Sun, 14 Apr 2013 - 6:00 PM
Fri, 05 Apr 2013 - 7:00 PM
Mon, 11 Mar 2013 - 12:01 AM
Wed, 13 Feb 2013 - 2:00 PM
IsraellyCool reports on a video of pro-Palestinian activists protesting Israel’s Operation Pillar of Defense at Hebrew University in Jerusalem today. The denunciations of the Zionist war machine seemed to be going smoothly–until Jerusalem’s air raid sirens were triggered by an incoming Hamas rocket. You can probably guess what happened next:
Aussie Dave writes at the link above: “I guess they won’t be boycotting Israeli bomb shelters any time soon.”
Friday was the first time a rocket fired from Gaza managed to reach the outskirts of Jerusalem. The rocket that set off the sirens today was aimed at Jerusalem, and hit the West Bank. Needless to say, it is easier to object to Israel’s efforts to destroy Hamas’s weapons stockpile when you aren’t living under siege from hundreds of these missiles on a daily basis, as Israelis closer to the Gaza border are. If these protesters have any capacity for self-reflection, maybe they can take a lesson from that.
President Obama has taken a good deal of flack over the past few years over his cozy relationships with some undesirable heads of state. There’s the famous picture of him smiling and shaking hands with Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, bowing to the the Saudi King, whispering on a hot mic to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev about needing more “flexibility” on missile defense until his election. Unfortunately for Americans and our foreign policy, the mistakes don’t end there. In his first trip abroad since his reelection, the president is, unfortunately, continuing that tradition.
During Obama’s trip through Asia, the president touched down in Phnom Penh, Cambodia for a one-day visit in order to attend an ASEAN summit. While he was there, the president entered closed-door meetings with the Cambodian prime minister, Hun Sen. The meeting was reportedly quite tense, and the president chided Hun Sen for his abysmal record on human rights and press freedom. The meeting was private, but given the Cambodian government’s bluster before the meeting, it’s doubtful the story from the Obama White House will jive with the anything from Cambodian sources.
While Western-owned and operated publications in Cambodia are reporting on the president’s tough talk in English, it’s unlikely that the average Cambodian will ever know the American side of what took place between their prime minister and the American president. The only reports of the meeting that Cambodians are likely to be exposed to are the images of the rest of the visit, where Obama is seen shaking hands with Hun Sen while wearing Western attire or bowing in greeting to the prime minister’s wife while he looks on jovially. In Hun Sen’s (almost certain to be rigged) run for reelection next year, these images will certainly be put on billboards throughout the largely agrarian nation where poverty is prevalent and press freedom is becoming practically non-existent.
Obama’s efforts to pressure Hun Sen came with the promise of a closer relationship in an effort to draw the nation away from its large and powerful benefactor, China. Thus far it’s clear those efforts have failed and will continue to fail, with Cambodia siding with China in a dispute over access to the South China Sea, an increasingly problematic issue in the region. While Cambodia has never before held much power on the world stage (with the exception of the Vietnam War), thanks to its role in ASEAN that is quickly changing, as the New York Times reported today:
It was the second time in four months that China appears to have influenced Cambodia, a beneficiary of Chinese development and military aid, to put forward its case. In July, the association failed to issue a communiqué at the end of its conference of foreign ministers after Cambodia refused to allow any mention of the South China Sea.
The only thing that President Obama seems to have accomplished in Cambodia vis-a-vis his meeting with Hun Sen is giving the authoritarian leader an even stronger stranglehold on an office that he’s held longer than any other leader on the entire continent of Asia.
After the fall of another long-ruling tyrant, Moammar Gaddafi of Libya, Hun Sen was asked if he was nervous about being overthrown himself. He responded, “I not only weaken the opposition, I’m going to make them dead … and if anyone is strong enough to try to hold a demonstration, I will beat all those dogs and put them in a cage.” This is the kind of ruler Hun Sen is, and this is who President Obama just lent even more legitimacy to.
