Saturday, June 12, 2010

Remember these Rachels

From JewishVirtualLibrary — June 08, 2010:

Rachel Corrie's death was a tragic accident, but the death of these Rachels could have been avoided.

In light of the Rachel Corrie recently embarking for Gaza, we created this video as a tribute to "The Forgotten Rachels" who all died as a result of Palestinian terrorism.

The Hypocrytic West

 From: The Australian June 12, 2010, by William Shawcross:

"SHUT UP. Go back to Auschwitz": That was the response from the "peace flotilla" when the Israeli broadcast a radio message warning the Turkish flotilla it was about to enter an area under naval blockade.
In another response, someone on board the "humanitarian aid convoy" replied: "We're helping the Arabs go against the US. Don't forget 9/11, guys."

After these exchanges, Israeli commandos landed on the ships. On the Mavi Marmara, they were attacked by pro-Palestinian activists wielding iron bars.

Eventually, the commandos shot back in self-defence - nine activists were killed.

It was a disaster for Israel and a triumph for those who hate Israel, Jews and the West. Bulent Yildirim, the head of the Turkish Islamist organisation IHH, which organised the flotilla, exulted in a speech to an audience he called "people of paradise": "Last night, everything in the world has changed, and everything is progressing towards Islam."

That is the reality today. Consider these words from Sheik Hussein bin Mahmud, a pseudonymous, but apparently popular commentator, in the global jihadist community....He declared that the Turks should, "kill every Jew in Turkey". Moreover, "Gaza does not want freedom ships bearing blonde women with Muslim, Christian, Jewish and atheist men; it wants a naval fleet and a land army bearing black Islamic banners. Gaza will not agree to a ceasefire with the Jews. On the contrary, it is thirsty and wanted to drink the blood of the sons of apes and pigs, and it is hungry and longs to devour the body parts of these cowards."

Western critics of Israel often say that they are not anti-Semitic, merely anti-Zionist. No such distinction occurs to commentators such as Sheik Hussein - Jews, Israelis, they are all "the sons of apes and pigs".

It is not surprising that such racist loathing creates a siege mentality in Israel. Worse is the fact that Israelis know that it's not just "the black Islamic banners" with which they have to contend, but also the irrational hatred of much of the rest of the world.

The realities of Gaza, Israel and the West Bank - where, with Israel's assistance, the Palestinian economy is booming - are deemed irrelevant to the conventional narrative. Israel is a cartoon villain, beyond sympathy, beyond even redemption.

What is deeply shocking - and frightening - is that the narrative the world accepts is always that of Israel the evil-doer. ...One senior military source was quoted last week as saying that it did not matter what his country did; however carefully it responded to such events as the peace flotilla, it would always be condemned in the UN, on the BBC and almost everywhere else. The "bien pensants" of the West are never prepared to give Israel any benefit of any doubt.

In regard to Israel, the UN has become more of a lynch mob than a constructive debating chamber. Israel's right to defend itself is ignored. So is the fact that Iran has threatened to obliterate Israel and that the Hamas rulers of Gaza are Iranian agents also pledged to Israel's destruction.

Last week, the UN, as always, jumped instantly to the conclusions most damaging to Israel. The UN Human Rights Council, of which Iran is a member, denounced Israel for its "attacks on the flotilla of ships carrying humanitarian assistance".

Similarly, the Israeli ambassador to the EU was harangued and abused in the European parliament's foreign affairs committee. No one was interested in his explanation and when he showed images of Israeli soldiers being beaten with iron bars on the Mavi Marmara, MEPs asserted the film was faked propaganda. The only person to defend Israel at all was Charles Tannock, the Conservative MEP. (Unlike the Israeli ambassador, the Iranian ambassador was treated with courtesy.) Israel is an imperfect society (like any other) but it has extraordinary social, scientific and scholastic achievements. Despite living under endless threats, it is far closer to the liberal ideal of a free society than any other in the Middle East. But it gets no credit.

...Israel is held to a far higher standard than any other nation on Earth. Few people seem to care much about North Korean atrocities, at home and abroad, let alone its terrifying nuclear defiance of the world. No one marches or calls emergency meetings of the UN and the EU to protest the vicious Muslim brutality against other Muslims that takes place everyday throughout the Islamic world - and beyond.

No one demonstrates on behalf of Christians murdered in the Middle East, their churches burned down. Such horrors are waved away. Only Israel merits constant abuse. The Muslim world and the Western Left are in an unholy alliance; they do not want to improve the Jewish state - they want to remove it.

Israel has come to expect double standards from Europe and assault from the UN. Much more serious is the loss of support from the Obama administration. In his attempts to reach out to the Islamic world, Barack Obama has abandoned the US tradition of whole-hearted support for one of its principal allies. He has shown himself far more tolerant of abuses of power in the Muslim world than by mistakes of Israel.

Most recently, Obama backed a UN resolution that singled out Israel in calling for a nuclear-free Middle East. No other US president has ever done that and Israelis are understandably concerned.

What Obama does not seem to understand is that his lack of support for Israel not only saps Israel. More frightening still, it emboldens Israel's enemies...

Reuters Fauxtography - Caught Again

From Honest Reporting COMMUNIQUE: 7 June 2010:

Reuters is once again exposed doctoring photos to change the images of the Gaza flotilla "peace activists".

Eagle-eyed blogger Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs was responsible for exposing Reuters' Fauxtography during the 2006 Lebanon conflict.

Examining photos of bloodied and battered Israeli naval commandos on board the Mavi Marnara, published by the Turkish press, Johnson has once again exposed Reuters' doctoring of photos.

In the first picture, published in the Turkish newspaper, notice the "peace activist" holding a knife in the lower right corner:

The same photo released by Reuters has been cropped so that the knife, and potentially, evidence of the intentions of the "peace activists", is removed:

Little Green Footballs then identified another cropped Reuters photo:

The picture is a cropped version of this photo from the IHH website:

Reuters has cropped out a big knife and a big pool of blood as well as another badly injured Israeli soldier lying on the ground:

Photographer and image analyst David Katz is vastly experienced in the photographic process, from the initial capture of the image through selection, editing, correcting, caption sending, together with the newsroom processes that would leave an image ready to be viewed through the media. We asked him for his professional opinion:

My initial reaction was to avoid hasty accusations against Reuters as this was a fairly unique set of circumstances and one that I felt needed a bit more investigation before pointing fingers began.

My understanding was and still is that the images were taken by someone onboard the ship and deleted by the security services before being returned to the IHH activist who then had the images retrieved through special software in Turkey upon their return and then passed to the newspaper to help embarrass Israel even further.

It's not clear at this point whether Reuters took them as some kind of screen grab or were offered it in a more conventional way for distribution. What is clear, however, is the picture was obviously cropped. One could play Devil's advocate to say that it was not done intentionally - perhaps the knife was not spotted by the Reuters picture desk or someone may have innocently, through overwork or tiredness, just made a mistake. After all, the original images had not come from Reuters staff or freelance photographers but an activist on the ship with an agenda.

However once LGF highlighted the second image that was lightened and run through Photoshop, not only did this highlight the knife that was cropped out in the Reuters image, it also showed a seriously wounded soldier who had also been removed from the image to deliberately hide the true intentions of the terrorists.

It is crystal clear that someone at Reuters has deliberately hidden key parts of the original images. What we do not know at this stage is, who at Reuters did this and more importantly why?

The use of imagery in the media war is becoming more and more widespread. There has to be a responsibility from the bloggers, website hosts and especially from the international news wire services in the way they use the images.

This appears to be a deliberate attempt to change images for a specific reason. Reuters needs to investigate this and act in an appropriate manner.

Since being exposed, Reuters has uncropped the offending photographs. However, this still leaves questions over how this was allowed to happen. Evidently Reuters has not yet learned the lessons of the 2006 Fauxtography affair.

The Great Flotilla Derangement

From Melanie Phillips’s Articles, posted by Melanie Phillips Jewish Chronicle on June 11, 2010:

The flotilla episode provided the trigger for a frenzied demonstration of the world’s collective loss of mind over Israel.

