Thursday, July 31, 2008

Arabs' tragedy

This letter, written by PRIMER Vice President Mark Trencher, was published July 31 in the Greenwich Time and in the Stamford Advocate.

I am writing in response to the letter "Palestinians' Day" printed July 24. It refers to May 15 as Nakba Day, a day of catastrophe for the Palestinians.

What a shame that the Arab states uniformly rejected the partition plan that was agreed to and passed by the United Nations. That plan called for the creation of a Palestinian state and a Jewish state, side by side. At that time, the entire area was much more sparsely populated than it is today, and there was plenty of room for all to live in peace.

But the Arab states, with a geographic area more than 600 times the size of Israel, refused to live in peace. Instead, six Arab armies invaded Israel just hours after it was established, with the purpose of destroying Israel; and those efforts - to destroy Israel instead of showing a willingness to live together in peace - continue to this day.

Yes, it is indeed a day of catastrophe - but the catastrophe is that 60 years later, the Arab states still simply cannot tolerate a few Jews living in their midst in peace. That is the source of the catastrophe, and perhaps one day enlightened Arab leadership will show true willingness to live together in peace.

Mark L. Trencher
West Hartford

Sunday, July 27, 2008

More Hatred in Cornwall

Last November, PP had joined the "Cornwall Community Network" group on Yahoo after being requested to help out by a Cornwall resident unhappy about way the forum was being used to unfairly bash Israel.

PP didn't last long in that group, quickly getting banished for the crime of writing balanced posts that sometimes also pointed out blatant lies. Some of those experiences are chronicled both on the PRIMER blog (Israel Hatred in Cornwall and Hypocrisy in Cornwall) and on the PRIMER web site.

PP still hears about the Israel-bashing has since been going merrily on.

The connection between opposition to Israel and anti-Semitism has been documented, which is not surprising since it's common sense that the overwhelming majority of criticism of Israel is motivated by anti-Semitism even though it's generally difficult to be sure about specific instances.

One of the recent posts made me think about that connection, even though the post was only indirectly a criticism of Israel; the direct (illegitimate) target of the post was a United States Senator.

Here are excerpts from some of the recent posts, along with some comments. Cornwall Community Forum posts are generally signed, but the email addresses given are always incomplete.

Anyone living in the Cornwall area, and thus being immune from being kicked off on the pretext of not living there, is encouraged to join the group and insert some sanity.

"Scoville Soule" <scoville.soule@...> wrote:

Leberman (sic) is more an Israeli than he is a US citizen. He's a one man fifth column. I'm not sure we'd want him in US uniform.

[Although the name was spelled incorrectly, the writer was impugning the patriotism of Senator Joseph Lieberman. The assertion is a classic anti-Semitic canard.

One can disagree with positions of government leaders in an appropriate manner; this post does not qualify. It also violates Yahoo's guidelines under which users agree to not "upload, post, email, transmit or otherwise make available any Content that is unlawful, harmful, threatening, abusive, harassing, tortious, defamatory, vulgar, obscene, libelous, invasive of another's privacy, hateful, or racially, ethnically or otherwise objectionable."

It also violates the condition "No personal attacks, or profanity will be allowed" specifically specified in the guidelines of the Cornwall Community Network itself.]

[Based on the similarities in their email addresses, it's likely that the poster of the following is related to Scoville Soule.

The murderer referred to is Samir Kuntar, who along with several other live terrorists and the bodies of other terrorists who generally had died while carrying out attacks against Israel, was recently released by Israel. Kuntar is one of the most despicable Arab terrorists, who after murdering Danny Haran switched his attention to his four year old daughter Einat, murdering her by smashing her skull with his rifle.

This horrendous act is implicitly condoned by the writer.]

Martha Loutfi <mfscoville@...> wrote:

Sure no one (recognized country or otherwise) has a monopoly on bad stuff. But the murderer you refer to was 16 at the time and has been in prison for about 30 years. They are also returning nearly 200 bodies of people they've killed. Point is, it's not symmetrical, except in an asymmetric calculus.

[This one's almost funny: Gale Toensing praises Hamas!]

"Gale Courey Toensing" <gtoensing@...> wrote:

I would expect nothing less of the Hamas leadership. They are overall honest and their word is good and they are trying to keep the ceasefire agreement they made with Israel, despite continuous violations by Israel both in Gaza, where they killed a teenager the other day, and in the West Bank where they've increased their illegal activities on the slimey and hypocritcal ground that the ceasefire only applies to Gaza (that's how much the Zionists want peace).

[Illegal activities = saving lives by preventing terrorists from murdering civilians.

The so-called cease-fire, in which Israel ceases defensive measures in Gaza but the terrorists keep firing Kassams and mortars at Israel, is explicitly only concerning Gaza. Arab terror activities continue unabated in Judea and Samaria.

The teenager approached Israel in the manner a terrorist would and ignored repeated requests to stop. Confronted with what appeared to be a terrorist preparing to attack, the Israelis defended themselves.]

The guys they detained, remember, are members of the FATAH resistance -- Abbas's guys -- not members of the Hamas resistance, who pretty much packed up and went home shortly after the ceasefire began on June 19.

[Actually, the Hamas terrorists are busy bringing arms into Gaza, preparing for the day when they decide to stop pretending there's a cease-fire and resume full-scale terror attacks.]

This raises the question: Are the FATAH resistance getting instructions from Ramallah to keep firing rockets at Israel in order to destablize -- or ruin -- the ceasefire? The ceasefire was a huge political victory for Hamas. Despite everything the US/Israeli government has thrown at them, Hamas is still supported by the majority of Palestinians who DEMOCRATICALLY elected them (which is more than can be said for the George Bush presidency) because they are not corrupt and on the take like the higher echelons of Fatah.

[The fact that the Palestinian Arabs support a terror group like Hamas simply shows they aren't interested in peace.]

Hamas has been urignunity between them and Fatah all year and Abbas finally said he wanted to do unity talks, as if it had been his idea, but so far nothing he hasn't made any moves to actually have unity talks, probably because soon after his announcement, the Dragon Lady US Sec of State went over and threatened to kill his eldest son. I speak metaphorically, of course, but not so much.

[PP isn't a huge fan of Condoleeza Rice, who keeps pressuring Israel to make unreciprocated concessions, but Toensing's language is inappropriate.]

[The "best" is saved for last. We include excerpt without comment, since it would take several lifetimes to point out and correct all the lies, misrepresentations and distortions in the rest of this particular post, except to note the "respected Israeli historians" she cites are hardly deserving of respect.]

