Canadian Institute for Jewish Research
L'institut Canadien de Recherches sur le Judaisme
Strength of Israel will not lie

Month: March 2012

TOULOUSE, TORONTO, MONTRÉAL:LES SEMENCES D’UNE CULTURE DE HAINE BOURGEONNENT

 

 

 

MOHAMED MERAH: LA GRANDE MANIPULATION
Jean Szlamowicz

France-israel.org, 28 mars 2012

Mohamed Merah: fruit vénéneux des terroristes du verbe! Dès que la tuerie de l’école juive Ozar Hatorah perpétrée à Toulouse le 19 mars 2012 a fait sensation, l’émotion médiatique s’est déployée selon les normes de l’événement: pudeur choquée, compassion larmoyante, protestations de retenue… Chaque personnalité politique s’est précipitée à la télévision pour dire qu’elle n’exploiterait pas le drame à des fins électorales. Beaucoup se sont empressés de procéder au remplacement du signe juif par son universalisation: «c’est la République qui est visée», «il faut lutter contre le racisme», «ce sont nos enfants qu’on assassine»…

 

Discours de l’occultation

 

Le corollaire de cette dépolitisation instantanée a été une rhétorique d’obscurcissement: les appels à «lutter contre les amalgames», à éviter «la stigmatisation de l’islam», à se méfier des «récupérations politiques» ou à ne pas céder à «des discours de haine» ont fait dériver le discours vers la prescription politique pour empêcher toute analyse factuelle. Les deux cibles de Mohamed Merah ont pourtant valeur de discours et sont d’une redoutable clarté: des militaires parce que la France est, officiellement, en lutte contre l’islamisme et des Juifs parce que l’islam s’érige depuis son origine contre les Juifs.

 

Très rapidement, un discours d’excuse s’est mis en place. On a dit que la France était coupable de ne pas intégrer «ses» immigrés. L’excuse sociologique est une véritable insulte envers tous ceux qui, partageant les mêmes origines sociales et culturelles, ne deviennent ni islamistes, ni terroristes. Cette excuse retourne également la causalité, faisant de la France la responsable du jihad et des Talibans…

 

Aller chercher ailleurs que dans le jihad les causes du jihad ressemble fort à une technique de diversion rhétorique consistant d’emblée à exonérer l’islam du moindre rapport avec l’islamisme. C’est pourtant l’occasion de porter dans le débat public la place du religieux dans notre société, censément laïque mais où l’islam impose de manière grandissante ses propres problématiques. De fait, les débats sur le voile ou la nourriture halal n’ont pas leurs sources dans le catholicisme ou le judaïsme, qui se trouvent pourtant toujours enrôlés dans des comparaisons d’un œcuménisme douteux.

 

De tels encouragements à ne pas incriminer l’islam obscurcissent délibérément l’analyse. Il conviendrait donc de ne pas se demander pourquoi le fondamentalisme musulman assassine plus particulièrement des Juifs. Il faudrait — par «pudeur» et «dignité», ces mots-cachettes de la lâcheté électoraliste — ne tirer aucune conclusion politique face au terrorisme islamique et à la présence en France de militants prêts à passer à l’action armée.

 

Il faudrait au contraire dénoncer ceux qui dénoncent les progrès d’un islam revendicatif en France — les fauteurs de troubles seraient donc ceux qui luttent contre l’islamisme.

 

Il faudrait ne pas faire de parallèle entre cette tuerie et les slogans que l’on entend depuis des mois et des années criant «mort aux Juifs» à chaque manifestation anti-israélienne.

 

Il faudrait détourner pudiquement le regard des rues et des mosquées où se développent les discours de guerre anti-Français et anti-Juifs.

 

Il faudrait également ne pas se demander pourquoi les représentants de l’islam, qu’on ne cesse de présenter comme «modérés», ne font pas de la lutte contre l’islamisme une priorité si cette assimilation leur est intolérable.

 

Il reste étonnant que l’UOIF — avec la permission de l’état français qui accorde des visas — invite des personnalités comme le Cheikh Yussuf Al-Qaradawi, qui est favorable au meurtre des homosexuels, à la violence contre les femmes et aux attentats contre les civils et qui admire la punition infligée par Hitler aux Juifs…

 

Il est également troublant de constater que personne ne rappelle à quel point le discours institutionnel du monde arabo-musulman, diffusé internationalement, est fondamentalement antisémite et anti-occidental.

 

Au lieu de cela, on passe en boucle une déclaration hypocrite du ministre de l’Autorité Palestinienne Salam Fayyad condamnant les assassinats de Montauban et Toulouse alors que l’AP ne cesse d’encourager au terrorisme…

 

La confusion Juif / Israélien

 

Je n’ai eu de cesse dans divers articles et dans un livre de décrire l’accumulation écœurante des représentations anti-israéliennes, la stigmatisation exagérée, illégitime et irrationnelle d’Israël. L’amalgame Juif / Israélien est une donnée permanente de ces discours.

 

A cet égard, l’antisionisme est un antisémitisme et n’a rien à voir avec une juste critique politique parce que, précisément, il se focalise sur le seul état juif de la planète avec une mauvaise foi perverse. Les journalistes, politiciens et intellectuels aveuglement pro-palestiniens, en tant que cautions morales pseudo-humanistes du terrorisme, sont coupables d’incitation à la haine. On est bien forcé de constater que ceux qui ont répandu si complaisamment leurs diatribes anti-israéliennes mensongères sont moralement responsables de la diffusion d’une haine anti-juive qui s’est concrétisée par le meurtre.

 

La désinformation anti-israélienne épouse depuis des années la phraséologie jihadiste qui ne fait aucune différence entre Juifs et Israéliens et considère l’ensemble d’Israël comme un objectif de conquête. C’est ce qu’a résumé Mohamed Merah dans son appel téléphonique à France 24: «Les juifs ont tué nos frères et nos sœurs en Palestine».

 

Cette revendication est l’exact pendant de l’indignation de Stéphane Hessel et son élégiaque incantation s’attendrissant devant les «enfants innombrables et rieurs» de Gaza, le pendant des attaques disproportionnées de Catherine Ashton qui a immédiatement fait un parallèle victimaire entre Toulouse et Gaza…

 

La désinformation et le retournement causal

 

Mohamed Merah n’est pas un déséquilibré, c’est un terroriste, quelqu’un capable de tuer des enfants pour des raisons idéologiques. Or, ses justifications idéologiques sont celles que l’on retrouve dans de nombreux reportages télévisés (comme l’emblématique «Un état palestinien est-il encore possible?», dans Un oeil sur la Planète), dans les prises de positions politiques (le rapport totalement biaisé remis par M. Glavany sur un prétendu apartheid de l’eau qui serait pratiqué par Israël), dans les appels au boycott de Stéphane Hessel…

 

Cet environnement de désinformation permanente s’est illustré récemment, avec un tweet accusant Israël d’avoir tué une fillette le 11 mars: la photo qui l’illustrait concernait en fait un accident de voiture datant de 2006. La personne qui a propagé cette fausse information — reprise et diffusée par les agences de presse sans contrôle — était employée par l’ONU comme «coordinatrice de l’information et des médias dans les Territoires palestiniens occupés», ce qui laisse sans voix. Le 14 mars, Adham Abu Salmi, porte-parole du ministère de la Santé de Gaza, propage une information (obligeamment diffusée par l’Associated Press) accusant un tir israélien d’avoir tué un enfant de 8 ans, Barka al-Mugrahbi. Or, il n’y a eu aucune frappe israélienne dans la région: l’enfant est en réalité décédé suite à des tirs palestiniens lors de funérailles. Ce flot incessant de fausses informations, dont le démenti ne reçoit jamais le même écho — ce qui en soit est la preuve d’une stratégie de diffusion de mensonges et ne paraît pas rendre les journalistes plus prudents tant ils semblent pressés de porter crédit aux fausses nouvelles — conditionne à la haine d’Israël et, par assimilation, à la haine des Juifs.

 

Les accusations frénétiquement unilatérales envers Israël — qui créent de toutes pièces des massacres de Palestiniens imaginaires (Gaza, Jénine…), qui recyclent mécaniquement leurs formules fallacieuses («Gaza, prison à ciel ouvert»…), qui pointent la moindre construction de maison juive comme une violence assassinant tout un peuple — ont construit un monumental retournement de la causalité pour faire d’Israël l’origine du Mal.

 

On ne manque pas d’entendre, sous diverses formes plus ou moins diplomatiques, que c’est la politique d’Israël qui est la cause de tout. Par quel raccourci idéologique peut-on tenir Israël pour responsable de l’existence du jihad? Le jihad, inscrit dans les textes fondateurs de l’islam, est justement la haine de l’Infidèle. Trouver une justification politique à cette haine est simplement monstrueux. Les militaires français luttant contre les Talibans en Afghanistan ont été les premiers visés: sera-ce encore la faute d’Israël?

 

Hypocrisie et manichéisme

 

A vrai dire, le choc n’a saisi les médias que dans la mesure où les meurtres ont eu lieu en France. Ces assassinats, quand ils ont lieu en Israël ou dans les «territoires», sont toujours excusés par ces mêmes journalistes larmoyants et accusant les enfants de 3 mois d’être des colons.

 

La saturation de termes péjoratifs («colonisation», «apartheid»…) qui sont sans rapport avec la situation politique réelle, la présentation systématiquement négatives des actes de défense d’Israël, les appels au boycott et le martellement médiatique ont abouti dans les consciences a une équivalence entre Israël et le Mal.

 

Parallèlement s’est développée une intense activité de légitimation du terrorisme islamique. Choisissant de ne pas voir que les civils tués à Gaza l’étaient parce qu’ils servaient de boucliers humains aux combattants du jihad occupés à lancer des roquettes sur les villes israéliennes, certains politiciens d’extrême-gauche et certains militants européens portant fièrement le keffieh des terroristes ont tenté d’imposer des réflexes intellectuels anti-israéliens. J’ai déjà décrit comment excuser le terrorisme pour de pseudo-raisons politiques revenait à délivrer un permis de tuer des Juifs. Mohamed Merah a démontré par ses actes ce mécanisme et cette équivalence profonde dans certaines consciences entre Juifs et Israéliens, entre civils et militaires.

 

Pourquoi s’étonner et se scandaliser aujourd’hui que l’on tue des enfants?

 

Personne n’a eu la moindre compassion pour les enfants de la famille Fogel égorgés à Itamar l’an passé. Au contraire, les médias et les intellectuels d’extrême-gauche passent leur temps à trouver des excuses idéologiques à tous ces assassins. Certains vont même jusqu’à diffuser de faux reportages montrant des enfants palestiniens assassinés, incitant ainsi à pratiquer une loi du Talion dépravée et sanguinaire.

 

Pourquoi les médias ne montrent-ils pas les enfants soldats enrôlés par la cause palestinienne et qui brandissent des armes en promettant avec obéissance de tuer du Juif? Pourquoi diffuse-t-on plutôt des reportages, plus ou moins bidonnés, sur la souffrance palestinienne, sans voir que ces territoires sont gangrenés par l’antisémitisme le plus sauvage, le jihad, la corruption?

 

Les politiciens qui représentent ces opinions et soutiennent volontiers les mouvements terroristes sur le sol d’Israël, ne voient aucune contradiction entre leurs larmes médiatiques et l’agressivité anti-juive qu’ils propagent sans cesse.

 

Certains auraient même préféré — et ils l’ont dit! — que le coupable fût un néo-nazi. Outre que le terrorisme néo-nazi est quasiment inexistant, contrairement au terrorisme jihadiste omniprésent sur la planète, ce réflexe trahit la volonté d’adhésion à une vision du monde simpliste et polarisée, au manichéisme figé, où le Mal est toujours le même et reste identifiable à un pôle idéologique honni.

 

Cela signifie que certains sont prêts à nier l’importance du jihadisme pour que la réalité corresponde à leurs désirs politiques. Par convenance idéologique, ils auront donc l’hypocrisie systématique de minorer l’antisémitisme d’origine musulmane. Ceux qui tiennent des discours de mauvaise foi — masquant bien mal leurs intérêts idéologiques — réécriront l’histoire comme ils ont l’habitude de le faire.

 

De fait, ce sont les beaux discours qui rendent possible l’embrigadement des naïfs. Mohamed Merah avait sans doute été recruté par de beaux parleurs. Car en matière d’horreur guerrière et religieuse, tout commence toujours par la séduction des mots. L’électoralisme n’est pas sans lâcheté.

CANADA: «COMMENT BATTRE SA FEMME»,
GRAND SUCCÈS D'UNE LIBRAIRIE ISLAMIQUE DE TORONTO

Dépêche
Postedeveille.ca, 25 mars 2012

La polémique a éclaté au Canada et prend de l'ampleur, notamment après des affaires de meurtres d'honneur de jeunes femmes qui ont beaucoup choqué le pays. Dans une librairie islamique de Toronto a été découvert un livre en anglais de 160 pages publié à New Delhi en Inde qui explique aux jeunes mariés musulmans qu'il faut contrôler, menacer et même parfois battre leurs épouses.

                                             

Il s'agit en apparence d'un guide du mariage tout ce qui a de plus banal titré «Gift for Muslim Couple» (Cadeau pour les couples musulmans). Il est écrit par Maulavi Ashraf Ali Thanvi un auteur prolifique et un universitaire considéré comme faisant autorité sur les questions d'Islam et de mode de vie. Selon la quatrième de couverture, le livre traite «des questions de relations pendant et après le mariage, des sérieuses difficultés qui peuvent survenir pendant le mariage et des différentes causes des ruptures». Jusque-là rien de bien dérangeant.

 

Mais dans les premières pages déjà, le livre souligne «qu'il peut être nécessaire (pour un homme) de «maîtriser sa femme en utilisant la force ou en la menaçant… Le mari doit traiter sa femmes avec gentillesse et amour, même si elle tend parfois à être stupide et lente…». La femme doit également «satisfaire les désirs de son mari… ne pas se permettre de se négliger… et se rendre belle pour lui».

 

Page 45, selon le Daily Mail, le livre dérape totalement et explique que les hommes doivent «tancer» ou «houspiller» leurs épouses et qu'ils peuvent aussi «les battre avec les mains ou un bâton, les priver d'argent ou les tirer par les oreilles». Il ajoute toutefois que les hommes «doivent se retenir de les frapper avec excès».

 

Cité par le Toronto Sun, un musulman canadien modéré, Tarek Fatah, s'insurge contre un tel livre et une telle publication et affirme que le libraire, qui dit aujourd'hui être en rupture de stock, doit être poursuivi en justice pour avoir vendu un tel livre et que son magasin doit être fermé. «Cela incite les hommes à battre les femmes… C'est incroyable de trouver ce genre de chose au Canada. Je me suis dit, après réflexion, qu'on ne peut plus dire que l'Islam radical est en train d'arriver au Canada… mais qu'il est déjà là».

 

La polémique a éclaté au Canada et prend de l'ampleur, notamment après des affaires de meurtres d'honneur de jeunes femmes qui ont beaucoup choqué le pays. Dans une librairie islamique de Toronto a été découvert un livre en anglais de 160 pages publié à New Delhi en Inde qui explique aux jeunes mariés musulmans qu'il faut contrôler, menacer et même parfois battre leurs épouses.

                                             

Il s'agit en apparence d'un guide du mariage tout ce qui a de plus banal titré «Gift for Muslim Couple» (Cadeau pour les couples musulmans). Il est écrit par Maulavi Ashraf Ali Thanvi un auteur prolifique et un universitaire considéré comme faisant autorité sur les questions d'Islam et de mode de vie. Selon la quatrième de couverture, le livre traite «des questions de relations pendant et après le mariage, des sérieuses difficultés qui peuvent survenir pendant le mariage et des différentes causes des ruptures». Jusque-là rien de bien dérangeant.

 

Mais dans les premières pages déjà, le livre souligne «qu'il peut être nécessaire (pour un homme) de «maîtriser sa femme en utilisant la force ou en la menaçant… Le mari doit traiter sa femmes avec gentillesse et amour, même si elle tend parfois à être stupide et lente…». La femme doit également «satisfaire les désirs de son mari… ne pas se permettre de se négliger… et se rendre belle pour lui».

 

Page 45, selon le Daily Mail, le livre dérape totalement et explique que les hommes doivent «tancer» ou «houspiller» leurs épouses et qu'ils peuvent aussi «les battre avec les mains ou un bâton, les priver d'argent ou les tirer par les oreilles». Il ajoute toutefois que les hommes «doivent se retenir de les frapper avec excès».

 

Cité par le Toronto Sun, un musulman canadien modéré, Tarek Fatah, s'insurge contre un tel livre et une telle publication et affirme que le libraire, qui dit aujourd'hui être en rupture de stock, doit être poursuivi en justice pour avoir vendu un tel livre et que son magasin doit être fermé. «Cela incite les hommes à battre les femmes… C'est incroyable de trouver ce genre de chose au Canada. Je me suis dit, après réflexion, qu'on ne peut plus dire que l'Islam radical est en train d'arriver au Canada… mais qu'il est déjà là».

MONTRÉALAISE TORTURÉE PAR SON MARI
CONVAINCU D'AVOIR ÉTÉ «DÉSHONORÉ»

Caroline Touzin

La Presse, 28 mars 2012

Convaincu à tort que sa femme lui avait menti sur sa virginité pour se marier avec lui, Kassou Hammou Khales l'a torturée durant des semaines, allant même jusqu'à lui brûler les parties intimes avec une tige d'acier. Ce drame ne s'est pas déroulé à l'autre bout de la planète, mais bien ici, à Montréal, l'automne dernier. Hier, au palais de justice de Montréal l'homme de 39 ans a plaidé coupable aux accusations les plus graves qui pesaient sur lui.

 

Manifestement dégoûté par le récit détaillé des sévices que l'accusé a infligés à sa femme, le juge Claude Parent a même interrompu la procureure de la Couronne au beau milieu de son résumé des faits. «C'est correct, j'en ai assez entendu à ce stade-ci», a lancé le magistrat. Debout dans le box des accusés, Khales, qui était enseignant au Maroc mais qui gagne sa vie comme chauffeur de taxi à Montréal, est resté impassible.

 

Mariés depuis 10 ans, l'homme et la femme sont venus vivre au Québec en 2005. Leurs pères sont cousins, mais ce n'était pas un «mariage arrangé», a précisé la procureure de la Couronne, Me Sylvie Lemieux. Une fois établi ici, le couple a eu deux enfants. En août dernier, toute la famille est allée au Maroc pour les vacances. C'est à ce moment que l'accusé entend une rumeur selon laquelle sa femme aurait eu une relation sexuelle avec un autre homme à l'âge de 16 ans. C'était bien avant leur mariage. Il se sent trahi, déshonoré.

 

Ce n'est qu'une fois de retour à Montréal que l'accusé questionne sa femme. Elle nie vigoureusement. Elle lui jure qu'elle était «pure» au moment de leur mariage. Il ne la croit pas. Chaque soir, durant près de deux mois, l'accusé la torture pour la forcer à avouer: brûlure au troisième degré au vagin à l'aide d'une broche servant à faire cuire le poulet shish-taouk, autres brûlures avec un poêlon chauffé sur la cuisinière, multiples coups de poing et coups de couteau.

 

Soir après soir, la mère de famille s'empêchera de crier pour ne pas réveiller les enfants, de peur que son mari ne s'en prenne aussi à eux. L'accusé enregistre même ses séances de torture dans le but de lui soutirer des aveux. Il veut pouvoir envoyer à sa famille, au Maroc, la preuve qu'elle l'a déshonoré. La victime finit par avouer dans l'unique but que la torture cesse, a indiqué Me Lemieux, hier. Or, la violence ne cesse pas, elle s'intensifie.

 

Le 21 octobre dernier, l'accusé a menacé de tuer les enfants. Pour la victime, c'en était trop: elle a porté plainte à la police. Les policiers l'ont conduite à l'hôpital, où un médecin a constaté des lésions sur pratiquement tout son corps. M. Khales s'est reconnu coupable de voies de fait graves, de menaces de mort et d'avoir agressé sexuellement sa femme. L'accusé est défendu par Me Alexandre Bergevin. Ce dernier a demandé que son client subisse une évaluation sexologique. Les plaidoiries sur la peine se tiendront le 29 octobre.

