Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Why Did Netanyahu Free My Daughter's Killer?

Here's a Forward Op-Ed criticizing the Israeli government decision to free more than 1,000 jailed terrorists for Gilad Schalit.  It's written by Frimet Roth whose daughter was murdered in the Sbarro bombing of August 2009.

The full article is Why Did Netanyahu Free My Daughter's Killer? –

What's your opinion?

alisa flatow stephen israel terror gilad shalit

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

This isn't Showtime's Homeland

This is the real stuff, not a made for TV series, about US efforts to capture would be terrorists before they can do harm. The case is that of
Barry Walter Bujol Jr., a 30-year-old Hempstead, Texas, resident and former student at Prairie View A&M University, has been convicted for attempting to provide material support to Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), a designated foreign terrorist organization...
To get an idea of how these cases unfold, read the full report from the US Attorney here.

Keep up the good work ladies and gentlemen.

Well, that's what I have to say.

Stephen M. Flatow

alisa flatow israel

Into the fray: A study in self-cannibalization

The title of this column by Martin Sherman appearing on sure caught my attention.  And before you think it's about lifestyles in the Western world, read this lead off paragraph,
Over a century ago, Churchill warned that Western civilization will face an existential challenge from the Muslim world. It is now upon us.

OK, it really is about Islamism and the threat posed to the Western world in its rush to be politically correct by being welcoming of so-called diversity.

The bottom line?  One shouldn't hesitate to call a spade a spade.

Read the full column here.

alisa flatow stephen israel terrorism islamism jihad

Friday, October 28, 2011

From the New York Sun - Understanding Israel can't be pushed

Well, opening the editorial page of the New York Sun, brought this:
Hope for Talks in Middle East Lies in Recognition That Israel Can Not Be Pushed

Some highlights-
The recent exchange of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit for a thousand Palestinian prisoners in Israeli hands is regarded as a cautiously hopeful sign even by Israeli hawks, as it appears the only possible de-escalation from the absolute collapse of the peace process that was almost implicit in the Palestinian bid for full membership as a state in the United Nations. The Israeli Right was fiercely opposed to Palestinian statehood from 1948 until relatively recently, when it realized that the Palestinians could not be induced to leave territory Israel occupied after the 1967 war; could not be physically expelled, because neither domestic nor international opinion would tolerate such an outrage; and could not be assimilated, both because of natural Arab resistance, and because of the danger of Israel’s ceasing to be a Jewish state and homeland, which has always been its only raison d’ĂȘtre. (There were Israeli bi-nationalists, jolly progressives who wanted to share; Canaanites, i.e. complete secularists; and territorialists who had wispy dreams of settling in Uganda or Ethiopia — but none of them ever had any grasp of reality.)

In 1917, in the desperate days of World War I, British foreign secretary Arthur Balfour promised “a Jewish homeland” in what was called, resurrecting Roman terminology, Palestine. In the same declaration, it was assured that this would not compromise the rights of the Muslim and Christian Arabs in the same and adjoining territory. As Britain was selling the same real estate to two different and hostile parties, before it was itself in possession of it, there was never going to be a solution that didn’t divide it in two. Nor has there been.

Apart from Anwar Sadat and the kings of Morocco and a few relatively enlightened people in the Persian Gulf, no Arab leader has really accepted the legitimacy of the Jewish state, despite promises at Oslo and elsewhere, and this was confirmed by Mahmoud Abbas in his address to the U.N. a few weeks ago. Every agreement except the Sinai-Suez Camp David agreement with Sadat (who was rewarded with assassination by the Muslim Brotherhood, now contending with the military for control in Egypt) has been designed to exploit Israel’s desire for peace with promises of what amounted to a truce, in exchange for concessions on the ground by Israel. And a vast swath of world opinion, partly thirsting for Arab oil, has cravenly accepted this protracted Arab confidence trick: land for a truce that is cancelable without notice.
Actually, this is a disservice.  Read the full article and learn something.

Well, that's what I have to say.

Stephen M. Flatow

Alisa kfar darom terrorism

Sunday, October 2, 2011

News update from the DOJ National Security Division

We have come a long way since the Police Gazette. Did you know that the US Department of Justice's National Security Division maintains a site chock full of terrorism related news?

As just about every other business and government out there, the US NSD wants to have some bragging space.  Its virtual press room gives it to us.  Most recently published is accomplishments for the year 2011 ranging from the arrest of someone trying to export military equipment to the sentencing of the head of an Islamic charity for his efforts to send money to Chechnyan terrorists.

I think we need to know that our government is out there watching out for us and the virtual press room does it nicely.  You can go to the latest releases here. Well, that's what I think.

stephen flatow alisa terror

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

NY Sun - Clinton does a 180 on Jerusalem as capital of Israelven Symbolically Recognizing Jerusalem as Capital of Israel

The New York Sun reports today on Secretary of State Hilary Clinton's about-face on the issue of recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Secretary of State Clinton, in a sharp departure from her stance when she was a senator, is warning that any American action, even symbolically, toward recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel must be avoided for the reason that it would jeopardize the peace process.
The issue has arisen in connection with a lawsuit now pending before the US Supreme Court about the rights of American citizens born in Jerusalem to have their passports indicate "Jerusalem, Israel."  After all, the thinking goes, that if you are born in London, it says London, England, so why not Jerusalem, Israel? Adding to the confusion is Clinton's own position when she was a senator in full support of a law requiring passports to indicate Jerusalem, Israel.  The answer,
"the law infringes on the president’s prerogatives in respect of foreign policy."
Welcome to the world of Mid-East politics.  Read the full story:

A mess, don't you think?  I do.

stephen flatow alisa terror

It's now a terror attack

The Jerusalem Post is now reporting that the deaths of Asher and Yonatan Palmer were the results of a terror attack.  The IDF originally classified their deaths as a result of an automobile accident.

It seems that the IDF changed its position because of evidence within the car, namely a rock with blood on it.  This would be consistent with the theory that a rock was thrown from a passing car that went through the windshield of the Palmer car striking Asher and causing him to lose control.

While there have been rock throwing attacks before, this seems to be a new form of attack using the speed of the vehicles to create more damage and, in this case, resulting in murder.

And the world believes you can have peaceful relations with the people who took the lives of these two civilians?

