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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Comments Made in the Year 1955!

That's only 54 years ago!

'I'll tell you one thing, if things keep going the way they are, it's going to be impossible to buy a week's groceries for $20.00.'

'Have you seen the new cars coming out next year? It won't be long before $2,000.00 will only buy a used one.'

'If cigarettes keep going up in price, I'm going to quit. A quarter a pack is ridiculous.

'Did you hear the post office is thinking about charging a dime just to mail a letter?'

'If they raise the minimum wage to $1.00, nobody will be able to hire outside help at the store.'

'When I first started driving, who would have thought gas would someday cost 29 cents a gallon. Guess we'd be better off leaving the car in the garage.'

'Kids today are impossible. Those duck tail hair cuts make it impossible to stay groomed. Next thing you know, boys will be wearing their hair as long as the girls.'

'I'm afraid to send my kids to the movies any more. Ever since they let Clark Gable get by with saying DAMN in GONE WITH THE WIND, it seems every new movie has either HELL of DAMN in it.'

'I read the other day where some scientist thinks it's possible to put a man on the moon by the end of the century. They even have some fellows they call astronauts preparing for it down in Texas .'

'Did you see where some baseball player just signed a contract for $75,000 a year just to play ball? It wouldn't surprise me if someday they'll be making more than the President.'

'I never thought I'd see the day all our kitchen appliances would be electric. They are even making electric typewriters now.'

'It's too bad things are so tough nowadays. I see where a few married women are having to work to make ends meet.'

'It won't be long before young couples are going to have to hire someone to watch their kids so they can both work.'

'Marriage doesn't mean a thing any more, those Hollywood stars seem to be getting divorced at the drop of a hat.'

'I'm afraid the Volkswagen car is going to open the door to a whole lot of foreign business.'

'Thank goodness I won't live to see the day when the Government takes half our income in taxes. I sometimes wonder if we are electing the best people to congress.'

'The drive-in restaurant is convenient in nice weather, but I seriously doubt they will ever catch on.'

'There is no sense going to Lincoln or Omaha anymore for a weekend, it costs nearly $15.00 a night to stay in a hotel.'

'No one can afford to be sick anymore, at $35.00 a day in the hospital it's too rich for my blood.'

'If they think I'll pay 50 cents for a hair cut, forget it.'

If you know any friends who would get a kick out of these, pass this on!
Be sure and send it to your kids and grandkids too..

Seven Existential Threats

Michael B. Oren - May 01, 2009

Commentary Magazine

Rarely in modern history have nations faced genuine existential threats. Wars are waged to change regimes, alter borders, acquire resources, and impose ideologies, but almost never to eliminate another state and its people. This was certainly the case during World War II, in which the Allies sought to achieve the unconditional surrender of Germany and Japan and to oust their odious leaders, but never to destroy the German and Japanese states or to annihilate their populations. In the infrequent cases in which modern states were threatened with their survival, the experience proved to be traumatic in the extreme. Military coups, popular uprisings, and civil strife are typical by-products of a state’s encounter with even a single existential threat.

The State of Israel copes not only with one but with at least seven existential threats on a daily basis. These threats are extraordinary not only for their number but also for their diversity. In addition to external military dangers from hostile regimes and organizations, the Jewish State is endangered by domestic opposition, demographic trends, and the erosion of core values. Indeed, it is difficult if not impossible to find an example of another state in the modern epic that has faced such a multiplicity and variety of concurrent existential threats.


The Loss of Jerusalem.

The preservation of Jerusalem as the political and spiritual capital of the Jewish state is vital to Israel’s existence. This fact was well understood by David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister, at the time of the state’s creation in 1948. Though Israel was attacked simultaneously on all fronts by six Arab armies, with large sections of the Galilee and the Negev already lost, Ben-Gurion devoted the bulk of Israel’s forces to breaking the siege of Jerusalem. The city, he knew, represented the raison d’ĂȘtre of the Jewish state, and without it Israel would be merely another miniature Mediterranean enclave not worth living in, much less defending.