"Gale Courey Toensing" <gtoensing@...> wrote:

No, I don't concede that at all, John. Israel is a rogue state that was born in terrorism, land theft, and ethnic cleansing. Just about everything in the "conventional wisdom" about that "country" is bs that has been and continues to be churned out by the Zionist propaganda machine. We are all so brainwashed by it. This is what the respected Israeli historians have to say:

Zionist Myth No. XXX: The Arabs started the 1967 war

Israel and Israel alone started the 1967 war. It did so having rebuffed and circumvented attempts at international mediation, and fully aware both that it was under no threat, and of its overwhelming military superiority.

The course of events :

In May 1967, Egypt sent a number of troops into the Sinai area, bordering Israel, asking the UN troops to pull out. On 22 May, it closed the Straits of Tiran to Israeli shipping. Two weeks later, on 5 June, Israel launched an aerial attack on Egyptian airfields. Egypt, Syria, Jordan and Iraq, which had mutual defense pacts, attacked targets inside Israel in retaliation; within two hours the air forces of the first three had been completely destroyed. Jordan attacked with ground troops, shelling Israeli towns with artillery fire and occupying Government House in Arab East Jerusalem. Israel then drove the Jordanians out of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, occupying them by the 7 June. On 9 June Israel attacked Syria and occupied the Golan Heights. In the words of Israeli historian Avi Shlaim, the war "was the most spectacular military victory in Israel's history." (Shlaim, p. 241)

What led up to the war?

Constant Israeli brinkmanship and provocation form the context of the years leading up to June 1967. In the words of then minister of defence Moshe Dayan, released posthumously, Israeli policy on the Syrian border between 1949 and 1967 consisted of "snatching bits of territory and holding on to it until the enemy despairs and gives it to us."

Concerning border incidents in the Golan Heights, he goes on: "I know how 80 percent of the clashes there started. In my opinion, more than 80 percent, but let's talk about 80 percent. It went this way: We would send a tractor to plow someplace where it wasn't possible to do anything, in the demilitarized area, and knew in advance that the Syrians would start to shoot. If they didn't shoot, we would tell the tractor to advance farther, until in the end the Syrians would get annoyed and shoot. And then we would use artillery and later the air force also ." (Rami Tal, "Moshe Dayan: Soul Searching," Yediot Aharonot, 27 April 1997, cited Shlaim, pp. 235-6)

One such incident in early April 1967 resulted in a major aerial engagement between Israeli and Syrian planes. Six of the latter were shot down - one over Damascus, causing a public humiliation for the Syrians.

On the Egyptian border, according to E. L. M. Burns, chief of staff of UN forces in the Middle East in the mid-1950s, Israel's raid on Gaza in 1955 (which killed 38 soldiers and civilians) was the "decisive event" that "set a trend which continued until Israel invaded the Sinai in October 1956." Before this, "the facts did not indicate . a critical situation". (E. L.

M. Burns, Between Arab and Israeli, London 1962, pp. 17-18; cited Finkelstein, p. 124)

A similar provocation against Jordan took place in November 1966, when 4,000 Israeli soldiers attacked Samu in the West Bank, "destroying 125 homes, a clinic, a school, and a workshop" (Finkelstein, p. 124), and killing 18 Jordanian soldiers. The public justification for this action was to prevent Palestinian infiltration - though at the time "the Jordanian authorities did all they possibly could to stop infiltration," according to Odd Bull, chief of staff of UN forces at the time, including shutting down Palestine Liberation Organization offices in Amman, arresting most of its staff, and frequently killing Palestinians attempting to enter Israel (with notably more success than Israel's reprisals). (Odd Bull, War and Peace in the Middle East, London 1976, p. 61; Finkelstein, p. 125)

The immediate provocation was provided by Yitzhak Rabin who, in an interview in May 1967, was alleged to have threatened to overthrow the Syrian regime; similar threats were issued against Syria by the Israeli chief of military intelligence, of a "military action of great size and strength", and by Prime Minister Levi Eshkol, that Israel "may have to teach Syria a sharper lesson than that of 7 April." (Finkelstein, pp. 125-6; Shlaim pp. 236-7)

Syria also supplied Egypt with Soviet-gleaned intelligence of Israeli troop movements on Israel's northern border. The accuracy of this has been contested, but Israeli General Ezer Weizman was later to remark, "Don't forget that we did move tanks to the north after the downing of the aircraft." (Ot (Israeli weekly), 1 June 1972; cited Hirst, p. 342)

In the face of these provocations, President Nasser of Egypt felt his standing within the Arab world declining, and was under pressure to give a show of strength in order to placate public opinion.

Was blockading the Straits of Tiran a reasonable casus belli?

Nasser's action frankly pales utterly in comparison with previous Israeli shows of strength.

Nor was his blockade of Tiran "an attempt at strangulation," as Abba Eban described it.

(Philo & Berry, p. 30) As David Hirst notes,

"Economically, the closure of the Straits of Tiran to all Israeli ships, and ships of other nations bound for Eilat with strategic materials, would have had little immediate impact.

Only 5 per cent of Israel's foreign trade went through Eilat; oil from Iran was the main strategic material, but Israel could easily get that through Haifa."


"What damage the closure might have done would have been offset by President Johnson's reported offer - designed to stay Israel's hand - to maintain its economic viability." (Hirst, p. 333)

Indeed, according to the UN Secretariat, "not a single Israeli-flagged vessel had used the port of Eilat in the previous two and a half years." (Finkelstein, p. 139)

Nor was there any legal issue. The Israelis' claim to right of passage through the Straits (which the Egyptians insisted fell inside their own territorial waters) was "based on possession of a thin sliver of coastline," as Hirst notes, "and this itself had been secured, on the Israelis' own admission, by 'one of those calculated violations [of the ceasefire] which we had to carefully weigh against the political risks'. That was in 1949 . when, in defiance of a UN-sponsored ceasefire, an Israeli patrol thrust southward to the Arab hamlet and police post of Um Rashrash, expelling its inhabitants and founding the port of Eilat in its place." (Hirst, p. 334; Kirk, George E., "The Middle East 1945-1950", Survey of International Affairs, 1939-1946, Oxford Univsersity Press, 1954, p. 29)

Defending the state from destruction?

