Israel Archives

Friday Link Wrap-up

Venezuelans are getting tired of the food shortages, the electricity shortages, the soaring crime, the deep recession (i.e. everything that comes part and parcel with socialism) and have started taking back the country, starting with last weekend’s elections.  American voters are poised to do the same in November.

The "humanitarian crisis" in Gaza is apparently mostly about symbolism, false narratives and propaganda.  Flotillas are required to keep up the narratives.

The United Nations will appoint an Earth contact for aliens.  No, really.  "Mazlan Othman, the head of the UN’s little-known Office for Outer Space Affairs (Unoosa), is to describe her potential new role next week at a scientific conference at the Royal Society’s Kavli conference centre in Buckinghamshire."  Doesn’t it strike anyone as unintentionally humorous that "Unoosa" sounds like some alien specie you’d see on "Star Trek"?

When the Bilderbergers met last June (cue paranoid music), one of the topics they discussed was Global Cooling.  No, really.  (Al Gore was apparently not invited.)  But indeed, global cooling, were it happening, would be worse than global warming.  Crops, for starters, kinda’ like the heat.

Tea Partiers uncover rampant voter fraud in Houston.  Would it surprise you if I said that most of this was related to a former SEIU employee’s voter registration group?  Yeah, me neither.

"Scientists have invented an efficient way to produce apparently safe alternatives to human embryonic stem cells without destroying embryos…."  They start with ordinary skin cells.  As Glenn Reynolds would say, "Faster, please."

And finally, from Mike Lester, two views of the Constitution.  (Click for a larger image.)

Mike Lester

Social Justice Advocates vs. Israel

College and university professors seem to be a very social-justice-conscious bunch.  900 of them, from over 150 college campuses, signed a petition urging the US to abandon Israel as an ally because of its human rights abuses, for example.

But Prof. Fred Gottheil decided to try an experiment.

"Would these same 900 sign onto a statement expressing concern about human rights violations in the Muslim Middle East, such as honor killing, wife beating, female genital mutilation, and violence against gays and lesbians?" he wondered. "I felt it was worth a try."

The results? "Almost non existent," he told Frontpage editor Jamie Glazov. Only 27 of the 675 "self-described social-justice seeking academics" agreed to sign Gottheil’s Statement of Concern – less than 5 percent of the total who had publicly called for the censure of Israel for human rights violations.

Politics trumps social justice for this paragon of the Left; the academic.  I would really like to know how deep this penetrates other areas of the Left.  How about liberal churches that has divested themselves from Israel; do they also actively divest themselves from Islamic countries for the same reasons?

Only Israel

Which country is not allowed to defend itself?

Friday Link Wrap-up

Isn’t government supposed to enforce the laws it makes?   Well, it looks like the Obama administration has a bit more leeway.

How’s that Gitmo-closing promise coming along, 5 months after its due date?  "The House Armed Services Committee has dealt a blow to President Obama’s hopes to shutter the military prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, by unanimously approving legislation that would prohibit creating a detention center inside the United States."  Aren’t there one or two Democrats on that committee?

The Hollywood Left just loves their socialists.

American filmmaker Oliver Stone said Friday he deeply admires Hugo Chavez but suggested the Venezuelan president might consider talking a bit less on television.

Promoting his new documentary "South of the Border" in Caracas, Stone heaped praise on Chavez, saying he is leading a movement for "social transformation" in Latin American. The film features informal interviews by Stone with Chavez and six allied leftist presidents, from Bolivia’s Evo Morales to Cuba’s Raul Castro.

"I admire Hugo. I like him very much as a person. I can say one thing. … He shouldn’t be on television all the time," Stone said at a news conference. "As a director I say you don’t want to be overpowering. And I think he is sometimes that way."

(We’re not entirely sure whether Stone said "director" or "dictator" at the end there.  Either can be overpowering.)

When the director of the Congressional Budget Office directly refutes cost-saving claims of the President and his Budget Director, it’s worth noting.  Even the NY Times (finally) notices.

How’s that "smart diplomacy" workin’ for ya’?  Please remember; speeches are no substitute for sound policy.