Ben-Gurion’s axiom proved correct: For more than 60 years, Jerusalem has formed the nucleus of Israel’s national identity and cohesion. But now, for the first time since 1948, Israel is in danger of losing Jerusalem—not to Arab forces but to a combination of negligence and lack of interest.

Jerusalem no longer boasts a Zionist majority. Out of a total population of 800,000, there are 272,000 Arabs and 200,000 Haredim--ultra-Orthodox Jews who do not generally identify with the Zionist state. Recent years have seen the flight of thousands of secular Jews from the city, especially professionals and young couples. This exodus has severely eroded the city’s tax base, making Jerusalem Israel’s poorest city. Add this to the lack of industry and the prevalence of terrorist attacks and it is easy to see why Jerusalem is hardly a magnet for young Israelis. Indeed, virtually half of all Israelis under 18 have never even visited Jerusalem.

If this trend continues, Ben-Gurion’s nightmare will materialize and Israel will be rendered soulless, a country in which a great many Jews may not want to live or for which they may not be willing to give their lives.


The Arab Demographic Threat.

Estimates of the Arab growth rate, both within Israel and the West Bank and Gaza, vary widely. A maximalist school holds that the Palestinian population on both sides of the 1949 armistice lines is expanding far more rapidly than the Jewish sector and will surpass it in less than a decade. Countering this claim, a minimalist school insists that the Arab birthrate in Israel is declining and that the population of the territories, because of emigration, is also shrinking.

Even if the minimalist interpretation is largely correct, it cannot alter a situation in which Israeli Arabs currently constitute one-fifth of the country’s population—one-quarter of the population under age 19--and in which the West Bank now contains at least 2 million Arabs.

Israel, the Jewish State, is predicated on a decisive and stable Jewish majority of at least 70 percent. Any lower than that and Israel will have to decide between being a Jewish state and a democratic state. If it chooses democracy, then Israel as a Jewish state will cease to exist. If it remains officially Jewish, then the state will face an unprecedented level of international isolation, including sanctions, that might prove fatal.

Ideally, the remedy for this dilemma lies in separate states for Jews and Palestinian Arabs. The basic conditions for such a solution, however, are unrealizable for the foreseeable future. The creation of Palestinian government, even within the parameters of the deal proposed by President Clinton in 2000, would require the removal of at least 100,000 Israelis from their West Bank homes. The evacuation of a mere 8,100 Israelis from Gaza in 2005 required 55,000 IDF troops—the largest Israeli military operation since the 1973 Yom Kippur War—and was profoundly traumatic. And unlike the biblical heartland of Judaea and Samaria, which is now called the West Bank, Gaza has never been universally regarded as part of the historical Land of Israel.

On the Palestinian side there is no single leadership at all, and certainly not one ready to concede the demand for the repatriation of Palestinian refugees to Israel or to forfeit control of even part of the Temple Mount (a necessary precondition for a settlement that does not involve the division of Jerusalem). No Palestinian leader, even the most moderate, has recognized Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state or even the existence of a Jewish people.

In the absence of a realistic two-state paradigm, international pressure will grow to transform Israel into a binational state. This would spell the end of the Zionist project. Confronted with the lawlessness and violence endemic to other one-state situations in the Middle East such as Lebanon and Iraq, multitudes of Israeli Jews will emigrate.



Since the mid-1970s, Israel’s enemies have waged an increasingly successful campaign of delegitimizing Israel in world forums, intellectual and academic circles, and the press. The campaign has sought to depict Israel as a racist, colonialist state that proffers extraordinary rights to its Jewish citizens and denies fundamental freedoms to the Arabs. These accusations have found their way into standard textbooks on the Middle East and have become part of the daily discourse at the United Nations and other influential international organizations. Most recently, Israel has been depicted as an apartheid state, effectively comparing the Jewish State to South Africa under its former white supremacist regime. Many of Israel’s counterterrorism efforts are branded as war crimes, and Israeli generals are indicted by foreign courts.