As Jonathan wrote earlier, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s reputation among Republicans in his home state has begun to diverge from his reputation among Republicans elsewhere. Nationally, Republicans are bitter about Christie’s embrace of President Obama in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, which also happened to be in the last week of the presidential election campaign. But there is another popular New Jersey politician who is also perceived differently at home than on a national level: Newark Mayor Cory Booker.
Whether it’s pursuing unpopular policies by having the courts, rather than voters, on his side, or grumblings that Booker’s hyperactive Twitter feed is a strategy to cover for the fact that he spends as much as one in every five days out of his state, Booker’s rock-star status among national media occasionally obscures his less sainted image in Newark. Like Christie, that has a lot to do with the difficulty of impressing a national constituency and a local one at the same time. Unlike Christie, however, in Booker’s case it reveals a politician who sometimes seems more interested in national stardom than local governance.
Booker’s Twitter feed isn’t the only reason for his national fame. He’s a good-humored, well spoken politician willing to tackle persistent, endemic problems and break from the city’s corrupt past. His mastery of social media has also been evidence of a City Hall with a new dedication to responsiveness and good governance.
But it also often descends into gimmickry and hectoring, as it did yesterday. As New York magazine reports:
Cory Booker’s interactions with the denizens of Twitter started out pretty typically on Sunday. First, he told a man whose transgender friends are nervous about moving to Newark that he’d be happy to give them a call, and by the evening he was offering to help a student staying up all night to write a report about him. However, things grew more contentious when he tweeted a bit of ancient Greek wisdom, courtesy of Plutarch: “An imbalance between rich and poor is the oldest and most fatal ailment of all republics.” Booker was accused of plotting to redistribute wealth and told “nutrition is not a responsibility of the government.” Since simply debating the merits of providing food assistance to impoverished Americans doesn’t fit into Booker’s ridiculously hands-on approach to governing, by the end of the night he’d challenged the Twitter user to a contest in which they’d both try to live off of food stamps for a week.
A challenge to live off of food stamps for a week seems like a great way to gain attention for a cause–until you realize that there’s nothing Booker is really advocating here except more government involvement, this time because the mayor doesn’t believe kids are eating a wholesome breakfast before school. Is he trying to show that you can’t live comfortably on food stamps? I would think that’s a no-brainer; is the purpose of food stamps to give recipients a middle-class living standard?
Is it Booker’s contention that more wealth redistribution is necessary for parents to feed their children healthier food? How does Booker know what parents spend their money on now, and how does he know how they’ll reallocate it if they get a bit more of it?
An energetic, responsive government is supposed to be the attractive alternative to Michael Bloomberg’s nanny state governance next door. At this point, both big-city mayors are advocating for liberal policies and aggressive and invasive paternalism, but the difference is that Bloomberg isn’t hounding his citizens on Twitter, shaming them for daring to dispute the wisdom of a meddlesome government with designs on more of the private sector’s cash.
Last month I wrote about the letter signed by the leaders of a number of the most prominent Protestant denominations in the country asking Congress to cut off military aid to the state of Israel. The letter, which repeated various canards about Israel committing war crimes against the Palestinians, represented a new low point in the campaign of liberal Christian clerics to isolate and to strip Israel of its ability to defend its citizens against attacks by Palestinian terror groups. This initiative is the culmination of years of agitation by left-wing critics of Israel to use these churches as a platform from which they can undermine the U.S.-Israel alliance and demonize the Jewish state. It made a mockery of decades of work by Jewish groups to form interfaith alliances with liberal groups. Indeed, it should be the effective death knell of cooperation on any issue or project between mainstream Jewish groups and the churches that signed on to this demand.
The letter earned the churches a rebuke from the Anti-Defamation League as well as the Jewish Council on Public Affairs. But the controversy doesn’t end there. Reverend Peter Makari, an official of the United Church of Christ and the Disciples of Christ and the leader of the church group that organized the letter, was not satisfied with merely appealing to Congress. He has now taken his campaign to the public. But in doing so, he has betrayed the sinister motive that is underneath the seemingly high-minded rhetoric that the churches employ. As the blog of the media watchdog CAMERA reports, Makari gave an interview to the American Free Press, a virulently anti-Semitic publication that has engaged in Holocaust denial. Though Israel’s critics insist that it is wrong to associate anti-Zionists with anti-Semitism, Makari illustrated that in this case, it is a distinction without a difference.