Israel did what it was entitled to do and what any other country at war would do: intercept boats that might be carrying weapons for an aggressor regime. Since six out of the seven intercepted boats then proceeded peacefully to Ashdod where their cargo was checked, this was demonstrably not an Israeli ‘attack’.

Conversely, as everyone could see from the video evidence, on the main boat the attack took place against the Israelis — who then killed nine of their jihadi assailants solely to protect themselves from being lynched, kidnapped and murdered.

Yet, for this, Israel has been hysterically denounced across the world for an act of aggression and even piracy — an onslaught, in effect, upon Israel’s right to defend itself, without which no country can exist.

The claim that Gaza is starving is the opposite of the truth: its markets are stacked with produce, and every week Israel allows in thousands of tons of aid across the border.

As its organiser admitted, the flotilla was not about humanitarian aid at all but was designed to break the sea blockade — and thus open up a weapons channel for Hamas. This manipulative and mendacious exercise was but the latest attempt to weaken Israel ready for the slaughter through an ever tightening noose of lies, demonisation and delegitimisation.

We have endured the fabricated claims of Israeli massacres in Jenin, the 2006 Lebanon war and Cast Lead; the charge that Israel is an ‘apartheid’ state, that it has committed genocide, ethnic cleansing and is starving the people of Gaza; that it is the aggressor in the Middle East.

How is it possible that so many believe all these lies? How can so many Jews believe them?  ...the witch-hunt against Israel is the pivotal example of the West’s repudiation of reason itself, leading to a widespread inversion of truth and lies, justice and injustice, right and wrong...

...So we find ourselves in this nightmare situation. The Great Flotilla Derangement has created the impression that, as Iran moves towards completing its genocide bomb, the rest of the world senses an endgame and is moving in on Israel for the kill.

Antisemitic Egyptian Cleric Curses Jews on TV

From MEMRI Special Dispatch No.3030 June 13, 2010:

The following excerpts are from a show with Egyptian cleric Muhammad Al-Zoghbi, which aired on Egypt's Al-Rahma TV on March 17, 2010.

To view the clip on MEMRI TV, click here.

Transcript [Muhammad Al-Zoghbi]:
"Tonight's show continues what we discussed in previous shows. I call tonight's show 'Who is the Terrorist?' in order to show the entire world – near and far, from north to south, from east to west – the tolerance of Islam. I will show the entire world who the real terrorists have been throughout history. Therefore, let me tell you that tonight's show is very important.

"I will not be talking about my personal beliefs, nor will I recite poems in order to make women cry. Absolutely not. The time has come for us to raise a generation of real men, to unveil the real criminals and terrorists, and to reveal the true tolerance of Islam. [...]

"The annals of history bear witness, in letters of light, to the tolerance of Islam, and to the tolerance of Muslims throughout the times. History also bears witness to the terrorism of the accursed Jews, of the hostile Crusaders, and of the enemies of the Muslims. This has been recorded in black letters in the annals of history. I will begin with the terrorism of the sons of apes and pigs in the Holy Land. I will begin with some indispensable words. Oh monotheists, know that wherever the Jews may be found, they wallow in mud and spread corruption. [...]

"I would like to tell the entire world that these people are the masters of terrorism. They are producers of terrorism, they are criminals and murderers. [...]

"Know that terrorism has never been perpetrated by the monotheists. I challenge anyone on planet Earth to produce one piece of evidence or one case in history of terrorism perpetrated by the monotheists against others. No! [...]

"What have we been doing for the sake of the Al-Aqsa Mosque? Crying like women? Reciting poetry? Making hollow statements, enticing speeches, and deceptive promises in order to purge our hearts of rancor towards the enemies of Islam? What have we been doing for the sake of all the mosques that are being transformed day in and day out, into archeological sites by the sons of apes and pigs? [...]

"The Jews falsely claim that they killed Jesus, son of Mary. The truth is that they did not kill him, yet they take pride in this, because they are the slayers of the prophets and the messengers, and because they have no heart or brains whatsoever. [...]

"We have not learned a thing. This is why our destiny is determined by four million dogs."

Iran Sanctions ban Russian S-300 missiles


Moscow backtracks on intent to seal deal after three-year delay.

MOSCOW — The new UN sanctions prevent Russia from delivering S-300 air-defense missiles to Iran, a Kremlin official said Friday, in a reversal of the position announced by Russia's Foreign Ministry the day before.

The Kremlin statement was sure to please Israel and the United States, which have long urged Russia not to supply the powerful missile system. Russia signed a deal to sell the missiles in 2007, but has delayed their delivery.

The UN Security Council resolution passed Wednesday bans Iran from developing ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons, investing in nuclear-related activities and buying certain types of heavy weapons.

The Kremlin official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the S-300 falls under these sanctions.

Crowley: Resolution calls for states to restrain sales, transfers
The UN resolution does not specifically prohibit Russia from supplying the S-300, the US State Department spokesman said. "However, for the first time, the resolution calls for states to exercise vigilance and restraint in the sale or transfer of all other arms and related materiel," spokesman P.J. Crowley told reporters in Washington. "We appreciate Russia's restraint in the transfer of the S-300 missile system to Iran."

This distinction may help explain the initial confusion.
On Thursday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Andrei Nesterenko said the UN resolution did not apply to air-defense systems, with the exception of shoulder-fired missiles.

The head of the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation, which oversees arms trade, also said Thursday that the sanctions would not affect the S-300 deal. But on Friday the agency said an analysis of the resolution indicated that the missile system was banned under the new sanctions.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev would issue a decree specifying which types of weapons cannot now be sold to Iran, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said.

Shabbat Shalom....!

Friday, June 11, 2010

IHH Premeditated Violence - Video Statements of Marmara Officer

Taleban hang 7-year-old boy to punish family

From The Times June 11, 2010, by Jerome Starkey, Kandahar:

A seven-year-old boy was murdered by the Taleban in an apparent act of retribution this week. Afghan officials said that the child was accused of spying for US and Nato forces and hanged from a tree in southern Afghanistan.

Daoud Ahmadi, the spokesman for the provincial governor of Helmand, said that the killing happened days after the boy’s grandfather, Abdul Woodod Alokozai, spoke out against militants in their home village.

Mr Ahmadi said: “His grandfather is a tribal elder in the village and the village is under the control of the Taleban. His grandfather said some good things about the Government and he formed a small group of people to stand against the Taleban. That’s why the Taleban killed his grandson in revenge.”

...Shamsuddin Khan Faryie, an elder in Heratiyan, said that the boy, identified as the son of Abul Qudooz, was seized as he played in his garden. He was found hanged from a nearby tree.

Mr Faryie said that there were conflicting reports within the village over who was responsible. “Some people said that it was Taleban,” he said. “Some people said they were private enemies. Some Taleban I spoke to said that he was a spy. Some said that it wasn’t them.” ...

UN "Sanctions" against Iran (again...)

From The New York Times, June 9, 2010, by NEIL MacFARQUHAR*:

UNITED NATIONS — The United Nations Security Council leveled its fourth round of sanctions against Iran’s nuclear program on Wednesday, but the measures did little to overcome widespread doubts that they — or even the additional steps pledged by American and European officials — would accomplish the Council’s longstanding goal: halting Iran’s production of nuclear fuel.

The new resolution, hailed by President Obama as delivering “the toughest sanctions ever faced by the Iranian government,” took months to negotiate and major concessions by American officials, but still failed to carry the symbolic weight of a unanimous decision. Twelve of the 15 nations on the Council voted for the measure, while Turkey and Brazil voted against it and Lebanon abstained.

...But Iran has defied repeated demands from the Security Council to stop enriching nuclear fuel, and immediately vowed to disregard the new sanctions as well. Despite earlier resolutions, Iran has built new, sometimes secret, centrifuge plants needed to enrich uranium — and has enriched it to higher levels of purity.

The main thrust of the sanctions is against military purchases, trade and financial transactions carried out by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, which controls the nuclear program and has taken a more central role in running the country and the economy. ...