Read the Jerusalem Post story.

stephen flatow alisa israel

In contrast to Holocaust denial, these Muslims learn

Samuel G. Freedman writing in the Religions column of the New York Times covers a man bites dog story.
One afternoon this week, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran addressed the United Nations General Assembly, once again casting doubt that the Holocaust had occurred. Almost exactly 24 hours earlier, an otherwise obscure college student in Morocco named Elmehdi Boudra was convening a conference devoted not to denying the Holocaust but to remembering it.  
Why Morocco?
Uncommonly among Arab and Muslim nations, Morocco has accepted the reality of the Holocaust, rather than either dismissing it outright or portraying it as a European crime for which those countries paid the price in the form of Israel’s creation. Partly, no doubt, because of Mohammed V’s stand against the Vichy regime, the current king, Mohammed VI, called in a 2009 proclamation for “an exhaustive and faithful reading of the history of this period” as part of “the duty of remembrance dictated by the Shoah.”
I didn't know about the Moroccan king's role in saving lives during the Holocaust, did you?  In any event, read the full column to get a flavor of what is also out there in the Muslim world.

stephen flatow alisa flatow israel

Monday, September 26, 2011

Lake Failure - an editorial from The New York Sun

We tend to not remember that The New  York Sun remains on the Internet. This editorial was posted on September 24, 2011 in response to the Palestinian effort to have the United Nations to declare a state of Palestine.

(For the young, Lake Failure is a parody on the name of the community in the suburbs of New York City that hosted the United Nations at the end of World War II.)

Call it Lake Failure — and what a bitter sea it is. This was reflected in the crabbed remarks of the president of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas. After delivering his request for the recognition of a Palestinian Arab state, he treated the world to yet another speech of rejection of Israel. He’d already, at a meeting Friday of 200 representatives of the Palestinian Arab community in America, made it clear that the Palestinian Arabs would never recognize a Jewish state. “They talk to us about the Jewish state, but I respond to them with a final answer: We shall not recognize a Jewish state,” Mr. Abbas was quoted by as telling the meeting.
You can read the full editorial here, Lake Failure.  What do you think?

stephen flatow alisa

Thursday, September 22, 2011

On Middle East peace: Heckuva job (not!)

I love Frida Ghitis and I enjoy reading her syndicated columns as they appear around the country.  This column On Middle East peace: Heckuva job (not!) is typical of her fine writing.

Her bottom line is that there is plenty of blame to go around for today's stalemate between Israel and the Palestinians, but the person who got everything off on the wrong foot was Barack Obama.

Enjoy this column, it's a good one.  What do you think?

stephen flatow alisa terror

Friday, September 16, 2011

Defeat the So-called Unilateral Declaration of Independence




On September 20, the Palestinians are going to the United Nations to pursue unilateral statehood recognition. Israel does not oppose a Palestinian state, only its unilateral declaration. The Israeli government is dedicated to mutually negotiated resolutions that result in two states for two peoples, living side by side in peace and security. Both the United States and Israel believe that unilateral action will not lead to peace, but will instead complicate any peace process and possibly lead to violence.

• A UN resolution will not resolve the core issues - including borders, Jerusalem, the status of refugees, or the sharing of water.

• The Palestinian Authority recently signed an agreement with Hamas, a terrorist organization that calls for the destruction of Israel and continues to fire rockets into Israeli towns and schoolyards.

• A unilateral declaration of Palestinian statehood is counter to all internationally accepted frameworks for Mideast peace, which all call for a mutually negotiated and agreed upon resolution of the conflict and prohibit unilateral action by either side.

Mahmoud Abbas must sit down at the negotiating table instead of standing up at the UN.

Well, that's what I think.

stephen flatow alisa udi

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

PLO official: Palestine should be free of Jews. So what's the surprise?

YNET is reporting on comments made by the PLO ambassador to the US that Palestine must be free of Jews.  The people need "separation" he says.  And they gripe about apartheid?

I have seen Palestinian Arabs interact with Jews on many levels.  (I'm talking about the average Palestinian in the street, before you think otherwise.)  And the interactions are good.
Elliott Abrams, a former US National Security Council official, said in response that according to such plans, Palestine will be the first to officially prohibit Jews or any other faith since Nazi Germany, which sought a country that was judenrein, or cleansed of Jews.
Before we get worked up, remember, the PLO is headed by, in the words of Yitzhak Rabin, a terrorist, Abu Mazen, who also moonlights as a Holocaust denier.

We should expect nothing less from people trying to have their own state, should we?  Sad, very sad.

Read the full post from YNET.

stephen flatow alisa israel

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Israeli blockade of Gaza is hurting

OK, so this is not really a criticism of the blockade.  Did you expect otherwise?

Stephen flatow alisa flatow Israel

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Jeff Jacoby - The war on terror is a war of ideas

In my book, many Americans, indeed many around the world don't understand the underlying premise of Jeff Jacoby's column. That is,
The war on terror, Bush accurately foretold, would be a long struggle fought on many fronts. But ultimately the only way to prevent al-Qaeda and its allies from imposing an "age of terror" was for America to sustain an "age of liberty, here and across the world." While Bush would get plenty of things wrong after 9/11, this ideological insight -- that the root of Islamist terrorism was the lack of freedom in the Middle East -- was one of the big things he got right.
While others claimed terrorism was driven by poverty or lack of education, the "fruit of US arrogance," and the reliable old standby, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
In reality, as Princeton economist Alan Krueger demonstrated in a 2007 book, What Makes A Terrorist?, the best predictors of terrorism are "the suppression of civil liberties and political rights, including freedom of the press, the freedom to assemble, and democratic rights."
[Looking at Palestinian terror alone should dissuade anyone that terror is born out of a lack of education; the leaders of Hamas and Islamic Jihad is populated with physicians and PhDs.]

The struggle against terror is not over, but we are, according to Jacoby beginning to engage its purveyors on the right battlefield. Read the full column, The war on terror is a war of ideas. And while you are at it, sign up for Jeff's email distribution list.

Well, that's what I think.

Stephen M. Flatow

alisa flatow israel


Must remember
Flags at half staff
Cannot forget
There will never be closure

stephen flatow world trade center september 11th terror attacks terrorists Islamists

Friday, September 9, 2011

Israel's blockade of Gaza is illegal - NOT!

Mitchell Bard addresses one aspect of the UN's Palmer Report, the legality of Israel's blockade of Gaza.

The 105-page report, which relied heavily on Israel's internal investigation into the incident as well as accounts from flotilla participants, concluded that Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip is consistent with customary international law, is legitimate due to the security threat posed by Hamas and does not constitute collective punishment of Palestinians in Gaza.
Bard's posting comes on the heals of those who interpret the blockade as illegal.  To get the full import of the Palmer Report and Israel's blockade, read the full Myths and Facts report.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Feds charge Virginia resident with support of terrorist organization Lashkar-e-Tayyiba

The US Attorney for Virginia has announced that
Jubair Ahmad, 24, a native of Pakistan and resident of Woodbridge, Va., has been arrested on charges in the Eastern District of Virginia of providing material support to Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (LeT), a designated foreign terrorist organization, and making false statements in a terrorism investigation.
It seems that Ahmad was responsible for posting of
a propaganda video to YouTube on behalf of LeT, after communications with a person named “Talha.” In a subsequent conversation with another person, Jubair identified Talha as Talha Saeed, the son of LeT leader Hafiz Mohammed Saeed. Talha and Jubair allegedly communicated about the images, music and audio that Jubair was to use to make the video. The final video contained images of LeT leader Hafiz Saeed, so-called jihadi martyrs and armored trucks exploding after having been hit by improvised explosive devices.
OK, so the Feds can take pride in nabbing this idiot but they downplay the significance of LeT. Calling it a terrorist organization doesn't do it justice because LeT is the group behind the Mumbai mass murders.

