Friday, May 30, 2008

Freeing Terrorists Doesn't Help

Time and time again, Israel releases Arab terrorists, only to have them come back and kill more innocent Jews.

Israel must get Gilad, Ehud and Eldad freed, but submitting to blackmail will only result in more kidnappings and murders.

The following is from YNet News.

Kuntar vows to return to Jihad

Roni Shaked

Lebanese terrorist Samir Kuntar, whom Israel has agreed to free as part of a possible prisoner swap deal with Hizbullah, has vowed to continue engaging in terror after his release.

Kuntar, who was jailed in the Hadarim Prison in the Sharon region 29 years ago, after murdering the Haran family members and two police officers during a terror attack on the northern city of Nahariya, made the promise in a letter to Hizbullah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah.

The letter was first published in the Palestinian Authority's official daily newspaper al-Hayat al-Jadida and was revealed by the Palestinian Media Watch.

"My dear and respectable master and commander," Kuntar wrote in the letter to Nasrallah. "Peace be with you and with our shahids (martyrs).

"I give you my promise and oath that my only place will be in the fighting front soaked with the sweat of your giving and with the blood of the shahids, the dearest people, and that I will continue your way until we reach a full victory. I send my best wishes and promise of renewed loyalty to you, sir, and to all the Jihad fighters."

Meanwhile Thursday, Kuntar said that Israel and Hizbullah were on the verge of signing an agreement to exchange prisoners that Hizbullah has preconditioned on his release.

Kuntar's statements were made through his attorney, Yaman Zidan, in an interview with the United Arab Emirates-based al-Halij daily. Kuntar said he had the utmost confidence that Nasrallah would invest every effort in securing the release of as many prisoners as possible from Israeli jails.

Zidan added that after Kuntar is set free, "vital information that has never been disclosed will be released." The attorney provided no further details.

Four additional Hizbullah terrorists, who were taken prisoners during the Second Lebanon War, are jailed in Israel and may be released as part of a prisoner swap deal.

Another prisoner, Israeli citizen Nissim Nasser, who immigrated to the Jewish state from Lebanon and was convicted of delivering information to Hizbullah, is expected to be returned to Lebanon on Sunday.

Nasser finished serving his jail sentence last month and has been held in prison since then as a bargaining chip. The State decided to deport him with the help of the Red Cross and the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon after his lawyer, Attorney Smadar Ben-Natan, threatened to petition the High Court of Justice.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Support for Israel

Published as a letter to the editor May 16, 2008 in The Stamford Advocate and The Greenwich Time

Support for Israel

The arguments of Steven Walt, detailed in the article "Lecture tackles U.S.-Israel relations" (Greenwich Time news story, May 15), the letter from congressional candidate Lee Whitnum (The Advocate, May 11) and the column by William Collins (Advocate Norwalk edition, May 11) all promote the conspiracy theory that Jews stifle dissent and compel our nation's leaders to violate their oaths of office by putting the interests of Israel above our own.

Their conspiracy theory is patently absurd. Indeed, were their arguments valid, we wouldn't have even heard them; they would have been stifled, with neither Walt and co-author John J. Mearsheimer nor Jimmy Carter having been able to publish their best-selling books and go on their lucrative speaking tours.

Conspiracy theory aside, Walt's assertion "If the lobby were less influential, we would have been much less likely to have invaded Iran" is the opposite of the truth.

From the beginning of the war in Iraq, the Jewish community was far less supportive than the rest of the country, and Jews have been disproportionately involved in the anti-war movement. We also now know that Ariel Sharon, the Israeli prime minister at the time, was cautioning President Bush not to get bogged down with Iraq.

Ergo, Walt's assertion would have been true if he had changed one word to instead say, "If the lobby were more influential, we would have been much less likely to have invaded Iraq."

Certainly supporters of the only true democracy in the Middle East and our only reliable ally in that region try to strengthen the strong bond between America and Israel; that's the American way. However, it is not their lobbying but our shared values and the basic fact that our relationship with Israel is in America's best interests that keeps that friendship strong.

Fortunately, most Americans do know that.

Alan H. Stein

The writer is president of Promoting Responsibility in Middle East Reporting - Connecticut.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

A Land Without a People for a People Without a Land

Found on the History News Network.

A Land Without a People for a People Without a Land

By Diana Muir
Ms. Muir's article, "A Land Without a People for a People Without a Land," appears in the spring 2008 issue of the Middle East Quarterly. She is writing a book on nations and nationhood.

According to the late Edward Said the phrase the "A land without people for a people without a land,' was coined by a Zionist named Israel Zangwill for the purpose of making the false claim that Palestine was empty. Other scholars, most notably Rashid Khalidi of Columbia University in his book "Palestinian Identity," have explained that the phrase became a widely-propagated Zionist slogan summing up the assertion that Palestine was empty.

It ain't necessarily so.

The phrase "A land without a people for a people without a land," was not coined by a Jew, was never widely propagated by Zionists, and was not intended by the Victorian-era Christians who did use it to imply that Palestine was empty. It meant, quite specifically, that in the nineteenth century there was no self-identified Palestinian people in the land that would become Israel.

Edward Said even cited the phrase incorrectly, omitting the definite article to turn, "A land without a people," into "A land without people," and more effectively charge Zionists with falsely claiming that the land was empty.

But if Israel Zangwill didn't coin this familiar phrase, who did?

A Scots Presbyterian in a frock coat, the Rev. Dr. Alexander Keith, who was sent to the Holy Land by the Church of Scotland on an 1839 fact-finding mission. His task: to determine whether the land was ready for the Jews to return (he thought that it was.) Keith published a book describing his trip and urging Christians to help the Jews, "a people without a country," return to Israel, "a country without a people."

An unsigned review of Keith's book immediately put the phrase into the familiar "land without a people" wording.

Keith and the other Christians who used the phrase perceived the Holy Land as being the homeland of the Jews in the way that Greece was the homeland of the Greeks, and Scotland was the land of the Scots. They did not perceive the Arabs who lived in Palestinian as having a separate Palestinian ethnic or national identity, rather, they saw them as part of a larger Arab people. In this they were correct. The idea of a Palestinian people would not be proposed by Arab intellectuals until the twentieth century.

Rev. Keith urged Britain to "give Judea to the Jews" just as "Greece was given to the Greeks" in 1829. Greek independence was a wildly popular cause, idealistic young men sailed to Greece to join the fight. But even with Lord Byron and other romantic European volunteers shouldering rifles, the Greek rebellion would certainly have been put down by the Ottomans if Britain had not also sent the Navy, which secured Greek independence by defeating the combined Ottoman and Egyptian navies at the battle of Navarino. To many European and American Christians, the idea of creating a Jewish State seemed just as compelling as Byron's dream that Greece might yet be free.

Keith's political proposal failed to come to immediate fruition, but his slogan lived on, used by a fair number of Victorian-era Christians interested, like Keith, both in fulfillment of the Biblical prophecy of the return of the Jews to Israel and in relieving the oppression Jews suffered in Eastern Europe and in Ottoman lands.

Zionism, meanwhile, suffered no shortage of widely-propagated slogans. Read enough early Zionist literature and you may begin to suspect that there were once more Zionist slogans than there were Zionists. "Land without a people...," however, was not a Zionist slogan.

Many of the most popular Zionist slogans used the phrases Jewish homeland or Jewish national home. The Zionist argument, after all, is not that Palestine was empty, but that Arabs, who have many holy cities and many homelands, have a lesser moral claim to Israel than the Jewish people, which has only this one national home.

We are left with a puzzle, how did the world persuade itself that a phrase once used by nineteenth-century Christians, was, as Professor Khalidi writes, "a widely-propagated Zionist slogan."

The answer is that shortly after its founding in 1964, the PLO revived the old Christian slogan for the purpose of accusing Jews of falsely describing Palestine as empty. It is often quoted with the misleading wording employed by Edward Said "a land without people." Thousands of books and articles have used the phrase in this way, many describing it at the most popular of all Zionist slogans. The truth is that it was only as a modern, anti-Israel propaganda tool that the phrase "A land without a people for a people without a land" ever became a "widely-propagated" slogan.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Comment & Analysis: Palestinian Suffering Dampens Israel Celebration

The Hartford Courant published a highly biased and misleading commentary, entitled "Palestinian Suffering Dampens Israel Celebration," on Friday, May 16. The following "Comment & Analysis" quotes comments from the op-ed and then analyzes them.

The full text of the op-ed is on The Hartford Courant web site and may be viewed by clicking here.