The idea quickly became widespread in Israel that the very existence of the state was being threatened. As Israeli historian Avi Shlaim comments, "During this period the entire nation succumbed to a collective psychosis. The memory of the Holocaust was a powerful psychological force that deepened the feeling of isolation and accentuated the perception of threat. Although, objectively speaking, Israel was much stronger than its enemies, many Israelis felt that their country faced a threat of imminent destruction." (Shlaim, p. 238)

The reason he adduces, that "weak leadership was largely responsible for permitting this panic to spread from the politicians to the people at large," is generous but misleading:

this sense of hysteria, as Hirst notes, also spread to the US and Europe: "Genocide, Munich, the Arab Nazis, Nasser-the-new-Hitler - these, the most emotive and virulent slogans in Western political vocabulary, rang around Europe and America in late May and early June of 1967." (Hirst pp. 335-6) Furthermore, various Israeli leaders were aggressively promoting this view. Substantially the reason, then as now, was the Israeli leaders' propaganda, not their "weak leadership". Then Israeli prime minister Levi Eshkol, for instance, subsequently took the lead in promoting this line of rhetoric when he claimed that "the existence of the Israeli state hung on a thread, but the hopes of the Arab leaders to exterminate Israel were brought to nought." (Kapeliouk, Amnon, Le Monde, 3 June 1972, cited Hirst, p. 336) Similarly, Abba Eban maintained that fiction from that day forward. "The choice was to live or perish," he told the UN General Assembly, "to defend the national existence or to forfeit it for all time." (cited Finkelstein, p. 123)

Eban's mendacity is particularly egregious in light of the fact that it was he himself who was sent as envoy to the US, where President Johnson "told Eban" to his face "that it was the unanimous view of his military experts that there was no sign that the Egyptians were planning to attack Israel and that if they did attack, the Israelis would 'whip the hell out of them'." (Shlaim pp. 139-40)

This was naturally well known among Israel's government and military leadership. As Israeli General Matitiahu Peled was later to put it, "There is no reason to hide the fact that since 1949 no one has dared, or more precisely, no one was able, to threaten the very existence of Israel. In spite of that, we have continued to foster a sense of our own inferiority, as if we were a weak and insignificant people, which, in the midst of an anguished struggle for its existence, could be exterminated at any moment. . it is notorious that the Arab leaders themselves, thoroughly aware of their own impotence, did not believe in their own threats. . I am sure that our General Staff never told the government that the Egyptian military threat represented any danger to Israel or that we were unable to crush Nasser's army, which, with unheard-of foolishness, had exposed itself to the devastating might of our army. . To claim that the Egyptian forces concentrated on our borders were capable of threatening Israel's existence not only insults the intelligence of anyone capable of analysing this kind of situation, but is an insult to the Zahal [the Israeli army]." (Peled, Maariv, 24 March 1972, cited Hirst, pp. 336-7)

This claim has been repeatedly reinforced by the admissions of former cabinet members.

"We had a choice," as former prime minister Menachem Begin put it: Egyptian troop concentrations, he contended, "do not prove that Nasser was really about to attack us. We must be honest with ourselves. We decided to attack him." (cited Finkelstein, pp. 134-5)

Similarly, former prime minister Yitzhak Rabin was to remark within a year that "I do not believe that Nasser wanted war. The two divisions he sent into Sinai on May 14 would not have been enough to unleash an offensive against Israel. He knew it and we knew it." (Le Monde, 29 February 1968; cited Hirst, p. 337).

Former Commander of the Air Force General Ezer Weizmann claimed there was "no threat of destruction," but that the attack was justified so that Israel could "exist according to the scale, spirit and quality she now embodies." (Ha'aretz, March 29 1972; cited Chomsky, p.


Avoiding the diplomatic option

Israel not only actively avoided diplomatic solutions in May-June 1967, but was ultimately to spectacularly torpedo them with the beginning of its campaign.

UN Secretary-General U Thant attempted to renew diplomatic efforts in late May, proposing a two-week moratorium on the question of the Straits. Egypt assented, a "very significant" move, Thant recalls; but "Israel did not agree to either of these conditions."

(cited Finkelstein, p. 129)

US officials Robert Anderson and Charles Yost also met with Egyptian officials in late May- June, and Nasser seems, from a number of accounts, to have supported World Court arbitration on the Straits of Tiran, as well as arranging for his vice-president to travel to Washington for further negotiations. Before he could make it, however, the Israelis attacked. Then Secretary of State Dean Rusk claims to have been "shocked" and "angry as hell" when the surprise attack was launched, since the Americans felt "we had a good chance to de-escalate the crisis." He recalls:

"They attacked on a Monday, knowing that on Wednesday the Egyptian vice-president would arrive in Washington to talk about re-opening the Strait of Tiran. We might not have succeeded in getting Egypt to reopen the Strait, but it was a real possibility." (Dean Rusk, As I Saw It, New York 1990, pp. 386-7; cited Finkelstein, p. 129)

The real war aims

According to Israeli historian Avi Shlaim, the chief aims of the war, as originally conceived, were to "open the Straits of Tiran, to destroy the Egyptian army in Sinai, and to restore the deterrent power of the IDF." (Shlaim, p. 242)

Finkelstein cites a CIA report which set out Israel's objectives shortly before the war:

"destruction of the center of power in the radical Arab Socialist movement, i.e. the Nasser regime"; "destruction of the arms of the radical Arabs"; and "destruction of both Syria and Jordan as modern states." Most seriously, he notes, "Nasser had openly defied Israel's monopoly on the use of force. . That an Arab leader should even raise the question 'Who is in charge?' was, to Israel, tantamount to a casus belli." (Finkelstein, pp. 142-3

Israel may also have been fulfilling long-held territorial ambitions. Senior cabinet member Yigal Allon, according to Finkelstein, had stressed on the eve of the attack that "in the case of a new war," one of Israel's central aims must be "the territorial fulfilment of the Land of Israel." Ben-Gurion had had wide-ranging plans for Israeli territorial expansion during the 1956 campaign; as Hirst and Finkelstein suggest, the conditions of June 1967 produced an opportunity for Israel to implement them.


David Hirst, The Gun and the Olive Branch. London, Faber, 2003

Noam Chomsky, The Fateful Triangle: The United States, Israel and the Palestinians. London, Pluto Press, 1999

Avi Shlaim, The Iron Wall: Israel and the Arab World. London, Penguin, 2001

Norman Finkelstein, Image and Reality of the Israel-Palestine Conflict. London, Verso, 2003

Greg Philo and Mike Berry, Bad News From Israel. London, Pluto Press, 2004

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Obvious Questions About Olmert and Brown's Statements

These are published statements made by Ehud Olmert and George Brown July 20, 2008.

The friendly statements of the British Primer Minister are welcome and appreciated, but there are some interesting portions of each of their statements.

PP has many questions, but will post just two here.

Ehud Olmert said: "We [Israel and the Palestinian Arabs] are closer than ever … to an agreement."

Publicly, the Palestinian Arab negotiating position hasn't budged from what it was at the start of the Oslo Experiment. If the sides are closer to an agreement than ever, it would appear that either Israel is making even more unreciprocated concessions or the Palestinian Arabs have privately, for the first time, modified their outrageous demands. The first question is: which?