Though the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza clearly contributed to the tarnishing of Israel’s image, increasingly the delegitimization campaign focuses not on Israel’s policy in the territories but on its essence as the Jewish national state.

Such calumny was, in the past, dismissed as harmless rhetoric. But as the delegitimization of Israel gained prominence, the basis was laid for international measures to isolate Israel and punish it with sanctions similar to those that brought down the South African regime. The academic campaigns to boycott Israeli universities and intellectuals are adumbrations of the type of strictures that could destroy Israel economically and deny it the ability to defend itself against the existential threats posed by terrorism and Iran.



Since the moment of its birth, Israel has been the target of attacks—bombings, ambushes, rocket fire—from Arab irregulars committed to its destruction. In the decade between 1957 and 1967, widely considered the most halcyon in the state’s history, hundreds of Israelis were killed in such assaults. Nevertheless, the Israeli security establishment viewed terror as a nuisance that, though at times tormenting, did not threaten the state’s survival.

This assessment changed, however, in the fall of 2000, when the Palestinians responded to an Israeli-American offer of statehood in the West Bank and Gaza with an onslaught of drive-by shootings and suicide bombings. Tourists and foreign capital fled the country as a result, and Israelis were literally locked inside their homes. The state was dying.

Israel eventually rallied and, in the spring of 2002, mounted a counteroffensive against terrorist strongholds in the West Bank and Gaza. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) developed innovative techniques for patrolling Palestinian cities, coordinating special forces and intelligence units, and targeting terrorist leaders. Israel also built a separation barrier that impeded the ability of terrorists to infiltrate the state from the east.

These measures succeeded in virtually eliminating suicide bombers and restoring economic and social stability. Yet no sooner were these historic achievements gained than terrorists alit on a new tactic no less threatening to Israel’s existence.

Katyusha rockets fired by Hezbollah into northern Israel and Qassam rockets fired by Hamas in the south rendered life in large swaths of Israel emotionally untenable. Though Israeli ground and air operations may have succeeded in temporarily deterring such attacks, Israel has yet to devise a 21st-century remedy for these mid-20th century threats.

Moreover, Hezbollah’s and Hamas’s arsenals now contain rockets capable of hitting every Israeli city. If fired simultaneously, these rockets could knock out Israel’s airport, destroy its economy, spur a mass exodus from the country, and perhaps trigger a chain reaction in which some Israeli Arabs and several Middle Eastern states join in the assault. Israel’s attempts to defend itself, for example by invading Lebanon and Gaza, would be condemned internationally, and serve as pretext for delegitimizing the state. Israel’s survival would be threatened.


A Nuclear-Armed Iran.

The principal sponsor of Hamas and Hezbollah, Iran is inextricably linked to the terrorist threat. But when the Islamic Republic achieves nuclear weapons-capability—as early as this year, according to Israeli intelligence estimates—the threat will amplify manifold.

A nuclear-armed Iran creates not one but several existential threats. The most manifest emanates from Iran’s routinely declared desire to “wipe Israel off the map,” and from the fact that cold war calculi of nuclear deterrence through mutually assured destruction may not apply to Islamist radicals eager for martyrdom. Some Israeli experts predict that the Iranian leadership would be willing to sacrifice 50 percent of their countrymen in order to eradicate Israel.

Beyond the perils of an Iranian first-strike attack against Israel, the possibility exists that Iran will transfer its nuclear capabilities to terrorist groups, which will then unleash them on Israel via the country’s porous ports and border crossings.

A nuclear Iran will also deny Israel the ability to respond to terrorist attacks: in response to an Israeli retaliation against Hezbollah, for example, Iran would go on nuclear alert, causing widespread panic in Israel and the collapse of its economy. Finally, and most menacing, many Middle Eastern states have declared their intention to develop nuclear capabilities of their own once Iran acquires the bomb.

