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Thursday, April 28, 2005

Isn't it romantic?

Many blogs and other sites have shown their disgust at this series of pictures of President Bush getting, um, chummy with the Saudi dictator Crown Prince Abdullah. I gotta agree; here is the government that is at the very least partially responsible for 9/11 and it sure appears that Bush is still bending over backwards to not offend these murderers and bankrollers of terror.

2005_04_25 - bush-abdullah2.jpg

2005_04_25 - bush=abdullah4.jpg

This is especially bad in light of these latest revelations (not surprising revelations, but always shocking) that the Saudi chief justice is encouraging Arabs to kill Americans:

Is Saudi Arabia an ally or enemy of the United States in the war on terror?

The question is raised with the disclosure of secretly recorded comments from the kingdom's chief justice encouraging young Saudis to travel to Iraq to wage war against Americans.


Sheik Saleh Al Luhaidan (NBC News)

"If someone knows that he is capable of entering Iraq in order to join the fight, and if his intention is to raise up the word of God, then he is free to do so," says Sheik Saleh Al Luhaidan in Arabic on the October audiotape from a government mosque, obtained by NBC News.

While Luhaidan warns Iraq is risky because "evil satellites and drone aircraft" watch the borders, he stresses making the trip to fight Americans is religiously permissible.

"The lawfulness of his action is in fighting an enemy who is fighting Muslims and came for war," says Luhaidan.

"This statement shows the real face of the Saudi government," Saudi dissident Ali Al-Ahmed of the Washington-based Saudi Institute told NBC, noting Saudi officials, including Luhaidan, publicly oppose holy war in Iraq, but send a different message in private.

"He is telling Saudis it's OK to go to Iraq and kill Americans and Iraqis and they won't be punished for doing that," says Al-Ahmed.

When a Saudi spokesman denied the authenticity of the tape, the network contacted Luhaidan himself in Saudi Arabia to play the tape.

"Yes, this is my voice," the sheik confirmed in Arabic.

But Luhaidan said he meant to convey the message that it's "not worth it for young Saudis to go to Iraq and that the Iraqis are capable of fighting on their own," according to NBC.

The revelations on the tape come the same week Saudi Arabia's crown prince met with President Bush in Texas to discuss oil-related and economic issues, and extremism was also said to be discussed.

Last month, responding to a report revealing Saudi exportation of religious extremism to the U.S., 15 senators sent a letter to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice demanding the Bush administration take stronger action against Riyadh.

New York Democrat Charles Schumer was among the signers of the letter, which called for the U.S. to define its relationship with Saudi Arabia more clearly.

Schumer stated: "It is a massive contradiction that a country we call an ally could be both so regressive in their own country and so brazen in its propagation of anti-American, anti-women, anti-Semitic books, publications, and practices. American security is undermined as the Saudi government exports these hateful commodities to millions beyond its borders, planting the seeds for new generations of terrorists and totalitarian Wahhabi leaders."


It is a very sad state of affairs when the Democrats make more sense about an aspect of foreign policy than the Bush administration. And in regards to energy policy (which is, in reality, a defense policy), the US has dropped the ball big-time. It is hard to escape the thought that Bush has a sweet spot for Arab oil oligarchs, and this is blinding him from the conclusion that the US needs a Manhattan project for alternate energy sources, that could eliminate any need for Arab oil within ten years - not only energy independence for the US but for Europe and other Western nations as well.

UPDATE: Friends of Micronesia adds some good links and observations.

UPDATE2: Apparently, His Royal Highness' entourage includes a wanted terrorist.

CRAWFORD, United States (AFP) - A member of Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz's delegation was denied entry into the United States after authorities found he was on a government "watch" list, a US official said.

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The US Department of Homeland Security, in a routine check of the delegation passenger manifest, found that one traveller was on a government list meant to screen out possible terrorists, the official said on condition of anonymity.

"This information was shared with our interagency partners, including the State Department," the official said. "My understanding is that the State Department denied that person a visa and so they did not enter the country."

The official could not confirm whether the person was a reporter or a Saudi official or even what nationality the person was, but another US official, who also spoke on condition of anonymity, said he was a Saudi.

The second official also said the individual's name had appeared on a US government "watch" list.


Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Worth a thousand words

Courtesy of Israpundit, here is a picture that says it all.

But in case you don't get it, the caption adds volumes more about the sad reality that exists today, of the wishful thinking replacing any sort of rational thought, of a desire for "peace" that allows its supporters to completely overlook the blatantly obvious lies being spouted daily by the heir of Arafat's doubletalking legacy.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, also known as Abu Mazen, sits under a picture of late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, as he talks to the media during a news conference at his office in Gaza City, Monday April, 25, 2005. Abbas said Monday he expects the militant group Hamas to hand in its weapons after joining the Palestinian parliament this summer, but gave no indication he would forcefully disarm the militant group. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)

Abbas appoints terrorist as new security chief

Once again, Abbas chooses a path towards war and terror.


Good selection of articles from the invaluable Daily Alert.

Abbas Appoints New Security Agency Chief - Ibrahim Barzak (AP/Washington Post)
Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday named Rashid Abu Shbak as the new head of the Preventive Security Service, in charge of reining in militants.

Who is Rashid Abu Shbak?
In November 2000, a bomb targeted a school bus just outside the Jewish settlement of Kfar Darom in the Gaza Strip, killing two adults and maiming three children for life. Israeli security sources accused Rashid Abu Shbak of preparing the bomb. (Jerusalem Report)

Among the Fatah leaders in Gaza, Rashid Abu Shbak is playfully dubbed the "father of mortars," as he had patronized mortar manufacturing in the resistance. (Frontline-India)

Rashid Abu Shbak is wanted by Israel for his personal involvement in terrorist attacks that have led to the murder of Israelis. (Jerusalem Post)

After the handover of Gaza and Jericho to the PA, Rashid Abu Shbak referred to pre-1967 Israel when he told Yediot Ahronot on May 29, 1994: "The light which has shone over Gaza and Jericho will also reach the Negev and the Galilee." (Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

Abbas Appoints "Collaborator Hunter"
Abu Shbak is responsible for a ruthless campaign against at least 100 suspected "collaborators" in the Gaza Strip, and among many Palestinians is known as the "collaborator hunter."
Head of the Preventive Security Service (PSS) in the Gaza Strip for the past three years, he would now also be in charge of the PSS in the West Bank.
Earlier this year, Israel agreed to remove Abu Shbak from its list of wanted terrorists as a goodwill gesture toward Abbas.
(Jerusalem Post)

Monday, April 25, 2005

The Objective New York Times

The New York Times vehemently defended how well it covers Israel and "Palestine" (which, last I checked, is not a real country but the objective NYT says it is, so it must be - they are way too careful to say something accurate like "Palestinian territories".)

After much gnashing of teeth about how the Times gets attacked from both sides (implying that it must be doing something right) the editor concludes that, hey, it does the best it can.

Now, today, we see this:


WEST BANK SOLDIERS SHOOT PALESTINIAN DRIVER A Palestinian motorist ran over and killed an Israeli at a checkpoint near the West Bank town of Hebron, the Israeli media reported. Israeli soldiers then shot the Palestinian driver. There were conflicting reports whether the driver was killed or wounded. It was not immediately clear whether the driver intentionally hit the Israeli. The Israeli military said it was investigating but had no immediate comment. Greg Myre (NYT)


The same story in the left wing Ha-aretz (the Times' ideological cousin in the Mideast) adds:
The reservists at the roadblock reported that the taxi was seen approaching, and a soldier stepped out to flag down the driver, who was alone, for inspection. At first the driver slowed, but suddenly put on speed and drove straight at the soldier, running him over and critically injuring him. The other soldiers then opened fire at the driver, who died instantly. An ambulance crew called to the site was unable to save the injured soldier.


So, as of the time that the Times ran its story, it may not have known all the facts, besides two: an Israeli soldier was killed and a Palestinian was shot. But guess which fact it decided to put in the headline?

No, the esteemed NYT can't be bothered to put in a sentence or two of context, because, as the editor protests, it is not a history book. The minor fact that Israeli soldiers do not randomly shoot Palestinian taxi drivers, for example, is more of historic interest and not immediately relevant to this story. No, to the Times, the important fact is that a Palestinian was shot, and anything else is just noise.

Three cheers for "objectivity!"

Friday, April 22, 2005

What bothers me about the Jewish Blogosphere (A Pesach post)

Although I am barely a part of the J-Blogosphere community and I keep this blog mostly for issues dealing with Israel and anti-semitism, I've been bothered by what I've been seeing posted on other Jewish blogs.

There is very little ahavas Yisroel in the Jewish blog world. (Sorry, "ahavat Yisrael" for those who flame about Ashkenazic pronunciation.)

