Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Celebrating the Venice Declaration

No, it's not your imagination.

The editor of the op-ed pages of the International Herald Tribune has allowed two sympathetic pieces about Israel to appear since the Turkish/Hamas flotilla provocation.

There was the oped by Michael Oren, Israel's ambassador to the US and one by the eloquent Israeli-American author Daniel Gordis.

Everything else, day in and day out has lived up to the usual illiberal idea of balance: On one one hand, criticism of Israel by Arabs; on the other hand, criticism of Israeli policies by Israelis.

Today's piece by Sharon Pardo of Ben-Gurion University and Yonatan Touval urging Europe to pressure Israel is the latest installment of the IHT -- the Global Edition of the NYTimes -- onslaught.

Which is not to say the IHT is worse than the British press.

Pardo & Touval look back with fondness on the 30th anniversary of the Venice Declaration -- the European push for the legitimization of the PLO.

After all, that eventually led to Oslo.

Their piece would work in The Onion as satire.

But these guys are serious. I feel a European junket coming on.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Ross Douthat: worth skipping

I have to confess that I tend to give a miss to Ross Douthat's NYTimes op-eds.

But it is worth reading one from time to time to remind myself why -- at least when it comes to Israel -- the man knows not from whence he speaks.

Ross, before there were Crusader states, indeed before there was Christianity -- there was the Jewish state of Israel and an already ancient Jewish civilizational connection to the country.

The moral stance to take -- the right thing to do -- is to support Israel not to join the jackals.

Monday, June 07, 2010

More on the peace activists

In case you missed it:

The following passengers on board the Mavi Marmara are known to be involved in terrorist activity.

Fatimah Mahmadi (born 1979), is a United States resident of Iranian origin, and an active member of the organization "Viva Palestine", she attempted to smuggle forbidden electronic components into the Gaza Strip.

Ken O'Keefe (Born 1969), an American and British citizen, is a radical anti-Israel activist and operative of the Hamas Terror organization. He attempted to enter the Gaza Strip in order to form and train a commando unit for the Palestinian terror organization.

Hassan Iynasi (born 1982), a Turkish citizen and activist in a Turkish charity organization, is known of providing financial support to the Palestinian Islamic Jihad Terror organization.

Hussein Urosh, a Turkish citizen and activist in the IHH organization, was on his way to the Gaza Strip in order to assist in smuggling Al-Qaeda operatives via Turkey into the Strip.

Ahmad Umimon (born 1959), is a French citizen of Moroccan origin, and an operative of the Hamas Terrorist organization.


Also, have a look at

Friday, June 04, 2010

One tidbit from the Friday Haaretz

There is actually one op-ed word reading in the Friday Haaretz. But I can't link it here because it is not yet on the web.

The piece is by Israel Harel entitled "Exhausting ourselves to death." He recall the famous quote by Chaim Weizmann: It is easier to take the Jews out of the galut (diaspora) than to take the galut out of the Jews.

The reaction of Israel's media elite and intelligentsia to the world's defamation of our country was akin to how ghetto Jews reacted in the bad old day before the state.

We've acted, Harel says, "like an insecure community"; "we do not stop flagellating ourselves over not having done enough to provide 'information' to those who hate us, as if they do not know the truth."

Harel goes on to point out that we still have many friends in the US and elsewhere but their friendship is not appreciated or treated as somehow "strange."

The Friday page one of today's (Friday's) Haaretz is the least anti-Israel -- the least post-Zionist -- of the week. Curious.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Trading access for access: Let the Red Cross See Gilad Schalit

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman proposes that Israel open a number of additional overland passages into the Hamas-occupied Gaza Strip in return for a commitment from the Islamist rulers to allow regular monthly visits by Red Cross representatives to Gilad Schalit.

It's certainly an idea worth considering.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010


You never know quite what to believe. Mossad chief Meir Dagan told members of the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that the Iranian nuclear program is facing many technological difficulties.

The NYTimes is reporting that Iran has now produced a stockpile of nuclear fuel that experts say would be enough, with further enrichment, to make two nuclear weapons.

The pressure mounts on Israel

It's no fun waking up to see the world's irrational reaction to the interdiction of the non-humanitarian flotilla bound for Hamas-controlled Gaza continuing to dominate the news. To hear the Irish premier warn Israel of the consequences of the next interdiction.

The Irish premier. Jesus, Mary and Joseph! What does Ireland have to do with Gaza?

The world's hostility and refusal to even consider Israel's position seems almost ...metaphysical.

Our existence has become such a terrible nuisance. They either do not know or do not care what Hamas would do if we stepped back and allowed unfettered access to Gaza. Israelis would love nothing better than to wash our hands of Gaza.

Critics here say the problem is hasbara.

I wish.

