Monday, September 25, 2017

Alberto Nisman was murdered report says

No surprise to many, Alberto Nisman was murdered. According to the lede in The Wall Street Journal:
Investigators here have concluded that prosecutor Alberto Nisman was murdered in 2015 hours before he was to testify in Congress against then-President Cristina Kirchner, according to people familiar with the investigators’ report, opening a new chapter in a mystery that has transfixed Argentina.
By all accounts, Nisman, who had been charged with investigating the cover up of the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish Center in Buenos Aires, was apparently close on the trail of those who white-washed Iranian involvement in the terror attack that killed 85 people.

His death, claimed by the police and government officials to have been suicide, was suspicious from the start- bruising on his body and an absence of power burns on his head- implied that something else was at play.

Where does the investigation go from here?  Time will tell, but I'm not optimistic that the truth will come out. A sad state of affairs.

Stephen M. Flatow

Read the coverage at the Wall Street Journal for an in-depth report.

Monday, March 27, 2017

A student's reaction as Students for Justice in Palestine honors a mass murderer

Students for Justice in Palestine is a virulent anti-Semitic group.  Naive students, from college campuses across America, march under a banner that boasts, "From River to the Sea, Palestine will be free."
Here's a video discussing one student's reaction to a heroine of the SJP cause, Dalal Mughrabi.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Guess when the last new "settlement" was built

From John Kerry’s speech and similar remarks made by other Obama administration officials in recent years, you would think Israel has been building new settlements day and night.
Yet the fact is that no Israeli government has established a single new settlement in more than twenty years.

When Labor opposition leader Yitzhak Rabin was campaigning for prime minister in 1992, he strongly criticized the Likud government for establishing new Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria. Rabin argued that if Israel would stop creating settlements, the Palestinians would make peace and the world would stop being so hostile toward the Jewish state.

Rabin’s thesis was based on hope and speculation, not historical experience. But he won that election, so he had the opportunity to test his thesis. And he did. Reviewing Rabin’s first several years in power, The New York Times noted on January 20, 1995 that Rabin entered office “promising to rein in the aggressive settlement-building of his predecessor” and he proceeded to implement a policy in which “no new settlements are authorized.”

When Benjamin Netanyahu was elected prime minister for the first time, in 1996, he continued that policy: no new settlements were established. Of course, construction within existing settlements continued. As Yitzhak Rabin had said in his famous last speech to the Knesset, on October 5, 1995: “We committed ourselves…not to hinder building for natural growth.”

How could Rabin have done otherwise? People had children, children needed schools, and when they grew up into young adults, they needed apartments. That’s called life. Nobody could expect the Israeli government – whether Likud or Labor – to choke off people’s lives.

Both Likud and Labor did, of course, continue to develop new neighborhoods in Jerusalem. The notion that parts of Israel’s capital are “settlements” is an absurdity that is rejected among Israelis from right to left.

There are some scattered little “outposts” in Judea-Samaria, but the government has not sanctioned them. Some of those outposts, in fact, have been torn down by the government. A few that were built on the land of existing settlements have been permitted to remain. Others are in legal limbo. But only a tiny number of Israelis reside in the outposts; the idea that they constitute obstacles to peace is laughable.

Not only has the government not authorized any new settlements since 1992, but Prime Minister Netanyahu, whom Kerry smeared as an “extremist,” even froze all construction in existing settlements for 10 months, because the Obama administration insisted that would bring the Palestinian Authority back to the negotiating table. The Obama theory was quickly exposed as a fantasy.

That’s not all. Israel has already torn down existing authorized settlements. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon dismantled 21 Jewish settlements in the Gaza region and expelled their thousands of residents. Israel was hit by tens of thousands of rockets in return.

So there you have it. No new settlements in 24 years. An unprecedented 10-month freeze on construction in existing settlements. Twenty-one settlements torn down. Only a tiny handful of Israelis living in shacks in some inconsequential hilltop outposts.

According to the anti-settlement crowd, Israel by now should have peace with the Palestinians and should be loved by the world.

Instead, we see exactly the opposite.

The Palestinians are even more violent today. The world hates Israel even more. And the Obama administration is obsessed with picking fights with Israel – over, of all things, the settlements.
How can this paradox be explained?

The answer may have more to do with psychology than anything else. The psychology of bullies, to be precise.

We live in a world full of countries that are bullies. They occupy other people’s land (see: Russia). They sponsor terrorism against people of other faiths (see: Iran). They explode if an American president-elect takes a phone call from a rival (see: China). They swallow each other alive (see: countless warring African countries).

They respect countries that are strong and self-confident. They despise and take advantage of countries that seem timid or hesitant. When they see weakness, they smell blood. Israel’s constant concessions – from halting new settlements to releasing imprisoned terrorists to stopping wars in Lebanon and Gaza short of victory – have been seen as signs of weakness. Israel is seen as stumbling, ineffectual, unworthy of respect, perhaps on the verge of collapse. Israel is seen as a country that everyone naturally gangs up on, because everyone assumes the Israelis will make yet more concessions.

That’s what brings us to today’s peculiar reality, in which Israel makes repeated concessions on settlements, and Obama, Kerry, and the UN become even more obsessed with settlements. Fortunately, there appears to be light at the end of this miserable tunnel, as Israel’s leaders join hands with America’s new leadership to forge a better future for both countries.

This post first appeared in the Jewish Press and may be read and commented on here.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Goodbye John Kerry, we won't miss you

John Kerry just couldn't resist.