George Brown said: "And I think it's important to say that Prime Minister Olmert has shown courage and resilience in pushing forward with the peace process and the talks, and I believe that he deserves the success in these negotiations that his work so far has shown richly that he has achieved."

The second question is a two-parter: what peace process and what success has been achieved in those negotiations?

PM Olmert:

Good evening everyone. Welcome Prime Minister Brown to the Residence of the Prime Minister of Israel in Jerusalem. I am delighted to have you as the guest of our country, coming to share with us the celebrations for the 60th anniversary of the State of Israel. As I said earlier today, Great Britain is so intimately connected to the history of the Jewish people, and particularly to the history of the creation of the State of Israel. And while prior to the creation of the State of Israel we had a period of some conflict, the fact remains that the Balfour Declaration in 1917 was the cornerstone that helped create the important political momentum that ultimately resulted in the world's recognition of the right of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel, for which we will be indebted to the people of Great Britain forever.

You came as a friend of Israel; you have manifested your friendship for a very long period of time, while you served as a minister of finance in the British Government, as perhaps one of the most successful ministers of finance in the history of Great Britain. The time you were the minister, the British economy was an example of great success and achievements, which certainly set a role model for all of us. And since you became Prime Minister, you continue the same line of responsibility, of courage, of leadership which we admire in the State of Israel. You have always showed great interest in helping to establish the necessary economic foundation for the resolution of the conflict between us and the Palestinians, for which I am very grateful to you. You continue to do it today, and you are prepared to do it - as I found out in our discussions now - that you are prepared to continue these efforts in order to help facilitate the necessary understanding between us and the Palestinians, and as I said, to lay the foundations for the quality of life which is essential for a change in atmosphere in the Middle East.

We discussed political issues, the regional problems, the negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, and the efforts that we are making and the Palestinians are making. You criticized our settlement policy, and I tried to explain to you the restraints which we put on ourselves on the one hand, and the need to keep the pace of life going on, on the other hand. And while you disagree with us, at least I hope you understand better the position of Israel on some of these issues.

But I am absolutely confident, Mr. Prime Minister, that this should not stand in the way of achieving an agreement between us and the Palestinians.

We are closer than ever, as I said in Paris last week, to an agreement. We have some disagreements which are very significant, but I believe that we can overcome these disagreements within the timeframe that has been set for these negotiations, which is - hopefully - by the end of this year.

We also discussed briefly the situation between us and the Syrians, and the beginning of the negotiating process between Syria and Israel, the possibility of resolving the outstanding issues between Israel and the Lebanese government - not the terrorists in Lebanon, but the Lebanese government - and we also discussed the joint efforts which we are making in order to block the building of non-conventional capacities in countries which are dangerous to the safety and the stability of our region, particularly Iran. I will not go into details; I doubt that you will go into these details, but I can say that we are discussing it and there is a great deal of understanding and agreement. Great Britain is one of the leaders of the world, and definitely is in the front line of this effort to stop Iran from becoming a nuclear power, and we shared our concerns and our analysis of what may happen.

Finally, Mr. Prime Minister, thank you for the cooperation with Israel.

Thank you for the bilateral relations which are improving over time, and thank you for your personal friendship. You are a wonderful leader, and you are a wonderful human being, and I thank you very much for coming to visit with the people of Israel on our 60th anniversary. Thank you very much.

Prime Minister of Great Britain, please.

PM Brown:

Can I say, it's a great pleasure to be with Prime Minister Olmert and his wife here at his official residence, to be here on the occasion of the year in which we celebrate the 60th birthday of Israel, and to be here at what I believe is a momentous time for the peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian communities. And I think it's important to say that Prime Minister Olmert has shown courage and resilience in pushing forward with the peace process and the talks, and I believe that he deserves the success in these negotiations that his work so far has shown richly that he has achieved.

I am particularly pleased to be here because Ehud Olmert and I have worked together over many years. As mayor of Jerusalem, he laid many of the foundations for the success of this great city. As Finance Minister, he did so much to achieve the growth rates in the Israeli economy that have been very high, in reducing unemployment and creating new industry, in making Israel a global player in the economy. And now as Prime Minister of Israel, he is forcing ahead the peace negotiations, and I regard it as a privilege to count him as a true friend. I wish him well in these negotiations.

I also want to say that Israel deserves our congratulations for its achievements over these great 60 years. It's a remarkable success story, bringing here from persecution Jews from all over the world, providing a new life and employment for millions, eight Nobel Prize winners, world-class universities and world-class hospitals, developing one of the most highly skilled populations on Earth, maintaining and strengthening a lively democracy. And to have achieved all this in the face of threats, intimidation, terror and threats generally to the security of its country is truly monumental.

We talked this evening in our discussions about the peace process. Britain will be a true friend in good times as well as in bad. We will never reduce our efforts to secure for Israel a future free from terror, a future where, alongside a viable Palestinian state, its children and the children of all its neighbors can believe in a brighter future. I've talked today to Abu Mazen, I've talked to Prime Minister Fayyad, as well as talking to Prime Minister Olmert and leaders of the Israeli Government. I understand the obstacles, but I also understand that there are great opportunities, and I have urged all of them to seize the opportunities that now exist to move forward to a peace settlement that is both viable and lasting.

We have also discussed the special relationship between our two countries.

Each year, 350,000 Israeli visitors come to the United Kingdom; each year 150,000 Britons come here. Our bilateral trade tops 2 billion pounds each year; there are over 200 Israeli companies operating in the UK; and today we agreed to strengthen that relationship still further. We have signed a new education partnership, backed by both our governments, the Piers Foundation, the United Jewish-Israeli Appeal and academics in both our countries, and our educational establishments and researchers will work together in future on even more signed projects than in the past. And to reinforce our cultural ties, I've just agreed with Prime Minister Olmert that we will aim to conclude a UK-Israel film cooperation and production treaty later this year.

Now, we also discussed the difficult security situation that Israel faces, the need to step up diplomatic efforts to deal with the Iranian nuclear program. Prime Minister Olmert has just reflected our discussions and the agreement and shared understanding we have of that problem, and I will speak more about that tomorrow when I address the Knesset.

