Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Reason Christmas is Bittersweet in Bethlehem

The New Britain Herald published, on the day before Christmas, a vile, anti-Israel screed, entitled Christmas Is Bittersweet in Bethlehem, written by George Rishmawi and viewable on the Minuteman Media web site and was unfortunately probably published in some other newspapers.

Minuteman Media was founded by a former mayor of Norwalk, Connecticut who has since gone rather rogue.

The following is a letter from PrimerPrez, written in response to Rishmawi's screed, which was published by the New Britain Herald.

One would get a rather distorted perspective reading George Rishmawi's "Christmas Is Bittersweet in Bethlehem" commentary in Thursday's Herald.

According to the Palestinian Authority's tourism minister, Khuloud Deibes, the number of tourists to the Palestinian Authority controlled territories has quadrupled to two million over the last two years, with 80 percent of them going to Bethlehem.

In large measure, this boom results from the efforts Israel has taken, particularly the security barrier about which Rishmawi rails, which have broken the back of the wave of terrorism the Palestinian Arabs launched when they rejected peace and the establishment of their own state in 2000. The decline of terrorism has enabled a measure of normality to return to the disputed territories.

Unfortunately, the situation for Christians living in Bethlehem and other parts of the disputed territories is far from happy, but the primary culprit is not, as Mishmawi would have one believe, the Israelis but rather the Arab Muslims.

Since Hamas took over Gaza, the owner of Gaza's only Christian bookstore was abducted and murdered, Christian shops and schools have been firebombed and Christians have been fleeing.

The situation is little better in the West Bank. According to the Associated Press, even in Bethlehem, "Christians live on a knife's edge ¦ and Muslims often stand in front of the gate of the Bible College and read from the Quran to intimidate Christian students. Other Muslims like to roll out their prayer rugs right in Manger Square."

Ironically, according to UPI, "the story's [oppression of Christians] the same in Egypt, Iraq and elsewh! ere in t he Mideast. Practically the only place in the region where the Christian population is growing is in Israel."

This reality is completely missing from the distorted picture painted by Rishmawi.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Norwegian Doctor Thinks He's From Sweden

Erik Fosse may be from Norway, but he must think he's from Sweden since he suffers from a cousin of the Stockholm Syndrome, the malady which causes hostages to sympathize with their abductors.

Fosse has long supported the Hamas terrorists.

During Operation Cast Lead, when Israel finally responded to nearly a decade of rockets launched by Hamas and other terrorist organizations in Gaza against its civilians, Fosse went to Gaza and broadcast Hamas propaganda from one of the hospital's Hamas had commandeered so it could use its basement as headquarters.

Back in Gaza and attending a Hamas rally, Fosse just got stabbed by an Arab for whom Fosse's support obviously wasn't good enough.

Naturally, Fosse didn't blame Hamas or his attacker for the stabbing; he blamed "the west," saying "I take it as a sign of how desperate people are. They have cause to be dissatisfied with the west."

This even though Fosse acknowledged he was stabbed "because I was the only blond westerner present."

As Tundra Tabloids points out, "There's the racism for you, this Lefty doctor KNOWS that the Arabs are racists, yet he continues to pimp their propaganda because he believes it helps to chip away at the credibility of Israel and the west that he hates."

For more on this incident, read this post on Tundra Tabloids.

I take Fosse's irrational reaction to his being the victim of a terror attack to be just one more illustration of the depth of hatred so many fanatics have for the only liberal, Western-oriented democracy in the Middle East.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Jimmy Carter's Al Het: Does He Really Mean It?

ADL director Abe Foxman called Jimmy Carter's open letter of apology to the Jewish people "beginning of reconciliation," with the qualification that "time will tell" the extent to which "it is an epiphany."

Others have questioned whether Carter's letter is primarily an attempt to keep his anti-Israel advocacy from damaging the political aspirations of his grandson, who just launched a campaign for the state Senate in Georgia.

In an open letter of her own, CAMERA executive director Andrea Levin wrote "we hope your conciliatory words are indicative of a true change of heart in which Israel is no longer subjected to unwarranted and false criticism" and noted a handful of very recent lies and distortions made by Carter which he needs to correct. (The text of her letter may be viewed on the CAMERA web site.)

We suggest a few other steps Carter should take, besides ceasing future incitement against Israel and issuing corrections to his latest lies and distortions, if he is actually sincere in his apology.
  1. Stop the distribution of his anti-Israel books.

    Regardless of his future statements, as long as people are buying his existing books those books will continue to spread hatred.
  2. Compensate the organizations, such as CAMERA, Honest Reporting, the Anti-Defamation League and others, which have been forced to expend a tremendous amount of time and resources to combat the lies, distortions and innuendoes in Carter's books and articles.

