Friday, January 30, 2009

President Obama and the Declaration of Independence

Maybe I'm sensitive, but I couldn't believe my ears when I heard President Obama misquote the Declaration of Independence during the signing of the "Lilly Ledbetter Act."

In his introductory remarks, the President said,

It is fitting that with the very first bill I sign - the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act - we are upholding one of this nation's first principles: that we are all created equal and each deserve a chance to pursue our own version of happiness.

I always thought, and I confirmed it today, that the Declaration of Independence says we are entitled "to the pursuit of happiness." That doesn't mean that our pursuit is not without limitations imposed by society, but the President's version would give us the right to exceed those limitations imposed by society.

Hairsplitting? I do not think so. I think that when the President of the United States speaks, his words must be measured and deliberate for his words are front page stuff of the highest order.

Read more here.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The only thing Hamas likes better than dead Israelis is dead Palestinians

Mortimer Zuckerman is editor-in-chief and publisher of U.S. News and World Report, he writes in a piece appearing in about the challenge Hamas presents to the world. And the challenge presented to President Obama.
  • Hamas doesn't want peace, and Fatah can't deliver it. Fatah is so weak that it cannot enforce the rule of law against terrorism or make compromises for fear of the radical Islamists. Indeed, without the support of the Israeli Defense Forces, even now it is under threat of being displaced by Hamas. Mahmoud Al-Zahar, a major Hamas leader, underlined Fatah's weakness when he said, "Fatah can't stop us from seizing control of those [West Bank] territories. It is only a matter of time."
  • Israel is so small it has no margin for error. A Hamas takeover of the West Bank would put Ben-Gurion Airport and major cities like Tel Aviv in the firing line, which would render Israel virtually uninhabitable.
  • Over 20 percent of the Israelis were vulnerable even before Tel Aviv came within range. No government could ignore these threats to its people. Yet Israel's belated response has been challenged as "disproportionate". This is ridiculous.
  • To achieve the extermination of Israel, Hamas is ready to sacrifice its followers: "We are not," says Haniya, "seekers of office but seekers of martyrdom." The Palestinian people are like the prisoners in a hijacked plane: hostage to the death cult of radical Islamists.

Read the complete article here

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Sane Voices About Gaza Do Exist

Victims suffer when the news is slanted. Especially when those reporting the news are biased or outright frauds. The war in Gaza, Operation Cast Lead, has its share.

TOMAS SANDELL, the founding director of European Coalition for Israel, writes about Mads Gilbert, "A False Icon," in

The iconic picture from the current conflict in Gaza has been that of a courageous Norwegian doctor saving Palestinian lives. Here he is, the only westerner in Gaza, who is able to not only save lives but also run his own news agency out of a hospital, informing Western media about what is "really" happening and - here is the catch - who is to be blamed, namely Israel.

It is about how helpless most of us are when we are exposed to world events where it is impossible for us to know who is telling the truth and who is not.

Read more

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Natan Sharansky: Removing the Malignancy of Terror

Cries of protest against Israel's war in Gaza come from two sources:

First, those who oppose any Israeli effort to defend itself; "a form of anti-Semitism, and such a view should be rejected outright rather than argued with."

Second,"those who support Israel's existence, but believe it is wrong to wage so harsh an assault on the Gaza Strip."

Both of these claims, as logical as they may sound, ignore the lessons of history, including Israel's recent history in fighting terror. In the 10 years I served as a minister in Israel's security cabinet, I learned just how mistaken such arguments can be.
Terror is a cancer, and the longer one waits to treat it, the worse it gets.

Read the full article here.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Getting the Word Out -- Each Person's Role in the Fight Against Terror

One thing that is hated absolutely by terrorists and their sponsors is the TRUTH. The goal of any article about terror should be to expose the dirty laundry of the terrorists and their sponsors. One of the disappointments arising out of the quick ending to our family's case against the Iranian government was our inability to air Iran's dirty laundry in public. I believed then, as I do now, that the seamy underside of terror's sponsors is worthy of a good dose of sunlight.

Alex Margolin brings a perspective to this battle in a column appearing in the Jerusalem Post.
His points:
  • Israel's much-maligned public relations effort got a big boost from the media in recent weeks.
  • In parallel, on-line activists launched private efforts.

With all this activity, it's tempting to believe that government officials and organized activists have the situation covered. In reality, however, these efforts only address half the equation. The second half belongs to the public. Because of the "social" nature of today's Internet - where content is increasingly generated by users, not the sites themselves - quality content is not enough. It is also vital to maximize the quantity of people spreading Israel's message.