Action to take: Write to The Courant at and send a copy to Bessy Reyna at

More action to take: Go to the article and leave your feedback.

Comment: Palestinian Suffering Dampens Israel Celebration

Analysis: Even the headline is misleading, having nothing to do with the commentary.

Comment: Israel was built over the debris of 400 destroyed villages and the sorrows of 750,000 people.

Analysis: This misleading assertion was printed prominently underneath the headline.

When six Arab armies invaded Israel upon that nation's declaration of independence, hundreds of thousand of Arabs abandoned their homes. As the Arab states refused to make peace, it became clear those who had left, whether to assist in the war against Israel or simply because of the violence in that war, were not coming back. The villages they abandoned joined thousands of other villages that had been abandoned over thousands of years in Israel.

Comment: Early this month, I attended a panel dealing with the Israeli occupation of Palestine. It was organized by the group "We Refuse To Be Enemies," composed of Jews, Muslims and Christians. This group's main goal is the promotion of a peaceful and just resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Analysis: Israel-haters are very inventive when it comes to making up misleading names. They would more appropriately call themselves "We Insist on Being Enemies."

After sixty years, it is impossible to undo the injustices of the Arab war against Israel.

Comment: In light of Israel's 60th anniversary, and the lack of progress in resolving the conflict, this is an ever more urgent issue.

Analysis: Unfortunately, until the Arabs reconcile themselves to living peacefully with Israel, real progress remains impossible.

Comment: Among the speakers at this meeting at the Hartford Seminary was Susanne Hoder, founder of the Interfaith Peace Initiative and member of the United Methodist New England Annual (regional) Conference Task Force on Selective Divestment. Hoder, who has traveled to the Middle East several times, is involved with a group of church members who are seeking divestment of their pension benefits and other funds from companies that provide products or services aiding Israel in the occupation of Palestinian lands.

Analysis: In other words, Hoder is a founder of a group interested in harming Israel, not in bringing about reconciliation and peace.

The so-called "occupation" effectively ended over a decade ago, when the Palestinian Authority took over administration of the territory in which approximately ninety-five percent of the Arabs reside.

The disposition of the disputed territory awaits the willingness of the Arabs to compromise. Until their status is determined, it is incorrect to refer to any of the disputed territory as "Palestinian lands."

Comment: Many of those companies are doing business in illegal settlements, while others are supplying military and other technologies in support of the occupation.

Analysis: Some "settlements" are illegal simply because they have not been authorized by the Israeli government; in other words, whether a given development is legal or not is essentially an internal Israeli affair.

Re the reference to "occupation," see above.

Comment: At the seminary, I bought a copy of the book "Witness in Palestine: A Jewish American Woman in the Occupied Territories" by Anna Baltzer, a Columbia graduate and Fulbright scholar who is the granddaughter of survivors of the Holocaust.

Analysis: Being the granddaughter of survivors does not excuse her.

Comment: Baltzer, a volunteer with the international group Women's Peace Service, has been visiting the West Bank since 2003. She documents the lives of Palestinians under the occupation: arbitrary seizure of land, destruction of farms, denial of emergency medical assistance, hours waiting at checkpoints.

Analysis: Re "occupation," see above.

Were it not for Arab terrorism, there would be no checkpoints.

Israel provides a substantial amount of medical assistance to Palestinian Arabs, even from Gaza/Hamastan. Arab terrorists have taken advantage of the willingness of Israel to help by using ambulances to transfer both terrorists and weapons, and have even used people getting medical treatment in Israel to perpetrate terrorist attacks on the very people trying to save their lives.

Comment: Her book is an indictment of the conditions under which Palestinians are forced to live, particularly those in the areas divided by the "security wall."

Analysis: The conditions under which the Palestinian Arabs live are a result of their rejection of peace and continued love affair with terrorism.

Comment: The wall continues to be erected by Israel despite condemnation by the World Court in The Hague in 2004.

Analysis: The use of the term "wall" is inaccurate and misleading. Roughly ninety to ninety-five percent of the barrier is simply fencing material.

The barrier is being constructed reluctantly by the Israeli government for just one purpose: to save lives. It was made necessary by Arab terrorism and can be dismantled if the Arabs abandon terrorism.

Comment: In the U.S., we tend to have a one-sided view of what is happening in that region.

Analysis: The writer certainly has a one-sided view of what is happening in that region.

Comment: However, many of us have been attempting to understand the differences that have kept Israelis and Palestinians apart, and also to find the commonalities between them. We feel that Israel's anniversary should be a time of celebration tempered by reflection.

Analysis: And it is, as Israel's quest for peace continues to be stymied by the Arab drive to destroy it.

Comment: A letter published in The Guardian newspaper in England on April 30, signed by 100 British Jews, including Nobel Prize winner Harold Pinter, expressed why they could not unconditionally celebrate the anniversary.

"We cannot celebrate the birthday of a state founded on terrorism, massacres and the dispossession of another people from their land.

Analysis: The false implication is that Israel was founded on such actions. It wasn't. Indeed, it's a typical example of Israel-bashers accusing Israel of sins of its enemies.

Comment: We cannot celebrate the birthday of a state that even now engages in ethnic cleansing, that violates international law, that is inflicting a monstrous collective punishment on the civilian population of Gaza and that continues to deny to Palestinians their human rights and national aspirations."

Analysis: The Arab war against Israel is effectively an attempt at ethnic cleansing. A prime demand of the Palestinian Arabs is that the currently disputed territories be ethnically cleansed of all Jews.

Gaza is under the administration of Hamas; Israel left three years ago and is in no position to inflict "collective punishment."

It is the Arabs themselves who continue to deny the Palestinian Arabs their alleged "national aspirations."

Comment: Israel was built over the debris of 400 destroyed villages and the sorrows of 750,000 people, both Christians and Muslims, expelled from their land.

Analysis: The overwhelming majority of Arabs who left did so because of the violence of the war they started, often at the behest of their brethren, and were not expelled by Israel. Had the Arabs accepted the United Nations Partition Plan and not started a war of annihilation against Israel, not a single Arab would have lost his home and not a single village would have been abandoned.

Comment: How much longer will the U.S. government unconditionally support and celebrate the accomplishments of Israel without confronting the horrible conditions imposed on people who have become pariahs in their own land?

Analysis: American support for Israel has been far from unconditional. Indeed, the American government has continually exerted far more pressure on Israel than it has on the Palestinian Arabs.

Comment: The British letter stated: "We will celebrate when Arab and Jew live as equals in a peaceful Middle East." So should we.

Analysis: Israel is the only place in the Middle East where Arab and Jew live as equals. By the writers' own standards, they should be celebrating Israel's anniversary while condemning every single Arab country as well as the Palestinian Authority.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Connecticut Jewish Ledger Editorial: Israel at 60 and the Hartford Courant

This may be viewed directly at

The Hartford Courant, “the country's oldest newspaper in continuous publication,” has always been consistent in its bias against Israel and on the occasion of Israel's 60th anniversary it displayed that consistency again with a front page article that echoed its longstanding editorial policy of antipathy towards the continued existence of the Jewish State. Like all media, the Courant doesn't have to repeat its own point of view. All it needs to do is find others to express it for her. That's exactly what the Courant did last Sunday in a front page piece that had little good to say about Israel.

While the Jewish Community in Hartford and around the world joyfully celebrates the astonishing feat of Israel's survival, the Courant gives voice to an individual who's agenda is not about the miraculous existence of the Jewish state, but focuses instead on the satisfaction of Palestinian grievance which can only be granted at the expense of Israeli sovereignty. As a result, the Courant chose to ignore the reality Israel and its Israeli-Arab citizens, a healthy minority that at 1.3 million comprises over 20% of its population. The essence of Israel's survival is not found by focusing only on her problems. Every nation has them. It is far more revealing to see how Israel has grappled with the difficulties presented to her over the last 60 years and what the outcomes have been than to try and change the very nature of the country that has brought so much freedom to that part of the world.

In the early 1920's Lawrence of Arabia observed that the new population of Jews into the Ottoman territories that came to be known as Palestine carried with it the blessing of modernity, something Arab peoples were sorely in need of, but have not as yet chosen to adopt.  The values and talents those Jews brought to this tiny land translated into an Israel that provides one of the most dynamic economic narratives in the world today. Not only is she a font of scientific discovery and innovation that benefits of all mankind, but she has been able to translate this success for all of her citizens including its significant minority of those of Arab ancestry. By any measure, things like per capita income, literacy, infant mortality, and employment levels, Israel's citizens or far better off than their neighbors. That's why most of the Israel's Arab citizens prefer Israeli sovereignty to the variety of totalitarian-fundamentalist tyrannical regimes that pervade that part of the world. The true tragedy of the region is that less than one percent of the 300 million Muslim Arabs are allowed to avail themselves of the benefits that Western freedom can bring.

