November 2012

Why we should be side by side with Israel now by Jose Maria Aznar and All the Founder Members

Defending Israel is not a matter of altruism. Defending Israel is in the West’s strategic, economic, military, and – yes, moral interest.

The Friends of Israel Initiative has been established in the firm conviction that the State of Israel must be recognized as a valuable member of the international community, and as a vibrant democracy with the strengths and imperfections of any other democratic political community.

Upheavals throughout the Arab world have brought these truths to light in an unmistakable way.

Hamas fires from civilian areas in Gaza by Ahron Shapiro

Nov 1 2012
Emboldened by its increasing acceptance among Arab governments, Hamas has changed its tactics in Gaza and is openly leading the rocket fire against Israel and moreover, making it clear that it effectively uses the Gaza population as human shields to do so.

Meanwhile, Israel has arrested a large, 30-member Hamas terror cell in the West Bank, thwarting an apparent attempt by the organisation to reassemble its terror infrastructure across several cities under control of the Palestinian Authority.

Islam and Extremism: What Is Underneath by William DiPuccio

November 1, 2012
Islamists seem to be driven not only to establish the hegemony of Islam by supplanting secular governments and legal systems, but also by enforcing religious purity according to their own standards. Muslims in America – most of whom were undoubtedly fleeing abuse, not trying to bring it with them – should of course be treated with the same respect and deference extended to people of other religions But our civility should not blind us to the potential for extremism – a concern shared by 60% of Muslim Americans – or to the religious connections between Islam and terrorism.

Palestine: To Be, or Not to Be, That Is Not the Question by Rafael L. Bardají

If Abu Mazen, also known as Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian Authority, really wanted to have a state, he didn’t need to go all the way to the United Nations to get it – it’d have been enough to accept Israel’s call to dialogue and sit with the Israeli Administration in order to try to resolve the disputed issues.

PMW material in Israel’s public diplomacy by Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik

Oct. 25, 2012
The government of Israel recently released its "Index of Palestinian Incitement" as a PowerPoint presentation. Virtually all of the examples in the government report were from Palestinian Media Watch's research.

The Islamists' Need to Feel Wronged by Nonie Darwish

November 1, 2012
As "the true focus behind jihad…. is to defend, not destroy", the Muslim world is constantly looking for excuses to confirm the need to feel wronged to justify attacks on American and Western interests. The US should by now have understood that because Islamic anger and terror are always on the search for these excuses, one must never fall for them. The Islamists do not want co-existence; they want surrender.

Younger Israeli Arabs see engagement, not hostility, as path to equality Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz

Nov 2 2012
Earlier this year, I was standing at the top of a ridge in the Wadi Ara Valley in Israel, overlooking the Arab settlement of Arara. I was with representatives from Givat Haviva, an Israeli-Arab reconciliation organisation. In the town below, I was told, lived a man who represented a new trend within Israel's Arab citizenry.

Reports show Turkish democracy - held up as a regional model - is under threat at home / Or Avi - Guy

Nov 2 2012
Free press protest in Turkey
As Islamist parties and groups gain power in countries such as Egypt, Tunisia and Libya in the aftermath of the upheavals in the Middle East, and with growing chaos and uncertainty in neighbouring Syria, Turkey has been seen by many analysts as a model for balancing political Islam and democracy. But in this debate about whether the "Turkish model" can be exported and successfully implemented in other countries in the region, the many flaws of the Turkish democracy have often been ignored, overlooked or downplayed.

West Bank: What the West is Funding by Khaled Abu Toameh

November 2, 2012
Harb said that the decision to summon him for questioning was in the context of the Palestinian Authority leadership's campaign to intimidate Palestinian writers and journalists and stop them from discussing internal issues. International human rights groups and countries that fund and support Abbas's authority have yet to sound their voices. Failing to hold the Palestinian Authority accountable will only drive more Palestinians int the arms of Hamas and other radical forces.

Iran is Victorious in Iraq by Mordechai Kedar

November 2, 2012
And the United States is the Loser
In March 2003 the forces of the international coalition, under the leadership of the United States, invaded Iraq to bring to an end the dictatorial regime of Saddam Hussein, and to rid the world of the danger from his chemical weapons, which he had previously used in 1988 to subdue the Iranians in the bloody war that had begun eight years before.