The Simon Wiesenthal Center describes AFP in this manner:
American Free Press (AFP) is regarded as the successor to the now defunct Liberty Lobby’s Spotlight. Willis Carto, one of America’s most notorious racists, is a founder of both. Carto is also the founder of the Holocaust-denying Institute For Historical Review. Some of the books that have been offered for sale by the AFP include The Judas Goats: The Enemy Within (details governmental infiltration of the American nationalist movement at the behest of “the alien force of international political Zionism”), The Conspiracy of the Six-Pointed Star, El Sicario: The Autobiography of a Mexican Assassin, and March of the Titans: A History of the White Race. The AFP site includes this quote in one of their essays: “Israel…is contributing to the unification and activation of the colored world for war against the colonial and other outsiders.”
The interview, which can be listened to here, can only be described as friendly and one in which the AFP and the church official are reading from the same hymnal. In it Makari, following the lead of his interviewer, seeks not only to demonize Israel but to delegitimize the efforts of AIPAC and other pro-Israel groups as well as Jewish organizations that called them to account for their slanders of Israel.
The point here goes beyond the misleading arguments put forward by the letter. The intent there was to demonize Israeli self-defense and to set up a mechanism by which the Jewish state can be deprived of the means by which it defends itself. These are dangerous arguments, especially in the current context of the Hamas missile offensive in which millions of Israelis are being terrorized and threatened.
But by seeking to make common cause with a stronghold of Jew-hatred, Makari is outing himself, the church that employs him, and all the groups that signed on to his effort.
This is a point at which the leadership of these churches ought to rethink their willingness to be co-opted by anti-Israel activists. They now find themselves in bed with anti-Semitic conspiracy mongers.
As I wrote last month, the decision of these churches–the National Council of Churches, Presbyterian Church USA, Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, United Methodist Church, American Baptist Churches, U.S.A., the American Friends Service Committee, and other groups, including the Catholic Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns–to attack Israel does not reflect the views of most of the rank and file members of these denominations or of most of the pastors of these congregations.
However, by allowing their good names to be associated with efforts to isolate and boycott Israel and now to join forces with vicious anti-Semites, these churches and their members have been compromised to the point where no Jewish group or, indeed, any decent person, should have anything to do with them.
Repairing this terrible problem will require a thorough change on the part of all of these churches and a determination not to allow their institutions to be part of an anti-Israel campaign. But the first step toward such a change must come with the firing of Makari by the United Church of Christ. Until that happens, the church must understand that it will be thought of as a partner of anti-Zionists and anti-Semites.
IDF Chief Benny Gantz Preps Soldiers:
“When you go in take a look backwards once to remember why you are doing it, look at Sderot, Ofakim and the communities you do not see–and from that moment stop looking backward and look only forward,”
IDF Blog: Pillar of Defense: Sixth Day Recap
The man who keeps Tel Aviv safe from rockets
Commander of newest Iron Dome battery ensuring Fajr-5 rockets don't hit city.
"Maj. Itamar Abu is keeping the millions of residents of the greater Tel Aviv metropolitan area safe from death and destruction.
Lebanese Army Disarms Two Rockets Aimed at Israel
Two Katyusha rockets aimed at Israel from southern Lebanon were discovered and disarmed by the Lebanese army, a security official told the Lebanese newspaper The Daily Star.
Dealing with Hamas’s human shield tactics
Pilots often ordered to call off air strikes at last moment.
"The IAF is dealing with an enemy keen on using the densely populated Gaza Strip as a rocket base, often shooting the projectiles from the tops of residential buildings, or near schools, mosques, and other public places."
