Archive for Israel

Is The Israeli Public As Brain Dead As The US Public?

Are they buying this?

former aide to President Barack Obama told Israeli television on Friday that the United States would be able to detect any Iranian effort to “sprint” toward an atomic weapon as part of the emerging nuclear agreement in the P5+1 talks.

Dennis Ross, the former Mideast peace envoy, told Channel 2 on Friday that the agreement being discussed would enable Western officials to perform “anytime, anywhere inspections of declared and undeclared sites” for a period of up to 10 years.

Ross said that while there is an obvious need to see what the final agreement would look like, he said that he has received indications that the Americans will insist on a deal that will include “verifiable mechanisms for detection.”

“It would take a year’s time if [the Iranians] were making a determination they wanted to move towards a nuclear weapon – and they would have to move quickly,” Ross told Channel 2. “That would be something that would be detectable. So you’d have a time frame if they were making a decision to move quickly to detect what they were doing and do something about it.”

Ross said that the Obama administration is aiming for a deal that offers “transparency.”

And I had always respected Dennis Ross… Well, sir, here are three questions: 1. What happens in 10 years? 2. The fact that the US could know what Iran is up to doesn’t mean that they will do anything about it, does it? 3. Why do you believe this nonsense. You’re better than that.

Very disappointing indeed.

– Aggie

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Israel’s Legitimacy in Five Minutes

Brother Alan Dershowitz explains it all for you:

We’ve presented much of this material before ourselves, but Dershowitz is nothing if not persuasive. Some of the 20th century reaffirmations of the nation-state of Israel were unknown to me.

One word of caution: Israel may well have been founded in a lawyerly fashion, but as we have seen with tragic consequences over the years, legal documents are nothing against guns and tanks. Bring your lawyers, Israel, but make sure they’re packing heat.

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Will She Sing the Israeli National Anthem?

“I Will Survive”?

Disco queen Gloria Gaynor is set to give a performance in Israel at the end of July in a show marking 40 years of musical activity.

Gaynor, known for her massive hit “I will Survive,” will perform at the Charles Bronfman Auditorium in Tel Aviv on July 29. Tickets are expected to range from NIS 190-1,005 (about $50-255). Gaynor will perform in Lebanon before.

“I Will Survive” topped world charts when it came out in 1978 and even took home a Grammy for the singer.

Roger Waters just snapped his copy of the Love Tracks LP in two.

PS: Just kidding about the Israeli national anthem. As everyone knows, it’s “Stayin’ Alive”.

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Not Letting it Go

We get it already!

US National Security Adviser Susan Rice said Tuesday that Israeli PM Binyamin Netanyahu’s March 3 speech in Congress is “destructive” to the relationship between the two countries.

Rice made the comments in an interview with Charlie Rose on PBS.

“The relationship between Israel as a country and the United States as a country has always been bipartisan and we have been fortunate that the politics have not been injected into this relationship,” Rice said.

“What has happened over the last several weeks by virtue of the invitation that was issued by the speaker and the acceptance of it by Prime Minister Netanyahu two weeks in advance of his elections is that on both sides there have been injected some degree of partisanship, which is not only unfortunate, I think it’s destructive of the fabric of the relationship.”

We heard you the seventh time.

But who’s made it partisan? Your lot. Boehner invited Netanyahu to speak before the entire Congress (his right as Speaker); it’s only because Democrats have threatened to boycott that the issue has become political. Nice choice of reaction, the boycott. If Netanyhau didn’t feel Jewish before, he will now.

But every time the regime bitches about Netanyahu, they jack up the news interest. By the time Bibi actually steps to the mike, he’ll have a bigger audience than the Super Bowl.

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Palestinian Government Verdict: 655 Million For Terror Attacks In The Early 2000s

Justice in a NY Courtroom:

Ending a saga dating back to the end of the Second Intifada in 2004, a US jury on Monday handed down a historic verdict against the Palestinian Authority for involvement in six terror attacks from that time period, charging them with $655.5 million in damages.

