Thursday, December 30, 2010

Playing Make Believe

This was submitted to the Connecticut Post as a request for a correction, but instead was published as a letter to the editor.

Between the lines: Everybody's pretending that Mahmoud Abbas is the elected leader of the Palestinian Authority, with the authority to negotiate an agreement, but everyone also knows he's no longer "president" and, besides obviously having no interest in reaching any reasonable peace agreement - he's effectively pointed that out himself by repeatedly saying he'll never compromise and that an agreement would have been reached long ago had he any flexibility, he has no authority.

Palestinian president's time in office disputed

The news item "Quest for peace," published Monday, contained an obvious factual error that should be corrected.

The item incorrectly stated " Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' term expires next month." Abbas was elected to a four-year term in January, 2005 and his term in office legally ended January 8, 2009.

There are some who believe the Palestinian Authority's legislature had the authority to extend his term by one year, but that's highly disputable.

It's equally disputable that it was ever done since the legislature hasn't effectively met since the Hamas coup in Gaza, and even then his term would have ended January 8, 2010. (There are understandable reasons why various parties are pretending otherwise, but those do not change the fact that Abbas' term ended long ago.)

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

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Emek story: An Angry Girl and Her Bodyguard

Avital is a highly intuitive medical clown therapist – or Dream Doctor (known to all as Tila).  Amit is a ten-year old girl who was seriously injured in an automobile accident and lay in Emek’s Department of Pediatric Surgery.  One day she awoke in horror to find a fresh scar from her breast bone to her navel, from emergency surgery to repair her torn intestines and to save her life.  Amit … immobile, angry and mistrusting anyone who came near her was refusing infusions and anything offered – whether medical or of a personal nature.  The energy in her isolated room reeked of confrontation.

Enter Tila.  Within milliseconds (seeing the little girl’s angry face and no words having been spoken) she understood the forces overwhelmingly apparent in Amit’s room and she went into action.  Tila pantomimed extreme anger towards everyone in the room; Amit’s mother, a nurse and a physician – reflecting Amit’s behavior.  She stood between the girl and the others and blocked anyone from coming near.  Tila refused cookies or sweets and acted as if she wanted nothing from anyone.  Seeing her own anger being acted out by Tila, Amit cracked a smile.  The nurse noticed the change and mentioned it.  Big mistake.  Tila began ranting against the nurse and how dare she speak of a smile that was not hers to speak of.  Tila forced everyone out of the room and stood defiantly with her arms crossed in the doorway.  In those frantic moments she had become Amit’s bodyguard and a delicate ballet of trust was set in motion.

The doctor reentered and was immediately accosted by Tila who threatened him with a red and yellow plastic gun, demanding to know what he wanted and why he was there.  Amit saw this and the color returned to her face, her anger having been vented through Tila.  The doctor, fearing for his life, said that he was there to treat Amit.  Tila asked the little girl who still refused his presence and he was forced to again leave the room, followed by Tila who whispered for him to return in about five minutes. 

Tila defiantly returned to Amit’s bedside and asked the girl what she wanted.  Amit said that she wanted to leave, but she couldn’t move.  Tila pulled out a multi-colored note pad and matching pen and began drawing a map and explained how she knew of an escape route they could take to get out.  Amit then said that she wanted to go home, but without a hole in her stomach.  The little girl and her bodyguard then began a discussion about what needed to be done to fix the hole and Tila pretended not to understand.  She called the physician back in and threatened him with the gun as he explained what needed to be done so Amit could go home without a hole in her stomach.  The doc spoke only to the clown and was not allowed top speak directly with Amit.  Upon completion of his explanation, Tila threw him out of the room. 

The medical team soon returned to the room and was ordered by Tila to do exactly what needed to be done.  The atmosphere had changed dramatically as the little girl became self confident, felt that she was in control of her fate and that she was not alone because she had a bodyguard. 

When the nurse said that she needed an enema, Tila demanded that she too wanted one.  Tila complained that Amit got all the attention, was jealous of her impressive scar and that Amit was allowed to have an enema while she was refused.  Amit laughed that her bodyguard couldn’t get what she had.  

Amit was hospitalized in Emek for three long months, but she had a friend and protector.  They took walks together and Tila said to the girl’s mother (with a hidden wink), “We don’t want you to walk with us!”  One day the girl’s infusion vein clogged and she screamed in pain – refusing to let a new physician come near her.  Tila had the girl touch his hands to prove that he really was ok and only then was he allowed to reinsert the needle.  On the day of Amit’s release to go home, Tila made her a party complete with balloons and gifts for everyone.  Amit slowly walked, still bent over, from room to room with a bubble gun – shooting iridescent spheres into the air to make other children smile. 

As Amit was packing to leave, Tila was sad and complained that she had to stay.  She played it until the end.

Tila didn’t come to that little girl to tell jokes, act silly or to try and make her laugh.  Her mission was far more sophisticated. 

Tila (Avital) has a Masters degree in The Performing Arts.  When you support Emek 4 Kids, you also expose our children to the genius of the Dream Doctor.                                            

Thank you.

Larry Rich
Director of Development
International Patients & Public Relations
Israel's Emek Medical Center
Phone in Israel ... 972-04-649 4417
Mobile in Israel ... 972-0505-737 641
Phone in New York ... 646-546 5970
Fax in Israel ... 972-04-652 2642
Mailing address:
Emek Medical Center
Afula 18101

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Letter to the Hartford Courant

This letter was submitted to the Hartford Courant December 4, 2010, but was never published.

To the editor:

I had to laugh at the way, according to the article "Abbas: Self-rule at risk," published Saturday, December 4, the Palestinian Arab leader yet again threatened to dissolve the Palestinian Authority if the "U.S.-backed peace negotiations broke down."

There are no peace negotiations to break down, since Abbas refuses to engage in peace negotiations with Israel.

Through many years and through many governments, Israel has proven it is committed to peace, making many concessions and expressing the willingness to make even more.

Unfortunately, Israel can't make peace alone; it needs a partner prepared to meet it partway. Even Mahmoud Abbas has effectively said he is not that partner, recently admitting that if he was willing to show "flexibility on these issues the peace agreement would have been signed a long time ago."


Alan Stein

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Helen Thomas’ Shameless Attacks on Israel and Jews

This was submitted as a letter to the editor of the Detroit Free Press. Additional letters may be submitted to

To the editor:

The letters regarding Helen Thomas in the Sunday, December 12 Free Press were very frightening because of the blatant anti-Semitism and excuses for Helen Thomas’ shameless attacks on Israel and Jews.

One-letter skirts around Thomas’ unashamed hate with “… Thomas' principled accomplishments over a lengthy period of time stand above the questionable, politically motivated attempts to dismiss her and diminish all the good that she represents.” Excuse me; what good does she represent except to those that gave her a standing ovation during her anti-Jewish, anti-Israel rant?

Another letter glosses over the bigotry that is alive and well with “She has been out in this world much more than a normal person, and she has been exposed to many more things than the average American, so she just may know more than many” Does her age and experience allow her to revile Jews to an adoring crowd?

Another “I have traveled to Israel and the West Bank, and what I witnessed was an anathema to my American values.” Rather than generalities like “anathema to my American values” let’s see the writer’s examples of an "anathema to my American values" in another letter and while he is at it some examples of the incessant anti-Jewish and Anti-Christian media and school frenzy in the West Bank, Gaza, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the rest of the Arab world that encourages Arab children to murder Jewish and Christian children.

These letters didn’t disguise the letter writers feelings. It wasn’t undercover – it was blatant anti-Semitism of the first order right there for all to see. Joseph Goebbels must be smiling.

Ed Kohl
West Bloomfield, MI

Netanyahu Simply Echoed U.S. Remarks on Jerusalem Status

This letter was published December 16, 2010 in the Waterbury Republican-American.

The Dec. 13 article "Israeli: Jerusalem ours," includes the opinion that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's affirmation of his government's commitment to continue Jerusalem's status as the united capital of Israel, open and shared by all, is "likely to increase friction with" the U.S. government.

Our president and secretary of State expressed the same commitment. I was in Washington, D.C., on June 4, 2008, and heard then-Sen. Barack Obama insist "Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided." A year earlier, his now secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton, wrote "an undivided Jerusalem as (Israel's) capital ... must never be questioned." Israel's leader essentially reiterating the words of U.S. leaders should not cause any friction between the two countries.