In focusing only on negatives, the Courant fails to see Israel's vibrant and tumultuous brand of democracy and the gifts it provides. Israel is one of the few places in the Middle East where Arab citizens can express themselves at the ballot box and sit in a legislative body. By turning to an avowed critic of Israel the Courant completely misses the point that the extension of Western values in a part of the world where women are completely disenfranchised allows Israel's female Arab citizens the right to learn, drive, vote and thrive in an Israeli oasis that is relatively free of stoning, honor killings and punitive rape.

Israel is a nation born of strife and struggle. She has survived 60 years of continuous conflict and aggression against her by belligerent and unrelenting adversaries. And yet, a nation under constant duress has managed to extend the full rights of citizenship to all who live within her borders. But this historical context is not the narrative the Courant chooses to focus on. When it comes to Israel the Hartford Courant has shown time and again that as an institution it is wedded to the world view that Israel ought not to have been created, should not have been allowed to exist and has little right to defend itself from the existential threats that she faces today and in the future. The Courant is certainly consistent. And wrong.

Between the Lines: Arab Self-Hatred

This transcript of a meeting between George Bush and Shimon Peres is mostly pablum, but the following remarks by Shimon Peres are worth pondering.
We are not their enemies, as we are not enemies of Lebanon. On the contrary, I think we would like to see a united, integrated Lebanon, living in peace, who don't have any ambitions neither to their water, nor to their land, nor to their politics. We would like to see the Palestinians living together with such (inaudible) of their life, the separation is a tragedy for them and for the rest of us.

Now the Arab world will have to take a stand, not about the conflict between us and them, but about their own destiny, where are they moving. And that will affect us.
For sixty years, the Arabs have been pathologically acting to hurt themselves.

They had nothing to lose and everything to gain by accepting the reestablishment of Israel, but instead launched and to this day continue a genocidal war that harms them far more than their intended victim.

When children deliberately do physical harm to themselves, it's recognized as a symptom of a psychological problem and they're given treatment.

The Arab world had deliberately been doing physical harm to itself for six decades; it, too, needs treatment.

We give just three examples, out of many.

The Arabs have forced the Palestinian Arabs to live in refugee camps for sixty years, even protesting when Israel tried to move some refugees and their descendants into decent housing in normal communities, forcing those plans to be abandoned. Indeed, the only ones who have ever done anything to improve the lives of Palestinian Arabs have been the Israelis, under whose administration colleges and universities were opened, hospitals built, and the standard of living improved enormously until the intifada in the late 1980's. And, of course, conditions have deteriorated tremendously under the administration of the Palestinian Authority.

The Muslim Brotherhood is the greatest threat to the stability of Egypt. By allowing - in fact, effectively facilitating - the buildup of Hamas, the Gaza branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt is acting in a self-destructive manner and undermining the prospects for its own continued existence. Not only has Egypt facilitated the expansion of its own worst enemy, but it has protested ever action Israel has ever taken to contain Hamas even though those actions were as much in Egypt's basic interest as in Israel's.

The Lebanese government allowed the buildup of a terror army, Hezbollah, ostensibly to be used against Israel's occupation of portions of southern Lebanon. Ignoring the hypocrisy of simultaneously acquiescing in the occupation of virtually all of Lebanon by Syria, this was done after Israel and Lebanon had agreed to a peace treaty under which Israel would have withdrawn, but which treaty was rejected by Lebanon, and even after Israel had totally withdrawn from Lebanon and Hezbollah had no pretext for continuing to exist. It would have been in Lebanon's best interest to cooperate with Israel in eradicating Hezbollah. Instead, Lebanon has today been effectively taken over by Hezbollah.

For the Palestinian Arabs, Egyptians and Lebanese, it's not just that Israel wants to be a friend; it's that, in deed, Israel is about the only friend they have.

For Immediate Release
Office of the White House Press Secretary
May 14, 2008

President Bush Meets with Israeli President Peres
Residence of President Shimon Peres Jerusalem

PRESIDENT PERES: Mr. President, Secretary of State, distinguished delegation, I got permission from the Americans to be -- and Tzipi Livni, our Foreign Minister. I got permission to be all my life an optimist. And you bring with you optimism, so I feel a sort of competition. (Laughter.) But let me say that I know you have elections sometimes, by the end of this year, and maybe there will be a change of administration, a change of guards, I think before you will leave office you will see a change of guards here in the Middle East.

What looks today so gloomy may be the last effort by some very extremist group to remain alive, because it's concentrated, it becomes sharp and clear, particularly in two places. In Lebanon, Hezbollah is simply destroying Lebanon. It's a matter that concerns not only the United States or Israel, it concerns the Arab world. For them, the destruction of Lebanon is the destruction of statehood in many other places. And it's a protest without a message. And the second goes to Gaza, where Hamas is responding to the establishment of a Palestinian state. I think you, and may I say the Secretary of State, invested so much effort to enable the Palestinians to correct the historic mistakes from 1947, because would they then accept an Arab state, we wouldn't have all these troubles. But never the mind, we cannot change the past.

But today the real obstacle, when I consider everything else before creation of the -- the (inaudible) declaration of a Palestinian state is Hamas. And talking with the Palestinians I know that's their view. We are not their enemies, as we are not enemies of Lebanon. On the contrary, I think we would like to see a united, integrated Lebanon, living in peace, who don't have any ambitions neither to their water, nor to their land, nor to their politics. We would like to see the Palestinians living together with such (inaudible) of their life, the separation is a tragedy for them and for the rest of us.

Now the Arab world will have to take a stand, not about the conflict between us and them, but about their own destiny, where are they moving. And that will affect us.

Your eight years were very moving years, for all of us --


PRESIDENT PERES: -- (inaudible), that you can really watch a friendship without any bad mood. And I know that you are not a simple messenger.

(Laughter.) But you never interrupted your understanding, your support --


PRESIDENT PERES: -- and really trying to do whatever you, your administration and the lady who is on the State Department really did then to help us negotiate a difficult time.

So for us, it's a celebration not only because we're a little bit older -- 60 years, it's not too much -- but also because we feel that our efforts are not in vain. And it is in this optimistic view I welcome you here.

PRESIDENT BUSH: Thank you, sir.


PRESIDENT BUSH: Mr. President, it's great to be with you. You're known as a wise soul, and your comments reflect your wisdom. I am delighted to be here for the 60th birthday party. As a person who is 61 years old, it doesn't seem that old. (Laughter.)

But I suspect if you looked back 60 years ago and tried to guess where Israel would be at that time, it would be hard to be able to project such a prosperous, hopeful land. No question people would have said, well, we'd be surrounded by hostile forces -- but I doubt people would have been able to see the modern Israel, which is one reason I bring so much optimism to the Middle East, because what happened here is possible everywhere.

And the objective of the United States must be to, one, support our strongest ally and friend in the Middle East -- the only true democracy against the forces of terror that you just described, and at the same time, talk about a hopeful future.

So I'm really looking forward to my time here. I want to thank you for giving me a chance to speak to the Knesset. I hear it's quite an experience.

It'll be a huge honor to represent my country for your 60th birthday. In the meantime we will continue to work toward a vision of -- where people who are just reasonable and want a chance to live in peace with Israel have that opportunity, and at the same time speak clearly about the forces of terror who murder innocent people to achieve their political objectives, and how the world must stand against them.

And so I want to thank you for giving me a chance to come by and see you again -- and you're looking good. (Laughter.) I hope you're feeling well.

Thank you, sir.

PRESIDENT PERES: Thank you very much.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

JTA Breaking News: Arabs and Iranians would destroy Israel if given the chance

Some still claim Ahmadinejad didn't really say he'd destroy Israel.

Ahmadinejad, of course, is on the extreme. But does anyone believe even Egypt wouldn't attack Israel if Mubarak thought he'd succeed in destroying Israel and would get away with it? Why else is he buying all those advanced and totally unneeded weapons rather than using the same resources to improve the lives of the Egyptians?

From the JTA:

Ahmadinejad: Mideast hates Israel

Arabs and Iranians would destroy Israel if given the chance, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said.

"The Zionist regime is dying. The criminals imagine that by holding celebrations they can save the Zionist regime from death," the Iranian president said in a speech Wednesday as his U.S. counterpart, George W. Bush, arrived in Israel to mark its 60th Independence Day.

