Trying to make sense of a meshuga planet

Do we have enough Jews?

Regarding this recent news story: Italian ship captain: Israeli security officers drove Somali pirates away

Israeli private security guards exchanged fire with pirates who attacked an Italian cruise ship with 1,500 people on board far off the coast of Somalia, the ship’s commander said Sunday. Cmdr. Ciro Pinto told Italian state radio that six men in a small white boat approached the Msc Melody and opened fire Saturday night, but retreated after the Israeli security officers aboard the cruise ship returned fire.

This reminded me an old anecdote:

At the Russian War College, the general is a guest lecturer and tells the class of officers that the session will focus on potential problems and the resulting strategies. One of the officers in the class begins by asking the first question, “Will we have to fight in a World War Three?”
“Yes, comrades, in all likelihood, you will,” answers the general.
“And who will be our likely enemy, Comrade General?” another officer asks.
“The likelihood is that it will be China.”
The class looks alarmed, and finally one officer asks, “But Comrade General, we are 150 million people and they are about 1.5 billion. How can we possibly win?”
“Well,” replies the general, “think about it. In modern war, it is not the quantity, but the quality that is key. For example, in the Middle East, 5 million Jews fight against 50 million Arabs and the Jews have been the winners every time.”
“But sir,” asks the panicky officer, “do we have enough Jews?”

The incident with the pirates did not go without a controversy. Tom Gross notes in NRO:

But one organization — and no surprise, it is the BBC — despite running a 23-paragraph story about the incident, went out of its way not to mention that the saviors of the ship and its 1,500 passengers were Israelis. Is the BBC ever willing to portray Israelis in a positive light?

UPDATE: Following criticism, on Monday night the BBC subtly added the word “Israeli” into the eleventh paragraph of their article — but its time stamp remains unchanged, despite the update. This is not the first time the BBC has subtly updated pieces without telling readers. See here for example, or here.


April 30, 2009 Posted by | Piracy | , , , | Leave a comment

Lieberman: “it is not enough to repeat slogans”

Today’s great interview is with Avigdor Lieberman at JPost: The world according to Lieberman.

I had an idea to compile a list of epithets Lieberman has been called in the course of the last few months, but I was too lazy busy. To me, A.L. seems reasonable and sane, unlike many of his critics. As always, I recommend to read the entire thing. A few excerpts:

"Moderate" Abu Mazen brandishes a map of "Palestine" - in place of Israel. (Image courtesy PMW)

"Moderate" Abu Mazen brandishes a map of "Palestine" - in place of Israel. (Image courtesy PMW)

First of all, we must understand why the Palestinian issue is deadlocked, because since 1993 we really made every effort. We had very dovish governments. We can start with Ehud Barak at Camp David, who made a very generous offer to [Yasser] Arafat and he rejected it. As for the Ariel Sharon government, we undertook an insane process called disengagement. We transferred thousands of Jews from the Gaza Strip. We evacuated tens of flowering settlements and we received in return Hamas and Kassam rockets. The last government of Ehud Olmert is the same. From what I saw in the papers, he really made a very very generous offer to Abu Mazen. And the same thing happened: Abu Mazen rejected it.

But more than this offer, more important at the end of the day: what was the final result? This was a very dovish government – without Lieberman, without Netanyahu. It was Olmert, Barak and Tzipi Livni. And the result? The Second Lebanon War, the operation in Gaza, severed diplomatic relations with Mauritania and Qatar, our soldier Gilad Schalit still in captivity.

And we cannot move forward without understanding why.

I know that all of us know some very popular slogans – land for peace, two-state solutions. It would be very easy to win over public opinion or the mass media by talking in slogans. But this is not election time. We’re not during the campaign. We want to bring real results.

I ask only one thing: What was the situation before 1967, before we established a single settlement. What was before ’48 and ’67? Was it peace, was it a heaven here?