Lead trial counsel Kent Yalowitz of Arnold & Porter said that “The Palestinian Authority and the PLO have been found liable by an American jury for six heinous terrorist attacks that killed and injured hundreds of civilians.”

He continued, “The PA and PLO policies of financial inducements and rewards for terrorism that are at the center of this case unfortunately continue today, more than a decade later.”

Yalowitz concluded, “I am truly privileged to have had the opportunity to represent these amazing families and join them in their quest for justice against those who have devastated their lives forever.”

Shurat Hadin Director Nitsana Darshan-Leitner said “This historic verdict against the defendants will not bring back these families’ loved ones nor heal the physical and psychological wounds inflicted upon them but it truly is an important measure of justice and closure for them after their long years of tragic suffering and pain.”

She added, “We started out more than a decade ago with the intent of making the defendants pay for their terrorist crimes against innocent civilians and letting them know that there will eventually be a price to be paid for sending suicide bombers onto our buses and into our cafes.”

“The defendants have already been boasting that they will appeal the decision and we will never collect on the judgment – but we will go to the end of the earth to collect it,” she said.

My guess is that the Obama administration will somehow void it, but at least the jurors had some decency.

Here’s what the PA lawyer had to say:

Rochon, in a soft voice at times sounding weak and quivering, said, “I fear,” that this jury will find his client liable “because of who they are, not what they did or did not do.”

The plaintiffs’ central points are that a large volume of PA employees, including numerous policemen and commanders, have been arrested and convicted by Israel as having organized, planned and perpetrated suicide bombings and shootings against Americans in Israel, including the six attacks from 2001-2004 in the case during the Second Intifada. In those attacks, 33 were killed.

“So much sadness. So much sadness and death,” Rochon began. “All those souls extinguished.”

But “we’re not here to decide the Second Intifada,” to issue a judgment on that sadness, death, or the occupation, Rochon said, explaining that if the jury just focused on the six incidents at issue in the case, “the PA and the PLO are not liable.”

“Sometimes people who do terrible things work for the government.” But these are “things they did for their own reasons.”

A verdict against the defendants “would only damage the government and the PLO who do not deserve that.”

Again, my guess is that they won’t pay a dime. Or hey! Maybe the Obama administration can somehow give the money to the PA so that the US taxpayer pays it. But it must be affirming to the families that the men and women of the jury were not Jew haters and did the right thing.

– Aggie

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Are Jews Safer In Europe Or In Israel?

The title refers to a conversation that a lot of us are having. Is it better to be surrounded by armed police, the military and trained civilians.. or is it better not to see those people around you day after day? A friend is in favor of the latter (she just feels safer not having that stuff in her face) but I am very relaxed in Israel because of the presence of so many trained eyes – and protective weapons.

Contrast and compare:

The Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) announced Monday that it has arrested a Hamas cell in the West Bank city of Hebron which planned numerous terror attacks against Israeli targets, including a suicide bombing.

The Shin Bet, in conjunction with the IDF, arrested the eleven operatives in January. The central suspects in the terrorist activity are Sahaib Mamun Saltan, 20, from Hebron, and his cousin Salam Abbas Saltan, 28, a Hamas military operative who in recent years served a term in Israeli prison and was, on another occasion, held in administrative detention. During the arrests, explosive devices and weapons allegedly meant to be use in the terror attacks were confiscated.

According to the Shin Bet, the two admitted during interrogation to attempting a terror attack in December 2014 in Tel Rumeida in Hebron. The suspects wished to draw IDF soldiers by throwing an explosive device to a point where a powerful explosive was buried and then detonate the explosive against the soldiers. Due to a technical glitch the explosive failed to go off.

The suspects planned a number of different kinds of terror attacks, collecting intelligence on places where Israelis were present in Hebron and Jerusalem in order to carry out attacks against them. A number of the suspects expressed willingness to serve as suicide bombers.