Israel will swiftly find itself in a profoundly unstable nuclear neighborhood prone to violent revolutions and miscalculations leading to war. As former Labor Party minister Efraim Sneh says, under such circumstances, all Israelis who can leave the country will.


The Hemorrhaging of Sovereignty.

Israel does not assert its sovereignty over large sections of its territory and over major sectors of its population. In East Jerusalem, a few hundred yards from where Israeli building codes are strictly enforced in West Jerusalem, Arabs have illegally built hundreds of houses, many of them in historic areas, with impunity. The situation is even worse in the Negev and throughout much of the Galilee, where vast tracts of land have been seized by illegal construction and squatters. Taxes are erratically collected in these areas and the police maintain, at best, a symbolic presence.

Israel fails to apply its laws not only to segments of its Arab population but to significant parts of its Jewish community as well. Over 100 outposts have been established illegally in the West Bank, and Jewish settler violence perpetrated against Palestinian civilians and Israeli security forces is now regarded as a major threat by the IDF.

Israel also balks at enforcing many of its statutes in the burgeoning Haredi community. (According to a recent report, by the year 2012, Haredim will account for one-third of all the Jewish elementary school students in Israel.) Though it is difficult to generalize about Israeli Haredim, the community overwhelmingly avoids military service and eschews the symbols of the state.

A significant percentage of Knesset members, Arabs and Jews, do not recognize the validity of the state they serve. Some actively call for its dissolution. Israel is, quite simply, hemorrhaging sovereignty and so threatening its continued existence as a state.



Recent years have witnessed the indictment of major Israeli leaders on charges of embezzlement, taking bribes, money laundering, sexual harassment, and even rape. Young Israelis shun politics, which are widely perceived as cutthroat; the Knesset, according to annual surveys, commands the lowest level of respect of any state institution. Charges of corruption have spread to areas of Israeli society, such as the army, once considered inviolate.

The breakdown of public morality, in my view, poses the greatest single existential threat to Israel. It is this threat that undermines Israel’s ability to cope with other threats; that saps the willingness of Israelis to fight, to govern themselves, and even to continue living within a sovereign Jewish state. It emboldens Israel’s enemies and sullies Israel’s international reputation. The fact that Israel is a world leader in drug and human trafficking, in money laundering, and in illicit weapons sales is not only unconscionable for a Jewish state, it also substantively reduces that state’s ability to survive.

Though seemingly overwhelming, the threats to Israel’s existence are not without solutions, either partial or complete.

Preserving Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish state must become a policy priority for Israel. Immense resources must be invested in expanding the industrial and social infrastructure of the city and in encouraging young people to relocate there. Israeli school children must make biannual visits to Jerusalem; materials on Jerusalem’s centrality to Jewish history and national identity must be introduced into school curricula.

Similarly, to maintain Israel’s demographic integrity, measures must be taken to separate Israel from the densely populated areas of the West Bank. In the absence of effective Palestinian interlocutors, Israel may have to draw its eastern border unilaterally. The new borders should include the maximum number of Jews, of natural and strategic assets, and of Jewish holy places.

There is no absolute solution for terrorism, though terror attacks can be reduced to a manageable level through combined (air, ground, and intelligence) operations, physical obstacles, and advanced anti-ballistic systems. It is also essential that Israel adopt a zero-tolerance policy for terrorism, in which every rocket or mortar shell fired across its border precipitates an immediate and punishing response. There must be no immunity for terrorist leaders, military or political. Israel proved that suicide bombers can be virtually eliminated and that terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah can be deterred.

Israel cannot allow Iran to acquire nuclear weapons. Israel should work in close tandem with the United States, supporting the current administration’s diplomatic efforts to dissuade the Iranians from going nuclear but warning American policymakers of the dangers of Iranian prevarication. Israel must also not allow its hands to be tied—it must remain free to initiate other, covert measures to impede Iran’s nuclear program, while continuing to develop the plans and intelligence necessary for a military operation.