In sharp contrast, we hear little of the repeated assertions of Mahmoud Abbas, the so-called "moderate" leader of the Palestinian Authority, that he will never make any concessions on any of the core issues pre venting an Arab-Israeli peace agreement. Abbas' statements go to the heart of the conflict and the reasons the Palestinian Arabs repeatedly have refused to establish their own state living in peace with Israel. They should not remain ignored.

Alan Stein

The writer is president of Promoting Responsibility in Middle East Reporting (

Monday, December 6, 2010

Abbas Threatens - Again - To Dissolve the Palestinian Authority

A recent Associated Press article reports that Mahmoud Abbas has threatened to dissolve the Palestinian Authority he leads, forcing Israel to re-occupy the West Bank, "if troubled peace talks fail."

The article, like almost all others in a similar vein, fails to mention there are no peace talks to fail and that Abbas has often made the same threat.

During the last two years, except for a brief, three week interlude in September, there have been no peace talks for the simple reason that Mahmoud Abbas has refused to sit down with Israel and negotiate. That three week interlude came near the end of Israel's unilateral and unreciprocated ten-month moratorium on Jewish construction in the disputed territories and was proceeded by an Abbas threat to walk out in less than a month - which he promptly did.

That Abbas refuses to negotiate is rather curious, since a prime focus of negotiations is the establishment of the Palestinian Arab state he claims to crave. On the other hand, one wonders whether he really wants an Arab state, given that he spurned an offer from former Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert to establish one on the equivalent of all the disputed territory. He acts as if his true goal - as spelled out in the charters of both the Fatah and PLO groups he also leads - remains the destruction of Israel.

His threat to force Israel to re-occupy the Palestinian Authority governed areas serves as a reminder that, for all practical purposes, the so-called Israeli occupation ended in the mid-1990s with the formation of the Palestinian Authority and that Israeli leaders have repeatedly made clear Israel does not want to rule over the Palestinian Arabs.

Ironically, forcing Israel to resume governing the Arabs in the disputed territories, while unwelcome by Israel, would probably be beneficial to the Palestinian Arabs. People tend to forget how much better life got in Judea and Samaria when Israel captured those areas after being attacked by Jordan, which had occupied them from 1948 until 1967.

In what used to be recognized as the most benign occupation in history, schools, hospitals and roads were built. Colleges and universities were opened after none existed under Jordanian occupation. Living conditions improved and life expectancy soared.

These improvements abruptly ended with the outbreak of the first intifada in the late 1980s. Things got worse when the Palestinian Authority took over in the 1990s and then really nosedived in 2000 when Yasser Arafat rejected the establishment of a Palestinian Arab state and launched his brutal terror offensive.

The situation in the West Bank has improved slightly the last few years, after Israel broke the back of the terror offensive which, while aimed at terrorizing Jews, hurt the Arabs more than the Israelis.

One other highly pertinent piece of information was omitted from the article: Abbas doesn't even pretend to have any role in Gaza, which is controlled by Hamas, a terrorist group even more radical than Fatah. Thus, even if Abbas had the will to negotiate peace (which he clearly doesn't) and the authority to negotiate peace (which he lacks, since he is no longer the legal leader of the Palestinian Authority), he clearly has no ability to implement a peace agreement.

Ultimately, these are just details which help illuminate the basic, underlying reason the Arab-Israel conflict continues to defy the most dedicated efforts of outsiders trying to help resolve it: peace requires the consent of both sides. While peace has been an overriding goal for Israel since its reestablishment in 1948, it can't make peace unilaterally. As Golda Meir sagely observed, peace will come when its Arab neighbors prize the lives of their children more than they hate Israel.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Borders do not exist –update #3

GS Don Morris, Ph.D.
November 29, 2010

Interesting how the old adage, “what goes around, comes around” has made its appearance again here in the Middle East. Story after story is reporting the rather old and worn out mantra of “return to the 1967 borders.” Headlines on both sides of the argument abound:

No return to pre-1967 borders: Israel

Abbas wants return to pre-1967 borders

Israeli FM rules out return to 1967 borders

Hamas: Ceasefire for return to 1967 border

Israelis steal Arab land in West Bank

"If Israel wants comprehensive, just, and lasting peace to prevail one day, it knows that this cannot be achieved unless the Israeli forces withdrew from all the Arab lands occupied in 1967 - including east Jerusalem, the occupied Syrian Golan Heights, and the remaining occupied Lebanese territories - and solved all the final status issues (Jerusalem, the borders, settlement building, the refugees, water, security, and release of the detainees) in accordance with the pertinent resolutions of international legitimacy". Saeb Erekat, Chief PA Negotiator-Asharq Alawsat –Nov 2010

Thus: “Everyone around the world talks about the ’67 borders, but with some amendments, some swaps here and there,” he told a Brookings Institution forum the day after he met with US President Barack Obama and other top American officials**

Again, it is mid 2010 and this statement has been made for years as my 2007 article described. Abbas is in trouble with his own organization. They just announced cancellation of Fatah local elections: “The decision to call off the elections was announced on the last day set for candidates and lists to present their candidacies. Palestinian sources told The Jerusalem Post that the decision had been made due to deep divisions in Fatah and because many of the faction’s candidates had been planning to run as independents, which was one of the reasons why Fatah lost the January 2006 parliamentary election .”***

In order to regain some control Abbas brings out the same old nonstarter argument-the non-existent 1967 borders. A reminder of the facts does follow-please hold those who suggest otherwise accountable-enough lies! Let us go over this AGAIN!

There you have it-everyone referring to the “borders”. The fact is this has been used as a term for decades by initially the media, then the local populations, then the academics followed by the governments involved. Surely I must be mistaken when I say there are no legally fixed borders. Explanation will follow in a moment. It has been a most convenient strategy, inadvertently reinforced by Israel years ago, to have been used by our enemies’ to their advantage. Implicit within the term borders is the notion that one country stops and another entity begins. If we have towns on the “other side of the border” then we are “occupying” their land and we must now “leave and give back the land to its rightful owners. A very good strategy and it has worked to a limited degree thus far. Time to set the record correct-again.

Let’s re-set the stage: “At the conclusion of the War of Independence, in 1949, all of the Arab countries who invaded Israel signed cease fire agreements with Israel, starting with Egypt on February 24 and concluding with Syria on July 20. These agreements specified the interim borders between Israel and the Arab states, as decided by the outcome of the battles.” These became known as the “Armistice Line” and later it was called also the “Green Line…The Armistice Agreements brought the fighting of the War of Independence to an end, but did not actually end the war between Israel and its Arab neighbors.”1

In a legal sense, what is today called a border is indeed nothing more than an arbitrary line between Israel proper and it surrounding Arab neighbors. The lines were originally called armistice lines and morphed into the “green line” as time went on. The end result “on the ground” was as follows:

• Egypt territory was restored to its previous line; however, in the Gaza Strip where Egypt continued in control.
• The border with Lebanon was the same previous line.
• The border with Syria was the same previous line.
• Now it gets interesting, Jordan retained control of the hill country historically known as Judea and Samaria. This territory was renamed the "West Bank" and Jordan also controlled the Old City of Jerusalem.
It is important to understand one critical fact that your media and pundits either with hold from you or are ignorant and have not completed their homework. In the Armistice Agreements, the ceasefire lines are defined as follows:
• 5(2). In no sense are the cease-fire lines to be interpreted as political or territorial borders and their delineation in no way affects the rights, demands or positions of any of the parties to the cease-fire agreements regarding the final disposition of the Palestine question.
• 5(3). The fundamental objective of the cease-fire lines is to serve as a line beyond which the armed forces of each of the parties will deploy.1