...Diplomats from Brazil and Turkey, which negotiated a deal with Iran last month to send some of its low-enriched uranium abroad in exchange for access to fuel for a medical reactor, criticized the sanctions as derailing a fresh chance for diplomacy.

...Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, offered few indications of being swayed by the current resolution, saying during a visit to Tajikistan that sanctions are “annoying flies, like a used tissue.”

Iran’s envoy to the United Nations, Mohammad Khazaee, also enumerated a long list of grievances over what he called outside interference in Iranian affairs, vowing before the Security Council that Iran would “never bow.”

...The United States had sought broader measures against Iran’s banks, insurance industry and other trade, but China and Russia were adamant that the sanctions not affect Iran’s day-to-day economy. Washington and Beijing were wrangling down to the last day over which banks to include on the list, diplomats said, and in the end only one appeared on the list of 40 new companies to be blacklisted.

The Chinese ambassador, Li Baodong, said his country’s conditions on the sanctions were that they not harm the world economic recovery and not affect the Iranian people or normal trade.

...On the economic front, studies by the United States government have cast doubt on the efficacy of sanctions, and the World Trade Organization’s Web site indicates that major buyers of Iranian exports include Japan, the European Union, China and India.

“Not too shabby for an alleged pariah state,” said Steven E. Miller, the director of the International Security Program at Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. “It does sort of raise the question of who exactly we are persuading with our relentless campaign to isolate Iran.”

Restricting a few dozen additional companies “would seem like a thin reed on which to base a policy,” Mr. Miller added. “I think that by default we end up with sanctions because we don’t know what else to do.”

*Mark Landler contributed reporting from Bogotá, Colombia, and David E. Sanger from Washington.

Turkey's Erdogan bears responsibility in flotilla fiasco

From The Washington Post editorial, June 5, 2010:

... the Turkish government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan ...has shown a sympathy toward Islamic militants and a penchant for grotesque demagoguery toward Israel that ought to be unacceptable for a member of NATO.

...Turkey's ambassador to the United States makes the argument that Israel had no cause to clash with the "European lawmakers, journalists, business leaders and an 86-year-old Holocaust survivor" who were aboard the flotilla. But there was no fighting with those people, or with five of the six boats in the fleet. All of the violence occurred aboard the Turkish ferry Mavi Marmara, and all of those who were killed were members or volunteers for the Islamic "charity" that owned the ship, the Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH).

The relationship between Mr. Erdogan's government and the IHH ought to be one focus of any international investigation into the incident. The foundation is a member of the "Union of Good," a coalition that was formed to provide material support to Hamas and that was named as a terrorist entity by the United States in 2008.

In discussions before the flotilla departed, Turkish officials turned down offers from both Israel and Egypt to deliver the "humanitarian" supplies on the boats to Gaza and insisted Ankara could not control what it described as a nongovernmental organization.

Yet the IHH has certainly done its best to promote Mr. Erdogan. "All the peoples of the Islamic world would want a leader like Recep Tayyip Erdogan," IHH chief Bulent Yildirim proclaimed at a Hamas rally in Gaza last year. And Mr. Erdogan seems to share that notion: In the days since an incident that the IHH admits it provoked, the Turkish prime minister has done his best to compete with Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Hezbollah's Hasan Nasrallah in attacking the Jewish state.

"The heart of humanity has taken one of her heaviest wounds in history," Mr. Erdogan claimed this week. He has had next to nothing to say about the slaughter of Iranians protesting last year's fraudulent elections, but he called Israel's actions "state terrorism" and a "bloody massacre" and described Israel itself as an "adolescent, rootless state." His foreign minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, said in Washington on Tuesday that "this attack is like 9/11 for Turkey" -- an obscene comparison to events in which more than 2,900 genuinely innocent people were killed.

Mr. Erdogan's crude attempt to exploit the incident comes only a couple of weeks after he joined Brazil's president in linking arms with Mr. Ahmadinejad, whom he is assisting in an effort to block new U.N. sanctions.

What's remarkable about his turn toward extremism is that it comes after more than a year of assiduous courting by the Obama administration, which, among other things, has overlooked his antidemocratic behavior at home, helped him combat the Kurdish PKK and catered to Turkish sensitivities about the Armenian genocide. Israel is suffering the consequences of [the Obama administration's] misjudgments and disregard of U.S. interests.

Will Mr. Erdogan's behavior be without cost?

Abbas lies to Obama; denies PA incitement

From PMW, 10 Jne 2010, by Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik:

Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas was not being honest when he said to President Obama this week that the PA was not continuing its incitement against Israel.

Responding to President Obama's demand that the PA make more progress "on incitement issues," Abbas said:

"I say in front of you, Mr. President, that we have nothing to do with incitement against Israel, and we're not doing that," Abbas said. "What we care about is to live in coexistence with Israel in order to bring about the independent Palestinian state that will live side by side with Israel..."
[AP, June 9, 2010]

In direct contradiction to Abbas's claim, Palestinian Media Watch documented in a report released this week that PA incitement to hatred and violence and non-recognition of Israel has continued unabated in the month since the start of the proximity talks.

For example, whereas Abbas said to President Obama that he supports "living side by side with Israel," just a few weeks ago official PA TV called for Israelis to leave Israel and "return" to Germany and Poland:

"Where are you [Israelis] from? Of course, you're from Ukraine; of course, you're from Germany, from Poland, from Russia, from Ethiopia... I ask of you, return to your original homeland!"
[PA TV (Fatah), May 4 and 7, 2010] PA TV is owned by the Palestinian Authority and under direct control of the office of Abbas.

In addition, the PA this past month has continued to honor terrorists who have killed Israeli civilians by naming sporting events after them, a practice repeatedly condemned by the Obama administration.

These are just two examples among many in the new PMW report documenting that every condition, principle and expectation set by the US for accepting the Palestinian Authority as a partner in the peace process continues to be violated by the PA.

Go to the PMW web site to read the new report in its entirety.
Click to view the report in PDF

IHH Prepared for a Violent Confrontation with IDF Soldiers

From Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, June 7, 2010:

Initial conclusions from questioning passengers and examining equipment on board the ship

1. An initial analysis of statements taken from passengers aboard the Turkish ship Mavi Marmara after it was towed to the port of Ashdod show that operatives belonging to the radical Islamic Turkish IHH led the violent confrontation with the IDF.

2. The statements confirmed that the violence met by the IDF soldiers was not spontaneous but rather an organized, premeditated action carried out by a hard core of 40 IHH operatives (among the 500 passengers). The operatives, who acted according to a clearly-defined internal hierarchy, boarded the ship in the port of Istanbul without undergoing a security inspection (as opposed to the other passengers, who boarded in Antalya after a full inspection).

3. The IHH operatives’ preparations included handing out walkie-talkies as they boarded the ship, taking over the upper deck, setting up a situation room for communications, and a briefing given to the operatives two hours before the confrontation by IHH head Bülent Yildirim, who was on board the ship and commanded his men. IHH operatives wore ceramic vests and gas masks, and were armed with large quantities of cold weapons which they had prepared from equipment found on board (knives, axes, metal cables, metal pipes used as clubs, wrenches, etc.). They were also equipped with box cutters which had been prepared on the upper deck in advance.

4. The passengers, including the IHH operatives, stated that there were close relations between the organization and Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan and that the Turkish government was involved in preparations for the flotilla. The statements reinforce the original assassment that the objective of the flotilla was not merely to bring humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip, but focused on provocation and a violent confrontation with Israel.

A flotilla "activist" raising a metal pipe to strike IDF soldiers (IDF Spokesman, June 3, 2010).

Go to the web posting for the full report.

The statement of an officer aboard the Mavi Marmara
1. The main points of a Mavi Marmara officer’s statement:

...B. The ship set sail with 29 crew members and 40 IHH operatives. The leader of the operatives’ group was Bülent Yildirim. An operative named Rajip was responsible for logistics. There was also an operative named Tonj.

C. The other passengers boarded in Antalya according to a list held by IHH and Turkish Customs. From Antalya they sailed to Cyprus where the other ships were waiting for them.