There is no other option, if the state is to survive, than for Israel to assert its sovereignty fully and equitably over all of its territory and inhabitants. This means forbidding illegal construction in East Jerusalem, the Negev, and the Galilee. Major investments will have to be made to expand the security forces necessary for applying Israeli law uniformly throughout the state. In the specific case of Israeli Arabs, Israel must adopt a two-pronged policy of assuring total equality in the provision of social services and infrastructure while simultaneously insisting that Israeli Arabs demonstrate basic loyalty to the state. A system of national service—military and non-military—must be established and made obligatory for all Israelis, ending the destructive separation of Haredi youth from the responsibilities of citizenship.

Corruption must be addressed on both the institutional and the ideological levels. The first step in reducing political corruption is the radical reform of the coalition system, in which that corruption is organic. Young people must be encouraged to enter politics and grassroots movements dedicated to probity in public affairs fostered.

Most fundamental, though, corruption must be rooted out through a revival of Zionist and Jewish values. These should be inculcated, first, in the schools, then through the media and popular culture. The most pressing need is for leadership. Indeed, all of these threats can be surmounted with courageous, clear-sighted, and morally sound leaders of the caliber of David Ben-Gurion.

Though remedies exist for all of the monumental threats facing Israel, contemplating them can nevertheless prove dispiriting. A historical context can, however, be helpful. Israel has always grappled with mortal dangers, many more daunting than those of today, and yet managed to prevail. In 1948, a population half of the size of that of Washington, D.C., with no economy and no allies, armed with little more than handguns, held off six Arab armies. It built an economy, tripled its population in ten years, and developed a vibrant democracy and Hebrew culture.

Nineteen years later, in June 1967, Israel was surrounded by a million Arab soldiers clamoring for its obliteration. Its economy was collapsing and its only ally, France, switched sides. There was no assistance from the United States and only hatred from the Soviet bloc countries, China, and even India.

And look at Israel today: a nation of 7 million with a robust economy, six of the world’s leading universities, a pulsating youth culture, cutting-edge arts, and a military that, in its last two engagements, was able to mobilize more than 100 percent of its reserves. According to recent polls, Israelis are the second-most patriotic people in the world, after Americans, and the most willing to defend their country.

Israel in 2009 has treaties with Jordan and Egypt, excellent relations with Eastern Europe, China, and India, and a historic alliance with the United States. By virtually all criteria, Israel in 2009 is in an inestimably better position than at any other time in its 61 years of independence.

Though the severity of the threats jeopardizing Israel’s existence must never be underestimated, neither should Israel’s resilience and national will. That persistence reflects, at least in part, the success of the Jewish people to surmount similar dangers for well over 3,000 years. Together with Diaspora Jewry and millions of Israel supporters abroad, Israel can not only survive these perils but, as in the past, it can thrive.

Michael B. Oren, a distinguished fellow at the Shalem Center and a professor at the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, is the author of Power, Faith, and Fantasy: America in the Middle East, 1776 to the Present. He wishes to thank Rafael Frankel for his assistance in preparing this article.

Funding the PA is illegal

Palestinian Media Watch

Imri Tel-Oren, age 15, murdered by terrorist honored by Abbas.

The Palestinian Authority's honoring of terrorists directly violates US conditions to receive funding, yet the US ignores its own laws and funds the PA. In this Jerusalem Post OpEd, PMW documents that through its negligence, the US is helping the PA to promote the murder of women and children.

Below see "letter to the editor" written by Sharona Tel-Oren, mother of 15-year-old Imri, who was murdered by Palestinian terrorists, responding to the US funding of PA honoring her son's murderer.

Will the US follow its laws
and suspend funding to Abbas?
Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook

Jerusalem Post Op-Ed, May 25, 2009

As US President Barack Obama prepares to welcome Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to Washington this week, and US lawmakers debate the proposed $900 million aid package to the PA, it is once again using its money to proclaim that killing Israeli women and children is heroic.