As for Ahmad's parents, I have a question- what do you think your son was doing in his bedroom with the door locked and the lights dimmed?

To the Feds, I say keep up the pressure. We face a threat from within, and we'll only have ourselves to blame if we let these wannabe killers pull off something beyond posting a video.

Well, that's what I have to say.

Read the full press release.

Stephen M. Flatow

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Mujahedeen Khalq. Whose side are they on? Terrorists, freedom fighters or something else?

Mujahedeen Khalq, a listed terrorist organization, is on the Op-ed pages of today's New York Timses. Mujahedeen Khalq, or Warriors of God, has been responsible for the deaths of hundreds in a little known war with Iran. Elizabeth Rubin takes them, and their outspoken American supporters, to task.

[A]n unlikely chorus of the group’s backers — some of whom have received speaking fees, others of whom are inspired by their conviction that the Iranian government must fall at any cost — have gathered around Mujahedeen Khalq at conferences in capitals across the globe.

This group of luminaries includes two former chairmen of the joint chiefs of staff, Gens. Hugh H. Shelton and Peter Pace; Wesley K. Clark, the former NATO commander; Gen. James L. Jones, who was President Obama’s national security adviser; Louis J. Freeh, the former F.B.I. director; the former intelligence officials Dennis C. Blair and Michael V. Hayden; the former New Mexico governor Bill Richardson; the former attorney general Michael B. Mukasey, and Lee H. Hamilton, a former congressman who was co-chairman of the 9/11 Commission.
Ms. Rubin's position,

Mujahedeen Khalq is not only irrelevant to the cause of Iran’s democratic activists, but a totalitarian cult that will come back to haunt us.
Personally, I'm puzzled by MK, and wonder if its supporters are on the right track. I can only think back to the heady days of American belief that Fidel Castro was the right man for Cuba at the right time in history, only to have those beliefs smashed when Castro aligned himself with the Soviets and embarked on a course of state-sponsored terror.

So, it's time to sit back and see how this plays out because, brother, this is bigger than us all.

What do you think?

Stephen Flatow Iran Mujahedeen Khalq

Monday, August 1, 2011

Hamas and the arts

Reuters is reporting on the Hamas crackdown on film makers who do not toe the line.

"Cinema in Gaza is like writing on rocks with your fingers," says Palestinian writer-director Sweilem Al-Absi.
OK, I'm good with that analogy.

While Hamas has been investing heavily in Internet and television news, it is not too pleased with the work of Gazan film makers.

"Such was the case with "Masho Matook" ("Something Sweet"), a 2010 short film directed by Khalil al-Muzzayen, which depicts the interaction between Israeli troops and soccer-playing Palestinian children in once-occupied Gaza.

"Though the video vignette was submitted to the Cannes Film Festival, Hamas banned its screening locally, citing a four-second scene where Israeli soldiers appreciatively eye a comely Palestinian woman who breezes past them, her hair uncovered."
The Hamas answer is that the clip in question was "out of context."

If you add a free film industry to a free press as one of the signs of democracy, Hamas and its hold on the people of Gaza come up short.

Read the full article.

Flatow Gaza Hamas Reuters

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Gaza Flotilla and Alice Walker

Author Howard Jacobson writes on "Why Alice Walker shouldn't sail to Gaza"

It should not need arguing, this late in the ethical history of mankind, that good people can do great harm. One of the finest and funniest novels ever written -- Don Quixote -- charts the damage left in the wake of a man who would make the world a better place.

Human beings are seldom more dangerous than when they are sentimentally overcome by the goodness of their own intentions. That Alice Walker believes it is right to join the Freedom Flotilla II to Gaza I do not have the slightest doubt. But beyond associating her decision with Gandhi, Martin Luther King and very nearly, when she talks about the preciousness of children, Jesus Christ, she fails to give a single convincing reason for it.

Jacobson then takes on each one of Walker's reasons for associating with killers and thugs. And he does it well.

Read the full column.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Alice Walker is on the wrong boat

Comes the news that Alice Walker, noted African-American author and civil rights crusader, will be on a boat intending to break Israel’s quarantine of Gaza. In case you don’t know it Ms. Walker, you’re not going to be riding the Love Boat with Gopher, Doc and Captain Steuben.

We all know that Gaza is under the domination and control of Hamas, a sworn and devoted enemy of the State of Israel and Jews everywhere. Thousands of missiles have been launched against Israeli citizens by Hamas and its allies. A few months ago, a school bus was a target of a missile attack in which a high school student was murdered. Gilad Schalit is still being held incommunicado somewhere in Gaza. Hamas has rejected an appeal from the International Red Cross to visit him.

Gaza does not contain a single Jewish resident (other than Gilad) since the Israeli government unilaterally removed all Jewish residents five years ago. This move, designed by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to give new impetus to negotiations with the Palestinian Authority, was met with a Hamas takeover of Gaza following a brief civil war with supporters of the Palestinian Authority.

The quarantine of Gaza, a result of the Hamas takeover, is designed to keep more missiles and weapons from coming into the hands of Hamas. It’s perfectly legal for one country to protect itself against another country that is openly hostile to it. Remember the Cuban Missile Crisis?

So, Alice Walker is going to Gaza to bring letters to the children of Gaza. What a laudable effort if it wasn’t laughable. A heroine of the American civil rights movement aligning herself with murderers and thugs. No matter what she says now, she’s lost her credibility.

As Dan Gordon has written in the American Thinker, Alice Walker Is Sailing in the Wrong Direction,

“The truth, however, is that this flotilla, and the actions of Ms. Walker and her compatriots, is behavior that will not only make the children of Southern Israel afraid, it will help murder them. That is not hyperbole, nor is it a question of theoretical murder. It is real. It is actual, and if, Heaven forbid, they are successful in breaking the Israeli naval quarantine meant to deny advanced weapons to internationally recognized terrorists, those murders will be a byproduct of their horrifically misguided actions.”
Shame on you Alice Walker.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Conrad Black - Canada as a moral leader

Conrad Black, writing in The New York Sun about Canadian premier's thumbing his nose at American policy, for the good, I might add-

As befits a modest country unaccustomed to leading the world other than by homogenized measurements of the quality of life, Canada seems not to have noticed that Stephen Harper has kicked off his new term as head of a majority government with the assumption of the moral leadership of the world (in the usual unobtrusive Canadian way); and even more astoundingly, has done so by successfully contradicting the president of the United States.

By killing it [the Obama plan for Israel to return to 1967 borders] in the G-8 (U.S., Germany, Japan, the U.K., France, Italy, and Russia), Stephen Harper became the moral leader of the world’s statesmen, as the first head of an important country to debunk the 1967 fraud upon which the Arab-Israeli crisis, the longest-running and most definitive moral litmus test in the geo-political world (and least successful extended negotiation in history) is based.