I thanked Prime Minister Olmert for his strength and for his leadership, for his determination to search for peace with the Palestinian people, and with Israel's other neighbors. I believe that the Annapolis process that he has been so much involved in is one that can work. What we need to achieve is very clear to people. The question is whether we can make that effort, all of us, to move towards an agreement. I said to Prime Minister Olmert, as I said to President Abbas, that we will do everything we can to underpin any political breakthrough with economic support. I believe there is an economic roadmap for peace as well as a political Roadmap. I believe that all of the European Union and the United States of American will be able to join with other countries in supporting the economic development of the Palestinian territories. I think it's very important to realize that we have an opportunity; we should seize that opportunity. It falls to Prime Minister Olmert, with his skills of leadership and his determination to see that through. We will support him in every way we can. Thank you.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Remembering Ehud and Eldad

Chana in Jerusalem

Until today, July 16th, 2008, Israel did not have conclusive information regarding the condition of her two soldiers, Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev whose kidnapping by the terrorist organization, Hizbullah, at the northern border of Israel, had led to the second Lebanon War. During the 2 years and 4 days since their capture there were intermittent rumors that they had been 'badly injured' or that one of the two was alive.

For 2 years and 4 days, the enemy played its inhumane game of secrecy regarding the conditions of Eldad and Ehud - allowing their families to hope against hope that they were still alive and could be repatriated. Today- at the time of the exchange- an Arab spokesman took a microphone and announced that 'Goldwasser and Regev have been returned to Israel'. When asked if they were dead or alive the response was as elusive as it has been for the past 2 years and 4 days - something to the effect that 'it would soon be revealed'.

This morning, at Rosh Hanikrah in northern Israel, at a prisoner exchange between Israel and Hizbullah, some dared to hope that Eldad and Ehud would be seen alive. It was not to be. Israel announced that two caskets were turned over to the IDF and would be taken for official identification.

Following is my report today as it happened............

"The Israeli news now has the convoy with the bodies of Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev on their final journey to the army camp Shraga. Each casket, covered in the flag of Israel, visible to anyone outside, is carried by members of the IDF; the Kaddish is said, and each casket is gently placed in the center of the military vehicle with IDF escort seated inside.

As the vehicles pass slowly on the road from Rosh Hanikrah, soldiers stand at attention and salute their fallen comrades. Other traffic is at a standstill until the convoy passes.

At the same time, the news flashes to the other side of the border; the welcome for the murderer Kuntar and a few others whose murderous deeds kept them in Israeli prisons for some time. Kuntar, it must be remembered, brutally murdered several people and was sentenced to 4 life terms in prison. This is the criminal for whom a grand celebration has been prepared. A sign above the pink carpet announces, "FREEDOM GUARANTEED BY NASRALLAH".

In Israel the nation weeps with the families who are now on their way - with relatives and friends -in transportation that has been provided for them. We have just seen Karnit Goldwasser enter a vehicle with Ehud's parents. Earlier, we saw Eldad's family leave their home for the 'homecoming' of their loved ones.

Now the convoy has arrived at the military camp Shraga."

The Goldwasser and Regev families are being reunited with their loved ones - finally.

It has just been reported that ' Ehud and Eldad were killed at the time of the kidnapping' . For 2 years and 4 days this information was kept from their anxious families and the family of Israel. Let no one think that our enemy is human; we are dealing with barbarians who prove this repeatedly.

Tomorrow both Eldad and Ehud will be laid to rest in military cemeteries with the full honor that they deserve; their journey has ended. It will be a long journey for their families to recover, if ever, from their trauma.

Israel has released a vicious killer who has vowed to continue his murderous ways. What price is yet to be paid for this action? Gilad Shalit is still in the hands of another terrorist group, Hamas, that has learned from today's event.

It has been a long day - to be followed by another tomorrow. While this is Israel's national trauma it should serve as a stern warning to the rest of the free world..........those who are at war with Israel are cohorts of a much larger group of terrorists that encompasses the planet. Regardless of how close Israel's friends feel to her and sympathize with her living 'in a bad neighborhood' it can be difficult to experience fully what transpires in this small country. This makes it hard for them to understand that what happens here can happen elsewhere; the same destructive forces are at work in other countries.

That is for another article.


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Some thoughts for this with as you like

GS Don Morris, Ph.D.

The Return of Israel’s Abducted Soldiers

1. Israel has a duty, as a nation and as a people, to protect those who risk their young lives to defend its citizens
Every Israeli soldier knows that their country will do its utmost to retrieve them should they fall into the hands of the enemy. This is an expression of Israel's deep reverence for human life and of its respect for the fallen. This principle stems from Israel's sense of morality as well as from Jewish ethics. It is a demonstration of Israel's moral and physical strength.
2. There is no comparison between soldiers who guard a border to protect civilians and terrorists who penetrate it in order to kill them
Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev were serving as ordinary IDF reserve soldiers, checking a border fence, when they were abducted by Hizbullah on 12 July 2006. They were on Israeli sovereign territory conducting routine duties when seized by terrorists in a cross-border attack.

On the other hand, Samir Kuntar, the foremost terrorist of the five being released in the deal, is a heinous murderer, responsible for one of the most notorious terror attacks on Israel. Kuntar was part of a squad of four terrorists belonging to Abu Abbas's Palestine Liberation Front who infiltrated Israel via the sea on 22 April 1979. At midnight, after killing a police officer, they broke into the Nahariya home of the Haran family and abducted Danny and his four-year-old daughter Einat, taking them to the beach. Danny was shot at close range by Kuntar, as his terrified daughter looked on. Kuntar then slaughtered Einat in cold blood by smashing her head against a rock with the butt of his rifle. In the gunfire battle that developed on the beach, another Israeli policeman was killed. In the meantime, Danny's wife Smadar was hiding in the home's crawlspace with her two-year-old daughter Yael. Tragically, she accidently smothered her little girl while stifling her cries to prevent the terrorists from discovering them.

3. It is morally reprehensible that Samir Kuntar, a vile child-killer, is now being hailed as a hero by Hizbullah
An organization, just like a society, can be judged by whom it chooses to idolize and to hold up as an example for its youth. Hizbullah, an extremist Islamist organization, worships death and destruction, all the while clinging to its goal of destroying Israel.

4. Hizbullah report on Ron Arad is a travesty
The report delivered by Hizbullah regarding the fate of missing airman Ron Arad was merely a minimalistic effort, meant to exonerate Hizbullah and Iran from any responsibility. Consequently, the Israeli government decided to reject its findings and conclusions. Israel continues to consider Hizbullah and Iran responsible for the fate of Ron Arad. The government of Israel will continue with its efforts to obtain all information regarding Arad, and to locate and return Israel's missing and abducted soldiers.