The prominent blogs are very top heavy with denunciations of the political right or left, of Haredim, of prominent rabbis, of non-religious, of the current Israeli government, of the religious Zionists, of the religious establishment and organizations, of those whose ideas of Judaism differ from their own. Few of the J-blogs show any respect whatsoever for those they disagree with in the Jewish world.

Now, cynicism and insults usually make a blog more entertaining but I am afraid that the net result is more negative than positive. I am very appreciative that through reading these blogs I become more aware of problems in other parts of the Jewish world, whether they are cultural or organizational. Being willfully blind is not desirable. But the problems that exist should be presented as problems that need to be solved, not as issues that give us reasons to insult or denounce our co-religionists. Full disclosure does not give carte blanche to being condescending.

We may disagree as to what is the best way to act in religious/cultural/organizational/interpersonal/political issues, but we need to recognize that the other side is almost always acting in good faith as to what they think is the best way to act.

And achdus/achdut is what we need more than ever, for Pesach and beyond.

Have a great Yom Tov, everyone.

Arab judge who criticized PA is suspended

Yet more evidence that Abbas is a well-groomed Arafat:

The Palestinian Authority has decided to suspend a senior Muslim religious judge (kadi) who criticized the PA judicial system and complained about anarchy and lawlessness.

The decision, the first of its kind since the death of Yasser Arafat, contravenes promises made by his successor, Mahmoud Abbas, to democratize Palestinian society and encourage freedom of expression.

The kadi, Dr. Hassan Jouju, was suspended following an interview he gave to the Jerusalem-based biweekly Sawt al-Nissa (Voice of Women) on April 14. 'The Shari'a (Muslim religious law) judiciary suffers due to the lack of legislation that regulates work, so chaos has spread,' he said in the interview. 'We work by God's will.' The kadi's remarks reflected widespread criticism of the PA's secular and religious judiciary systems, which have long been held responsible for the absence of law and order.

A moderate Palestinian voice gets denounced

This happened in February:

WASHINGTON — America's largest Jewish policymaking body will host an unlikely guest at its annual gathering this weekend in Washington: the head of America's most prominent pro-Palestinian advocacy group.

Ziad Asali, founder and president of the American Task Force on Palestine, will participate in a special discussion on March 1 at the annual policy plenum of the Jewish Council of Public Affairs, a policy coordinating body that brings together 13 national organizations and 123 local Jewish communities. It will be the first time in more than a decade that the JCPA gathering has included such a discussion on whether American Jews and Arabs can work together for Middle East peace.

Since he established the Task Force, more than two years ago, the 63-year-old retired physician has been calling for Arabs — both in the Middle East and in America — to reach out to American Jews and work together for peace. The American Jewish community's support of a two-state solution is "essential" for any viable peace accord between Israelis and Palestinians, he said in a recent interview with the Forward.

"If we do not reassure [American] Jews that what we are striving for is a Palestinian state that will live in peace, security and respect alongside an Israeli Jewish state, then we simply cannot proceed" toward realizing that goal, he said. That process, Asali said, should be based on building both personal and organizational rapport between the two communities, and on charting the political common ground.

Asali's moderate voice and solid contacts with the Bush administration and Congress have turned this mild-mannered Jerusalem-born physician into the most visible spokesman for the Palestinians in Washington in recent months. Together with Washington lawyer and Republican activist George Salem, who is on the board of the relatively new pro-Palestinian organization, Asali was chosen by the White House to represent America on the official three-person U.S. delegation to Yasser Arafat's funeral. He and Salem, along with two senators, Republican John Sununu of New Hampshire and Democrat Joe Biden of Delaware, were part of the official American delegation sent to the region last month to monitor the Palestinian Authority presidential elections. And earlier this month, he was invited to testify before a congressional committee on the prospects for Israeli-Palestinian peace, joining former secretary of state Henry Kissinger and former U.S. Mideast envoy Dennis Ross.

At the hearing, he voiced some unorthodox views: One was that Palestinians "absolutely should fulfill all their obligations," as stipulated in the road map peace plan "without delay." Another was that the question of Israeli security is "not negotiable."

It was another statement, however, that got the Palestinian activist invited to speak at the JCPA's annual plenum.

At a press briefing following his trip to monitor the Palestinian elections, Asali said that Palestinians should come to terms with the fact that they would not be able to realize their "right of return" to their old homes in Israel.

Asali, who was six when his family fled Jerusalem in the spring of 1948, says he knows full well how unpopular this position is among Palestinians. His mother, he says, died with the key to their Jerusalem home under her pillow. "But we must now separate the right from the return," he said. The moral right of refugees to recover their properties, he said, should be addressed by a combination of compensation and an Israeli acknowledgement of the wrong that was done to hundreds of thousands of displaced Palestinians. "But in terms of an actual return, well, there is really nothing to return to. It's Israel now."

Asali believes that speaking his mind enhances his credibility. "I am fed-up with making points or scoring points in political debates," he said. "I understand the young [pro-Palestinian] students who scream on university campuses. I know what they are talking about. And I also know that they don't know what they are talking about." Palestinians and their friends in America, he said, should quit focusing on grievances of the past and instead do their best "to avoid the disasters of the future."

And this statement was made this week in response:

The Global Palestine Right of Return Coalition (and its constituent organizations in historic Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Europe and North America, including Al-Awda), and in conjunction with the Right of Return Congress and the listed signatory popular organizations and committees representing various Palestinian refugee communities, join the Arab-American community in declaring that various statements and false representations by the president of the Washington-based "American Task Force on Palestine" (ATFP) Dr. Ziad Asali nullifying the Palestinian right to return and demeaning the Palestinian and Arab people are reprehensible and entirely outside the consensus of our people.
The Right of Return is an inalienable right affirmed by the international community annually since 1948. No single person, group or government have the authority or mandate to forfeit this individual and national right.
In reality, voices such as Asali's are part of a larger concerted effort to introduce a false veneer of moderation as a replacement for the legitimate inalienable rights of the Palestinian and Arab people, represented by their right to return, sovereignty and self-determination. Through organizations like ATFP, Asali has gone even beyond the Geneva Accords, the Nusseibeh-Ayalon Agreement and other such attempts that violate fundamental, inalienable and natural rights that are enshrined in international law. From under the garb of hollow US democratization, Asali has in effect been diligently advancing the neo-Conservative plan for the "New Middle East", where nations and people are reconstituted against their will.

One can imagine peace, and even a two-state solution, when dealing with people like Asali. But the evidence that he truly represents anyone is lacking, and the reliance of the Bush administration on Asali and his group may be yet another manifestation of wishful thinking that pervades Washington and Jerusalem nowadays. The reflexive and utter denunciations of any Arab leader who softens his positions towards Israel even a slight amount speaks volumes more than the existence of such people to begin with.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

American Indians Aren’t Like Palestinians

An interesting take on those who love to use the colonialism argument against Israel.
By David Yeagley
FrontPageMagazine.com | April 9, 2002

MANY PEOPLE SEE A SIMILARITY BETWEEN American Indians and today’s Palestinians. I’m Comanche Indian. I see no similarity whatsoever.

Comanches were once "Lords of the South Plains," (Wallace & Hoebel, 1952). Arabs living in Palestine have never dominated anything but goats. Comanches were independent, and certainly not supported by two billion other Indian ‘brothers,’ like the Palestinian Arabs claim they’re supported by the Arab world.

There’s no similarity in the land claim issue. Comanches, never numbering more than six or seven thousand, were simply strong enough to take over the American southwestern plains, first from other Indians, then from white people. Palestinians have accomplished nothing but suicide bombings.

Palestinian Arabs are not indigenous to Palestine. They are leftover Arabs, residual of another age. Knowing Arab history is vital to understanding the situation in the Middle East. (Joan Peters’ From Time Immemorial (1984) is a ‘must read’ on this subject.)

Arabs are from Arabia. Beginning in AD 622, under Mohammad, Arab "prophet" of Medina, the Islamic religion became a war machine and aggressively expanded from the Arabian Peninsula to all directions until AD 750 when it controlled North Africa westward to Spain and southern France, northward to Palestine and Armenia, and eastward 400 miles past the Indus River.

It was spectacular achievement, one which clearly proved Islam to be not a religion of peace, but of dominance. Arabs intermarried, enslaved, and otherwise lorded over every culture they encountered. Arabs established the African and Asian slave routes, which are still used today for slave trade out of India and Nepal, as well as Africa and the Far East.