From 1949 to 1967, the areas of Gaza and Judea and Samaria were illegally placed under the control of Egypt and Jordan respectively. Arabs and Jews continued to live within these same areas during this time. From a political and military point of view, the 1947 U.N. partition plan served as reason for the legal declaration of a Jewish State.
Fast forward to June 1967. Israel was forced to defend herself against Arab aggression. It took six days and all of their armies were defeated. Mind you, during this entire time, 1949-1967 the “Armistice Lines remained-again a demarcation for placement of armies but never represented an official border. Once again the issue of borders reared its “head”. After the 1947- 48 war, the Arabs refused to recognize Israel, and insisted the boundaries were only ceasefire lines, and this remained their legal status. The Arab nations were given another opportunity to recognize Israel and settle upon borders. Instead, the Arab League declared: "no peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, no negotiations with it....
What to do-almost 20 years and still no legal borders. Almost during this same timeline, when the territories were under Egyptian and Jordanian control and power, no request was ever made for a “Palestinian State”. Equally true is that the people living in these territories were Arab tribes and social clans who dealt with the daily issues of life.
The International community stepped forward. After the 1967 War, President Lyndon Johnson also rejected the idea that Israel should withdraw to the pre-war frontier: "There are some who have urged, as a single, simple solution, an immediate return to the situation as it was on June 4.... this is not a prescription for peace but for renewed hostilities."
The Joint Chiefs of Staff concluded in 1967: "From a strictly military point of view, Israel would require the retention of some captured territory in order to provide militarily defensible borders." More than three decades later, Lieutenant General (Ret.) Thomas Kelly, director of operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the Gulf War, reiterated Israel's strategic concern: "It is impossible to defend Jerusalem unless you hold the high ground....An aircraft that takes off from an airport in Amman is going to be over Jerusalem in two-and-a-half minutes, so it's utterly impossible for me to defend the whole country unless I hold that land."2
Curiously, on the last day of the war, orders were given to the Israelis at the front to stop their movement-it took some time to get the information to them and where they physically stopped the new “Green Line” was created. The eastern borders of Israel are yet to be decided. Moreover, UN Resolution 242, the foundation stone of Arab-Israeli negotiations, explicitly avoided requiring an Israeli retreat to the 1967 lines, its drafters believing those were indefensible.
Resolution 242 calls for the recognition of Israel’s right to exist, an end to the state of war maintained by the Arab world against Israel and secure and recognized boundaries for Israel. 242 does NOT require Israel to return to the non-secure borders of pre-1967.3 The Arab nations and the leaders of the Arabs living in Gaza and Judea and Samaria have, to this day, used UN 242 as the guiding legal principle for legally determining internationally recognized borders.
Remember, Jordan actually annexed the territories called Judea and Samaria-this was done illegally and was only recognized by Great Britain and Pakistan. Nonetheless, Jordan operated as though this territory belonged to them. After the six-day war, Israel began its administration of these areas west of the Jordan River to this day. The best descriptor for these areas is clearly they are “disputed territories” and have been for decades.
After the battles and the Yom Kippur War in October of 1973, another Arab attack upon Israel, a period of instability followed. It should be noted that most of Jordan’s population east of the Jordan River are people known as Palestinians-fact is some 70% of Jordan is comprised of this group. The country is run by another group of people known as the Hashemites. Much has been written on this time in history and it is not the intent of this piece to review the unintended consequences of Jordan ultimately renouncing all claims (1988) to the disputed territories of Judea and Samaria. At this point, still no border between Israel proper and the disputed territories.
It is now 2009, we have had any number of “peace processes”, and you all should know them by name. They have all failed to produce borders and certainly peace is as elusive as is the “Man in the moon’. Of course, the facts do not matter to the Arab nations and peoples who profess to be our enemies. They do possess a great deal of “chutzpah” that resonates within their own populations and now we have President Obama who has bought into the misrepresentation “hook, line and sinker.” For a supposed intelligent man, his knowledge of the history and understanding of the facts is only surpassed by his ignorance of this area. I am attempting to be gentle with this characterization and to jolt his supporters with the truth. They have embarked upon a ME strategy that will fail for all, have incredible security ramifications for the USA and/or they mean to destroy Israel. There are no other outcomes should the Obama team continue down the path of arrogance.
Yet again, via a “reputable” NGO a report has been issued to suggest that land was stolen. This is quite simple-no sovereign state existed in the “West Bank” nor does one exist today. This disputed territory is the subject of the “ongoing discussions/arguments” between Israel and the “leadership” of the Arab peoples living inside the same disputed territory. One cannot have stolen something that never belonged to them no matter how loud one shouts, no matter what names are called and no matter what distortions are presented over and over again. I would simply suggest that the media outlets, pundits, supporters of these same repeating Arabs are insane-to keep repeating something over and over again and expecting different results (lies turned into truths) is the definition of insanity.

1.Palestine Facts, “What determined Israel's borders after the 1948 War of Independence?”,
2. “Israel Education Initiative: The 1967 Border”, World Jewry,
3.” What happened in 1967 that caused Israel’s borders to change?”, Smooth Stone Blog, Jan. 3, 2007,
June 11, 2010

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Reply to a Screed by Rasheed

The New Haven Register regularly published op-eds by Jamilah Rasheed, coordinator of the Connecticut Islamic Speakers Bureau. Rasheed's commentaries are almost invariably anti-Israel screeds, filled with misinformation, disinformation and outright false information. Ironically, her e-mail address is
One of her screeds was published Wednesday, November 17. Edward Wood, not taken in by her propaganda, immediately submitted the following letter in response.

    Jamilah Rasheed's latest Forum piece was entitled, "U.S.
needs 'sincere partner' for peace," and, as is her custom, heaps
contempt on Israel as being the offending party. Unfortunately, the
facts do not argue in her favor. 

    Ever since Israel came to exist in 1948 its enemies,
including the present day Palestinians and their spiritual brethren in
the nations which surround it have openly declared that their true
intentions are for Israel to cease to exist altogether. Whether by the
smaller acts of terrorism in the streets of Israel's cities or open
warfare involving national armies, the evidence of this goal is

    The so-called peace talks which have ensued at various times
in the last 60 years have demonstrated by its concessions how very much
Israel would like to live in peace with its intractable foes and have
for their efforts only been rewarded with further hostility and hatred. 

    The unfortunate part of this is that a lie repeated often
enough begins to sound like the truth. The unending propaganda generated
by Rasheed and her like-minded apologists around the world has been very
successful in pointing the finger of blame at the wrong party. 

    I personally find it incredible how the world community can
overlook the atrocities Muslim-controlled governments inflict even on
their own people and side with them against a small and victimized
country whose freedom and democracy is a beacon of hope in a region of
the world largely controlled by 

    I'm here to send the message that there are those of us out
here who are not fooled by the anti-Israeli, anti-American rhetoric
which gushes out in such an unending torrent and is totally unsupported
by reality. 

Edward Wood

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Will Barack Appreciate Bibi's Present?

My current understanding of the construction moratorium extension negotiated between Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is that the terms are rather strange.

America is promising Israel it will continue to act in good faith in the United Nations, vetoing the sort of one-sided, anti-Israel resolutions it has always vetoed, including any attempt by the Palestinian Authority to completely violate the very agreement which gives it whatever legitimacy it possesses. It also promises to help Israel maintain its qualitative military edge, something it is already pledged to do but keeps undermining with bonehead moves like selling Saudi Arabia $60 billion worth of advanced equipment - the equivalent of 20 years or two decades of military assistance to Israel. (Of course, it can reassure Israel with the argument that the Saudis are incapable of using the equipment and are basically just wasting their money, which is really our money because it comes from the oil we keep buying from them at exorbitant prices.)

In return, Netanyahu agrees to go back on his promise to his own people, that the unprecedented building moratorium which would never be extended or repeated, and extend the moratorium three months, retroactively.

Three other catches:

1. The agreement amounts to negotiations between Israel and the United States, with Israel making concessions to the Palestinian Arabs through the United States, effectively making America a tool of the Palestinian Arabs. This is a terrible precedent, for both the United States and for Israel.

2. Half the three months have already gone by. If the United States ever gets around to putting the agreement in writing, so Netanyahu can put it up to his cabinet for a vote, there will probably be only about a month to go. Since the moratorium, of course, does not stop projects already in progress, it effectively amounts to a delay of one month in initiating new construction.

3. The United States promises it will never again ask for a construction moratorium. This may look like a gift from the United States to Israel, but it's really Bibi's gift to Barack and, if President Obama has finally learned something, makes the whole charade worthwhile - to Obama!

Here's why:

President Obama has obviously completely botched things with his ham-handed intervention in the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Of course, it's really Mahmoud Abbas, the supposedly "moderate" leader of the Palestinian Authority as well as the Fatah and PLO terror gangs, who's refused to negotiate for two years, after refusing an offer from then Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert for far more than he could ever have expected.