I heard a British anchor yesterday press a beleaguered Israeli spokesman trying to explain what our commandos encountered on the "aid ship.": "Yes, but you shot them, didn't you...yes, yes, but you shot them, didn't you?"

She was not open to so much as hearing Israel's position.

Yes the IDF tape of what our commandos faced should have been released earlier. No doubt. For our own edification. To help Israelis cope through that long Monday morning.

But I doubt it would have persuaded a world that has closed its mind toward Israel. They have eyes but they do not see; ears but do not hear.

Haaretz, as usual, continues to do irreparable damage to the Zionist enterprise -- a tradition that dates back decades.

Tuesday's front page was replete with sickening self-flagellation.

Wednesday's paper is a joke; an exercise in self-indulgence in which novelists were invited to take over most of the news pages. Post-modernist Haaretz: Truth/Fiction. Whatever.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

How to understand Israel's Response to the Gaza Flotilla

The developing diplomatic and media reaction to Israel's interdiction Monday of a pro-Palestinian flotilla steaming toward the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip speaks volumes: about Israel's deepening isolation in the world and the perverted moral priorities of the international community.

Even before Defense Minister Ehud Barak presented Israel's preliminary report at a 1 p.m. Tel Aviv news conference the censorious deluge had begun. The European Union called for an end to the quarantine of Gaza; Greece cancelled a scheduled visit by the commander of the Israeli Air Force; France unleashed a stinging denunciation; Switzerland called in the Israeli ambassador.

A morning anchor on Britain's Sky News demanded an Israeli spokesman tell him why Israel had no respect for international law. Not one satellite news channel in the region carried Barak's English-language briefing. Only a few bothered to broadcast an earlier statement by Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon.

As soon as operational conditions permitted, Jerusalem wasted no time in presenting its case, but what it said was promptly ignored, denigrated or dismissed.
These basic facts were known early on:

• Organizers: The flotilla was instigated by the IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation, an extremist Islamist organization based in Turkey in collaboration with the violence-prone International Solidarity Movement. Their moves were coordinated with Turkey and Hamas.

• Aid was a pretext: Organizers were offered the opportunity to ship any humanitarian supplies to Gaza via the Israeli port of Ashdod; a million tons of humanitarian supplies have entered Gaza from Israel over the last 18 months. They refused.

• Propaganda was the aim: IHH was repeatedly warned that under no circumstances would its convoy be permitted to sail into Gaza. Only when last-minute sea-to-sea warnings to desist were ignored were the vessels boarded by Israeli navy commandos. There was minimal resistance on five of the six boats as the troops, equipped with anti-riot gear, came aboard.

• Violence was premeditated: Instead of encountering "peace activists" the commandos rappelling down from helicopters onto the largest boat – the multi- story ocean liner Mavi Marmara with hundreds of militants aboard -- were set upon by crowds armed with knives, metal bars, and Molotov cocktails. At least two commandos are in hospital with gunshot wounds; another has a fractured skull. The commandos radioed that they feared being overwhelmed and lynched (video) and were given permission to use live fire.

These are the circumstances – self-defense – in which 9 pro-Palestinian activists, mostly Turkish nationals, were killed.

Nevertheless, Israel confronts a media intifada in which rage replaces rationality. From the outset, Arab news outlets and their enablers, stoked anti-Israel sentiment with bogus claims disseminated by new media technologies that 20 "activists" had been wantonly slaughtered, and that the Islamic Movement's northern branch chief Raed Salah (an Islamist agitator who carries an Israeli passport and was on board the Mavi Marmara) had been "assassinated." He is alive and well.

Arab leaders in Israel have called for raucous a general strike; Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salaam Fayyad has urged Hamas to put aside its differences with Fatah in the common struggle against Israel. Radicalized Turkey, now allied with Iran and Hamas, may have found a pretext for a formal break in diplomatic ties with Israel.

Liberal Europe has trotted out the usual litany of charges. Israel is accused of violating international law, notwithstanding that it is legally entitled to quarantine Hamas which has declared war on Israel. The Jewish state is excoriated for acting on the high-seas, though that's where the unlawful intent of the flotilla could best be preempted. It is criticized for disproportionate use of force, though its soldiers met with lethal opposition.

In practice, any steps Israel takes in self-defense are adjudged "disproportionate."

In many ways, Monday's dawn clash off the Israeli coast was an incident foretold. At the UN, U.S. diplomats blocked a completely one-sided formal Security Council resolution condemning Israel that had demanded a Goldstone-like commission of inquiry. Instead, they tiredly acquiesced to a less equivocal censure which calls for an "impartial investigation."

Yet this is an administration that prides itself on "never letting a serious crisis go to waste."

It is, therefore, not too late for President Barack Obama to lead the civilized word out of its moral stupor; to emphatically declare that the season for shameless scapegoating of the Jewish state is over; to assert that Israel is in the forefront of a struggle against Western civilization by insidious Islamist fanaticism.

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