L’APPORT DE LA CIVILISATION ARABO-MUSULMANE
À L’OCCIDENT? C’EST DE L’HUMOUR?

Éditorial

Dreuz.info, 30 mars 2012

L’apport de la civilisation arabo-musulmane à l’Occident se résume à peu de choses. Le mythe de l’âge d’or scientifique de l’islam bat de l’aile, tout comme celui de l’âge d’or Andalou. L’extrait ci-dessous, rédigé par un intellectuel palestinien, à priori objectif, vient confirmer.

 

«Non, l’Occident ne doit rien aux Arabes», tel était le titre d’une page du Courrier international du 29 juillet 2004 qui traduisait un texte de l’intellectuel palestinien Saqr Abou Fakhr tiré d’ «Ad Safir  à Beyrouth. On y apprend que «la civilisation arabe s’est éteinte avec la chute de Bagdad en 1258», à la suite de laquelle les arabes cessèrent de créer et d’innover, excepté dans certains domaines limités et disparates.

 

«Or, la civilisation occidentale a été portée par trois innovations: l’imprimerie, la boussole et la poudre donnant la suprématie militaire». Et ces innovations sont venues de Chine, dit l’auteur. Le génie de l’Europe a toujours été d’intégrer et de développer des apports extérieurs. La pensée occidentale est ouverte sur l’innovation, contrairement à la pensée arabo-musulmane (autre constat de l’auteur précité).

 

Dès lors, qu’ont apporté à la civilisation occidentale les Avicenne (980-1037), Averroès (1126-1198) et Ibn Khaldun (1332-1406)? Eh bien l’Europe n’a pas eu besoin de ces penseurs arabes pour avancer sur la voie du progrès, conclut Saqr Abou Fakhr. Il explique: «Sinon, on serait en droit de se demander pourquoi les principes énoncés par Averroès auraient été un facteur décisif de la Renaissance en Europe alors qu’ils n’ont eu, à la même époque, aucune influence sur la civilisation arabe». Et il donne cette explication: «En fait, Averroès, Ibn Khaldun et Avicenne se trouvaient en quelque sorte en dehors du courant dominant d’une culture arabe qui les a d’ailleurs refusés et rejetés. Une culture qui, déjà à l’époque, sombrait tout comme aujourd’hui, sous le poids des fatwas, des oulémas, des théologiens et récitants du Coran, du même acabit qu’Al Ghazali, Ibn Taymiya, Al Chafei et Al Achaari».

 

Pourtant, les arabo-musulmans et certaines élites intellectuelles et politiques occidentales, continuent à affirmer que sans les Arabes, l’Europe n’aurait jamais pu sortir de l’obscurantisme du Moyen Age, les premiers par esprit de revanche sur l’Occident, les seconds dans le but de faire accepter l’islamisation de nos pays. Essayer de nous faire croire que c’est grâce à l’apport des arabo-musulmans que l’Occident a pu se développer et progresser relève de la pure fantaisie, inspirée par la méconnaissance de l’histoire de l’islam et de l’Occident.

 

L’islam a-t-il été créatif ou innovateur? Difficile à prouver, mais guerrier et envahisseur, certes oui. Les armées arabo-musulmanes se sont distinguées par leur soif de conquête et l’invasion de nombreux pays, dans le seul but d’y apporter l’islam par la force du sabre. Lors de leurs invasions barbares, les arabo-musulmans ont soumis les habitants et se sont appropriés leurs inventions et découvertes, puis les ont «arabisées» par le truchement du vocable.

 

Les musulmans ont importé les chiffres dits arabes — qui remplacent les chiffres romains — la numération positionnelle et le zéro? Ce sont des inventions d’origine indienne. L’inventeur du zéro de position s’appelle Brahmagupta, grand astronome et mathématicien indien. Et c’est un mathématicien perse qui inventa l’algèbre. L’imprimerie, la boussole et la poudre à canon furent inventées par les chinois. De nombreux savants du mythique «âge d’or arabe» n’étaient pas tous des Arabes d’ailleurs, mais furent arabisés et assimilés, comme le savant Perse Avicenne, des savants Ouzbeks, et des savants Berbères d’Andalousie.

 

Un autre mythe de l’âge d’or de la civilisation arabo-musulmane qui a la vie dure et resurgit de plus belle, comme une légende, est celui de la transmission du savoir grec à l’Occident, à l’origine du siècle des Lumières, par les arabo-musulmans. Si la civilisation arabo-musulmane a pu, effectivement, briller pendant deux siècles, elle le doit, en quelque sorte, aux érudits arabes qui firent traduire tous les textes qui présentaient un intérêt scientifique quelconque. Les textes grecs furent traduits par des Chrétiens d’Orient, à partir du syriaque ou directement du grec, et non par des Arabes. Toutefois, Il y avait aussi une filière parallèle, constituée par des moines copistes, qui traduisaient directement du grec en latin.

 

Donc le rôle des Arabes dans la transmission du savoir grec à l’Occident est aussi un mythe.

 

Al-Fârâbî, Avicenne et Averroès ne lisaient pas un mot des textes originaux, mais seulement les traductions en arabe faites par les Araméens chrétiens. Cette transmission du savoir et de la science des Grecs à l’Occident se fit surtout grâce aux Chrétiens d’Orient et aux moines d’Occident, une vérité que certains de nos islamophiles essayent de gommer en réécrivant l’histoire du Moyen Age. Décidément, la réécriture de notre histoire devient le passe temps favori de nos dhimmis intellectuels, au service de l’islamisation de l’Occident.

 

L’Occident d’ailleurs ne rompit jamais ses liens avec les enseignements des anciens grecs, grâce aux traductions des Chrétiens d’Orient et des Moines d’Occident, et les Arabes ne jouèrent aucun rôle dans le développement de l’Occident, qui progressa au fil de siècles, et l’amena à la position dominante actuelle.

 

Ces érudits, dévoués corps et âme à la cause de l’islam, semblent oublier que la civilisation européenne résulte d’un métissage entre la pensée hellénistique et judéo-chrétienne, et cette civilisation a des racines qui remontent au Ve siècle avant Jésus-Christ. Elle existait bien à avant l’invention de l’islam! Par contre, la civilisation arabo-musulmane ne dura que deux siècles, et depuis le 13ème siècle, elle n’a guère progressé. […]

HOLOCAUST, ISRAEL, JERUSALEM: JEWISH MEMORY, JEWISH HEROISM

MEMORIES OF PARENTS SUSTAINED HIM
Elaine Kalman Naves

Montreal Gazette, March 24, 2012

The following is a review of Chief Rabbi (Tel Aviv) Israel Meir Lau’s
Out of the Depths: The Story of a Child of Buchenwald Who Returned Home at Last.
(
Schmidt Sterling, 380 pages, $29.95.)

‘Out of the depths have I called Thee, O Lord,” laments the Psalmist, and his cry is echoed in the title of the reminiscences of Rabbi Israel Meir Lau, formerly Ashkenazi chief rabbi of Israel and currently chief rabbi of Tel Aviv and chairman of [the] Yad Vashem [Holocaust Museum]. Whoever the Psalmist may have been and whatever depths he had plumbed, they couldn’t have been deeper or darker than those from which little Lulek Lau emerged in 1945, at the age of 8.

Lulek’s first memory was of his father, the rabbi of the Polish town of Piotrków, being whipped by a captain of the Gestapo because the Jew had resisted an order to shave his beard. The child was then 5 and about to part from his parent forever. “When a young boy sees his father—kicked with nailed boots, threatened by dogs, falter from the force of the blow and suffer public shaming, he carries that terrible scene with him for the rest of his life.”

Other terrifying events followed. At the age of 6, to prove his “right to live,” Lulek performed a back-breaking job in the town’s ghetto. Yet the hardships he endured were mitigated by the fierce protectiveness of his indomitable mother. And then, when the ghetto was being liquidated, that mother made a calculated decision on the spur of the moment. Sizing up a scene where women and children were being directed to one side of a platform and men to the other, she shoved the little boy toward the men.

Among those men stood Naphtali, Lulek’s 17-year-old brother. Together they were herded onto a train, the child fighting to get back to his mother, Naphtali restraining him. “To separate from your mother is inconceivable; it hurts your whole being for all the years of your life. It took me a long time to understand that when Mother pushed me toward Naphtali, she saved my life.”

The maws of the Nazi machine fed on children. That Lulek escaped is remarkable in itself. But that, instead of stunting him, his tragic experiences spurred him on to become a sage and a leader is a tribute not only to his own qualities but to the exceptional people with whom his life was bound up.

This book is many things: survivor story, autobiography, wisdom literature and an unabashed love letter to Israel, the home to which its subtitle alludes. When the two brothers finally arrived there, the state did not yet exist.

The hero of the story is Naphtali, who had made a solemn vow to their father to protect Lulek and convey him to the Promised Land where—so the father had decreed—the child was to perpetuate a dynasty. On both sides of the family the brothers could trace an unbroken rabbinic chain for 37 generations: one thousand years. It’s not clear until much later in the narrative why Rabbi Lau Senior had decreed that the one to carry the rabbinic mantle would be the younger son. But in the words “Look out for the boy,” Naphtali found his own calling. He stayed alive—barely—when his own will to live flagged, in order to keep Lulek safe. This in Buchenwald, one of the most dreadful places on Earth.

Without the help of two righteous Gentiles, Naphtali’s mission would have failed. Israel Lau pays fulsome tribute to the Russian prisoner and the Czech doctor who befriended him after he was smuggled into the Aryan section of the camp, and separated from Naphtali who was on the Jewish side, where the child wouldn’t have lasted a day.

Between 1993 and 2003, Lau served as Chief Rabbi of Israel and hobnobbed with world leaders that included Nelson Mandela, Queen Elizabeth…two popes [and] Fidel Castro in 1994.…

Rabbi Lau’s…father had foreseen that because Lulek was so young at the outbreak of the war, if he survived, he would be more able to put the war behind him than his much older brother, whose formative years were already over. (In the event, Naphtali proved no slouch. First an eminent journalist, he later became Israel’s consul-general in New York.) As well, Rabbi Lau gave credit to his many mentors.

But he deemed that his most important influences of all were his memories of the parents he had so cruelly lost. “Although I was without parents, my father and mother were with me continuously. They never left me, not even for one minute.”

LIFE INSIDE THE CAMPS
Jordan Michael Smith

Tablet, March 28, 2012

David Koker’s fate was in many ways no different from that of the nearly 6 million other Jews who died in the Holocaust. The eldest son of an Amsterdam jeweler, he was arrested by Dutch police in February 1943 and transported to Vught, a concentration camp built by the Nazis in the southern Netherlands. After being shuffled between other camps, he died on the way to Dachau in early 1945, where he was buried in a mass grave at the age of 23.

Before he died, however, Koker authored what may be the most extraordinary diary ever written inside a concentration camp. “In my opinion, it’s considerably more interesting than Anne Frank’s diary,” said Michiel Horn, a historian at Toronto’s York University and the book’s translator. At the Edge of the Abyss: A Concentration Camp Diary, 1943-1944, was first published in Dutch in 1977 as Diary Written in Vught. Despite immediately being recognized as a classic in the Netherlands, it has never seen publication in English, until now.…

Koker began his diary on Feb. 12, 1943, the day after he was arrested along with his parents and his younger brother. A published poet and budding intellectual at the time of his capture, he insisted on diarizing for nearly an entire year. As the teacher of the many children interned in Vught, he ingratiated himself with the chief camp clerk and his wife, which provided him with a relatively privileged position. In addition to keeping a diary, he was also able to write and receive letters, some of which are excerpted in the book.

In January of 1944, one of the civilian employees of a corporation that operated a workshop in Vught smuggled Koker’s diary out of the camp and gave it to his best friend, Karel van het Reve, who then gave it to David’s younger brother Max, who survived Auschwitz and received it upon his return to Amsterdam after the war. It was passed on to the Netherlands Institute for War Documentation, where an employee transcribed it.

Max was reluctant to publish the diary for fear of its impact on his mother, who also survived Auschwitz but never emotionally recovered from the death of her husband and son. Still, David’s former high-school teacher, Prof. Jacob Presser, saw its value and quoted from it extensively in his history of the Holocaust in the Netherlands, published in 1965. Finally, Reve, who had become a famous Dutch intellectual by the mid-1960s, published the diary with just a few notes and an introduction.

Diary Written in Vught was instantly appraised as being of enormous value.… The book went through two printings within its first year of publication, appeared in magazine format for high-school students in 1985, and in an expanded edition with an epilogue by Max, in 1993. Determined to see an English translation of the book, Max approached a contact at the Anne Frank House, who put him in touch with Jan van Pelt, who in turn approached Northwestern University Press.

Three things mark At the Edge of the Abyss as an utterly distinctive and unique work of Holocaust literature that must be read now that an English-language translation exists. First, the insider account of a camp; second, Koker’s literary and analytic abilities; and third, the only first-person report of an encounter between a Jew and Heinrich Himmler, head Nazi and overseer of all the camps. On Feb. 4, 1944, Koker records that on the previous day he had looked directly at the man responsible for the Final Solution. The haunting entry reads as follows:

“A slight, insignificant-looking little man, with a rather good-humored face. High peaked cap, mustache, and small spectacles. I think: If you wanted to trace back all the misery and horror to just one person, it would have to be him. Around him a lot of fellows with weary faces. Very big, heavily dressed men, they swerve along whichever way he turns, like a swarm of flies, changing places among themselves (they don’t stand still for a moment) and moving like a single whole. It makes a fatally alarming impression. They look everywhere without finding anything to focus on.”

What makes this passage remarkable is not just the fact of the encounter but Koker’s careful, emotionally attuned attention to detail. Koker notices not just Himmler but the deference of his supplicants. He observes with nonchalance, as if he were encountering not a genocidal murderer—and the person who keeps Koker in a concentration camp—but an ordinary man on the street.…

In addition, Koker provides a glimpse of life in the camps rarely seen before. He reveals aspects of ordinary life that take place beneath the surface of uniforms and barbed wire. Koker had a girlfriend, Nettie, a German-Jewish refugee, who had been living in hiding in Amsterdam since 1943. But he also met a girl in Vught, Hannelore (Hannie) Hess, with whom he had a relationship.… “I have the strength to be very open with her, about ‘personal’ matters and about everything that inspires my thoughts and feelings. And she always knows exactly the right moment to give me the stimulus to keep on speaking, by means of some pleasant words, a sweet anticipatory or assenting gesture, or a friendly question.… In love with her? It’s because of that unknown, almost uncomprehending something that exists between us. That newness, not yet habitual. And also the wonderment each time we reveal something of ourselves to each other.…”

If there are lovely moments of affection and poetic sentiment in At the Edge of the Abyss, however, it is very far from a Life Is Beautiful-style attempt to put a positive spin on the worst of human depravity.… The results often make for brutal reading. Koker can be tender, but he is also ambitious and cold.… From a May 3, 1943 entry: “You become selfish, even towards your own family.… Sometimes I treat the children with bitterness, yet the friendliest treatment hides a bit of sadism and lust for power.… I don’t feel bad when I deny them something or give them an order. A kind of feeling of being in charge.” Nov. 7, 1943: “Sometimes when I see the mass of people here, a strange thought passes through my head: we don’t deserve it [i.e., liberation]. Not true, because who deserves to be in a camp, but as an image it’s instructive.”

If any hope can be gleaned from At the Edge of the Abyss, it may come from the realization that intellectual life and critical judgment can be maintained under the most horrific of conditions. That, and the fact that David Koker’s gifts did not perish in a concentration camp but lived on after him. But perhaps the temptation to find solace in something as tragic as Koker’s death and as cataclysmic as the Holocaust should be resisted. One cannot imagine the phenomenal author of At the Edge of the Abyss embracing easy answers.

A HOLOCAUST HERO WHO SHOULD BE IN THE HISTORY BOOKS
Moshe Arens

Haaretz, March 27, 2012

Last Tuesday a plaque was placed in Warsaw at the location where Pawel Frenkel, the commander of the Jewish Military Organization in the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, fell with his comrades 69 years ago, in a battle against superior German forces.

The impressive military ceremony was attended by the mayor of Warsaw, representatives of the Polish government, Israel’s education minister and the Israeli ambassador. It was a long overdue tribute to a hero of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising: the young man who led the central battle of the uprising at Muranowski Square. In that desperate battle fought for the honor of the Jewish people, the Zionist flag and the Polish flag were unfurled on the roof of the highest building in the square as a symbol of the uprising against the Germans.

Two months after the outbreak of the uprising, Frenkel and his fighters, cornered by German forces, fought the last battle of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, at 11 (now 5a ) Grzybowska Street. Frenkel had been a member of Betar, Jabotinsky’s youth organization in Poland, and had been recruited into Israel’s pre-state underground militia, Etzel, which had established a network of underground cells in prewar Poland.

But who has heard of him, and why has his name been forgotten—or has it been deliberately erased from the pages of history?

In the years before the establishment of the State of Israel, and for almost 20 years thereafter, the Labor Party largely controlled education and influenced the formation of collective memory, and it was not in its interest to glorify those fighters of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising who had been adherents of Jabotinsky. The Labor Party willingly adopted the narrative of the uprising that was brought to Israel by “Antek” Zuckerman and Zivia Lubetkin, survivors of the Mordechai Anielewicz-led Jewish Fighting Organization, a narrative that left little room for the part played by Frenkel and his fighters.

In a May 1945 letter sent by Zuckerman and Adolf Berman, a leader of the Warsaw Ghetto underground, from German-occupied Warsaw to London through the channels of the Polish underground, the seeds were sewn for the politically correct narrative of the uprising. “The struggle in the Warsaw Ghetto, and in other ghettos and camps, was initiated, organized, and carried out by our organizations, and first and foremost by the workers’ movements and the youth movements of Labor Eretz Yisrael,” they wrote.

Sixteen years later, in their testimony in the Eichmann trial about the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, Zuckerman and Lubetkin made no mention of the part played by the Jewish Military Organization in the uprising. Their narrative has for years been taught in Israel’s schools, has been embedded in Israel’s collective memory and that of the world at large, and is displayed in the Yad Vashem museum in Jerusalem.

“He who controls the present controls the past,” wrote George Orwell in his dystopian novel “1984.” Those who controlled the present in Israel for many years manipulated the history of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising to suit their ideological goals.

It has recently been suggested that the part played by Marek Edelman in the uprising had not been given full recognition in Israel. Edelman was a member of Anielewicz’s Jewish Fighting Organization who fought valiantly in the brushmakers’ workshop area during the uprising. But he had been a member of the anti-Zionist Bund, which was the senior partner in Anielewicz’s organization, and primary credit for the uprising has naturally been given in Israel to the Zionist groups in that organization.

Edelman, a Bundist to his dying days and a fierce opponent of the Jabotinsky movement, let his ideological leanings get the better of him when it came to speaking about the uprising. Throughout the years, he did not miss an opportunity to deny that Frenkel and his fighters contributed significantly to the Warsaw Ghetto uprising. They were no more than “a gang of porters, smugglers and thieves,” he has been quoted as saying. Bundists or Socialist Zionists, it did not matter when it came to effacing Pawel Frenkel’s fighters in the Warsaw Ghetto.

Emanuel Ringelblum, a Marxist Zionist who chronicled life in the Warsaw Ghetto, was impressed by the military precision and bearing he noted during his visit to Frenkel’s headquarters at 7 Muranowska Street, but nevertheless remarked that the movement’s ideology was similar to “Italian-style fascism.”

An animosity based on ideological differences kept the two underground organizations from uniting in the Warsaw Ghetto and continued after the war, in attempts to manipulate the narrative of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising to suit political goals. Pawel Frenkel and his fighters were the victims of this attempt to control the past. It is high time to set the record straight.