But that was to be expected. The Palestinian Arabs always do whatever they can to avoid negotiating, to not really negotiate when they're dragged to the table, and to reject anything offered to them. The major constructive role the United States has is to not make that easy for the Arabs; instead, Obama did just the opposite.

The centerpiece of his blundering that made it easy for Abbas to avoid even sitting down to negotiate was the priority he gave to stopping construction of homes for Jews not only in the disputed territories, but even in Israel's capital.

Forget the fact that this was immoral; forget the fact that this was racist; forget the fact that he reneged on the promises of his predecessors, severely damaging American credibility; the real problem is that this was stupid.

But Obama climbed up on a limb and just couldn't come down.

With this concession, Bibi has given Barack a face saving way to climb down  from that limb.

Which, of course, is why the Palestinian Arabs are objecting: they'll be losing the excuse they've been using to avoid negotiating.

However, Mahmoud Abbas is very resourceful. One can be confident that even if Barack Obama finally uses his intelligence and accepts Bibi's generous gift, Mahmoud will find some other way to avoid negotiating and avoid peace.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Negotiating with the Wrong Partner

The American proposal for an additional 90-day building moratorium by Israelis (but not Arabs) in the disputed territories makes one wonder who the parties to the Arab-Israeli conflict are.

One would expect that if Israel was going to be making concessions, it would be making the concessions to the Palestinian Arabs, who would, of course, have to be making their own concessions in return.

That's not the situation here. Israel is making concessions to the United States and the United States is giving consideration to Israel. This consideration appears to involve three areas:

1. Agreeing to oppose, for a period of one year, anti-Israel actions in the United Nations that America should be opposing anyway.

2. Sending Israel additional military equipment to maintain the supposed military edge America has kept pledging to ensure anyway.

3. A pledge to not seek any additional settlement freezes.

The proposed extension is presumably just that, an extension under the same terms as the original freeze, and would end three months after the expiration of the original moratorium. Presumably, ongoing construction could continue, but new construction would not commence.

As an American, I don't usually presume to give the Israeli government advice, but I feel compelled to make an exception in this case.

Israel should extend the freeze under its original conditions, with the understanding that it's effectively really just for another month and a half and all building that's already in progress continues, but should reject all the American quid pro quas other than the commitment to stop demanding settlement freezes.

Negotiations between the United States and Israel sets a dangerous precedent. It eliminates any pretense of the United States as being an honest broker, having it acting on behalf of the same Palestinian Authority that has repeatedly rejected peace and continued the conflict. This is bad for Israel and it's bad for America.

Another month and a half of not initiating new projects in the disputed territories, but it's worth it if it means ending America pressure on settlements.

Ultimately, the key is the Arabs making the strategic decision to pursue a better life for their own people rather than pursuing the destruction of Israel. The Obama Administration's ludicrous obsession about settlements has distracted everyone for two years.

So my advice to the Israeli government: if you can be assured that this isn't just one more promise that will ultimately be reneged, agree to not initiate new projects for another six weeks, but also make it clear that you expect the Arabs, not the American government, to make reciprocal concessions.

And this time, don't back down on that.

Time to Wake Up

By Alan Stein, Ph.D.

The Jewish community is sleeping. It's time to wake up.

The growing BDS (boycott, divestment, sanctions) movement is aimed at delegitimizing the only Western-oriented democracy in the Middle East. Its ultimate goal is the destruction of Israel.

Howard Kohr's main speech at the AIPAC Policy Conference a year and a half ago focused on this movement. He issued a clarion call to action for the pro-Israel community, including both Jews and non-Jews.

In the time since Kohr's call to action, we have remained mostly asleep and the Israel-haters have ramped up their BDS War on Israel. Jewish Federations of North American and the Jewish Council for Public Affairs are finally launching the multimillion dollar "Israel Action Network" to combat the anti-Israel boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign. Still, the real work is at the grass roots; we need not and must not wait for the Israel Action Network to get into action.

I spent Sunday, November 7, suffering through the sixth annual "Tree of Life Conference" at the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme. The theme of the conference was "a new generation of peacemakers," but those were not peacemakers; they were hatemongers devoted to the defamation of Israel.

Coincidentally, on the same day, the second Conference and Summit of the Inter-parliamentary Coalition for Combating Antisemitism convened in Ottawa. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper gave an eloquent speech, including the observation "when Israel, the only country in the world whose very existence is under attack — is consistently and conspicuously singled out for condemnation, I believe we are morally obligated to take a stand.  Demonization, double standards, delegitimization, the three D’s, it is the responsibility of us all to stand up to them."

There was a surfeit of demonization, double standards and delegitimization at the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme that day, as well as in Hartford, Cape Cod, New York City and Philadelphia, as the organizers of the Tree of Life Conference took their hatefest on the road.

During the entire travesty in Old Lyme, there was no reference to any of the numerous times the Palestinian Arabs have chosen continued conflict over peace, no reference to their rejections of the offers of Ehud Barak in 2000 and Ehud Olmert in 2008 that would have given them a state in virtually all the disputed territories, no reference to Mahmoud Abbas' repeated assertions that he'd never make any compromises on any important issues or his admission that there would have been a peace agreement long ago if he was willing to exhibit any flexibility. Total blame for conflict was given to demon Israel.

The observation of Alan Dershowitz applied in spades: were a Martian to land at the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme on Sunday, November 7, 2010, he would conclude the earth was a wonderful place except for one illegitimate, evil nation, Israel, which should be wiped off the fact of the earth.

The hatefest made prominent use of viciously anti-Israel Jews, including a traveling ambassador for the Tree of Life Educational Fund, who in the past has expressed the view that Israel's founding was illegitimate and peace is impossible as long as Israel exists in anything resembling its present form, two young Israeli Shministim who have refused to serve in the Israeli Defense Forces, and the National Director of Jewish Voices for Peace, recognized by the Anti-Defamation League as one of the top ten anti-Israel organizations.

They showed visceral hatred for Israel and reveled in the adulation they received from a mob which hated the only country in the Middle East whose core values do not conflict with most of their own.

The closing remarks were delivered by one of those Jewish defamers. Mark Braverman, spoke with fanatical, messianic fervor from a raised pulpit high above his adoring fans. He asserted BDS was the defining movement of this generation, equating it to the campaign against apartheid South Africa, and expressing supreme confidence it would ultimately triumph. He appeared blind to the contradiction between the priority he gave delegitimizing Israel and his admission that many peoples are far worse off than the Palestinian Arabs and that many nations were far more abusive of human rights than even he (falsely) claimed Israel was.

We must not let that evil movement succeed. We must wake up and take action. We need a statewide discussion on how to act as a community, but we must not wait for that discussion to begin to act as individuals.

The writer is Professor Emeritus at the University of Connecticut and President of PRIMER-Connecticut. Permission is granted to freely reproduce and publish this article in any venue consistent with the major goal of Israel and all mainstream Jewish and pro-Israel organizations, peace for Israel and its neighbors.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Prime Minister Stephen Harper at the Ottawa Conference

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper

This is a must watch video of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper explaining obsessive, one-sided defamation of Israel as anti-semitism at the Ottawa Conference on Combating Antisemitism.

Included in Primer Minister Harper's message:
"Harnessing disparate anti-Semitic, anti-American and anti-Western ideologies, it targets the Jewish people by targeting the Jewish homeland, Israel, as the source of injustice and conflict in the world, and uses, perversely, the language of human rights to do so.

We must be relentless in exposing this new anti-Semitism for what it is...when Israel, the only country in the world whose very existence is under attack - Is consistently and conspicuously singled out for condemnation, I believe we are morally obligated to take a stand. Demonization, double standards, delegitimization, the 3 D's, it is a responsibility to stand up to them.

I know, by the way, because I have the bruises to show for it, that whether it is at the United Nations, or any other international forum, the easiest thing to do is simply to just get along and go along with this anti-Israeli rhetoric, to pretend it is just about being even-handed, and to excuse oneself with the label of 'honest broker.'

There are, after all, a lot more votes - a lot more - in being anti-Israeli than in taking a stand. But, as long as I am prime minister, whether it is at the UN or the Francophonie or anywhere else, Canada will take that stand...Not just because it is the right thing to do, but because history shows us, and the ideology of the anti-Israeli mob tells us all too well, that those who threaten the existence of the Jewish people are a threat to all of us."