Islam Overtaking Catholicism as Dominant Religion in France by Soeren Kern

November 2, 2012
Meanwhile, the Socialist government in France recently inaugurated a new mega-mosque in Paris as a first step toward "progressively building a French Islam."

A majority of people in France, according to a new poll, believe that Islam is too influential in French society, and almost half view Muslims as a threat to their national identity.

The Pro-Islamist Obama Administration: A Case Study in Syria By Barry Rubin

01 Nov 2012 04:25 AM PDT
Almost a year ago today, November 17, 2011 to be specific, I analyzed the new Syrian opposition leadership created by the Obama Administration through the services of the Islamist regime in Turkey. It was already obvious that the Syrian National Council (SNC) was a Muslim Brotherhood front group, yet the Obama Administration backed it any way.

Even if you aren’t interested in this specific issue, the SNC story is a terrific case study of how the Obama Administration has trashed U.S. interests abroad, and especially in the Middle East.

Following the elections, Mideast peace negotiations should resume by Alan M. Dershowitz

November 3, 2012
I was invited to meet with President Abbas of the Palestinian Authority just before he spoke to the General Assembly of the United Nations. I came to the meeting with an agenda: to persuade him to sit down with the Israelis and resume negotiations without first requiring the Israelis to accept a total settlement freeze.

Egypt's Government and Media Conspire against Christian Copts by Raymond Ibrahim

November 2, 2012
The Egyptian media demonized the protesting Christians during the original Maspero Massacre, in which Egyptians in armored vehicles mowed down protesting Christians. They were followed by the Western media, who seem never to check anything, who again turned the victims into the persecutors in their version of the event.

The Sunni-Shia Conflict Will Be The Major Feature of Middle East Politics for Decades By Barry Rubin

04 Nov 2012 02:48 AM PST
Once upon a time, Arab nationalism ruled the Middle East. Its doctrine saw Arab identity as the key to political success. Some regarded Islam as important; others were secular. Yet there was no doubt that national identity was in charge. All Arabs should unite, said the radical nationalists who ruled in Egypt, Libya, Syria, Iraq, and elsewhere, to destroy Israel, expel Western influence, and create a utopian single state in the region.

Europe and the New Antisemitism

Nov 2 2012
Update from AIJAC
This Update contains two pieces from leading intellectuals dealing with the rise of "new" forms of antisemitism - forms where anti-Zionism is mixed with antisemitic beliefs and tropes - with a special focus on Europe. In addition, it includes a piece re-considering conventional wisdom on where Lebanon is heading in the wake of the assassination of intelligence chief Wissam al-Hassan two weeks ago.

After Abbas The End of the PLO's Old-Guard Monopoly by Khaled Abu Toameh

October 2, 2012
"[Abbas's] resignation would actually be the most positive thing he has ever done for the Palestinians." — PLO representative.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas apparently believes that the Palestinians would not be able to survive for one day without him.

That must be why whenever he faces criticism from Palestinians, Abbas resorts to his old-new threat to resign.

Turkey between Europe and the Levant By Pinhas Inbari

05 November 2012
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan declared last week in Berlin that Turkey has not given up its aspiration to join the EU. He went even further and called on Muslims in Europe to integrate into their European communities. It is unclear whether the Turkish leader has actually reconsidered the decision to abandon the European project or if his remarks were delivered as a courtesy to please his German host.

Mixed Palestinian reactions to Abbas refugee concession / Ahron Shapiro

Nov 5 2012
Palestinian debate has been touched off by comments Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas made on Thursday appearing to accept concessions on the Palestinian "right of return" to pre-1949 Israel.

"I visited Safed before once. But I want to see Safed. It's my right to see it, but not to live there," Abbas said during an interview with Israel's Channel Two television, which was conducted in English.

PA: Abbas did not relinquish right of return By KHALED ABU TOAMEH

11/03/2012 17:43
Palestinian Authority president slammed for Channel 2 interview; adviser says Abbas referred to state within '67 borders.
PA President Mahmoud Abbas on Channel 2 Photo: Screenshot

The Palestinian Authority announced Saturday that its president, Mahmoud Abbas, has not relinquished Palestinian refugees’ “right to return” to their former homes inside Israel.