THE POLITICS OF JERUSALEM
Mordechai Nisan

Jerusalem Post, March 28, 2012

A satisfactory and consensual political resolution of the question of Jerusalem has eluded diplomats and statesmen. The British Peel Commission of 1937 recommended a two-state solution in the land that included a Jewish state and an Arab state, with greater Jerusalem to be administered by the British authorities. In 1947 the United Nations Partition Resolution also proposed that Jerusalem be a separate entity under international trusteeship, thus excluded from the sovereign domain of the Jewish and Arab states as proposed. When the Israeli-Jordanian fighting ended in Jerusalem in late 1948, the city was effectively divided between Jewish west Jerusalem and Arab east Jerusalem. This was a result of war and not a prescription for peace.

The division of the city did not prevent the Israeli government from declaring it the capital of the state, nor obstruct Jewish demographic growth which doubled to 200,000 by 1967. Jordan meanwhile proved to be the serial violator of its obligations under the Armistice Agreement, destroying Jewish synagogues and desecrating the Mount of Olives cemetery, denying Jewish access to the Western Wall while sniping at Jewish residents and buildings adjacent to the Old City in western Jerusalem.

The liberation of east Jerusalem in the Six Day War led to the unification of the city under Israeli sovereignty and subject to Israeli law. To solidify Jewish control and presence across the former armistice lines dividing the city, we can detect two periods in construction projects and Jewish demographic expansion.

Mayor Teddy Kollek, fulfilling a vision of prime minister Levi Eshkol, promoted the reconstruction of the Jewish Quarter in the Old City and the development of large new Jewish neighborhoods, like Gilo and Armon HaNatziv at the southern end of the city, Ramat Eshkol and French Hill adjacent to the former frontier boundary, and Neve Ya’akov and Pisgat Ze’ev in the north.…

Under successive mayors—Olmert, Lupolianski and Barkat—an additional and alternative conception guided the Jewish spread throughout the city, through establishing a Jewish presence in Arab-inhabited areas: facilitating Jewish property acquisition or sometimes reacquisition of former Jewish homes in the Muslim and Christian quarters of the Old City, developing the City of David in Silwan/Hashiloah, as in Sheikh Jarrah/Shimon Hazaddik, with small groups of Jews in A-Tur/Mount of Olives, Abu Tor, Beit Orot/Mt. Scopus, Ras al-Amud/Ma’ale Zeitim, and Beit Nissan Beck/Giorgia quarter opposite the Damascus/ Shechem Gate of the Old City.

These and additional locations were designed to have Jews in east Jerusalem politically hinder the possibility of a future Israeli withdrawal from parts of the eastern city areas. By 2012 the population of Jerusalem approximated three quarters of a million people, some two-thirds of which are Jews and a third Arabs.…

Israel’s multi-faceted policy toward Jerusalem and the geo-demographic processes of the last decades have established the city as a single political and administrative unit. The Arab population chooses not to vote in municipal elections for fear of providing legitimacy to Israeli rule, yet this enables Israel to actually imprint its political monopoly over the entire city. This dialectical development affords insight into the subtle dynamic of things. Israel exercises de facto sovereign rule over the city, no less consistent with the 1980 Jerusalem: Basic Law, yet concedes daily authority to the Muslims over the Temple Mount. The Palestinians for their part enjoy the full range of liberty of movement and expression, though they have succumbed to a numbing state of collective de-politicization.…

The prospect is therefore one of continued Israeli control for the foreseeable future. For Israel to withdraw from any part of Jerusalem and allow a Palestinian capital in the city would be a depletion of the soul of the Jewish people. Palestinian sovereignty in east Jerusalem, no less any official recognition of Islamic control over the Temple Mount, would spark Muslim militancy and bellicosity throughout the country, and beyond. For Israel to withdraw from any part of Jerusalem would expose the Jews of the city to grave security threats and terrorism.… In order to secure west Jerusalem as the focus of vibrant Jewish life, Israel must maintain its control over east Jerusalem as well.…

The Jewish people have come home to their historic and spiritual capital, and Israel is fulfilling its national mandate in governing and developing Greater Jerusalem. This is a blessing which many curse, but a blessing whose splendor spreads its light to all peoples and faiths—inhabitants, tourists, and pilgrims—to enjoy the freedom and security, prosperity and poetry, of the Holy City.

(Mordechai Nisan is a retired lecturer at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
His most recent book,
Only Israel West of the River (2011) is available at Amazon.com.)

SPECIAL “NEWS IN REVIEW” ROUND-UP— AND THE GLOBAL “MARCH OF FOLLY” TO JERUSALEM, ISRAEL

Media-ocrities of the Week

 

On all these issues, but particularly missile defense, this, this can be solved but it’s important for [incoming Russian President Vladimir Putin] to give me space.… This is my last election. After my election I have more flexibility.”—US President Barack Obama, caught on an open mic assuring outgoing Russian President Dmitry Medvedev that he will be less constrained after the US election in November to accommodate Vladimir Putin’s demands on proposed ballistic missile defenses in Europe. (ABC News, March 26.)

 

To those siding w/Assad: he cannot deliver stability, protection of minorities, or resistance to Israel. He is a killer w/o legitimacy.”—Dalia Mogahed, a Muslim adviser to U.S. President Barack Obama, in a post on Twitter, describing Syrian President Bashar Assad as illegitimate due to insufficient opposition to Israel. (Israel National News, March 18.)

 

Weekly Quotes

 

The government and people of Turkey have, in a transparent manner, always supported [Iran’s] nuclear energy stances and will seriously pursue the same policy in the future.”—Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in a meeting in Tehran with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, reaffirming Turkey’s steadfast support for Iran’s nuclear program. For his part, Ahmadinejad praised the long-standing cooperation between the two countries and their joint efforts to counter “the arrogance of the Western countries.” (Jerusalem Post, March 29.)

 

It is essential that President Assad put those commitments into immediate effect. The world is waiting for commitments to be translated into action. The key here is implementation, there is no time to waste.”—United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, at an Arab League Summit in Baghdad, calling on Syrian President Bashar Assad to implement the terms of a UN-backed peace plan he accepted earlier this week. The plan calls for a UN-supervised halt to fighting, the withdrawal of government troops and heavy weaponry from cities, a daily two-hour humanitarian ceasefire and access to all areas affected by Assad’s crackdown. At least 22 people were killed on Thursday by Syrian forces. (Gazette, March 27 & Jerusalem Post, March 29.)

 

It is the Palestinian people’s right to oppose the occupation in all means, and the resistance must be focused on the 1967 territories.”—Former Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti, who is serving five life sentences in an Israeli jail, in remarks ahead of Friday’s Global March to Jerusalem, urging Palestinians to launch widespread resistance against Israel. Barghouti also called on the Palestinian Authority to “stop all coordination with Israel”; “work toward reconciliation [with Hamas];” and “turn to the UN General Assembly and the rest of its agencies.” (Haaretz, March 27.)

 

The council’s new fact-finding mission on settlements—whose co-sponsors include Syria and Iran—is a fraud, with the guilty verdict determined in advance. The egregiously one-sided resolution omits any mention of officially sanctioned Palestinian terrorism, rocket fire targeting civilians and incitement to hatred, anti-Semitism and genocide. The Palestinian Authority and the Arab and Islamic states sponsoring the text know full well that Israel will not legitimize this latest kangaroo court, and are therefore acting with the intent to subvert, rather than advance, any prospect of a bilateral negotiated peace agreement and mutual reconciliation.”—UN Watch executive director, Hillel Neuer, strongly denouncing the decision by the UN Human Rights Council to dispatch a fact-finding mission to “investigate the implications of the Israeli settlements on the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of the Palestinian people throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem.” In addition, the council also expressed “grave concern about the continuing systematic violation of the human rights of the Palestinian people by Israel”; condemned Israeli control over the Golan Heights; and called for an end to the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip. (National Post, March 23.)

 

It was not a topic. I did not cite it is as a theme. The voters know I am Jewish. Period!”—Peter Feldmann, after becoming the first German Jew to be elected mayor of Frankfurt since the Holocaust. (Jerusalem Post, March 29.)

 

One of the most alarming signs of the eclipse of reason in our world is the eagerness of our University students (usually abetted by faculty) to join up to the very latest campaign of vilification and demonization of Israel. The anti-historical narrative and even the symbolics that underlie this present exercise…come ultimately from the mind and heart of Hamas, Hezbollah, and Ahmadinejad’s Iran. The cartoon maps of ‘Palestine’ serve to proclaim that Israelis, indeed all Jews, must be made to vanish from the Middle East. If any Canadian imagines that this could be accomplished short of physical liquidation of every living Jew in the vicinity, he has not been paying attention to the Hitlerite rhetoric of these Islamist champions. Has it not occurred to these spokespersons for the student body of this Canadian University that when Israel disappears from the map there will disappear with it the only polity in the Middle East in which democracy has ever taken hold…[and] the only Middle Eastern community in which exists freedom of religion, freedom of speech and expression, toleration for critical learning and advancement of the scientific sprit? This Boycott and Divestment campaign is ultimately an exercise in self-loathing, into which these privileged beneficiaries of the Canadian way of life have been lured by the mad desire to appear in solidarity with the most irreconcilable enemies of learning. The fact that it is taking place in a Canadian University must set off alarm bells in the Canadian public.”—Director of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ) Canada and History Professor Emeritus at Ottawa’s Carleton University, Dr. Paul C. Merkley, condemning the University of Regina’s Student Union for passing a resolution to boycott Israeli academics and businesses. (ICEJ Website, March 26.)

 

Short Takes

 

BAKU GRANTS ISRAEL USE OF ITS AIR BASES—(Jerusalem) According to a Foreign Policy report, Azerbaijan’s decision to grant Israel access to airbases in its territory along Iran’s northern border has angered the Obama administration. Citing US intelligence officials, the report claims that US President Barack Obama believes the Jerusalem-Baku relationship is raising the risk of an Israeli strike on Iran. “We’re watching what Israel is doing in Azerbaijan. And we’re not happy about it,” one official said. Earlier this month, Azerbaijani police arrested 22 people connected to Iran’s Revolutionary Guards suspected of plotting attacks against US and Israeli targets across the country. (Jerusalem Post, March 29.)

 

POLL: MOST JEWISH ISRAELIS SAY IRAN STRIKE LESS RISKY THAN NUCLEAR THREAT—(Jerusalem) According to a new poll conducted for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, nearly two-thirds of Jewish Israelis believe that attacking Iran to stop its nuclear program would be less harmful to Israel than living under the shadow of an Iranian nuclear bomb. The study, conducted by Prof. Camil Fuchs, showed that 65 percent of respondents agreed that the price Israel would have to pay for living with the threat of an Iranian bomb would pose a greater risk than a pre-emptive strike on Iranian nuclear facilities. Only 26 percent disagreed, with nine percent saying they were unsure. Sixty percent also agreed that only military action could stop Iran’s nuclear program. (Haaretz, March 26.)

 

TOULOUSE SCHOOL GETTING HATE MAIL SINCE ATTACK—(New York) According to French news agency AFP, the Jewish school in France where Mohamed Merah killed three children and a teacher has received a rash of anti-Semitic phone calls as well as emails calling for the murder of Jews since the attack. In response, the Ozar Hatorah school in Toulouse reportedly forwarded an official complaint to local prosecutor Michel Valet, who in turn ordered a police investigation into the incidents. Rabbi Jonathan Sandler, his two young sons, as well as the 8-year-old daughter of the school’s principal, were murdered in the March 21 attack. (JTA, March 28.)

 

FRENCH GUNMAN SENT FOOTAGE TO AL JAZEERA—(Paris) According to French police, video filmed by gunman Mohamed Merah during his terror attack on a Jewish school in Toulouse has been sent to the Al Jazeera television network in Paris. Al Jazeera allegedly received a computer memory drive containing a montage of footage accompanied by Islamist war songs, before forwarding the package on to the authorities. The package was dated Wednesday, March 21, the day that police surrounded Merah in his apartment in the southern city of Toulouse after a massive manhunt. Investigators are trying to find out whether the letter was posted Tuesday night by Merah himself or by an accomplice Wednesday morning. Mohamed Merah’s brother, Abdelkader, has already been charged with complicity in the attacks. (Reuters & Gazette, March 26.)

 

MOFAZ TROUNCES LIVNI, WINS KADIMA LEADERSHIP—(Jerusalem) Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman, Shaul Mofaz, has defeated incumbent Tzipi Livni in Kadima’s leadership race. According to official numbers, Mofaz received 61.89 percent of the votes to Livni’s 37.11%. “From tonight, Kadima is one,” Mofaz told a crowd during his victory speech. Mofaz also vowed to do everything possible to bring down the government of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, which he said had failed. Mofaz will officially be declared new opposition leader in a mid-recess Knesset meeting next Monday. (Jerusalem Post, March 29.)

 

ISRAEL TO CUT OFF CONTACTS WITH UN HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL—(Jerusalem) Israel’s Foreign Ministry has decided to cut off all contact with the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), following the recent decision by the council to send a fact-finding mission to the West Bank to probe the impact of the settlements on Palestinian human rights. Moving forward, Israel’s ambassador to the UN, Ron Prosor, will not appear before the council, answer any phone calls from the council, or cooperate with it in any way. Prosor will not be withdrawn from Geneva, however, as Israel will continue to fully cooperate with other UN subsidiary organizations. No decision has yet been made on what sanctions to take against the Palestinian Authority, which initiated the action at the UN body. There is speculation that Israel may once again cut off monthly tax revenues that it transfers to the PA, as it did following UNESCO’s decision to accept “Palestine” into the organization in November. (Jerusalem Post, March 26.)

 

EGYPT’S ISLAMISTS SET TO DOMINATE NEW CONSTITUTION—(Cairo) Islamist politicians are set to dominate a committee charged with drafting Egypt’s first post-revolutionary constitution. According to the results of a vote by both houses of Egypt’s new parliament, members of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party and the Salafi Nour Party will comprise at least two-thirds of the 100-member panel tasked with drafting the new document. In response, at least eight self-identified liberal parliamentarians announced their withdrawal from the constituent assembly in protest over the overwhelming presence of Islamist politicians who they fear will infuse the constitution with Islamic rules. Meanwhile, the Brotherhood revealed earlier this month its intent to nominate one of its members for president, despite previous assurances to the contrary. (Wall Street Journal, March 25.)

 

GERMAN CHANCELLOR HOPEFUL: ISRAEL IS ‘APARTHEID’—(Berlin) Sigmar Gabriel, the head of Germany’s Social Democratic Party and a possible candidate for the Chancellorship, has described Israel on his Facebook site as an “Apartheid-Regime.” After a wave of protest notes appeared on his page, Gabriel, who was visiting Israel and the Palestinian territories at the time, not only defended his terminology but also reiterated, “This is an apartheid regime, for which there is no justification.” During his trip, the Social Democratic chairman also sought to meet with Hamas, saying he would welcome the inclusion of terrorist group as partner in the peace process. (Jerusalem Post, March 15.)

 

SAUDI GRAND MUFTI CALLS FOR DESTRUCTION OF MIDDLE EAST CHURCHES—(Berlin) Abdulaziz ibn Abdullah Al al-Sheikh, the grand mufti of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, has issued a religious fatwa saying it is “necessary to destroy all the churches in the Arabian Peninsula.”  In response, Christian bishops in Germany, Austria and Russia sharply criticized the mufti. Italian journalist Giulio Meotti, an expert on Christians in the Middle East, described the edict as “astonishing” and “horrible”, saying it was “amazing that the most important Muslim cleric in the land that gave birth to Islam can call for the destruction of churches.” Roughly 3.5 million Christians live in the Gulf Arab region. (Jerusalem Post, March 24.)

THE GLOBAL MARCH FOR JERUSALEM
Jonathan Schanzer

Weekly Standard, March 27, 2012

The first flotilla in 2010 ended in a bloodbath on the high seas, when the Israeli navy intercepted Islamists and activists seeking to challenge Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip. The second flotilla fizzled, when international lawyers prevented a second round of boats from embarking on another ill-fated mission in 2011.

Now, after two by sea, there will be one by land. The Global March to Jerusalem (GMJ), slated for March 30 (Land Day for the Palestinians), is a coordinated attempt to breach Israel’s borders from surrounding Arab states—Egypt, Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon. Participants are planning to arrive from around the globe—Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Europe, and even America. Their goal is to ensure that as many as one million people overwhelm Israeli border security and march to Jerusalem, where they will assert Muslim rights to the holy city.…

Should the organizers have their way, this will be a messy affair.… On May 15 and June 5 of last year, activists marched on Israel’s borders. When Israeli officials could not contain them, both incidents turned violent, resulting in dozens of deaths and many more injured.…

As the group’s website claims, “We aim to make this march a turning point in the nature of the confrontation, with the occupation having to face millions of protesters and demonstrators demanding Freedom for Palestine and its capitol Jerusalem.” A brief survey of the sponsors should dispel any doubt surrounding the intentions of this movement. Participants and funding can be traced back to a pastiche of traditional anti-Israel groups like the International Solidarity Movement, but it is the other organizers that should be cause for concern.

UK-based Mohamed Sawalha is a former Hamas commander who played an integral role in the first flotilla. Ashraf Abu Zayed, who does public relations work for Hamas in Gaza, now sits on the GMJ central committee, as does Hamas parliamentarian Ahmad Abo Halabiya. In December, Hamas’s Ismail Haniyeh announced the march, calling for the establishment of “the ‘Army of Jerusalem’…in order to take action to liberate Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa.”

Hamas is coordinating its efforts with other regional terrorist groups. On March 14, a Hamas delegation headed by Hamas leader Mousa Abu Marzouk met with Hezbollah figurehead Hassan Nasrallah in Beirut. According to Hezbollah media outlets, the GMJ was one of their agenda items.

Iran is a sponsor, too. The government-run FARS news agency reported in February that regime loyalist Hossein Shaikhol-Eslam was named secretary of the board for the GMJ.… The Muslim Brotherhood alone has representatives from Jordan, Lebanon, South Africa, Egypt, and Turkey.…

The [Middle East] is already on tilt, thanks to multiple Arab protest movements, and ongoing tensions over the Iranian nuclear program. The last thing we need now is a new conflict.… A new uprising would…create untold unrest in a region that already has its fair share.

(Jonathan Schanzer is vice president for research
at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
)

BEWARE LAND DAY
Editorial

Jerusalem Post, March 27, 2012

An international array of terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah and Hamas, rogue states such as Iran and radical left-wing organizations such as Code Pink have joined forces to make the 36th Land Day potentially the biggest—and most violent—ever.…

This year, there will be demonstrations in the unrecognized Negev village of Wadi al-Na’am against the relocation of Beduin under the auspices of the government-approved Prawer Plan. And on Shabbat there will be a march in Jaffa against efforts to increase the Jewish population there. There will also be demonstrations in Hamas-controlled Gaza, including attempts to overrun the border with Israel.

But an additional dimension will be added to the protests against Israel’s “expropriation” of Arab Israeli land. Called the Global March to Jerusalem, or the catchier “GM2J,” this year’s demonstrations will also rally against what is being called by organizers the “Judaization” of Jerusalem.

By making Jerusalem, or Al-Quds, the centerpiece, organizers of the event have managed to turn this into an international affair with solidarity demonstrations expected in Egypt, Jordan, Iran and elsewhere. No demonstrations are expected in Syria, where people are busy fighting a civil war. And despite pressure from Hezbollah, the Lebanese Army and the Lebanese government wish to avoid a rerun of the events of last May, when hundreds of Palestinians in Lebanon and Syria, commemorating Israel’s Independence Day (“Nakba” or “catastrophe” Day for Arabs), rushed the border with Israel. Ten were killed by the IDF and Lebanese forces. Lebanon has, therefore, forbidden demonstrations south of the Litani River…and just 5,000 are expected to gather at Beaufort Castle in Nabatiya.

