Archive for September, 2011

MORE SOBER VOICES OUT OF ISRAEL – MAURICE OSTROFF

Prodigiously setting the

record straight

When he first came to Israel from South Africa as a volunteer during Israel’s War of Independence, Maurice Ostroff was a key figure in setting up Israel’s then non-existent radar system. Initially they had to make do with a lot of ingenuity and spare parts that included bicycle sprockets. Amazingly, they managed to locate enemy fighter planes. Over sixty years later, Maurice Ostroff is still scanning the atmosphere for hostile movement against Israel.

His website www.2nd-thoughts.org is widely regarded as a reliable source of information about the Arab-Israel conflict, as well as a forum in which he challenges Israel’s many detractors with facts and logic. People with whom he has exchanged viewpoints or who chose to remain mute to his incisive observations, include the hapless Judge Richard Goldstein, as well as others far more inflexible such as bashers of Israel, such as South African government minister Ronnie Kasrils and Nobel Prize recipient Bishop Desmond Tutu. He has taken on former US President Jimmy Carter, Mearsheimer and Walt, as well as Jews whose concern about Arab adversity (brought about almost entirely through the mendacity of their own leaders) blocks out any consideration for the rights and mortal dangers faced by their fellow-Jews.

Like many other people who try to correct the false impressions that Israel’s many adversaries spread in the media, campuses and lecture halls, Maurice Ostroff has had a very variegated career as an engineer, company director and as a member of the Israel-South Africa Chamber of Commerce and the Board of Governors of the Technion in Haifa.

In this slightly abridged item that we present here, Maurice Ostroff deals with the controversial issue of Judea and Samaria (aka the West Bank).
He writes:

This article is intended neither as an argument for, nor against, Israel retaining some or all of the West bank settlements. Rather it urges that any discussion of the subject be based on the facts …

Proponents of sanctions against Israel refer repeatedly to Israeli violations of international law as if the alleged illegality is axiomatic. However if we look only at facts without being diverted by preconceived, unsubstantiated opinions there is a strong likelihood that we might revise our conclusions.

Contrary to the intellectually honest approach of seeking credible information from a wide variety of sources and following the facts wherever they may lead, Israel’s attackers regularly quote only sources that support their belief that Israel is an illegal occupier, and exclude others of equal or possibly better authority that conflict with what they wish to believe.

Ostroff continues by listing some of the sources that Israel’s detractors invariably choose to ignore:

THE 1915 McMAHON-HUSSEIN AGREEMENT

In 1915 Sir Henry McMahon made promises on behalf of the British government, via Sherif Hussein of Mecca, about allocation of territory to the Arab people. Although Hussein understood from the promises that Palestine would be given to the Arabs, the British later claimed that land definitions were only approximate and that a map drawn at the time excluded Palestine from territory to be given to the Arab people. However in a subsequent change of policy in recognition of McMahon’s correspondence, and in violation of its mandate, Britain separated the territory east of the Jordan River namely Transjordan, since named Jordan from Palestine west of the Jordan.

In his book “State and economics in the Middle East: a society in transition” (Routledge, 2003), Alfred Bonné included a letter from Sir Henry McMahon to The Times of London dated July 23,1937 in which he wrote, “I feel it my duty to state, and I do so definitely and emphatically, that it was not intended by me in giving this pledge to King Hussein, to include Palestine in the area in which Arab independence was promised. I also had every reason to believe at the time that the fact that Palestine was not included in my pledge was well understood by King Hussein.”

THE MAY 1916 SYKES-PICOT AGREEMENT

This secret agreement between Britain, France and Russia was concluded by British diplomat, Sir Mark Sykes and French diplomat Georges Picot. In seeking to divide the Middle East into areas of influence for each of the imperial powers but leaving the Holy Land to be jointly administered by the three powers, it clashed materially with the McMahon Agreement. It was intended to hand Syria, Mesopotamia, Lebanon and Cilicia (in south-eastern Asia Minor) to the French and Palestine, Jordan and areas around the Persian Gulf and Baghdad, including Arabia and the Jordan Valley to the British. Although intended to be secret, the Arabs learned about the agreement from communists who found a copy in the Russian government’s archives.