"They should know that regional nations hate this fake and criminal regime and if the smallest and briefest chance is given to regional nations they will destroy it."

Bush is expected to reassure Israelis that the United States will stand by them in the face of threats from Iran, whose nuclear program has triggered regional war worries.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Hartford Courant's Curious Judgement

The following was sent to Karen Hunter, the Reader's Representative of The Hartford Courant.

Dear Ms. Hunter:

The Courant editors have exhibited rather interesting judgement in two areas of particular concern to PRIMER-Connectict.

It apparently did not have sufficient room to cover the annual, statewide Holocaust Commemoration.

This event was significant enough for Governor Rell to attend and personally issue a proclamation.

It was significant enough for our state's attorney general, Richard Blumenthal, to stay for its entirety, even standing the whole time when there was no seat for him.

Not only was this an important, annual event commemorating the brutal murder of six million Jews, along with millions of other "undesirables," but it was significant in being the thirtieth year this commemoration has occurred. I believe, additionally, that Connecticut was the first state to hold such a commemoration.

While The Courant did not have any space for the memory of The Six Million, it was able to find a large amount of space for an item it apparently considered far more important: outhouses.

I find that judgement rather curious.

The other judgement I found curious was The Courant's choice of a feature on the sixtieth anniversary of Israel's reestablishment.

Israel has gone through an amazing period in these last sixty years, building a thriving democracy without the benefit of a single day of peace.

It has absorbed millions of refugees, forced out of their homes in Arab lands, in the Former Soviet Union, in Ethiopia and elsewhere.

It is the only country in the history of the world which has welcomed Black Africans to freedom, as brothers, rather than to exploit them.

Israel is one of the world's leaders in technology and innovation.

Israel has an incredibly diverse population, a nation of immigrants who have returned to their homeland.

There are so many amazing aspects of Israel that could have been included in a series of articles, yet The Courant chose to publish a single article whose focus had little to do with the reality of Israel and which also contained numerous distortions, such as the following: "A new intifada, or uprising, by Palestinian youths began after Israeli opposition leader Ariel Sharon visited a Muslim holy site, the Temple Mount."

The Temple Mount is a Jewish holy site, not a Muslim holy site. It contains to mosques holy to Muslims, but they were not visited by Sharon. While the terror uprising did begin after Sharon visited the Temple Mount, it also began after the Palestinian Arabs rejected peace at Camp David. It also began after they carefully planned it. Sharon's visit was simply a pretext, as was admitted by Arab leaders.

I recognize the choice of articles and the content of these articles are matters of judgement, but the judgement exercised was certainly rather curious.


Alan H. Stein
President, PRIMER-Connecticut
Promoting Responsibility in Middle East Reporting

Hartford Courant Rates Outhouses Above Holocaust

This is contributed by June Neal, who was understandably outraged that the Hartford Courant did not have room for any article about the Annual Statewide Holocaust Commemoration in the State Capitol, needing the room for an important story about outhouses, and had a highly inappropriate article as its major feature story, and thus far its only feature story, about Israel's Sixtieth Anniversary.

We add one thing to June's message:

The Hartford Courant's Reader Representative is Karen Hunter. Her email is


Friday morning, May 9, we held the Annual Statewide Holocaust commemoration: Highlights:

  • the 30th anniversary of the State program.
  • students participating in the "Adopt a Survivor" program read portions of their partners' harrowing experiences,escorted them to light the yellow memorial candles, and pledged to tell the survivors' stories for as long as the students lived.
  • the event coincided with Israel's 60th anniversary,
  • for the first time inour State's history, the Israeli flag flew over our state Capitol.
  • The Governer read a Proclamation.

Coverage in the Saturday, May 10,edition? None.

However,in that same edition, the Courant gave its most important space, front page above the fold, usually reserved for major news,to asix-column story--- on outhouses. It included two, 4-column photos plus two smaller ones, an incredible amount of space, again, usually reserved for major events. If you don't have a copy,it is still online.

The next day, Sunday May 11.

The Courant chose toaddress Israel's 60th anniversary, not by the miracle of its birth against all odds, not by the fact it is the only democracy in the Middle East, not by its mind-boggling accomplishments and gifts to the world--but only by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

True, there is a large photo of an Israeli man praying at the Western Wall, perhaps an attempt at "balance." If so, it fails, as it does nothing to counter the huge political holes and one-sided anecdotes in the story and photo cutlines.

  • Note the "Lemon Tree" story of the woman who discovered her house was formerly owned by Palestinians who had been "forcibly evacuated." Context? No mention of the leaders of the Arab states who were about to attack the newborn Jewish state and who told the Palestinians to run, or of Ben-Gurion's urging them to stay.
  • No mention of the tens of thousands of Jews forced out of their homeland Arab states, leaving land, homes and assets behind.
  • The cutline under a photo of a group of Palestiniansangry about Land Day, pointing at an Israeli soldier. "...Israeli government's confiscation of Arab land." Context? Land Day refersto land which Israel took by eminent domain for necessary public projects and for which the Arabs were compensated. No mention of the land taken from the Jews by the Arabs in Gaza.
  • Statement about the Intifada after Ariel Sharon visited a "Muslim holy site, the Temple Mount." Context? No mention that it is a Jewish holy site as well.
  • An Arab League proposal to "recognize Israel if it returns to the borders that existed prior to 1967,"a condition which will leave Israel's borders indefensible, since Hamas, a terrorist group dedicated to the annihilation of Israel, is in control.
  • There is not a word about the truth about the Jewish people's right to the land or how Israel came into being; its 4,000 year presence in the land; the legal purchases of tracts of land by Jews beginning inthe 1800's, way before nationhood; or the Jewish Agency's proposal to share the land with the Arabs, each group having its own state.
  • No word about how Israel came to hold the territories: the multiple attacks by multiple Arab nations that caused Israel to take over the territories to prevent further attacks, or the millions of dollars and food, medical care, water, etc, that Israel provides for the Palestinians, despite their continual rocket attacks on Jewish civilians.

I have no problem with a discussion of both sides of the issue. I have no doubt the interviewee loves Israel. But I strongly object to the article's gaping omissions and the connotation of moral equivalency. The overriding, critical issue was addressed only by Rabbi Stephen Fuchs: Israel's right to exist.

I hope scores of Letters to the Editor letters@courant.comexpress a demand for future balanced, factual, coverage of this topic.

  • Please do not ignore this and assume other people will take care of it. You are the other people.
  • No matter where you live, and even if you don't read the Courant, many others do. It is the largest, most powerful newspaper in the State.
  • If you need help writing a letter, just let me know, or contact Alan Stein, president of PRIMER at
  • In additioin, please send this to your trusted lists, not forwarded from me but your own name, so your friends will know you are concerned.

Letters should be less than 200 words, to the point, and not pejorative or threatening. We want to remind the editors and publisher that a free press isn't a cornerstone of democracy, a responsible free press is.

Please forward to your trusted e-mail lists.

The articles may be viewed at:

Outhouse Story:,0,5078672.story.

Israel at 60 Story:,0,4709654.story.

Thank you,

Free Lebanon

This isn't our typical blog entry, but after hearing how "Free Palestine" (meaning "Destroy Israel") signs were outside the church where the funeral was held for Riad Hamad, an anti-Israel fanatic who took his own life, I thought it made sense to encourage freeing a country that needed to be freed, rather than encouraging the destruction of a country that is currently free.

Wednesday 14th May 2008

12:00pm to 4:00pm
United Nations-Dag Hammarskjold Plaza
47th Street and 1st Avenue
New York, New York

1. To call on the international community to exert pressure on the Iranian and Syrian regimes and thwart Hezbollah's staged coup d'etat against the legitimate government of Lebanon.

2. To call for the full implementation on UN resolution 1559 and UN resolution 1701.

3. To support the legitimate government of Lebanon which was elected according to procedures laid out in the Lebanese constitution.

These are very critical times and our beloved Lebanon needs all our efforts to get through this dangerous phase. Please circulate to your friends and plan to attend.

Please bring Lebanese Flags and protest signs.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Lessons Partially Learned

Aaron Miller was intimately engaged for decades, under numerous presidents, in efforts to further an Arab-Israel peace. Between 2003-6 he served as president of Seeds of Peace, a nonprofit dedicated to empowering young leaders from regions of conflict with the leadership skills required to advance coexistence and reconciliation. (Seeds of Peace had been conceived in the early days of Oslo, but like many other efforts, never succeeded in dealing with the harsh reality of the Arab unwillingness to make peace a priority rather than a price.)