Monday, November 8, 2010

An Open Letter to David Good, Organizer of the Tree of Life Conference

Each year, David Good organizes an anti-Israel hate-fest he mislabels as a "Tree of Life Conference" at his First Congregational Church of Old Lyme, Connecticut. I have gone to five of them; I generally felt  how I imagine a Black might have felt attending a meeting of the Klu Klux Klan. There was an evaluation form included in the registration packet; in lieu of handing it in at the end of the conference, I sent the following email to Rev. Good.

Dear Rev. Good:

I had far too much to say to be able to submit the evaluation form regarding your "2010 Tree of Life Conference on Israel and Palestine" at the end of the event, so I decided to answer the questions via an email which I will be sharing with others.

1. How did you hear about the Conference?
I read about it in the newspaper, on the web, via email and through some activist organizations.

2. Have you attended any of the preceding Tree of Life Conferences?
Yes. I previously attended four of them.

3. Which Conference event(s) did you/are you planning to attend this weekend?
Sunday afternoon speaker program.

4. The Conference strives to spotlight human rights abuses inherent in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict not routinely covered by U.S. media, and to celebrate the efforts of remarkable people working to bring about a just and peaceful resolution to the conflict. How did we do?
(The scale in the form goes from 0, representing "not at all," to 5, representing "very well." I find that scale somewhat inappropriate, so I'll give more descriptive answers as necessary.)

a. I learned about aspects of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict I hadn't known, or didn't understand fully, before I came to the Conference.
Not at all

b. I was impressed by the courage and non-violent work of dissidents in the conflict.
Not at all

c. I'm thinking differently about the role of the United States as a broker of peace in this conflict.
It made me think of how fortunate the entire world is that the extremist, hateful perspective projected in the conference is rejected by the overwhelming majority of the American people.

d. I'm curious to learn more about the issues examined today.
I've been curious about all the issues for many years, particularly the key issues, which were totally ignored during the conference.

e. I'm interested in traveling to the region to see the situation for myself.
I've been to the region many times and will be traveling there again shortly.

f. I'm thinking of taking some actions that expresses my concerns about issues examined in the Conference (e.g. joining a group, writing elected officials, supporting an activist organization, speaking out on websites or in letters to the editor, etc.)
I already do all that.

5. Your age bracket: 50-64.

6. Here's an opportunity to add - and answer - a question we didn't ask, or to comment further on the Conference program:

First, I will make the comment and ask the question which I had intended to ask during the "Audience Discussion with All Participants" portion which ended so abruptly.

(I had my hand up to ask a question during the entire portion, except, of course, while others were actually asking questions. After just about everyone else who had wanted to participate had gotten their chance, Mr. Olsen had finally indicated I would be next when the person handling the microphone walked over to him, whispered in his ear, and then announced there was no time for further questions. Perhaps it was a coincidence, but I have never witnessed a question and answer session ending so abruptly, with absolutely no prior indication the end was near; invariably, the moderator will publicly announce when there is time for only one or two more questions. I can't help but wonder whether the session was ended simply in order to prevent me from saying anything.)

It may be comfortable and even exhilarating to participate in a weekend long exercise in Israel-bashing, but it does nothing to promote either peace or reconciliation. Israel is not evil incarnate, as portrayed by all your speakers; the Palestinian Arabs are not angelic, innocent victims.

Any reasonable person realizes that peace will require good faith negotiations involving compromises by all parties. During the last few months, Mahmoud Abbas, the leader of the Palestinian Arabs, has repeatedly insisted that he will not make any compromises regarding any of the core issues. If you think I'm just repeating pro-Israel propaganda, you can read reports of his insistence in the Kuwaiti Times. Or read on the Lebanese Al-Manar website how he said "If we showed flexibility on these issues the peace agreement would have been signed a long time ago."

Do you agree with Abbas' total inflexibility? Do you see that as an impediment to peace, or do you agree with him that all the compromises have to be made by Israel?

Some additional comments I had not planned to make during the aborted discussion period:

In two ways there was a slight improvement over some of the previous conferences:

1. This time, nobody explicitly said that Israel was reestablished in sin and would best be destroyed, although that point was certainly repeatedly made in subtle ways. After all, the major purpose of the despicable BDS movement is to delegitimize Israel to ease the path to its destruction.

2. This time, there was no even a pretense of not being totally biased against Israel.

Personally, I find it hypocritical for a group of people to complain (falsely, but that's besides the point) that only the Israeli perspective is given to the American people and then exclusively present only a totally anti-Israel perspective. (That so much of the information presented was not only biased, but misleading and even blatantly factually incorrect is also besides the point.) I've been to many pro-Israel meetings and events and have never been to any which were anywhere close to as one-sided or downright hateful as the Tree of Life Conferences.

Indeed, I feel compelled to ask you the question Joseph Welch asked Senator Joseph McCarthy: At long last, sir, have you no shame?

If you have any shame, or any interest in actually promoting peace rather than just hatred of Israel, I suggest you start educating yourself and begin telling the whole truth to your congregants. I have a few places to start.

One good place is "The Daily Alert," a digest of important news stories produced each day for the Council of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations. It may be viewed at . I recommend you get on their mailing list, so that you can receive it by email each day.

The Council of Presidents, unlike the fringe elements you invite each year to speak at your conference, truly represents the mainstream of the American Jewish community. Their selection is quite diverse and even often includes articles by people, such as Jimmy Carter, who are anti-Israel. There are some insightful items almost every day. For example, there were at least two included today which clearly demonstrate important issues neglected:

An article, which may be found in full at , reporting that "Six foreign nationals and Palestinians set fires alight near the West Bank settlement of Bat Ayin in the Gush Etzion bloc." This is apparently not uncommon. The Jews living in the disputed territories are themselves not always angels, but so often Arabs are guilty of the very sort of provocations of which they accuse Jews.

A bulletin from Palestinian Media Watch entitled "Is the Palestinian Authority preparing its people for peace?" It may be found at . (Indeed, I recommend visiting the PMW website often and subscribing to their email list.)

Palestinian Media Watch does what its name implies: it actually reads and analyzes the Palestinian media. When one is aware of what is published in that media, which unlike the Israeli media exists at the mercy of its government, it becomes obvious that the Palestinian Authority is blatantly violating its commitments to end incitement and is educating the people for continued conflict with the ultimate goal of destroying Israel.

Conveniently, Itamar Marcus, the Director of PMW, will be speaking in Hartford on Wednesday afternoon, the very same day you will be presenting another Tree of Life program in that city. I'm not sure whether outsiders are invited, but I suggest you contact Avi Posnick and see whether you can either go to listen or meet privately with Marcus before or after. (He is speaking at a public meeting in the evening; if you can't meet with him in Hartford, perhaps you can find someone else to moderate your program in the evening?)

Finally, some general observations not directly related to you conference:

I am involved in a number of pro-Israel organizations; in sharp contrast to the organizations you bring to the Tree of Life Conference each year, every one of them is pro-peace and none of them are anti-Arab or anti-Palestinian. Being pro-peace is taken for granted, with the arguments between those considered doves and hawks, and between those considered left-wing or right-wing, is over what policies are more likely to induce the Arabs to give up their genocidal war (yes, at its heart it is a genocidal war) and agree to live in peace. Just about anyone, from virtually any part of the spectrum, would agree to just about anything if it would bring peace.

Unfortunately, the picture in the anti-Israel camp is quite different. (I view it as anti-Israel, rather than pro-Arab or pro-Palestinian, because its priority is almost always harming Israel rather than supporting what's best for the Arabs.) Even Mahmoud Abbas, who in the Palestinian Arab spectrum is a "moderate," is unwilling to compromise on any of his outlandish demands designed to lead to the destruction of Israel. He even, extremely hypocritically, refuses and insists he will always refuse to recognize the reality of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people even as he insists that the Israelis accept the existence of a separate state as the nation-state of the Palestinian people.

And, even if Abbas was willing to negotiate (he's now spent two years refusing to even pretend to negotiate, with the exception of a single month of nominal negotiations, which he preceded with an announcement that he would be walking out after a month) and come to a peace agreement, it would be virtually worthless since he barely controls the West Bank (he'd be instantly overthrown if Israel gave into his demands turn over all security to the Palestinian Authority) and has no influence in Gaza.