What it boils down to is this- Stephen Harper has smarts and is willing to stand up for what he believes is right. Black's article goes through some Canadian history to give us the background to the importance of Harper's move.

Canada Emerges as a Moral Leader by Standing Up for Israel

Monday, June 6, 2011

Damascus on Trial - support for terror groups in spotlight

Makes you kind of wonder.

Back in 1996 I had a meeting at the State Department with the then head of its terrorism section. We were trying to get information on Islamic Jihad, the group that murdered Alisa and seven others in the April 1995 attack near Kfar Darom. The information we received confirmed what we had heard elsewhere -- Islamic Jihad was headquartered in Syria.

Since that time, Syria has continued to provide a haven and support Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Now, with the world focused on Syria's actions against its own citizens and calls for the fall of the Assad government, Hamas and Islamic Jihad have to be a little concerned.

Middle East Forum writes, Damascus on Trial, read it to get an idea of Syria's role as the home to terrorists.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Syrians attempt to "breach" borders; double standard on horizon?

From the New York Times,

Wave after wave of Syrian and Palestinian protesters from Syria approached the frontier with the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights. Israeli soldiers opened fire at activists who crossed a newly dug trench and tried to breach the border fence near the Golan town of Majdal Shams. The protests then spread out along the border.

The operative word in the above paragraph is "breach."

No other sovereign country would be forced to accept a massed invasion of its borders whether by so-called "protesters" or military forces.

The Jerusalem Post reports that armed gunman can be seen in the background. Are they there to fire on the protesters who turn back or on those going forward?

A crisis along the border between Syria and Israel works to the benefit of the Syrian dictatorship by directing attention away to its slaughter of its own citizens. In any event, no doubt that there will be criticism of Israel's response. Double standard in action, once again.

You can read the Times report here and report here.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Europe sanctions Assad

Last week I mentioned that American economic sanctions against Syrian President Bashar Assad will be meaningless unless European countries followed suit.

The New York Times reported this morning, May 23, 2011, that the European Union has imposed sanctions.

The 27-nation bloc instituted an assets freeze and a visa ban on Assad and nine other members of his regime.
Let's see what happens when Assad is deprived of access to his cash in European banks.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Assad and the sanctions, shmanctions

Reading the news about the imposition of financial sanctions on Syria President X, I just had to check the OFFICE OF FOREIGN ASSETS CONTROL - SPECIALLY DESIGNATED NATIONALS & BLOCKED PERSONS and there was his name on page 20 -

AL ASSAD, Bashar Hafez (a.k.a. AL-ASAD,
Bashar; a.k.a. AL-ASSAD, Bashar; a.k.a.
ASSAD, Bashar); DOB 11 Sep 1965; POB
Damascus, Syria; President of the Syrian Arab
Republic (individual) [SYRIA]

According to the New York Times story,.

The sanctions against Syria reflected mounting American frustration that Mr. Assad’s government was ignoring international condemnation by not pursuing a peaceful resolution to the popular uprising that has swept the country since March.

Well, "gee whiz, Phil," what's going on here? Is the Obama administration going to pressure the Europeans to impose sanctions, too? As the Times reports, the Europeans are considering it.

Now remember, we're the same country that has found it increasingly difficult to isolate Iran through the use of sanctions that are primarily American in nature.

Without European support, sanctions are meaningless. Tie up Assad's personal bank accounts and the ATM card no longer works.

More disconcerting is the face of post-Assad Syria. Who steps in to fill his shoes? Well, we'll just have to see, won't we?

Thursday, May 12, 2011

The wheels of justice grind slow - Demjanjuk Convicted

Former prison guard John Demjanjuk convicted of role in Nazi death camp.

Read the story from the New York Times.

Enough said.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Senator Menendez and associates weigh in on Hamas-PA deal

U.S. Senator Robert Menendez from New Jersey and colleagues have signed a letter to President Obama addressing the recent unity agreement between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority.

In the letter signed by 27 Senators, the Senators urged the Administration to stand by its refusal to work with any Palestinian government that includes Hamas and consider cutting aid to the country should the U.S. designated terrorist group remain in the government. Preconditions in U.S. law prevent aid from being provided to a Palestinian government that includes Hamas, unless the government and all its members have publicly committed to the Quartet principles.
The Hamas charter calls for the destruction of America's only democratic ally in the Middle East. That's inimical to American interests and the senators are correct when they remind the president of that fact.

Here's the full letter as released by Senator Menendez.

I am one terror victim's father who says "Thank you Senator Menendez, et al."

Stephen M. Flatow

President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President:

The decision of Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas to form a unity government with Hamas – a designated terrorist group – threatens to derail the Middle East peace effort for the foreseeable future and to undermine the Palestinian Authority’s relations with the United States.

Hamas rejects peaceful efforts to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and continues to call for the destruction of the State of Israel. Soon after this agreement was signed, senior Hamas official Mahmoud Zahar declared that "our plan does not involve negotiations with Israel or recognizing it." Hamas and other Iranian-backed terrorist groups in Gaza have also stepped up their smuggling of Iranian arms and increased their mortar and rocket attacks against Israeli civilians, firing more than 130 during the past month alone and nearly 300 this year. Hamas’ response to the killing of Osama Bin Laden, condemning “the assassination and killing of an Arab holy warrior” is emblematic of Hamas’ ideology and underscores Hamas’ continued support for terrorism.

The United States should stand by its refusal to work with any Palestinian government that includes Hamas. We welcome statements from the Administration recognizing that Hamas is a terrorist organization and insisting that it accept the Quartet conditions (of recognizing Israel’s right to exist, rejecting violence, and endorsing previous Israeli-Palestinian peace agreements). We strongly support Secretary Clinton’s 2009 Statement that: “we will not deal with nor in any way fund a Palestinian government that include Hamas until Hamas has renounced violence, recognized Israel and agreed to follow the previous obligations of the Palestinian Authority.”

It is imperative for you to make clear to President Abbas that Palestinian Authority participation in a unity government with an unreformed Hamas will jeopardize its relationship with the United States, including its receipt of U.S. aid. As you are aware, U.S. law prohibits aid from being provided to a Palestinian government that includes Hamas, unless the government and all its members have publically committed to the Quartet principles. We urge you to conduct a review of the current situation and suspend aid should Hamas refuse to comply with Quartet conditions.
Ultimately, the legitimacy of any peace process must always be weighed against the assurances Israel needs for its security and the security of the region. Hamas’ participation in the Palestinian government eliminates the trust and commitment to peace that must exist between the parties to move forward and therefore, as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has stated, the choice is between “peace with Israel or peace with Hamas” because “there is no possibility for peace with both.”