Currently, he is a Public Policy Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C.; his latest book is The Much Too Promised Land: America's Elusive Search for Arab-Israeli Peace (Mar. 2008, Bantam/Dell).

He spoke about America's Elusive Search for Arab-Israeli Peace at the Foreign Policy Research Institute on April 28, 2008 and wrote an essay based on that talk.

In his essay, Miller made a number of observations. Some were wise; others seem not. We include some of each.

The essay may be viewed on the Foreign Policy Research Institute web site.

At the start, Miller observes:

For eight years under Bill Clinton, we stumbled at Arab- Israeli peacemaking; for eight years under President Bush we stumbled at how to make war, at least in this part of the world. What is it about America, the greatest power on earth, that accounts for this situation? Why can't we seem to get it right?

This is an important question, and Miller hints at a reason with the salient observation:

Most of the problems there are not caused by America. And this region is not going to be "fixed" by us.

Indeed, when we meddle, we will almost inevitably make things worse.

Second, we don't read the present correctly. We don't see the world the way it is. We want to see the world the way we want it to be. … I lived with this practical, we can fix anything, split-the- difference worldview for 20 years.

The effect of this is that we propose a solution that splits the difference between the extreme Arab demands and the reasonable Israeli position. The Arabs totally reject that solution, which is already heavily biased in their favor, while the Israelis, eager for peace, accept all or most of it.

We misinterpret this as progress, since the stated difference between the parties has been cut in half, ignoring the fact that all the compromising has been done by the Israelis. We then repeat the process.

During the Oslo Experiment, the effect was the at Camp David, Israel had moved ninety-five percent of the way towards the Arab demands, while the Arabs didn't budge an inch.

No matter how much America wants Arab-Israeli peace, unless the raw material is there, the political will and the urgency among the Arabs and Israelis, we can try all day long without success. Every breakthrough that has occurred in this conflict--Egypt-Israel, Jordan-Israel, Palestinians-Israel, came as a consequence of secret diplomacy about which the Americans were informed afterwards. That is very instructive.

This is perhaps the most useful observation made by Miller. We cannot force the Arabs to make peace. Indeed, our efforts are generally counterproductive, usually just rewarding Arab intransigence.

You need a brickmaker. Every successful negotiation that has endured involved an American role at some point.

This is where Miller goes off track. Indeed, the involvement of Jimmy Carter in the negotiations between Menahem Begin and Anwar Sadat was extremely counterproductive, encouraging intransigence on the part of Sadat, delaying agreement and leading to the coldness of the peace that followed.

When we maintain the special relationship, which I think is in American interests, and not allow it to become exclusive, it actually can serve our interests. This is both because it is in our interests to support like-minded societies and because our special ties with Israel give us a primary role and ability to help resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict.

The problem is that we have used that relationship in an unbalanced fashion, pressuring Israel to make concessions without exerting any effective pressure on its Arab enemies.

Sixth, regarding George W. Bush. Governing is about choosing. You come to Washington, you decide what's important to you, you pursue it. Arab-Israeli peace wasn't important to Bush throughout the first administration; he had another agenda.

Which is why he didn't muck up the works as much as other presidents, except for when he did get involved. We cite two such instances: Reversing American policy by coming out in favor of another Palestinian Arab state and proposing a road map which gave equal weight to Arab terrorism and the existence of Jewish communities in the disputed portions of Eretz Yisrael.

Both fed Arab intransigence and set back prospects for peace. The first also undermined the "War on Terror" by rewarding the Palestinian Arabs for the terror offensive they launched after rejecting peace in 2000.

Finally, to end on an optimistic note, John F. Kennedy said something very important. He described himself as an idealist without illusion. That's what America needs to be.

How true.

America needs to stop deluding itself that Israel's Arab enemies are interested in living together in peace when the unfortunate truth is peace remains a price they are unwilling to pay unless the alternatives are unpalatable. And, unfortunately for us, forcing their own people to live in misery remains less unpalatable to them than peace.

PA Upset Israel Won't Violate Prior Agreements and Resolutions

Each of the armistice agreements signed in 1949 specified the armistice lines were not to be treated as as borders and were not to prejudice future negotiations.

United Nations Security Council Resolution 242, adopted after the Arab states failed in their 1967 attempt to destroy Israel, called for an agreement on secure and recognized borders, further disqualifying the temporary armistice lines from consideration.

The Palestinian Authority continues its intransigent insistence that both the armistice agreement and 242 be violated.

The following is from The Jerusalem Post.

Israel offering us nothing more than mini-state of cantons

Khaled Abu Toameh

Palestinian Authority officials said Monday that Israel was offering the Palestinians nothing more than a "mini-state of cantons" in parts of the West Bank.

The officials told The Jerusalem Post that Israel's proposals were "completely unacceptable" and "provocative." They also claimed that the US Administration was supporting the Israeli position.

"Today, it's clear to us that Israel has no intention of withdrawing from all the territories that were occupied in 1967," said one official.

[As explained above, doing so would violate both the armistice agreements and 242.]

"If the Israelis and Americans think that they will ever find a Palestinian leader who would accept less than the 1967 borders, they are living under an illusion."

[It will obviously still be a long time before the Palestinian Arabs are prepared for any reasonable compromise.]

Another top PA official said that maps presented by the Israeli government to the Palestinians in the past few weeks showed that Israel is planning to retain control over nearly half of the West Bank and large parts of eastern Jerusalem.

[Jerusalem is Israel's capital and will remain so, but Israel has made it clear it is prepared to give away most of Judea and Samaria.]

The Israeli maps, he said, "turn the Palestinian communities in the West Bank into cantons surrounded by Israeli military bases and large settlement blocs." The official added: "We have made it clear to both the Israelis and Americans that they should throw away these maps. No Palestinian will ever agree to the presence of settlements or Israeli soldiers in the West Bank. This is in violation of [US President George W.] Bush's vision of two states living next to each other in peace."

[That's a rather strange interpretation.]

The officials said they were unaware of dramatic changes in Israel's position regarding final status issues, adding that it was "premature" to talk about progress in the negotiations between the two parties.

They said they were surprised to hear reports in the Israeli media about certain progress that was ostensibly achieved during Monday's summit between Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

"Apparently Olmert's office is spreading these rumors to divert attention from the problems he's facing at home," the officials said, referring to the latest police investigation against Olmert.

"The Israeli government is not serious about the peace talks," said Yasser Abed Rabbo, a senior PLO official closely associated with Abbas. "We don't believe that we can reach an agreement [with Israel] before the end of this year."

[Obviously, it will be impossible to reach an agreement before the Palestinian Arabs are ready to negotiate.]

Abed Rabbo accused Israel of "deceiving" the Palestinians by continuing to build settlements while talking about the need to reach a peace deal.

[There have been no new Jewish communities constructed, and precious little building in existing communities.]

"Israel does not want to change its policy," he added. "Israel wants to continue settlement expansion and the construction of the separation wall." Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat described the talks between Abbas and Olmert as "serious and thorough."

Erekat said Monday's talks focused on the final status issues. He said Abbas demanded an end to construction in the West Bank settlements and the reopening of closed PLO institutions in Jerusalem.

[Is Abbas prepared to reciprocate by ending Arab construction in the disputed territories?]

He said Abbas also demanded the release of Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails, especially those who have been in prison for more than 20 years, as well as women, minors and political leaders such as Marwan Barghouti.

[Abbas is very good at making outrageous demands.]

According to Erekat, Israel has agreed to grant residency status to 10,000 Palestinians who entered the West Bank and Gaza Strip over the past decade.

[Negotiations have to be a two-way street. Until the Palestinian Arabs are prepared to give as well as take and tone down their absurd demands, there's no chance of any agreement.

Of course, unless they also change their ways and adhere to future agreements, negotiations are pointless anyway.]

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Ten Distortions About the So-Called "Nakba"

These ten distortions appeared on the website of The Institute For Middle East Understanding.

The last word in its name should be prefixed with "mis."

Their page contains a photo with the caption "Palestinian women walk through the Nahr el-Bared refugee camp in Lebanon in 1951." The article contains no explanation of why the Arabs have forced these people, and their descendants, to live in refugee camps for sixty years rather than absorbing them into their new homelands and allowing them to live normal lives.