...E. When the IHH operatives boarded the ship they were given walkie-talkies to help them control the ship. Guards posted in the passageways prevented the ordinary passengers from reaching the upper decks. The movements of the crew were also limited and they needed permission from the IHH operatives to go from one place to another.

F. Instructions were given to the passengers by the IHH operatives via the ship’s closed circuit television. In addition, a kind of communications situation room was set up for IHH’s correspondents.

G. The IHH operatives used disks to saw the ship’s railing into metal rods. They also had steel rods they took from the lifeboats. After hearing the sound of the disks, the captain sent two officers to find out where it was coming from. They saw that the IHH operatives had brought disks on deck, contrary to the captain’s orders, and were using them to saw the ship’s railings into metal rods. They found three disks and confiscated them.

H. In retrospect it is obvious that the incident had been organized in advance. The officer claimed he neither sensed nor understood what was going on during the sea voyage because he kept his distance from the passengers.

For further information about IHH see the May 27, 2010 bulletin, “IHH, which plays a central role in organizing the flotilla to the Gaza Strip, is a Turkish humanitarian relief fund with a radical Islamic anti-Western orientation. Besides its legitimate philanthropic activities, it supports radical Islamic networks, including Hamas, and at least in the past, even global jihad elements”

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Why does Israel owe everyone an explanation?

From a private communication, 4 June 2010, by Kelvin Crombie*:

Watching all the hype associated with the situation near Gaza has caused me some concern due to the hypocrisy being portrayed.

Having lived in Israel for 24 years I will be the first to admit that Israel is not perfect. But please tell me: which country is?

Yet one thing did become apparent to me during those years: there is no other country in the world which is under the microscope as is Israel. And more than this: there is no other country under the continual danger to its very existence as is Israel.

In 2005 Israel unilaterally pulled out of the Gaza Strip. There had previously been an accusation against Israel that ‘settlements were a hindrance to peace.’ So Israel dismantled the settlements. Was there peace thereafter? No there was not. More rockets were fired into Israel from Gaza in the period after the withdrawal than before.

So much therefore for the ‘peace = withdrawal of settlements’ equation.

This I know from first hand experience. Part of my work was to guide groups of Australians in the footsteps of the ANZAC Light Horse Brigades. On several occasions I could not enter the region of Sderot, near to the Gaza Strip due to the threat of rocket attack, or because rockets had been fired. And on numerous occasions I could not even get to the Anzac Memorial which was closer still to the Gaza Strip because of such a situation.

And this was after the dismantling of the Israeli settlements as well as before.

There is probably no other country in the world which has to live under such an intolerable situation.
To add insult to injury, the current Hamas regime (Islamic Resistance Movement which is condemned as a terrorist organization by the United States State Department, the European Union, Canada and Australia), which controls Gaza, is implacably committed to the complete destruction of Israel – a member state of the United Nations. Here is part of the Hamas Covenant:
  • 'Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it.' (Preamble)
  •  'The Day of Judgment will not come about until Moslems fight Jews and kill them. Then, the Jews will hide behind rocks and trees, and the rocks and trees will cry out: 'O Moslem, there is a Jew hiding behind me, come and kill him.' (Article 7)
  •  Initiatives, and so-called peaceful solutions and international conferences, are in contradiction to the principles of the Islamic Resistance Movement… Nationalism of the Islamic Resistance Movement is part of its religion… For the sake of hoisting the banner of Allah over their homeland they fight. (Article 14)
  •  'Palestine is an Islamic land... Since this is the case, [the] Liberation of Palestine is then an individual duty for every Moslem wherever he may be.' (Article 14)
These statements make abundantly clear the agenda of Gaza’s present regime. The Hamas Covenant is the constitution of this terrorist entity which controls Gaza. Its main goal is not the betterment of the lives and welfare of its own citizens, but the destruction of the neighbouring nation of Israel.

As it is a stated goal of Hamas to obliterate the existence of Israel, a member state of the United Nations, it is thus clear that the issue is not about the perfection or imperfection of Israel; not about how much humanitarian aid Israel does or does not convoy through to Gaza. In fact Israel does allow large quantities of humanitarian aid through to Gaza, and often personally delivers it.

One could argue that the situation in Gaza is intolerable for many ordinary citizens. That may be so. But this has little to do with the amount of humanitarian aid that Israel permits through to Gaza.

The fact is that those ordinary citizens in Gaza are living under a totalitarian regime which shows very little compassion and concern to those citizens. This is especially so for those who do not fully endorse the ideology of Hamas, which is an Islamic fundamentalist regime.

If the citizens of Gaza want to live a normal life then they need to have a new and tolerable regime in control, not adherents of a recognized and acknowledged terrorist organization which is dedicated to the destruction of Israel.

In view then of this reality, why should ordinary Israeli citizens have to suffer the hardship of being under daily threat of being bombed? And this is the ongoing case. Thousands of rockets have been launched onto Israel from Gaza over the last few years. Australians would not condone anything like this.

How then do the terrorists in Gaza continue to manufacture rockets? From where do they obtain the raw materials? The answer: from illegal tunnels into Egypt – and from illegal landings from the sea. Israel therefore has every legitimate right to protect its own citizens by ensuring that no such raw materials find their way into Gaza. Hence the sea-blockade. The sea-blockade prevents more – in quantity and quality – arms entering Gaza.

Incidentally, no illegal materials may actually be discovered on this flotilla. This would not be surprising as this flotilla was probably nothing more than a well-orchestrated ‘set-up.’

In short, that flotilla had absolutely no right to attempt to break through the Israeli blockade. They should have complied with Israel’s rightful demand that they offload in the port of Ashdod. There would have been sufficient international and media exposure to ensure that all lawful humanitarian aid would have been transferred to Gaza – after the standard weapons check.

It was very clear that the entire motive behind the flotilla was provocative. In such a situation it was inevitable that the Israeli commandos would make ‘mistakes’ due to the pressure of the situation. Australian soldiers in Afghanistan have also made mistakes resulting in civilian casualties.

It was a provocative and tense situation and it was inevitable there would be casualties if the flotilla did not comply with the requests of the Israeli government.

Those people on the flotilla, including the Australians, had absolutely no right to be there. They should have had more sense. In such a confined area I cannot see how journalists and the media could have been separated and kept safe from injury.

I lived through many problematic times in Israel, and my children endured periods of bus bombings in Jerusalem which were not pleasant. If anything happened to us then I had to own responsibility for it: no-one forced me to live there, it was my choice.

I feel the same should apply here. Israel should not be condemned. Those people on that convoy should be getting roundly scolded for their irresponsible actions. Those people must have fully known that Israel would not back down and allow that flotilla through.

It was irresponsible behaviour, and a complete set-up by the organisers. Australians should not be hood-winked by this situation.

Besides all this, there is absolutely no way that Australia would tolerate such a situation here. What total hypocrisy therefore if our government and people expect of Israel something which they themselves would not condone here on our own shores.

May I conclude by suggesting that our Prime Minister and Foreign Minister could actually apologize to Israel for the involvement of any Australian citizens in this senseless and provocative venture; a venture which was intended not for the humanitarian benefit of the citizens of Gaza, but to further the call for the destruction of the sovereign state of Israel.

*Kelvin worked for twenty years as a guide, researcher and writer with CMJ, an Anglican-based society based at Christ Church in Jerusalem. His book Anzacs, Empires and Israel’s Restoration is regarded as the foundational book relating to the role of the Anzacs in Israel. He guided and lectured numerous Australian government, trade, military and Christian groups on the role of the Anzacs and Light Horse in the Middle East and particularly relating to Israel’s modern restoration.

Last battle of WW2? Is Cameron a second Chamberlain? ...oh where is our Churchill?

From The Spectator, 3rd June 2010, by Melanie Phillips:

For those who still don’t get it, let me spell out just why the response by Cameron, Clegg and Hague to the Turkish terrorist flotilla incident is so despicable and so terrifying.  ...the British government has refused to defend the Israeli target of this appalling reprise of historical infamy and has instead placed itself squarely on the side of this truly diabolical inversion of reality and justice.