Marry a Jew, lose your citizenship.  Can armbands with the Star of David be far behind?  Tell me again, who are the bad guys in the Middle East peace situation?

How did the pollsters do predicting the recent primary results?  About as good as expected, which isn’t saying much.  And the Daily Kos fired its official pollster, Research 2000.  Turns out they skewed left.  Now who would have thought that?  This time, however, it was downright embarrassing. 

And finally, Chuck Asay on life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  (Click for a larger image.)

Chuck Asay


Apparently, this story has legs like I never would have imagined.  Even after video comes out showing that the "peace" activists were armed with, among other things, knives, you’d think that folks would see through this little charade. 

Anyway, here are some relevant links from the past few days.

In preparation for sailing, a few harmless Jihad chants and hopes for martyrdom.  Then, after cheerfully ignoring warnings about the blockade, preparing for violent confrontation.  (The very first link also has a video of the attacks on the soldiers.)  The reason that the IDF soldiers were taken advantage of initially, I believe, is that they didn’t think "peace" activists would try to stab them to death. 

There are some photos, taken by the activists terrorists themselves showing downed IDF soldiers.  Reuters, in two different cases, decided that they should crop out the part of the picture that shows knives in the hands of those peaceful protestors.  Ruins the narrative.

Is the blockade against Gaza legal?  Why yes, yes it is.  And if you have more questions about the blockade in general or the flotilla in particular, this is a great resource.

The Flotilla Incident: Not About the Aid

If it was simply about getting aid to the folks in Gaza, first of all there are plenty of ways to do that, and Gaza has been getting it.  About 15,000 tons of aid per week enter Gaza through means that assure there are no weapons in it.  (By the way, the flotillas total cargo was 10,000 tons, less than a week’s worth.)

And secondly, if it was all about the aid, this wouldn’t be happening.

Israel has attempted to deliver humanitarian aid from an international flotilla to Gaza, but Hamas — which controls the territory — has refused to accept the cargo, the Israel Defense Forces said Wednesday.

Palestinian sources confirmed that trucks that arrived from Israel at the Rafah terminal at the Israel-Gaza border were barred from delivering the aid.

Ra’ed Fatooh, in charge of the crossings, and Jamal Khudari, head of a committee against the Gaza blockade, said Israel must release all flotilla detainees and that it will be accepted in the territory only by the Free Gaza Movement people who organized the flotilla.

So Hamas is holding up aid to its own people for a PR move.  This is not about the aid.  It’s about opening up a means of transporting more and larger weapons, via ships, than via the means that are currently available to Hamas.  And these "peace" activists are, at least, simply the "useful idiots" being duped or, at worst, complicit in the charade.

Political Cartoon: "Peaceful" Flotilla

From Michael Ramirez (click for a larger version):

Michael Ramirez Cartoon

This pretty much sums up the whole flotilla situation.  There are videos going out about how the captain and other members of the ship, before leaving, chanted about times when Muslims wiped out Jews.  Yeah, "peace" activists indeed.  This was a set-up, plain and simple.

A Brief History of Israel Concessions

Meryl Yourish hears that there’s a possibility of Israel conceding to the Obama administration on the subject of Jewish settlements in East Jerusalem.  With that in mind, she gives us a brief history of how well said concessions have worked out for Israel.

Israel made peace with Egypt in 1979. As a result, Israelis can look forward to regular warnings of terrorist attacks and kidnappings when they visit Sinai resorts. The Egyptian foreign minister calls Israel “the enemy.” Egypt boycotted the annual Mediterranean student conference because it was held in Israel. The Sinai is used to regularly smuggle arms to Hamas. A second Israeli was arrested and held by Egypt for accidentally crossing the border. Egypt restored the Maimonides synagogue and then declared that no Jew will ever pray in it (this was the same guy who said he’d burn any Israeli books he found). That’s just a short list of the benefits of peace with Egypt. Of course, Israel hasn’t fought a war with Egypt since 1973. But Egyptians are arming Israel’s enemies.

Israel left Gaza in 2005. In return, Israel got rockets, mortars, and terror attacks, and a war in 2008. Hamas is in control of the Strip and has been for several years. Hamas has thousands of rockets and missiles stored in bunkers, ready for another attack on Israel when they feel strong enough (or when their Iranian masters give the go-ahead). This was one of the Palestinian demands—the eviction of all Jews from Gaza. They got what they wanted. And yet, there is still not peace between the residents of Gaza and Israel.