Ten "facts" about the Nakba

IMEU, May 1, 2008

1. The Nakba is a root cause of the Israeli/Palestinian problem.

[The "Nakba" was one of the results of the Arab invation of Israel on the day that democracy was established. In other words, it is the Arab-Israeli conflict, of which the more recent conflict between the Palestinian Arabs and the Israelis is a part, which was the root cause of the "Nakba," not the other way around.]

It is marked on May 15, the day after Israel declared its independence in 1948.

2. This traumatic event created the Palestinian refugee crisis.

[The Arab invasion created two refugee crises. The Arabs perpetuated the suffering of their refugees in order to use those refugees as fodder in their war to destroy Israel; the Israelis treated their refugees like people, absorbing them and helping them rebuild their lives.]

By the end of 1948, two-thirds of the Palestinian population was exiled. It is estimated that more than 50% were driven out under direct military assault. Others fled as news spread of massacres committed by Jewish militias in Palestinian villages like Deir Yassin and Tantura.

[The vast majority simply left because of the violence and chaos created by the Arab invasion and war, many at the behest of their own brethren.]

3. Jewish leaders saw "transfer" as an important step in the establishment of Israel.

Jewish leaders spoke openly of the need to use military clashes to expel as many Palestinians as possible before other Arab countries could come to their defense. The Haganah militia's Plan Dalet was the blueprint for this ethnic cleansing. Israel's first Prime Minister, David Ben Gurion, said "We must use terror, assassination, intimidation, land confiscation, and the cutting of all social services to rid the Galilee of its Arab population." (See what other leading Israelis have said about transfer.)

[Were it not for the war started by the Arabs, there would not have been a single Arab refugee.

Plan Dalet involved measures necessary for defending against the Arab invaders; it had nothing to do with ethnic cleansing.

The ceasefire left hundreds of thousands of Arabs in Israel, where they were given citizenship; it left no Jews in the areas of Palestine conquered by the Arabs.]

4. Hundreds of Palestinian villages and towns were destroyed.

Jewish forces depopulated more than 450 Palestinian towns and villages, most of which were demolished.

[When Arabs left and it became clear there was not going to be peace and they weren't going to be returning, there was no point in wasting the abandoned areas.]

5. Palestinian property and belongings were simply taken.

The newly-established Israeli government confiscated refugee land and properties without respect to Palestinian rights or desires to return to their homes.

Israeli historian Tom Segev reported that: "Entire cities and hundreds of villages left empty were repopulated with new [Jewish] immigrants... Free people - Arabs - had gone into exile and become destitute refugees; destitute refugees - Jews - took the exiles' places in the first step in their lives as free people. One group [Palestinians] lost all they had while the other [Jews] found everything they needed - tables, chairs, closets, pots, pans, plates, sometimes clothes, family albums, books radios, pets....

[To this day, the abandoned property is held in trust, in contrast to the property of Jews forced out of their homes in Arab countries; that property was simply stolen.]

6. Some Palestinians stayed in what became Israel.

While most Palestinians were driven out, some remained in what became Israel. Although citizens of the new state, they were subject to Israeli military rule until 1966. Today, Palestinian citizens of Israel comprise nearly 20 percent of Israel's population. They have the right to vote and run for office, but more than 20 Israeli laws explicitly privilege Jews over non-Jews. Nearly one-quarter of Israel's Palestinians are "internally displaced" persons, unable to return to the homes and lands that were taken from them.

[Despite the fact that many of them sympathize with Israel's enemies and even Arab Knesset ministers have acted treasonously, Israel's Arab citizens have equal rights.]

7. There are still millions of Palestinian refugees dispersed around the world.

Today, there are 4.4 million Palestinian refugees registered as such with the United Nations, and at least another estimated 1 million who are not so registered. Thus a majority of the Palestinian people, around 10 million persons, are refugees.

[There were a few hundred thousand Arab refugees. Today, sixty years later, only a relative handful are still alive, forced to remain refugees by their own people.

The millions of so-called Arab refugees are not refugees at all, but are descendants of refugees, used as pawns in the genocidal war against Israel.]

8. Refugees have internationally-recognized rights.

All refugees enjoy internationally-recognized rights to return to areas from which they have fled or were forced out, to receive compensation for damages, and to either regain their properties or receive compensation and support for voluntary resettlement. This right has been explicitly acknowledged in recent peace agreements in Cambodia, Rwanda, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Guatemala, Northern Ireland, Kosovo, Sierra Leone, Burundi, and Darfur. This right was affirmed for the Palestinians by the United Nations Resolution 194 of 1948. Israel, however, does not allow Palestinian refugees to return, although a Jew from anywhere in the world can settle in Israel.

[Resolution 194 contained fifteen provisions, virtually all of which were blatantly violated by the Arabs.

The one provision dealing with refugees did so in the context of a peace the Arabs refused and has been rendered moot by the continuing Arab war.

Despite this, Israel would most likely accept the return of actual refugees desiring, as called for in the resolution, to live in peace. It is doubtful it would permit the immigration of millions of hostile descendants of refugees, nor is there any reason it should.]

9. Justly resolving refugee rights is essential to Middle East peace.

An overwhelming majority of Palestinians believes that refugee rights must be fulfilled for peace between Palestinians and Israelis to endure. And according to an August 2007 poll by the Jerusalem Media and Communications Center, nearly 70 percent believe that refugees should be allowed to return to "their original land".

[See above.

Given that approximately 78 percent of Mandatory Palestine is already incorporated into an Arab state, even if the Arabs continue to refuse to make peace, every refugee and descendant of refugees can easily return to his or her "original land" without emigrating to Israel.]

10. The Nakba has implications for Americans.

Israel's ongoing denial of Palestinian rights - and unconditional U.S. financial and diplomatic support for Israel - fuels anti-American sentiment abroad. A 2002 Zogby poll, conducted in eight Arab countries showed that "the negative perception of the United States is based on American policies, not a dislike of the West." The same poll showed that "the Palestinian issue was listed by many Arabs among the political issues that affect them most personally." Resolution of the Palestinian refugee issue would undoubtedly improve America's international image, by proving that the U.S. government supports the consistent application of international law.

[One of the greatest inconsistencies is the special treatment of Arabs who are descendants of refugees. A good start would be to stop supporting this special treatment, disband the UNHWA and work to absorb the descendants of Arab refugees the way other groups have been absorbed, in the lands to which they moved.]

Monday, May 5, 2008

Libel Terrorism Protection Act Enacted

One way the Global Anti-Jewish Conspiracy works to increase its effectiveness is by using poorly designed libel laws to stifle the publication of the truth.

Great Britain is one example of a nation which has put the onus in libel suits disproportionately on defendants, making it easy for anti-Semites and other supporters of terrorism to harass those using what should be a free press to expose them.

The governor of New York State just signed a law protecting Americans from libel lawsuits in countries which do not protect free speech.

This is a press release from Rachel Ehrenfeld of the American Center for Democray, a victim of libel terrorism.

The Libel Terrorism Protection Act, also known as RACHEL's LAW, signed by Governor

Albany, NY (May 1, 2008) -- New York State Governor David Paterson yesterday signed the "Libel Terrorism Protection Act" (S.6687/A.9652), which on March 31 passed the state's Assembly and Senate unanimously.

Also known as Rachel's Law, the bill sponsored by Assemblyman Rory Lancman (D-Queens) and Senate Deputy Majority Leader Dean G. Skelos (R-Rockville Centre) will protect American journalists and authors from foreign lawsuits that infringe on First Amendment rights. The bill also received unprecedented support from Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.

"New Yorkers must be able to speak out on issues of public concern without living in fear that they will be sued outside the United States, under legal standards inconsistent with our First Amendment rights," said Governor Paterson. "This legislation will help ensure of the freedoms enjoyed by New York authors."

Reflecting the New York legislation's importance, U.S. Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) on April 16 introduced a similar bill, the Freedom of Speech Protection Act (H.R. 5814), in the House of Represenatives.

In Ehrenfeld v. Mahfouz, New York State's highest court held that it was unable to protect Dr. Ehrenfeld from a British lawsuit filed by Saudi billionaire Khalid Salim Bin Mahfouz. Britain's High Court ordered her to pay over $225,000 in damages and legal fees to Bin Mahfouz, apologize and destroy copies of her books.

Instead, November 2006, Dr. Ehrenfeld sought a U.S. federal court order to protect her constitutional rights. But a New York Court of Appeals ruling with national implications sent legal shockwaves throughout American newsrooms.