In other words, state agencies can do great work providing videos, images and information and activists can organize the material and create channels for public participation, but success in the media war will largely be determined by what the masses of supporters do with the information.

Margolin briefly traces the changes in media communication via the Internet from a one way street traveled by media sources to a two-way street where reader can add her opinion. He give several examples of this phenomenon and how it works for the better rather than the worst.

So, start that blog, reply to that column.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

NY Times Report on Tunnels is Out of Context

In "Fierce Focus on Tunnels, a Lifeline for Gazans," New York Times, January 10, 2009, reporter Stephen Farrell paints an heroic picture of Hamas terrorists using tunnels to smuggle goods and, dangerous, weapons into Gaza. The goods are sold on the black market, and the weapons are used to attack Israel.

The 1.5 million Palestinians in Gaza regard the tunnels as a vital lifeline to the outside world, from which they are otherwise almost completely shut off by the Israeli military’s control of land, sea and air access to the north, east and west of Gaza. To the south, Gaza has been sealed off by Egypt.

No mention is made why Israel has that control. How about, Mr. Farrell, the need to stop terrorists from entering Israel proper from Gaza?

It's become obvious to the Israelis that the Egyptians, on whose side of the Gaza border the tunnels begin and where the smuggling starts, have done very little, if anything, to stop the smuggling of weapons, nor have they allowed food into Gaza through the crossing on their side.

Terrorists only let the press see what they want it to see. Glorification of their efforts will not bring peace.

Read the full article here.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Church leaders fear for the Holy Land

My eye was drawn this morning to Church Times, "the world's leading Anglican weekly newspaper" according to its web site, and an article Church leaders’ fears for Holy Land. Just what are those fears?

The Archbishop of Canterbury- “all those who have the power to halt this spiral of violence to do so. Those raising the stakes through the con­tinuation of indiscriminate violence seem to have forgotten nothing, and learned nothing.”
Without a serious international initiative to achieve peace, he said, “the future for the Holy Land and the whole region is one of more fear, innocent suffering, and destruction.”

The Most Revd Patrick Kelly, Archbishop of Liverpool and Vice-President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales- “Everyone I meet at this time speaks with immense sadness of the suffering and destruction in Gaza and the fears of the people in Israel because of rocket attacks.” There must be an immediate end to all violence, he said.

The Rt Revd Nigel McCulloch, chairman of the Council of Chris­tians and Jews in Britain- his organisation was “deeply distressed” by the “suffering of the people of Gaza and Israel”.

The Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center in Jerusalem- "wished that “Hamas and other Palestinian factions had chosen a non-violent way to resist the Israeli siege.” Its statement went on to say: “The disproportionate use of mili­tary force against the Gaza Strip and the number of casualties it produced must be strongly condemned.”

Well, thank you very much for those sentiments. But why no mention of the reason why Israel has attacked Gaza? Is it too much for these "leaders" to condemn Hamas clearly and unequivocally for picking a fight with Israel while knowing all along that the residents of Gaza were going to be caught in the middle of the storm?

If church leaders are not able to distinguish between the evil represented by Hamas' firing of rockets and mortars into Israel and the good represented by the right of state to defend its citizens, God help us all.

Read the full article here

Thursday, January 8, 2009

What You Won't See in the Western Media

Sometimes it's very difficult to get the truth out into newspapers and on the air waves. Take, for instance, Israel's bombing of a UNWRA school on Wednesday, January 7, 2009. Some of the networks and newspapers would have you believe that the school was randomly and wantonly attacked by the IDF (Israel Defense Force). The truth appears to be the opposite-- the school was being used as a launching ground by Hamas terrorists for mortar attacks against IDF soldiers and that the students and faculty are used as human shields.

Israel National News, known as Arutz Sheva, provides an English language news program. The story about the bombing leads off the news in this clip.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

New Report Links Pakistan to Mumbai Attack

The New York Times is covering the release of a report "compiled by Indian authorities and officially shared Monday with the Pakistani government."

"The information seems designed to achieve at least two Indian objectives. First, it seeks to demonstrate that the attackers were sent from Pakistan. The dossier, a copy of which was provided to the New York Times, contains photographs of materials found on the fishing trawler they took: a bottle of Mountain Dew soda packaged in Karachi; pistols that bore the markings of a gun manufacturer in Peshawar; Pakistani-made items like a matchbox, detergent powder and shaving cream.
Second, the information seeks to rally international support for the Indian effort to press Pakistan on its handling of militants. It contains a list of 26 foreigners killed in the Mumbai attacks, and chronicles India’s efforts in recent years to persuade Pakistan to investigate suspects involved in terror attacks inside India and shut down terror training camps inside Pakistani territory. In its final pages, it demands that Pakistan hand over “conspirators” to face trial in India and comply with its promise to stop terrorist groups from functioning inside its territory. It was shared this week with diplomats from friendly nations; one described it as “comprehensive,” another as “convincing.”