European Christians finally fended off Islamic dominance to the east and west. By the 15th century, Muslims were ousted from Spain and from most of the Balkans by the 17th century. Mongolians broke Islamic dominance in the Orient. The last phase of Islamic political dominance, the Ottoman Empire (Turkey), ended in 1840 when Constantinople submitted to terms of Western powers in its dispute with Egypt. Turkey’s government declared itself secular by 1922.

During all this time Palestine was little more than a wilderness of nomads, loosely associated groups of provincial subdivisions with frequently changing administrations. The people were a "pan-Arab" mix of gypsy-like leftovers, whom the General Syrian Congress of 1919 declared to be "the southern part of Syria." It wasn’t considered "Palestine," a separate Arab nationality, until the 1967 Six-Day War of Israel’s boundary expansions.

A ‘Palestinian Arab nationality’ was something Musa Alami began asserting after 1948, as a political reaction against Israel. As R. Sayigh wrote, "A strongly defined Palestinian identity did not emerge until 1968, two decades after the expulsion [of some Arabs living in parts of Palestine]," (Journal of Palestine Studies, 1977). In twenty years, Alami’s myth took effect.

But the land-by-residence claim gives Palestinian Arabs even less right. In 1950, United Nations Relief and Work Agency (UNRWA) defined a Palestinian Arab as one who had lived in Palestine a minimum of two years before 1948. This is no ancient claim.

The ancient, indigenous inhabitants of Palestine are long perished from the earth. Canaanites, Phoencians, and then Philistines, all were dominated by the Israelites before 1060 BC. Most of these cultural identities dissolved completely by the neo-Babylonian age, or, the 6th century BC.

Arabs weren’t even in Palestine until the mid-7th century AD, over a thousand years later, after Palestine’s 1,300-year Jewish history. Arabs later living in Palestine never developed themselves or the land, but remained nomadic and quasi-primitive during their 1,200-year stay.

Then a stronger people modern Jews who’d been expelled from their homes in Europe and in Arab countries came in and conquered (without annihilating) the Palestinian Arabs.

As a Comanche Indian, I’m sensitive to this history. I believe the conqueror has a right to what he has conquered. No one owns the land. Only he who is strong enough to possess it will control it and the people living on it. That’s the law of war.

Teddy Roosevelt once said, "Let sentimentalists say what they will, the man who puts the soil to use must of right dispossess the man who does not, or the world will come to a standstill." (W. T. Hagan, Theodore Roosevelt and Six Friends of the Indians, 1997). The land developers, the agrarians, have become stronger than the hunters.

In the case of Comanches, we lost a magnificent hunting empire, and a lot of ego with it. In the case of "Palestinian" Arabs, what is lost? Why their sense of humiliation?

Suha still getting millions!

Hey, the woman needs shoes!
French investigators are tracking $7 million transferred by PLO treasurer Nizar Abu Ghazaleh to the Paris bank account of ex-Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's widow, The Wall Street Journal has reported.

Palestinian officials said the PLO controlled a bank account in Tunisia from which millions of dollars in unexplained payments were made to Suha Arafat - payments they suspect were connected to contracts issued by the Palestinian Authority under Yasser Arafat before he died last year, the report said.

The officials are trying to find out whether the money transferred to Suha Arafat came through Al Bahr and Al Sakhra, two companies which routinely handled purchase orders placed by the PA and which apparently were seeking, according to one official, to 'create a war chest in case the PLO fell back on hard times', it added.

As head of PLO finances, Ghazaleh played a key role in the transfers to Suha Arafat, according to Palestinian officials and French judicial officials probing PLO funds, the report said. Ghazaleh, who died last week, was also chairman of Al Bahr, and Suha Arafat played a key but unofficial role at the firm, helping to broker purchases, according to the daily.

Israel helps rescue Syrian, Egyptian sailors on sinking North Korean boat

Just try to imagine Syrians trying to save Israelis.
Drama at the open sea: Israeli, American and French naval forces assisted Wednesday in the rescue of Egyptian and Syrian sailors whose ship sank in international waters off the coast of Nahariya.

Shortly before 2:00 p.m. (7:00 a.m. EST), the cargo ship Adora, traveling from Ashdod to Turkey, received a dispatch that another ship, which was apparently transporting cement, was in trouble.

The dispatch said the ship, which was carrying at least seven Egyptian and Syrian crew members and flew a North Korean flag, was sinking in international waters as it was making its way from EL Arish Port in Egypt en route to Syria.

Israeli, American, and French battleships and naval helicopters arrived at the scene, some 56 kilometers (about 35 miles) off the Nahariya coastline; the ship eventually sank, but three crew members have been saved so far.



American divers will apparently attempt to trace the four missing sailors on the ocean’s floor.



Lieutenant Colonel Yossi Meshita, who commanded the Israeli rescue efforts, said “As soon as we got the mission we knew what we had to do.'



'We are not interested in who the sailors are or what their nationalities are,' he said. 'From our standpoint it is about saving lives, and that is what we were trying to do for many hours at sea.”"

I'm sure that they are very oppressed

Don't you love when people justify suicide bombings by saying that the Palestinians are "forced" to do it because they are so "desparate"?

I wonder what mental hurdles these idiots have to go through to explain stories like this.

I also wonder if these potential martyrs would change their minds if Israel gave the Palestinians the entire West Bank and Gaza?

Yeah, right.
TEHRAN, Iran Apr 20, 2005 — More than 400 young men and women have volunteered to carry out suicide bombing attacks against Americans in Iraq and targets in Israel, a militant group said Wednesday.

The recruiting effort was detailed during a ceremony organized by the Headquarters for Commemorating Martyrs of the Global Islamic Movement, a shadowy group that has been seeking attackers for nearly a year.

The Iranian government has distanced itself from the organization. But the event was attended by Mahdi Rahimian, the head of the Martyr's Foundation and the Imam Khomeini Relief Committee, both quasi-government organizations run by hard-liners loyal to Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

'Some 440 volunteers, most of them women, signed up today,' said group spokesman Mohammad Ali Samadi.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Teach Kids Peace

Watch this flash video. It takes about 90 seconds.

Abbas lies again about collecting weapons

Once again, Abbas keeps up his reputation as Arafat in a suit.
Israel Radio Arab Affair Correspondent Avi Yissakharov reported this
afternoon that PA head Mahmoud Abbas claimed in a meeting with Israeli
reporters that the PA has collected all the weapons held by 'wanted'
Palestinians in Jericho and Tulkarem and that they will all soon be joining
the PA security forces.

Yissakharov noted that when he checked with Palestinian sources that they
all denied that this was the case and the Palestinians told him that while
the PA has made announcements regarding the collection of weapons that in
fact the weapons have yet to be collected.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Egyptians start to see benefits in business co-operation with Israel

In its latest issue, 'Newsweek' quotes Egyptian Minister of Foreign Trade and Industry Rashid Mohamed Rashid as saying that the qualified industrial zone (QIZ) agreement with Israel is a 'huge thing' that has helped change the mind-set in Egypt toward Israel, after 25 years.

Under the QIZ agreement, products made in Egypt with Egyptian labor and comprising a specified proportion of Israeli inputs are exempt from US quotas and customs duties. Israel and Jordan also have a QIZ agreement, and the US hopes to initiate a similar agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

Rashid told 'Newsweek' that, as with any reform in Egypt, the importance of the QIZ agreement lay in helping change the mind-set in Egypt.

Also, see this from Egyptian businessmen:

An Israeli company, Delta Galil Textile Industries, has been engaged in profitable business in Egypt since 1995. The company began with 145 employees and now employs nearly 4,600 workers in the Nasr City Free Zone. Labor conditions are excellent and certified at EU standards in all areas, including overtime. Touring the factory, we could not help but notice that the workers exhibited a sense of dignity and joy about their work.
Last year, Egypt and Israel signed a landmark economic accord, the Qualified Industrial Zone (QIZ) Agreement, that enables goods containing one-third Israeli inputs to be imported into the U.S. tariff-free. Yet in the current atmosphere, Israeli entrepreneurs face great hurdles in finding suitable Egyptian business partners. For the QIZ to bring sound results for Egypt and Israel, the political echelon must lead by example. As a symbolic gesture, President Mubarak should visit Israel, along with a delegation of leading businessmen, to temper the anxieties of the Egyptian business community and warm the cold peace.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Hamas: Current calm a trick, pre-'67 borders not enough

Another excellent find by MEMRI:

A convention held by the Egyptian newspaper "Al-Ahram," which was attended by writers and experts on Palestinian affairs following the Palestinian Cairo agreement on calming down the situation [ Tahdiah ], also hosted the head of the Hamas political bureau, Khaled Mash'al. Speaking at the convention, Mash'al stated that the Tahdiah was a trick and that the resistance will continue as long as the occupation exists. Mash'al also expressed concern about the PA and Fatah taking over settlement lands after the withdrawal and stated that in the eyes of Hamas, there is no objection to the establishment of a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders as an interim solution. The following are excerpts from Mash'al's speech: [1]

We Agreed to the Tahdiah to Prevent an Internal Palestinian Implosion

"We have made an achievement in the Palestinian arena... We wanted to avoid the internal Palestinian implosion that Sharon wanted. He [Sharon] wished for dissent [among us] so that he [could] pressure Abu Mazen to confront the resistance... [With our consent] we avoided it. Our second goal was to send a message to the international community that the problem does not lie with the Palestinian people or the Palestinian resistance, [but rather] with the occupation... Our third goal was to give a chance and headspace to set the Palestinian house in order... Fourth, we strived to achieve, through the temporary initiative of Tahdiah, a chance to fulfill the Palestinian peoples' direct interests, such as releasing prisoners...