It was the same: friction, terrorism, bloodshed. The PLO and Fatah were established before ’67 and the Arab countries controlled Judea and Samaria and the Gaza Strip for 19 years, from ’48 to ’67. Nobody spoke during this time about the Palestinian state. And even before the establishment of the state of Israel, it was the same: friction, tension, terror, riots, pogroms. People try to simplify the situation with these formulas – land for peace, two-state solution. It’s a lot more complicated.

We must clarify our position. The real reason [for the deadlock with the Palestinians] is not occupation, not settlements and not settlers. This conflict is really a very deep conflict. It started like other national conflicts. Today it’s a more religious conflict. Today you have the influence of some non-rational players, like Al-Qaida. What is Hamas and Islamic Jihad? It’s Iran by proxy.

To resolve this conflict, it is not enough to repeat slogans. I don’t see any short way for any comprehensive solutions.

From my point of view, we’re interested in three things. First of all, as Israeli citizens, the most important thing is security. …

Second, what is most important for the Palestinians? I think it’s also very clear – the economy. … Like all normal peoples, they want, first of all, jobs, to feed their families, to provide education for their children, health services, personal security. …

And the third element, of course, is stability. Economy, security, stability. It’s impossible to artificially impose any political solution. It will fail, for sure.

April 29, 2009 Posted by | Avigdor Lieberman | , , | Leave a comment

Obama’s administration seeks a way to fund Hamas

Emblem of Fatah: hand grenades and rifles on top of the map of Israel

Emblem of Fatah: hand grenades, rifles, Pal. flags and the map of Israel

Emblem of Hamas: swords, Dome of the Rock, Pal. flags and the map of Israel

Emblem of Hamas: swords, Dome of the Rock, Pal. flags and the map of Israel

If during previous US administrations terrorist groups were required to at least formally renounce terrorism by uttering the “magic” words (although Fatah still refuses to recognize Israel and has a terrorist “military wing” Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades), these days even this is not necessary: simply list your FTO under a more-or-less legitimate “roof” and start raking millions of US federal aid.

LAT reports about “minor changes” – nothing to worry about!

PLO emblem: revolutionary fires, Pal. flag and the map of Israel

Emblem of the PLO: revolutionary fires, Pal. flag and the map of Israel

The administration seeks changes that would permit aid to Palestinians even if officials backed by Hamas, which has been designated a terrorist group, become part of a unified Palestinian government.

The Palestinian group is designated by the U.S. government as a terrorist organization and under law may not receive federal aid.

But the administration has asked Congress for minor changes in U.S. law that would permit aid to continue flowing to Palestinians in the event Hamas-backed officials become part of a unified Palestinian government.

April 28, 2009 Posted by | US foreign policy | , , , | 2 Comments

Iran: “we also need a nuclear bomb”

Roberta Bonazzi of the European Foundation for Democracy reports in Hudson Institute NY:

The secretary-general of the Iranian Hezbollah, Ayatollah Dr Seyyed Mohammad Baqer Kharazi, has unequivocally admitted his regime’s nuclear plans, saying that there will be no relations with the United States until Tehran has nuclear bombs. According to the Shabestan news agency, he said: “If one is not allowed to have nuclear bombs, one cannot have relations with the United States. And if we are to have relations, then we also need a nuclear bomb.”

The emphasis is mine. Let’s see the reaction of IAEA and the rest of appeasers.

April 28, 2009 Posted by | Iran | | Leave a comment

Interview with Victor Davis Hanson

Today’s great interview is with Victor Davis Hanson: Obama’s Foreign Policy Disasters
A short excerpt:

Wrong button.

Infamous wrong button.

FP: What danger does Putin’s regime pose to the West? What is your recommendation in terms of U.S. policy toward Putin? What mistakes has the new administration made so far in that department? For instance, in terms of the reset button fiasco, it means that the Obama team doesn’t even have a sound translator on hand. This is real grounds for worry, yes?