    A reasonable start would be to transfer the royalties earned from his books to those organizations.
  3. Donate copies of CAMERA's "Bearing False Witness," refuting a small portion of the lies and distortions in his "Palestine Peace Not Apartheid" screed, to every library containing copies of either that or any of his other books on the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Whether Jimmy Carter follows up his public apology with actions to undo the damage he's caused will show whether or not he's sincere.

Carter's Open Letter:

The time of Chanukah and the Christian holidays presents an occasion for reflection on the past and for looking to the future. In that vein, I wish to share some thoughts with you about the State of Israel and the Middle East.

I have the hope and a prayer that the State of Israel will flourish as a Jewish state within secure and recognized borders in peaceful co-existence with its neighbors and with all the Moslem States, and that this peaceful co-existence will bring security, prosperity and happiness to the people of Israel and to the people of the Middle East of all faiths.

I have the hope and a prayer that the bloodshed and hatred will change to mutual respect and cooperation, fulfilling the prophetic aspiration that the lion shall lie down with the lamb in harmony and peace. I likewise hope that violent attacks against all civilians will end, which will help set a better framework for commencing negotiations. I further hope that peace negotiations can soon commence, with all issues on the negotiating table.

I have the hope and a prayer that just as Chanukah is the Festival of Lights, the State of Israel will fulfill its destiny as a light unto the nations.

We must recognize Israel’s achievements under difficult circumstances, even as we strive in a positive way to help Israel continue to improve its relations with its Arab populations, but we must not permit criticisms for improvement to stigmatize Israel. As I would have noted at Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, but which is appropriate at any time of the year, I offer an Al Het for any words or deeds of mine that may have done so.

May we work and pray for that better day.

Hag Semach and Happy Chanukah.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Yes, Virginia, The Palestinian Arabs Don't Really Want a State

Barry Rubin, director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal has posted an excellent article, Why Can't H. Clinton Bring Israeli-Palestinian Peace? Look at What B. Clinton Offered which the Palestinians Rejected, on the GLORIA Center web site.

Among the interesting points:

When her [Hillary Clinton's] husband left office there wasn't just a "lull." Bill Clinton had spent two terms working hard to achieve a peace agreement and he failed because the Palestinians rejected every offer he made and then launched a massive terrorist-based war on Israel that lasted five years. The beginning of understanding the issue is to admit that the reason there hasn't been a Palestinian state for nearly a decade is because the Palestinian leadership turned it down.

Until that admission happens, all of this running around is a wasted effort.

Actually, even if that happens, any running around will still be a wasted effort unless and until Gaza comes back under the umbrella of the Palestinian Authority, Hamas is either transformed or eliminated, and the Palestinian Arabs finally have some leadership that is really moderate, rather than the current leadership which is still really extremist and rejectionist but appears moderate in comparison to the even more fanatical rulers in Gaza.

"I have been committed to a two-state solution, a Palestinian state for more than 10 years. I was the first person associated with any American administration who said that the Palestinians deserved and should be given their own state. So I am very committed to both the Palestinian state to fulfill the aspirations of the Palestinian people, and security for the Israelis so that they would be given the guarantee of their own future."

The word "deserved" here is worth noting. It implies that the Palestinians have earned a state of their own. While one can justify this on the basis of consciousness and conditions, it is ironic to think of such an idea in light of Palestinian political performance in the last sixty years which has consisted all too largely of saying "no" and a rather large element of terrorism.

If the world was really interested in creating states for national groups which "deserved" them, the Palestinian Arabs would be behind hundreds of national groups which have existed far longer and which have not repeatedly rejected their own state while resorting to brutal terrorism and murdering thousands of innocent people.

There's lots more in Barry Rubin's article. Read it.

Between the Lines: Abbas Really Means He Has No Interest in Peace

The latest gambit from Mahmoud Abbas is his insistence that a final status agreement can be completed within six months if only Israel would completely freeze construction in the disputed territories.

If that were the case, then a final status agreement could be reached within six months, period, since there's absolutely no reason for construction within Jewish communities in the disputed territories - or even the rampant Arab construction in the disputed territories - to affect real negotiations.

The real meaning of Abbas' words is - no surprise - he really isn't interested in a settlement.

Of course, even if he was, and if he was willing to make some reasonable compromises - something he's shown zero inclination for thus far - any agreement would be at best meaningless since Abbas also has zero influence in Gaza and can't put any agreement into effect.

There were some other parts of the interview with Abbas, available on the Haaretz web site, which have been given even less attention but which are rather interesting.

The article describes Abbas as saying the "Palestinians had no preconditions for talks with Israel," but insisted on a construction freeze.

Hmm. That sure sounds like a precondition.

Abbas was also rather witty, saying: "We were required to stop terror attacks, recognize Israel and even stop incitement. So come and see what we did. Although the joint committee against incitement is no longer active, we did act and are acting against incitement. They said there is a problem with incitement in speeches in mosques during Friday prayers. Today there is no more incitement at any mosque."