Pakistan and India have not been on the best of terms since Pakistan was created following the grant of independence to India by the British in the late 1940s. Border wars between the two countries have popped up from time to time over the past 60 years. One might say, "OK," so there have been skirmishes along the border, so what?

The "what" is this-- India and Pakistan both possess nuclear weapons. Pakistan has exported its technology to places like Iran. India continued nuclear bomb testing long after it was fashionable to do so. Stable countries? To some, no. Driven by religious fervor and an inferiority complex, Pakistan seeks to reach its place in the sun. India, by sheer population size, dwarfs Pakistan.

Will the report heal the rift between India and Pakistan? No, but it could give the Pakistani government a pretext to crack down on extremist groups and their backers.

Read more here

From the Wall Street Journal - An Endgame for Israel

Bret Stephens takes on those who already have Israel as being defeated by Hamas.

There are 4 main point to this view-

  1. Israel cannot defeat Hamas by restricting its attacks to the relatively safe distance of airstrikes and a limited land incursion. Down that road lies a reprise of the failed 2006 war with Hezbollah.
  2. The human cost of taking physical control of Gaza will be too high in terms of Israeli soldiers and Palestinian civilians. Down that road lie memories of the 1982 siege of Beirut.
  3. Third, the only method by which Israel can prevent Hamas from regaining power is by resorting to another full-scale occupation. Down that road lies endless international condemnation and, inevitably, another excruciating intifada.
  4. By invading Gaza, Israel has further weakened Palestinian moderates and midwifed into existence yet another generation of jihadists. Down that road lies the end of the two-state solution and, demography being what it is, the end of the Jewish state itself.

Stephens doesn't think so. Read the full article here.

A Caterpillar and An Anthem

Daniel Gordis made aliyah from the United States to Israel about 10 years ago. In the just distributed column, A Caterpillar and An Anthem, he writes,
"We didn’t mean to, but we lied to our kids. Almost ten years ago, shortly after we made aliyah, we were sitting with our three young children having dinner. One of the boys, still getting used to the idea that his life was going to be very different in Israel, looked up from his food, and asked out of nowhere, “Is Israel still going to have an army when I’m eighteen?”

He was scared. But we knew that he had no reason to be. “Yes, there’ll be an army,” we told him. “But there’s going to be peace by then. By the time you’re eighteen, everything’s going to be different. You’ll see.” I still remember how certain we were, and how relieved he looked."

I believe Gordis has learned as much from his kids, about whom he writes often, as they have learned from him. We should all be so lucky.

Read the full column here

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Monday, January 5, 2009

Israel’s Disproportionate Response

New York Jewish Week's associate editor Jonathan Mark writes about "Israel's Disproportionate Response" to Hamas rocket attacks.

I condemn Israel’s disproportionate attack on Hamas because, so far, it has only lasted a few days and I would like to see a proportionate response that terrifies Hamas for eight years, the years that have filled Sderot and neighboring towns with nightmares, death, amputations and trauma coming from rockets and mortars fired from Gaza.

A well written article, read more

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Gaza Attack in the News

From The New York Times:
Times Square Rally Protests Fighting in Gaza

“Anger over the Israeli assault on Gaza spilled into Times Square on Saturday,as hundreds of protesters condemned the attacks in a demonstration that stretched four blocks and clogged much of the city’s central tourist district for several hours.”

Demonstrators waved signs that read “Stop Massacres in Gaza” and “End theSiege.” Speakers led the crowd in chants of “Free, free Palestine.” The protest was made up predominantly of people of Middle Eastern or Arab descent, but also included Jewish groups, students and others who support an independent Palestinian state. Many, whether Palestinian or not, wore black-and-white kaffiyehs, the traditional Palestinian scarf, and waved Palestinian flags.
“Blame Hamas; Destroy Hamas,” read a banner carried by Buddy Macy, a 52-year-old small-business owner from New Jersey who helped organize the counterprotest.
“They may say, sure, this is disproportional and only a few Israelis have died,” Mr. Macy said. “Why is this disproportional? You have to protect yourselves. If you and your family lived in a home and there was a rocket within a hundred meters of you, wouldn’t you call the National Guard? Wouldn’t you call everyone you could?”