As fellow Democrats, we thank you for your continued commitment to and investment in Israel’s security. We urge you to make clear to President Abbas and the international community the United States’ opposition to a Fatah-Hamas unity government that does not fully accept the Quartet principles. Such a government will prove fatal to the peace effort, as well as to efforts to establish a Palestinian state, and will severely harm relations with the United States. The Palestinian Authority needs to get back to the negotiating table rather than pursue futile and harmful efforts to join with Hamas or seek recognition of Palestinian statehood at the UN.

Senator Robert Menendez
Senator Robert P. Casey, Jr.
Senator Daniel Inouye
Senator Carl Levin
Senator Max Baucus
Senator Joseph Lieberman
Senator Kent Conrad
Senator Frank Lautenberg
Senator Charles Schumer
Senator Barbara Boxer
Senator Daniel Akaka
Senator Barbara Mikulski
Senator Ron Wyden
Senator Bill Nelson
Senator Debbie Stabenow
Senator Ben Nelson
Senator Mark Pryor
Senator Benjamin Cardin
Senator Sherrod Brown
Senator Amy Klobuchar
Senator Jon Tester
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand
Senator Al Franken
Senator Joe Manchin
Senator Christopher Coons
Senator Richard Blumenthal
Senator Claire McCaskill
Senator Tim Johnson
Senator Michael F. Bennet

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Christians dying in Egypt

We've written previously about the fate of Egypt's Coptic Christian community. Now that Mubarak is gone it seems that the Christians are now responding to violence with violence as this story from the Times relates - Clashes in Cairo Leave 11 Dead and Two Churches in Flames

Behind the violence may be a rumor.

Like many recent episodes of Muslim-Christian violence here, the strife began over rumors of an interfaith marriage. Muslims in the neighborhood said a former Christian had left the church and married a Muslim. They said they had heard that she had been abducted and detained inside the church of St. Minas against her will, reflecting a pattern of accusations that has recurred in several recent episodes of sectarian conflict.

So, let's see, Christians believed rumors that Jews kidnapped them to use their blood during Passover, so they murdered Jews. Today, Muslims believe rumors that a convert is held against her will, so they go after Christians. Christians stand up for themselves. Christians and Muslims die as a result. Churches are burned.

The usual suspects have now been rounded up by Egyptian authorities. What happens next is anyone's guess. But, if you are a Coptic Christian, I suggest you get out. Now.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Al Jazeera and The Economist - adding fuel to the anti-Israel fire

Camera comments on nonsense involving Israel and alleged discrimination against its Arab citizens. From Camera:

The Economist -- and al Jazeera following suit -- took biased treatment of Israel to new depths with a segment claiming Israel, in its apparently diabolical attempts to torment Arabs, resorts to setting traffic lights so that Arabs must wait longer than Jews. The absurdity of this false charge prompted CAMERA to prepare a short video of its own exposing the bogus claims.

What do The Economist and al Jazeera gain from this anti-Israel incitement? More ad revenue from anti-Israel sources? This is certainly not news. Who needs The Economist and al Jazeera adding fuel to the fire?

Monday, May 2, 2011

Death of Bin Laden

The celebrations of Osama Bin Laden's death caught me by surprise. At first I only thought of the disgusting visuals of Palestinians handing out sweets to their children when Israelis are murdered. I wondered if the obvious joy expressed by thousands of Americans were akin to that.

There is a story in the Talmud that describes God's anger at the angels when they celebrated the drowning of the Egyptians in the Sea of Reeds as they pursued the Israelites. Yet, the Israelites celebrated on the shore without such chastisement.

So, what's appropriate?

Lori Palatnik, writing on, talks about "When Evel Falls." The article is too good to summarize here, so I am giving you the full article --

Is it proper to celebrate Osama Bin Laden's death?

As soon as I heard the news that Osama Bin Laden had been killed, I posted this wonderful news on my Facebook page as I waited to hear President Obama’s live announcement.

I immediately received many “likes” and comments of celebration. But one of my “friends” posted his displeasure that we were celebrating the death of someone. He quoted that when the sea engulfed and killed the Egyptians, God quieted the angels and told them not to cheer their death, that this was not something to celebrate.

Indeed, when the sea miraculously split, the seabed turned dry and the Jewish people walked safely to the other side. They then turned to watch the death of their enemy, as the now muddy seabed caught the Egyptian horses and chariot wheels.

The Jewish people broke into song, called “The Song of the Sea.” Miriam, with musical instruments, took the Jewish women aside and danced and sang in praise of God. And we are told that in heaven, the angels also broke into song. But the Almighty chastised the angels and said, “How can you sing when my people are dying?”

The Almighty chastised the angels and said, “How can you sing when my people are dying?”
Several questions arise. Why would God tell the angels not to celebrate and yet allow the Jews to sing? And God’s people were dying because He himself killed them!

What God is saying to the angels is that this is not a happy day for Him. He did not create the Egyptians for evil, but they chose evil, and now evil had to be wiped out. But the Jewish people had suffered at the hand of the Egyptians and they not only had the right to celebrate, they must celebrate.

The Shabbat before Purim is called Parshat Zachor, the Torah portion where we “remember.” What is it that we are recalling each year? Amalek, the arch enemy of the Jewish people who attacked us in the desert, and whose descendents rise in each generation to try and destroy us. Remembering Amalek fulfills one of the 613 mitzvot of the Torah. But why would we forget? Because there is a part of us that wants to rationalize evil away, and not to accept that it actually exists. We give it political reasoning or economic rationalization. But the Torah tells us that it does exist, we must not to close our eyes to it, and we are to do everything that we can to eradicate it from the world.

We recently sang “V’hi sh'amda” from our haggadahs:

For not just one alone has risen against us to destroy us, but in every generation they rise against us to destroy us; and the Holy One, blessed be He, saves us from their hand!"

Mr. Yisrael Yitzhak Cohen, a special Jew who lives in Toronto and who we had the privilege of living near for many years, is a survivor of Auschwitz and told us dramatic and horrific stories of what he experienced. He shared with us that when the Nazis tortured them in the camps they would point their guns and shout, “Sing Jews, sing.” And “V’hi shamda” is what they sang.

As the Nazis left the camp, killing every Jew they could find on the way out, Mr. Cohen, barely a skeleton, laid down among the corpses and feigned to be dead. When the Nazis were gone, he and a friend stumbled into the kitchen, found some flour and water and began to bake it into something they could eat. As they sat on the floor waiting to remove the matzah, American soldiers entered the room. They were liberated on Passover Sheni, 30 days after Seder night.

Mr. Cohen was a man who knew evil when he saw it, and would never forget. When our second son, Moshe, was born, we asked Mr. Cohen to honor us as the sandek [akin to godfather], to hold our son as he entered the covenant.

In havdalah we celebrate the ability to distinguish between light and darkness. In life we must know what is good and what is evil. Yes, we are commanded to remember that there is evil in the world, and not only are we allowed to celebrate when it is destroyed, we must.