Nevertheless, there is a very real chance of a major flare-up. Just this week, Marwan Barghouti, who is serving five life sentences for the murder of four Israelis and a Greek Orthodox priest, called on Palestinians to launch a “large-scale popular resistance.” The former head of the Tanzim—one of Fatah’s armed wings—enjoys broad support among Palestinians and has been visited by prominent left-wing figures such as novelist Amos Oz, Meretz’s former MK Haim Oron and Labor’s MK Amir Peretz.…

The increasing radicalization of the Arab Israeli leadership can also increase the chances for violence. Israelis such as Muhammad Zeidan, chairman of the Monitoring Committee of the Israeli Arab Leadership, who was on the Mavi Marmara in May 2010, and who call for a binational state and demand that millions of Palestinian “refugees” be given the right to “return” to towns inside the Green Line, are involved in organizing this weekend’s demonstrations. Zeidan said that he has warned Israeli security forces to distance themselves from the processions in order to avoid violence.

We can only hope that the IDF, the police and other security personnel have taken the necessary precautions to avoid as best as possible violent clashes that could ignite an already tense situation. And we can only lament the fact that Arab Israelis and Palestinians are so radicalized that they have no qualms in joining forces with the likes of Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran rather than reconciling themselves to the existence of a Jewish state and learning to live in peace.

A MARCH OF FOLLY TO JERUSALEM
Ron Prosor

Jerusalem Post, March 29, 2012

On Friday, some of the world’s most notorious terrorists, tyrants and radicals are organizing a mass attempt to violate Israel’s sovereignty, calling it a “Global March to Jerusalem.” They will march to the tune of revisionist history not seen since the pages of George Orwell’s 1984, accusing Israel of “Judaizing Jerusalem.” These accusations come about 3,000 years too late.

Ever since King David laid the cornerstone for his palace in the 10th century BCE, Jerusalem has served as the eternal capital of the Jewish people. While Jews were once forcibly removed from the city, they restored a clear cut majority in the mid-19th century and have maintained that position ever since.

In other corners of the world, such an event would draw laughter instead of participants. Can you imagine a march on Capitol Hill to accuse Congress of Americanizing Washington? Or a campaign to stop the ‘Indianization’ of the Taj Mahal?

Iran, Hamas, Hezbollah and the Muslim Brotherhood are bankrolling the event and taking part in preparations. To bring maximum media attention, these groups will likely induce the March’s participants to instigate violence.

It is not the first dangerous publicity stunt that has been staged on Israel’s borders. In 2011, the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad paid off so-called “activists” to force their way into Israeli territory from the Golan Heights. The goal was clear: Incite violence in Israel to divert the global spotlight from massacres in Syria. It is the bread and butter of the desperate dictator’s playbook.

Friday will be just another act in a much larger drama. Last month, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas made another stop on his extended vacation from peace negotiations with Israel, traveling with other Arab leaders to Doha for a conference on the so-called “Defense of Jerusalem.” The Conference was a tour de force of all the major motifs of incitement against Israel. In his keynote address, Abbas declared that the narrative of Jewish history could not be proven, especially the existence of “what [the Jewish people] call the Temple.”

Speakers lined up in Doha to accuse Israel of “ethnic cleansing” in Jerusalem, even though the percentage of Arab residents in the city has grown from 26 percent to 35% since 1967. While the world puts a magnifying glass over every “Jewish” apartment block built, 2,500 homes in Arab areas of the city have recently been approved in addition to community centers and hotels. Meanwhile, the PA continues to encourage and entice Arab residents to build illegally, in the hope of creating a media frenzy when illegal structures are removed.

The truth is that under Israeli rule, Jerusalem has enjoyed unprecedented prosperity and equal rights for all of its inhabitants. Since its unification by Israel in 1967, the city has thrived under the values of tolerance and freedom. For the first time in centuries, holy sites that were once sealed off along religious lines are now permanently open for worship by all peoples, a principle that is cemented in Israeli law.

Friday’s march is likely to not only harm lives and property, but also the prospects for peace. By trying to erase the Jewish people’s connection to their ancient homeland, Arab leaders are undermining the foundation for future coexistence. Unfortunately, these destructive messages are a permanent fixture in their mosques, schools and media. Across the Middle East, the seeds of intolerance are being planted in the next generation.

Trying to change the history books will bring nothing but more chapters of conflict and violence. Jerusalem’s winding streets and rolling hills are the home of Judaism’s most sacred memories and the cornerstone of our thriving democracy. This holy city is, always has been and always will be the heart of the Jewish faith. As long as much of the Arab world lingers in the Orwellian world of a distorted past, the promise of a peaceful future between Israelis and Palestinians will remain a distant dream.

(Ron Prosor is Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations.
He will be the keynote speaker at
CIJR’s 12 June 2012 Gala.)

THE HOLOCAUST WAS NOT AN INTERFAITH EXPERIENCE

The Dachau concentration camp display entitled Names Instead of Numbers [currently in Winnipeg] is not a Holocaust exhibit. The victims of the Hitler regime were indeed diverse but the victims of the Holocaust were Jewish.

 

This is a fundamental distinction and one that requires further elaboration given recent press coverage (see links below). It should be mentioned that the German creators of the exhibit do not promote their display as a Holocaust exhibit but as an exhibit about National Socialism:http://www.gedaechtnisbuch.de/namen-statt-nummern/english/index-engl.html

 

Three groups of people were slated for extermination under Nazism: the disabled of Germany from October 1939 throughout the war years with a brief cessation from August 1941-August 1942; the nine million Jews of Europe and of all future German occupied territories (we know today that Hitler promised to annihilate the Jews of the Islamic world as well); and the Romani people (better know by the pejorative term “Gypsy”), whom Himmler added to the already existing extermination campaign against the Jews in December 1942.

 

Antisemitism was the central motivating factor of Hitler’s racist policies and of his war of aggression against his neighbors. Hitler believed that communism was a Jewish conspiracy, which worked in tandem with other aspects of a larger “International Jewish Conspiracy” to rule the planet and to destroy Germany. His war of annihilation against Stalin was a war against the Jews and what he termed Judeo-Bolshevism. Under the umbrella of World War II, Hitler unleashed a massive racist engineering project upon Europe, in which the Slavic peoples would be reduced to a slave population to work vast tracts of the new Germania, where there would no longer be any Jews or Roma, and where “racially pure” German women would birth perfect “Aryan” soldiers for the Reich.

 

Before Hitler could unleash a continental war, however, he had to consolidate his power inside Germany. With this in mind, he focused on building his volksgemeinschaft (community of the people) and won enormous support from the German people for his dedication to their social welfare, re-employment, and national pride after the catastrophe of WWI. One of the first things Hitler did to consolidate his power was to create a system of prisons, or concentration camps, and Dachau was the first one to be opened in March 1933.

 

Dachau

 

Dachau was a political prison camp that housed Germans who were arrested and sentenced by the regime for political crimes. The first prisoners were socialists, communists, and the odd monarchist, all of whom were anti-Nazi and about 10% also happened to be Jewish. In 1936, other political prisoners (clergy and Jehovah’s Witnesses) and non-political prisoners (Roma, gay men, vagrants, prostitutes, habitual criminals) were incarcerated in Dachau. Thirty-six thousand Jews were arrested on November 9-10, 1938 during Kristallnacht and 11,000 of them were sent to Dachau, most of whom were released after signing declarations that they would leave Germany. Once the decision was made to exterminate Europe’s Jews, the Jewish prisoners in Dachau and other concentration camps were deported to their deaths in the East. Jewish POWs from Eastern Europe were placed into Dachau and its subsidiary slave labor camps during 1944, and made up about 30% of its inhabitants when the American army liberated the camp on April 29, 1945. Dachau held 206,206 prisoners in its twelve-year existence and 31,591 prisoner deaths were registered. Mass shootings, medical experimentation, and slave labor were features of this particular Nazi camp.

 

The Holocaust

 

Hitler’s anti-Jewish policies were unleashed within days of his appointment as Chancellor. His tactics evolved over time, beginning with social isolation and enforced emigration for German Jewry from 1933-1939. Once engaged in a war with Europe, and faced with millions of Jews under his control, Hitler planned for their removal, first to the far reaches of the eastern end of the Reich, then to the island of Madagascar. That plan was finally abandoned when he failed to cow the British into submission in September 1940. He forced the large Jewish populations of Eastern Europe into over 1,100 ghettos and sealed them from the outside world. With the invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941, Hitler made the decision to exterminate European Jewry, and this process began immediately with the mobile killing units of the Einsatzgruppen, who followed the German army into Eastern Poland and the USSR.

 

After experimenting on Jews with a number of killing methods, the Germans settled on an industrialized assembly line process and built six death camps in Poland for the specific purpose of exterminating the Jews of Europe. The most lethal death camp was Auschwitz-Birkenau, which is the largest killing site in recorded history and is a historical novum. Never before or since has a state designed, built, and maintained factories for the deception, murder, gassing, and burning of (Jewish) babies, children, women, and men. Never before or since has the world seen the establishment of a small city of about 45 square kilometers (approximately 1/10th of the size of Winnipeg) surrounded by 45 satellite slave labor camps built for the dedicated purpose of annihilating an entire people. Never before or since has the world seen a human killing facility that at peak capacity (in May of 1944) was murdering 10,000 Jews every day. The clothing and belongings of these individuals were recycled and dispersed among the German population (the mountains of clothing, suitcases, razors, eyeglasses, brushes, children’s toys, prosthetic limbs), their hair was shaven and used to stuff German mattresses, their bones and ashes used as fertilizer. Then there are the Jews who were reserved for so-called medical experimentation, whose body parts were sent back to scientists in Germany.

 

Between May 1940 and February 1945, just over 1.1 million people were murdered at Auschwitz-Birkenau, one million of whom were European Jews. The remaining 100,000 include approximately 74,000 Poles; 21,000 Roma; 15,000 Soviet prisoners of war; and 10,000-15,000 members of other European nationalities (Soviet civilians, Czechs, Yugoslavs, French, Germans, and Austrians). Deaths during the Nazi period for other groups mentioned are as follows: 1.9 million Polish civilians died under German occupation and racial policies; 1,400 Jehovah’s Witnesses died in the camps and 250 were executed by the military; the Nuremberg Trials puts the killings of German disabled people at 275,000; between 5,000-15,000 gay men; and 220,000 Roma. Over 6.3 million Jews were murdered across Europe by the Nazi regime and its collaborators during WWII.

 

Ironically, in this case, numbers do tell the story.

 

With so many cultural and political pressures working today to erode, erase, and distort the very specific history and meaning of the Holocaust, we must re-dedicate ourselves to resisting these trends and to teaching Canadians the truth about the past.

 

(Dr. Catherine Chatterley, Adjunct Professor of History at the University of Manitoba,
is Founding Director of the
Canadian Institute for the Study of Antisemitism.)

ISRAEL POLITICS: THE CHALLENGES– ELECTORAL, MILITARY, LEGAL & DIPLOMATIC

PREVENTING THE POLITICAL SYSTEM’S STAGNATION, COLLAPSE
Danny Ayalon

Jerusalem Post, February 26, 2012

…Israel’s electoral and governmental system is failing and moving us toward political paralysis. The writing has been on the wall for some time, and soon it may be too late to make the necessary change.…

In Israel, there is no sufficient separation of powers. Around a third of the Knesset Members serve as ministers or deputy ministers and are thus forbidden to introduce laws or participate in committees. There are few apposite checks and balances, in fact, farcically, the opposite is true; as an MK, I am expected to conduct oversight of my role as Deputy Foreign Minister.

The electoral threshold is among the lowest in the world, which allows parties representing narrow interests to hold the balance of power. According to research, almost three-quarters of all government decisions are not implemented. Our political structure and culture is sorely lacking credibility and accountability.

As a result of this unwieldy system, we have changed government, on average, every two years since the founding of the state. This state of affairs does not allow for an appropriate formulation and implementation of long-term policy.

These are just some of the disadvantages which are dragging Israel’s political system toward stagnation and even collapse. We merely need to examine the challenges and crises we have faced during the past few years to appreciate that the source of the problem and the lack of solutions are connected to our current method of government.

The housing shortage and the high cost of living that brought people to the streets this past summer are a result of the lack of a long-term social-economic policy. There has been no consistent housing policy to answer the needs of a growing population. Short-term interests have outweighed the public’s needs and led to increasing social gaps.

The Carmel Forest disaster became far worse because the funds necessary for the maintenance and improvement of Israel’s Fire and Rescue Services were redirected elsewhere to support narrow interests.

The assault on Israel’s legitimacy is our new battlefield. Opposite the formulated, coherent, repetitive Palestinian narrative, our messages are stunted by constantly changing governments, agendas and even by coalition members from different parties. Often I am asked with confusion by my colleagues in the international community which version is Israel’s official position. In most nations in the world, the Housing Minister would not be able to make public statements about national security issues.

In recent weeks we witnessed a farce in the Israel National Railways. Many citizens were left without any way of getting to work. Railways workers’ committee chairwoman Gila Edri has seen 12 ministers of transportation in her 22 years at the railway. Is it any wonder she thinks she is in control of the railways system?

For decades Iran’s nuclear ambitions were well known. Today, as the clock is about to strike midnight, we are desperately seeking a tactical solution for what should have been a carefully thought-out long-term strategy. For the past 20 years, while Iran has advanced its program to become a very real and present danger, we have had 10 defense ministers. While the Iranians constantly moved toward nuclear weapons, we constantly moved toward elections. The defense of Israel, of the entire Jewish people, must not be treated like a game of musical chairs.

[Another] long-term threat to this country is the increasingly intolerable ratio between those who contribute and those who merely benefit. Under the current failing system of government, in which in order to establish a coalition one must court the small parties, the large parties have conceded the minimal demands of participating in the national effort, to maintain some sort of pseudostability.

During the early years of the state, the vast majority of the population contributed to the country; working, paying taxes, serving in the army and feeling part of wider society. Those who received without giving back were far fewer. However, in the near future, half of the Israeli population will benefit from without contributing to the state. Those who contribute are collapsing under the tax burden, with increasing professional and security demands. These are the characteristics of a society with a tenuous future….

As politicians and elected servants of the people we must act responsibly and change the system. Israel must adopt a system with a proper separation of powers, checks and balances and accountability. The executive branch should be comprised of people according to their expertise and skill in a field rather than the pressures of coalition-building. We must raise the electoral threshold to a point where we will stabilize governance without hurting representation.

We need to establish a constitution that will uphold the spirit of our Declaration of Independence and replace the current quasi-constitutional Basic Laws as set by the judiciary. The constitution will define the nature of Israel as a Jewish and Democratic state, /and/ will state the core values of our state…

Israel’s many achievements have been gained despite the system and not because of it. Israel is full of wonderful people with moral and creative abilities. Our people deserve a system that will fulfill its interests and will lead our nation to a better, safer and more equal future.

(Danny Ayalon is Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister.)

ON THE ROAD TO RECOVERY
FROM ISRAEL’S LEGAL REVOLUTION
Daniel Friedmann

Jerusalem Post, February 19, 2012

The retirement [in February] of Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch provides an opportunity to briefly discuss Israel’s legal revolution, and assess its aftermath.

Some 20 years ago, in 1992, the Knesset adopted the Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty. This promptly led former Supreme Court president Aharon Barak to declare the arrival of a legal revolution which empowered the court to invalidate Knesset legislation that did not conform to this Basic Law. Actually, at this stage the Israeli legal system was already undergoing a drastic transformation that began with appointment of Justice Meir Shamgar to the presidency of the Supreme Court in 1983.

Principles that were once considered elementary and religiously followed were replaced by rules that greatly extended the court’s power. The rule under which a petitioner to the Supreme Court needed to show “standing,” namely a personal interest that justified the application, had been abolished, thus opening the door to a flood of applications by every person who wished to take issue with any governmental or administrative decision.…

This development was coupled with the expansion of “unreasonableness” as ground for judicial review. As a result every governmental or administrative decision, including every appointment, became appealable. The range of applications seemed inexhaustible….

Petitions were also submitted to quash appointments to governmental positions on the ground that they were “unreasonable,” for example on the grounds of the candidate’s past misconduct or even because of statements he made that were not politically correct.…

Nevertheless, during the period of Shamgar’s presidency the court remained cautious in matters of security and recognized, at least in principle, that matters in which the dominant elements were political were not justiciable. When Barak became president of the Supreme Court in 1995, however, whatever restraints still remained on the court’s jurisdiction soon disappeared.

Every issue was considered justiciable, and every governmental act or decision, including in the field of defense and security, could be examined by the court on the basis of its reasonableness. As a result, the court became involved in military affairs even in the course of ongoing operations.

In fact, it became commonplace for petitions to the Supreme Court to be submitted within hours after the beginning of any military operation, relating to the mode of the operation, the supply of humanitarian aid to the civil population, etc. Army officers were summoned to the court while the operation was still going on with a demand to supply explanations and provide details of the events and the measures taken. The bottom line of these developments has been the transformation of the court’s function, from a tribunal mainly concerned with resolving disputes between parties into a body that regards its function as overseeing, and taking part in, the governance of the country.

These developments led to the “overlegalization” of the whole system of government in Israel, in which legal advice is required for every step taken. The idea of the rule of law was turned into the rule of lawyers and judges. The work of the various branches of government was disrupted and the work of the court itself became confounded, as the line between cases that are legitimately within its province and those that should be confined to other branches became blurred.

Consequently, in the course of Barak’s presidency criticism of the court became more vocal and public confidence in the court dramatically declined. In the year 2000, former president of the Supreme Court Moshe Landau, who retired in 1982, gave a very exceptional interview to Haaretz in which he leveled a devastating attack on Aharon Barak and the Supreme Court.

Landau spoke of Barak leading the court the wrong way, and said that the court was getting involved in a morass of political opinions and beliefs, which was dangerous both for the state and the court. He said that court “displays arrogance and pretension” and added that “In The Republic, Plato suggested entrusting the government of the republic to a class of elders who were specially trained and educated for this purpose. It sometimes seems to me that most of the justices on the Supreme Court see themselves more or less as governing elders.”…

Justice Beinisch was appointed to the Supreme Court shortly after the retirement of president Shamgar, who refused to appoint her. She became (with Justice Yaakov Tirkel) Barak’s first appointment. When she replaced Barak as president upon his retirement she was presumably expected to maintain his heritage. She has done her best, but this was mission impossible.

Public confidence in the Supreme Court dropped considerably and the high cost of the court’s overt activism became more and more evident. During the course of her presidency Ministers of Justice were unwilling to abide by the court’s wishes and the court lost much of the control it once had over appointments to its ranks. Eventually Beinisch had to accept the appointments of Justices Neil Handel and Noam Solberg, to whom she strongly objected.

Objections to the court’s activist approach are heard even within the Supreme Court. One of those critics is Justice Asher Grunis, who recognizes that not everything is justiciable and advocates great restraint in the use of unreasonableness as ground for invalidating governmental decisions. Grunis will become next president of the Supreme Court. After years of legal revolution, we may be on the way to recovery.

(The writer is a former Israeli Minister of Justice.)

IRON DOME: HERO OR VILLAIN?
Evelyn Gordon

Jerusalem Magazine, March 19, 2012

The Iron Dome anti-missile system has been popularly dubbed the hero of the recent violence out of Gaza, and in some ways, rightly so. It prevented casualties and property damage. It spared countless Israelis the anguish of having a loved one injured or killed or a house destroyed. It saved significant amounts of money: Despite costing far more than the Palestinians’ Qassam and Grad rockets, an Iron Dome missile costs less than rebuilding a home or factory or treating severe injuries—expenses the government would otherwise have to cover, since by law, it must compensate its citizens for all terrorism-related damage.

Finally, Iron Dome gave the government diplomatic and military maneuvering room. There’s a reasonable argument to be made that now, when Israel has finally managed to focus international attention on Iran…is not the moment to divert the world’s attention back to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Indeed, such a diversion was likely what the Iranian-backed Islamic Jihad sought when it seized on Israel’s killing of a senior official from another organization, the Popular Resistance Committees, as an excuse for massive rocket fire on the south.

Nevertheless, Iron Dome could easily become the villain of the story, by making the government consider onslaughts like last week’s “tolerable.”