THE 1917 BALFOUR DECLARATION

The Balfour Declaration is contained in the following letter from Lord Arthur Balfour, the British foreign secretary, to Lord Rothschild, president of the British Zionist Federation, dated November 2nd, 1917.

Dear Lord Rothschild,

I have much pleasure in conveying to you, on behalf of His Majesty’s Government, the following declaration of sympathy with Jewish Zionist aspirations which has been submitted to, and approved by, the Cabinet.

“His Majesty’s Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.”

I should be grateful if you would bring this declaration to the knowledge of the Zionist Federation.

Yours sincerely,

Arthur James Balfour

The declaration was accepted by the League of Nations on July 24, 1922 and embodied in the mandate that gave Great Britain administrative control of Palestine as described in more detail below.

THE SAN REMO CONFERENCE  1920

After ruling vast areas of Eastern Europe, South-western Asia, and North Africa for centuries, the Ottoman Empire lost all its Middle East territories during World War One. The Treaty of Sèvres of August 10, 1920 abolished the Ottoman Empire and obliged Turkey to renounce all rights over Arab Asia and North Africa. It was replaced by the Treaty of Lausanne in 1923.

The status of the Ottoman Empire’s former possessions was determined at a conference in San Remo, Italy on April 24-25, 1920 attended by Great Britain, France, Italy, Japan and as an observer, the United States. Syria and Lebanon were mandated to France while Mesopotamia (Iraq) and the southern portion of the territory (Palestine) were mandated to Britain, with the charge to implement the Balfour Declaration.

While the Balfour Declaration was in itself not a legally enforceable document, it did become so by being en- trenched in international law when it was incorporated in its entirety in a resolution passed by the Conference on April 25. Significantly, the only change made to the wording of the Balfour Declaration was to strengthen Britain’s obligation to implement the Balfour Declaration. Lord Curzon described the San Remo resolution as “the Magna Carta of the Zionists”.

The conference’s decisions were confirmed unanimously by all 51 member states of the League of Nations on 24 July, 1922 and they were further endorsed by a joint resolution of the United States Congress in the same year.

The San Remo resolution received a further US endorsement in the Anglo-American Treaty on Palestine, signed by the US and Britain on 3 December, 1924, that incorporated the text of the Mandate for Palestine … The Senate ratified the treaty on 20 February, 1925 followed by President Calvin Coolidge on March 2, 1925 and by Great Britain on March 18, 1925.

Britain was specifically charged with giving effect to the establishment of the Jewish National Home in Palestine that was called for in the Balfour declaration that had already been adopted by the other Allied Powers. Clearly, the legitimacy of Syria, Lebanon, Iraq & a Jewish state in Palestine as defined before the creation of Transjordan all derive from the same binding international agreement at San Remo, that has never been abrogated.

In April 2010, a ceremony attended by politicians and others from Europe, the U.S. and Canada was held in San Remo at the house where the signing of the San Remo declaration took place in 1920. At the conclusion of the commemoration, the following statement was released:

“Reaffirming the importance of the San Remo Resolution of April 25, 1920 which included the Balfour Dec. in its entirety – in shaping the map of the modern Middle East, as agreed upon by the Supreme Council of the principal Allied Powers (Britain, France, Italy, Japan, and the United States acting as an observer), and later approved unanimously by the League of Nations; the Resolution remains irrevocable, legally binding and valid to this day.