"... Every term has a special meaning, and our choice [of the term] Tahdiah is not incidental. A Hudna [cease fire] is an agreement whose terms are acceptable to both sides, but in the current situation there are no such terms. The Palestinian side is the weak one... we treat this Tahdiah as a Palestinian initiative conditional to the other side fulfilling the terms...

"… Hamas controls its military wing... and despite that fact that it is one of the largest factions of the resistance, it is highly capable of keeping its men disciplined. Tahdiah means Tahdiah [and when you talk of] escalation, there is escalation. There is a commitment and it is honored... In the eyes of Hamas, Tahdiah is a trick within the resistance plans, [but] in the eyes of the [Palestinian] Authority, Tahdiah is a step on the way out of the resistance plan... but we still give it a chance... we can be patient and suffer, but not from the perspective of those who want to be free of the Intifada..."

I Told Abu Mazen: "Beware, Less They Poison You as They Did Arafat"

"... As we draw near the end of the summer and the end of 2005, the following atmosphere will be created: The [diplomatic] settlement will be 'refrozen,' and one cannot deny the possibility that Sharon will blame Abu Mazen for being the obstacle for peace, just as Abu Ammar [Arafat] was considered one. Abu Mazen heard this from me, laughed, and said that 'this is a predictable and unsurprising scenario.' I replied: Beware, less they poison you as they did Arafat...

"... I cannot be satisfied with the 1967 borders alone and see them as a permanent solution... A Palestinian might say: 'Who gave you the right to forego the rights of Palestinians?' So Abu Mazen himself says, in his talks: 'I cannot forego the right of return.' It will be his political suicide, for there are 5-6 million whose problem must be solved. However, Hamas has no objection to accept the 1967 borders as an interim solution.

Those expansionist Israelis

I just saw an incoherent response, written by one Doris Rausch, to this great article.

This is precious little real information in this short rant (no footnotes nor any real facts of any kind) but its main "proof" is in this priceless paragraph:

But if you want the truth, all you have to do is take a look at a current map; you can see for yourself the "facts on the ground" as to who is trying to push whom into the sea.

OK, Doris, let's do as you suggest.

Some mental midgets suggest that the two blue bands in Israel's flag symbolize Israel's expansionist plans - to the Nile and Euphrates rivers. One wonders why the Middle East's only nuclear power, which could have blown up her enemies to smithereens since the 60's and taken control of not only all that territory but also all that oil, hasn't seen fit to act on its obvious territorial greed.

But never mind that. Let's look at the maps, as Doris suggests.

On my map, in the mid-70's, Israel controlled all territory from the Suez Canal to the Jordan River to the Golan Heights. Since then, Israel has:

  • Given every single square centimeter of the Sinai to Egypt, including dragging Jews out of their homes in Yamit (for peace.)
  • Withdrawn from all Lebanese territory behind UN-drawn borders (for peace.)
  • Given autonomy to the PA for territory where 97% of Palestinians live in the West Bank and Gaza during Oslo (for peace.)
  • Offered all of Gaza and almost all of the West Bank to the PA (for peace.)
  • Offered almost the entire Golan Heights to Syria (for peace.)
  • Planned to withdraw unilaterally from Gaza and uproot Jewish settlers there (for peace.)

I certainly detect a pattern in Israeli moves, and none of it has the least bit to do with expansionism.

I am happy to take your advice about reading the map, Doris, but I am afraid that you have limited skills in understanding basic cartography.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Who's your Daddy? Genealogy/genetics testing becomes mainstream

Interesting article about modern uses for genetics testing and genealogy.

Growing up in the Rio Grande Valley, Harlingen architect Danny Villarreal had heard the stories from his grandparents. His ancestors, it was whispered, had come to Mexico from Spain under something of a cloud. Apparently, they were not purebred Castilian Spaniards, but members of a persecuted minority -- namely, Jews who had converted to Catholicism on pain of death at the hands of the Spanish Inquisition.

Villarreal was intrigued. As he grew older, he took up genealogy as a hobby. "It's turned into a pretty big thing," he says. Villarreal discovered a paper trail to back up the stories of his family's elders. In Saltillo, Mexico, he found a 380-year-old document that concerned one ancestor of his -- Diego de Villarreal -- who had gotten a little too full of himself for the local padre's liking. "One of the documents out of Saltillo was the parish priest complaining to the Inquisition about this guy Diego de Villarreal, who had some silver mines and was a captain in the military," Villarreal says. "The complaint was that he would come into town wearing silk clothing and jewelry, and he was allowed to bear arms. People who were 'New Christians' " -- recently converted Jews -- "were not allowed to do those things. It was all political, he had a lot of power, he had his own little army. I guess the Church didn't like that."

In the end, nothing came of the priest's tattling letter. The Inquisition's enforcers weren't about to leave their comfortable offices in Mexico City and sully their long black robes in the Nuevo Leon dust, not to mention risk their scalps at the hands of the Apaches and Comanches then raiding along the route, and the local authorities swept the affair under the rug. For good reasons: "The thing was that the people who were ruling northern Mexico during that time were all descendants of Jews, so this priest didn't have the political power to be able to get him out," Villarreal says.

At least that's the theory. And as far as the case of Diego de Villarreal goes, it would seem that in the 17th century, northern Mexico -- which included Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California -- was run and in no small part populated by crypto-Jews. But was there anything to back up this idea other than legends and moldering documents in Mexican archives? Couldn't it be that the priest had been motivated to denounce de Villarreal as an uppity New Christian by simple jealousy? Or maybe de Villarreal had insulted the priest. Who knows?

The long and the short of it is this: Sometimes documents tell lies, but DNA never does, at least if you conduct your tests in a competently run lab. Danny Villarreal discovered a Houston company, Family Tree DNA, that conducts DNA tests for genealogical purposes. He ordered a kit, swabbed some genetic material from the inside of his cheek and mailed it back to Houston. FTDNA sent the test off to a genetics lab at the University of Arizona, and a few weeks later Villarreal got his results back. Although the company didn't find that he was related to anyone then in its database, it did have a few surprises for him.

First, there was his haplogroup -- the genetic marker that goes back on his Y chromosome for tens of thousands of years. All humanity is divided into 18 of these, and Mexicans of European descent would likely be in either haplogroup R-1A or R-1B, the most common groups in Western Europe, or if they were primarily of Native American descent, Q or Q-3. Villarreal's was E-3B, which is a Semitic haplogroup that evolved in East Africa and then spread around the Mediterranean and is most common today in the Middle East and in North and East Africa. Then there were his closest genetic matches. All three of them were to Jews in places like Hungary, Belarus and Poland. It appeared that the parish priest back in Saltillo had not been lying after all.

On discovering his Jewish ancestry, Villarreal says, his reaction was mixed. "I was kinda surprised. I didn't know how to react," he says. "I'm a good ol' Catholic boy -- I went to Catholic schools and everything. It's not gonna change my religion or anything like that, but it was kind of interesting."

It turns out that Villarreal is far from alone. There are plenty of genetic Jews among the Hispanics of South Texas, the American Southwest and northern Mexico. Companies like FTDNA are turning them up all the time -- not to mention establishing kinships where none were known to exist, solving history's mysteries and answering questions people have about themselves that until now had no answers.

[...]
FTDNA also can answer the ultimate genealogical poser: If you're a male, and thus the owner of a Y chromosome, it literally can tell you where your ancestors were in prehistoric times. (Women who want to test can find out their haplogroup by testing their mitochondrial DNA; if they want to test their male ancestry, they have to persuade a male relative to take the test.) "I can tell that your deep ancestry comes from Western Europe, Eastern Europe, whether his father's father's father was African, or a Semite," says Greenspan. "In other words, I can tell if someone is descended from the Neolithic farmers who came to Europe 9,500 years ago, or I can tell someone that in all probability they are a -- how can I put this -- an ethnic Jew."