The statement came after Abbas told Channel 2 on Thursday that he did not want to return to his former hometown of Safed and that a Palestinian state would be established only within the pre-1967 lines.

Benghazi: Critical Information and Unanswered Questions by Timothy Wilson

November 5, 2012
Another successful attack on Americans is a devastating blow to or standing and strength as perceived by foreign nations and nationals.

U.S Secret Talks with Iran /B.Rubin

05 Nov 2012 05:34 AM PST
The Obama Administration is secretly negotiating with Iran and the effort is being headed by no less than presidential advisor on domestic affairs Valerie Jarrett, an old friend of Obama’s who is widely viewed as the closest friend of the president. The exchanges are reportedly being held in Bahrain.

UNRWA's Self-serving Agenda by Uri Resnick

Nov.5 2012
Since June 1967, operations in the West Bank and Gaza by the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) have been carried out in accordance with an explicit agreement with Israel, which has repeatedly indicated its support for the agency's humanitarian activities.[1]

Jordan's King Abdullah "Playing With Fire" by Khaled Abu Toameh

November 7, 2012
Muslim Brotherhood and Salafi thugs today feel secure enough to impose their will on any Jordanian. The king is encouraging his rivals to pursue their efforts to destabilize the kingdom and create an Islamic state which would one day participate in the "big jihad" to eliminate Israel.

Muslim thugs in Jordan last weekend attacked a large group of young men and women who had gathered at a coffee shop in Amman to celebrate Halloween.

The thugs were members of the Muslim Brotherhood organization and the Salafi group.

No Change in the Palestinian Position on the Right of Return Lt. Col. (ret.) Jonathan D. Halevi,

November 5, 2012
Claims that Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas – in an interview with Israel’s Channel 2 TV on Nov. 2, 2012 – had apparently relinquished the “right of return” for Palestinian refugees are baseless in light of the clarifications provided by Abbas himself, in which he called the return a “sacred right” and affirmed his full commitment to the basic Palestinian positions.

What Obama Should Have Done in the Last Four Years and Won't Do in the Next Four Years By Barry Rubin

07 Nov 2012
Over and over again I’ve written about what President Barack Obama should do. Now the voters have given him a whole new chance. He could take it and change his policy. I don't believe he will do that but let me lay out both what he's been wrong and what he should do, just in case Obama is seeking a different approach.
What he did in the first and will do in the second term: Foster revolutionary Islamism in Egypt, the Gaza Strip, Syria, Tunisia, and Turkey.

Where Would Hezbollah Be Without the EU? by Douglas Murray

November 8, 2012
The EU has been here before. During the same period they came up with their false wall-of-separation within Hezbollah, they they did the same thing with Hamas. The fiction disappeared in Europe because it was no longer possible to allow a group to operate which blew up buses full of civilians.

However bad many Americans think that the Obama administration is on security matters, at least one thing can be said in their favor: they are not Europeans.

Secessions That Will Redraw Europe by Peter Martino

November 8, 2012
As the richer center-right regions are increasingly unwilling to pay for the poorer leftist regions, the strain on multi-ethnic nations in Europe is growing. We might very well see an entirely different Europe – with a handful of new nations – five years from now. Washington would be wise to take this possibility into serious consideration.

Kurdish Rivalries in Syria by Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi

November 8, 2012
Amid claims of major advances for anti-regime forces in Aleppo, news emerged that rebels in the city had moved into the Kurdish neighborhood of Ashrafiya, which has been under the control of the Kurdish Democratic Party (PYD). Throughout the Syrian uprising and subsequent civil war, the PYD has maintained a policy of neutrality, attacking both rebel and regime forces who might impinge on their zones of control.