Israel left Lebanon in 2000. The United Nations certified that Israel left every square inch of Lebanese territory. Hizballah stockpiled tens of thousands of rockets and mortars, crossed into Israeli territory to kill and capture Israeli soldiers, which started a war in 2006. Now, the UN says that the Shebaa Farms is Lebanese—not Syrian—territory, giving Hizballah the excuse they have wanted for years to say that Israel is still holding Lebanese territory and “resistance” must be used. Hizballah has a stockpile of tens of thousand of rockets, and now Syria is supplying them with Scud missiles.

The last place Obama need to be putting pressure on is Israel.  These other issues should be dealt with before asking Israel to give up anything else. 

Political Cartoon: Enemies and Allies

From Michael Ramirez (click for a larger version):

Michael Ramirez

Treating your enemies better than your allies doesn’t seem to be working, for either our enemies or our allies.

Looking For Your Keys Where the Light’s Better

The founder of Human Rights Watch, Robert Bernstein, has watched as his organization has lost its focus and come unmoored (to mix metaphors), and has written a piece in the NY Times about what he sees as the principal reason.

AS the founder of Human Rights Watch, its active chairman for 20 years and now founding chairman emeritus, I must do something that I never anticipated: I must publicly join the group’s critics. Human Rights Watch had as its original mission to pry open closed societies, advocate basic freedoms and support dissenters. But recently it has been issuing reports on the Israeli-Arab conflict that are helping those who wish to turn Israel into a pariah state.

At Human Rights Watch, we always recognized that open, democratic societies have faults and commit abuses. But we saw that they have the ability to correct them — through vigorous public debate, an adversarial press and many other mechanisms that encourage reform.

That is why we sought to draw a sharp line between the democratic and nondemocratic worlds, in an effort to create clarity in human rights. We wanted to prevent the Soviet Union and its followers from playing a moral equivalence game with the West and to encourage liberalization by drawing attention to dissidents like Andrei Sakharov, Natan Sharansky and those in the Soviet gulag — and the millions in China’s laogai, or labor camps.

When I stepped aside in 1998, Human Rights Watch was active in 70 countries, most of them closed societies. Now the organization, with increasing frequency, casts aside its important distinction between open and closed societies.

He goes on to describe the disparity he sees in general among human rights organizations in the Middle East.

Israel, with a population of 7.4 million, is home to at least 80 human rights organizations, a vibrant free press, a democratically elected government, a judiciary that frequently rules against the government, a politically active academia, multiple political parties and, judging by the amount of news coverage, probably more journalists per capita than any other country in the world — many of whom are there expressly to cover the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Meanwhile, the Arab and Iranian regimes rule over some 350 million people, and most remain brutal, closed and autocratic, permitting little or no internal dissent. The plight of their citizens who would most benefit from the kind of attention a large and well-financed international human rights organization can provide is being ignored as Human Rights Watch’s Middle East division prepares report after report on Israel.

You remember that old joke about the drunk who lost his keys at night, and is looking for them under a lamppost?  The passer-by offering assistance is told that the keys were lost farther down the block, but, explains the drunk, "the light’s better here."

Instead of doing the hard work of looking for human rights abuses where they’re not allowed to look, the most open and free of the countries in the Middle East is targeted instead.  Bernstein also notes that HRW doesn’t even seem to understand, anymore, the difference between wrongs committed in self-defense and those perpetrated intentionally."  No one’s saying Israel is perfect, but HRW and similar organizations are making it sound like Israel is the region’s worst offender.

Likely it isn’t, but that’s no longer the point, apparently.  These groups are going down the path of least resistance, which suggests that human rights aren’t really the top priority anymore.  Pick your reason; more publicity, perhaps leading to more money, or maybe even some anti-Semitism. 

But actual human rights seem to have slipped from the top spot.  They’re looking where the light’s better, not noticing that the country that they’re complaining most about is the one keeping the light on.  It’s time to take a flashlight to where the keys actually are, if you want to find something more useful.

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