In reality, what happened last week was in no way tolerable. Hundreds of thousands of children kept home from school for a week (since the rocket fire continued even after a “cease-fire” was announced) isn’t “tolerable”—especially when this scenario can be repeated over and over, whenever the terrorists feel like it. Tens of thousands of parents forced by school closures to either skip work to take care of their children or leave them alone with their rocket-induced fears isn’t “tolerable.” One million citizens living in dread (since they know Iron Dome can’t provide hermetic protection) isn’t “tolerable.” Thousands of children and adults with post-traumatic stress syndrome—which repeated rocket strikes can cause even in the absence of casualties—isn’t “tolerable.”

Yet Israel’s response ensured that this scenario will be repeated over and over. Precisely because it felt Iron Dome had made restraint possible by preventing Israeli casualties, the government, eager to avoid an escalation, made do with exacting a minuscule price from the terrorists. Altogether, Israel killed 26 Palestinians, almost all of them terrorists. But aside from that one senior PRC official, these terrorists were all low-level operatives, members of rocket-launching crews killed in the act. That’s a trivial price for Islamic Jihad to pay.…

So here’s what Islamic Jihad and its fellow terrorists have learned from this episode: They can launch some 300 rockets at Israel in four days and pay almost no price for doing so. I can’t put it better than a senior official from another Palestinian faction, Fatah, did in an interview with a Hebrew paper: “Islamic Jihad is able to send one-third of Israel’s population into bomb shelters…[and] threw Israel into a panic without paying a very steep price. Did you assassinate its senior figures? Did you undermine the organization? Hardly.”

Moreover, even those benefits Iron Dome did provide would evaporate in a larger-scale rocket attack, which Hamas and Hezbollah are both capable of mounting, and especially one from Lebanon and Gaza simultaneously. Israel doesn’t have enough Iron Dome batteries to handle a large-scale assault, nor will it in the foreseeable future.

Yet despite all this, the government and army seem to be preparing us for the idea that endless repeats of last week are the best we can hope for. As Yaakov Katz chillingly reported in The Jerusalem Post, there’s an “understanding within the defense establishment that there is currently no clear and decisive military solution to the Gaza-based terror threat,” and therefore, “what Israel is facing is a sequence of rounds of violence, like the [recent] one…"

This is simply mind-boggling. As Katz’s report opened by noting, this month marks the tenth anniversary of Operation Defensive Shield, when the Israel Defense Forces reoccupied Palestinian-controlled portions of the West Bank in what proved to be a winning counterterrorism formula: “While terror attacks still take place, the frequency and number of casualties has reached an all-time low. In 2011, for example, the IDF Central Command recorded nine shooting attacks in the entire West Bank.… In 2002, there were 2,878 such attacks, and up until 2006 the annual number was over 1,000.”

And Katz neglected to add that not one single rocket has ever been fired at Israel from the IDF-controlled West Bank, compared with over 8,000 fired from Gaza since the IDF left in 2005, and approximately 500 fired before then from the large swathes of Gaza ceded to the Palestinians in 1994…

In short, there is a “clear and decisive military solution to the Gaza-based terror threat,” and it’s the same one applied so successfully in the West Bank: long-term military control of the entire territory. That is the only way both to thoroughly uproot the terrorist infrastructure and to convince the Palestinian public that terrorism doesn’t pay….

 

ISRAEL’S GAS DIPLOMACY
Lawrence Solomon

Financial Post, February 26, 2012

How do you survive when you’re surrounded by enemies, as is Israel? You win allies among the nations that surround your enemies. This increasingly successful Israeli approach—dubbed the periphery strategy—exploits an arsenal of Israeli assets that its new-found allies need: Israel’s military, its counterterrorism skills, its technology, and especially of late, its surprising wealth of hydrocarbons.

Israel’s periphery strategy is nothing new. After Israel survived its war of independence in the late 1940s, when it was invaded by six neighbouring Arab armies, Israel set about winning friends in the Middle East among non-Arabs. In this it succeeded wildly—Israel won friends among black African states, to which it transferred water-conserving agricultural technologies; among small non-Arab Muslim countries and ethnic groups that were at odds with the Arab states, and with Iran and Turkey, two non-Arab regional powers that became full-blown military allies.

Then the strategy all but collapsed with the OPEC oil boycott of 1973. “Stay friends with Israel and we’ll cut you off from oil,” the Arab states told the many poor oil-dependent countries that had relations with Israel. Poor countries felt they had no choice but to comply. Israel was from that point mostly abandoned, its former friends suddenly harsh critics at the United Nations, where they voted en masse to condemn Israel in one Arab-sponsored resolution after another.

Now Israel’s periphery strategy is back big time, thanks largely to hydrocarbon diplomacy. Apart from a major oil find in its interior, Israel has known gas reserves of some $130-billion in the Mediterranean, with some estimating that twice as much will materialize as exploration continues. Israel’s Mediterranean neighbour, the island nation of Cyprus, is also discovering immense amounts of gas in the sea bed adjacent to Israel’s. The two are now developing their gas jointly, with plans to export it to Europe or Asia or both. Greece, which may have more oil and gas in its extensive Mediterranean waters than either, is now talking of joining Cyprus and Israel in joint ventures.

The sea change in the attitude of Greece and Cyprus is breathtaking. Until recently, these two ethnically Greek nations were frigidly cold toward Israel, partly because they believed their economic interests lay in the more populous Arab world, partly because they feared for the safety of the 250,000-member Greek community in Egypt if they were to establish good relations with Israel.

Today the Greek calculus has changed. Not only did Greek trade with Arab states fail to blossom, the Greek presence in Egypt has all but vanished. Egypt’s Greek-owned industries were nationalized; Egypt’s Greeks were persecuted for their Christian faith. The official remaining count for Egyptian Greeks, once the most affluent and influential minority in Egypt, is but 3,000.

In contrast, Greeks now have common cause with Israel in exploiting their hydrocarbon riches and in defending them—Turkey, an enemy of the two Greek nations as well as Israel, has vowed to stop both Cyprus and Greece from developing their hydrocarbons on the basis of long-standing territorial claims. The Israeli-Greek-Cypriot alliance is likely strong enough to stand up to Turkey and allow these new-found friends to profit together.

But for Israel, profit is only the half of it, as a senior advisor to Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu told the press in an interview, when the two were in Cyprus to further the nations’ hydrocarbon co-operation. “Gas is our strategic interest. It is…a diplomatic tool for creating new partnerships, first in our region, as well as with the great powers of India and China.”

Israel views Cyprus and Greece as part of the “Western arc” of its periphery strategy, along with other European countries such as Christian Romania and Bulgaria, and Muslim Albania, which has been a standout defender of Israel in the United Nations. Israel now also has allies to the east, such as Georgia and Azerbaijan in Central Asia. And as part of its southern diplomacy, Israel recently established an East African alliance with predominantly Christian Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia and South Sudan designed to fend off Iran and Islamist terrorism. Israel’s stock in East Africa is particularly high because of its role in gaining independence for South Sudan, the world’s newest state….

Focus on Israel and it appears to be a tiny isolated country surrounded by a sea of hostile Arab nations. Zoom out, though, and it is the Arab nations that are revealed to be isolated, increasingly surrounded by age-old adversaries, most of which have growing ties to Israel. With Israel’s hydrocarbon assets continuing to grow, and with Israel’s military and intelligence assets remaining dominant in the region, Israel’s periphery diplomacy has emerged as one of the country’s remarkable achievements.

UN/UNESCO/UNRWA/UNHRC/UNBELIEVABLE: POST-1945 DREAM IS 21ST CENTURY NIGHTMARE

UNESCO GOES TO WASHINGTON
Claudia Rosett

National Review, March 14, 2012

When the member states of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization voted last October to confer membership on the Palestinian Authority, they knew their decision would trigger the withdrawal of U.S. funding, which in dues alone accounted for more than $78 million per year, or 22 percent of UNESCO’s core budget. Current American law requires the U.S. to pull funding from any U.N.-affiliated organization that tries to confer statehood on the Palestinians before they have qualified for it through negotiations with Israel. UNESCO did it anyway, the assembled delegates clapping and cheering as they voted. The tally was 107 to 14, with 52 abstaining.

Since then, UNESCO’s Bulgarian director general, Irina Bokova, has been campaigning—not to undo UNESCO’s admission of “Palestine,” but to persuade U.S. authorities to resume forking out money to UNESCO. Bokova’s efforts have included two trips to Washington these past four months, including a U.S. tour which started in Washington [two weeks ago]. UNESCO’s website [recently] feature[d] press releases with headlines such as “UNESCO Director General Presses Washington to Restore US Funding,” over a photo of Bokova meeting in December with a U.S. congressman.

To this I can add the news that to supplement Bokova’s forays to the U.S., Paris-based UNESCO is now quietly planning to open an office in Washington, sometime in the next few months. Were the aim simply to represent UNESCO to the U.S., there would be no need for this. UNESCO already has a liaison office at the U.N.’s headquarters in New York. But this new office, in Washington, will be positioned to maximize access to U.S. policymakers, especially Congress. UNESCO’s current plan is that this office will be run by a former congressional aide, George Papagiannis, who has been working since 2007 for UNESCO.…

A whiff of this plan turned up in a set of “Talking Points” that Papagiannis dispatched recently to various UNESCO advocates in the U.S., and that I obtained. In his talking points, Papagiannis lauds various UNESCO programs, such as literacy training in Iraq and Afghanistan, that he says will suffer unless the U.S. resumes bankrolling the organization. (There is no mention that UNESCO wastes millions, according to its own auditors, or that UNESCO could preserve its better programs by scrapping its worst.) At the bottom of these talking points, Papagiannis’s name and U.S. and French mobile-phone numbers appear, along with the label “UNESCO Washington Office.…”

While UNESCO’s mission is to promote culture, it seems the main aim of this office will be to promote UNESCO itself, with a special focus on the U.S. capital, where, Papagiannis says, there is a failure to fully appreciate UNESCO.… Does that mean he will be lobbying U.S. authorities to restore funding to UNESCO? “I am not lobbying,” Papagiannis [told me]. “I am raising awareness about the organization.…”

[Papagiannis] is now in the U.S., accompanying Bokova.… According to UNESCO’s website, her agenda includes meetings with the media, private-sector companies, charitable foundations, and “government officials.” This isn’t the first U.S. trip on which Bokova has availed herself of the talents of a former U.S. congressional staffer.… On her previous trip to Washington this past December, Bokova was squired to meetings with lawmakers by the current U.S. ambassador to UNESCO, David Killion. Killion is a veteran of the Hill, where he helped pave the way for America’s 2003 return to UNESCO, after President Ronald Reagan pulled the U.S. out in 1984.…

President Obama appointed Killion in 2009 as the U.S. envoy to UNESCO.… [He] is an impassioned advocate of “active engagement” with UNESCO, arguing that this is the way to influence the organization for the better. But on his watch as ambassador, there’s been little U.S. influence on display. One reason may be that Killion keeps hinting that no matter what UNESCO does, the Obama administration will seek ways to keep American money flowing.…

The Obama administration has since greatly expanded on Killion’s kow-tow to UNESCO. In February, President Obama submitted a 2013 State Department budget that lists $78.9 million for UNESCO, despite the legal ban on funding for the organization. In a footnote comes the explanation: “The Department of State intends to work with Congress to seek legislation that would provide authority to waive restrictions on paying the U.S. assessed contributions to UNESCO.…”

Meanwhile, over at UNESCO…[its] 58-member executive board, which includes Syria, voted to keep Syria’s bloody regime on UNESCO’s human-rights committee. UNESCO’s board also approved a long-debated $3 million science prize sponsored by dictator Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, with the concession that it will be named not for Obiang himself, but for the country he has been tyrannizing for the past 33 years, Equatorial Guinea.…

When the Palestinian flag was raised in December at UNESCO’s Paris headquarters, Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen wisely warned that “asserting the existence of a Palestinian state does not make it so. It only makes real peace harder to achieve.” She added: “The only thing deterring more UN bodies from following in UNESCO’s reckless, anti-peace footsteps is the credible threat of a U.S. funding cutoff, as U.S. law requires. Money talks at the UN.”

Here’s a suggestion. Last April, UNESCO’s auditors reported that with better management, “UNESCO can make substantial savings of up to $3.1 million annually in Headquarters travel costs.…” Clearly UNESCO could achieve yet more savings by cutting back on excursions to Washington by Director-General Bokova and her retinue…[enabling them] to concentrate on cleaning up UNESCO, rather than trying to meddle with the laws of the United States.

THE UN’S ERODING MORAL COMPASS
Mike Fegelman

National Post, March 12, 2012

As another telling example of how the UN has lost its moral compass, on March 9, just one day after International Women’s Day marked the achievement and continued challenges of women, the United Nations’ Commission on the Status of Women passed exactly one country-specific resolution—condemning Israel for the supposed intolerable living conditions of Palestinian women.

No action was taken against Iran, where girls are stoned to death for allegedly committing adultery, or Syria, where women are indiscriminately tortured, raped, and murdered by the Assad regime. The plight of Saudi Arabian women who are treated as chattel under monarchy-sanctioned gender apartheid was altogether ignored. The United Nations only censured Israel, one of the world’s most progressive defenders of women’s rights, for exclusive and unwarranted opprobrium.

The resolution decried that the “Israeli occupation” in territories, including east Jerusalem, is the main obstacle for the advancement of Palestinian woman. Not a peep from the UN about the internal Palestinian conditions that stymie female self-determination. Israel’s envoy to the UN, Ron Proser, rightly proclaimed that the resolution “brings levels of absurdity and cynicism to new heights.…”

In a region where the terms “Middle East” and “women’s rights” are contradictory and not complimentary, Israel stands out as a beacon for the rights of women, not its serial abuser. It’s no wonder that when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the UN General Assembly this past September, he referred to the UN as “a house of many lies” and a “theatre of the absurd.” A place where “Israel is unjustly singled out for condemnation more often than all the nations of the world combined” and where Israel is “not only cast as the villain, but where real villains are cast in leading roles.”

To support his argument, Netanyahu pointed out how Libya chaired the UN Commission on Human Rights under Gaddafi’s ruthless and tyrannical rein. He referred to Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq which headed the UN committee on disarmament and how the UN described the Western Wall, Judaism’s holiest accessible site as “occupied Palestinian territory”.…

In order to foster fundamental freedoms and human rights, we need world bodies like the United Nations and our mainstream media to focus their attention on the plight of these women, and not just simply vilify and scapegoat Israel. In doing so, our policy makers can make informed decisions that promote the personal freedoms and professional opportunities of women in the region.

(Mike Fegelman is Executive Director of Honest Reporting Canada.)

UNRWA SLAMS ISRAELI SELF-DEFENSE
Omri Ceren

Contentions, March 14, 2012

Much has been written about the impotence and uselessness of the United Nations and its various Middle East missions. Peacekeeping operations like those in Lebanon fail to keep any sort of peace, while refugee organizations like those in the Gaza Strip fail to resolve refugee crises. But one thing has to be admitted: when they step up to help Israel’s enemies in times of war, they do so enthusiastically and even comprehensively. Because modern wars are fought both in the media and on the battlefield, UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees) officials make a point of assisting Hamas in both arenas.

The documentation on how UNRWA tried to manipulate the media during Israel’s 2009 Operation Cast Lead is extensive but probably the most surreal example came when UNRWA Commissioner Karen Abu Zayd hastily called a video press conference to blame Israel for the war. Claiming that “it was obvious that Hamas was trying” to observe a truce and that “only one rocket…went out on Friday [before the operation],” she accused Israel of violating an “informal 48-hour lull.” The degree to which Abu Zayd just flat fabricated that story can’t be overemphasized. Suffice to say that not only had Hamas been firing rockets at Israel for months, but on that very Friday morning they had fired 25 shells. That’s a lot more than the 1 Abu Zayd counted, but global media outlets duly parroted her propaganda anyway.

In addition to helping Hamas in the media war, UNRWA also tried to shift the tempo of actual warfighting. On January 6, IDF troops hit a Hamas team that was firing rockets at Israeli civilians from outside an UNRWA school in the Jabalya refugee camp. Hamas had been launching rockets from the UNRWA school grounds since at least 2007, but UNRWA officials took the opportunity to accuse Israel of firing into the building and killing civilians inside. The idea was to create a Gaza version of “Qana,” the Lebanon II incident in which IAF planes targeting a Hezbollah rocket cell accidentally hit the apartment building the cell was using for cover, killing 28 of the human shields inside. The resulting international pressure forced Israel into a 48-hour ceasefire, allowing Hezbollah to regroup and allowing journalists to blame Israel anew when fighting resumed. UNRWA tried to do the same thing with the Jabalya school, mobilizing international calls for a ceasefire just as Hamas had become “desperate for a lull in the fighting.”

But Israel never hit the school. UNRWA just pretended it had. Called to account for their blatant fabrication, UNRWA officials blamed the demonstrable falsehood on—no joke—“a clerical error.…”

UNRWA Spokesman Chris Gunness just got called out for being a “terrorist stooge” after he contended that Israel’s recent anti-Hamas operation is “sick sick sick.” Gunness is unapologetic about his personal affection for Hamas partisans…so it makes sense that he would lash out against Israel, even though the rockets falling on UNRWA schools right now are Hamas-launched Qassams that fall short.

It makes less sense for the United States to continue paying the salary of a guy who suggests that Israel is killing Palestinians for sport, but multilateralism is magic that way. At times like this I like to muse over the recent question presented by the Forward, once one of America’s great ethnic news outlets and now a shoddy proponent of neutrality about BDS: why must American Jews persist in their unfair “misconceptions” about all the good work UNRWA does?

THE UNHRC AND HAMAS
Editorial

Jerusalem Post, March 21, 2012

It was no bolt from the blue that the grotesquely misnamed UN Human Rights Council played host last week (albeit somewhat indirectly) to a Hamas representative, Gazan “parliamentarian” Ismail al-Ashqar. Although for technical reasons he couldn’t address the UNHRC’s official 19th session in Geneva last week, he did participate in one of the NGO forums ancillary to it.

This event, organized by the Ma’arij Foundation for Peace and Development, was conducted at the UN’s Geneva facility, parallel to the UNHRC session and publicized on UNHRC’s website.

Had Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu not slammed this travesty, it’s doubtful much attention would have been paid the creeping legitimization of Hamas in the Swiss-based subsidiary of the UN General Assembly. Not that this should surprise anyone with even rudimentary familiarity with the Council.

Pro forma, it was born only in 2006, but in actual fact it started out as the much-discredited UN Human Rights Commission. Former UN chief Kofi Annan took the extraordinary step of abolishing it because of unabashed politicization that mostly manifested itself in its fixated demonization of Israel—singled out for censure on any occasion and under any pretext.

The unlamented commission was replaced by the council amid promises for sincere introspection, contrition and most of all cleaning up of the commission’s admittedly shameful record.

Nonetheless, the commission’s preposterous patterns reasserted themselves in full from the get-go. The council consistently discerns nothing more urgent to occupy itself with than Israel’s alleged human rights abuses. The council is the commission’s carbon copy, with one exception. The commission held a single yearly session. The council treats us to multiple annual extravaganzas.

The majority of its 47 seats are Third World, which not only guarantees massive anti-Israel bias but makes mockery of human rights.… Among the council’s members are such stalwart champions of civil liberties as Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, China, Indonesia, Jordan, Kuwait, Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Congo, Djibouti, Mauritania, Nigeria, Senegal, Uganda, Malaysia, Qatar and Cuba.

Little wonder that the Americans expressed profound displeasure with the current UNHRC agenda. Theirs is no trifling rebuke, however, precisely because it comes from the Obama administration that pointedly reversed a Bush administration decision not to seek a seat on the council due to its loss of credibility, obsessive preoccupation with Israel and failure to confront the world’s real serial rights abusers.

US Ambassador to the UNHRC Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe noted the council’s Agenda Item 7, under which, at every session, Israel’s human rights record is seemingly scrutinized. No other country has an agenda item reserved for it. The US “continues to be deeply troubled by this council’s biased and disproportionate focus on Israel, as exemplified by this standing agenda item,” Donahoe told the council recently, during a daylong debate on five UNHRC resolutions on Israel.