Europe:

I rounded the corner and started examining the London townhouses, knowing the one I sought would be devoid of markers announcing any Jewish presence. Finally spotting the synagogue, I went to climb the stairs when, out of the corner of my eye, I saw two men in dark coats cross the street and call to me. I knew who they were and what they wanted.

Questions and answers.
“Where are you going?”

“To synagogue.”

“Where are you from?”

I paused, because I’m never really sure of that answer any more. “New York. I work for New York University, I’m visiting.”

“Where do you go to synagogue?”

Again, I faltered. There were too many answers to that question. “Well, I’m originally from Seattle and there I went to Shevet Achim.”

“Who is your rabbi?”

In Seattle? New York? “Well, it’s complicated, but Rabbi Yehuda Sarna.”

“Ok, and do you keep Shabbat?”

“Yes”

“Do you have ID?” Trick question.

“No, but I emailed my passport copy to the shul on Thursday.”

“OK, and is there anything in your pockets?”

Just my hands, I showed them. Convinced, they radioed inside and the doors opened.

Question and answers.

I was late, arriving only in time for kiddush. I stayed for minchah to make up the difference.

Leaving in a light drizzle, I began to cry. The streets of London aren’t like those of New York City, where crying in public is par for the course, almost a right of passage. I clasped one hand over my mouth and the other to my gut, pulling my sorrow back inward.

I tried to name my sorrow as I walked to lunch. I have had to prove my Judaism before, and in ways far more painful. But never had I done so in order to simply enter a shul. Never had shibboleth been needed in order for me to pray in community. The questions were like those asked by El Al security before a flight to Israel.

Exactly. In order to enter or leave Israel, you answer questions and security decides if you are ok or not. But once there, you are protected. In Europe, the dwindling Jewish communities do their best, but every so often a kosher grocery store in shot up (4 dead), a school is attacked (4 dead), you are spat upon on the streets if you wear clothing that indicates your religion, and the rabbis have advised against doing so, but each time there is an antisemitic attack, Europe proclaims its love for its Jewish citizenry. Hatred of Israel, sure, but love of Jews in Copenhagen, London, Paris, Toulouse… I mentioned the some of the deaths, but none of the death threats or the burned synagogues, nor the fact that most Jews are afraid to send their kids to public schools because they will be attacked for their faith.

So I think that Israel is safer. It is much better to know that you are a target than to pretend that you are not.

– Aggie

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Good News, Bad News

The good news is that 86% of Israeli Arabs think ISIS give Islam a bad name.

Woo-hoo!

The majority of Israeli Arabs are against the Islamic State, according to a poll conducted by the Smith Institute on behalf of Achva Academic College. The full results will be released Monday.

Eighty-six percent of Israeli Arabs said they believed the Islamic State group was harming Islam’s image…

The bad news is that I can do the math. Fourteen percent think ISIS is just fine—or at least that its campaign of inhuman slaughter, rape, and conquest doesn’t do Islam’s reputation any harm. If about 1.7 million Israelis are Arab, the numbers would indicate that there are 238,000 ISIS-sympathizers in Israel alone. Such a population would be the 85th largest city in America, between Lubbock, Texas and Irvine, California. ISIS sympathizers in Israel, in other words, would have their own area code, congressman, and transit system if they lived here.

Who would be proud to be part of a demographic 14% of whom celebrate the subhuman savagery of ISIS? Fourteen percent of evil is still plenty evil.

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Another Teen Terrorist Who Needs a Job

Call this post a background memo for understanding Bibi’s speech to Congress:

An ultra-Orthodox man was stabbed by an Arab teen in Jerusalem Sunday evening in a suspected terror attack. The incident took place in Safra Square in centeral Jerusalem.

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat was present at the scene with his security guard, who helped subdue the terrorist.

The incident took place at around 5:30 pm at Safra Square, adjacent to Jerusalem’s City Hall. The victim was a 27-year-old Haredi man who sustained moderate wounds and was taken to Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center.