“Emphasizing that the San Remo Resolution of 1920 recognized the exclusive national Jewish rights to the Land of Israel under international law, on the strength of the historical connection of the Jewish people to the territory previously known as Palestine. … “Recalling that such a seminal event as the San Remo Conference of 1920 has been forgotten or ignored by the community of nations, and that the rights it conferred upon the Jewish people have been unlawfully dismissed, curtailed and denied. …. Asserting that a just and lasting peace, leading to the acceptance of secure and recognized borders between all States in the region, can only be achieved by recognizing the long established rights of the Jewish people under international law.”

THE BRITISH MANDATE OVER PALESTINE

As stated above, the San Remo Conference decided to place Palestine under British Mandatory rule making Britain responsible for giving effect to the Balfour declaration that had been adopted by the other Allied Powers. The resulting “Mandate for Palestine,” was an historical League of Nations document that laid down the Jewish legal right to settle anywhere in Palestine and the San Remo Resolution together with Article 22 of the Covenant of the League of Nations became the basic documents on which the Mandate for Palestine was established.

The Mandate’s declaration of July 24, 1922 states unambiguously that Britain became responsible for putting the Balfour Declaration, in favor of the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, into effect and it confirmed that recognition had thereby been given to the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and to the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country.

It is highly relevant that at that time the West Bank and parts of what today is Jordan were included as a Jewish Homeland. However, on September 16, 1922, the British divided the Mandate territory into Palestine, west of the Jordan and Transjordan, east of the Jordan River, in accordance with the McMahon Correspondence of 1915. Transjordan became exempt from the Mandate provisions concerning the Jewish National Home, effectively removing about 78% of the original territory of the area in which a Jewish National home was to be established in terms of the Balfour Declaration and the San Remo resolution as well as the British Mandate.

This action violated not only Article 5 of the Mandate which required the Mandatory to be responsible for seeing that no Palestine territory shall be ceded or leased to, or in any way placed under the control of the Government of any foreign Power but also article 20 of the Covenant of the League of Nations in which the Members of the League solemnly undertook that they would not enter into any engagements inconsistent with the terms thereof.

Article 6 of the Mandate stated that the Administration of Palestine, while ensuring that the rights and position of other sections of the population are not prejudiced, shall facilitate Jewish immigration under suitable conditions and shall encourage, in co-operation with the Jewish agency referred to in Article 4, close settlement by Jews on the land, including State lands and waste lands not required for public purposes.

Nevertheless in violation of article 6, in a 1939 White Paper Britain limited Jewish immigration from Europe, a move regarded by Zionists as betrayal of the terms of the mandate, especially in light of the increased persecution of Jews in Europe. In response, Zionists organized Aliyah Bet, a program of illegal immigration into Palestine.

CONCLUSION

The frequently voiced complaint that the state being offered to the Palestinians comprises only 22 percent of Palestine is obviously invalid. The truth is exactly the reverse. From the above history it is obvious that the territory on both sides of the Jordan was legally designated for the Jewish homeland by the 1920 San Remo Conference, mandated to Britain, endorsed by the League of Nations in 1922, affirmed in the Anglo-American Convention on Palestine in 1925 and confirmed in 1945 by article 80 of the UN. Yet, 77% of this territory was excised from the territory in May 1923 when, in violation of the mandate and the San Remo resolution, Britain gave autonomy to Transjordan (now known as Jordan) under as-Sharif Abdullah bin al-Husayn.

Furthermore, as the San Remo resolution has never been abrogated, it was and continues to be legally binding between the several parties who signed it. It is therefore obvious that the legitimacy of Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and a Jewish state in Palestine all derive from the same international agreement at San Remo.

In essence, when Israel entered the West Bank and Jerusalem in 1967 it did not occupy territory to which any other party had title. While Jerusalem and the West Bank, (Judea and Samaria), were illegally occupied by Jordan in 1948 they remained in effect part of the Jewish National Home that had been created at San Remo and in the 1967 6-Day War Israel, in effect, recovered territory that legally belonged to it. To quote Judge Schwebel, a former President of the International Court of Justice, “As between Israel, acting defensively in 1948 and 1967, on the one hand, and her Arab neighbors, acting aggressively, in 1948 and 1967, on the other, Israel has the better title in the territory of what was Palestine, including the whole of Jerusalem.