Even though his pubic career is about to end--even though the Israeli-Palestinian "peace process" is long dead--even though he has absolutely nothing to gain from it--the 73 year-old Kerry just could not resist unleashing one final blast at Israel.

Kerry's disingenuous and mean-spirited attack on Israel at the Saban Forum on Sunday served as a powerful reminder of how good it is that he is about to leave office--and how dangerous for Israel it would have been if he had remained as secretary of state.

Kerry said he finds it "profoundly disturbing" that many members of the Israel cabinet think a Palestinian state isn't such a great idea. Kerry acts as if Palestinian statehood has been an enshrined part of U.S. policy since time immemorial. In fact, only two presidents have endorsed Palestinian statehood; it has been part of U.S. foreign policy for only a very brief time. Future presidents have every right to disagree with the wisdom of that proposal. And certainly Israeli cabinet members have even more of a right to question its wisdom.
Israelis are sick and tired of Kerry's hypocritical lecturing. He never says a word about the massive illegal Palestinian construction in the territories.

"There will be no advance and no separate peace with the Arab world without the Palestinian process and Palestinian peace," Kerry absurdly declared. Apparently he has forgotten that Israel already has separate peace treaties with two of the four neighboring Arab states, Egypt and Jordan. Israel does not need a peace treaty with Lebanon, and Israel has nothing to gain from a peace treaty with Syria, since Syria is no longer a functioning state. So what "peace with the Arab world" is Kerry blabbering about? Does Israel really need the recognition of Morocco or Qatar?

. . . .

Kerry will be remembered as a secretary of state who appeased Palestinian terrorists and tyrants, while lecturing and pressuring America's democratic ally. Goodbye, John Kerry. We won't miss you.

Read the full posting at Israel National News

Sunday, November 13, 2016

France's push for an international peace conference would be a disaster for Israel

Yitzhak Rabin would have opposed it, too.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has rejected France’s call for an international conference to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But before anyone concludes that only “right-wingers” oppose such a conference, it’s worth recalling that one of the most outspoken critics of the conference idea was Yitzhak Rabin.

The year was 1985, and Rabin was Israel’s minister of defense. Arab leaders had been pushing for the convening of an international peace conference. Rabin and other Israeli leaders were insisting on direct Arab-Israeli negotiations.

The Reagan administration had always supported Israel’s position. But in the spring of 1985, there were media reports that Secretary of State George Shultz was starting to warm up to the idea of an international conference. A worried Rabin flew to the United States for top-level discussions.

Upon his arrival in the U.S., Rabin “made it clear he was concerned about Washington’s apparent weakening on the question of an international conference on the Middle East,” according to AIPAC’s weekly newsletter, Near East Report.
“If they are ready to make peace, let’s negotiate [directly],” Rabin was quoted as saying. “If someone wants to undermine any hope of peace, an international conference and bringing in the Syrians is the best way.”

Rabin said that in his meetings with U.S. officials, “I heard about the ‘international umbrella.’ ” That was a phrase that some administration officials had begun using to try to sugarcoat the bitter pill. The idea was that if the conference took place under the “umbrella” of international auspices, it would somehow increase the chances of achieving peace.

Rabin disagreed. “Whenever anyone mentions umbrella, it reminds me of Chamberlain and Munich,” he declared.

Rabin’s statements were pretty remarkable, when you think about it. He had formerly served as Israel’s ambassador in Washington, so he was keenly sensitive to the need not to anger U.S. officials. Yet he publicly leaked the fact that they were using that deceptive “international umbrella” term. Not only did he leak it, he openly criticized it, right there in Washington.

And he didn’t just criticize it, he used the analogy of Chamberlain selling out to Hitler at Munich. For Rabin to stand in Washington and blast the U.S. administration, even invoking a Nazi analogy, was nothing less than astonishing. It really showed what a terrible threat an international conference (or “umbrella”) poses to Israel.

Such a conference, if held today, would consist of a dozen or more Arab and European countries ganging up on Israel and demanding unilateral concessions to the Palestinians. And given reports that the Obama administration wants to see “progress” on this front before the president leaves office, one must assume the U.S. would side with the Arabs and Europeans.

The purpose of the conference would not be to achieve a genuine peace. How do we know? Because the sponsor, France, already declared earlier this year that if the conference failed to produce a Palestinian state, the French would unilaterally recognize one. That’s the goal – not peace, but a Palestinian state, as quickly as possible, no matter the risks to Israel. Which is why the Palestinian Authority’s inciter-in-chief, Mahmoud Abbas, is energetically supporting the conference idea.

During the past year, France has suffered the worst terrorist attacks in the world since 9/11. One would think the French would understand the folly of appeasing Islamic terrorists and oppose creating what would be an overwhelmingly Muslim Palestinian terrorist state. Yet just the opposite has happened.

Why? Because the French are afraid. They are afraid of angering the Muslim world, afraid of more Muslim terrorism. The French believe that since they are defending themselves against ISIS – French planes are bombing Muslim terrorists in Syria and the French police have been shutting down pro-terror mosques – they have to prove they champion Muslim causes. Supporting Palestinian statehood is France’s way of trying to appease the Muslim world.

The international conference proposal is just another way of throwing Israel under the bus. No wonder Israelis – Likud or Labor, right or left – aren’t too excited about that prospect.

A version of this post appears in the Jewish Press.