Barkat recalled the event: “I was traveling in a car next to the IDF Square (Safra Sqaure) when my team suddenly saw a terrorist with a knife right next to us. I immediately jumped out of the car together with my team, (my bodyguard) pulled out his gun and together we held the terrorist until security forces arrived; we also attempted to treat the victim.”

There has been a spate of terror attacks in Jerusalem in recent months, mostly carried out by so-called “lone wolf” perpetrators and targeting individuals.

Many of the attacks centered on public transport hubs in the capital, including several attacks in which terrorists plowed into crowds waiting at light rail stops.

The last terror attack in Jerusalem took place six weeks ago when a 21-year-old Jewish man was stabbed by a screwdriver in Jerusalem’s Old City.

A 15-year-old Arab from East Jerusalem was arrested in connection with the attack the following day.

The most recent major terror attack in Israel took place last month, when a Palestinian youth armed with a knife stabbed a 12 people on a busy rush hour bus in central Tel Aviv. The terrorist fled and was hunted down by security officials who were in the area.

A show of hands, please, of anyone who remembers even one of these attacks? Anyone? Hello? Our forgetfulness is a big part of the problem. Remember that, at least.

Note that the jobless terrorist teen didn’t attack a soldier, policemen, or other symbol of “occupation”. He attacked an ultra-Orthodox Jew. That’s a symbol, too, though. Wonder where they got the idea?

PS: In a related story:

As is commonly the case, a group of Jews who ascended the Temple Mount Sunday were forced to endure provocation and harassment at the hands of Muslims – an all too common occurrence on the Mount.

What was surprising, however, was that instead of the “usual culprits”, this morning’s disturbances were caused by Arab children, seen chanting “Allahu Akbar” at Jews, shouting insults at them and waving the PLO flag in their faces.

The “Hozrim LaHar” (Returning to the Mount) movement condemned the new crop of harassers, noting that, “the children rioting on the Temple Mount are undergoing a stage to become terrorists.”

“In a few years we will see the same faces stabbing soldiers and running over civilians,” the organization said, alluding to a spate of terror attacks across Israel, but particularly in Jerusalem, in recent months.

“Police must stop the children now before it is too late,” Hozrim LaHar warned.

The attacks mentioned earlier were committed by “youths” from 15 to 21 years old. QED

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Snowden Strikes Again

Released intel documents from 2013 show Britain and US cutting Israel out of intelligence loop

classified document leaked by US National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden reveals information about the cooperative intelligence gathering efforts of US, British and Israeli Intel against Iranian targets.

The document from April 2013, marked top secret, highlights the successes of US and British intelligence cooperation against Iran, the growing regional and cyber threat that Iran constitutes and reluctance to have an overarching intelligence sharing agreement with Israel.

The document was published earlier this month on website The Intercept, the platform created by journalist Glenn Greenwald to report on documents provided by Snowden.

More at the link.

– Aggie

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Must-See TV

Democrats may boycott the Israeli Prime Minister’s speech before Congress, but there’ll be another demographic bloc who will be all eyes and ears:

Arab governments have been privately expressing their concern to Washington about the emerging terms of a potential nuclear deal with Iran, The Wall Street Journal reported Friday, citing Arab and U.S. officials involved in the deliberations.

According to the report, the direction of American diplomacy with Tehran has added fuel to fears in some Arab states of a nuclear-arms race in the region, as well as reviving talk about possibly extending a U.S. nuclear umbrella to Middle East allies to counter any Iranian threat.

The major Sunni states, including Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, have said that a final agreement could allow Shiite-dominated Iran, their regional rival, to keep the technologies needed to produce nuclear weapons, according to these officials, while removing many of the sanctions that have crippled its economy in recent years.

Arab officials said a deal would likely drive Saudi Arabia, for one, to try to quickly match Iran’s nuclear capabilities, according to The Wall Street Journal.

“At this stage, we prefer a collapse of the diplomatic process to a bad deal,” an Arab official who has discussed Iran with the Obama administration and Saudi Arabia in recent weeks told the newspaper.