The PA chose to name its latest computer center "after the martyr Dalal Mughrabi," who led the most deadly terror attack in the country's history. Her 1978 bus hijacking killed 37 civilians, 12 of them children, including American photographer Gail Rubin. The new center is funded by Abbas's office, which is bolstered by Western aid money. (Al-Ayyam, May 5)

US law prohibits the funding of Palestinian structures that use any portion of their budget to promote terror or honor terrorists. But $200 million of the US's proposed $900m. aid package is earmarked to go directly to the Abbas government, which regularly uses its budget to honor terrorists. In fact, this latest veneration of Mughrabi is not an isolated case, but part of a continuing pattern of honoring terrorists that targets children in particular.

Last summer the PA sponsored "the Dalal Mughrabi football championship" for kids, and a "summer camp named for martyr Dalal Mughrabi... out of honor and admiration for the martyr." It also held a party to honor exemplary students, also named "for the martyr Dalal Mughrabi," under the auspices of Abbas and at which Abbas's representative "reviewed the heroic life of the martyr [Mughrabi] (Al-Hayat al-Jadida, July 23, 24 and August 8, 2008). All these PA-funded activities were to teach kids that a killer of women and children is a role model.

TWO MONTHS AGO, 31 years to the day after the Mughrabi murders, PA TV broadcast a special program celebrating the terror attack, calling the killing of 37 civilians "one of the most important and most prominent special operations... carried out by a team of heroes and led by the heroic fighter Dalal Mughrabi" (PA TV March 11). And its not just Mughrabi who is a Palestinian hero. Despite professions in English by Abbas and other PA leaders that they reject terror, the PA has a long and odious history in Arabic of celebrating terrorists as role models and heroes, often involving US money.

USAID spent $400,000 in 2004 to build the Salakh Khalaf soccer field. After Palestinian Media Watch reported that Khalaf was the head of the Palestinian terror group that murdered 11 Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics and two American diplomats in Sudan, USAID publicly apologized and said it would demand that the PA change the name. The name was never changed.

In 2002, US money funded renovations of the "Dalal Mughrabi school for girls". After PMW alerted the US State Department to Mughrabi's terrorist past, the funding was cancelled. Within 24 hours, the PA said the name would be changed, and the American money was reinstated. Once the work was completed, however, the school was renamed for the terrorist. It bears Mughrabi's name to this day.

AT A RECENT hearing of the House Appropriations Committee, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pledged: "We will work only with a Palestinian Authority government that unambiguously and explicitly accepts the Quartet's principles, [including] a commitment to nonviolence." And it's not just Clinton's pledge. US law interprets nonviolence to include not honoring terrorists: "None of the [US]... assistance under the West Bank and Gaza program may be made available for the purpose of recognizing or otherwise honoring individuals who commit, or have committed acts of terrorism" (2008 Foreign Operations Bill Sec. 657.B - C.1). This latest glorification of the terrorist Mughrabi, coming as Congress considers the administration's latest request to fund Abbas, imposes a profound responsibility on Congress. But it also creates a unique opportunity.

Will the US follow its own laws, and insist that the PA stop turning killers of women and children into heroes and role models before it receives another cent of US money? Congress and Obama can send a message to the PA that the US will not fund the PA, or any part of its budget, until it proves that it has ceased promoting terrorist murderers as heroes and role models. It can demand a statement from Abbas - in public, in Arabic and in the PA media - that murdering Israelis is terror, that terrorists are neither heroes nor holy martyrs and that they will no longer be honored.

Or they can send a different message to Abbas: that raising another generation of Palestinian children to the values of hate, murder and martyrdom is acceptable to the US - so acceptable that the US is even willing to fund it.