The convoluted pieties of Cameron Clegg and Hague, professing to support Israel’s need for security while denouncing it for defending its troops from kidnap and butchery, constitute in fact the most stomach-turning hypocrisy. For these men are not merely condemning Israel for its flotilla interception  ...but are also calling for an end to the blockade of Gaza.

This in itself has two devastating implications. The first is inescapably that Cameron, Clegg and Hague are demanding that Israel stop protecting itself from the import into Gaza of missiles and other weapons with which Hamas and others can murder yet more Israelis. If Cameron Clegg and Hague are thus demanding that Israel can no longer protect itself against forces waging a war of extermination against it, then it follows equally inescapably that Cameron Clegg and Hague no longer wish to support Israel in its six-decade struggle to continue to exist.

The second implication which follows from the first is that, since Israel is the front line of the west’s defence against the Islamic jihad and if Israel were ever to go down the west would in turn also go down, the abandonment of Israel by Cameron Clegg and Hague means they have also abandoned the defence of Britain and the west. For the blockade of Gaza is not just the policy of Israel but one that was agreed by Britain and the west in order to weaken Hamas. That is because a victory for Hamas -- the Islamists of the Muslim Brotherhood with close ties now to Iran with which they have joined in common cause to achieve regional hegemony for a theocratic, nuclear-armed tyranny which would destroy Israel while the free world stood paralysed until it too went the same way – was considered an unconscionable threat to the west.

Yet now Cameron Clegg and Hague want the blockade to be ended. They thus appear to have reversed the former British position that Hamas was an unconscionable threat to the stability of the region and thus the interests of the free world. What happened? Did Hamas suddenly decide to junk the jihad and sign up to the Human Rights Convention? No, they’re still the same old genocidal religious fanatics. But the British establishment doesn’t buy the idea of religious fanaticism. Holy war? Good heavens, no! Arrogantly (and ignorantly) insisting on viewing the Arab and Muslim world through western eyes, the British establishment persists in the almighty delusion that ultimately self-interest always prevails and there is no group of people, however apparently extreme, who cannot be bought if the offered price is set high enough.

And so now, influential British voices are now calling for Hamas to be brought in from the cold on the grounds that no solution to the Middle East impasse is possible without it. On the contrary – the most important reason for the Middle East impasse is that from the 1920s onwards Britain appeased Islamic fascism and aggression against the Jews, a process which continues to this day (and is now being given extra traction by Obama). Indeed, since Hamas are the direct descendants of the Muslim Brotherhood Islamists of 1930s Palestine who formed a strategic alliance with Hitler in the common cause of annihilating the Jews, it might be said that the Arab war against Israel is the last great battle of the Second World War which in the Middle East has not yet ended.

Faced with Islamic aggression, the British ruling class once again rushes to offer the Muslim Brotherhood the western throat to be cut – and because it is conveniently attached to the Israeli body politic, the British think this will sate the Islamists’ blood-lust, just as their forbears thought when they delivered up Czechoslovakia to Hitler. When Sir Jeremy Greenstock et al call for talks to begin with Hamas – whose ‘pragmatic’ wing is no less committed than the rest of it to the annihilation of Israel and the Jewish people -- they walk in a very dark shadow indeed.

But there is also a reason much closer to home why a craven and amoral British government has chosen to toe the Islamists’ line on Israel. In his Telegraph blog today, Douglas Murray reveals in a leaked email that the Cameron/Clegg government is using its denunciation of Israel to buy off the threat of violence by British Islamists towards Britain. Murray reveals that the government’s Research Information and Communications Unit (RICU), which is part of the Office for Security and Counter Terrorism, has circulated to British Muslims the highlights of its verbal onslaught against Israel. As Murray observes:

As it happens, various Muslim groups in Britain wrote to the Government before this communication, calling for it to condemn Israel. Our new Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary have taken their hint and issued a set of ignorant and pusillanimous statements attacking Israel’s right to defend herself by preventing the importing of arms into the terrorist-run state of Gaza. Our politicians have decided that instead of condemning terror they will condemn those dealing with terror. Most Orwellian of all, our own Office for Security and Counter Terrorism is being used to boast about this line in an attempt to placate activist Islamic groups.

In my new book The World Turned Upside Down: The Global Battle over God Truth and Power I discuss at length the way in which the west’s now near-pathological inversion of truth, reality and justice over a wide range of issues finds such an appalling echo in the inversion of truth, reality and justice by the Islamic world – which means that instead of holding the line against radical Islamism and defending its victims against it, the west is itself playing Little Sir Echo to the jihad. The uproar over Israel’s defence against the Turkish terror flotilla is but the latest appalling demonstration of this western death-wish.

This is where, in a few short weeks, the new British government has now taken the country which once stood alone in defence of liberty. But never let it be forgotten that this magnificent display of British grit in the 1940s followed a shameful decade of appeasement and anti-Jewish bullying – which very nearly led to Britain’s defeat by the forces of fascism.

History is now repeating itself almost to the letter. Is Cameron going to go down in history as a second Chamberlain? And where oh where is our Churchill?


From the Turkey Analyst, a biweekly publication of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute & Silk Road Studies Program Joint Center, vol. 3 no. 11, 7 June 2010, by Svante E. Cornell*:

...Turkey’s new, assertive – indeed aggressive – foreign policy is predicated on the notion that the West is on the decline. Yet as they rather carelessly wield their newfound power, the Turks seem curiously oblivious to the risks of overreaching.

Turkish foreign policy has become increasingly self-assured and activist. ...
  • Ankara has turned an antagonistic relationship with Damascus into a strategic partnership;
  • it has turned a policy of isolating northern Iraq into one of engagement with the Kurdish leadership there.
  • Ankara also built close ties with the Islamic republic of Iran;
  • it has cultivated gulf regimes, as well as notably Omar al-Bashir’s Sudan.
  • Most importantly, the AKP has deepened Turkey’s involvement in the Middle East conflict, first by seeking to mediate between Syria and Israel, but increasingly by overtly taking sides in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Indeed, the clash with Israel over the Gaza flotilla has revealed that Turkey’s new foreign policy has far-reaching strategic implications that up until now had been overlooked in Western quarters.

Ankara has re-oriented its foreign policy ...[which] was always schizophrenic, combining links and ties that did not appear to be easily combined.  ...Turkey could function as an interlocutor between the West and Iran, Syria, or Hamas, and be a positive influence on these forces. Secondly, Washington itself has reached out to Damascus and Tehran, making it difficult to criticize neighboring Turkey for doing the same.

Yet it has grown increasingly difficult to explain the AKP government’s foreign policy trajectory in exclusively benevolent terms. While ties to Syria and Iran are understandable given Turkey’s proximity to these countries – and the necessity, not least, to secure their cooperation in combating Kurdish separatism – that hardly explains the lengths to which Ankara has gone in publicly defending Iran’s nuclear program, as Prime Minister Erdoğan and Turkish diplomats have repeatedly done. Likewise, the tilt toward the Palestinian side is understandable in a country where pro-Palestinian sentiment is strong  ...However, none of this explains why the AKP began overtly championing the Hamas movement, while keeping a much colder attitude to the Fatah leadership in the West Bank. Only the AKP’s ideological baggage can explain these choices.

...The IHH (Insani Yardım Vakfı), which organized the recent flotilla to Gaza, is an example of how NGOs are used in the foreign policy sphere... The IHH operates joint projects with the Turkish Agency for International Development, and is reported to have been used by the government in order to shore up Turkey’s position in northern Iraq by distributing aid to populations there. The IHH has its origins in the Orthodox Islamic Milli Görüş movement, from which the AKP organizationally split in 2001. As such, the IHH is known as a dyed-in-the-wool Islamist movement, which has been suspected and investigated repeatedly for alleged involvement in arms shipment to Islamic forces in various conflicts, such as Afghanistan and Bosnia. Leading former French counter-terror magistrate Jean-Louis Bruguière has repeatedly testified that the IHH had ‘clear, long-standing ties to terrorism and Jihad’, including ties to Al Qaeda in the late 1990s.