And, that doesn't even start to address the basic conflict which gave rise to the conflict between the Israelis and the people who now call themselves Palestinians: the genocidal Arab and Muslim war against Israel.

Those are the real problems; those are the core; those need to be addressed.

People who wish to be peacemakers cannot ignore the real issues. Events like your Tree of Life Conferences are analogous to giving free crack to addicts: they simply reward and reinforce the Arab refusal to live in peace.

I have a young cousin, Doron, living in Beersheva. I feel sick to my stomach whenever I think about the fact that he is serving in the Israeli army, but as the Israelis realize, אין ברירה, there's no alternative.

He has two even younger nephews, Dror and Ta'or, the older of whom just celebrated his second birthday, also my cousins. I feel sick at the realization that they will also have to serve, אין ברירה. I long for real peacemakers, who will promote peace rather than spread hated and prolong the war.

I'm basically an optimist, but after the disastrous results of the failed Oslo experiment, I see no hope for peace before the time Dror and Ta'or have to serve. But, if enough people begin to act wisely, I do have some hope that their children can live in an Israel at peace.

You obviously have influence over many people in your congregation and are working hard to spread your influence.

I beg you to change your course, to become a true peacemaker, to make future Tree of Life Conferences live up to their name, and to help create a world where the children of Dror and Ta'or, and their Arab neighbors, may be able to live in peace.

שלום.Salaam‪.‬ Peace

Alan Stein

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Jewish State - Yes or No

This is from the October 30 newsletter from Beryl Ratzer, reproduced from her A Historical Tour of the Holy Land website.

It is posted here with the permission of the author, whose website we highly recommend.

To all my dear Family, Friends and Readers, Shalom!

A recent query from one of my readers, in fact one of the many tourists I have guided over the years, has given me the push to write about a subject which is very much in the news - the Israeli request that the Palestinians declare loud and clear that they recognize Israel as the Jewish State.

Alongside that, and just as much in the news, is the planned Israeli legislation requiring a declaration of allegiance to the Jewish State of Israel when requesting Israeli citizenship.

These two references to "Jewish State" have raised the ire of those who are seeking to delegitimise the State of Israel who claim that Israel, as the Jewish State, has no right to exist. Furthermore they seek the abrogation of  the League of Nation resolution, after WWI, which recognized the right of the Jewish people to a homeland in Palestine and UN resolution 181 in 1947 which repeated that recognition. In fact, they tend to deny that there is such a thing as a "Jewish people".

This denial is very similar to Holocaust denial. The proof is there for all to see but deniers refuse to be side-tracked by the facts and by the documented evidence. The Jewish people have chronicled their history,  from its inception, in the Hebrew Scriptures (the Old Testament). Much of it is substantiated by finds in archaeological excavations, not only in Israel but in the entire Middle East, and in external sources.

Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebecca, Jacob (whose name was changed to Israel), Leah and Rachel are our patriarchs and matriarchs. Their descendants, through the twelve sons of Jacob,  are the original Jewish people, then known both as the twelve tribes of Israel and as Hebrews.

After a long sojourn in Egypt they leave, led by Moses and under Joshua they conquer the Land of Canaan, which God had promised to Abraham and his descendants. When Moses received the Law on Mount Sinai, this people, all descended from Abraham and Sarah, now had a religion - Judaism in modern English. Uniquely, the Israelites were now a people and a religion.

Thus far is perhaps a matter of belief in the veracity of the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Old Testament). For the non-believers there is other evidence. There are inscriptions found both in Egypt and in Mesopotamia which refer to the various Canaanite peoples. Drawings of the unsuccessful  Philistine  invasion of Egypt are found in tombs.  The same Philistines who invaded the southern coast of the Land of Canaan and against whom the first king of Israel, Saul battled in vain.

By the time we get to King David, just over three thousand years ago, we are on surer ground. Faith and facts. The house of David is mentioned in an inscription found in situ in the excavation at Dan. His city has been excavated in Jerusalem where seals with the names of royal scribes mentioned in the Hebrew Scriptures (OT) have been found.

After the death of king Solomon, the kingdom of Israel was rent by civil war. The two southern tribes, Judah and Benjamin were henceforth to be known as the kingdom of Judah. In the eighth century BCE the northern kingdom of Israel was overrun by the Assyrians and the ten tribes were led into exile, to remain lost until the twentieth century. The Jews of Ethiopia are the descendants of one of the tribes and in northern India there are a group of people who identify themselves as the descendants of the tribe of Menashe.  Lest we doubt the scriptures, there is reference to this Assyrian campaign in Egyptian annals.

Assyria disappeared from history and it was the Babylonians who conquered the kingdom of Judah in 586 BCE. They destroyed the Temple Solomon had built in Jerusalem and exiled much of the population to the rivers of Babylon where "they wept for Zion". (Psalm 137). Babylon too disappeared from history and within a few decades Cyrus, the king of Persia, allowed the descendants of the exiled Judeans, from which later will come the word "Jew", to return to Judah and to rebuild their Temple.

The book of Ezra opens with the declaration of Cyrus and is almost a verbatim copy of a tablet which was found in an excavation in the Persian archives. This "return to Zion" and the rebuilding of the Temple, the Second Temple, are the last events recorded in the Hebrew Scriptures.

The trials and tribulations of the Jews over the next two thousand five hundred years are well documented in Greek, Roman, Christian and other historical sources as well as in the Talmud and various Jewish writings.

Despite exile and persecution the Jewish people have remained faithful to their religion. Our religion preserved our peoplehood and in the twentieth century our religion and our peoplehood were recognized by the League of Nations and by United Nations. In 1948, in a war not of our choosing, we won our own state, the State of Israel, and we now became a people, a religion, and a nation among the nations of the world.

To deny the history of the Jews, to deny the existence of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem brings to question the accuracy of the Gospel narratives in the NT. To deny the existence of David and Solomon brings to question the accuracy of the Koran where they are both recognized as prophets. To deny the legitimacy of the State of Israel is to question UN resolutions.

Our right to be recognized as a Jewish State is no less than the right of fifty Arab and Moslem counties the be known as the "Islamic republic of ‚Ķ". Our right to have a flag with the Star of David is no less than the right  of Switzerland, Greece, Sweden, Finland and the UK to have a cross on their flags.

Our right to protect our status as a Jewish State of Israel and to expect an oath of allegiance is no less than the right  of the Swiss, Germans, Japanese, French and innumerable other countries to protect their individual national heritage.

Denying these rights only to Israel illustrates once again the double standard - one rule for the world, another for Israel.

"Israel can name itself whatever it wants," said the Palestinian Authority president, Mahmoud Abbas, while, according to the newspaper HaAretz, his chief negotiator, Saeb Erekat, said that the Palestinian Authority will never recognize Israel as the Jewish state.

These are chilling words. You may be asking yourselves why this recognition is so important to Israel.

If Israel is to recognise the right of the Palestinians, who have no historical roots in this land, to their state, it should be obvious that the Palestinians in turn have to recognise the three thousand year connection of  Jewish people to the same land. If this recognition is not mutual, how can we hope for a genuine peace?

The problem is that the Palestinian identity as a people, which is a less than fifty years in the making,  depends entirely on negating the identity and history of the Jewish people. That is why they have to deny that the Jewish Temple lies somewhere beneath the Dome of the Rock.

The PMW, Palestinian Media Watch, sends regular bulletins and clips of what is broadcast in the Palestinian media in Arabic for the Palestinians. Needless to say this is very different from what the non-Palestinian hears.

On 6th October Palestinians were told on PA TV (Fatah) that "the holy sites of Jaffa are in the hands of the settlers". Jaffa is in Israel and is one unit with the one hundred year old city of Tel Aviv, to which the Palestinians also lay claim. The inference here is that settlers are not only those Israelis living in the West Bank but also those living in Israel. And all should be expelled.

According to Al-Hayat Al-Jadida on 26th October, during a visit to Bethlehem PA chairman Abbas displayed a stone model of Palestine which erases Israel completely. This needs no explanation. It is the ultimate Palestinian aspiration.

Over the last decade or two we have seen the Arab citizens of Israel redefine themselves. Whereas once they saw themselves as Israeli Arabs today many prefer to be known as Palestinians living in Israel. Despite this though, they are definitely not interested in moving from Israel to the future Palestinian state.

