in Jerusalem stressed that the main purpose of the visit is to hold an introduction between Olmert and the senior American officials, and to confirm both countries see eye to eye on several issues.

Olmert will also seek to emphasize during the visit the need for international action against the Iranian nuclear plan and the Hamas government, which threaten the region. Olmert will point to the link between the two subjects.

The PM will make clear to his American counterparts that Tehran's nuclear project, and the country's threats to destroy Israel, represent a threat to the entire Western world. He is also set to stress that the same Iranian government supports Hizbullah, which poses a threat to Israel's northern border, and the Hamas-led government that is behind unrest in the territories.

One of the options Jerusalem officials are considering, is that the Americans will ask Olmert to engage in dialogue with PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. Israel at this point rules out any possibility for talks with the PA, and a government decision from April 11 has also branded the Authority a terrorist entity.

Speak for yourself, A.B. Yehoshua

From JPost, May. 10, 2006 , by URI DAN:

Author A.B. Yehoshua did not hesitate to determine in a lecture he gave in Washington last week that he is a real Jew because he lives in Israel, whereas Jews living in the United States cannot lead genuinely Jewish lives.

In the arrogant and overweeningly pretentious harangue before the centennial symposium of the American Jewish Committee, Yehoshua added, "Judaism outside Israel has no future. If you do not live in Israel [...] your Jewish identity has no meaning at all."

Of course Yehoshua's American Jewish hosts, among whom were some genuine intellectuals, were thoroughly offended by Yehoshua's gall: How dare Yehoshua purport to be a better Jew than they are? Others wondered aloud if Yehoshua wasn't perhaps expressing what the majority of Israelis were thinking.

Fortunately, he was not. This is not the first time that Avraham B. Yehoshua has held forth and spouted utter nonsense in public.... I have followed Yehoshua's posturing - invariably in a woefully wrong, even dangerous, direction - as Israel's national conscience.

Twenty years ago, the PLO under Yasser Arafat tried to organize a sensational cruise involving a Palestinian "refugee ship" that would land on Israel's shores ... to demonstrate their unwavering demand to return hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees to Israel - which if accepted would spell the end of the Jewish state. NATURALLY, A number of leftist Israelis offered to assist Arafat ...One of the members of that group was Avraham B. Yehoshua ...

...Later.... A.B. Yehoshua was of course among those who blindly and rapturously supported the Oslo agreements with Arafat ... We all know what happened as a result: over 1,500 people killed in Israel, over 5,000 injured, with IDF soldiers engaged in a ceaseless war in the West Bank for the past five years to stem the terrible onslaught of terror generated by the Oslo agreements.

That is why I am not surprised at the stupidity of Yehoshua's remarks in Washington, in particular at a time when the Jewish state needs, more than ever, to shore up and strengthen its ties with American Jewry...

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Blair's Labour Loss

From OpinionJournal , Monday, May 8, 2006:

After the worst electoral loss of his career, Tony Blair has carried out the bloodiest purge ever of his cabinet. ... Friday's reshuffle can't substitute for a governing vision or the will to implement it. Mr. Blair and New Labour have been short on both counts of late and paid for it with a pasting in Thursday's local council elections. Unless the Prime Minister moves fast to assert himself, the only interesting question will be what job he'll take after Gordon Brown, the impatient heir apparent, moves into 10 Downing Street.

Mr. Blair has proven his political-obituary writers wrong before, most recently after last year's third consecutive but underwhelming Labour win. He took charge then, only to lose momentum. In the coming months, his biggest tests are on domestic policy. The Prime Minister wants Britain to embrace nuclear power, overhaul pensions and introduce market mechanisms into the educational and health care systems--all anathema to his 'old Labour' backbench.

That this Prime Minister's future depends on his success at home is ironic since his great passion, and historical legacy, is abroad. He pushed Western allies to save Kosovo's Albanians from Slobodan Milosevic and stood firmly with the U.S. against Saddam Hussein. Friday's demotion of Jack Straw from leading the Foreign Office to managing Labour MPs in Parliament suggests that Mr. Blair doesn't think he's done yet--which is good news if true.

Mr. Straw angered Number 10 by ruling out a military strike against the Iranian nuclear program as "inconceivable." Of all Western leaders, Mr. Blair has been most eloquent in warning that weapons of mass destruction in the wrong hands pose an existential threat. Iran is the next great challenge, and Mr. Blair's moral clarity could be a great asset in meeting it.

....The Conservatives, under new management by 39-year-old David Cameron, have benefited from Labour's troubles. The Tories won 40% of the vote Thursday, compared with Labour's 26%. For the first time in a decade, Britain no longer looks like a virtual one-party state. The image-conscious Mr. Cameron--who is so far shallow on substance--has three years before the next national election is due to prove that the Tories are back for real.

... Mr. Blair, who has promised to leave before the next national poll, can take heart that he has been one of the most successful politicians of his generation in Europe. His destiny is still in his own hands.

Report slams BBC

From Jerusalem Post, May. 8, 2006 23:39, by GEORGE CONGER, LONDON:

Jewish leaders and anti-bias campaigners have applauded an independent panel's findings that have validated complaints that BBC coverage of the Middle East is flawed and unbalanced.

...According to the 38-page report ... the BBC's Middle East reporting did 'not consistently constitute a full and fair account of the conflict but rather, in important respects, presents an incomplete and in that sense misleading picture.' While no evidence of 'systematic or deliberate bias' was found, 'gaps in coverage, analysis, context and perspective' have led to a failure to 'maintain consistently the BBC's own established editorial standards' of impartial reporting, the [BBCWatch] panel found.

...In response to increasing complaints, the BBC appointed a Middle East ombudsman, Malcolm Balen, to review its work and submit recommendations for reform, which the independent panel said had been implemented over the past few years. "Only after it had taken these steps did the BBC appoint the impartial panel, with strict instructions for it only to consider the last six months of broadcasts ... What the BBC has done is [to do] everything it can to solve the problem and then say 'Now we have a cleaned up, better BBC, now you can look at us and judge us,'" ...

It was this "cleaned up" BBC that was castigated by the panel for not "having methods in place for doing their job properly and being impartial" and not having a "complaints procedure that works," ....

Jon Benjamin, chief executive officer for the Board of Deputies of British Jews, told the Post .... "Many observers of BBC coverage will be surprised at the report's finding that the situation of the Palestinians is not adequately explained," he said, as "almost without exception, Palestinians are shown as suffering from 'the occupation.'" "Whilst this is perhaps a reflection of the situation for many, what is not shown is the fact that others live more affluently due to corruption and abuse of power," he said.

Dr. Irene Lancaster of the Centre for Jewish Studies at the University of Manchester ... said ....
The "prestigious Reith Lectures, currently running on [BBC] Radio 4 is a typical example of the BBC using Jews, both running the show and featuring Jews, in this case Daniel Barenboim, the conductor, in order to demonize Israel and thus the Jewish people by ridiculously adulating Muslim culture, in this case that of the Palestinians," ....

The chairman of the BBC's Board of Governors, Michael Grade, said BBC management would "consider the panel's recommendations and respond to us at our June board meeting."
Much of its coverage of Israel and the Middle East remains biased and objectionable, according to Jewish leaders.

A story by the broadcaster's Middle East editor, Jeremy Bowen, on the Palestinian Authority's funding crisis stated, "Without foreign donations the PA cannot do the most basic things, like pay its staff, let alone address the desperate economic and social problems faced in the territories, many of which have been caused by nearly 40 years of military occupation by Israel." The BBC mentioned no other cause for the PA's economic and social problems other than military occupation by Israel.