This is the same council that commissioned the Goldstone Report and which followed it up by scathingly condemning Israel for the Mavi Marmara incident.

The UNHRC is the last organization that should be relied upon to take into account the fact that the Hamas Charter rejects “so-called peaceful solutions.… There is no solution to the Palestinian problem except by jihad.” Hamas’s charter also calls for Israel’s obliteration because “Israel, by virtue of its being Jewish and of having a Jewish population, defies Islam and the Muslims.…”

Jews, the Hamas charter charges, “instigated WWI and WWII,” and Jews later “inspired the establishment of the United Nations and the Security Council to replace the League of Nations, in order to rule the world by their intermediary.” This should particularly interest the UNHRC, which needs ask itself how it can abide a xenophobic terrorist organization, which, while branding the UN as a Jewish scam, exploits it to pillory the Jewish state.

TOLERATING HAMAS INVITES A MIDEAST WAR
Ron Prosor

Wall Street Journal, March 21, 2012

‘War is the unfolding of miscalculations.” So noted historian Barbara Tuchman decades ago, yet this principle continues to fall on deaf ears in the international community. As terrorism in the Gaza Strip increases, threatening to set off instability across the region, the continued roar of rockets into Israel should keep world leaders up at night. But most remain mute and missing in action.

Their choice to stand idle is a grave miscalculation. The consequences…could be tragic.

This month, a targeted strike by the Israel Defense Forces canceled the travel plans of arch-terrorist Zuhair al-Qaisi as he headed from Gaza to the Sinai Peninsula. His itinerary included much more than snorkeling in the Red Sea. He aimed to launch another mass murder of innocent Israelis from the Sinai—and undermine the foundation of regional stability by driving a wedge between Israel and Egypt.

In the five days that followed, terrorists in Gaza stepped up their attacks on Israeli cities to 60 rockets per day (up from a years-long average of “only” two to four a day). As these terrorists sought to maximize civilian deaths, Israel worked to minimize them, with a precise and targeted offensive and defensive response. Israel’s new “Iron Dome” antimissile system intercepted more than 50 rockets over major cities, preventing more than 50 potential tragedies. Israel’s Air Force hit Palestinian rocket squads with minimal civilian casualties, even though they had been intentionally using neighborhoods and schools as launching pads.

The situation in Israel’s south remains as stable as a house of cards. Rockets continue to fly in from Gaza. Despite its spectacular performance, the Iron Dome is still only 90% effective at its best, whereas the terrorists in Gaza remain 100% determined to kill Israeli civilians. The clock is ticking until the next major escalation.

You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to understand that if rockets fall on your head, you have a right to defend yourself.… Time and time again, Israel has warned the world that Gaza is a disaster waiting to happen. Yet, over the past decade, the ratio of rocket attacks to words of condemnation from the United Nations Security Council is 12,000 to zero.…

With the Middle East locked in a struggle for a democratic future, a significant escalation in Gaza would tip the scales toward the fundamentalists. From Marrakech to Manama, it would provide cannon fodder for radical clerics and politicians to promote their hateful ideology. The Arab world would be forced to drop its focus on the atrocities of the Assad regime, giving the region’s most cynical eye doctor the opportunity once and for all to blind his people’s vision for freedom.

Iran understands this well. The Iranian Revolutionary Guards are loading Bashar al-Assad’s tanks, funding his government, and training his troops—all while funneling weapons to Hamas and other terrorist proxies in Gaza. Today, a conflict in Gaza would answer all the prayers of Iran’s leaders, distracting the world as they take their final steps toward nuclear capability. For the Iranian regime, every dead Israeli or Palestinian provides an opportunity to install another centrifuge.

The terrorists in Gaza do not pose a threat only to the citizens of southern Israel. Each rocket is armed with a warhead capable of causing a political earthquake that would extend well beyond Israel’s borders. Our message to the international community is clear: Your silence is pounding the drums of war.

(Ron Prosor is Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations.)

ON IRAN’S BOMB, IGNORE [U.S.] “INTELLIGENCE” AND PUNDITS—TEHRAN’S NEITHER RATIONAL NOR INVULNERABLE

THE BOGUS IRAN INTELLIGENCE DEBATE
Bret Stephens

Wall Street Journal, March 19, 2012

To better understand the debate over the state of Iran’s nuclear bomb building capabilities, it helps to talk to someone who has built a nuclear bomb. Tom Reed served as Secretary of the Air Force and head of the National Reconnaissance Office in the 1970s, but in an earlier life he designed thermonuclear devices at Lawrence Livermore and watched two of them detonate off Christmas Island in 1962.

How hard is it, I asked Mr. Reed when he visited the Journal last week, to build a crude nuclear weapon on the model of the bomb that leveled Hiroshima? “Anyone can build it,” he said flatly, provided they have about 141 lbs. of uranium enriched to an 80% grade. After that, he says, it’s not especially hard to master the technologies of weaponization, provided you’re not doing something fancy like implosion or miniaturization.

Bear that in mind as the New York Times reports that U.S. intelligence agencies are sure, or pretty sure, that Iran “still has not decided to pursue a weapon”—a view the paper says is shared by Israel’s Mossad. The report echoes the conclusion of a 2007 U.S. National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) that Iran put its nuclear-weapons program on the shelf back in 2003.

All this sounds like it matters a whole lot. It doesn’t. You may not be able to divine whether a drinker, holding a bottle of Johnnie Walker in one hand and a glass tinkling with ice in the other, actually intends to pour himself a drink. And perhaps he doesn’t. But the important thing, at least when it comes to intervention, is not to present him with the opportunity in the first place.

That’s what was so misleading about the 2007 NIE, which relegated to a footnote the observation that “by ‘nuclear weapons program’ we mean Iran’s nuclear weapons design and weaponization work. . . . [W]e do not mean Iran’s declared civil work related to uranium conversion and enrichment.” What the NIE called “civil work” is, in fact, the central piece in assembling a nuclear device. To have sufficient quantities of enriched uranium is, so to speak, the whiskey of a nuclear-weapons program. By contrast, “weaponization”—the vessel into which you pour and through which you can deliver the enriched uranium cocktail—is merely the glass.

It’s for this reason that Iran has spent the better part of the last several years building a redundant enrichment facility deep underground near the city of Qom. And thanks in part to the regular reports of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the world doesn’t need to rely on spies or shady sources to figure out just how much uranium the Iranians have enriched: At last count, more than five tons to a 5% grade, and more than 100 kilos to 20%.

In other words, having a debate about the quality of our Iran intelligence is mostly an irrelevance: Iran’s real nuclear-weapons program is hiding in plain sight. The serious question policy makers must answer isn’t whether Iran will go for a bomb once it is within a half-step of getting one. It’s whether Iran should be allowed to get within that half-step.

That is the essence of the debate the Obama administration is now having with Israel. The president has stated flatly that he won’t allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon. Good. But Israelis worry that Mr. Obama will allow them to come too close for comfort (or pre-emption). Israel cannot be reassured by the administration’s apparent decision to make its case through a series of media leaks, all calculated to head off a possible Israeli strike.

On Monday, the Times published the (leaked) results of a “classified war game” in which an Israeli strike on Iran leaves “hundreds of American dead,” perhaps through an attack on a Navy warship. That isn’t exactly the subtlest way of warning Israel that, should they strike Iran, they will do so forewarned that American blood will be on their hands, never mind that it’s the Iranians who would be doing the killing.

Is this outcome likely? Maybe, though it assumes a level of Iranian irrationality—responding to an Israeli attack by bringing the U.S. into the conflict—that top U.S. officials don’t otherwise attribute to Iran’s leaders. But the deeper problem with this leak is that an intelligence product is being used as a political tool. It was the same story with the 2007 NIE, whose purpose was to foreclose the possibility that the Bush administration would attack Iran.

It should come as no surprise that an intelligence community meant to provide decision makers with disinterested analysis has, in practice, policy goals and ideological axes of its own. But that doesn’t mean it is any less dangerous. The real lesson of the Iraq WMD debacle wasn’t that the intelligence was “overhyped,” since the CIA is equally notorious for erring in the opposite direction. It was that intelligence products were treated as authoritative guides to decision making. Spooks, like English children, should be seen, not heard. The problem is that the spooks (like the children) want it the other way around.

How, then, should people think about the Iran state of play? By avoiding the misdirections of “intelligence.” For real intelligence, merely consider that a regime that can take a rock in its right hand to stone a woman to death should not have a nuclear bomb within reach of its left. Even a spook can grasp that.

IRANIAN RATIONALITY: A LESSON FROM ROBERT MCNAMARA
Tommy Berzi

Jerusalem Magazine, February 23, 2012

Due to their apocalyptic ideology, the rationality of Iranian leaders is disputed. Nevertheless, even if one assumes that the regime is a rational actor, there is no guarantee that it would not make bad decisions, or commit costly mistakes.

In the past several months there has been a dynamic discussion about whether the Iranian leadership would behave rationally in the possession of nuclear weapons. This discussion about rationality comes down to policy implications regarding the possibility of living with a nuclear Iran.

Believers in Iranian irrationality point to the religious factor and apocalyptic worldview in Iranian decision making, and argue that deterrence cannot work because of the ideology of the regime. The return of the Hidden Imam, the Mahdi, has been a central element in many of [Iranian President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad’s statements. He believes that the return is imminent, and is supposed to occur after global chaos. Ahmadinejad even prayed for this to come true in one of his addresses at the United Nations General Assembly: “O mighty Lord, I pray to you to hasten the emergence of your last repository, the promised one, that perfect and pure human being, the one that will fill this world with justice and peace.…” He [also] declared after winning the elections in 2005 that the Islamic “revolution’s main mission is to pave the way for the reappearance of the Mahdi.”

Those who claim Iran would act rationally in the possession of nuclear weapons assume that Western deterrence will be sufficient to handle the threat. Since Iranian leaders are rational, they well understand that retaliation would be devastating.

Fareed Zakariah, for example, pointed to historical parallels in his recent article in The Washington Post: “After World War II, as the Soviet Union approached a nuclear capability, the United States was seized by a panic that lasted for years. Everything that Israel says about Iran now, we said about the Soviet Union. We saw it as a radical, revolutionary regime…determined to overthrow the governments of the Western world in order to establish global communism. We saw Moscow as irrational, aggressive and utterly unconcerned with human life.…”

Zakariah claims the Soviets, the North Koreans and the Pakistanis were all successfully deterred by mutual fears of destruction. He doesn’t see the Iranian regime as less rational…suggesting that just like the US learned to live with Soviet nuclear weapons, so could Israel.

The concept of mutual assured destruction (MAD) with the Soviet Union was first fully described in a speech by former US defense secretary Robert McNamara 50 years ago. The doctrine of MAD assumes that each side has enough nuclear weaponry to destroy the other side, and that either side has a second-strike capability that would allow retaliation with equal or greater force. The idea of assured destruction means that it would be irrational initiating a nuclear attack since it would inevitably lead to one’s own destruction.

The MAD theory was already put to the challenge in the same year, in October 1962, when the Soviet Union deployed missiles with nuclear warheads to Fidel Castro’s Cuba. Many observed that the world never came as close to a nuclear missile war as then.

In 2003, an American documentary film titled The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara, was produced. The plot revolves around an interview with the former defense secretary. McNamara’s second lesson – “Rationality Will Not Save Us” – was based on his experience during the Cuban missile crisis.

“I want to say – and this is very important – at the end we lucked out. It was luck that prevented nuclear war. We came that close to nuclear war at the end. Rational individuals: Kennedy was rational; Khrushchev was rational; Castro was rational. Rational individuals came that close to total destruction of their societies. And that danger exists today,” [McNamara says in the film.] According to McNamara, the major lesson of the Cuban missile crisis was that the “indefinite combination of human fallibility and nuclear weapons will destroy nations.”

In the documentary McNamara also referred to a meeting in January 1992 with Fidel Castro that took place in Havana, Cuba, when McNamara finally found out about the exact quantity of weapons – 162 nuclear warheads – that were placed on the island by the Soviets. McNamara followed this up by directing three questions to Castro: “No. 1: did you know the nuclear warheads were there? No. 2: if you did, would you have recommended to Khrushchev in the face of a US attack that he use them? No. 3: if he had used them, what would have happened to Cuba?” According to McNamara’s account, Castro responded: “No. 1: I knew they were there. No. 2: I would not have recommended to Khrushchev, I did recommend to Khrushchev that they be used. No. 3: What would have happened to Cuba? It would have been totally destroyed.…”

Even if one assumes that the Iranian regime is a rational actor, there is no guarantee that it would not make bad decisions, or commit costly mistakes. Sometimes decisions can be perfectly rational but based on perceptions, false assumptions by misreading the other side, or on bad intelligence. Hence the expression describing the huge uncertainty during military conflicts: the fog of war. [Neither] rationality [nor irrationality] will save us.

A GUIDE FOR THE PERPLEXED FAREED ZAKARIA
Clifford D. May

National Review, March 15, 2012

Fareed Zakaria is wearing his “I’m perplexed” face. On his weekly CNN program, he notes that Saudi Arabia did not go nuclear in response to “Israel’s buildup of a large arsenal of nuclear weapons.” So why, he asks the camera, would the Saudis do so in response to Iran’s acquisition of nuclear weapons?

The camera did not answer, so I will: The Saudis are not fools. They know Israel poses no threat to them. They know, too, that those who rule the Islamic Republic of Iran seek to establish hegemony over the Middle East and lead a global Islamist ascendancy.

A nuclear-armed Iran would challenge the Saudi clan’s claim to be the rightful guardian of Mecca and Medina and embolden Arabia’s Shia minority. It would threaten the small states in the region, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, and Bahrain among them. It would dominate Iraq (where its influence has been growing as American forces have withdrawn) and Afghanistan (from which American forces soon will withdraw).

So if the Iranians get nukes, the Saudis can be expected to acquire them not long after (with Pakistan likely providing express delivery). Turkey probably will not trail far behind. Other states may follow suit. In such a situation, the chance of a nuclear device finding its way into terrorist hands would increase substantially—as President Obama and others have pointed out.

“But,” Zakaria asks in his most recent Time magazine column, “would a country that has labored for decades to pursue a nuclear program and suffered huge sanctions and costs to do so then turn around and give the fruits of its efforts to a gang of militants?” The obvious answer is yes—if those militants were planning to kill people Iran’s rulers want killed. That’s kind of what it means to be a sponsor of terrorism, and Iran has been the world leader in this field for a long time.…

Zakaria asserts that “the evidence is ambiguous” as to whether Iran’s rulers “have decided” to develop nuclear weapons—despite the fact that Yukiya Amano, who heads the International Atomic Energy Agency, said last week that “Iran has engaged in activities relevant to the development of nuclear explosive devices.…”

In the same column, Zakaria asserts that Iran is being told to “surrender.” Now he’s got me perplexed: Why is asking Iran’s rulers not to develop a weapon they have not decided to develop a demand for “surrender”?

Zakaria’s commentaries omit any mention of the stated intentions of Iran’s theocrats. Is that because quoting them would make it apparent that this crisis has been caused by them—not by what Zakaria calls a sudden attack of “war fever” whipped up by those addressing the AIPAC conference earlier this month?

Iran’s rulers for years have threatened Israelis with genocide. In the chilling words of Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Israel is “a cancerous tumor” that “will be removed.” That Iran now appears close to acquiring the nuclear scalpel to perform such surgery makes the problem urgent for Israelis. But it should not be their responsibility alone. That becomes clear when you consider the broader goal declared by Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad:

“We are in the process of an historical war between the World of Arrogance and the Islamic world.… Is it possible for us to witness a world without America and Zionism? You had best know that this slogan and this goal are attainable, and surely can be achieved.…”

Might the [“moderates”] at least listen to Don Cooke? The youngest of the American diplomats taken hostage in Tehran in 1979, he retired from the Foreign Service this year and went on to recall his experience—which included mock firing squads, manacles, and blindfolds. He and his fellow captives, he wrote, were released only when Khomeini became convinced “that the Reagan administration was committed to end the hostage crisis by any means necessary.” In subsequent Iranian–American confrontations, too, “the success of our response depended both on appearing resolute and on being resolute.”

Today, once again, Cooke argues, Iran’s rulers must be convinced “that we have the capability and the will to end their [nuclear] program ourselves. The irony is that the more clearly we demonstrate that capability and will, the less likely we will need to use them.”

One way to start would be for President Obama to speak directly to the Iranian people. He would say how much he regrets the suffering caused them by the economic sanctions implemented so far and still to come. He would make clear that the blame rests squarely on the shoulders of those who rule Iran, because civilized people cannot turn a blind eye to what they have been doing: supporting terrorism, threatening genocide, illegally developing nuclear weapons, ordering assassinations abroad, backing Assad’s butchery in Syria, and, not least, brutalizing and oppressing ordinary Iranians at home.

He would say without equivocation that he intends to do whatever is necessary to prevent Iran’s rulers from resting their fingers on nuclear triggers.… Belatedly, he would answer the question posed by the protestors on the streets of Tehran in 2009: “Obama, are you with us or against us?” He would say that he and other Americans will always be on the side of those fighting for freedom, human rights, and tolerance. Why would Obama not do this? And why, by the way, does that question not perplex Fareed Zakaria?

(Clifford D. May is president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.)

ISRAELIS GROW CONFIDENT STRIKE
ON IRAN’S NUKES CAN WORK

Jeffrey Goldberg
Bloomberg, March 19, 2012

In 2005, Benjamin Netanyahu, who was then Israel’s finance minister, made an official visit to Uganda. For Netanyahu, visits to Uganda are weighted with sadness. It was at the airport in Entebbe that his older brother, Yonatan Netanyahu, was shot dead by a Ugandan soldier. Yonatan was the leader of an Israeli commando team dispatched by Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in July 1976 to rescue Jewish hostages held by pro-Palestinian terrorists. The terrorists had diverted an Air France flight to Uganda, where the then-dictator, the infamous Idi Amin, gave them refuge.

The raid was a near-total success. The hijackers were all killed, along with dozens of Ugandan soldiers posted to the airport by Amin to protect the terrorists. Only three hostages died; 102 were rescued. (A fourth was later murdered in a Ugandan hospital.) Yonatan was the only Israeli soldier killed.

In his 2005 visit, Benjamin Netanyahu was welcomed by the current president of Uganda, Yoweri Museveni, who was an anti-Amin guerilla leader at the time of the Entebbe raid. Museveni accompanied Netanyahu to the airport, and unveiled a plaque in his brother’s memory. The Ugandan president told him that the Israeli raid on Entebbe was a turning point in the struggle against Amin. It bolstered the opposition’s spirits and proved to them that Amin was vulnerable. Amin’s government would fall some two and half years later.

Unclothe the Emperor

A widely held assumption about a pre-emptive strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities is that it would spur Iranian citizens—many of whom appear to despise their rulers—to rally around the regime. But Netanyahu, I’m told, believes a successful raid could unclothe the emperor, emboldening Iran’s citizens to overthrow the regime (as they tried to do, unsuccessfully, in 2009). You might call this the Museveni Paradigm.…

After interviewing many people [in Israel] with direct knowledge of internal government thinking…I’m highly confident that Netanyahu isn’t bluffing—that he is in fact counting down to the day when he will authorize a strike against a half-dozen or more Iranian nuclear sites.

One reason I’m now more convinced is that Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak are working hard to convince other members of the Israeli cabinet that a strike might soon be necessary. But I also heard from Israeli national-security officials a number of best-case scenarios about the consequences of an attack, which suggested to me that they believe they have thought through all the risks—and that they keep coming to the same conclusions.

All-out War

One conclusion key officials have reached is that a strike on six or eight Iranian facilities will not lead, as is generally assumed, to all-out war. This argument holds that the Iranians might choose to cover up an attack, in the manner of the Syrian government when its nuclear facility was destroyed by the Israeli air force in 2007. An Israeli strike wouldn’t focus on densely populated cities, so the Iranian government might be able to control, to some degree, the flow of information about it.