Arab governments have steered clear of aligning their statements with Israel, but share many of that country’s fears, U.S. and Arab diplomats said.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who has been perhaps the most vocal critic of the deal with Iran, said last week that Israel knows the details of the planned nuclear deal with Iran and warned that it is a bad one.

“I think this is a bad agreement that is dangerous for the state of Israel, and not just for it,” said Netanyahu, adding, “If anyone thinks otherwise what is there to hide here?”

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki later questioned whether Netanyahu indeed knows “more than the negotiators” about the talks, saying “there is no deal yet.”

Many years ago, Mrs. BTL and I were in discussions with our school system about the proper education of the heirs to the Bloodthirstani throne. We were at loggerheads. The school psychologist asked, with pain and exasperation, “Why don’t you trust us?” The sirens and flashing lights that followed were not from a school fire drill, but from the BS alert system hardwired into our brains. The question was either irrelevant or it answered itself. Either we had a disagreement over the facts of the case—in which case trust did not apply—or the facts were not in dispute—in which case something else explained the disagreement.

But mostly it was the manipulative nature of the question that so pi**ed us off. It’s not about you, we answered.

It’s the same tone I hear from Jen Space Cadet. She implies that we should trust the regime. But it’s not about the regime, or not just. It’s about the Islamic Republic of Iran that has compared the “Zionist entity” to a “filthy microbe” and has sworn to wipe it off the map. Israel is not a disinterested party in these negotiations.

And who is Jen Psaki that we should trust?

Psaki began her career in 2001 with the re-election campaigns of Iowa Democrats Tom Harkin and Tom Vilsack. Psaki then became deputy press secretary for John Kerry’s 2004 presidential campaign. From 2005 to 2006, Psaki served as communications director to U.S. Representative Joseph Crowley and regional press secretary for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.[7]

Throughout the 2008 presidential campaign of U.S. Senator Barack Obama, Psaki served as traveling press secretary.[7] After Obama won the election, Psaki followed Obama to the White House as Deputy Press Secretary and was promoted to Deputy Communications Director on December 19, 2009.[8][9] On September 22, 2011, Psaki left that position to become senior vice president and managing director at the Washington, D.C. office of public relations firm Global Strategy Group.[10][11]

In 2012, Psaki returned to political communications as press secretary for President Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign.[12] On February 11, 2013, Psaki became spokesperson for the United States Department of State.[12]

She’s a Democrat political flack—which is fine; she’s obviously successful. But when one’s very existence hangs in the balance, as Israel’s does, does she inspire trust? She—and trust—are irrelevant.

Oh yeah, what about her second in command, Marie “Jobs for Jihadis” Harf?

Harf began her career at the Directorate of Intelligence at the Central Intelligence Agency as an analyst focusing on Middle Eastern leadership issues. She later became the media spokesperson of the CIA.[3]

During the 2012 presidential election, Harf helped craft President Obama’s national security and communications strategy, and also served as campaign spokeswoman on national security issues.[2][3]

In June 2013, Harf was appointed Deputy Spokesperson for the US State Department, where she currently serves as deputy under Jen Psaki.[2][3]

Better: she at least earned a job in the field of her expertise. But she too exists largely as a mouthpiece for others. And I seriously doubt her former colleagues at the CIA who have studied ISIS and its ideology agree that all we need to do to defeat it is find them positions as stock clerks at Walmart. At least I pray not.

Why don’t we trust you? The question answers itself.

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White House Hissy Fit Continues

The White House is letting it be known that they really don’t like Bibi Netanyahu, in case they were too subtle previously

In what is becoming an increasingly nasty grudge match, the White House is mulling ways to undercut Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s upcoming trip to Washington and blunt his message that a potential nuclear deal with Iran is bad for Israel and the world.

There are limits. Administration officials have discarded the idea of President Barack Obama himself giving an Iran-related address to rebut the two speeches Netanyahu is to deliver during his early March visit. But other options remain on the table.