Which brings up another potential dark side. During the holocaust, Hitler relied on traditional genealogy to dispatch millions to the death camps. One Jewish grandparent was all it took. A modern-day Hitler would have much more sophisticated tools at his disposal. Greenspan -- who is Jewish himself -- doesn't dispute it. "The fact of the matter is, anything that has power can cut both ways," he says. "And this is powerful. If there was some tyrannical maniac who came along and said, 'I'm gonna kill everyone who has Viking ancestry,' then I think the technology in general would be dangerous. I don't know how you could put the genie back in the bottle on this."

Villarreal had some uncomfortable moments after revealing his distant Jewish ancestry on his Web site. "I get a lot of hate mail from people all the time," he says. "I never realized there was so much hatred of Jews -- I mean I got some pretty bad e-mails. So bad that I have to take 'em off my Web site and block the senders. Stuff like, 'If I had Jewish blood running in my veins, I wouldn't admit it to anybody,' stuff like that. Some of it comes from people who I know are Hispanic and who also know about the history of the Sephardic Jews and stuff like that."

[...]
Like many genealogists, Greenspan hit some dead ends. In the mid-'90s, he discovered another Greenspan living in Argentina who grew up ten miles from his grandfather in Ukraine and whose family was in the same business as his. He had a hunch that they were related, but there were no documents to back it up. He wanted to do a DNA test, but no company did DNA testing for genealogical purposes back then. "I searched everywhere, and I was talking to a genetics professor at the University of Arizona, and he said somebody should start a company doing something like this, because he got phone calls from genealogists all the time," he says. "And sure enough, it took me a while, but eventually I convinced him at the University of Arizona to do the testing, and the rest is history. We really are the first company in the world to offer this service."

The Arizona genetics professor is Michael Hammer, who made waves in the '90s by discovering the Cohanim gene in Jews. By tradition, Cohanim are Judaism's priestly caste, said to be descended from Moses's brother Aaron. Hammer conducted a study and proved that a statistically significant percentage of Jewish men who claimed to be Cohanim did in fact share a genetic signature. Today, Hammer's lab does FTDNA's tests on a for-profit basis, and Greenspan's Houston office runs the operations.

And the business is doing well. The first anthrogenealogy conference, held in Houston late last year, was a success. Greenspan was treated as a rock star by the mostly aging genealogists who attended. The future of this young hybrid science was a hot topic. Greenspan believes his company will do nothing less than help to revolutionize the whole concept of the family tree. "Think of it this way: Think of the anthropological side as the branches and the limbs of a tree. Think of the genealogical side as the leaves. Right now we're probably missing the twigs -- in other words, I can tell a man by looking at his leaves what branch of the tree and maybe even what limb of the tree, but I can't tell him what twig he is on. Yet at the same time I can look at the leaves and make a comparison of them and get an idea of who is related. I think in the next few years many of those branches are gonna get fleshed out in such a way that we'll be able to do the whole branch-limb-twig-leaf deal.

"In the next ten years, every single surname is going to have a DNA surname project," he says. "That is literally inevitable."

My Name is Rachel Levy, Thaler, Levi, Gavish, Charhi, Shabo

Honest Reporting points out a new play in London called "My Name is Rachel Corrie." It is getting great reviews from the genteel anti-semites of the British press. But for some reason we do not expect to see any plays about the victims of Palestinian terror playing on the West End.

Here, Honest Reporting shows some of the lives of real heroines named Rachel, those who sacrificed their lives to live in a country with their people. Their heroics were that they continued to go to stores and schools and restaurants despite the constant bombings from the Palestinian terrorists who Rachel Corrie supported and who she was a pawn of. They loved Israel, the only place where they can live freely and proudly as Jews without a second thought.

Unlike Rachel Corrie, they didn't want to make headlines; they didn't do public burnings of their own country's flag. They just wanted to live in peace, a goal that Corrie's ISM does not want for Jews. The ISM (and Corrie at the time of her death) were trying to protect terrorists, and didn't lift a finger to protect Jews. This is who Rachel Corrie was.

There are no public squares in Israel named after the bulldozer driver who accidentally killed Corrie. No trading cards with his name, no posters with his picture. But the people who killed these truly innocent Rachels are considered heroes by the Palestinians.

These Rachels do have something in common with Corrie, however:

When these Rachels died, Israel was saddened and the Palestinians celebrated. And when Corrie died, Israel was also saddened and the Palestinians also celebrated - for to them, public relations is worth far, far more than human lives. The play in London, a free advertisement for Palestinian terror, couldn't have happened without Corrie's death, and there is little since the deaths of Americans on the USS Liberty that has made the haters of Jews happier than Rachel Corrie's demise.

My Name is Rachel Levy

Mar 29, 2002 - Rachel Levy, 17, of Jerusalem, was one of two people killed when a female suicide bomber blew herself up in the Kiryat Yovel supermarket in Jerusalem.

On Friday afternoon, Rachel's mother, Avigail, asked her to go to the supermarket to buy some things for the Shabbat meals. A 16-year-old female Palestinian suicide bomber, wearing a belt of explosives around her waist, walked into the supermarket in Jerusalem's Kiryat Hayovel neighborhood Friday afternoon and blew herself up. Haim Smadar, the security guard, prevented the bomber from going deep inside the store. Rachel Levy, who was near the entrance, was killed; 28 people were injured.

Rachel Levy was a senior at the Sieff High School. Fellow pupils from her photography class at school said that she was an excellent pupil, and that an exhibition of Rachel's photographs is being held at her school. "She was a charming girl, allways smiling and pleasant. simply a wonderful person," said a relative. "She loved books, music, and sports," said her mother.

Rachel's cousin, Rafi Levy, was killed in a terrorist shooting attack at a roadblock near Ofra a month ago.

Rachel Levy was buried in Jerusalem. She is survived by her parents, Amos and Avigail, and her two brothers: Guy, 23, and Kobi, 7

My Name is Rachel Thaler

Feb 27, 2002 - Rachel Thaler, 16, of Ginot Shomron died of wounds suffered on February 16 when a suicide bomber blew himself up at a pizzeria in the shopping mall in Karnei Shomron in Samaria, bringing the death toll in the attack to three.

Rachel Thaler had gone on Saturday night to the local Yuvalim Mall in Karnei Shomron with his brother, Lior. Since its opening six months ago, the mall has become a popular meeting place for local youth. Rachel, who suffered a critical head injury in the bombing, never regained consciousness. She died 12 days later. Her family donated her organs for transplant. The condition of Rachel's brother, Lior, 14, who was also seriously injured, has improved greatly.

Ganette Thaler said she had donated her daughter's organs, because she thought it was important that other people benefit from her tragedy, especially during this time of so many terrorist attacks. "I feel that part of my daughter is living in two other people who gained life from her donation. I know that's what my daughter would have wanted," she said.

Rachel was the oldest of the family's three children. Her parents - Ganette, from England, and Michael, from the US - moved to the Ginot Shomron neighborhood five years ago, and were divorced three years later. Michael had moved back to the US, while Ganette remained in Ginot Shomrom with the children.

"It hasn't been easy for her. Not long ago, Ganette discussed the possibility of moving to the US. Rachel came to me and asked me to persuade her mother to remain," Vered Cohen, a family friend and neighbor, said.

Rachel studied at the Ulpana in Dolev. Eliraz Smet, Rachel's guide in the Ulpana, said "She always had a smile on her face. We would aske her to teach us how she always kept the smile, even with what's going on."

Rachel Thaler was buried in Karnei Shomron. She is survived by her parents and two brothers, Lior and Zvi

My Name is Rachel Levi

Feb 14, 2001 - Sgt. Rachel Levi, 19, of Ashkelon, was one of 8 Israelis killed when a Palestinian crashed a bus into a crowded bus stop at Azor junction, south of Tel Aviv. It was the deadliest Palestinian attack on Israelis in four years.

Sergeant Rachel Levi worked on computers in logistics at Tel Hashomer. She had signed to continue her service in the IDF for an additional three years.

She had been dropped off by her father near the Tel Aviv Central Bus Station, about an hour before she was killed. He said: "Adi, my older daughter, told me that the attack occured at a junction where Rachel used to be daily. We called her on her cell phone, but there was no answer. We called her commander, and he said that she had not arrived. We then called the hospital, and they told us that she was not among the injured. We asked about her close friend and neighbor, Sigal Yunsi, and we were told that she was severely injured. I felt weak in the knees. We did not know what was happening. And then the officers came with the bad news."

"The army was her whole life," her mother Henya said. "I don't wish this feeling on any mother, I can't stop shaking."

Rachel left behind her parents and two sisters. She was buried in Ashkelon.