Click here to view article
Following is the letter written in response to this article, by Sharona Tel-Oren:

"Dear Editor, Thank you for the excellent article by Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook about Abbas's glorification of terrorists which, as was pointed out, is largely funded by American money . It has not been reported, to my knowledge, that this issue was addressed at all during the Netanyahu-Obama meeting...

May I add that Gail Rubin was not the only American killed in the 1978 Coast Road terror attack. My son Imri, then in his fifteenth year, was another American citizen who lost his life in that attack, his father and brother wounded then as well, leaving a family shattered to this day. .Imri had been born on the Fourth of July, and his name in Hebrew (aleph, mem, reysh, yod) I realized later, spells out the first four letters of America! To this day,people, mostly strangers, call me, both from here and from America,, with the news that they have just had a baby boy, and named him Imri, a never-forgotten victim of that terrible day 31 years ago.

Two years before that horrific event, we had celebrated Imri's bar mitzva on his Jewish birthdate and, on July 4, 1976, the Gregorian one as well. It was a day not only marked by America's centennial celebration, but also by the heroic rescue at Entebbe. [NOTE: The writer refers to the Israeli rescue of more than 100 Jewish hostages in Uganda. Yonatan Netanyahu was killed in the raid].

'See, Imri,' I told him, then, 'fireworks all over America today, and this is how Tzahal [the Israeli Army] celebrates your birthday!' His eyes flashed appreciation at my quip. Euphoria gripped the world then, at the two spectacular events of the day, though for the Netanyahu family that day undoubtedly marks THEIR agony over Yoni's death. Since then, needless to say, every Fourth of July must be a day of mourning and remembrance for these two families. Will the coming Fourh of July show any signs of the change Obama promised the world, or will we see the continuation ot America's blind eye towards their funding of the incitement against Jews , and the shahid/hero cult of terror by the world's darlings, the Palestinian Authority leadership?

Sharona Tel-Oren, POB 134, Omer 84965"

Obama's response to North Korea

Jewish World Review May 26, 2009 / 3 Sivan 5769

U.S. to Respond to North Korea with ‘Strongest Possible Adjectives’

By Andy Borowitz

Obama: We are Prepared to Consult Thesaurus | One day after North Korea launched a successful test of a nuclear weapon, President Obama said that the United States was prepared to respond to the threat with "the strongest possible adjectives."

In remarks to reporters at the White House, Mr. Obama said that North Korea should fear the "full force and might of the United States' arsenal of adjectives" and called the missile test "reckless, reprehensible, objectionable, senseless, egregious and condemnable."

Standing at the President's side, Vice President Joseph Biden weighed in with some tough adjectives of his own, branding North Korean President Kim Jong-Il "totally wack and illin'." Later in the day, Defense Secretary Robert Gates called the North Korean nuclear test "supercilious and jejune," leading some in diplomatic circles to worry that the U.S. might be running out of appropriate adjectives with which to craft its response.

But President Obama attempted to calm those fears, saying that the United States was prepared to "scour the thesaurus" to come up with additional adjectives and was "prepared to use adverbs" if necessary.

"Let's be clear: we are not taking adverbs off the table," Mr. Obama said. "If the need arises, we will use them forcefully, aggressively, swiftly, overwhelmingly and commandingly."

Is Israel is a vassal state?

What is Abbas doing about his office motto? What is Abbas doing about incitement? What was he doing to Egypt and Jordan while they controlled of the lands he wants?

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is to meet Obama at the White House on Thursday and Ahmed Qureia, the chief Palestinian negotiator, said the demand for a complete settlement freeze will be the main issue.

"Any attempt to maneuver on the implementation of the road map regarding settlement activities is unacceptable," Qureia told The Associated Press on Tuesday. "What does a peace process mean when settlements are continuing on the Palestinian territories?" he asked. "What we want is to immediately dismantle all settlement outposts and to stop what is called the natural growth in the settlements, and to stop all settlement activities."