Among them: a presidential interview with a prominent journalist known for coverage of the rift between Obama and Netanyahu, multiple Sunday show television appearances by senior national security aides and a pointed snub of America’s leading pro-Israel lobby, which is holding its annual meeting while Netanyahu is in Washington, according to the officials.

The administration has already ruled out meetings between Netanyahu and Obama, saying it would be inappropriate for the two to meet so close to Israel’s March 17 elections. But the White House is now doubling down on a cold-shoulder strategy, including dispatching Cabinet members out of the country and sending a lower-ranking official than normal to represent the administration at the annual policy conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the officials said.

Vice President Joe Biden will be away, his absence behind Netanyahu conspicuous in coverage of the speech to Congress. Other options were described by officials, who spoke only on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss internal deliberations.

Netanyahu’s plan for a March 3 address to a joint meeting of Congress has further strained already tense ties between the U.S. and Israel. Congressional Republicans orchestrated Netanyahu’s visit without consulting the White House or State Department, a move the Obama administration blasted as a break in diplomatic protocol. Some Democratic lawmakers say they will boycott the speech.

U.S. officials believe Netanyahu’s trip to Washington is aimed primarily at derailing a nuclear deal with Iran, Obama’s signature foreign policy objective. While Netanyahu has long been skeptical of the negotiations, his opposition has increased over what he sees as Obama’s willingness to make concessions that would leave Iran on the brink of being able to build a nuclear weapon. His opposition has intensified as negotiations go into overdrive with an end-of-March deadline for a framework deal.

“I think this is a bad agreement that is dangerous for the state of Israel, and not just for it,” Netanyahu said Thursday.

The difference of opinion over the deal has become unusually rancorous.

The White House and State Department have both publicly accused Israeli officials of leaking “cherry-picked” details of the negotiations to try to discredit the administration. And, in extraordinary admissions this past week, the administration acknowledged that the U.S. is withholding sensitive details of the talks from Israel, its main Middle East ally, to prevent such leaks.

The rebukes have only emboldened the leader of Israel, whose country Iran has threatened to annihilate. He has a double-barrel attack on the Iran talks ready for when he arrives in Washington. Not only will he address Congress, he will also deliver similar remarks at the AIPAC conference, an event to which administrations past and present have traditionally sent top foreign policy officials.

But maybe not this year.

Again, more at the link, including the fact that Obama managed to speak to AIPAC when he was running for election in 2012. Guess what guys! Obama doesn’t need you any more.

– Aggie

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When Life Gives You Snow

Make killer snowballs:

Arab youths hurled snowballs containing stones at a car carrying a couple and their three-year-old daughter on Route 60 near Jerusalem on Friday.

The father, Avi (not his real name), his wife and their daughter were making their way towards Jerusalem from Kiryat Gat, in order to enjoy the snow-covered scenes in Jerusalem. At approximately 2pm, the car exited the Gilo neighborhood and headed south on the Tunnels Road.

“When I exited the first tunnel, I saw more than 10 youths standing nearby, shouting in Arabic,” the father told Ynet. “I saw them throw a snowball at us and suddenly heard a ‘boom’, and realized it wasn’t snow, but stones.”

Due to the heavy snow that had accumulated on the road, he was not able to leave the area quickly, and the car was pelted with many stones. Eventually, he managed to escape with his vehicle, and fled to safety.

“I decided at the end to step on the gas pedal and managed to escape. It was very difficult, if I had been a new driver or someone who feels insecure on the road it could have ended in disaster, because it was almost impossible to drive like that in the snow. If I had stopped, it would have ended with a lynching. I’ve seen things in my life, but this is the first time I was in this kind of situation. I never saw anything like it,” the father said.

Maybe this is what Netanyahu should talk about in front of Congress. He could go all multimedia and bring a slideshow of Adelle Biton and Asher and Yonatan Palmer. It may not have the existential punch of a nuclearized Iran, but it’s got some good visuals.

The kids were fine, by the way. More’s the pity.

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