I admit I haven't been to any of the mosques in the West Bank or Gaza lately, but I'm certainly aware that there is plenty of incitement at mosques. There is also plenty of incitement coming directly from Abbas' Palestinian Authority, including in its schools.

From the article:
What would happen with Hamas-ruled Gaza if an agreement were signed between the Palestinian Authority and Israel? "Hamas has no connection to the negotiations for which I am responsible. We have said this in the past. Any agreement we reach, we will submit for a referendum," Abbas said.

Of course, Abbas can't even hold elections because Gaza is under Hamas control. If he reached an agreement, he wouldn't be able to submit it for a referendum and it would be pointless anyway because Hamas wouldn't adhere to it.

Actually, given the PLO's track record, they wouldn't adhere to it either.

It's time for Israel to stop trying to appease Abbas. It declared a ten-month moratorium on new construction in the disputed territories with the purpose of drawing Abbas into renewed negotiations, even though such negotiations themselves are a violation of the road map since they are not supposed to take place until the earlier, performance-based steps are taken and the Palestinian Authority, despite Abbas' words, hasn't come anywhere close to implementing its first step obligations.

Israel should give Abbas one month and declare that if he doesn't renew negotiations within a month the moratorium ends immediately rather than after ten months.

One final point, which has been made by others but is given little attention: if the Palestinian Arabs were really concerned about the effects of construction within Jewish communities in the disputed territories, such construction would be a spur to negotiate, rather than an impediment, since a negotiated agreement is the only way for the Palestinian Authority to actually gain control of territory and establish the apartheid state they claim to crave.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Know Nothing Mentality of the Israel-Haters

A brief wire service story about funds pledged to the Palestinian Authority, published in The Hartford Courant (and, I'm sure, many other newspapers) on Monday, December 7, contained a brief reference to talks between the Palestinian Arabs and Israel being "stalemated."

This struck me as being factually incorrect, since there are no talks, and I immediately wrote a letter to the Courant pointing that out. I did so, in large measure, because one connotation of talks being stalemated is an equality of blame.

The Letters Editor of the Courant disagreed with my opinion that the term stalemated was factually incorrect since one might consider talks to be ongoing even though none are taking place now. This may not be a completely accurate description, but it was a reasonable position even if one with which I disagreed. In any case, he very quickly (two days later) published my letter with a very minor modification. This is what was published.

Mideast Sides Aren't Talking

The Dec. 7 news brief "The Number," about $64 million the World Bank and other donors pledged to help the Palestinian Authority prepare for statehood, incorrectly stated that "talks with Israel are stalemated."

Talks are not stalemated. There simply are no talks.

The reason there are no talks is that the supposedly moderate leaders of the Palestinian Authority, at least those in the West Bank (Judea and Samaria), as opposed to the recognized fanatical terrorists in charge of Gaza, refuse to negotiate with Israel.

Given that the content of negotiations always boils down to how much more Israel will give the Palestinian Arabs to induce them to agree to live in peace in a state of their own alongside Israel, one must wonder whether the goal of the Palestinians really is an independent state or remains, as still written in the charters of Hamas, Fatah and the PLO, the elimination of the free and democratic state of Israel.

Alan H. Stein, president, Promoting Responsibility in Middle East Reporting-Connecticut, Waterbury

That very morning, I received the following email from a Mr. Peter Dudack <>.
the editor was a joke. Like you could give an un-biased opinion to save your life.


Pete Dudack
Windsor Ct

Usually, I don't respond to crank emails like that, but perhaps because the fact that he used an email account from the Hamilton Sundstrand subsidiary of United Technologies, indicating he might be one of the more intelligent cranks, I sent a short response, simply noting: "Two of the interesting aspects of the Arab-Israeli conflict are that the Arabs continually falsely accuse Israel of sins for which they are guilty and their supporters continually accuse the supporters of Israel of sins for which they themselves are guilty."

To this, I received an even shorter response: "and you are guilty of I said quite the joke."

It seems clear further correspondence would be pointless, but his clearly (at best) misguided statement of equivalence between Israel and 9/11 did make me think more about the strong connections between those who have perpetrated six decades of war on Israel and those who perpetrated 9/11.

The motivation of both is the fear and loathing of the liberal, Western culture and values held and exemplified by both Israel and America.

Israel's sin is being a bastion of Western freedom in the midst of a Middle East dominated by Arabs and Islam, even though Israel is basically the continuation, after a long interruption, of a sovereign nation that existed long before Mohammed created Islam.

Those who say Arabs and Muslims in the Middle East resent America because of its support of Israel actually have it backwards; they resent Israel because it is looked upon as an outpost of America and the West.