While IHH is close to the more Orthodox Islamic Saadet (Felicity) Party, ties between individual high-ranking AKP figures and the IHH are known to be close as well. IHH acquired the Mavi Marmara ship from the AKP-run municipality of Istanbul. It is not conceivable that the IHH’s Gaza operation could have been carried out absent high-level government sanction.

But unexpectedly, the confrontation with Israel has opened up a rift within the Islamic conservative movement. The influential Fethullah Gülen religious community – for which the AKP depends on for support and cadres – seems unhappy with Erdoğan’s anti-Israeli stance. In a statement that came as a shock to many in Turkey, Gülen overtly criticized the Gaza flotilla for having failed to seek accord with Israel in delivering the aid (as Gülen’s own aid to Gaza does). Gülen may disagree with the AKP on principle, or just view Erdoğan’s reckless policies as a liability to his own vision for Turkey – but the rift appears real nonetheless.

...Turkey has threatened drastic measures unless Israel bows to Turkish demands that include not only apologies and an international investigation, but lifting the blockade of Gaza. This leads to the obvious question whether decision-makers in Ankara truly believe that they will be successful in dictating to Israel, or for that matter to the United States, what course of action to take.

If that is the case, it would suggest a level of hubris hitherto unseen in Turkish foreign policy. If not, it would suggest ulterior motives – perhaps setting unrealistic demands that, when not met, would be used to justify measures that will make Turkey’s international realignment even more dramatically obvious.

Turkey’s growing economic clout does indeed legitimate its aspiration to have a decisive say in Middle Eastern matters. While Turkey enjoys an advantageous position as a consequence of its relatively strong economy, the structural political instability of the country will inevitably hamper its foreign aspirations and make it vulnerable.

...The founding generation of the Turkish republic had first-hand experience of the costs of imperial designs and political adventurism, and for decades Turkey mostly stuck to a cautious and balanced foreign policy.

The present rulers of Turkey have made it abundantly clear that past restraints do not apply to them. The question is whether or not their assessment of Turkish power is sufficiently well founded. Ostentatiously seeking zero-problems with neighbors, Turkey has ended up taking on an erstwhile strategic partner in the region.

As it rather carelessly wields its newfound power, the AKP government seems curiously oblivious to the risks of overreaching. Davutoğlu’s zero-problem-with-neighbors policy was always predicated on the unrealistic assumption that none of Turkey’s neighbors had any intentions that run counter to Turkish interests. Likewise, the alienation of Israel was based on the equally unrealistic assumption that Turkey will never need the friendship of either Israel or its lobby in Washington. But mostly, perhaps, these policies have been based on the notion that America and the West need Turkey more than Turkey needs them. What is clear in the meantime is that the AKP leadership has set in motion a reassessment of assumptions in the West, and particularly the United States, about Turkey’s reliability as an ally and partner.

*Svante E. Cornell is Editor-in-Chief of the Turkey Analyst, and Research Director of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute & Silk Road Studies Program Joint Center.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

IHH Preparations for a Violent Confrontation with IDF Soldiers

From the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, June 7, 2010:

Initial conclusions from questioning passengers and examining equipment on board the ship

1. An initial analysis of statements taken from passengers aboard the Turkish ship Mavi Marmara after it was towed to the port of Ashdod show that operatives belonging to the radical Islamic Turkish IHH1 led the violent confrontation with the IDF.

2. The statements confirmed that the violence met by the IDF soldiers was not spontaneous but rather an organized, premeditated action carried out by a hard core of 40 IHH operatives (among the 500 passengers). The operatives, who acted according to a clearly-defined internal hierarchy, boarded the ship in the port of Istanbul without undergoing a security inspection (as opposed to the other passengers, who boarded in Antalya after a full inspection).

3. The IHH operatives’ preparations included handing out walkie-talkies as they boarded the ship, taking over the upper deck, setting up a situation room for communications, and a briefing given to the operatives two hours before the confrontation by IHH head Bülent Yildirim, who was on board the ship and commanded his men. IHH operatives wore ceramic vests and gas masks, and were armed with large quantities of cold weapons which they had prepared from equipment found on board (knives, axes, metal cables, metal pipes used as clubs, wrenches, etc.). They were also equipped with box cutters which had been prepared on the upper deck in advance.

4. The passengers, including the IHH operatives, stated that there were close relations between the organization and Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan and that the Turkish government was involved in preparations for the flotilla. The statements reinforce the original assassment that the objective of the flotilla was not merely to bring humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip, but focused on provocation and a violent confrontation with Israel...

Follow this link to read the full report.

The History and the Flotilla

From Fox News, 2 June 2010:

Glenn Beck talks about Israel's history, America's role in its history and the truth behind the people who organized the "Freedom Flotilla" (5 video clips, each 10 minutes).

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Who are Mossad really?

From The ABC (Australia) web site, June 02, 2010, by Hilary Harper:

On a recent "Sundays with Alan Brough" (ABC 774 Melbourne), Alan asked Dr Dvir Abramovich, director of the Centre for Jewish History and Culture at the University of Melbourne, how the Mossad got their name, what they've got up to in the past and some of the more notorious operations they've been famous - or infamous - for.

Go to the web site to hear a very informative and interesting program.

PA Incitement during the proximity talks, May 2010

From a Palestinian Media Watch Bulletin, June 8, 2010, by Itamar Marcus, Nan Jacques Zilberdik and Barbara Crook:

US State Department:
"After completing the first round of proximity talks with Israeli and Palestinian leaders, both parties are taking some steps to help create an atmosphere that is conducive to successful talks, including President Abbas's statement that he will work against incitement of any sort...
[Washington D.C., May 9, 2010]

The start of the proximity talks in May 2010 created hope for the renewal of the Israeli – Palestinian peace process. Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas declared that the PA would fulfill its commitments, with special focus on their stopping incitement.

However, an examination of the Palestinian Authority leaders’ statements, official media, children’s programs and PA-controlled events creates a pessimistic picture: Every condition, principle and expectation set by the US and the Quartet for accepting the Palestinian Authority as a partner in the peace process continues to be violated by the Palestinian Authority in the first month of talks.

Contrasting its moderate statements to Western powers in English, with its own people in Arabic the Palestinian Authority, the Fatah leaders and the Abbas-controlled official PA media continue to deny Israel’s existence, deny Israel’s right to exist, define the conflict with Israel as an uncompromising religious war for Allah, promote hatred through demonization slander and libel, and glorify terror and violence.
Go to the PMW Online Bulletin to read the full report and view video sources.

Turkey Says Good Bye to Israel and the West

BESA Center Perspectives Papers No. 108, June 6, 2010, by Prof. Efraim Inbar, professor of political studies at Bar-Ilan University and director of the Begin-Sadat (BESA) Center for Strategic Studies (Prof Inbar will a guest of AIJAC in Australia this week):

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: By endorsing the “Gaza Flotilla” Turkey escalates tensions with Israel. This is just another reflection of the change in Turkish foreign policy, which acquires a greater Islamic coloration and is distancing itself from the West. Only a change of government in Ankara can bring Turkey back into the Western fold and restore the partnership between Ankara and Jerusalem. The next elections in July 2011 provide the Turkish citizens an opportunity to remain democratic and part of the West.

The Turkish Role
The “Gaza flotilla” incident has revealed once again the Turkish government’s ugly face and particularly the great hostility harbored by its prime minister, Tayyip Erdoנan, towards Israel. Many Israelis watched TV broadcasts of incited Turkish mobs chanting “Death to Israel.” Prime Minister Erdoנan, who occasionally makes anti-Semitic statements, takes every opportunity to slam the State of Israel. Moreover, it seems that the Turkish government was behind the organization of this provocation and it definitely endorses it. Even more troubling is the fact that the Turkish government has cooperated with IHH (Turkish Relief Organization), an outfit with links to Al-Qaeeda and other Islamist terrorists.