As King Solomon wrote:

To every thing there is a season… A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance … A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace. ~Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

This article can also be read at:

Let's all pray there will be no further need for celebrations such as these.

NATO under fire after firing on Libya

The New York Times reports today on the use of disproportionate force. This time, however, the butt of the story is not Israel, long accused of that in its wars with Hamas and Hezbollah, but NATO.

The charge has been levied by Russia. The same folks who brought us the Chechen wars.

NATO’s campaign of airstrikes against Libya came under the most intense criticism yet on Sunday, with Russian officials accusing the alliance of using “disproportionate” force in civilian areas a day after a strike on central Tripoli was reported to have killed a son and three grandchildren of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi.

NATO obviously denied the charge.

To my mind, NATO must ask and answer two questions- Does it want Qaddafi out of power? And what price is it willing to pay?

Read the full story.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Cohen- Price of Delusion. Libya and Qadaffi

Roger Cohen’s column in the Times begins with his take on Qaddafi-

“Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi is a vain man. Like the other Arab dinosaurs he has his dyed hair, his designer shades, his spoiled children and his compound full of sycophants. He doesn’t want, one day, to be dragged from a rat hole like Saddam
Hussein or hauled from a bunker like the Ivory Coast’s Laurent Gbagbo.”
Qaddafi is not mad,” he writes, but deluded. And who or what helped along his delusion?

Qaddafi is a child of the United Nations, that austere body in New York City that gives the plenum to people like Qaddafi, Hugo Chavez and Ahmadinejad. It is the U.N. and its various councils that empower people like Qaddafi by giving them the veneer of legitimacy that allows them to murder their own people and to sponsor terrorism.

And of the rebels?

“Right now, three squabbling generals jostle for control. The Brits, holed up in a Benghazi hotel compound with one of the generals, are trying to help with that. The United States is offering nonlethal stuff worth millions of dollars: body armor, canteens, uniforms, wire cages for sandbags that can be used to make walls.”
But you sense from Cohen that he blames the U.S. for the rebel’s lack of progress in ousting Qaddafi.

“This embryonic force is not going to defeat Qaddafi in the foreseeable future. Nor can it, alone, apply enough pressure on him for his entourage to see the writing on the wall and act accordingly. That burden falls to NATO. But NATO hesitated as President Obama and America drew back. It is now trying to correct that lapse by escalating operations to take out supply and communications lines.”
I say that the U.N. created Qaddafi, let it now get rid of him. Small chance of that happening as its fecklessness is on display as it considers adding Syria to the UN’s Human Rights Council.

What will be in Libya will be. And I do not hold out much hope of a democratic future.

The full article is here.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

New violence in Israel troubles a father's sore heart in N.J. |

My most recent column appeared in the Star-Ledger on Friday, April 15, 2011, New violence in Israel troubles a father's sore heart in N.J.

Originally intended as a political commentary on the Hamas missile attack at an Israeli school bus and the retraction of the Goldstone Report, the column became a personal recollection of my daughter Alisa's murder in April 1995 and the lessons learned since.

Sadly, innocent civilians are again being put in the crosshairs by Hamas and its allies in Gaza. (Thank you, Susie.) And Israel's reaction will be deemed wrong.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

From ADL - Arab newspapers waste no time; anti-Semitic cartoons all the rage.

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has collected a series of anti-Semitic cartoons printed in response to the retraction of the Goldstone Report.

The cartoons ran on Al-Jezeera and in other media outlets in the Middle East including this one from Jordan, which you will recall has a peace treaty with Israel.

I guess we shouldn't be surprised at this latest outburst from some of Israel's neighbors, but I would like, just once, to be surprised at the absence of such hatred.

You can see the rest of the cartoons and read the ADL press release here: Arab Newspaper Editorial Cartoons React to Goldstone Retraction

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Brandeis University students embarrass themselves

The Brandeis University student newspaper the Justice, is just chock full of nonsense. My college didn't have a regularly run student newspaper back in the day, so I can only wonder how much stupidity it would have published. Of course, in the 1960s we were concerned about civil rights, the war in Viet Nam, and nothing much else.

Ah, but the students on the Brandeis campus have much to be concerned about, especially the view espoused by two fringe but very vocal groups covered in this article appearing in the Justice: Students for Justice in Palestine and Jewish Voice for Peace present three generations of Palestinian refugees - News You have to read this tripe to believe it.

But, give them credit, they got the story printed. What a bunch of idiots.

Well, that's what I have to say. Stephen M. Flatow

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Makes my stomach turn- Sanctions Are Dropped Against Libyan Defector

This is the kind of news that no one should have to read in the New York Times- a man who may be responsible for the terror bombing of PanAm 103 is standing in good stead with the Obama administration.

The Obama administration dropped financial sanctions on Monday against the top Libyan official who fled to Britain last week, saying it hoped the move would encourage other senior aides to abandon Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, the country’s embattled leader.

But the decision to unfreeze bank accounts and permit business dealings with the official, Moussa Koussa, underscored the predicament his defection poses for American and British authorities, who said on Tuesday that Scottish police and prosecutors planned to interview Mr. Koussa about the 1988 Lockerbie bombing and other issues “in the next few days.”

So what is going on here? This is not a case where a bank robber gets immunity from prosecution for testifying against his buddies. Koussa is not a bank robber. He works for Qaddafi (the Times' spelling) at the highest level of government. Perhaps he's dangling information about Qaddafi's authorization of the bombing? Maybe, but does Koussa deserve a free ride because of it? What do you think? Read the full report from the New York Times: Sanctions Are Dropped Against Libyan Defector

Monday, March 28, 2011

Israeli leader’s son sentenced to prison for kidnapping Palestinian teen

An Israeli court has sentenced Zvi Struk, 28, of the Esh Kodesh outpost near Shiloh, to 18 months in prison, one year of probation and restitution of $14,000. Struk was convicted of beating a Palestinian shepherd and killing a lamb in July 2007. The case is on appeal. Be that as it may, what's most telling are the judge's comments as reported by JTA
"I reviewed the medical records and the difficult photographs that were taken of the complainant immediately after the event, and I cannot avoid expressing disgust and deep shock over the signs of terrible trauma that the minor suffered," Judge Amnon Cohen said in the courtroom.
What a difference from Israel's opposites in the Palestinian Authority. First, they don't bring perpetrators of crimes against Israelis to justice, and, second, they glorify their criminals, especially the murderers of innocent civilians. What a difference it would make if Palestinians criticized their criminals the way Judge Cohen did an Israeli. Read the full story from the JTA Well, that's what I have to say. Stephen M. Flatow

Sunday, March 27, 2011

A visit to Israel: Sarah Palin and Sarah the matriarch

From the New York Sun, an editorial about Sarah Palin's recent visit to Israel.
Here at home the central point we keep making about Mrs. Palin is that of all the streams of American conservatism hers is the one that is most welcoming to Jewish Americans. Her mantra is what she calls constitutional conservatism, meaning one that is grounded in the bedrock of the American Constitution. It is different from what, in a previous generation, was called Christian Conservatism, a political flag that rallied a magnificent band of followers but that was not the logical rallying cry of Jewish Americans.
The Sun is onto something, not necessarily about Mrs. Palin's role in Republican politics, but the position of the Republican Party as the one garnering more Jewish members. On another note, the Sun continues to use the phrases settlers and settlements when describing the Israelis who live in Jewish communities in Yehuda and the Shomron. Wouldn't it be nice if the Sun were to adopt usage of the latter in lieu of the former? Read the full editorial, Sarah and Sarah Well, that's what I think. Stephen M. Flatow

Thursday, March 17, 2011

About the Itamar massacre

Some have wondered why this blog has not mentioned the horrific murder of the Fogel family in the Jewish community of Itamar on Friday, March 11th.