A very small list of other authoritative experts who have declared Israel’s presence in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan to be legal, include Professor Julius Stone, one of the twentieth century’s leading authorities on the Law of Nations. See http://www.2nd-thoughts.org/id160.html

Eugene W. Rostow, US Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs between 1966 and 1969 who played a leading role in producing the famous Resolution 242. See http://www.2nd-thoughts.org/id45.html

Jacques Gauthier, Canadian lawyer who spent 20 years researching the legal status of Jerusalem leading to the conclusion on purely legal grounds, ignoring religious claims that Jerusalem belongs to the Jews, by international law. See http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/125049#.TkAg4mGuySo

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September 15, 2011 at 8:00 am 3 comments

Independence for Palestine

A CALL FOR HONESTY

By RALPH DOBRIN

Author of “How to Avoid Armageddon”

To order the book click: www.amazon.com   type: how to avoid Armageddon

I received an e-mail from Emma Ruby-Sachs of the organization Avaaz. An interesting name – Ruby-Sachs, indicating Jewish roots and sentiments towards the oppressed and downtrodden. But like so many nice Jewish people she’s clearly got a very filtered view of the world. In her letter she wrote:

The Palestinian bid for recognition is down to the wire – and if we join forces in the next 72 hours we could get the crucial EU leadership needed to push it through.

Right now three key countries — France, the UK and Germany – are still wavering under pressure from nay-sayers who are trying to crush this new opportunity for freedom. To flip them we’re planning a spectacular delivery of our 900,000 strong petition with a gigantic 300 sq m Palestinian flag right outside the EU Council meeting. We also need to run three urgent public opinion polls that clearly show these leaders that their people support recognition, and flood the media with full page ads.

We can grab the attention of these leaders, show them a massive public mandate to act and hammer home a message of hope for the Palestinian people. We may not get this chance again – if 10,000 of us make a small donation now, we can rush funds into the powerful public actions we need at this critical moment.

Recognition of Palestine could open up a new avenue for peace in the region, and give the Palestinian people the support they need for protection under international law. And this support could not come soon enough: a far-right government in Israel is expanding settlement building in the West Bank, and obstructing the possibilities for a viable two-state solution – a solution supported by the majority of citizens in Israel and Palestine.

More than a hundred and twenty countries have already pledged to support Palestinian statehood, but getting key EU countries on board now is crucial to give this bid the backbone and global legitimacy it needs. Public pressure pushed Spain to pledge its support for statehood. Public opinion polls that show that the majority of citizens want their leaders to support the bid and a stunning media-grabbing stunt at the heart of decision-making could shift the three decisive countries: UK, Germany and France.

It’s countdown time. Our actions in the next few days could flip leaders from a collision course to a decision that would usher in an era of freedom and rescue a path to a negotiated settlement. Just a small donation today will make a difference.

Over 900,000 of us have already lent our voice to this hopeful call for self-determination and peace. Catapulting that call to key EU leaders, news media and the UN meeting itself is the vital next step. Together, we can drown out the fear and intolerance with a global call for non-violence, diplomacy and recognition for Palestine.

With hope,
Emma, Alice, Antonia, Ricken, Benjamin, Pascal, Diego and the whole Avaaz team

These are stirring words. But they indicate the need for all well-meaning people to ask a few questions. I posed them here to Ms. Ruby-Sachs.