My Name is Rachel Gavish

Mar 28, 2002 - Rachel Gavish, 50, of Elon Moreh was one of four members of the Gavish family killed in Elon Moreh, when a Palestinian terrorist infiltrated the hilltop community near Nablus, burst into their home, and shot them shortly before 9 P.M.

She was killed along with her husband David, her son Avraham, and her father Yitzhak Kanner.

The terrorist continued to shoot from one of the rooms while neighbors and security forces returned fire. Others placed a ladder to allow family members on the top story to escape. The terrorist remained in one of the top-story rooms, until he was shot and killed by security forces.

Rachel Gavish, together with her husband David, were among the founders of the Elon Moreh community. She worked as an educational counselor at the Ariel Regional College and at the Academic College for girls in Elon Moreh.

In Elon Moreh, thousands attended the funerals of Rachel, 50, and David Gavish, 51, their son Avraham, 25, who lives in Kedumim with his wife and was visting the family during the Pessah holiday, and Rachel's father, Yitzhak Kanner.

Rachel Gavish was buried in Elon Moreh alongside her family members. She is survived by her six children: Menashe (23), Yeshurun (2), Avigdor, (19), Tzofia (18), Leah (17), and Assaf (14)

My Name is Rachel Charhi

Apr 4, 2002 - Rachel Charhi, 36, of Bat-Yam, died five days after being critically injured in a suicide bombing in a cafe on the corner of Allenby and Bialik streets in Tel-Aviv on March 30. Some 30 others were injured in the attack. The Fatah Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades claimed responsibility.

Rachel and her husband Ben-Zion, who was among the injured, saw the terrorist and tried to escape but did not succeed, reported Rachel's siblings.

Rachel was a secretary at an accounting firm. Her daughter had often suggested she quit her job so as not to have to ride the busses, but Rachel told her not to worry. On the day of the attack, Rachel and Ben-Zion thought to dine in a different cafe but chose My Coffee Shop instead, since it was less crowded.

Rachel was buried in the Yarkon cemetery in Tel-Aviv. She is survived by her husband Benzion, daughter Kinneret 14 and sons Ariel 13 and Barak 7

My Name is Rachel Shabo

June 20, 2002 - Rachel Shabo, 40, of Itamar was murdered along with three of her sons when a terrorist entered their home in Itamar, south of Nablus, and opened fire.

Shortly after 9 on Thursday night, the terrorist infiltrated the settlement, shooting in all directions before bursting into the Shabo home. The terrorist first shot the mother, Rachel (top right), in the back. Then he shot Avishai, 5 (top, second from right), Zvika, 13 (bottom, second from right), and Neria, 16 (bottom, third from left), as well as a neighbor, Yosef Twito, who came to their aid. Thirteen-year-old Avia told the doctor who treated her in the hospital that she had heard her mother shout out in pain and then all was quiet.

Boaz Shabo, the father, a printer by profession, was not at home. The older children - Yariv and Atara - were also out, visiting friends.

Rachel grew up in Karnei Shomron and met Boaz, from Moshav Beit Meir near Jerusalem, 20 years ago. The Shabos were among the founders of Itamar 18 years ago and always welcomed newcomers, inviting them to their home for a Shabbat meal. Rachel worked as a secretary in the nearby settlement of Yitzhar until a year ago. Her friends described her as an energetic and affable person.

Only a month earlier, Neria had escaped terrorist shots in his bedroom at the yeshiva high school on Itamar, when three of his friends were killed. His pillow had been hit by bullets. Neria's friends said he had been a genius. Zvika's friends described him as a righteous young man.

Rachel Shabo was buried in Itamar alongside her three sons. She is survived by her husband Boaz, and four of their children - Yariv (17), Atara (15), Avia (13) and Asael (10).

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Update: http://www.rafahpundits.com/ seems to think that if none of the victims of Palestinian terror were killed from explosives smuglled in from Gaza, that somehow this list of Rachels is irrelevant. The psychological backflips that terror supporters use is astounding.

LA Jews getting barraged with hate mail

Dozens of Jewish residents, businesses and synagogues in the Los Angeles area have been barraged by hate mail in recent weeks.

The FBI, US Postal Service and Los Angeles police are investigating the large manila envelopes, some of which had 'Die Jews Die' scrawled on the outside.

'We want to reassure the community that the letters are part of a series of mass mailings and do not seem to be targeting anyone individually,' Amanda Susskind, regional director of the Anti-Defamation League, was quoted by The Associated Press as saying.

Wow, that's reassuring.

This must be the first time I've seen the ADL understate anti-semitism. They freak out over something like The Passion, but actual death threats to Jews get pooh-poohed?

Anti-semitic studies (Spectator UK)

Anti-Semitic studies
Douglas Davis

Pay attention, Professor. If you support the proposed academic boycott of Israel — and if you are to remain intellectually honest — prepare for a radical lifestyle change. Firstly, unplug your computer. Good. Now switch off your interactive digital television set. Well done. And now throw away your mobile phone. Excellent. You see, Professor, these machines are not only the engine of the globalised, capitalist world but they also depend on technologies that have been produced by Israeli academics in the Zionist entity.

Stop playing with your detached mouse, Professor, and concentrate. I’m afraid you may not use the British Library because it has been computerised by Ex Libris, a Zionist company that was spawned by the odious Hebrew University of Jerusalem. And if, God forbid, you develop problems of the small intestine, you may not pop the Zionist-invented ‘video capsule’, which passes naturally through your body as it monitors this delicate piece of your anatomy. You will, sadly, have to take it up the derrière, Professor. As a matter of principle, of course. But remember: your principle allows your proctologist to keep his hand in.

All this boycotting, you see, is the logical extension of proposed academic sanctions against Israel by some members of your Association of University Teachers (AUT) when they meet in Eastbourne next Wednesday. Just visit the website of Egyptian-born Mona Baker of the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology. She set the standard by firing two Israeli scholars from the boards of her translation journals as a matter of high academic principle.

You will see that Ms Baker’s ambitions do not end with the academic boycott. Her website also includes a section entitled ‘Boycott Israeli Products & Services’, which features dozens of global brands that, inconveniently, are not Israeli at all. The offenders presumably have earned their place in infamy by dealing with the Zionist entity, by being owned by Jews or by having Jews on their boards. They range from Coca-Cola and Nescafé to Johnson & Johnson and Estée Lauder, from Hugo Boss and Ralph Lauren to Selfridges and Marks & Spencer, from Kleenex and Wonderbra to Lancôme and.... All marked for boycott.

Absent from Ms Baker’s list — and here I think I can help — is a set of global companies which are arguably even more culpable because they not only operate in Israel but also do most of their R&D there. IBM and Intel each have three R&D centres in Israel; Microsoft established its first non-American facility there, and Cisco Systems has built its only non-American R&D centre in Israel. Then there is Motorola, which has its largest R&D site in Israel, and News Corp, whose company NDS develops those neat interactive technologies for digital television. There are many more.

The AUT boycott brigade has cause for concern. It knows that these companies are attracted not only by the innate brutality of the expansionist regime but also by the cunning of its university graduates (most of the R&D centres are located on or near Israeli university campuses). Proportionally, the Zionist entity has more university graduates than any other country, while its scientists, engineers and agriculturists publish more professional papers per capita than do their counterparts anywhere else on earth. The result is that Israel has the largest concentration of high-tech companies outside Silicon Valley. But the ultimate sin is that Israel, which came to independence in the process of post-war decolonisation, stubbornly refuses to become a failed state.

So dangerous has the situation become, dear Professor, that when you meet in Eastbourne you will set aside the small matter of your pay deal (which many universities have failed to implement). Instead, you and your fellow intellectual heavyweights will ponder far worthier matters. Like foreign affairs. Of course, you will not have to bother your turbo-charged minds with this week’s Unicef report which shows that half of the women in the Arab world are illiterate and more than ten million children in the region don’t attend school.

The issue that will preoccupy you will be the aggressive imperialist apartheid state: a state that has nurtured the Palestinian universities and colleges in the West Bank; one that offers equal rights — and access to its universities — to all its citizens, regardless of race, religion, ethnicity or sex; and which has educated tens of thousands of Palestinians at Israeli universities (several hundred a year still opt for an Israeli education). It is significant that Omar Barghouti, the Palestinian who is encouraging you and your British comrades to boycott Israel, is a doctoral student at none other than Tel Aviv University.

No, Professor, not all Israeli universities and not all Israeli academics will be boycotted if the AUT motion is passed. Such a proposition was defeated 3–1 at the association’s conference two years ago, and the boycotters are too smart to repeat past mistakes. The new motion, says one of its authors, has been ‘tactically’ amended to get it passed. ‘We’ve got to be a bit more sophisticated,’ she says. And sophisticated they are. They even had a dry run last December, when they met to rehearse their presentations and develop killer responses to potential critics.