Some Israeli officials believe that Iran’s leaders might choose to play down the insult of a raid and launch a handful of rockets at Tel Aviv as an angry gesture, rather than declare all-out war. I’m not endorsing this view, but I was struck by its optimism.…

Another theory making the rounds was that Obama has so deeply internalized the argument that Israel has the sovereign right to defend itself against a threat to its existence that an Israeli attack, even one launched against U.S. wishes, wouldn’t anger him. In this scenario, Obama would move immediately to help buttress Israel’s defenses against an Iranian counterstrike.

Some Israeli security officials also believe that Iran won’t target American ships or installations in the Middle East in retaliation for a strike, as many American officials fear, because the leadership in Tehran understands that American retaliation for an Iranian attack could be so severe as to threaten the regime itself.

This contradicts Netanyahu’s assertion, first made to me three years ago, that Iran’s rulers are members of a “messianic, apocalyptic cult,” unmoved by the calculations of rational self-interest.… But it does make sense if you believe that regime survival is an important goal of the ayatollahs.

Finally, [Israelis contend] that a strike in the next six months…will set back the ayatollahs’ atomic ambitions at least five years. American military planners tend to think that Israel could do only a year or two worth of damage.

The arguments I’ve outlined here all lead to a single conclusion: The Israeli political leadership increasingly believes that an attack on Iran will not be the disaster many American officials, and some ex-Israeli security officials, fear it will be.…

RUMOURS OF AMERICAN DEMISE ARE PREMATURE, AND DESPITE COMING MARCH, DITTO FOR ISRAEL

RUMOURS OF AMERICA’S DEMISE ARE AN EXAGGERATION
Robert Kagan

National Post, March 10, 2012

In The World America Made, excerpted below, foreign-policy expert Robert Kagan
challenges the conventional wisdom that U.S. global power and influence are waning:

Much of the commentary on American decline these days rests on rather loose analysis, on impressions that the United States has lost its way, that it has abandoned the virtues that made it successful in the past, that it lacks the will to address the problems it faces. Americans look at other nations whose economies are, for the moment, in better shape than their own, and which seem to have the dynamism that America once had, and they lament, as in the title of Thomas Friedman’s latest book, “That used to be us.…”

The perception of decline today is certainly understandable, given the dismal economic situation since 2008 and the nation’s large fiscal deficits, which, combined with the continuing growth of the Chinese, Indian, Brazilian, Turkish, and other economies, seem to portend a significant and irreversible shift in global economic power. Some of the pessimism is also due to the belief that the United States has lost favour, and therefore influence, in much of the world, because of its various responses to the Sept. 11 attacks. The detainment facilities at Guantanamo, the use of torture against suspected terrorists and the widely condemned 2003 invasion of Iraq have all tarnished the American “brand” and put a dent in America’s “soft power”—its ability to attract others to its point of view.… Some compare the United States to the British Empire at the end of the 19th century, with the Iraq and Afghanistan wars serving as the equivalent of Britain’s difficult and demoralizing Boer War.

With this broad perception of decline as the backdrop, every failure of the United States to get its way in the world tends to reinforce the impression.… Iran and North Korea defy American demands that they cease their nuclear weapons programs. China refuses to let its currency rise. Ferment in the Arab world spins out of America’s control. Every day, it seems, brings more evidence that the time has passed when the United States could lead the world and get others to do its bidding.

Powerful as this sense of decline may be, however, it deserves a more rigorous examination.

Measuring changes in a nation’s relative power is a tricky business, but there are some basic indicators: the size and influence of its economy relative to that of other powers; the degree of military power compared with potential adversaries’; the degree of political influence it wields in the international system—all of which make up what the Chinese call “comprehensive national power.” And there is the matter of time. Judgments made based on only a few years’ evidence are problematic. A great power’s decline is the product of fundamental changes in the international distribution of various forms of power that usually occur over longer stretches of time. Great powers rarely decline suddenly. A war may bring them down, but even that is usually a symptom, and a culmination, of a longer process.

Some of the arguments for America’s relative decline these days would be more potent if they had not appeared only in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. Just as one swallow does not make a spring, one recession, or even a severe economic crisis, need not mean the beginning of the end of a great power. The United States suffered deep and prolonged economic crises in the 1890s, the 1930s, and the 1970s. In each case, it rebounded in the following decade and actually ended up in a stronger position relative to other powers than before the crisis. The first decade of the 20th century, the 1940s, and the 1980s were all high points of American global power and influence.

Less than a decade ago, most observers spoke not of America’s decline but of its enduring primacy. In 2002, the historian Paul Kennedy, who in the late 1980s had written a much-discussed book on “the rise and fall of the great powers,” America included, declared that never in history had there been such a great “disparity of power” as between the United States and the rest of the world. John Ikenberry agreed that “no other great power” had held “such formidable advantages in military, economic, technological, cultural or political capabilities.… The preeminence of American power” was “unprecedented.” In 2004, Fareed Zakaria described the United States as enjoying a “comprehensive uni-polarity” unlike anything seen since Rome. But a mere four years later, Zakaria was writing about the “post-American world”; and Kennedy, again, about the inevitability of American decline. Did the fundamentals of America’s relative power shift so dramatically in just a few short years? The answer is no.

Let’s start with the basic indicators. In economic terms, and even despite the current years of recession and slow growth, America’s position in the world has not changed. Its share of the world’s GDP has held remarkably steady, not only over the past decade, but over the past four decades. In 1969, the United States produced roughly a quarter of the world’s economic output. Today it still produces roughly a quarter, and it remains not only the largest but also the richest economy in the world.

People are rightly mesmerized by the rise of China, India and other Asian nations whose share of the global economy has been climbing steadily, but this has so far come almost entirely at the expense of Europe and Japan, which have had a declining share of the global economy. Optimists about China’s development predict that it will overtake the United States as the largest economy in the world sometime in the next two decades.… The sheer size of an economy, however, is not by itself a good measure of overall power within the international system. If it were, then early-19th-century China, with what was then the world’s largest economy, would have been the predominant power instead of the prostrate victim of smaller European nations. Even if China does reach this pinnacle again—and Chinese leaders face significant obstacles to sustaining the country’s growth indefinitely—it will still remain far behind both the United States and Europe in terms of per capita GDP.

Military capacity matters, too, as early-19th-century China learned, and as Chinese leaders know today. As Yan Xuetong, [Dean of the Institute of Modern International Relations at Tsinghua University and the Chief Editor of The Chinese Journal of International Politics], recently noted, “Military strength underpins hegemony.” Here the United States remains unmatched. It is far and away the most powerful nation the world has ever known, and there has been no decline in America’s relative military capacity—at least not yet. Americans currently spend roughly $600-billion a year on defence, more than the rest of the other great powers combined. They do so, moreover, while consuming around 4% of GDP annually, a higher percentage than the other great powers but in historical terms lower than the 10% of GDP that the United States spent on defence in the mid-1950s or the 7% it spent in the late 1980s.…

By these military and economic measures, at least, the United States today is not remotely like Britain circa 1900, when that empire’s relative decline began to become apparent. It is more like Britain circa 1870, when the empire was at the height of its power. It is possible to imagine a time when this might no longer be the case, but that moment has not yet arrived.

But what about the “rise of the rest”?… Doesn’t that cut into American power and influence? The answer is: It depends.

The fact that other nations in the world are enjoying periods of high growth does not mean that America’s position as the predominant power is declining, or even that “the rest” are catching up in terms of overall power and influence. Brazil’s share of global GDP was a little over 2% in 1990 and remains a little over 2% today. Turkey’s share was under 1% in 1990 and is still under 1% today. People…are naturally excited about these emerging markets, but just because a nation is an attractive investment opportunity does not mean it is also a rising great power. Wealth matters in international politics, but there is no simple correlation between economic growth and international influence. It is not clear that a richer India today, for instance, wields greater influence on the global stage than a poorer India did in the 1950s and 1960s under Nehru, when it was a leader of the Non-Aligned Movement.…

As for the effect of these growing economies on the position of the United States, it all depends on who is doing the growing. The problem for the British Empire at the beginning of the 20th century was not its substantial decline relative to the United States, a generally friendly power whose interests did not fundamentally conflict with Britain’s. Even in the Western hemisphere, British trade increased as it ceded dominance to the United States. The problem was Britain’s decline relative to Germany, which aimed for supremacy on the European continent, sought to compete with Britain on the high seas, and in both respects posed a threat to Britain’s core security.

In the case of the United States, the dramatic and rapid rise of the German and Japanese economies during the Cold War reduced American primacy in the world much more than the more recent “rise of the rest.” America’s share of the world’s GDP, nearly 50% after the Second World War, fell to roughly 25% by the early 1970s, where it has remained ever since. But that “rise of the rest” did not weaken the United States. If anything, it strengthened it. Germany and Japan were and are close democratic allies, key pillars of the American world order. The growth of their economies actually shifted the balance irretrievably against the Soviet bloc and helped bring about its demise.

When gauging the impact of the growing economies of other countries today, one has to make the same kinds of calculations. Does the growth of the Brazilian economy, or of the Indian economy, diminish American global power? Both nations are friendly, and India is increasingly a strategic partner of the United States. If America’s future competitor in the world is likely to be China, then a richer and more powerful India will be an asset, not a liability, to the United States. Overall, the fact that Brazil, India, Turkey and South Africa are enjoying a period of economic growth—which may or may not last indefinitely—is either irrelevant to America’s strategic position or of benefit to it. At present, only the growth of China’s economy can be said to have implications for American power in the future, and only insofar as the Chinese translate enough of their growing economic strength into military strength.

If the United States is not suffering decline in these basic measures of power, isn’t it simply true, nevertheless, that its influence has diminished, that it is having a harder time getting its way in the world?… Whatever the explanation may be—American decline, the “rise of the rest,” the apparent failure of the American capitalist model, the dysfunctional nature of American politics, the increasing complexity of the international system—it is broadly accepted that the United States can no longer shape the world to suit its interests and ideals as it once did.…

And, of course, it’s true: the United States is not able to get what it wants much of the time. But then, it never could. Many of today’s impressions about declining American influence are based on a nostalgic fallacy, that there ever was a time when the United States could shape the whole world to suit its desires.… If we are to gauge America’s relative position today, it is important to recognize that this image of the past is an illusion.… We tend to think back on the early years of the Cold War as a moment of complete American global dominance. They were nothing of the sort. The United States did accomplish extraordinary things in that era…yet for every great achievement in the early Cold War, there was at least one equally monumental setback.

THE GLOBAL MARCH TO JERUSALEM: PART OF THE
INTERNATIONAL CAMPAIGN TO DELEGITIMIZE ISRAEL

Ehud Rosen
Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, March 2012

The Political Struggle Against Israel

The political element has always been part of the struggle against Israel, yet less attended to than other, mainly violent sides. However, for more than a decade, the centrality of this element has expanded among those fighting against the existence of Israel as the Jewish state. Two parallel perceptions are gradually becoming the focus of the international campaign to delegitimize Israel—“international mobilization” (“direct action”) and the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement.…

These efforts are being undertaken by groups that were never in the center of politics or mainstream public opinion, and therefore turn to places that might serve as bases of mainstreaming and recruitment—the academic world, a natural place for radical views and student activism; the widely developing NGO community and “civil society” organizations; trade unions, which by their nature appeal to the more leftist side; various political echelons, and mass media, as well as religious institutions when relevant.

Several factors have contributed to the advancement of the political struggle:

–The “Durban route” that surfaced at the September 2001 UN-initiated “World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance,” in which Israel was accused of committing genocide. The parallel NGO Forum gave birth to the “NGO Declaration” that spoke about Israel in terms of apartheid and ethnic cleansing. The Durban Conference was followed by other UN-led conferences…where the concept of boycotting Israel…was gradually developed.

–The advance of Sunni Islamism in Europe, and its ascendance to the political stage in the second half of the 1990s; the Arab Spring that brought about the rapid rise to power of Sunni Islamism across the Middle East, especially the Muslim Brotherhood, which has already made significant gains in Tunisia, Egypt, Kuwait, Morocco, Libya and Yemen; and simultaneously the growing involvement of Qatar and Turkey which support it in regional and international politics.

–The route taken by Fatah and the Palestinian Authority (PA) in recent months, with attempts to bypass the Oslo Accords and gain international recognition on the path to independence.

–Growing activism of far-left elements around the world.…

–The ongoing development of social media that facilitates the forging of connections.…

A Focus on Jerusalem

Over the past few years there has been a Palestinian campaign which focuses on the so-called “Judaization” of Jerusalem. A number of related topics have been raised recently in what appears to be an orchestrated campaign initiated by leading figures in the PA, Hamas, and Muslim Brotherhood.

On February 24, 2012, Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh delivered a sermon in Cairo at the prominent Al-Azhar Mosque, in which he reportedly stated: “We paid a lot in blood in order to keep Jerusalem an Arabic and Islamic city. The Arab Spring brought the Islamic nation to the threshold of the city of Jerusalem.”

On the same weekend, a large conference on the defense of Jerusalem was held in Qatar under the patronage of the Arab League featuring what has been called “an unprecedented coalition against Israel.” This is the second Arab League conference on the topic; the first took place in Sirte, Libya, in March 2010, hosted by the country’s late president Gaddafi. The current conference reportedly featured the Qatari emir, politicians, and diplomats from other Middle East countries, secretaries-general of both the Arab League and Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC), Sheikh Qaradawi and various other figures from the Middle East, Europe, and the U.S. affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, Arab-Israeli MKs, senior Fatah and PA figures including President Mahmoud Abbas, and several rabbis from the anti-Zionist Neturei Karta group. In addition, eight UN officials from various departments attended, as well as Western politicians and academics, representatives of far-left political groups.… Iran is also involved more than usual, through three delegates representing the Tehran-based Neda Institute for Scientific Political Research…[which] has served as the major point of contact bringing together Western Holocaust deniers with their Middle East counterparts.…

Parallel to the Qatar conference, a meeting took place in Jordan of the International Committees of the Global March to Jerusalem. This…strengthen[ed] the impression that the conference in Qatar…had been scheduled to coincide with preparations for the march.…

The Global March to Jerusalem

In mid-January 2012, the European Preparatory Committee for the Global March to Jerusalem published an invitation for European participation and support, stating: “We say no to Zionism; and to an exclusive Jewish colonial state, which reacts to the legitimate struggle of the indigenous Palestinian people with the expansion of its Apartheid rule.”

The organizers of the march, which they describe as a “pluralistic initiative transcending cultural and religious borders on a simple political platform”…are aiming to hold marches to Jerusalem “or the nearest point to it” on March 30, to coincide with the annual Palestinian “Land Day.” Originally, marches were planned in Israel, the Palestinian Authority, and the four neighboring countries: Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, and Syria. From Europe they state: “We join this.… Our intention is to build a bridge for peace between the Arab region, Europe and other parts of the world.…”

Later in January, the Central Committee for the march, comprised of 40-42 members, held a conference in Beirut. The committee is headed by…former Lebanese Prime Minister Salim el-Hoss, who also served as honorary president of the International Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza (ICESG). The closing statement of the committee’s first meeting…called on all “free people of the world” to protect Jerusalem, its sanctuaries, and historical sites; stated that the attempt to change Jerusalem’s Arab, historical, and cultural identity is a “crime against humanity”; condemned the “Judaization” of Jerusalem and “ethnic cleansing” performed by Israel in the city and the ongoing building of the “racist separation wall”; and restated the Palestinians’ right of return and self-determination.…

In the committee’s second meeting, the Jordan-based Dr. Rebhi Halloum was elected to head the global march. Halloum is a former Fatah and PLO senior official, who left due to his rejection of the Madrid peace talks and the Oslo Accords.… [At the meeting], Halloum asserted that masses of people coming from all sides will render the Israeli army unable to decide on a course of action. He also stressed that peaceful mobilization is not a substitute for resistance [muqawama].…

It is hard to predict the results of the preparations for the march. A few points, however, are noticeable, reflecting the structure of the international campaign to delegitimize Israel:

1. For most participants in the campaign, the gradually adopted idea of “non-violence” does not replace its violent nature, rather it is in addition to it.

2. The participation of Sunni-Islamist circles…is increasing, encouraged by their rise due to the Arab Spring.… Fatah, the PLO, and the PA are also becoming more involved both officially and unofficially.…

3. The circles of those taking part in the campaign are widening to include more Islamist jihadi forces, more far-right European elements than before, and new participants from more countries.…

Lara Friedman of Americans for Peace Now, who attended the aforementioned conference in Qatar, said after its first day that she came to the conference thinking that the Arab League wanted to look into the full complexity of the issue, and include “openly pro-Israel, pro-peace voices.” “However, it seems that virtually every conversation I am having here involves me…having to…assert and defend the Jewish stake in Jerusalem.…”

The following is excerpted from the Resolution adopted
at the Conference on Jerusalem in Qatar:

“We, the participants at the International Conference on Jerusalem held at Doha, Capital of the State of Qatar 26-27/2/2012…gathering worldwide in solidarity with the Palestinian people in Al Quds [Jerusalem]…[vow to] stand up against the Judaization of the city.…

Having conducted an insightful study of the current situation as well as the major challenges confronting [Jerusalem’s] Arab identity coupled with Judaization threats, including the forced eviction of its population, sustainable and progressive measures involving the destruction of its Islamic and Christian sanctities, and obliterating its history and human heritage…[we]:

–Stress that Al Quds is the permanent capital of the State of Palestine.…

–Extend a salute in great respect and reverence to the Palestinian people in Al Quds for their…resistance to all Israeli violations.…

–Commend and support the proposal…for resorting to the [UN] Security Council in order to obtain a resolution entailing setting up an international committee to examine all measures taken by Israel since 1967 occupation in Arab Al Quds intended to eradicate its Islamic and Arab features.…

–Reiterate that forced eviction of Al Quds population by means of the Judaization plans, denying the right, obliterating the history and heritage, usurping land, and confiscating properties are violations of the International Law and Humanitarian International Law. Therefore, we are calling upon the international powers that are silent about Israeli violations to assume their responsibilities.…

In conclusion, we extend our thanks to the State of Qatar…for hosting this Conference, providing all possible means that would ensure its success, demonstrating support and standing by Al Quds and its steadfast people against the Israeli occupation as well as the continuous plans for Judaizing the City.”

DE GAZA À TOULOUSE: ANTISÉMITISME ET PROPAGANDE

 

 

MAIS QUI EST MOHAMED MERAH?
SUR LA PISTE DU MEURTRIER DE TOULOUSE-MONTAUBAN

Dépêche
Guysen International News, 21 mars 2012

Les antécédents de l'auteur présumé des tueries qui ont causé la mort de sept personnes en France, retranché mercredi dans un immeuble de Toulouse cerné par la police, ont éveillé les soupçons des enquêteurs dès la première attaque, le 11 mars dernier.

Mohamed Merah, âgé de 24 ans, est soupçonné d'être derrière la mort de trois militaires, un le 11 mars à Toulouse et deux le 15 mars à Montauban, ainsi que du meurtre d'un rabbin et de trois enfants dans une école juive de Toulouse lundi dernier. A chaque fois, l'auteur est arrivé en scooter et a tué ses victimes en tirant à bout portant dans la tête. Le 11 mars, le maréchal des logis chef Imad Ibn Ziaten, qui a mis en vente sa moto sur internet en précisant qu'il était militaire et en donnant son prénom, est abattu d'une balle dans la tête à Toulouse par un homme qui s'enfuit aussitôt.

«Après son assassinat, la police a épluché les communications qu'il avait reçues de la part de personnes qui étaient intéressées par l'acquisition de cette moto», a indiqué le ministre de l'Intérieur, Claude Guéant, lors d'une conférence de presse, à Toulouse. «Et le croisement de ce fichier et des renseignements dont disposait la DCRI a fait apparaître une adresse IP correspondant à la mère de la personne que nous sommes en train d'interpeller», a-t-il dit précisant que 575 acheteurs potentiels avaient consulté l'annonce.