Be assured that the murdered and their family members have been in my mind since I first read the news Saturday evening after the Sabbath.

Frankly, my silence is attributable to being as the proverbial deer blinded by the headlights of an approaching car. I’ve been frozen not only by the attack but the implications of the attack and the world’s response to it.

When the Associated Press could only conclude its Sunday report of the massacre by stating that the community of Itamar is “home to some of Israel’s most radical settlers,” a line picked up by the New York Times, my fear that we are sinking to the lows of pre-war Nazi Germany in the demonization of Jews became more real.

In that vein, I came across the following poem by Uri Tzvi Greenberg written in response to the Holocaust.

To God in Europe

We are not as dogs among the gentiles: a dog is pitied by them
fondled by them, sometimes even kissed by a gentile’s mouth
as if he were a pretty baby
of his own flesh and blood, the gentile spoils him
and is forever taking pleasure in him.
And when the dog dies, how the gentile mourns him!

Not like sheep to the slaughter were we brought in
trainload but rather-
through all the lovely landscapes of Europe-
brought like leprous sheep
to Extermination itself.
Not as they dealt with their sheep did the gentiles deal with
our bodies;
they did not extract their teeth before they slaughtered them
nor strip them of their wool as they stripped us of our skins;
nor shove them into the fire to turn their life to ashes;
nor scatter the ashes over sewers and streams;
like this that we have suffered at their hands!
There are none-no other instances.
(All words are shadows of shadow)
This is the horrifying phrase: No other instances.

No matter how brutal the torture a man will
suffer in a land of the gentiles
the maker of comparisons will compare it thus:
He was tortured like a Jew.
Whatever the fear, whatever the outrage,
how deep the loneliness, how harrowing the sorrow-
no matter how loud the weeping-
the maker of comparisons will say:
This is an instance of the Jewish sort.

What retribution can there be for our disaster?
Its dimensions are a world.
All the culture of the gentile kingdoms at its peak
flows with our blood,
and all its conscience, with our tears ....
(Tr. Robert Friend)

I conclude by reminding myself that it’s necessary for me to double my efforts to understand the message of this disgusting act of violence and to teach that lesson to our friends, neighbors, media people and elected officials. So I’ll ask God to give me the strength for that because my tank is getting perilously low.

Stephen M. Flatow

Monday, February 21, 2011

From The Region: Egypt gets its Khomeini

Barry Rubin writes in the Jerusalem Post, "Friday, February 18 may be a turning point in Egyptian history. On that day Yusuf al-Qaradawi spoke to a giant cheering crowd in Tahrir Square."

Al-Qaradawi, 84-years old, had been in self-imposed exile in Qatar for 50 years but his return to Egypt may mean that Egypt's Khomeini has entered the scene.

And The New York Times reports,

"Sheik Qaradawi, a popular television cleric whose program reaches an audience of tens of millions worldwide, addressed a rapt audience of more than a million Egyptians gathered in Tahrir Square to celebrate the uprising and honor those who died.

“Don’t fight history,” he urged his listeners in Egypt and across the Arab world, where his remarks were televised. “You can’t delay the day when it starts. The Arab world has changed.”

Rubin points out,

"IT WAS 32 years ago almost to the day when Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini returned in triumph to Tehran to take over the leadership of that country. Qaradawi has a tougher job, but he’s up to the challenge if his health holds up. Up until now, the Egyptian revolution generally, and the Brotherhood in particular, has lacked a charismatic thinker, someone who could really mobilize the masses. Qaradawi is that man. Long resident in the Gulf, he is returning to his homeland in triumph."

Qaradawi has called attacks against Israelis and American soldiers legitimate resistance. And he is considered a terrorist by the US for his support of terror oganizations.

Giving Qaradawi access to Egyptians in the street is asking for trouble. So, in my opinion, the slide to another Islamist government in the Middle East begins.

Read Rubin's report: The Region: Egypt gets its Khomeini and The New York Times, After Long Exile, Sunni Cleric Takes Role in Egypt.

Monday, February 14, 2011

From - Analysis: PA cabinet changes show Abbas is freaking out

The "freaking out" reference is from the article headline; I didn't make it up.

In any event, could the chickens be coming home to roost for Mr. Abbas, aka Abu Mazen, after all these years? Abbas, I was personally told by the late Yitzhak Rabin, was a terrorist, and he, therefore, most likely has the penchant as his comrade in arms Arafat had for pocketing cash intended for Palestinians on the street, and working to keep power rather than democratically share it.

The uproar in Tunisia and Egypt may hit the streets of Ramallah, then what? An Islamist government takeover (read here Hamas) or will the moderates in Palestinian society gain a voice they have been forced to suppress for so many years?

Read the full article - Analysis: PA cabinet changes show Abbas is freaking out

Is Iran afraid of Egyptian uprising? Hanging dissidents is proof

From Frida Ghitis writing in the Miami Herald, Iran sees threat, promise, in Egyptian uprising

"When Arab leaders looked at the uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia, they saw the flames of revolution lapping at their own heels. To protect themselves, they rushed to make preemptive concessions, handing out cash, rolling back subsidy cuts, and promising new elections. Iranian leaders, on the other hand, chose to respond in precisely the opposite way. Instead of granting the people what they might demand, the government chose to protect itself by killing even more of its opponents, according to figures from human-rights organizations."
That's the Iranian approach- encourage change abroad but kill your opponents at home. The unasked question, for now, is what message President Obama will send to Iranians who are fighting, and dying, for change in their government.

Read more.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Whither Egypt - the Economist Debates

The Economist poses the following debate position:
This house believes that Egypt will become a democracy within a year

Defending the motion is Anoush Ehteshami, Professor, Durham University and Joint Director, Centre for the Advanced Study of the Arab World.

Against the motion is Daniel Pipes, Director, Middle East Forum and Taube distinguished visiting fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford.

I think Pipes is correct. Read the entire column, Economist Debates: Egypt: Statements

What do you think?