The Arab members of Knesset rarely devote themselves to improving the lot of their constituents but prefer to indulge in foreign policy politics and criticize Israel at every possible forum. This unfortunately has boomeranged  somewhat as segments of the Israeli public have become more wary of their Arab neighbours.

Below are excerpts from Israeli Arab leaders' comments as presented by MEMRI

'Awad 'Abd Al-Fatah, secretary-general of the National Democratic Assembly party, known as Balad, called for the Israeli Arabs to be recognized as part of the Palestinian struggle, explaining that as members of the Palestinian people they had the right to participate in deliberations over the Palestinian cause.[1]

In an interview for the Qatari daily Al-Raya, MK Haneen Zo'abi, of the Balad party, said that negotiations with Israel undermined the inquiry committees and the boycotts against Israel: "One picture of Palestinian Authority President Abu Mazen shaking hands with Netanyahu wipes away all the achievements of the political inquiry committees and all the calls for boycotting [Israel]. The popular boycotts and the international investigations require a moral [basis] as well as a [firm political] stance... while the path of negotiations is an act of self-sabotage on our part."[6]

MK Taleb Al-Sana, of the United Arab List-Arab Movement for Renewal (Ra'am-Ta'al), called on the Israeli Arabs to unite in refusing to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, since, he said, this is tantamount to recognizing what the Jews view as their historical right to the land.[8] A fellow party member, MK Ahmad Tibi, said that "the Palestinian leadership rejects the contemptible and unacceptable Israeli demand that the PLO recognize Israel as a Jewish state.[9]

In a similar vein, MK Baraka stated that "recognizing [Israel] as a Jewish state constitutes a second nakba for the Palestinian rights," since Israel's aim in seeking such recognition is to gather all the diaspora Jewry in Israel while denying Palestinian refugees the right of return; to legitimize the expulsion of those Palestinians living in Israel; and to annex the settlements and "united Jerusalem" to the state.[10]

[1], September 9, 2010., [6] Al-Raya (Qatar), September 8, 2010.[8], September 9, 2010., [9] Al-'Arab (Qatar), September 15, 2010.[10] Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (PA), October 6, 2010.

In what other democratic country in the world can members of parliament voice such treasonous opinions without fear of retribution?

It took a long time for the truth of the Mohammed el Dura story to come out but thanks to the persistence of Philippe Karsenty it did. The death of this young boy, supposedly by an Israeli soldier, has now been shown to have been staged for the reporters who were present and who were fully aware that the whole event was staged but nevertheless did not hesitate to present it as truth.

A few weeks ago we had a similar incident. Palestinian children were stoning an Israeli driven vehicle in Jerusalem and in a desperate attempt to get away a the driver hit one of the children. The story that went around the world was that a settler (Israeli of course) deliberately ran down innocent Palestinian child on his way home from prayers.

But when all the footage was examined it can clearly be seen that the photographers knew in advance what was about to happen and positioned themselves for the best shots. Not only did the young stone throwers set up an ambush, they were aided by adults who made sure that the ambushed car couldn't escape in reverse because they drove a car behind it to block any escape route.

Please watch the incident in its entirety, not just the abbreviated version for Israel bashing.

The heat waves of October are behind us and hopefully the much needed rains are on their way. But more than we pray for rain, we pray for peace.

Although we understand the need for a strong and deterring Israel Defense  Force no one is happy or relaxed while their husbands, their sons and daughters are serving. From personal experience I can tell you that it seems to be even worse when our grand sons and grand daughters are called up to join the ranks!!



Friday, November 5, 2010

Finnish Israel-Haters Flaunt Their Genocidal Anti-Semitism

Ken Sikorski tells the story on his excellent Tundra Tabloids blog.

In FINNISH ISLAMIC SOCIETY MENTIONED IN ANTI-SEMITIC CYBER ATTACK ON FINNISH-ISRAELI CULTURAL WEBSITE……., Ken explains how the Israel-Information pages of the Finnish-Israeli cultural website were hacked, with its pages replaced with racist writings and pornographic material.

As we post this, the site is blank, but Google has cached the vandalized pages, on which "the hackers named themselves the Finnish Islamic community, but this will probably just a childish joke. The digital manipulated pages contained the calling of Israel as a swine state, and asked whether the UN was finally ready to destroy all Jews." (Quote from Tundra Tabloids)

One important message, obvious but generally ignored, is the Arab/Muslim war against Israel is really a racist, genocidal war. Israel and the Jews are the "canaries in the coal mine;" they are really just the first targets, with Israel in fact acting not only to defend itself, but as the first line of defense of Western civilization.

As Martin Niemöller wrote:

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out -- Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out -- Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out -- Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me -- and there was no one left to speak for me.

It's interesting that this web attack came as Hamas admitted 700 of those killed during Operation Cast Lead were indeed terrorists, confirming that the infamous Goldstone Commission was, at best, duped by the lies of the anti-Israel propagandists.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

A Tale of Two Letters

On September 15, 2010, anti-Israel fanatic Stanley Heller had a typically biased, malicious and factually-challenged letter published in the New Haven Register.

I sent a response to the editor the next day and was quickly informed they planned to publish it. When it didn't appear within a couple of weeks, I checked and was reassured they intended to publish it; this happened again a couple of weeks later.

When two letters appeared responding to a far more recent op-ed on the Arab-Israeli conflict, I inferred that, regardless of the editor's stated intention, my letter was not going to be published as submitted. As much had occurred in the interim, particularly blunt but unreported (in Connecticut) statements by Mahmoud Abbas making it clear the lack of any peace agreement was a result of Arab intransigence, I sent a new letter on October 19 (nearly five weeks after my original letter) asking that it be published.

Thirteen days later, my original letter was finally published, approximately six and a half weeks after it was submitted. It was also edited in a way which significantly weakened its message.

Here are the letter as published, the original as submitted and the alternative that wasn't published.

Letter about Mideast has 'perverted' ideas

Published November 1, 2010

In his letter, Stanley Heller accuses George Will of writing a column "replete with bias, errors and absurd exaggerations." That description does aptly describes Heller's letter.

Almost everyone agrees that the election of Hamas represented the will of Palestinians, but few sensible people agree with Heller that America and Israel should reward the Palestinians for electing a terrorist group committed to the destruction of Israel and Western civilization.

Elections have consequences. If anything has turned Gaza into anything resembling a prison, it is the repressive Hamas government. In contrast, Israel has been acting to mitigate the Gazans' self-inflicted disaster, pouring so much assistance in that the people there reportedly have a higher standard of living than in Egypt and Turkey.

The participation of Hamas violated the legal requirement that candidates neither "commit or advocate racism" nor "pursue the implementation of their aims by unlawful, non-democratic means." Of course, so did the participation of Fatah.

It is also worth noting that Mahmoud Abbas' term in office officially ended Jan. 9, 2009.

The Palestinians are governed by separate, warring governments of questionable legality, led by someone whose term of office ended long ago.

Given the absurdity, perhaps Heller can be excused for having a perverted perspective so divorced from reality.

Alan H. Stein 
Editor's note: Alan H. Stein is president of Promoting Responsibility in Middle East Reporting - Connecticut.


Original Version

Submitted September 16, 2010

In his letter published September 15, Stanley Heller falsely accuses George Will of writing a column "replete with bias, errors and absurd exaggerations."

That description does aptly describe Heller's own letter.

Almost everyone agrees with Heller that the election of Hamas represented the will of the Palestinian Arabs, but few sensible people agree with him that America and Israel should reward the Palestinian Arabs for electing a terrorist group committed to the destruction not only of Israel, but ultimately Western civilization as well.

Sorry, Stan: elections have consequences.

If anything has turned Gaza into anything resembling a prison, it is the repressive Hamas government its people chose. In contrast, Israel has been acting to mitigate the Gazans' self-inflicted disaster, pouring so much assistance into Gaza the people there reportedly have a higher standard of living than their neighbors in Egypt and Turkey.

It should be borne in mind that the participation of Hamas did violate the legal requirement that candidates neither "commit or advocate racism" nor "pursue the implementation of their aims by unlawful non-democratic means." Of course, so did the participation of Fatah.

Also worth noting: Mahmoud Abbas' term in office officially ended January 9, 2009.

The Palestinian Arabs are governed by two separate, warring governments of questionable legality, led by someone whose term of office ended long ago.