Their sleek new motion — which does not involve a single book-burning — envisages sanctions against only the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Tel Aviv University and Haifa University. And there’s more: the boycotters generously offer Israeli academics the opportunity to buy themselves immunity if they are prepared to denounce their country, specifically, ‘conscientious Israeli academics and intellectuals opposed to their state’s colonial and racist policies’. Who could seriously question the integrity of your fellow academic freedom fighters?

But there are, of course, small obstinate obstacles in the way of you visionaries, Professor. Britain’s academic institutions, for example, have not endorsed boycotting Israel’s academic community. Indeed, when the Oxford don Andrew Wilkie told an Israeli PhD applicant that there was ‘no way would I take on somebody who had served in the Israeli army’, he was hauled before the university’s disciplinary body and suspended without pay for two months.

Cambridge University’s Professor Sir Aaron Klug, Nobel laureate and former president of the Royal Society, put me right when I asked him about the possible impact — on Britain no less than on Israel — of such a boycott: ‘How important is the AUT? That’s the question you have to ask.’ He is no supporter of Israel’s Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, and his policies but he does consider that the proposed boycott is ‘ill considered and doesn’t promote anything at all’. The AUT, he says, is out to attack Israel ‘but this is no way to proceed’. Sir Aaron is ‘not one who looks for anti-Semitism around every corner,’ he says, ‘but I do think there’s an element of that here. It does give people who are anti-Semitic the opportunity to express themselves.’

But relax, Professor. The AUT has solemnly concluded that there is a clear distinction between anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism.
They don’t mind Jews. They just detest the Jewish state.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Important archaeological relics saved from Wakf Temple Mount garbage

On the grounds of a Jerusalem national park with a view of the Temple Mount, a small group of Israeli archaeologists and volunteers sifting through piles of rubble discarded by Islamic Wakf officials from the Temple Mount into a city garbage dump have recently uncovered a series of history-rich artifacts dating back to the First and Second Temple periods.

The five-month old privately-funded project underway at the site, which is being directed by Bar Ilan University archeology professor Dr. Gabriel Barkay, is being called virtually unprecedented since archaeological excavation has never been permitted on the Temple Mount itself.

Six years ago, following the Islamic Wakf's unilateral construction of a mosque at an underground area of the Temple Mount known as Solomon's Stables, Wakf officials discarded more than 10,000 tons of rubble with history-rich artifacts, at a municipal garbage dump in the Kidron Valley and other locations outside the Old City.

The November 1999 destruction and removal of the antiquities in the wake of the mosque construction was later called "an unprecedented archaeological crime" by the head of Israel's Antiquities Authority, the state-run archaeological body nominally charged with supervision at Judaism's holiest site, as well as by Israel's leading archaeologists.

According to decades-old regulations in place on the Temple Mount, Islamic Wakf official administer the compound, while Jerusalem police are in charge of overall security at the site.
[...]
Starting in November, the archaeologist and a small team, led by his 32-year-old former student Zachi Zweig, transferred 68 truckloads of rubble saturated with archaeological finds from the garbage dump to the Emek Zurim National Park, on the western slopes of Mount Scopus. Using a mechanical sifter, the rubble was then separated into heaps based on size, before being hand-checked for antiquities.

Over the last five months, Zweig a small team of six workers -- and an equal number of daily volunteers -- who have sifted through 15 percent of the rubble to date have uncovered scores of history-rich artifacts, from the First Temple Period until today amidst the rubble, including a large amount of pottery dating from the Bronze Ages through modern times, a large segment of a marble pillar's shaft, and over 100 ancient coins, among them several from the Hasmonean dynasty.

The one meter tall marble column, streaked with purple veins and white spots, is thought to date back to Late Roman or the Byzantine period, Barkay said, and is similar to column shafts near the southern wall of the Temple Mount.

The first coin recovered from the rubble was from the period of the First Revolt against the Romans that preceded the destruction of the Second Temple, he added.

The coin bore the phrase "For the Freedom of Zion," and was particularly meaningful as the Temple Mount was one of the epicenters of the fight against the Romans.

Other finds include a spout of a Hasmonean lamp, an assortment of arrowheads, an ivory comb, a ceramic flask, various first temple figurines, and numerous pottery oil lamps.

The historical project underway is now in danger of going unfinished due to a lack of financial support, with the project director saying that the project will abruptly end in one week unless organizers receive urgent financial backing needed to complete the work.

20 Israeli companies "most promising": Red Herring

Another truly remarkable accomplishment from a tiny country with constant worries of terror and few natural resources.
No less than 20 of Red Herring's 100 most promising companies in Europe are Israeli.

Israel is the second most highly represented country, with only Britain providing more than a fifth of the companies on the list. Together Israel and Britain are responsible for 53 percent of these promising companies.

Ireland, Finland, France and Germany each have less than 10 names on the list.

Among the 20 Israeli firms are Mellanox Technologies (the mother of InfiniBand technology), Wisair (developer of a ultra-wideband chipset for wireless communications), the biotechnology company D-Pharm, EZChip and Flash Networks.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Abbas is not serious about peace (IsraelInsider)

Can Abbas tame the lion?
By Micah D. Halpern April 13, 2005

Success or failure. Truth or dare. The future of the Palestinian Authority lies in the hands of one man, President Mahmoud Abbas.

The decisions that Abbas makes will shape the future, long term and short term, of the Palestinian people. The choices are his to make. The commitments are his to undertake.

Some decisions, like cracking down on terror, like taking control, are actually, physically difficult. But Abbas must tame the Palestinian Wild West or it will consume him. And if or when the first democratically elected president of the Palestinian Authority falls, anarchy will set in. And if anarchy enters, any chance of a decent life for the people of Palestine disappears. And when Abbas falls, any chance for rapprochement between the Palestinian Authority and Israel fails. If Abbas is consumed, Palestinian society will never flourish, it will become, instead, a Nicaragua or a Belfast.

How does one tame the lion?

Disarming the gangs of hooligans that roam through the cities and towns, imprisoning, cutting off funds, making it unlawful to incite, all those are obvious ways to recapture control. Physically difficult, but possible.

Convincing the masses of the importance of the mission, that's much, much, more difficult. And the reason it is more difficult is because re-education requires much more than a physical commitment, it requires an emotional commitment. And here, Abbas has failed miserably. Abbas has barely even attempted to re-educate the Palestinian people.

Education, or re-education, is central to the success of President Abbas. It is an essential tool for the implementation of a democratic, economically sound and productive future for his people. And yet, Abbas has not even begun to put in place the easiest of educational reforms. There are concrete actions that take no time to put in place and require no energy to implement. There are actions that take almost no money but which would have serious short and long term impact for the future of the Palestinian people.

All Abbas needs to do, as a first, simple, crucially important step is take one book off the school reading list. If Abbas is really committed to peace with the Israelis, if he is being truthful when he speaks of peace and progress in international diplomatic circles, he will push forward on the process of re-education now. He is already late, any later will be too late. But does he dare?

Israeli Minister Natan Sharansky has just sent an emergency letter to Israel's President Ariel Sharon and to United States President George Bush.

This is his issue:
The official 10th grade Palestinian school curriculum teaches The Protocols Of The Elders Of Zion. The edition used in the schools is published in Syria. The curriculum never mentions that the Protocols are a forgery of the Russian secret police created by the Czar in order to generate the notorious myth that the Jews control the world.

One must ask:
Why teach The Protocols if not to expose the work as a conspiracy theory of Antisemites? In any other context, what is the educational purpose behind teaching The Protocols Of The Elders Of Zion to impressionable 10th graders given today's social and political climate?

In order to perpetuate the myth. We all know the answer. The Protocols Of The Elders Of Zion has not been removed from the Palestinian school curriculum, the book has not been removed from school library shelves, only, ONLY, in order to perpetuate the myth!

The Palestinians continue to teach The Protocols because they are not yet committed to the reforms. And Mahmoud Abbas, as president, is the man responsible for re-educating or not re-educating his people, for implementing reforms or for letting them linger, ignored if not forgotten.

There's more. There are the maps.

In no official Palestinian Authority map is Israel identified. Not just school maps - any and all maps.

It is hard to imagine a civilized, long-term, interaction between peoples, between societies, between countries when the official maps of one of the partners still do not recognize the existence of the other.

Here's even more. Of the 160 schoolbooks the Palestinian Authority uses to teach from, not a single text refers to Israel as an independent state. Shocked? Not any more, I would think.