Dear Emma,

I applaud your concern for the downtrodden. But do you really know what you’re talking about? Sorry for the abrupt question. But do you know that Palestine is divided geographically between Gaza (ruled exclusively and ruthlessly by the explosively and zenophobically militant Islamist Hamas movement), while Judea and Samaria is ruled by the Fatah movement in the guise of the PLO, and which will almost certainly lose to the Hamas, once Israel evacuates completely — assuming the Arabs of the area will be so unfortunate. (Israel had withdrawn most of its armed forces from most of Judea and Samaria following the Oslo Peace Accords, only to face thousands of terrorist attacks coming from the evacuated areas.)

A question of immense importance is: Do you know how Israel got to be in the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) and Gaza (the latter it has completely evacuated in the cause of peace, to which Hamas responded by launching thousands of rockets into all Israel’s southern cities across the border)? 

And do you know who really prevented the establishment of an independent Arab state in Judea in 1948 — according to the United Nations Partition Resolution? It was Jordan which simply usurped the territory. 

I am sure you must know that Palestine used to be a fairly large country and that 77% of it had been cut off in 1922 by the British Mandate authorities in order to create out of this part of Palestine a purely Arab state, Transjordan, which subsequently became the Kingdom of Jordan! You knew that of course? 

These are just a tiny fraction of the relevant questions that should be asked before rushing off to push for the creation an independent state of Palestine, which can only bode very ill for the Arabs in the region and probably the rest of the world.  

By the way, as a good person, concerned about helping the downtrodden, I reckon that you are also working for China’s return of Tibet for the Tibetians; Turkey’s return of Northern Cyprus to Cyprus; Russia’s return of Karelia to Finland – to mention just a few of the nefarious take-overs of other people’s territory. If not, why only Judea and Samaria? After all, the Arabs aim is to annihilate the Jewish state and its citizens. So many of the leaders and the ordinary people keep making this abundantly clear; the Arabs whose population is 50 times larger than the tiny Jewish state of Israel and who have the second largest land mass in the world, larger than the USA, Canada or China – an area 500 times larger than Israel. So, why the determination to join in the quest to annihilate the Jewish state by truncating it even further and preventing free military build-up across its borders? Actually, I’ll rephrase that question – why not pity the Arabs of the region? By that I mean that the Arabs living in Israel because they most certainly have more rights and better prospects for a good life than the Arabs in any other Arab land on earth. And the Arabs of Judea, Samaria and Gaza would have very similar rights — if only they would stop attacking Israel. Indeed, they could have had their independent state years ago. All they needed to do is stop attacking Israel and let it be. Incidentally, if they have restrictions on their freedom of speech and suffer from government corruption, it is from their own leaders. 

I am pretty sure that you are an honorable person, so these questions should prompt some honest answers from you. If you don’t have educated, unbiased answers you are welcome to reply to my mail.

Respectfully and biased in favor of real peace,
Ralph Dobrin, Jerusalem

September 10, 2011 at 9:57 am Leave a comment

Sober voices from Israel – Caroline Glick

CAROLINE GLICK

A lot of people hate Caroline Glick, a senior staff member of The Jerusalem Post, Israel’s premier English-language daily newspaper. They are usually the same people that hate Israel or readily find fault with everything it does or doesn’t do, or who whole-heartedly sympathize with Arab aspirations. These are people who find a lot of satisfaction reading newspapers like The New York Times and The Guardian and watching the BBC because of the traditionally jaundiced attitude of these purveyors of the half-truth and hype towards Israel. These are the kind of people that Plato was talking about when he said: “They deem him (make that her) their worst enemy who tells them the truth.”

The trouble with Caroline Glick – for all these people – is that she really knows the score about the global gang-up against Israel. She has knowledge and access to relevant revelations such as Arab attitudes and actions vis a vis Israel and the Jews, and she knows how to sort out all her facts to make a point clearly, succinctly and logically. Her knowledge extends to the other interfering nations, and the perfidy of the United Nations. Time and again she exposes the silliness or plain nastiness of American and other supposedly friendly leaders, envoys and journalists, hypocritically pretending concern about Israel’s welfare, while limiting Israel’s ability to defend itself and even function normally in its own territory. Like a Catscan exposing a malignancy, she points out the disloyalty and perfidy by all-to-many Jews and Israelis towards this beleagured country.