UN Watch Urges U.S., EU, U.N. Chief to Speak Out
U.N. Elects Al-Bashir's Genocidal Sudan to Top Rights Body

Belgium Will Become an Islamic State" by Soeren Kern

November 9, 2012
The statements of Mark Elchardus, author of a 426 page study, who linked Islam with anti-Semitism, earned him a lawsuit filed by a Muslim group, which said that his comments violated Belgium's anti-discrimination law of 2007, which forbids discrimination on the basis of "religious convictions," and Article 444 of the Belgian penal code as his statements appeared in a newspaper and were therefore repeated extensively in print. Belgian law, however, apparently did not prevent Muslims from resorting to anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism.

Palestinians finally submit draft statehood request: analysis and implications by Daniel Meyerowitz - Katz

Nov 9 2012
Last night, the long-awaited Draft Resolution for the Palestinian UN statehood bid was filed by the Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine, and a copy has since been leaked. The Draft's most substantive point is the request to alter Palestine's status in the UN General Assembly (UNGA). This is contained in the third paragraph, which reads that the UNGA:

Israel’s Situation and Strategy In Obama’s Second Term / B.Rubin

Posted: 09 Nov 2012
“Don’t Panic” –Douglas Adams, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
What should Israel’s policy and priorities be in President Barack Obama’s second term? There will be two key themes: minimize antagonism and cope with the negative consequences of U.S. regional policy.

1. Protect bilateral relations.

Palestinians killed in Syria receive little attention by Sharyn Mittleman

Nov 9 2012

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad once painted himself and his father as the champion of the Palestinian cause. But now the situation appears to have changed, as Assad's army reportedly fired on the Palestinian refugee camp Yarmouk killing 20 on November 4, raided Hamas offices and there are fears of mass Palestinian deportations from Syria.

Over 400 Palestinians have been killed in the Syrian civil war, with little to no coverage by the Australian media. The self-proclaimed Palestinian advocates have also been all-but silent.

UNRWA Keeps Quiet on Syria by Asaf Romirowsky and Alexander Joffe

November 9, 2012
When two employees of UNRWA, the United Nations organization for Palestinians, were killed in Syria, one by a sniper and the other in a crossfire, the organization responded by deploring "the tragic loss of life." It was even more subdued when Syrian artillery shells slammed into a United Nations school for Palestinians in a Damascus suburb, as it called for "all sides to refrain from conducting the conflict in civilian areas and to comply with their obligations under international law."

Behind The Lines: The Sunni-Shi’a Arc of Conflict, by Jonathan Spyer

November 8, 2012
The rival interests of Riyadh and Tehran stand at the center of the sectarian division.
Bahrain this week accused the Lebanese Hezbollah group of responsibility for a series of bombings in the Bahraini capital Manama.The five bomb blasts, in the Adliya and Gudaybiya districts of the city, came amid renewed protests by members of the island’s 70 percent Shi’a majority against the Sunni Khalifa monarchy. Two Asian cleaning workers were killed.

U.N. Election Tomorrow: Chavez & Pakistan to Win Human Rights Council Seats, While U.S. May Lose

Nov.11 2012
Human Rights groups oppose bids by Pakistan, Venezuela,
Kazakhstan, Cote d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Gabon, and UAE

To Win U.N. Election, German Foreign Minister Promises Dictatorships "No Confrontation"

The Middle East in President Obama's Second Term /Update from AIJAC

November 9, 2012
With the US election finally decided on Tuesday, and President Barack Obama returned to office reasonably comfortably, this Update looks at his Middle East challenges over the next four years.

An excellent starting place is the Washington Institute for Near East Policy forum on the subject, held yesterday, which is available for online viewing here (no transcript yet available).

Europe Loses One of Its Most Courageous Politicians by Peter Martino

November 12, 2012
Civil servants posted good riddance messages, criticizing the minister and welcoming his successor.

After Obama's re-election, what's next for the Palestinians?By Pinhas Inbari

12 November 2012
The re-election of Barack Obama begs the question whether, as he had done in his first term, the US president would focus his attention on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. While the resolution of the conflict was high on the administration’s agenda four years ago, that is no longer the case.

Obama II will certainly address the Palestinian issue, but not with the same vigor and determination that characterized the first term.