Turkey Slides Away
It is a shame to see Turkey, an important strategic partner of Israel in the 1990’s, turn into a bitter adversary. Turkey, an important regional state and an important Western ally, stayed away from the Middle East for almost a century, because the Turks perceived this region as backward, fanatical, corrupt and undemocratic. Yet, in the last few years, Turkey is returning to the Middle East and tries to carve a leadership role commensurate with its imperial past. Moreover, in the last few years, Turkey has been in the throes of an identity crisis, in which Muslim tradition, which is still entrenched within Turkish society, aspires to greater expression than was hitherto permitted by the secular regime in Ankara. Attitude toward Israel is part of that debate.

The ruling Islamist party (AKP) since November 2002 become emboldened only after its reelection in July 2007 to make significant changes to Turkish foreign policy. Ankara’s relations towards Israel cooled, especially in the wake of the Gaza war in the winter of 2008. Scathing criticism, cancellation of joint military maneuvers and warming up toward Hamas have characterized Turkish policy. As of late, the fact that Washington has a weak president who emphasizes improvement of relations with the Muslim world, even at the expense of Israel, only encourages Turkey to distance itself from the Jewish state.

The deterioration of relations between Ankara and Jerusalem is a Turkish initiative, over which Israel has no influence. The hostile stance taken by Turkey towards Israel is part of the major transformation of Turkey’s foreign policy. In fact, Turkey is turning away from the West. Its position diverges from that of the West on Hamas, but also on other important issues. Ankara hosted Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, accused of war crimes, despite the protest of the European states. Turkey is the only member of NATO to have hosted Iranian President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Turkey is also growing closer to Syria, which is anti-American and deep in the Iranian camp. Moreover, Turkey has stepped up its activity in the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC). Undoubtedly, Erdoנan feels more at home in Middle Eastern markets than in Western cities. Turkey has also tightened its relations with Russia, which aims to curb the role of the US in international affairs. Indeed, Turkey did not hesitate to deviate from American preferences. It announced that it will not join sanctions against Iran and in the past month has strived, together with Brazil, to extricate Iran from its uncomfortable diplomatic position due to its ongoing nuclear program. Backing the flotilla and Hamas, Turkey also affected negatively the dim prospects of the proximity talks between Israel and the Palestinians – a major American priority. Unfortunately, Turkey slides away from the West into an independent posture largely colored by the Islamist tendencies of the current government.

The Potential for Democratic Change
Despite the above, it is not a foregone conclusion that Turkey will persist in this direction. The hope for change is not based on the expectation for a military coup. The army, which constitutionally enforced the secular-democratic nature of the regime, has become weaker in its position in the past few years. One should hope for change through democratic channels. Among Turkish society many still support the secular parties, which are far from pleased with the rush towards the Muslim world. Even among moderate Muslim quarters there is a sense of unease regarding the government’s policy pushing Turkey to join radical Islamic elements such as Hamas and Iran. One should also recall that Shiite Iran was an historic rival of the Sunni Turks.

Indeed, support in public opinion for the ruling Islamic party is in decline, despite Erdogan’s remarkable political skills. This is mostly due to corruption and abuse of civil rights. Were elections held last week, the Islamist party would lose many seats, and two secular parties would possibly have made up the coalition. If current public opinion is held till the next elections, scheduled for July 2011, it is likely that Turkey will emerge with a new prime minister. It is possible that precisely due to his domestic situation as reflected in the polls, Erdoנan has decided to exacerbate his relations with Israel in order to gain public support.

In its relations with Turkey, Israel should stand its ground on Israeli vital interests. Moreover, Israel should not tolerate insults. This will only be perceived as a weakness. Israel should distinguish between the Turkish state and society, and the current government that deserves a strong riposte. Firm, level-headed responses will be of assistance to pro-Western Turks in their domestic debate.

A major political drama is unfolding before our eyes in this important country. Only the Turks can determine their future, but the opposition to the Islamist regime deserves Western assistance. The strategic consequences of Turkey becoming a part of an anti-American axis are far reaching. For the sake of the free world, but mostly for their own sake, let us hope that the Turks will choose democracy and progress and not the poverty, ignorance and authoritarianism offered by Islamist regimes.

Free "Palestine" - from Hamas thugs

From ABC News, 8 June 2010, by Middle East correspondent Anne Barker:

"...In reality though, there is no shortage of anything in Gaza because even prohibited goods are smuggled illegally through underground tunnels from Egypt at exorbitant prices that ordinary Palestinians can barely afford because Hamas imposes a hefty tunnel tax...."

Sunday, June 06, 2010

It's All the fault of the Israeli Government

From Quadrant Online, Volume LIV Number 6, June 2010, by Michael Galak:

...  Isn’t it amazing that every friend of Israel knows precisely what Israel has to do in order to make peace with Arabs? Israelis and Arabs don’t but Israel’s friends do. If, perchance, as a result of such a peace, Israel would be no more—that would not matter. The important thing is that the Arabs would be at peace.

So many people believe Israel is the root of all the evil in the world! They believe that Israel’s existence harms Muslims so much that these poor souls cannot sleep at night, cannot eat, cannot breathe, cannot learn how to read and write, cannot work, and cannot let their women use contraceptives. It is the fault of the Israelis that they cannot live in peace with the world or with themselves. As a true peacenik, I think I have discovered the root cause of Arab troubles! Why didn’t I think of it before! A billion and a half Muslims are oppressed by 18 million Jews. That is so obvious!...

...Now we have to ask ourselves—what is the root of the Arab anti-Jewish hatred? Using empathy as my principal tool, I can see clearly that Arabs have every reason to hate us. I think it is totally our Jewish fault ...The Israeli government’s. They are not being nice.

The Holocaust in Lithuania

From CNN, June 3, 2010, by Paul Frysh:

Editor's note: CNN's Gena Somra and Farhad Shadravan traveled to Lithuania with Efraim Zuroff in November 2008, reporting on his journey and producing the video in this piece. Below are excerpts only. Press here to go to the full article in CNN.

... [Efraim Zuroff, Israel director of The Simon Wiesenthal Center] ...says  ...Lithuania is trying to rewrite Holocaust history. "Nowhere in the world...has a government gone to such lengths to obscure their role in the Holocaust. ... Their mission is to change the history of the Holocaust to make themselves blameless."

Lithuania and the Nazis
Within five months of Nazi Germany's invasion in the summer of 1941, most of Lithuania's 200,000 to 220,000 Jews were dead -- shot and left in massive sand pits and mass graves along with thousands of ethnic Poles, the mentally ill and others. By the end of the war, the percentage of Jews killed in Lithuania -- 90 to 96 percent -- was as high or higher than anywhere else in Europe.

"And the question is, 'Why were the numbers so high?' ...because of the help of the local population -- of the Lithuanians."

A Lithuanian Militia Leads a Group of Jews to their Execution

The pace of the mass murder of Lithuania's Jews -- and the active participation of the local population -- are meticulously recorded in two of the most infamous documents of Holocaust history.

The Jaeger Report, written by Karl Jaeger, the SS commander of a Nazi killing unit that operated around Vilnius, Lithuania, is a matter-of-fact account of those killed each day under his command.

September 1, 1941, a typical entry, lists those killed for the day as: "1,404 Jewish children, 1,763 Jews, 1,812 Jewesses, 109 mentally sick people, one German woman who was married to a Jew, and one Russian woman."

In the report, Jaeger notes the "essential" help of local Lithuanians and says 4,000 Jews were "liquidated by pogroms and executions," exclusively by Lithuanian partisans. The final count of those murdered starting in the summer of 1941 and ending in November of that year is 133,346 -- the vast majority of them Jews.

...The Nazis arrived after a year of occupation by the Soviet Union that was so brutal that many Lithuanians welcomed the Nazis when they arrived in June 1941.

Nazi propaganda painted local Jews as communists in league with the Soviets, stoking existing local anti-Semitism, and prompting the provisional government in Lithuania, and thousands of Lithuanians, to help facilitate the Nazi policy of liquidating the local Jewish population...

..."It will be impossible for Lithuania to come to terms with its history ... until the country's elite admits that the provisional government of Lithuania in 1941 collaborated with the Nazis and acted against Lithuanian citizens. Unfortunately, the provisional government ... is praised up to the skies in Lithuania....It is a disgrace."