What gives her all this savvy? Well, firstly, she’s as alert and intelligent as they come. Furthermore, she’s been groomed from childhood for the role she now plays as – I hope she forgives us for saying this – a prophetess of doom. Her grooming started growing up in Chicago’s ultra-liberal, anti-American and anti-Israel stronghold of Hyde Park, where she learned first-hand the mindset of the people, many of whose liberality has been transformed from something wholesome and humane into blinkered perniciousness. Her academic background includes a BA in Political Science from Columbia University; a Master’s degree in Public Policy from Harvard University, bolstered by over five years – after immigrating to Israel in 1991 – as an officer in the Israel Defense Forces, including a stint as Coordinator of Negotiations with the PLO; as well as a position as Assistant Foreign Policy Advisor to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu (1997-1998).  

During Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003, she was an embedded journalist with the US Army’s 3rd Infantry Division, reporting for The Jerusalem Post, the Chicago Sun Times and Maariv, as well as Israel TV’s Channel 2. She was the first Israeli journalist to report from liberated Baghdad.

So, she has accumulated an enormous amount of relevant knowledge and experience in her young life. Her articles have appeared in many of the foremost media sources around the world. She is also a senior fellow for Middle Eastern Affairs at the Center for Security Policy in Washington, DC, frequently briefing senior administration officials and members of Congress on issues of joint Israeli-American concern. In addition to all this she is the author of Shackled Warrior: Israel and the Global Jihad, published by Gefen Publishers.

For anyone who genuinely wants to understand what the Israel-Arab conflict is all about, and why it continues as unresolved as possible, Caroline Glick is a voice that needs to be heeded by everyone. George Orwell said: “In a time of universal deceit telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.” I can’t know if everything that Glick writes is the absolute truth. I doubt it because no one is that omniscient. Also, on occasion she slips into what to me seems to be misplaced hyperbole (but there isn’t an assertive writer who can’t be faulted for this, including R. Dobrin.) But she clearly helps set the record straight – the record which is so constantly and mendaciously distorted by much of the media everywhere.

She writes a regular column in The Jerusalem Post on Fridays as well as during the week. Countering her many detractors are the multitudes of grateful readers in Israel and all over the world who look forward eagerly to her revealing, inordinately knowledgeable columns on what’s really happening – even though her sober words don’t portend happy times. Caroline Glick is one of a number of excellent writers whose articles appear in The Jerusalem Post. We hope to feature many of the others in future blogs.

Her website is: www.carolineglick.com

We present here a recent (slightly abridged) Jerusalem Post article of hers:

American Jews and the liberal
art of demonization

By CAROLINE B. GLICK – 7th September 2011

The US election season is clearly upon us as President Barack Obama has moved into full campaign mode. Part and parcel of that mode is a new bid to woo Jewish voters and donors upset by Obama’s hostility to Israel back in the Democratic Party’s fold.

To undertake this task, the White House turned to its reliable defender, columnist Jeffrey Goldberg. Since 2008, when then-candidate Obama was first challenged on his anti-Israel friends, pastors and positions, Goldberg has willingly used his pen to defend Obama to the American Jewish community.

Trying to portray Obama as pro-Israel is not a simple task. From the outset of his tenure in office, Obama has distinguished himself as the most anti-Israel president ever. He is the first president ever to denounce Jewish property rights in Jerusalem. He is the first president to require Israel to deny Jews property rights in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria as a precondition for peace talks with the Palestinians. He is the first US president to adopt the position that Israel must surrender its right to defensible borders in the framework of a peace treaty. He has even made Israeli acceptance of this position a precondition for negotiations.