Mohamed Merah était sous surveillance de la Direction centrale du renseignement intérieur (DCRI) depuis longtemps pour appartenance à un mouvement salafiste sans qu'il y ait toutefois d'élément permettant de penser qu'il était sur le point de passer à un acte criminel, a précisé le ministre. A la suite de l'attaque lundi du collège-lycée juif de Toulouse, plusieurs membres de la famille du suspect sont mis sur écoute sur ordre du parquet. A partir des éléments recueillis par le biais de ces écoutes, la décision est prise de mener l'opération du raid dans la nuit de mardi à mercredi.

Selon une source policière, les enquêteurs auraient remonté la piste du suspect présumé par le biais de son frère qui se serait rendu chez un concessionnaire Yamaha et aurait demandé comment désactiver le «tracker» du scooter, un dispositif électronique installé pour le localiser en cas de vol.

La découverte la semaine dernière que la même arme avait été utilisée lors des deux attaques visant les militaires a permis de déterminer qu'il s'agissait du même tueur et de mettre en place une vaste opération de recherche. «L'élément déclenchant a été le jeudi soir de l'assassinat de Montauban, la découverte par les services de police judiciaire de l'identité de l'arme entre celle qui avait frappé à Toulouse et celle qui avait frappé à Montauban», a dit le ministre de la Défense Gérard Longuet au micro de RTL. «A cet instant s'est déclenché un énorme effort de mobilisation, près de 200 enquêteurs», ajoute-t-il.

Après la tuerie survenue au collège-lycée juif de Toulouse, la piste d'une attaque visant essentiellement l'armée est abandonnée par les enquêteurs. «Dans un premier temps, nous avons cru, et surtout au soir de Montauban, que c'était l'armée qui était en quelque sorte (visée)», a indiqué Gérard Longuet. «Nous avons regardé 20.000 dossiers de soldats, la première idée était de se dire ‘peut-être un règlement de compte, peut-être une rancune’, nous avons examiné 20.000 dossiers».

Les enquêteurs se recentrent alors sur des informations liées aux milieux islamistes extrémistes et les informations des données informatiques permettent de se rapprocher de Mohamed Merah, qui se revendique d'Al Qaïda. «C'est le croisement (de ces) informations (…) et le travail d'examen des fichiers des adresses internet des interlocuteurs de la première victime qui a permis de se rapprocher» du suspect, selon le ministre de la Défense. Prié de dire si des morts auraient pu être évitées, il a répondu: «Je ne pense pas, sauf à transformer la France en État policier.»

CATHERINE ASHTON, TOULOUSE ET GAZA:
UNE COMPARAISON OBSCÈNE

Éditorial
UPJF.org, 21 mars 2012

L’UPJF demande au gouvernement français d’élever une protestation officielle à l’encontre de Catherine Ashton, responsable de la diplomatie de l'Union Européenne qui a osé comparer la tuerie d’enfants devant une école juive de Toulouse, et l’accident de bus survenu en Suisse, avec les massacres perpétrés par le dictateur syrien Bachar Al Assad, et les éliminations ciblées de terroristes du Hamas qui utilisent les boucliers humains pour accomplir leurs forfaits, pour finalement…honorer la cause palestinienne.

 

On se souvient que Catherine Ashton, avait fait l’apologie des Kamikazes palestiniens en 2004, qu’elle recourait en 2006 aux stéréotypes antisémites classiques du complot juif international en accusant le lobby pro-israélien de tenir le monde occidental dans ses serres financières, qu’elle a apporté son soutien au Hamas en 2008 lors du blocus de Gaza, qu’elle a rencontré illégalement Khaled Meshaal , le chef du Hamas, en 2009 après avoir stigmatisé «l’agression israélienne» et qu’elle n’a pas hésité en janvier 2010 à accuser les israéliens de trafic d’organes lors de l’aide apportée par Israël aux Haïtiens.

 

Le stade de la bêtise et de l’indécence est largement dépassé. Pour Catherine Ashton, la détestation du juif et des israéliens va de pair avec son amour immodéré de la cause palestinienne et de son terrorisme aveugle. Tout est bon pour le rappeler. Dans son délire, la lutte contre le terrorisme, ou un accident de bus, deviennent équivalents aux massacres perpétrés par des assassins et des dictateurs.

 

Salir la dépouille d’enfants juifs français et belges par des comparaisons obscènes sur la base du plus petit dénominateur commun relève pour elle de l’évidence tant que cela sert la cause palestinienne. Le Parlement Européen et les pays qui en sont membres ne sont comparables, ni à la Syrie, ni à la bande de Gaza. Les représentants européens ont une obligation de respectabilité et de dignité.

 

Madame Ashton qui est la politicienne la mieux payée au monde sans avoir jamais été élue démocratiquement, vient de démontrer sa vilénie, et son inaptitude à assurer avec clairvoyance et dignité les hautes fonctions qu’elle représente. Trop, c’est trop! Nous ne voulons plus que l’idéal européen et sa représentation internationale soient trahis et pervertis par des représentants «munichois» aux idées rances. Madame Ashton doit être démise sans délai de toutes ses fonctions parlementaires.

CATHERINE ASHTON:
LA FEMME QUI RIT DANS LES CIMETIÈRES

François Miclo
UPJF.org, 21 mars 2012

Quand l’Europe n’a rien à dire, elle envoie Catherine Ashton le dire à sa place. C’est son job. On la paie pour ça – et même très bien: elle occupe l’emploi politique le mieux rémunéré au monde. Ne chipotons pas sur les 360 000 euros annuels qu’elle perçoit. C’est peut-être plus que les indemnités d’un Nicolas Sarkozy, d’une Angela Merkel ou d’un Barack Obama, mais elle le vaut bien: la baronne travailliste a été nommée, en 2009, Haut Représentant de l’Union pour les affaires étrangères et la politique de sécurité, autrement dit chef de la diplomatie européenne.

 

Catherine Ashton se retrouve donc depuis quatre ans être cheftaine d’un truc qui n’existe pas. Autant le reconnaître: elle y excelle. Sa capacité instinctive à viser à côté de la plaque force le respect. Son zèle à être absente de tous les grands dossiers géostratégiques relève de la prouesse. Quant aux questions de sécurité et de défense, son incompétence est unanimement saluée.

 

Ne noircissons toutefois pas le tableau: Catherine Ashton représente, à elle seule, une grande victoire du féminisme. Elle réalise la prophétie que Françoise Giroud formulait il y a trente ans dans Le Monde: «La femme sera vraiment l’égale de l’homme le jour où, à un poste important, on désignera une femme incompétente.» Catherine Ashton est comme un aboutissement.

 

Cependant, le grand malheur n’est pas que la Haute représentante soit incompétente, mais dotée de la parole. C’est que Madame parle, cause, bavarde. Elle s’exprime. Jamais à bon escient. La boucler est pourtant le b.a.-ba du métier de diplomate: «A diplomat, cancanait le sénateur américain Frederick Sawyer dans les années 1880, is a person who thinks twice before he says nothing» (Un diplomate est une personne qui réfléchit deux fois avant de ne rien dire). Bref, Catherine Ashton ne maîtrise pas ce que les Grecs avaient quasi-divinisé: le kaïros, le moment opportun, le right time.

 

Elle vient de nous en apporter une nouvelle fois la preuve. Lundi, elle a rendu un bien curieux hommage aux victimes de l’école Ozar Hatorah: «Quand nous pensons à ce qui s’est passé aujourd’hui à Toulouse, quand nous nous souvenons de ce qui s’est passé en Norvège il y a un an, quand nous savons ce qui se passe en Syrie, quand nous voyons ce qui se passe à Gaza et dans différentes parties du monde, nous pensons aux jeunes et aux enfants qui perdent leur vie…» Elle poursuit par un hommage aux victimes du terrible accident de car en Suisse ainsi qu’aux jeunes Palestiniens qui «contre toute attente, continuent à apprendre, à travailler, à rêver et aspirent à un meilleur avenir».

 

Les autorités israéliennes ont aussitôt réagi – qu’est-ce qu’ils sont susceptibles, ces gens-là! La Haute représentante en a pris acte. Elle a fait modifier, sur son site, son texte, rajoutant Sderot à Gaza, tout en dépêchant son porte-parole pour dire que jamais elle n’avait osé établir le moindre parallèle entre «les circonstances de l’attaque de Toulouse et la situation à Gaza». La baronne Ashton essaie de se raccrocher aux branches comme elle peut. Mais elle a parlé. Et son propos fut odieux.

 

Odieux, parce qu’il est des moments où la simple humanité consiste à respecter la douleur des familles et le deuil d’un pays. Et respecter cette douleur et ce deuil, c’est d’abord en accepter la singularité: les trois enfants et le professeur morts à Toulouse n’ont pas été tués par accident. Le «tueur au scooter» les a abattus délibérément, ni par hasard ni parce qu’ils se trouvaient à portée de tir, mais parce qu’ils étaient juifs. On appelle ça de l’antisémitisme. Quelqu’un peut-il informer Mme Ashton qu’ils ne sont pas morts d’un gros rhume?

 

C’est une manifestation abjecte d’antisémitisme qui s’est produite à Toulouse. L’une des plus hautes responsables européennes s’en moque comme de sa première voiture de fonction, jusqu’à en diluer le caractère spécifique parmi une série d’événements tout aussi tragiques, mais d’une autre nature. L’antisémitisme n’est plus, selon Mme Ashton, qu’une libre variation de la mortalité humaine. Elle invente une catégorie: «les jeunes et les enfants qui perdent la vie» pour dissimuler l’antisémitisme opérant à Toulouse et, au final, le banaliser. Ses contempteurs reprochaient indûment à Raymond Poincaré de rire dans les cimetières, Catherine Ashton, elle, s’y fend la poire.

 

Mais pourquoi la Haute représentante établit-elle un parallèle entre Gaza et Toulouse? Quelles sont les arrière-pensées de Mme Ashton – terme impropre au demeurant, puisqu’il suggère l’impossible: qu’elle ait seulement une pensée… Où veut-elle en venir en établissant des parallèles fâcheux? Veut-elle insinuer que les élèves assassinés à Toulouse n’ont eu, après tout, que ce qu’ils méritaient? Parce qu’Israël. Parce que Gaza.

 

Est-ce désormais une précaution oratoire d’évoquer la situation palestinienne chaque fois qu’un acte antisémite se produit? Pour faire bonne mesure. Pour rétablir l’équité. Pour que les juifs ne soient plus les seuls à être, selon l’expression d’Alain Finkielkraut, les «rois du malheur».

 

Mais faut-il aller, lorsqu’on parle d’enfants juifs morts parce qu’ils étaient juifs, à faire la laudatio de la jeunesse palestinienne. Il y a quelque chose d’incongru et de scandaleux même dans les propos de Catherine Ashton. Faut-il réclamer, pour autant, la démission de la chef de la diplomatie européenne? Et pourquoi pas lancer une pétition, pendant qu’on y est! On a confié la politique étrangère de l’Union, c’est-à-dire d’une puissance qui aurait, si elle en avait la volonté, son rôle à jouer au Proche Orient et dans l’ensemble méditerranéen, à la femme la plus incompétente et la plus gauche de sa génération. Ce n’est pas un hasard, mais un aveu: nos États ne tiennent tout bonnement pas à ce que l’Union dispose d’une diplomatie. Avec Catherine Ashton, nous sommes assurés de ne point en avoir.

 

(François Miclo est rédacteur en chef de Causeur magazine.)

 

TUERIE DE TOULOUSE: L'AUTORITÉ PALESTINIENNE
DANS LE RÔLE DE POMPIER PYROMANE

Hélène Keller-Lind

France-Israel.org, 21 mars 2012

Alors que l'on met en terre les corps des trois petits enfants juifs assassinés et du jeune père de deux d'entre eux en Israël, en présence notamment des familles, de responsables israéliens mais aussi du ministre d’État Alain Juppé, on apprend que l'Autorité palestinienne affirme ne rien avoir à faire avec ces assassinats. Ce serait oublier son incitation à la haine anti-israélienne et antisémite diffusée au quotidien et qui a poussé il y a un an, par exemple, deux jeunes Palestiniens à assassiner trois enfants juifs, dont un bébé de 3 mois, égorgé dans son berceau, et leurs parents. Des Franco-israéliens aussi, la famille Fogel.

 

Dans la tuerie de Toulouse la responsabilité de l'Autorité palestinienne et de tous ceux qui incitent à la haine d'Israël et des Juifs, comme cette employée de l'ONU, Khoolod Badaw, une Arabe israélienne haineuse, diplômée de l'Université israélienne de Haïfa, qui avait publié sur son compte Twitter la photo d'une enfant palestinienne morte il y a quelques années dans un accident en accusant les forces israéliennes de l'avoir tuée il y a quelques jours à Gaza, est pleine et entière. Ce Tweet scélérat avait été en tête des messages retransmis sur ce réseau social.

 

Et c'est au quotidien que la télévision officielle palestinienne incite à la haine d'Israël, désinforme, délégitime l’État hébreu, nie la Shoah quand elle ne la justifie pas. Palestinian Watch, – Observatoire des Médias Palestiniens- http://palwatch.org/ – souvent traduit sur www.desinfos.com – en rend compte jour après jour. Pierre Rehov a montré et dénoncé ce nouvel enseignement de la haine dans une série de documentaires remarquables. http://pierrerehov.com/ Travail essentiel ne relevant d'aucune idéologie mais de la vérité dans un cas comme dans l'autre. Malheureusement trop peu repris, voir pas du tout, par les médias nationaux.

 

La Famille Fogel: cinq personnes dont trois enfants de 3 mois, 4 et 5 ans, victimes de la haine enseignée par l'Autorité palestinienne voici un an.

 

On avait eu un exemple frappant des conséquences mortelles de ce nouvel enseignement de la haine diffusé par l'Autorité palestinienne en mars dernier lorsque deux jeunes Palestiniens, remplis de haine des Juifs, avaient pénétré la nuit dans l'implantation d'Itamar pour tuer à coups de couteau de jeunes parents, âgés de 36 ans, Ruth et Oudi et leurs enfants, Yoav 11 ans, Elad, 4 ans, avant de retourner égorger dans son berceau Hadas, bébé de 3 mois, qu'ils n'avaient pas vu mais qu'ils ont entendu pleurer. C'était en mars 2011. C'était une famille franco-israélienne, les Fogel et leur enterrement avait était aussi terrible que celui de ce jour. L’indicible chagrin n'a jamais cédé la place à la vengeance…

 

En avril, avant l'arrestation des meurtriers par les forces israéliennes, ces mêmes autorités palestiniennes avaient tenté de faire porter le chapeau à des ouvriers thaïlandais, accusant même Oudi Fogel d'avoir été responsable, en quelque sorte de ces assassinats car il aurait provoqué la colère de ces ouvriers qu'il n'aurait pas payés (!).

 

Mahmoud Abbas avait déclaré alors qu'il était impossible que des Palestiniens commettent un tel acte et un ministre palestinien avait même accusé des «colons» (sic) de ces crimes qu'ils auraient commis pour faire dérailler le processus de paix en faisant faussement accuser des Palestiniens… Des mensonges courants de la part de personnes malheureusement considérées comme partenaires par mainte chancellerie occidentale… Benyamin Netanyahou avait alors répliqué, à juste titre, que l'Autorité palestinienne ferait mieux de cesser d'inciter à la haine et la violence anti-israéliennes. […]

 

Une incitation à la haine systématique par l'Autorité palestinienne et salaire des terroristes.

 

Or, en janvier de cette année, la télévision palestinienne, qui dépend directement de Mahmoud Abbas, encensait ces assassins lors d'un programme consacré aux prisonniers palestiniens. Ces barbares étaient qualifiés de «héros» et de «légendes».

 

L'Autorité palestinienne glorifie d'ailleurs de mille et une façons les «martyrs» –terroristes morts en commettant des attentats ou en étant arrêtés – et, de surcroît, verse des salaires aux terroristes arrêtés, jugés et emprisonnés par Israël à raison de près de 5 millions d'€ par mois. Le salaire du terrorisme… Ces terroristes sont mieux payés que les fonctionnaires palestiniens en moyenne. Et ce sont des fonds occidentaux qui sont utilisés.  En avril 2011 des sondages indépendants avaient d'ailleurs montré qu'un Palestinien sur trois approuvait ces meurtres de membres de la famille Fogel.

 

Mais qui, en France se souvient de cette famille massacrée? Alors que tout le monde se souviendra de Mohamed Al-Dura dont la mort avait été filmée par un cameraman palestinien et attribuée à des soldats israéliens dans le commentaire qu'y avait plaqué plus tard Charles Enderlin qui n'était pas sur les lieux. Accusations invraisemblables, portées sans la moindre preuve ni la moindre enquête et offertes gratuitement par France 2 à qui en faisait la demande. Cette séquence avait fait le tour du monde et des dégâts incalculables.

 

Et qui sait aujourd'hui qu'Arlette Chabot, devenu directrice de l'information de cette chaîne, avait déclaré par deux fois au moins que l'on ne pouvait accuser ces soldats d'avoir tué cet enfant? Tout indiquant, au contraire, qu'ils ne l'avaient pas fait.

 

Autre exemple de cette désinformation médiatique: cet engouement invraisemblable avec cet anti-israélien primaire qu'est Stéphane Hessel, dont l'imposture a été démontée par Gilles-William Goldnadel dans «Le Vieil Homme m'indigne». Engouement de certains politiques aussi à l'égard de cet homme si haineux d'Israël et qui avait pleuré sur le sort des Palestiniens en rencontrant le Hamas à Gaza où il avait été invité par les services consulaires français pour une conférence dans le «Centre cultuel français de Gaza».

 

On mesure ici la responsabilité écrasante des médias. Même si la désinformation qui aurait poussé Mohamed Merah, tueur présumé des enfants et du jeune père d'Ozar Hatorah, ne lui est sans doute pas venue par les médias nationaux mais par des réseaux sociaux ou des antennes paraboles.

 

Protestations d'innocence méprisables pour quelques millions de plus et un soutien politique.

 

Quant à l'Autorité palestinienne qui se dit si innocente, c'est qu'elle a gros à perdre. D'abord en espèces sonnantes et trébuchantes alors que, justement, l'Union européenne et sa Haute Représentante, Catherine Ashton, lui consacrent actuellement une série «d'événements» à Bruxelles pour les encenser et lui verser des subventions par millions d'€ sans qu'il n'y ait le moindre contrôle sur les fonds versés. Fonds dont une partie alimente forcément les campagnes BDS et autres campagnes anti-israéliennes et antisémites.

 

Catherine Ashton qui a pour les jeunes Palestiniens les yeux de Chimène et qui, devant un parterre de ces «jeunes réfugiés», vient d'oser comparer la tuerie de Toulouse, alors que l'on ignorait qu'elle avait été commise pour soi-disant venger les enfants palestiniens, selon l'auteur présumé, avec «ce qui est en train de se passer à Gaza». Faisant sans doute référence aux tirs ciblés défensifs d'Israël il y a quelques jours alors qu'un million de civils vivaient dans la terreur imposée par les terroristes faisant pleuvoir sur eux missiles, roquettes et obus de mortiers. De cela Madame Ashton ne dit bien entendu pas un mot.

 

Ensuite l'Autorité palestinienne ment car si sa vérité était ainsi exposée, elle perdrait l'appui politique dont elle dispose. On se souvient, en effet, que la France a voté pour son entrée à l'UNESCO, organisation onusienne censée contribuer à la paix par l'éducation. Les États-Unis ont voté contre, faut-il souligner. Il faut dire que Barack Obama et Hillary Clinton ont dénoncé, eux, cette incitation palestinienne à la haine anti-israélienne que l'on semble ignorer ici.

 

Et si l'Autorité palestinienne, véritable pompier pyromane, se précipite ainsi pour protester de sa bonne foi démentie par les faits, c'est que le ministre d’État Alain Juppé a accompagné les corps, dont trois tout petits corps, dans l'avion les amenant en Israël pour qu'ils y soient enterrés et qu'il a assisté à ces terribles funérailles.