5. Hizbullah not only poses a danger to Israel, it is also an obstacle to peace and a threat to Lebanon’s stability
Hizbullah is an Iranian-sponsored terrorist organization dedicated to the destruction of Israel through violence and terrorism. Its extremist ideology rejects all peace talks and threatens the security of any pragmatic Arab party that seeks a negotiated settlement with Israel. While based in Lebanon and claiming to represent its interests, Hizbullah is oblivious to the aspirations of the Lebanese population. It should be recalled that it was Hizbullah's unprovoked abduction of the two Israeli reservists, along with its simultaneous bombardment of northern Israel, that sparked the Second War in Lebanon, to the detriment of millions of Israelis and Lebanese citizens alike.

6. Israel will react forcefully to any attempt, by any party, to abduct its citizens
It should be recalled that the Israeli response to the kidnapping of Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser was unprecedented in its gravity. Israel's actions caused heavy damage to Hizbullah’s infrastructure including the loss of hundreds of its members, extensive damage to its arsenal, destruction of its headquarters, its outposts and its barracks in Beirut, as well as leaving its leadership in constant fear for their lives.

7. The deal to return IDF soldiers doesn’t legitimize Hizbullah
Israel’s decision to return its soldiers should not be interpreted as indicating any change in Israel's policy towards this Iranian-sponsored terrorist organization. The international community must continue to recognize the danger posed by Hizbullah and its extremist cohorts to the stability of the Middle East and must support the pragmatic elements in the region, who seek to make peace through dialogue and compromise.

8. Hizbullah persists in defying the international community
Hizbullah is continuing to smuggle arms and ammunition into Lebanon, and to rebuild its missile arsenal, in blatant violation of UN Security Council resolution 1701. It trains, equips and deploys its terrorists not only in areas bordering Israel, but throughout Lebanon, intimidating both Lebanese security forces and UN peace-keepers. The international community must act with determination to remove this manifest threat to the civilians of Israel and Lebanon alike.
9. The international community has now definitive evidence regarding what kind of people they are, what they value and the nature of their culture-all are contrary to our western values. To know what happened to our two soldiers, to with hold this information up to the last moment is the cruelest of behaviors. It demonstrates a lack of compassion, a lack of integrity, a lack of human decency and an intentional action to harm others. The nature of the international community's response to this behavior speaks volumes-thus far, the silence is deafening!

We either stand up for our values and our beliefs, stop "tippy toeing" around "their culture" so as not "to offend" or we should kiss goodbye our grand children's ability to grow and live in a country we were given by our parents. Time to stop being "tolerant" of the intolerant-they certainly are not caring how we feel. They are IMPOSING their values upon us, time to become erect and stop this madness!

Monday, July 14, 2008

AFP Clear As Mud

AFP distributed this story and not only inappropriately injected opinion into what was purportedly a news story, but interjected an opinion about the content of the story that is clearly absurd.

Pope prays for Middle East peace

Jun 19, 2008

VATICAN CITY (AFP) — Pope Benedict XVI called Thursday on leaders across the Middle East to work for peace, saying that he is praying "ardently" for the ability to visit the Holy Land in person.

In a clear reference to the fragile truce in the Gaza Strip, which began at 0300 GMT, the pope was speaking after meeting with international Roman and Eastern Catholic leaders, including representatives from the region.

[There is no "clear reference" to the so-called truce in the Gaza Strip.

On the other hand there is an element in this story which is inadvertantly more accurate than others. It refers to a truce IN the Gaza Strip rather than a truce between the Gaza Strip and Israel. There really is no truce between the Gaza Strip and Israel, since Arab terrorists continue to launch Kassams and mortars from Gaza at towns in Israel. Whatever truce exists is really just a cessation of hostilities within Gaza as Israel has ceased defending itself from the attacks from Gaza.]

"I am launching an appeal to national leaders so that the Middle East, and in particular the Land of Jesus, Lebanon and Iraq, can offer themselves peace and social stability, respecting fundamental human rights, including that of a genuine religious freedom," he said.

"I am praying ardently that I will be able to visit them in person, just as I am praying that certain signs of peace, which I welcome with great confidence, will come to full fruition," he added.

"Peace is the only way to tackle the serious problem of displaced persons and refugees, to put an end to the flight in particular of Christians, which so wounds the Eastern churches."

The pontiff said he had followed "with gratitude and relief" recent developments in Lebanon.

[The recent developments gave the terror group Hezbollah a veto over government actions. That is not something anyone should view with either gratitude or relief.]

The country finally elected a president and a prime minister last month government after a long stand-off and clashes between rival factions threatened to drag the country into civil war, but remains without a government.

"Once again, I express the wish that Lebanon will find the courage to fulfil its vocation as an example to the Middle East and the world at large of peaceful and constructive co-existence between men," he added.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

A Study in Distortions

The New Haven Register published a vicious anti-Israel commentary in its Forum section on Tuesday, July 8. It was entitled "Aiding and abetting the destruction of Israel's soul" and written by Melinda Tuhus, who has an email address of

Melinda Tuhus was described as a freelance writer, but she's actually a producer for Between the Lines, a radio show distributed by "Squeeky Wheel Productions." Both are inflammatory, anti-Israel entities.

Virtually every line in Tuhus' commentary merits response, so we quote almost every line and include a comment.

Primerprez encourages everyone to write letters to The New Haven Register at

Tuhus: "My first day in Palestine in mid-May, I attended a weekly demonstration in the West Bank village of Bil'in, outside Ramallah, where locals - joined by Israeli peace activists and many internationals - have been protesting what they call the "apartheid wall" being constructed by Israel."

Comment: The use of the pejorative "apartheid" is an indication of the lack of interest of the writer in objective commentary about what she admits in the following paragraph isn't a wall at all.

Tuhus: "Here, it is a chain-link fence topped by razor wire, not a concrete wall. Still, it has divided the villagers from their lands and led to much hardship and humiliation for them."

Comment: Inconvenience is unavoidable, but "hardship" is a stretch and the barrier has no connection to "humiliation." Unmentioned is the fact that the barrier has prevented the greatest inconvenience of all, the inconvenience of being blown to bits by Arab terror bombers.

Tuhus: "The weekly demonstrations are led by Iyad Burnat of Bil'in Friends of Freedom and Justice. The day I was there, about 50 people walked through the village in high spirits, waving both Palestinian and Irish flags (three Irish women were there in solidarity), then descended some hilly, rocky terrain redolent of sage as they approached the fence, which has a road on the other side patrolled by a group of Israeli soldiers in riot gear.

"Burnat marched right to the barrier and raised his arms above his head, taunting the Israelis in Hebrew, but occasionally yelling in English, "Palestine will be free!"

"After awhile, the soldiers began shooting tear gas canisters our way, starting little fires of burning sage, around the same time two young men on my side of the fence began slinging stones toward the soldiers. I remembered that familiar burning in my throat and eyes from my college, anti-Vietnam War days. I ran back up the hill and recovered quickly."