Yes, Palestinian President Abbas must break the backs of the terrorist thugs who might physically challenge his control over his society. But he must also transform an educational system, he must educate. Future Palestinian leaders should be groomed in schools, not in marauding packs.

One need not teach love, but neither should one perpetuate hatred.

White House: Democratically-elected Hamas should be respected

I've written before about wishful thinking overtaking common sense in the "peace process." The White House is not immune to this syndrome, as is clear from this exchange with WorldNetDaily. Here, we discover that the last Palestinian elections were "free and fair" and that Hamas members who get elected aren't terrorists:
WND: Scott, on the road map, can you identify even one Palestinian terrorist group that has been disarmed by the Palestinian Authority in accordance with the Bush administration's own road map? And I have a follow-up.

McCLELLAN: I think it's important to look at some of the steps that have been taken. And the president talked about President Abbas the other day in the news conference. We look forward to having President Abbas visit Washington again so the president can talk to him about what we can do to support them in their efforts to move forward on the two-state vision that he outlined. But there have been some steps taken to address the security situation.

It's important that they have a unified security structure. General Ward has been in the region working closely with the Palestinians to help put those security forces in place and have a unified structure to address some of these issues. But the road map is very clear in what it says. We've been very clear in what our views are, as well. And it's important that the parties meet their obligations.

WND: In the event that Hamas, a terrorist organization not yet disarmed by the Palestinian Authority, wins a majority in the legislative PA, will the Bush administration still send $350 million U.S. taxpayer dollars to the PA, or not?

McCLELLAN: Les, it's – the one thing that you see when people have elections that are free and fair is that they tend to choose people who are committed to improving their livelihood, not people who are committed to terrorist acts. And I think if you look back at the previous Palestinian elections, the people that were elected, while they might have been members of Hamas, they were business professionals. They were people that ran on talking about improving the quality of life for the Palestinian people and addressing their economic needs and addressing other needs that are important to them – not terrorists.

Hamas member's sister hides his gun in her underwear

Troops searching a West Bank house for a wanted Hamas gunman found his sister hording his gun in her underpants, the army said, adding that it would consider renewing strip-searches among Palestinian women when searching and screening for potential terrorists.

The soldiers in the Balata refugee camp, a terrorist hotbed, find the gunman inside his house and ordered him to surrender his weapon. He refused, saying he didn't have it. After questioning, they found the man's sister had hidden it her underwear.

Troops then arrested the Hamas terrorist. They also found a gun holster and bullets inside the building.

An army spokesman said the incident raises serious questions about the need to search Palestinian women, mainly at checkpoints.

“Until now we have gone easy on women,” a spokesman said. “Perhaps we need to reconsider that policy.”

3 US Muslim brothers guilty of aiding Hamas - one was a founder of CAIR/Texas

Ghassan Elashi is one of the founders of th Texas chapter of the Council of American-Islamic Relations, which puts up a moderate front in the press but which has had numerous terrorist connections.
Three brothers have been found guilty of supporting terrorism in a US court in Dallas, Texas.

The men were charged with passing money to an official in the militant Palestinian group, Hamas.

Ghassan, Basman and Bayan Elashi were tried on 21 counts of conspiracy, money laundering and dealing in the property of a terrorist.

They will be sentenced later, after one of the US government's highest profile terrorism prosecutions.

Ghassan and Bayan Elashi were convicted on all 21 counts, while Basman Elashi was found guilty on three counts.

Prosecutors said the men tried to conceal a $250,000 investment in their computer firm by an alleged official with Hamas, Mousa Abu Marzook.

Ten years ago he was accused of being a terrorist by the US government.

He was deported and is now believed to be living in Syria.

This effectively meant that it would be illegal for anyone to do business with him - something the Elashi brothers have now been found guilty of.

Last year the three, along with two other Elashi brothers, were convicted of making illegal technology shipments to Libya and Syria - countries the US government considers state sponsors of terrorism.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Not-so-OK Corral

Another classic from Cox and Forkum.
05.04.12.NotOKCor-X.gif

Israel's hockey team wins tournament!

Hockey? In Israel?

Once upon a time Ephraim Kishon wrote a funny story about an Israeli hockey team that didn't know how to skate.

TEL AVIV - As it turns out, our hot and humid Middle Eastern nation has an ice-hockey team, and not a bad one at that.

At the beginning of the week, Israel won the gold medal at the International Ice Hockey Federation Division II Group B world championships, an achievement that pushed it into Division I, one tier below the top division.

Under the direction of Canadian coach Jean Perron, Israel was able to win four of its five games and tie one.

More impressively, the team won without Israel’s most renowned hockey star, Max Birbraer, who was drafted by the NHL’s New Jersey Devils three years ago.

However, Israel did enjoy the services of the three Eisenman brothers, Alon, Erez and Oren.

Why is Israel a world pariah?

An excellent article in response to a rabidly anti-semitic crackpot article published in the same newspaper last month. The newspaper, the Baltimore Chronicle and Sentinel, is unabashedly left-wing and critical of Israel, and it is to their credit that they even agreed to publish this response.

by Michael Suedfeld

This is a critical time in Middle East history. Both the Palestinians and Israelis are eyeing painful concessions to achieve lasting peace and no one in the world is more acutely aware of this than Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. The way forward is not through old rhetoric and the dredging of past events but through conciliation and dealing with the hard realities of 2005. Unfortunately, one of those realities is that some people, when presented with the possibility of turning to peace and progress, will be unable to leave their tired views behind.

How else to explain those such as William Hughes who, in this publication last month, went on a vitriolic tirade against Sharon and the nation he heads? Hughes repeated the many mantras of Israel-bashers, relying on falsehoods and half-truths to reach his goal.

It is fruitless to comment directly on such attacks. Those who forward them are on a mission. They want a very public humiliation, if not the outright dissolution, of the Middle East’s sole traditional democracy; the country that ranks highest among Middle East nations when rated for human development[1]; a country that is a world leader in technological, medical and other scientific advances[2]; a country with less than three per cent of the Middle East’s population[3]; a country that is such a minute portion of the Middle East geographically, it can be measured in tenths of a per cent; a country with few natural resources and none of that most precious Middle East commodity--oil.

Rather, I challenge readers to ask themselves: why is Israel a world pariah?

Is it because of its actions? There are numerous areas around the world where the death tolls are hundreds of times higher and where oppression--particularly of women and minorities--is a routine part of daily life, including most, if not all, other Middle East countries.

Is it because of Sharon? Since Yasser Arafat’s death, Sharon has released hundreds of prisoners[4], allowed convicted and exiled Palestinian terrorists to return to their homes[5], strengthened his commitment to removing Gaza settlements, relaxed travel restrictions[6], removed checkpoints and turned over security to Palestinian forces[7]. As for war crimes, if Sharon’s guilty so, too, are numerous world leaders with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan leading the list. Sharon may have stood by as between 500-1,000 innocents in Sabra and Shatila were murdered by Christian Phalangists (Arabs, not Jews or Israelis), Annan did exactly the same thing in Rwanda (500,000-plus dead[8]), in the former Yugoslavia (more than 100,000 dead[9]), and, today in Sudan (an estimated 300,000 dead[10]).


Is it the media? As the second Intifidah began, there were 350 press organizations with permanent representatives in Israel and another 1,300 arrived shortly after[11]. Those people were there to write “hard” news even if they had to create it. The Jenin refugee camp reporting was one of the great shams of modern journalism, yet people, including Hughes, still cite it as if there were actually a massacre there.[12]

Do we hold Israel to a higher standard than its neighbors? That’s unfair to Israel but more so to Arabs. Lebanese historian Kemal Salibi described it this way: “The liberal tradition in the West tries to impute to the behavior of the native or the underdog an idealist position which is not really there...When it comes to the thinking about Middle East politics, the American liberal mind is often chasing rainbows. They are living in a world of delusion.”[13] Arabs are not children and would be best served if we in the West demanded better from their leaders.

Is Israel perfect? No modern nation is. Israel is, however, home to a kaleidoscope of people from some 100 national backgrounds of diverse races and cultures.[14] The Arab Muslim, Christian and Druze minorities comprise approximately 20 per cent of the population.[15] Druze serve with distinction in the Israeli Defence Forces. There are Arab members of the Knesset[16], Arab members of the courts, including Supreme Court[17] and, in the last two World Cup of Football (soccer) qualifying games, Arab-Israelis scored the tying goals becoming, at least briefly, national heroes.[18] In contrast, Jews can’t even visit countries such as Saudi Arabia.[19]

In short, there is no reason to hate or demean Israel in proportions so out of whack with its actions and significance. At least not for anyone really interested in peace, justice and the other ideals this publication’s operators profess to espouse.