Given the absurdity of the reality, perhaps Heller can be excused for having a perverted perspective so divorced from reality.

Updated Letter

Submitted October 19

There have been a number of articles about the Arab-Israeli conflict published recently, such as the October 17 article "Peace talk plan in Mideast may be crushed by building." Surprisingly there has been no reporting in the New Haven Register of statements by Mahmoud Abbas, leader not only of the Palestinian Authority but also of the PLO and Fatah, which clearly show the real reasons the Palestinian Arabs refused to negotiate for nearly two years and then walked out of the talks less than a month after their resumption.

In early September, Abbas said: "If they demand concessions on the rights of the refugees or the 1967 borders, I will quit. I can’t allow myself to make even one concession."

On October 15, Abbas said: "If we showed flexibility on these [core] issues the peace agreement would have been signed a long time ago."

In other words, the leader of the Palestinian Arabs quite clearly admitted he was not willing to compromise at all on any of the important issues and that it has been the inflexibility of the Arabs that has prevented peace!

Yet Abbas is generally, but obviously falsely, referred to as a "moderate," while Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister who has made countless, unreciprocated concessions, is generally, but just as obviously falsely, labeled "hard-line."

If we want to help bring about peace, we need to face reality; ignoring the intransigence of even the most "moderate" of the Arab leaders and their unwillingness to engage in good faith negotiations only encourages that intransigence.

It's not that Abbas walked out of negotiations; he never really entered them.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Potentially, Israel Faces a Second Holocaust

Phyllis Chesler wrote this for the rally-demonstration "For the truth, for Israel" held in Rome October 7. It is already available on several web sites and blogs, but we wanted to post it to the PRIMER-Connecticut blog as well because Professor Chesler will be speaking in New Haven, at Yale, on November 18.

Chesler will be speaking at the Antisemitism in Comparative Perspective Seminar Series organized by The Yale Initiative for the Interdisciplinary Study of Antisemitism (YIISA). The title of her talk will be "How Scapegoating Israel Diminishes the Rights of Women in the Middle East." It is scheduled for 4:15-5:45 p.m. at ISPS (Institution for Social and Policy Studies), 77 Prospect Street, New Haven.

YIISA holds seminars most Thursday afternoons during the academic year. The seminars are open to the public and well worth attending for those who are nearby. The schedule may be found on the YIISA Seminar Series web page.

Many of the articles by Chesler may be found on her web site

Potentially, Israel faces a Second Holocaust.

Indeed, many Europeans continue Hitler’s war against the Jews by supporting fifty seven Islamic apartheid nation states against the single Jewish democratic state.

The worldwide media has become totally “Palestinianized” and Stalinized. Palestinians—even the haters, terrorists, and torturers, are naught but noble, innocent victims. Israel has literally become Orwell’s 1984 “Goldstein,” whom propagandized mobs are taught to scapegoat for their every conceivable sorrow.

The ideological assault against Israel has escalated. Daily, hourly, in every language, the media repeats Big Lies. Israel is the “Nazi, apartheid” state, the “colonial” aggressor. What a neat trick. Bloody Muslim imperialism and Islamic religious and gender apartheid are thus denied and projected onto Israel.

Israel is essentially, existentially, “evil.”

In 2005, Ahmadinejad said that Israel must be “wiped off the map.” In 2006, he said that the Middle East would be better off “without the existence of the Zionist regime” and that Israel would “soon be wiped out.”

President Ahmadinejad denies the Holocaust, but really, he feels Hitler did not go far enough. Thus, he is taking up where Hitler left off—Ahmadinejad’s intention is a clearly stated genocidal one.

No one is stopping him.

We—the world’s civilians—are now all Israelis. The same world which refused to stop the airplane hijackings and human bombs which blew up countless Israeli civilians has now inherited this whirlwind. As they say: It starts with the Jews but it never ends there.

Recently, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair said that: “To delegitimize Israel is an affront not only to Israelis but to those everywhere, in every part of humanity, who share the values of a free and independent spirit.” However, while his speech, delivered in Israel, was a very warm one, Blair also seemed to suggest that Israel’s best approach to combat the “delegitimization efforts” was to “always be a staunch and unremitting advocate and actor for peace.”

In other words, Israel, alone among nations, must earn the right to exist by being “good.” If we applied this standard to Iran, Sudan, Pakistan, or Saudi Arabia, they would have ceased to exist long ago.

Dear Mr. Blair: Israel has always been in favor of “peace.” The intransigence and solution lie elsewhere with the Palestinians, the Arab world, the Muslim world, and with the so-called “international community” which have collectively hardened their hearts against Israel. In 1975, the United Nations resolved that “Zionism is a form of racism” and has since passed 322 resolutions condemning Israel and not one condemning any Arab country.

Europeans and Americans have launched countless petitions to boycott Israel-only. Fifty Israeli and 150 American artists have just launched a performance boycott against the Israeli city Ariel. Meanwhile, they or their colleagues continue to perform in Cairo, Ramallah, Riyadh and the United Arab Emirates. Free spirited theatre people have allied themselves with the most regressive and repressive of ideologies and condemned Israel, the only country that does not honor murder women, or jail and torture dissidents, artists, or homosexuals.

Obama’s United States, along with the western intelligentsia, wrongly blame Israel for the peace failure; they believe that it would be “racist” or “Islamophobic” to expect the Palestinians to first accept Israel’s existence as a Jewish state as a precondition for any real peace negotiation. Instead, the American media blames Israel for “not caring about peace.” Human rights organizations and medical journals blame Israel only—although in 2009, the founder of Human Rights Watch finally criticized his own organization for doing so.

Our theatre boycotters wish to be seen as "anti-racists;" yet, and tragically, by holding Arab and Muslim countries to much lower standards, and by condemning their inhabitants to continued Islamist barbarism, they fail every ethical test of non-racism. And, their anti-Zionism is an unacknowledged form of anti-Semitism/racism which remains a politically correct pleasure.

Big Lies and monstrous hatred have gone global. Stand against this. Stand for the values of the Enlightenment, stand for truth over lies. Otherwise, we will all be bombed back into the Arabian 7th century, the women who survive will wear burqas, we will all be ruled by theocratic barbarians.

More than the lights will go out, and not just over Europe; this time, the lights will dim over the entire world.

Phyllis Chesler, Ph.D. is emerita professor of Psychology and Women’s Studies at City University of New York. Well known author of fifteen books, including Women and Madness (Doubleday, 1972), The Death of Feminism: What's Next in the Struggle for Women's Freedom (Palgrave Macmillan, 2005) and most recently, The New Anti-Semitism, she is the co-founder of the Association for Women in Psychology and the National Women's Health Network. Prof. Chesler is often on international media and is a frequent contributor to INN as well as FOX News, Pajamas Media, and Middle East Quarterly.

Israel Needs a Partner

This was submitted to the New Britain Herald as a letter to the editor, but was never published.

To the editor:

It's disappointing that the Associated Press article "Abbas Asks US to Step Into Settlement Dispute," published September 8 on the eve of the Jewish New Year, helps spread misleading Arab propaganda while totally omitting any reference to the statements of the supposedly "moderate" Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas which demonstrate the heart of the problem: the continued refusal of the Palestinian Arabs to end their drive to destroy Israel and instead negotiate, in good faith, the peace that is in the best interest of all the people involved.

In the Palestinian Authority's own Al-Ayyam newspaper, Abbas is quoted as saying "If they [the Israelis] demand concessions on the rights of the refugees or the 1967 borders, I will quit. I can’t allow myself to make even one concession."

This, of course, is in keeping with traditional Arab intransigence; in the seventeen years since the start of the failed Oslo Process, the Palestinian Arabs have failed to make a single meaningful concession, even as Israel has made countless tangible and painful concessions.

Obviously, a meaningful peace requires good faith negotiations by both sides - not just by Israel - with meaningful compromises made by both sides - not just by Israel.

Until the Palestinian Arabs, under Abbas or under a future leader who is actually interested in peace, is prepared to seriously negotiate in good faith and stops threatening to walk away at the flimsiest of pretexts, there is no serious chance of peace.

If Abbas would stop demanding that the heart of Eretz Yisrael be made judenrein, free of Jews, it might signal there is finally some hope.

Israel can't institute peace by itself. It needs a partner.


Alan Stein