The New York court potentially undermined U.S. journalists' ability to expose terrorism's financial and logistical support networks, when it ruled that the court lacks jurisdiction to protect Americans - on U.S. soil - from foreign defamation judgments that contradict the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

Rachel's Law declares overseas defamation judgments unenforceable in New York State unless the foreign defamation law provides, in substance and application, the same free speech protections guaranteed under the U.S. Constitution. The law gives New York residents and publishers the opportunity to have their day in court.

The bill could not have passed without the expert assistance of Attorney Daniel Kornsein of New York City's Kornstein, Veisz, Wexler & Pollard, LLP. Kornstein represented Dr. Ehrenfeld in Ehrenfeld v. Mahfouz.

Its supporters included First Amendment Attorneys Floyd Abrams, David Siegel, Samuel Adaby, Harvey Silverglate; the New York City Bar Association; PEN; The Authors Guild; New York D.A. Robert M. Morgenthau; Former Secretary of State George Shultz; Former CIA Director R. James Woolsey; State University of New York Counsel Nicholas Rostow; 9/11 Families for a Secure America; The Association of American Publishers; Act for America; Rabbi Aaron Raskin; New York Board of Rabbis President Joseph Potasnik; many other public officials and tens of thousands of concerned New Yorkers and Americans, especially New York business leader Lawrence Kadish and ACD Senior Fellow Alyssa A. Lappen.

"This law will give New York's journalists, authors and press the protection and tools they need to continue to fearlessly expose the truth about terrorism and its enablers, and to maintain New York's place as the free speech capitol of the world," Lancman stated.

"The truth is a critically-important component in the War on Terror," said Senator Skelos. "This important new law will protect American authors and journalists who expose terrorist networks and their financiers."

Manhattan District Attorney Robert M. Morgenthau said: "Terrorism and terrorist financing are matters of vital interest to all New Yorkers, in no small part because New York City remains a target of significance for international terrorists. New York authors must have the freedom to investigate, write and publish on terrorism and other matters of public importance, subject only to limitations that are consistent with the U.S. Constitution. This legislation will help to ensure such freedom."

Today, Governor Paterson declared the intention of New York State, the publishing capital of America, to safeguard the First Amendment and its courageous writers.

Rachel's Law marks an important step in Dr. Ehrenfeld's efforts to stop Arab billionaires like Khalid bin Mahfouz from attempting to silence U.S. writers who expose Saudi terrorist funding and global radical Muslim organizations, including al Qaeda and Hamas.


Rachel Ehrenfeld
American Center for Democray

Sunday, May 4, 2008

There's a Disconnect Somewhere

It's rather mindboggling. One day, the Palestinian Authority accuses the United States of being biased against them; the next day, American Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice again makes unfair demands of Israel while ignoring the crux of the problem: the continuing Arab terrorism and refusal to negotiate in good faith.

A decade and a half after the start of the Oslo Experiment, the Palestiian Arabs remain in extreme violation of their only real obligation, the abandonment of terrorism, and have yet to retreat one iota from the extreme demands they were making at the start of The Experiment.

As long as they continue to get away with terrorism and intransigence, nothing will change; our appeasement only helps to perpetuate the situation.

PA official: Bush administration biased

Khaled Abu Toameh, The Jerusalem Post, May. 3, 2008

In the wake of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas's recent talks in Washington with US President George W. Bush and Secretary of State Condaleeza Rice, it is "unrealistic" to expect a breakthrough in talks between the Palestinians and Israelis before the end of the year, a senior PA official in Ramallah told The Jerusalem Post Saturday.

[There certainly won't be a breakthrough as long as there are two Palestinian Authority governments both intransigent with one blatantly terrorist and the other continuing to encourage terrorism even as it sometimes says terrorism is not useful at this time.]

The official, speaking on the eve of Rice's meeting with Abbas, accused the Bush Administration of "bias" toward Israel.

[One would hope for a bias towards a democratic nation pursuing peace when it is faced with an intransigent enemy targeting civilians.

Unfortunately, when it comes to applying pressure, America seems to reserving almost all its pressure for Israel, giving the Palestinian Arabs a free pass.]

"The Americans have adopted the Israeli policy," he said. "When you hear Bush, you think you are listening to [Prime Minister] Ehud Olmert."

The official said the PA was no longer pinning any hope on the Bush Administration to help achieve an agreement between the Palestinians and Israelis.

"The Bush Administration has lost it credibility as an honest broker," he charged. "We will now have to wait for the next US Administration."

The official confirmed that Abbas emerged from his talks with Bush and Rice "angry and depressed."

According to the official, Abbas was shocked to learn that the Bush Administration had no intention to put pressure on Israel with regards to settlement construction in the West Bank.

[This, of course, is contradicted by American words and action.]

"President Abbas felt as if he was talking to the wall," the official said.

[The Israelis have been talking to a wall since the start of the Oslo Experiment.]

"Both Bush and Rice refused to discuss details related to the current peace talks with Israel. We are very disappointed."

Sources close to Abbas said that he had not been in good health ever since he returned from Washington. Last week Abbas underwent catheterization procedure in the heart at a Jordanian hospital.

Nimer Hammad, political advisor to Abbas, said the US policy in the region has failed "because Washington was only encouraging the parties to negotiate without real intervention."

He said Abbas briefed Bush during his visit to Washington on the obstacles threatening the peace process, especially the continued construction in settlements. But, the advisor added, Bush did not want to go into details and asked to postpone the talks until Rice's visit to the region."

Hammas told the Palestinian Maan news agency that the PA was opposed to any map that permits settlements to remain in the West Bank. "Israel wants to annex 50%-60% of the West Bank by keeping settlement blocs," he said. "This means we will be offered less than 50% of the land. This is totally unacceptable. If Israel continues to build settlements, there will be nothing left to negotiate about."

[In that case, perhaps Abbas should start negotiating, rather than continuing to stonewall.]

Rice presses Israel on roadblocks

By Arshad Mohammed and Mohammed Assadi, Reuters, Sunday, May 4, 2008

[This article shows the total absurdity of the Palestinian Authority assertions in the other article.]

RAMALLAH, West Bank (Reuters) - Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Sunday pressed Israel to ease travel restrictions on Palestinians and called Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank "particularly problematic."

But she said Washington believed an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal was still possible before President George W. Bush leaves office in January, praising the "seriousness and depth" of negotiations.

"We continue to believe it is an achievable goal to have an agreement between the Palestinians and the Israelis by the end of the year and by the end of President Bush's term," Rice said after meeting Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah.

Negotiations on issues core to the Middle East conflict were launched at a U.S.-hosted international conference in Annapolis, Maryland in November. Abbas, at a news conference with Rice, voiced his commitment to peace efforts.

But Israeli-Palestinian talks have been clouded by violence, primarily along the border of the Gaza Strip, which is now controlled by Abbas's Islamist Hamas opponents, and by Israel's expansion of Jewish settlements in the West Bank, which Palestinians fear will deny them a viable state.

[There hasn't been any significant construction in Israeli communities in the disputed territories for years.]

At the news conference, Rice said the United States regarded settlements as "particularly problematic to the atmosphere of trust that is needed."

[If the Palestinian Arabs were actually interested in peace, the existence of a relative handful of Jews in the disputed territories wouldn't be an issue.

It's unfortunate that American leaders continue to pander to Arab intransigence and outright bigotry.]

A 2003 peace "road map" requires Israel halt construction in the settlements. Israel says it will keep major settlement blocs under any peace deal -- a plan tacitly endorsed by Bush in 2004 -- and recently approved new housing projects in the enclaves.

"I can assure you that Israel has no hidden agenda," Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni told reporters after later talks with Rice, in response to a question about the settlements.


Rice launched her latest two-day visit to the region on Saturday by saying she would assess Israel's steps on the ground to see if they had improved the daily lives of the Palestinians. These include the promised removal of West Bank roadblocks.

[Israel has removed some roadblocks. This will undoubtedly lead to additional Arab terror attacks, destroying Israeli lives and requiring the creation of new roadblocks.

There is really just one way to effectuate the permanent removal of roadblocks: an end to Arab terrorism.]

Rice said she had raised the question, with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Defence Minister Ehud Barak, of whether those roadblocks that are to be scrapped would have a significant effect on easing movement by Palestinians.

"We are trying to look not just at quantity, but also at quality of improvements," said Rice, who also stressed that the Palestinians needed to take further action to meet the road map demand that anti-Israel militant groups be reined in.

After Rice's last trip in late March, Israel said it planned to remove 61 barriers in the West Bank. But a U.N. survey subsequently found that only 44 obstacles had been scrapped -- and that most of these were of little or no significance.