Hamas' Tactic: Require Israel to Cause Civilian Casualties by Alan M. Dershowitz
"Hamas's tactic is as simple as it is criminal and brutal. Its leaders know that by repeatedly firing rockets at Israeli civilian areas, they will give Israel no choice but to respond. Israel's response will target the rockets and those sending them. In order to maximize their own civilian casualties, and thereby earn the sympathy of the international community and media, Hamas leaders deliberately fire their rockets from densely populated civilian areas. The Hamas fighters hide in underground bunkers but Hamas refuses to provide any shelter for its own civilians, whom they use as "human shields." This unlawful tactic puts Israel to a tragic choice: simply allow Hamas rockets to continue to target Israeli cities and towns; or respond to the rockets, with inevitable civilian casualties among the Palestinian "human shields."
Gaza proves Golda right
“Peace will come to the Middle East when the Arabs love their children more than they hate us,” then Foreign Minister Golda Meir said in 1957, during an address to the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.
UN WATCH: Israel sent 19 letters to U.N. on Hamas rockets in 2012, before responding militarily
Assad tells U.N. he cares about suffering of people in Golan, while killing thousands of Syrian civilians
Bigotry on the Beeb by Douglas Murray
"Well, one reason is that so many British politicians, including Britain’s favourite idiot granny Shirley Williams, tell them lies about Israel which the BBC allows to go out uncorrected. Here is Shirley Williams in reply to the bigoted question with which (unlike the excellent two conservative voices on the panel) she had absolutely no problem.
Shirley Williams told the audience that Gaza is ‘a slum’ and then went on to say the following:
‘It’s crowded out to the gills. It’s full of people struggling to find a box in which to live. It’s full of people who see their land slowly eaten up by more and more Israeli settlements.’
The ABC (Australia) is at war with Israel, too
The World Today also had Diana Buttu, calling for more rocket attacks on Israel:
“The reason that people are now firing back is because of the fact of the assassination and I think if anything, rather than people saying to Hamas that it’s time to stop, it’s actually quite the opposite.”Israel’s killing last week of a Hamas military commander was a response to the rocket attacks, not the trigger for them. This was not put to Buttu. Nor was she queried at all about her demand that rather than call on Hamas to stop firing rockets, “the opposite” should occur.
AP Reporter Slams State Department For Silence On Israel
"Lee concluded, "But you won't stick up for your ally Israel when the Turks, another one of your allies, say that they're engaged in terrorism in Gaza..." The exchange goes on for nearly three minutes, while Nuland is left defenseless against the charges of silence from the press pool."
State Dept Refuses to Say If Israeli Ground Assault Counts as Self-Defense
"In a little-noticed exchange from the State Department on Friday, State Department Spokesperson Victoria Nuland openly refused to say whether an Israeli ground assault on Hamas forces in the Gaza Strip would fall under the Israeli right to self-defense."
EU: Israel has right to defense, but should stop operations
"The Council of the European Union on Monday released a statement in which it both reaffirmed Israel's right to defend itself and demanded an end to all hostilities between Israel and Gaza."
Majority of Americans support Israel’s operation in Gaza
Republicans and males are most likely to believe it’s justified, CNN poll finds
Israel Museums Hide Art to Protect It From Rockets
The Onion Goes Anti-Semitic
So now The Onion, celebrated for their zany approach to the news, has fallen under the spell of the radical left and has become one more mouthpiece for anti-Semitic propaganda. In their latest attempt at humor, The Onion posted this piece of Palestinian propaganda:
“8-Year-Old Palestinian Boy Pleasantly Surprised He Hasn't Been Killed Yet”
CIF Watch: ‘Comment is Free’ publishes an essay by a Hamas leader…again.
"In fact, later that same day, Nov. 18, a ’Comment is Free’ essay by the deputy head of Hamas’s political bureau, Musa Abumarzuq, was published – one out of several members of the Islamist terror group who has been published by the paper which aspires to be the ‘world’s leading liberal voice’."
Huffington Post Promotes Anti-Semitic Cartoonist, Carlos Latuff
"The Huffington Post, allegedly a mainstream, balanced news media outlet, has covered and promoted the work of anti-Semitic cartoonist Carlos
Latuff. The Huffington Post, its editors, and its owner, Arianna Huffington, have created a safe, welcoming space for all manner of Jew haters to spread their rhetoric and ideas."