Comment: Tuhus almost certainly has the chronology backwards.

Tuhus: "This is the part of the wall for which the community took Israel to court and won. The Israeli High Court ruled that the wall would have to be moved back to the Green Line, the 1967 border before Israel occupied the West Bank and Gaza.

"But, the government just ignored the ruling."

Comment: The description of the court ruling is factually incorrect, as may be seen by reading, among other sources,, which itself is a biased, anti-Israel web site but whose analysis makes it clear the court did not rule the barrier (which the writer again incorrectly calls a wall) did not have to be rerouted to the Green Line.

Additionally, the Green Line was not a border. Indeed, the very agreements establishing it specified it not only was not a border, but was not to prejudice future negotiations over real borders.

Tuhus: "Why is Israel building a wall?"

Comment: Once again, Tuhus refers to the barrier as something she conceded it was not, showing her deliberate decision to distort.

Tuhus: "The government insists it is for security, but Palestinians and many Israelis opposed to their government's policies say it is a land grab, as it departs in many places from the border established after the 1967 war. Upon completion, it would incorporate more than 10 percent of the West Bank on the Israeli side of the barrier along with most of the region's water resources."

Comment: That Palestinian Arabs and other critics say something doesn't mean it has any validity.

The government very reluctantly agreed to build the fence, pressured by an Israeli public fed up with having their children blown apart in pizza parlors, shopping malls and discotheques. It was planned to protect people while minimizing the unavoidable inconvenience to Palestinian Arabs.

Certainly, if it was part of a "land grab," the government would have incorporated far more than 10 percent of the disputed territory on the Israeli side.

Tuhus: "The number of desperate, despicable suicide bombings inside Israel has dropped in the past few years. An obvious explanation is the barrier, but Israeli activist Hagit Ofran of Peace Now categorically denied that is the case. As we sat at an outdoor cafe in Jerusalem just outside the gates of the Old City, she and others told me the drop in violence in fact has more to do with a decision by Hamas to stop or at least suspend the bombings."

Comment: None are so blind as those who refuse to see the obvious truth. Indeed, Hamas has never stopped attempting terror bombings; it has merely been less "successful" because of the difficulties caused by the fence.

Tuhus: "In any case, she added, the barrier is only 60 percent complete, allowing any would-be bomber to sneak into Israel somewhere else along the border. One Israeli woman I interviewed at the next table said she believed the wall indeed was increasing the physical security of Israelis, but, she added, "It's killing our souls.""

Comment: The fact that the barrier is little more than half complete is further evidence that the government is building it with reluctance and it is not a "land grab."

Israel has never been happy about the measures it has been forced to take to protect itself against its enemies, as exemplified in Golda Meir's lament "We can forgive you for killing our sons. But we will never forgive you for making us kill yours."

As Israelis say, ayn briera, no alternative. Israel doesn't have a choice. Israel's critics criticize everything Israel does but never present any realistic alternatives.

Tuhus: "I'm back from my trip to the Middle East, inspired not only by the Palestinians I met who are creatively and nonviolently opposing the occupation of their land, but also by the Israelis who have joined them in solidarity and because they love their country."

Comment: The so-called "occupation" effectively ended with the establishment of the Palestinian Authority, which has long administered land on which approximately 95 percent of the Arabs in the disputed territories reside.

Tuhus: "I read the weekly e-mail reports of the Friends of Bil'in. A recent report included a video of a young Palestinian shot by Israelis with live ammunition during the protest, his leg drenched in blood as he was carried, almost unconscious, on a stretcher."

Comment: When there is violent protest, it's difficult to completely avoid injuries. That someone was injured during a violent protest isn't noteworthy; the fact that so few are injured is noteworthy and evidence of the lengths to which Israel goes to avoid harming even violent protesters.

Tuhus: "My visit and the subsequent protests in Bil'in have raised questions in my mind:

"Why hasn't the Israeli government moved the barrier to the Green Line, as ordered by its own Supreme Court last year?"

Comment: As explained, the Supreme Court made no such order. Moving the barrier without endangering more lives unnecessarily takes planning and time.

Tuhus: "Why doesn't the Israeli military just ignore the weekly actions, since the protesters are not pulling the fence down but just expressing their opposition to it?"

Comment: Portions of the security barrier have been vandalized and even torn down and the protesters almost certainly would try to destroy the fence if the Israeli military ignored them.

Tuhus: "Why do the Israelis respond with such disproportionate and sometimes lethal force to protesters who are overwhelmingly nonviolent? The Palestinian Center for Human Rights reports that dozens of Palestinians have been killed and hundreds wounded so far this year by occupation forces."

Comment: Israel's critics label any defensive measures Israel takes as "disproportionate;" that does not make it so and there is no indication that Israel has responded to the protests (which are indeed violent; the Palestinian Arabs generally call the throwing of stones, which has killed Israelis, as nonviolent) with "disproportionate force."

The Palestinian Arabs are also very skilled at making sure Israel cannot ignore their actions; when Israel tries to ignore them, they just get a little more violent.

We see that cat-and-mouse game going on right now in the so-called "cease-fire" in Gaza, with the Palestinian Arabs testing just how often they can violate the cease fire by launchi Kassams and mortars at Sderot before Israel finally acts to defend its citizens.

Tuhus: "I arrived in Palestine the day President Bush was in Jerusalem expressing eternal solidarity with Israel on its 60th anniversary, making no mention of its violations of human rights through its occupation of Palestinian lands and the attendant violence and humiliation."

Comment: The determination of what will become "Palestinian lands" awaits a negotiated agreement. The primary violations of human rights have been perpetuated by the Palestinian and other Arabs through their genocidal war against Israel and their indiscriminate murder of ordinary Israeli civilians.

Tuhus: "Right after I returned, Sens. John McCain and Barack Obama paid obeisance to the extreme position of the American Israeli Political Action Committee, completely dismissing the concerns of Palestinians."

Comment: There is no such group. Tuhus is probably trying to refer to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, at which both expressed support for a two-state solution including the establishment of a new Palestinian Arab state. Obama even criticized Jewish communities in the disputed territories.

Tuhus: "Until Americans can pressure our government, the biggest financial and political supporter of Israel, into a more balanced position, we will be aiding and abetting the destruction of Israel's soul."

Comment: A more balanced position which didn't constantly pressure Israel to meet extreme Arab demands and compromise the safety of its people would indeed be welcome.

The conflict certainly is not good for Israel's soul, but a peaceful resolution of the conflict requires compromise by all sides, not only by Israel.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Garbage In, Garbage Out

Traditionally, anti-Israel letters are filled not just with bias and hatred, but false information. This is to be expected, since it's difficult to build a case against Israel based on facts.