Western pressure is mounting on Olmert to do more to ease travel restrictions and take other steps to shore up Abbas, whose authority has been limited to the West Bank since Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip in June.

Before her talks with Abbas, Rice met Barak in Jerusalem. He exerts great influence over Israel's network of checkpoints and roadblocks in the West Bank.

Palestinians view the barriers as collective punishment and a blight on their economy. Israel argues it needs to keep many travel restrictions in place to prevent suicide bombings.

Rice met Olmert on Saturday night in Jerusalem. Olmert, in broadcast remarks on Sunday, gave no details of the discussions other than to say they were "part of the (peace) effort, which we will not halt."

Abbas and Olmert are due to meet on Monday after Rice leaves.

(Writing by Jeffrey Heller in Jerusalem, Editing by Peter Millership.)

Thursday, May 1, 2008

The War Against Israel Is Attempted Genocide

These are notes prepared by Primerprez for the Holocaust Commemoration in West Hartford, Connecticut, May 1, 2008. The actual remarks were an abridged version.

It's one of the tragic coincidences of history that at the same time Jews were being burned in ovens Jews in Palestine were preparing the foundation for the reestablishment of Israel. We can only speculate how different history would be, how many millions might have been saved, had there been a Jewish state just a few years sooner.

And then the war ended. And survivors had to rebuild their lives. Where to go? America. Palestine.

Under the terms of the League of Nations Mandate, Great Britain was obligated to facilitate Jewish immigration in Palestine. No such luck for us. But enough survivors made it, despite British efforts, and wanted to help build and defend Eretz Yisrael so they made up 40 to 50 percent of the security forces of the Yishuv.

And then, just a few years after the end of the war, just a few years after liberation, those survivors found themselves in another genocidal war, as six Arab armies invaded Israel on The Yom Ha'Atzma'ut, the very day David Ben-Gurion announced the reestablishment of Israel, the official independence of the modern state of Israel.

Survivors played important roles in that war, and in the wars that have followed, as well as the blossoming of that tiny, state into today's prosperous, but still besieged, Israel.

Exact figures are unavailable, but it's estimated about a third of the casualties of the War of Independence were survivors.

The combined Arab attack on Israel was, and continues to be, an attempted genocide, as they are not just trying to defeat an enemy to exact some economic or political gain, but to destroy the Jewish state because it is not Muslim - although Muslims have equal rights - and because it is not Arab - although Arabs have equal rights -- They are trying to destroy it because it is a Jewish state.

They also use Nazi propaganda techniques, the technique of the Big Lie, repeating the same lies again and again until the gullible believe them.

They are particular fond of falsely accusing Israel of crimes from which they themselves are guilty. They falsely accuse Israel of trying to destroy the Palestinian Arab people, a people who have come into existence only in reaction to the Zionist dream.

They use blasphemous language, like Judeo-Nazi, and simultaneously deny the Holocaust, try to complete Hitler's work, and accuse Israel of attempted genocide.

That it is effective, that people continue to fall prey to such lies, to distortion, to obvious hatred and maliciousness, is testament to the battle we still face.

The PLO, and Fatah, and the Palestinian Authority - or, at least, the portion of the Palestinian Authority governing the eastern portion of the disputed territories - are led by a man, a very intelligent man, a man whose doctoral thesis denied the Holocaust.

And this man, this Holocaust denier, is considered a moderate.

Sadly, in the spectrum of Palestinian Arab society, he is a moderate.

Speaking recently at Georgetown University, Arif Safieh, the PLO Ambassador to the United States -- what other terrorist organization has ambassadors to the United States? -- referred to the displacement of Arabs resulting from their drive to destroy Israel in 1948, which they call the "nakba," or catastrophe, as the greatest catastrophe in human history.

Safieh, a self-styled "pragmatist," whatever that means in the spectrum of Israel's enemies, tries to blame the self-inflicted problems of the Palestinian Arabs on the Holocaust.

Referring to the Palestinian Arabs, he said "They were the victims of the victims of Europe."

As if the Arabs paid the price, in the establshment of the modern state of Israel, for the guilt of Europeans for the Holocaust.

That, of course, is nonsense.

If anything, some Europeans are assuaging their guilt over the Holocaust by falsely accusing Israel of crimes which exist only in their own imaginations.

One effect of the Shoah was to temporarily make explicit anti-Semitism unfashionable in respectable circles. The existence of Israel, and the genocidal war against Israel, has provided a socially acceptable substitute, anti-Semitism disguised as anti-Zionism, with the pretense that anti-Zionism is not a form of anti-Semitism.

The height of absurdity was reached November 10, 1975, when the United Nations reached its personal nadir and passed the infamous "Zionism is Racism" resolution. The UN was actually just four letters off, since it is anti-Zionism which is effectively racism, although technically non-racism since Zionism has nothing to do with race, but anti-Zionism is certain bigotry and anti-Semitism.

I received an email just a few days ago, on April 20. It read:

"Your organization is so full of ****. Now I can understand why good people of Europe let the Nazis slaughter the Jews, just like the IDF is slaughtering the Arabs. It is propaganda devices like you which try to change facts and history"

The email, of course, was not signed.

The battle changes, but the battle remains the same.

In Israel and the disputed territories, the battle is tangible, with Jews being murdered for the crime of being Jewish. And castigated by the world for the crime of defending themselves. But parents have the basic human right to be able to send their children to a kindergarten without having, as do the parents living in Sderot, that their children wlll be hit by a Kassam missile launched from nearby Gaza ... or should we call it Hamastan? Teenagers should be able to go pizzerias without their parents having to worry about anything other than whether they will stain their clothes with pizza sauce.

Sometimes, the physical battle reaches us in the diaspora, as when Iranian agents blew up the Jewish community center in Buenos Aires in 1992, or a gunman went into the Jewish Federation in Seattle a couple of years ago to murder some Jews.

But for the most part, our battle in the diaspora is a battle of intangibles, a battle of words and ideas.

For that, we need to keep ourselves aware, as we battle lies with truth, as we battle hatred with hope.

We need to know the truth to battle the lies, which can be difficult because those who hate are very adept at making up new lies.

Just yesterday, my wife heard from a friend who had just returned from Ireland, where she was a guest at a home which had just hosted a Palestinian Arab who had talked about Israelis murdering a woman and child in their home in Gaza. They did not know what really happened, that terrorists were carrying explosives, planning to murder innocent Israeli civilians, when they were engaged by Israeli troops and it was the terrorists' explosives blowing up, in Gaza rather than as planned in Jerusalem or Tel Aviv, that destroyed that family and home.

We need to be constantly aware to be able to counter lies with truth, in a battle to keep Israel's enemies from succeeding in completing Hitler's plan.

That's the cautionary side of the coin.

There's the other side.

Despite the threats, the terrorism, the lack of a single day of peace, the Israelis have built an amazing society we should be proud of.

They have built a thriving democracy, the only one in that neighborhood of the world. They have a crazy parliamentary system that in many ways is dysfunctional and in tremendous need of reform, but which has worked and in which the people's representatives and the parties have fought each other bitterly but been united when demanded by the interests of the nation.

They have brought in and settled more than three million immigrants. With problems, to be sure, but overall with an amazing record and amazing success. They are the only people who have ever brought Black Africans to freedom rather than servitude.

They have created an amazingly diverse culture, with Jews, and others, from all over the world, both assimilating and diversifying.

They have a technologically advanced society, with the highest concentration of startup companies in the world outside Silicon Valley. Many of the innovations considered essential to today's society were invented in Israel, although some, like text message, may not be on everyone's top ten list of favorite inventions.

They have developed tremendous resilience. The are able to live and be happy in the most trying of times. I cannot help but smile thinking of the family Bar Mitzvah I went to in Beersheva in the spring of 2002, near the height of Arafat's terror offensive. Never have I seen so much joy at a Bar Mitzvah - even as, during the party, one of the guests, a relative from the other side of the family who was part of a security agency, had to leave after receiving a phone call about a planned terror attack somewhere in Israel.

And just last summer, at a family wedding, we watched the bride and groom dance joyfully, and their young friends sharing their happiness, even as we thought of how at any moment they could be called up for the next round of the war in the north, or with Hamastan.

Today, 63 years after liberation, we remember those who were murdered, in the death camps and in the wars, and we celebrate the six decades of independence of modern Israel, linked but separate.

For those six decades, Israel has tried and tried and tried to get its neighbors to live in peace, so its children can live normal lives, so its teenagers don't have go into the army as soon as they finish high school.

And we, here, have to do what we can and must.

Please, remember and do.