He is the first US president to accept Hamas as a legitimate actor in Palestinian politics. Obama’s willingness to do so was exposed by his refusal to end US financial assistance to the PA in the aftermath of last spring’s unity agreement between Fatah and Hamas. He is the first US president to make US support for Israel at the UN conditional on Israeli concessions to the Palestinians.

Even today, Obama has refused to state outright whether or not he will veto a Security Council resolution later this month endorsing Palestinian statehood outside the context of a peace treaty with Israel. As he leaves Israel twisting in the wind, he has sent his chief Middle East Peace Processors Dennis Ross and David Hale to Israel to threaten Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu into caving to US-Palestinian demands and beg PA leader Mahmoud Abbas to accept an Israeli surrender and cancel his plans to have the UN General Assembly upgrade the PLO’s mission to the UN.

Given Obama’s record – to which can be added his fervent support for Turkish Prime Minister and virulent anti-Semite Recep Tayyip Erdogan, his courtship of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, and his massive weapons sales to Saudi Arabia and Egypt – it is obvious that any attempt to argue that Obama is pro-Israel cannot be based on substance, or even on tone. And so Goldberg’s article, like several that preceded it, is an attempt to distort Obama’s record and deflect responsibility for that record onto Netanyahu. Netanyahu, in turn, is demonized as ungrateful and uncooperative.

Goldberg’s narrative began by recalling Netanyahu’s extraordinary statement during his photo opportunity with Obama at the Oval Office during his visit to Washington in May. At the time, Netanyahu gave an impassioned defense of Israel’s right to secure borders and explained why the 1949 armistice lines are indefensible.

Goldberg centered on then-secretary of defense Robert Gates’s angry statement to his colleagues in the wake of Netanyahu’s visit. Gates reportedly accused Israel of being ungrateful for all the things the US did for it.

After presenting Gates as an objective critic whose views were justified and shared by one and all, Goldberg went on to claim that the administration’s justified antipathy for Netanyahu was liable to harm Israel. That is, he claimed that it would be Netanyahu’s fault if Obama abandoned traditional US support for Israel.

Goldberg’s article is stunning on several levels. First, his distortion of events is breathtaking. Specifically he failed to note that Netanyahu’s statement at the Oval Office was precipitated by Obama’s decision to blindside Netanyahu with his announcement that the US supported an Israeli withdrawal to the indefensible 1949 armistice lines. Obama made the statement in a speech given while Netanyahu was en route to Washington.

Then there is his portrayal of Gates as an objective observer. Goldberg failed to mention that Gates’s record has been consistently anti-Israel. In his Senate approval hearings during the Bush administration, Gates became the first senior US official to state publicly that Israel had a nuclear arsenal.

Gates was a member of the 2006 Baker-Hamilton Iraq Study Group that recommended the US pressure Israel to surrender Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the Golan Heights in order to appease the Arab world and pave the way for a US withdrawal from Iraq.

Gates did everything he could at the Pentagon to deny Israel the ability to attack Iran’s nuclear installations. He was also a fervent advocate of massive arms sales to Saudi Arabia that upset the military balance in the Middle East.

The Obama administration bases its claims that it is pro-Israel on the fact that it has continued and expanded some of the joint US-Israel missile defense projects that were initiated by the Bush administration. Goldberg sympathetically recorded the argument.

But the truth is less sanguine. While jointly developing defensive systems, the administration has placed unprecedented restrictions on the export of offensive military platforms and technologies to Israel. Under Gates, Pentagon constraints on Israeli technology additions to the F-35 Joint Strike Fighters nearly forced Israel to cancel its plans to purchase the aircraft.

It is an open question whether American Jews will be willing to buy the bill of goods the administration is trying to sell them through their media proxies in next year’s presidential elections. But if next week’s special elections for New York’s Ninth Congressional District are any indication, the answer is apparently that an unprecedented number of American Jews are unwilling to ignore reality and support the most anti-Israel president ever.