Primerprez sometimes enjoys looking at anti-Israel diatribes and analyzing them. The Day, a New London newspaper, published a candidate for such an analysis on July 3.

We include the text of the letter and then analyze it, virtually sentence by sentence.

Anyone wishing to write to The Day may address a letter to

The Letter

Congress seems content to endorse war against Iran

The American Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) does not represent the American people. It doesn't even represent the majority of Jews in America or the majority of Jews in Israel. Yet many U.S. representatives apparently take orders directly from AIPAC (and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi).

On AIPAC's instructions, half the members of the House dutifully signed on as cosponsors of a new anti-Iran resolution. The resolution (HCR 362) begins with the sort of lies used by the Bush administration to justify attacking Iraq. Then it calls for "stringent inspection requirements on all persons, vehicles, ships, planes, trains and cargo entering or departing Iran."

This, of course, would be an act of war.

Haven't our representatives learned anything from the human and financial disaster of the Iraq war - also promoted by AIPAC? Do they think that another war based on lies - but this time against a country more than three times the size - will be better.?

Rod Driver
Richmond, R.I.


Driver: "The American Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) does not represent the American people."

[Analysis: The writer falsely implies AIPAC claims to represent the American people. It doesn't claim to, any more than the NRA claims to represent the American people, or the AARP claims to represent the American people.]

Driver: "It doesn't even represent the majority of Jews in America or the majority of Jews in Israel."

[Analysis: See above.

AIPAC represents its members, a cross-section of Americans who recognize the importance to America of maintaining a strong relationship with Israel, which is unfortunately still the only democracy in the Middle East and the only true friend we have in that region.]

Driver: "Yet many U.S. representatives apparently take orders directly from AIPAC (and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi)."

[Analysis: This is and insult to the intelligence and patriotism of our Congressional representatives.]

Driver: "On AIPAC's instructions, half the members of the House dutifully signed on as cosponsors of a new anti-Iran resolution."

[Analysis: See above.

Iran is an irresponsible theocracy which presents the greatest threat to world peace today. It is developing nuclear weapons along with the means to launch them not only against Israel, but against our friends in Europe and even directly against us in the continental United States.

Members of Congress are rightfully concerned.

Our efforts to date, inadequate as they are, stem from the recognition of the Iranian threat, one which was brought to our attention largely through the efforts of AIPAC. We, indeed the entire world, should be indebted to AIPAC for being among the first, if not the first, to recognize that threat. Were it not for the efforts of AIPAC, Iran would probably already possess nuclear weapons and the world would be in a much more volatile state.]

Driver: "The resolution (HCR 362) begins with the sort of lies used by the Bush administration to justify attacking Iraq."

[Analysis: The text of HCR 362 contains simple statements of reality.

While many question whether the information on which the Bush Administration based its policies regarding Iraq was accurate, at the time that information was judged to be accurate even by most who opposed those policies. It is both inaccurate and irresponsible to label information given in good faith as "lies."]

Driver: "Then it calls for 'stringent inspection requirements on all persons, vehicles, ships, planes, trains and cargo entering or departing Iran.'

"This, of course, would be an act of war."

[Analysis: The resolution is actually an attempt to prevent the disastaer, almost certainly including war, which would ensue were Iran to succeed in its drive to obtain nuclear weapons.

In reality, we are already in a low-level war with Iran and its proxies. Iran is providing not only supplies but personnel for those fighting us, and the Iraqis themselves, in Iraq.]

Driver: "Haven't our representatives learned anything from the human and financial disaster of the Iraq war - also promoted by AIPAC?"

[Analysis: It's ironic that a writer who complains about alleged lies of others would include such a blatantly false assertion.

AIPAC in no way promoted the war in Iraq.

Only the writer knows whether his assertion is a deliberate lie or he is unaware of the fact that his assertion is blatantly false.

It is further ironic that we now know that the Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, was counseling President Bush against invading Iraq!]

Driver: "Do they think that another war based on lies - but this time against a country more than three times the size - will be better?"

[Analysis: Who are "they?" The American government? The Israeli government? AIPAC?

Once again, the writer who made blatantly false assertions also falsely accuses others of "lies."

He also falsely implies "they" are itching for war, while what "they" are really trying to do is prevent war.]

Many anti-Israel diatribes intersperse their heavily biased and misleading assertions and false information with some kernels of fact or reasonableness. This particular letter distinguishes itself by never raising itself even to that level.

As they say in the computer biz, garbage in, garbage out.

Friday, July 4, 2008

King Abdullah on Boycotting Israel

One question from an interview with Jordan's King Abdullah, published in the Jordan Times, dealt with boycotting companies which do business with Israel.

One sometimes wishes those who hate Israel would be less hypocritical and carry out a complete boycott of everything Israeli. If they did so, their societies would not only be firmly entrenched in the Dark Ages sociologically, but also technologically. By keeping themselves devoid of computers, cell phones and virtually all technology we take for granted these days, they would make it far easier for Israelis to keep themselves safe.

It might even lead to peace.

From the interview:

Q: Another very hot topic around town is the Jordan Festival and the fact that a company called Publicis is organising the event. Some are saying that Publicis has close ties with Israel. The minister of tourism and antiquities has denied that. Many are still calling for a boycott. It is important that we hear directly from you what the truth is.

A: I recently discussed this issue with the prime minister; Publicis is not the company that is organising the Jordan Festival. It is another company called Visiteurs Du Soir.

Today, Arab artists are contemplating cancelling their performances and Arab tourists who were planning on visiting Jordan are cancelling their trips. The government is now wasting its valuable time and resources trying to do damage control. All this because some so-called journalists are too careless and incompetent to do their basic work; it is shameful. This is a case study on how to shoot yourself in the foot, on how to be irresponsible, on how to do a massive disservice to your country and your people and on how to stop our development. Indeed, our worst enemies lie within. Should Jordan's future be held hostage to rumours and gossip? And should false information be the reference for our Jordanian press? Should we remain silent until the truth becomes the victim of irresponsible journalism?

Let us assume for a moment that it is in fact Publicis that is helping to organise the event. In fact, I cannot think of a major company that does not do business with Israel. If all these companies are offlimits then we are in deep trouble. For example, Intel whose chips power 80 per cent of computers around the world has billions of dollars of investments in Israel; its closest competitor AMD also has large investments in Israel. Does that mean we should throw our computers away? This is nonsense. If we follow this line of thought, then we will be doing the best service to Israel. All it has to do is use the best technology and best talent in the world and automatically it would be offlimits to us.