For Zuroff, Lithuania missed its best opportunity for catharsis by failing to punish even one of its own citizens for Holocaust crimes.

"The Lithuanians squandered the best chance they had to get that burden of guilt off of them. And now it's going to take them 100 years to get rid of it. The only way they will succeed is through education, documentation, research -- and a lot of pain."

In August, the Wiesenthal Center will release its 2010 Annual Report on the Worldwide Investigation and Prosecution of Nazi War Criminals.

Flotilla "Activists" hold Israeli marines hostage

From Reuters, 03 Jun 2010, by Yara Bayoumy:

* Soldiers freed after Israel agreed to airlift wounded

* Lebanese account echoes testimony from both sides

BEIRUT, June 3 (Reuters) - Activists on a Gaza-bound Turkish ship seized four Israeli marines before other commandos stormed aboard using live ammunition, a Lebanese cameraman said in an account on Thursday that echoed elements of Israeli testimony.

There were sharp differences in the versions of Monday's events at sea on the cruise liner Mavi Marmara. Witnesses freed after three days incommunicado in Israel accused troops of war crimes; Israel held to its line that they fired in self-defence.

But the account from Andre Abu Khalil, a cameraman for Al Jazeera TV, echoed other testimony, from both sides, that after an initial landing by a small group of commandos armed with anti-riot weapons was overpowered by activists wielding sticks, a second wave of marines stormed in, killing those in their way.

Israeli troops insist they killed 9 men only after being fired on by two activists who seized pistols from marines; many of those aboard the ship say they saw no activists shooting.

Abu Khalil told Reuters by telephone from the southern Lebanese village of Marjayoun: "There were four Israeli soldiers brought to the lowest deck. They had fracture wounds."

The soldiers were apparently captured during attempts to descend to the ship from helicopters, Abu Khalil heard from activists who had been on the top deck of the Mavi Marmara.

On Monday, an Israeli commando said he was struck with metal bars on the ship, while others in the boarding party were held down and stripped of their helmets and equipment.


Abu Khalil went on: "Twenty Turkish men formed a human shield to prevent the Israeli soldiers from scaling the ship. They had slingshots, water pipes and sticks."

"They were banging the pipes on the side of the ship to warn the Israelis not to get closer."

The standoff lasted about 10 minutes until the Israelis opened fire, he said: "One man got a direct hit to the head and another one was shot in the neck."

Abu Khalil said he saw some 40 wounded people, some with bullet wounds to the legs, apparently to disable them. Others had wounds to the eye, stomach and chest.

One activist used a loudhailer to tell the Israelis the four captive soldiers were well and would be released if they provided medical help for the wounded.

With an Israeli Arab lawmaker acting as mediator, the Israelis agreed to the request and the wounded were brought to the top deck where they were airlifted off the ship.

Abu Khalil said: "I'm happy and angry at the same time ... The most we had was a kitchen knife and sling shots." (Additional reporting by Alastair Macdonald in Jerusalem)

Krauthammer: Those troublesome Jews

From The Washington Post, Friday, June 4, 2010, by Charles Krauthammer:

The world is outraged at Israel's blockade of Gaza. Turkey denounces its illegality, inhumanity, barbarity, etc. The usual U.N. suspects, Third World and European, join in. The Obama administration dithers.

But as Leslie Gelb, former president of the Council on Foreign Relations, writes, the blockade is not just perfectly rational, it is perfectly legal. Gaza under Hamas is a self-declared enemy of Israel -- a declaration backed up by more than 4,000 rockets fired at Israeli civilian territory. Yet having pledged itself to unceasing belligerency, Hamas claims victimhood when Israel imposes a blockade to prevent Hamas from arming itself with still more rockets.

In World War II, with full international legality, the United States blockaded Germany and Japan. And during the October 1962 missile crisis, we blockaded ("quarantined") Cuba. Arms-bearing Russian ships headed to Cuba turned back because the Soviets knew that the U.S. Navy would either board them or sink them. Yet Israel is accused of international criminality for doing precisely what John Kennedy did: impose a naval blockade to prevent a hostile state from acquiring lethal weaponry.

Oh, but weren't the Gaza-bound ships on a mission of humanitarian relief? No. Otherwise they would have accepted Israel's offer to bring their supplies to an Israeli port, be inspected for military materiel and have the rest trucked by Israel into Gaza -- as every week 10,000 tons of food, medicine and other humanitarian supplies are sent by Israel to Gaza.

Why was the offer refused? Because, as organizer Greta Berlin admitted, the flotilla was not about humanitarian relief but about breaking the blockade, i.e., ending Israel's inspection regime, which would mean unlimited shipping into Gaza and thus the unlimited arming of Hamas.

Israel has already twice intercepted ships laden with Iranian arms destined for Hezbollah and Gaza. What country would allow that?

But even more important, why did Israel even have to resort to blockade? Because, blockade is Israel's fallback as the world systematically de-legitimizes its traditional ways of defending itself -- forward and active defense.

(1) Forward defense: As a small, densely populated country surrounded by hostile states, Israel had, for its first half-century, adopted forward defense -- fighting wars on enemy territory (such as the Sinai and Golan Heights) rather than its own.

Where possible (Sinai, for example) Israel has traded territory for peace. But where peace offers were refused, Israel retained the territory as a protective buffer zone. Thus Israel retained a small strip of southern Lebanon to protect the villages of northern Israel. And it took many losses in Gaza, rather than expose Israeli border towns to Palestinian terror attacks. It is for the same reason America wages a grinding war in Afghanistan: You fight them there, so you don't have to fight them here.

But under overwhelming outside pressure, Israel gave it up. The Israelis were told the occupations were not just illegal but at the root of the anti-Israel insurgencies -- and therefore withdrawal, by removing the cause, would bring peace.

Land for peace. Remember? Well, during the past decade, Israel gave the land -- evacuating South Lebanon in 2000 and Gaza in 2005. What did it get? An intensification of belligerency, heavy militarization of the enemy side, multiple kidnappings, cross-border attacks and, from Gaza, years of unrelenting rocket attack.

(2) Active defense: Israel then had to switch to active defense -- military action to disrupt, dismantle and defeat (to borrow President Obama's description of our campaign against the Taliban and al-Qaeda) the newly armed terrorist mini-states established in southern Lebanon and Gaza after Israel withdrew.

The result? The Lebanon war of 2006 and Gaza operation of 2008-09. They were met with yet another avalanche of opprobrium and calumny by the same international community that had demanded the land-for-peace Israeli withdrawals in the first place. Worse, the U.N. Goldstone report, which essentially criminalized Israel's defensive operation in Gaza while whitewashing the casus belli -- the preceding and unprovoked Hamas rocket war -- effectively de-legitimized any active Israeli defense against its self-declared terror enemies.

(3) Passive defense: Without forward or active defense, Israel is left with but the most passive and benign of all defenses -- a blockade to simply prevent enemy rearmament. [...and a security fence in parts of the West Bank - SL] Yet, as we speak, this too is headed for international de-legitimation. Even the United States is now moving toward having it abolished.

But, if none of these is permissible, what's left?

Ah, but that's the point. It's the point understood by the blockade-busting flotilla of useful idiots and terror sympathizers, by the Turkish front organization that funded it, by the automatic anti-Israel Third World chorus at the United Nations, and by the supine Europeans who've had quite enough of the Jewish problem.

What's left? Nothing. The whole point of this relentless international campaign is to deprive Israel of any legitimate form of self-defense. Why, just last week, the Obama administration joined the jackals, and reversed four decades of U.S. practice, by signing onto a consensus document that singles out Israel's possession of nuclear weapons -- thus de-legitimizing Israel's very last line of defense: deterrence.

The world is tired of these troublesome Jews, 6 million -- that number again -- hard by the Mediterranean, refusing every invitation to national suicide. For which they are relentlessly demonized, ghettoized and constrained from defending themselves, even as the more committed anti-Zionists -- Iranian in particular -- openly prepare a more final solution.