Friday, February 4, 2011

Monday, January 31, 2011

From the Jerusalem Post -- Editor's Notes: Missing a moment of truth

Just having returned from 10 days in Israel, I can testify to a big news story that is not getting much coverage here in the West. I'm referring to the leak of cables and other items relating to negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

Rather than building on the leaked items, the PA is denying their authenticity.

Here is David Horovitz's take on PaliLeaks.

Instead of denying the charges of seeking a viable peace accord, Abbas should be telling his people that that’s exactly what he and his negotiators have been doing.

Shame on you, apoplectic analysts and commentators at Al-Jazeera and the Guardian.

And learn to live with it, Palestinians. These are your lives and ours. This is your future and ours.

Potentially, this could be your moment of truth – of awkward, hard-to-swallow, unavoidable truth. Your decades-belated 1948 moment, the beginning of your reluctant internalization that this small, glorious, bloodied land is fated to be shared.

Read the full column, Editor's Notes: Missing a moment of truth.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Israel's Netanyahu must make a bold move

Frida Ghitis lays down a challenge to Israel's current policy towards the Palestinians-- Make a bold move. While she mentions that Israel has made what are called unilateral moves in the past, only met with Palestinian violence, she feels that "Israel must remain in the forefront of the quest for peace. That should never change."

I don't think anyone could argue that it was Israel, not the Palestinians or Arab countries, that has sought to end conflict since 1948. But actions by the Palestinians, those in Gaza and the West Bank, and all those who claim to be protecting them, e.g., Hezbollah, the Syrians, the Iranians, speak otherwise.

Anyway, read the full article. Netanyahu must make a bold move

Well, that's what I have to say. Stephen M. Flatow

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Hezbollah Forces Collapse of Lebanese Government -

This breaking story on the New York Times, Hezbollah Forces Collapse of Lebanese Government, points to Hezbollah's efforts to shift attention away from a soon to ber released report on the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister, Rafik Hariri.

It is surmised that Hezbollah will be be accused of having a role in the assassination. That's certainly not good news for Hezbollah or its masters, Syria and Iran.

So, what's next? It depends on how desperately Hezbollah feels it needs to direct Lebanese civilians attention away from the report. How does starting a war with Israel sound as a means of accomplishing that misdirection? Don't be surprised if it happens.

Friday, January 7, 2011

This Week in History: ‘The Engineer’ is assassinated

From the Jerusalem Post, an analysis of the effect of killling of a terrorist responsible for the deaths of scores of innocent civilians in Israel and Gaza. (Why an analysis is necessary, I don't know.)

For instance,

"the assassination of Yehiyeh Ayash was a consequential event for the peace process, terrorism and Palestinian politics."

"When the traditional 40-day Muslim mourning period ended following the terrorist’s assassination, Hamas undertook a wave of vicious and especially deadly terror bombings in Israel. In the period between February 25 and March 4 of that year, four bombings rocked Israel, killing dozens and wounding hundreds. Perhaps as a result, Ayash’s family home in the West Bank town of Rafat was demolished by the IDF using explosives, the first demolition since the beginning of the peace process several years earlier."
Direct linkage? I don't think so. A convenient "excuse" to the mind of Hamas murderers? Most likely.

Yehiyeh Ayash was a murderer. In the same way that civilized society through history has resorted to the removal of murderers from society, so Israel acted towards him.

Hamas would have killed Jews regardless of Ayash's death. And what if, just perhaps, his death discouraged some young Palestinian from following in Ayash's footsteps.

Read the full column, This Week in History: ‘The Engineer’ is assassinated.

What do you think?

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Jews did it! Iranian says Mossad behind Egypt church blast

You might ask how long it would take for an Iranian to blame Israel and the Jews for the devastating terror attack in Egypt that left more than 20 people dead and scores injured. Well, we didn't have to wait long as Iran's Press TV has published an op-ed blaming Israel's Mossad and Zionists for the bomb attack.

One Hassan Hanizadeh, an editorial writer at the Tehran Times but no apparent relation to Baghdad Bob, has written,

Although, at first glance, the finger is pointed at extremist Wahabi or Salafi groups, it goes without saying that no Muslim, whatever their political leanings may be, will ever commit such an inhumane act.

Attacks on churches in Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq and Tunisia can be analyzed in the context of a Zionist scenario aimed at driving a wedge between Muslims and Arab Christians.
The goal of the attack was "aimed at creating a rift between Muslims and Christians."

Read the full column, PressTV - Mossad behind Egypt church blast

The scary aspect of his column is actually found in the comments that follow. They tend to demonstrate that Hanizadeh is not alone in his let's point the finger at Jews world. Enough said.

Monday, January 3, 2011

David Cole - Reform Material Support Laws for Terrorists

David Cole is a university professor with whom I do not necessarily see with eye-to-eye. In an Op-ed appearing in the New York Times on January 3, 2011, Cole discusses a problem with statutes that make it a crime to speak in favor of organizations classified as terrorists by the U.S. government.

DID former Attorney General Michael Mukasey, former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, Tom Ridge, a former homeland security secretary, and Frances Townsend, a former national security adviser, all commit a federal crime last month in Paris when they spoke in support of the Mujahedeen Khalq at a conference organized by the Iranian opposition group’s advocates? Free speech, right? Not necessarily.

Cole has been outspoken against the criminlzation of such conduct and brought suit to overturn its application. Unfortunately for him, the Supreme Court blocked speech or conduct that may be of indirect support to a terror organization.

I'm not sure how this should go. Who should be the arbiter of how much you can say, how much material, i.e. financial or goods, support can you provide, before it constitutes a benefit to a terror group. Where do we draw the line?

Read the full column, Reform Material Support Laws for Terrorists

What do you think?

Christians in Egypt are sitting ducks

I have written recently about the attack on Christianity in the Middle East. Now we have two stories this weekend point to the perilous lives led by Coptic Christians in Egypt.

From the New York Times comes the news of a bombing, a suicide attack, against
"worshipers outside of a Coptic Christian church in the port city of Alexandria, Egypt, early Saturday, killing at least 21 people in the worst attack against Egypt’s Christian minority in recent memory."
Read, Coptic Church in Egypt Is Hit by Fatal Bomb Attack.

The follow-up story is how the community responded.

Amid shattered glass and scenes of grief, congregants returned to the Saints Church early Sunday for the morning Mass, passing a chain of riot police who patrolled the streets nearby without incident after a bomb exploded here Saturday and killed at least 21 people in the worst attack against Egypt’s Christian minority in recent years.
So, what is the rest of Egypt doing? President Hosni Mubarak blames outside forces. Christians want to know what the reaction would have been if the victims were Muslims. One man whose "cousin was injured in the blast and would have his leg amputated. “'I don’t feel afraid,” he said. “The only thing that makes me scared is the police.'”

The bottom line is that a two thousand year old community in Egypt is on the verge of being forced from the country they call home. And the world remains silent. Where is the outrage on America's college campuses against this human rights abuse?

Well, that's what I have to say.

Stephen M. Flatow