Hanson: We have three or four broad aims at this juncture: one, to ensure that former Soviet republics, which on their free accord sought integration with the West — the Baltic Republics, Ukraine, Georgia, etc. — are not forced back into a Russian Empire against their will; that Eastern European states remain autonomous and free to protect themselves from Iranian nuclear blackmail should they wish anti-ballistic missile protection; that Russia understands that there will be consequences if its technology ensures an Iranian bomb; and that Europe has assurances of support should Russia engage in energy blackmail—or worse.

FP: What do you think is the greatest threat right now facing the U.S. , Israel and the West?

Hanson: We have three: one, we have mortgaged our options to the Chinese and other debt holders. By going into $20 trillion in aggregate debt we will cut our military, pull back, dress it up with utopian rhetoric, and cede huge areas of the globe over to regional autocracies.

Second, some are already prepping for the Iranian catastrophe to come, by talking of “containing” Iran, as if we have given up on embargoing, blockading, and other more severe 11th hour measures to stop a Khomeinist nuke. Once that happens the Arab Sunni states will rush to get a bomb, Israel will be periodically blackmailed as Hamas, Hezbollah, etc will be given Iranian nuclear assurance (acting deranged with your finger on the trigger is smart in nuclear poker). Add in al Qaeda that thinks there are now new rules in Washington that can be tested–and you have a recipe for a dangerous world. We seem to think that not being attacked since 9/11 was some sort of natural occurrence, or perhaps yet another government ensured entitlement.

April 28, 2009 Posted by | US foreign policy | , , | Leave a comment

Becoming an expert on Iran

Yes, yes, I know: one book (or many books) is not enough to become an expert.
Jokes aside, I am reading The Devil We Know: Dealing With The New Iranian Superpower by Robert Baer. It is a captivating and provoking read.

Baer doesn’t seem to have much of a web presence. I already mentioned his recent interview (Mar 2009), here’s another one (Oct 2008).

April 26, 2009 Posted by | Iran, US foreign policy | , , , | 1 Comment

Israeli teenager invents a cheap way to save 40% gas

Some good news for a change. Israel21c reports: Israeli whiz kid aims to transform the car industry By Karin Kloosterman

If you could spend $208 on a small device that fitted to your car engine, saving you up to 40 percent on your gas consumption, the earth from pollution, and which also gave your car more power, you’d think it was too good to be true, right? Well this is exactly the promise of a new invention, the Z5, devised by an Israeli teenager Zion Badash when he was only 16.

After two years in the works, Badash started selling his device a few months ago, with road tests to prove it. Car manufacturers around the world are lining up for stakes in this wunderkind’s new device.

Read the whole article.

April 26, 2009 Posted by | Alternative energy | | Leave a comment

Russian provocative “warnings”

If this is true, it is not the first time Russia warns Israel’s potential enemies.

DEBKA: Iran canceled air show when Russia warned Israel planned to destroy all 140 warplanes

DEBKAfile’s Iranian and intelligence sources disclose that Moscow warned Tehran Friday April 17 that Israel was planning to destroy all 140 fighter-bombers concentrated at the Mehr-Abad Air Force base for an air show over Tehran on Iran’s Army Day the following day. The entire fleet was accordingly removed to remote bases and the display cancelled.

If this provocative “warning” sounds familiar, it should: How The USSR Planned To Destroy Israel in 1967

The Soviet warning to Egypt about supposed Israeli troop concentrations on the Syrian border in May 1967 has long been considered a blunder that precipitated a war which the USSR neither desired nor expected. New evidence from Soviet and other Warsaw Pact documents, as well as memoirs of contemporary actors, contradicts this accepted theory. The author demonstrates that this warning was deliberate disinformation, part of a plan approved at the highest level of Soviet leadership to elicit Egyptian action that would provoke an Israeli strike. Soviet military intervention against the “aggressor” was intended to follow and was prepared well in advance.

The emphasis is mine.

April 25, 2009 Posted by | Arab-Israeli Conflict | , , , , | Leave a comment

Vladimir Bukovsky on Obama – redux

If you don’t know who Vladimir Bukovsky is, follow links at Vladimir Bukovsky on Obama’s foreign policy blunders. Today, FrontPageMag has an interview with V.B. entitled The Kremlin’s Obama Gambit
I’ll quote only a few lines here, read the whole thing.