Similarly, as is clear to anyone who pays attention to what Al-Qaeda was saying before it realized it could find additional recruits if it added in anti-Israel rhetoric, the motivation for 9/11 was connected to the fanatical opposition to the American presence in Saudi Arabia that came when the United States came in to rescue Kuwait after Saddam Hussein's invasion and to save Saudi Arabia from the same fate.

But facts never get in the way of the hatreds of those who try to promulgate the absurd theory of Jewish complicity with 9/11.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Do the Palestinian Arabs Deserve Their Own State?

The questionnaire below has been floating around cyberspace for years, but it's always worth keeping in view.

It also brings to mind the oft-repeated statement "the Palestinian Arabs deserve a state of their own," which makes one wonder about other national groups which do not have their own independent states.

I looked up the Encyclopedia of the Stateless Nations on Wikipedia and found the entry began with the following:
Encyclopedia of the Stateless Nations: Ethnic and National Groups Around the World is a four volume set of books by James Minahan. The 2002 book follows and expands upon his 1996 Nations without States. In the volumes, Minahan chronicles 350 national groups that are not recognized as independent states. He presents a defined criterion for a stateless nation:
  1. Self-identity as a distinctive group,
  2. the display of the outward trappings of national consciousness (particularly the adoption of a flag),
  3. the formation of a specifically nationalist organization or political grouping that reflects its claim to self-determination.

One never hears anyone say any of those other 350 stateless national groups deserves its own state. Perhaps it has something to do with the following four characteristics of the Palestinian Arabs which are not shared by the others:
  1. The Palestinian Arabs have a much shorter history than any of the others, having formed a still tentative national identity only since the Arabs lost the war they forced on Israel in 1967.
  2. None of the other groups forged their identity as an anti-group, as a way of denying the right of another group (in the case of the Palestinian Arabs, the right of the Jews) to its homeland.
  3. None of the other groups has repeatedly spurned opportunities to establish its own sovereign state.
  4. None of the other groups has made terrorism such a core value at the heart of its identity.

An interesting questionnaire for Palestinian Advocates

By Yashiko Sagamori

If you are so sure that "Palestine, the country, goes back through most of recorded history," I expect you to be able to answer a few basic questions about that country of Palestine:

  1. When was it founded and by whom?

  2. What were its borders?

  3. What was its capital?

  4. What were its major cities?

  5. What constituted the basis of its economy?

  6. What was its form of government?

  7. Can you name at least one Palestinian leader before Arafat?

  8. Was Palestine ever recognized by a country whose existence, at that time or now, leaves no room for interpretation?

  9. What was the language of the country of Palestine?

  10. What was the prevalent religion of the country of Palestine?

  11. What was the name of its currency? Choose any date in history and tell us what was the approximate exchange rate of the Palestinian monetary unit against the US dollar, German mark, GB pound, Japanese yen, or Chinese yuan on that date.

  12. And, finally, since there is no such country today, what caused its demise and when did it occur?

You are lamenting the "low sinking" of a "once proud" nation. Please tell me, when exactly was that "nation" proud and what was it so proud of?

And here is the least sarcastic question of all: If the people you mistakenly call "Palestinians" are anything but generic Arabs collected from all over — or thrown out of — the Arab world, if they really have a genuine ethnic identity that gives them right for self-determination, why did they never try to become independent until Arabs suffered their devastating defeat in the Six Day War?

I hope you avoid the temptation to trace the modern day "Palestinians" to the Biblical Philistines: substituting etymology for history won't work here.

The truth should be obvious to everyone who wants to know it. Arab countries have never abandoned the dream of destroying Israel ; they still cherish it today. Having time and again failed to achieve their evil goal with military means, they decided to fight Israel by proxy. For that purpose, they created a terrorist organization, cynically called it "the Palestinian people" and installed it in Gaza , Judea, and Samaria . How else can you explain the refusal by Jordan and Egypt to unconditionally accept back the "West Bank" and Gaza , respectively?

The fact is, Arabs populating Gaza , Judea, and Samaria have much less claim to nationhood than that Indian tribe that successfully emerged in Connecticut with the purpose of starting a tax-exempt casino: at least that tribe had a constructive goal that motivated them. The so-called "Palestinians" have only one motivation: the destruction of Israel and in my book that is not sufficient to consider them a nation" — or anything else except what they really are: a terrorist organization that will one day be dismantled.

In fact, there is only one way to achieve peace in the Middle East . Arab countries must acknowledge and accept their defeat in their war against Israel and, as the losing side should, pay Israel reparations for the more than 50 years of devastation they have visited on it. The most appropriate form of such reparations would be the removal of their terrorist organization from the land of Israel and accepting Israel's ancient sovereignty over Gaza, Judea, and Samaria.

That will mark the end of the Palestinian people. What are you saying again was its beginning?