From Fox News:
U.S. Blocks U.N. Statement Calling for Gaza Cease-Fire

The United States late Saturday blocked approval of a U.N. Security Council statement calling for an immediate cease-fire between Israel and Gaza's Hamas rulers, diplomats said. The U.S., Israel's closest ally, has designated Hamas a terrorist organization. U.S. deputy ambassador Alejandro Wolff said the United States saw no prospect of Hamas abiding by last week's council call for an immediate end to the violence. Therefore, he said, a new statement "would not be adhered to and would have no underpinning for success, (and) would not do credit to the Council."

From the Associated Press
New York mayor, in Israel, backs strikes on Hamas

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg expressed solidarity with Israelis threatened by Hamas rockets on Sunday in a daylong trip to Israel that included visits to two towns targeted by the Islamic militant movement in recent weeks.

In a telephone interview with The Associated Press, Bloomberg said he fully understood Israel's actions. "You should rest assured, if anyone in New York was being threatened, my instruction to the NYPD (New York police) would be to use all the resources at their disposal to protect civilians," Bloomberg said.

(I guess Mayor Bloomberg doesn't fret over losing the Arab vote. Now, if the Mayor of Paterson, New Jersey would make a trip to Israel, that would be news.)

Friday, January 2, 2009

Why Create a Blog?

Why create a blog known as Terror Victims' Voice? It's a question I asked myself and is being asked of me now.

The reason is rather simple, to give a voice to the dead and injured and their families who have already suffered once by virtue of a terror attack, and who suffer again because of poor reporting in the media and pronouncements by commentators around the world.

Case in point in today's news is the coverage from, the English language version of the Al Jazeera network. In a story called "Angry protests over Gaza offensive" the network reports on these "angry protests" ranging from Indonesia to India to Australia. Not once, however, does the reporting mention that Israel began its bombardment of Gaza only after Hamas was warned to cease its firing of missiles and mortars across the border into Israel.

It is this kind of reporting that strikes for the second time at terror victims and their families. Blogs such as Terror Victims' Voice may not change the world, but it might change an opinion. Maybe your opinion.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Some Palestinians wishing Israel a mazal tov?

The Washington Post reports that "Israel's assault on the Gaza Strip has exacerbated the deep divisions between Palestinians who want to make peace with Israel and those who support Hamas's militant struggle against the Jewish state."

What's going on here? Where is that vaunted Palestinian unity? Are some Palestinians happy with Israel's attack on Hamas in Gaza?
  • The fractures are stark in the West Bank, where sympathy for Hamas appears to be rising in the streets even as the territory's leaders suppress pro-Hamas demonstrations and blame the Islamist movement for the breakdown of a six-month truce with Israel.
  • "The fragmentation has really frustrated the population," said Qais Abdul Karim, a Palestinian Legislative Council member who belongs to neither Fatah nor Hamas. "There is no unity in the national movement and no unity in the street. These attacks have increased the divisions. They should have done the opposite."
  • The fortunes of the two territories -- which together with East Jerusalem would make up a future Palestinian state -- have diverged sharply since the Hamas takeover of Gaza. While economic conditions for the 2.5 million Palestinians in the West Bank have improved as international development money poured in, Gaza's 1.5 million people have suffered under a strict Israeli embargo.
  • "Hamas right now is making a big mistake," said Ziad Abu Ein, a deputy minister in the Palestinian Authority and a Fatah member. "The people are turning against them and want to get rid of them. Just not by the hand of the Israelis."

For the full report, read here.

Israel vs. Hamas - A Muslim Writes About the Muslim Reaction

"Gaza solution is in the hands of Palestinians"

In the Jerusalem Post, Tawfik Hamid, writes
"As an Egyptian Muslim now living in America, I ask myself why the Arab street and its supporters in the West never show similarly strong response against Islamic terrorists who target innocents worldwide and explode markets full of predominantly Muslim civilians in Iraq, Pakistan, Sudan, Turkey, etc."

It is a good question and one that I have asked often.

Where are the Muslims who condemn terrorism clearly and unequivocally?

Some of the possible answers-- An "insular Arab tribal mentality?" "Plain old anti-Semitism?"
"The Muslim world and the Europeans who support the demonstrations against Israel must stop the biased reaction that blindly and reflexively supports the Palestinians and villifies Israel. Those who demonstrate against the military campaign on Gaza must realize that if Hamas had stopped pounding Israel with its rockets, Israel would not have launched its attack. If the Palestinians focused on building their society rather than destroying those of others, the whole region would enjoy peace and flourish. Should Palestinians recognize the right of Israel to exist, end terrorism against Jews and nurture a sincere desire to live in peace, they would end their suffering. The solution now is simply in the hands of the Palestinians - not the Israelis. "