Has the US Administration Decided to Get Rid of Jordan's King Abdullah? by Khaled Abu Toameh
"Unless the US clarifies its position regarding King Abdullah and reiterates its full backing for his regime, the Muslim fundamentalists are likely to step up there efforts to create anarchy and lawlessness in the kingdom. Washington needs to reassure King Abdullah and his followers that it will not allow the creation of an Islamic terror republic in Jordan."
Antwerp protesters: 'Hamas, Hamas, Jews to the gas'
Anti-Semitism is alive and well in Antwerp (Belgium), where protesters outside a concert hall on Sunday night shouted 'Hamas, Hamas, Jews to the gas.'
Muslim Savages, Leftards, Jewish Traitors, and Hungarian Fascist Rally for Hamas in Toronto
Daphneanson: "Blood On Your Hands!": Protesting Batsheva & Gaza in Old London Town
"Here are scenes from outside Sadler's Wells last evening, when a seething raucous mob of usual suspects screamed intimidatory invective at people arriving to watch the Batsheva Dance Company. "Shame on you!" yells the mob. "Blood on your hands!"
IAEA: Iran Increases Underground Nuclear Enrichment Capacity
According to the IAEA’s quarterly report issued on Nov. 16, Iran’s work on the deep underground nuclear site, Fordo, near the holy city of Qom, is nearly complete. It now has the full capacity of 2,784 centrifuges, an increase of 644 since the last IAEA report in August.
Smartphones and websites help keep Israelis safe in wartime
Want to know if your area is being targeted by Hamas rockets, and where to go, if so? There are apps for that
"As citizens of one of the most connected countries in the world, Israelis have been relying on their smartphones since the beginning of Operation Pillar of Defense, with new apps and sites popping up to help keep them safe and informed."
Sweet diesel! Discovery resurrects process to convert sugar directly to diesel
"A long-abandoned fermentation process once used to turn starch into explosives can be used to produce renewable diesel fuel to replace the fossil fuels now used in transportation, UC Berkeley scientists have discovered.
Campus chemists and chemical engineers teamed up to produce diesel fuel from the products of a bacterial fermentation discovered nearly 100 years ago by the first president of Israel, chemist Chaim Weizmann. The retooled process produces a mix of products that contain more energy per gallon than ethanol that is used today in transportation fuels and could be commercialized within 5-10 years." His mother's from Surbiton but he was blown up near the border with Gaza
Family of British-Israeli soldier relive the attack that helped trigger the current crisis
B'Tselem: 41 of 105 dead are civilians
I guess the IDF figures have been the most accurate. What a surprise.
BDSFail: UC Irvine rejects divestment from Israel
Yaacov Lozowick has been getting back into blogging during the fighting, and he is always worth reading.
Martin Kramer shows yet again that Juan Cole is an idiot
Small arms, big problems (Foreign Policy)
Neat find by Challah Hu Akbar from 2009
If you are into stupic, non-scientific polls, feel free to go here and vote.
Kids from Israel play a reality-based game in a playground:
The Al Qassam Martyrs Brigades Twitter account is often very funny. Here is their tribute poster to Ahmad Jaabari:
Finally, a story from The Propagandist:
My friend Joe Z., a long-time Jerusalem resident, had just taken his little boy out to play in the park when the air-raid sirens began. They took cover and waited for the explosion before going to back to play. (Yes, it sounds, and is, surreal – from bombs to play in less than 10 minutes. Believe me – it isn’t easy, but we do it. Life goes on).
“I couldn’t understand why I kept hearing more ‘rockets’ until I looked over towards the Old City and East Jerusalem," Joe said. "The fireworks display was amazing – and horrifying. The Palestinians were out in force on the rooftops celebrating the possibility that Jews might have been killed, that a bomb might fall on the Holy City. We heard the music, the laughter, the shouts of joy. I was aghast at their unrestrained ecstasy at the tragedy that might have been – that they hoped might still be. My little boy played happily on the swings, enjoying the free firework show; innocent, sweet and precious. My blood ran cold.”