New York Times Article on UN Watch Conference By ELIAS E. LOPEZ

News: U.S. Elected with 131 Votes, Hugo Chavez Elected with 154 Votes
New York, Nov. 12 - Despite UN Watch-led international appeals for reform, the United Nations General Assembly this morning voted to add even more non-democracies to the Human Rights Council, a "Who's Who" of serial rights abusers: Pakistan, Venezuela, Kazakhstan, Cote d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Gabon, and the United Arab Emirates. Council members already include China, Cuba, Russia, Saudi Arabia and slave-holding Mauritania.

Is J Street Winning? by Steven J. Rosen

November 9, 2012
Will there be a tectonic shift in attitudes toward the Middle East among Democrats in the next Congress?

#Stoptherockets / Ray Cook

11 Nov 2012 03:01 PM PST

#StopTheRockets is the Twitter hashtag promoted today by the incomparable @avimayer.
Avi has relentlessly been using this hashtag with his own barrage of tweets to get it ‘trending’.

Avi’s tweets point out that rockets fired indiscriminately from Gaza into Israel which illicit a response from the IDF do harm to both sides, especially children.

The context for this is more than 100 rockets fired from Gaza in the last 2 days. Some of these rockets have hit towns, cities and kibbutzim in Israel causing damage to buildings, shock but no casualties.

Freedom House Still Doggedly Libelling Israel by Lee Kaplan

November 13, 2012
Using at best no research, and at worst venomous research, Freedom House chooses to honor the libel which emerges against Israel primarily from the same totalitarian countries Freedom House would have it believe it scrutinizes.

Freedom House, once a reliable guardian of protecting freedom and human rights, continues to slander Israel based on false Palestinian propaganda, which it presents as facts in order to declare Israel "less free" and a violator of human rights.

Next Stop: The Obama Administration Puts Its Trust in Negotiations with Iran By Barry Rubin

12 Nov 2012
The most important foreign policy effort President Barack Obama will be making over the next year is negotiating with Iran. The terms of the U.S. offer are clear: if Iran agrees not to build nuclear weapons, it will be allowed to enrich a certain amount of uranium, supposedly for purposes of generating nuclear energy (which Iran doesn’t need) and other benefits, supposedly under strict safeguards.

"The Sphinx and Pyramids Must be Destroyed" by Khaled Abu Toameh

November 13, 2012
If the Egyptian army was unable to prevent the killing of 16 border guards by Muslim terrorists in its own base in the Sinai Peninsula, how is it expected to protect the Pyramids and the Great Sphinx?

Egypt's Muslim fundamentalists are now calling for the destruction of the Pyramids and the Great Sphinx of Giza under the pretext that Islam prohibits idols.

If the extremists have no respect for human life, why should they care about a pyramid or a statue?

Egypt's Government and Media Conspire against Christian Copts / Raymond Ibrahim

November 2, 2012
From top to bottom, from the Muslim Brotherhood president to the Muslim Brotherhood-monitored media, the lies concerning Egypt's Christian minority—whether presidential lies that claim they are cared for, or whether media lies demonizing them—continue unabated. Some recent examples follow:

Turkey's Islamist Turn, 10 Years Later / Daniel Pipes

November 13, 2012
Is Turkey—due to its size, location, economy and sophisticated Islamist ideology—set to become the West's greatest problem in the Middle East?

A tumultuous decade has passed since the Justice and Development Party was first elected to office on Nov. 3, 2002. Almost unnoticed, the country exited the pro-Western era started by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk (1881-1938) and entered the anti-Western era of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (born 1954).

Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on the cover of Time magazine in 2011.

Violence in Iraq / by Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi

Nov.14 2012
When it comes to statistics on violence in Iraq, there are a number of sources one can use for information, including the "Iraq Body Count" (IBC), the Iraqi government, and the United Nations. The IBC's methodology is to rely solely on reports put out in media outlets and in press releases from various organizations. For example, IBC uses the American news channel ABC News, the British newspaper The Independent, and the Iraqi newspaper al-Mada.[1]

Turkey: Fazil Say, Composer, Charged with Blasphemy for Tweets by Veli Sirin

November 13, 2012
In both cases, Fazil Say's and Hamza Kashgari's, the statements of creative people – a composer and a poet – appear as pretexts for persecution because of their prior criticism of government actions. Kashgari, 23, charged with "apostasy," has been held in a Saudi jail since February.