The New York race is attracting great attention because it is serving as a referendum on Obama’s policies toward Israel. The district, representing portions of Queens and Brooklyn, is heavily Jewish and has been reliably Democratic. And yet, a week before the elections, Republican candidate Bob Turner is tied in the polls with Democratic candidate David Weprin, and the main issue in the race is Obama’s policies on Israel.

To sidestep criticism of the president’s record, Weprin is seeking to distance himself from Obama. He refuses to say if he will support Obama’s reelection bid. And he is as critical of Obama’s record on Israel as his Republican opponent is.

It is encouraging to see that at least in New York’s Ninth Congressional District, American Jews are refusing to be taken in.

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September 8, 2011 at 9:02 am 1 comment

Getting the word out – 1

TALKING ABOUT DOOMSDAY

It is my intention to get myself invited to speak to audiences everywhere in Israel and anywhere else on the entire globe, on the critical subject of how to prevent the advent of a doomsday situation. Apart from my book “How to Avoid Armageddon,” published by Online Publishing earlier this year, and dozens of articles, I have begun giving talks in my hometown Jerusalem. As part of my promotional campaign I have prepared a promotional video for YouTube. The text is as follows:

 

Despite the fact that in many countries all over the world the average person enjoys a level of luxury, comfort and convenience undreamed of, even by kings not so long ago, humanity now finds itself in the midst of one of the most crucial moments in history, with threats and challenges to our well-being, to our very existence, that have never been so daunting.

We all have a pretty good idea regarding these threats and challenges – the serious environmental and demographic problems and a depraved form of religious fundamentalism that keeps growing more menacing all the time – to mention just a few of the issues. And when observing the growing hostility towards Israel by over half the nations in the world … together with the enormous amount of rocketry aimed at it from neighboring countries, even a cautious skeptic might be able to see a possible correlation with biblical prophesy that talks about Doomsday.

But I want to believe that we can avoid such a terrible thing happening, whether we see it in the light of biblical prophetic warnings, or as a logical consequence to unfolding events and developments, and still bring about a Messianic era – if that’s what you yearn for. Pragmatically, it would mean working for a more just world order, promoting decent education everywhere, providing enough food and water for everyone, fostering mutual respect and appreciation among all people, and doing whatever is necessary in order to protect the environment and contain pollution, and of course thwart the demonic ambitions of nasty tyrants and dangerous bigots.

And yes, there are serious efforts being made all the time to deal with these issues. And there are many wonderful people devoting their lives to making this a better, safer world. But there are many conflicting interests and complexities slowing down or even blocking these efforts. So, how are we going to overcome all these conflicting interests and complexities. We have to do so, otherwise we’re all going to be in very serious trouble.

Well, I can tell you that we’re not going to need anything terribly revolutionary or based on ingenious scholarship or the revelation of any esoteric texts. No! All that is needed … is plain, common decency. That’s all. Plain, common decency, but with the main emphasis on truthfulness. Does that sound naïve, unrealistic, silly?

Well think about it – throughout history it has usually been the opposite of truthfulness; it has been half-truths, lies and other forms of deception that bungling, inept leaders, scoundrels and tyrants have used in order to gain and keep power and to wreak havoc and bring boundless misery into the world. And this has always been made possible through the gullibility and indifference of people everywhere.

So, how do we prevent man-made calamity and war? How do we resolve the Israel-Arab conflict? And how … will we avoid a global doomsday situation? Armageddon! Well, if it is usually falsehood that enables the wrongdoing and evil to be done, then the logical answer is … truthfulness  in the sense of being honest about what we’re saying. Actually, this is humanity’s most important and precious value. And indeed, it is truthfulness and the earnest practise of it among more and more people everywhere that will enable our survival as a species.

And that’s what my talk is all about.

I’ll be happy to speak anywhere and to any group on this crucially important subject. You can reach me through my e-mail: friendlysting@yahoo.com    Thank you.

September 2, 2011 at 6:23 am Leave a comment