"Solid evidence now reveals how Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza have been deliberately placing their civilian population in mortal danger, choreographing a number of seemingly gory scenes"
This is the first time I’ve seen the Zuck do anything remotely Jewish or pro-Israel. But better late than never.
Hamas and Muslim Brotherhood ideology has two dominant features: Islamic imperialism and extreme Jew-hatred
Harmless fun from those crazy Gazan kids.
After equipping Gaza jihadists, Iran says they need to be equipped -- and that Israel should be tried for war crimes
The U.S. blocked a one-sided UN Security Council statement today that called for an Israeli cease-fire but ignored rocket attacks from Hamas. In response, Russia will reportedly propose a similar resolution to the entire council body — which needs nine votes to pass, but can be vetoed by the U.S. — later today:
Russia said on Monday that if the 15-member council could not agree on a statement then it would put a resolution – a stronger move by the council than a statement – to a vote later on Tuesday to call for an end to the violence and show support for regional and international efforts to broker peace.
A resolution is passed when it receives nine votes in favor and no vetoes by the five permanent council members – Russia, China, Britain, the United States and France. Some diplomats said a vote on the Russian resolution would likely be tight and could force a veto by the United States.
The Security Council is generally deadlocked on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which U.N. diplomats say is due to U.S. determination to protect its close ally Israel. The council held an emergency meeting last Wednesday to discuss the Israeli strikes on Gaza but took no action.
The U.S. will veto, but if it gets enough votes it will still be a diplomatic blow to Israel. Russia, China, Pakistan, Morocco and Azerbaijan are pretty much givens, and even if they can’t get to nine, the vote would be close. Of course, if the rumored cease-fire takes hold, the resolution threat will disappear. That’s probably yet another reason why the U.S. is hoping for an early agreement today from Israel.
Arab students protesting against Israel at Jerusalem’s Hebrew University today learned that palestinian rockets don’t discriminate (hat tip: Jed).
I guess they won’t be boycotting Israeli bomb shelters any time soon.
In related news, today two rockets landed in an open area near the palestinian controlled city of Bethlehem, south of Jerusalem. And a Bedouin was killed by a Gazan “projectile.”
Israel’s Ambassador in the United States, Michael Oren, told IDF Radio Tuesday that there is no American veto on a possible ground maneuver by the IDF in Gaza.
“Washington’s support in any step Israel takes is full,” he said. “Obama spoke twice with the prime minister and called our situation ‘unbearable.’”
According to a new survey published by Israel’s Dahaf Institute Institute, headed by Dr. Mina Tzemach, 43% of the public believes the best thing for Israel would be to overthrow the Hamas regime.
After witnessing the hundreds of rockets shot down by the Iron Dome, 88% of Israelis believe more Iron Dome systems should be put into place, enough to cover the entire country.
Israel is not seeking a ceasefire with Hamas, but rather, guarantees for southern Israel’s safety, Minister Gilad Erdan (Likud) said Tuesday.
“There is some misunderstanding here,” he told IDF Radio (Galei Tzahal). “Israel is not seeking a ceasefire. We are trying to bring long-term quiet with international guarantees.”
“What will talk of a ceasefire give us?” Erdan asked. “If a missile falls, will they say it was a lone ‘trickle’? What guarantees can the world give residents of southern Israel?”
According to some reports, the United States and Egypt would commit to fighting weapons smuggling to Gaza as part of a ceasefire deal.
“The operation will end with an agreement vis-à-vis Hamas regarding a ‘lull’,” he said, “but reaching such an agreement requires that Hamas be brought to a situation in which it understands that it has no choice.
Weiss said that there is no reason to fear international pressure, and dismissed as “groundless” the concerns that once the IDF enters Gaza it will become bogged down. “There is no reason why the IDF cannot carry out a limited operation in Gaza and leave in time,” he determined.
But the protest was cut short by incoming rockets from the Hamas terrorists they love so much.
They look so brave as they run, don't they?