So let me begin with this question Mr.Bukovsky: Will Putin be able to do the same with Obama as he did with Bush?

Vladimir Bukovsky: It will be much easier for Putin to do it with Obama, because the leftist politicians love Russia and immediately yield to it. I am sure that now the Kremlin psychologists are creating a psychological portrait of Obama in order to find the key to him. The Americans have forgotten that KGB officers are ruling today’s Russia. And the KGB officers do not accept relations of partnership. They recognize you only either as a collaborator or as an enemy.

Preobrazhensky: And in terms of the evidence before us, how do you see Russian-American relations ensuing under Obama?

Bukovsky: As it stands now, and if there is no drastic rethinking and reformulating, a chain of endless concessions by America.

April 24, 2009 Posted by | Vladimir Bukovsky | , , | Leave a comment

Anti-Semitism Courtesy of the U.N.

A sobering reminder of UN’s irrelevancy and need for reform.
Usually I do not post entire articles, but this one is both concise and essential.

Anti-Semitism Courtesy of the U.N. by Anne Bayefsky

On Tuesday, the U.N.’s racist anti-racism conference “Durban II” rammed through a final declaration three days before its scheduled conclusion. On Monday Iranian President Ahamadinejad had opened the substantive program by denying the Holocaust and spewing anti-Semitism. A day later UN members rewarded Iran by electing it one of three Vice-Chairs of the committee which adopted the final declaration.

The committee meeting was chaired by Libya and lasted fifteen minutes. No discussion of the merits of the Durban II declaration was tolerated.

The document reaffirms the 2001 Durban Declaration, which alleges Palestinians are victims of Israeli racism and mentions only Israel among all 192 UN member states. It also multiplies the anti-Israel provisions, using the usual UN code, by adding yet another rant about racist foreign occupation.

Not surprisingly, such a manifesto encouraged the racists and anti-Semites which had pressed for its adoption. Speaking on Tuesday the Syrian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Faysal Mekdad, alleged “the right of return” of Jews to Israel – Jewish self-determination – was “a form of racial discrimination”. He also objected to the “Judaization of Israel” and to the “ethnic cleansing…of 1948.”

Palestinian Riyad Al-Maliki claimed that “for over 60 years the Palestinian people has been suffering under…the ugliest face of racism and racial discrimination…” and said an Israeli government “declaration…regarding the Jewish nature of the state is a form of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.” Al-Maliki was delighted with the result of the conference and gloated by reading excerpts from the 2001 Durban Declaration that he was pleased to see had been reaffirmed.

The remnants of the European Union which remained inside the conference – in particular France and the United Kingdom – entirely ignored their many promises not to accept anything which singled out the Jewish state. Though these Europeans undoubtedly enabled the hatemongering, their excuses in the coming days are predictable.

The rest of the week has been set aside for speechifying. Europeans can be expected to point to the miniscule mentions of anti-Semitism and the Holocaust and pretend anti-Semitism is unrelated to the demonization of Israel in the very same text.

Their behavior is as chilling as the behavior of the UN itself. UN High Commissioner Navi Pillay issued a press release following Ahmadinejad’s speech in which she complained: “I condemn the use of a UN forum for political grandstanding. I find this totally objectionable. Much of his speech was clearly beyond the scope of the Conference.”

Ahmadinejad’s speech was not political grandstanding. It was anti-Semitism. The problem with Holocaust denial is not the scope of the conference. The problem is that it is a form of anti-Semitism. A Durban II Declaration which continues to demonize Israel – and therefore fosters the murder of Jews in the here and now – is not legitimate because it feigns concern over Jews murdered in the past.

April 21st was Holocaust Remembrance Day. Its message, however, was totally lost on the United Nations.

April 24, 2009 Posted by | Anti-Semitism, Antisemitism, UN | , , | Leave a comment