Abbas has said there is no point to meeting with Netanyahu unless he freezes settlement construction and agrees to open negotiations on Palestinian independence. Netanyahu has agreed to renew talks, but has resisted U.S. pressure to voice support for Palestinian statehood.

The U.S. considers the settlements — home to nearly 300,000 Israelis — obstacles to peace because they are built on captured territory the Palestinians claim for a future state.

But Netanyahu and Barak both say the 121 existing settlements must be allowed to expand for "natural growth," the ill-defined term Israel uses for population growth in the settlements.

U.S. policy and the road map specifically oppose settlement expansion to account for natural growth.

Ten Things About Judge Sonia Sotomayor & the other side

This judge refused to hear an appeal of some white and Hispanic fireman who were passed over for promotions even though they had higher test scores than the black fireman who were promoted. If you believe that people should not be promoted on the basis of merit then you do not believe in the equality of all races and in that process you contribute to the dumbing down of America.

The first Hispanic was Cardozo!

From: Nita Chaudhary, Political Action [m<span>]
Sent: Tuesday, May 26, 2009 10:38 PM

Dear MoveOn member,

Today, President Obama nominated Judge Sonia Sotomayor to be the next U.S. Supreme Court justice. Of course, the Right is already fighting against her confirmation—so we need to get the facts out about her impressive qualifications and background.

Below is a list of 10 key things about Sonia Sotomayor that you might not know. Can you check it out and send it to 10 friends today? If each of us forwards the list, we can start to get the word out about Judge Sotomayor, and help to ensure that she gets a speedy and fair confirmation process.

Ten Things To Know About Judge Sonia Sotomayor

1. Judge Sotomayor would bring more federal judicial experience to the bench than any Supreme Court justice in 100 years. Over her three-decade career, she has served in a wide variety of legal roles, including as a prosecutor, litigator, and judge.

2. Judge Sotomayor is a trailblazer. She was the first Latina to serve on the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and was the youngest member of the court when appointed to the District Court for the Southern District of New York. If confirmed, she will be the first Hispanic to sit on the U.S. Supreme Court.

3. While on the bench, Judge Sotomayor has consistently protected the rights of working Americans, ruling in favor of health benefits and fair wages for workers in several cases.

4. Judge Sotomayor has shown strong support for First Amendment rights, including in cases of religious expression and the rights to assembly and free speech.

5. Judge Sotomayor has a strong record on civil rights cases, ruling for plaintiffs who had been discriminated against based on disability, sex and race.

6. Judge Sotomayor embodies the American dream. Born to Puerto Rican parents, she grew up in a South Bronx housing project and was raised from age nine by a single mother, excelling in school and working her way to graduate summa cum laude from Princeton University and to become an editor of the Law Journal at Yale Law School.

7. In 1995, Judge Sotomayor "saved baseball" when she stopped the owners from illegally changing their bargaining agreement with the players, thereby ending the longest professional sports walk-out in history.

8. Judge Sotomayor ruled in favor of the environment in a case of protecting aquatic life in the vicinity of power plants in 2007, a decision that was overturned by the Roberts Supreme Court.

9. In 1992, Judge Sotomayor was confirmed by the Senate without opposition after being appointed to the bench by George H.W. Bush.

10. Judge Sotomayor is a widely respected legal figure, having been described as " outstanding colleague with a keen legal mind," "highly qualified for any position in which wisdom, intelligence, collegiality and good character would be assets," and "a role model of aspiration, discipline, commitment, intellectual prowess and integrity."

Judge Sotomayor is an historic, uniquely qualified nominee to the Supreme Court. Let's get the word out and make sure we get a prompt, fair confirmation on her nomination.

Thanks for all you do,

–Nita, Kat, Daniel, Ilyse and the rest of the team

Sources for each of the 10 things:

1. White House Statement, May 26, 2009.

2. White House Statement, May 26, 2009.

3. Cases: Archie v. Grand Cent. Partnership, 997 F. Supp. 504 (S.D.N.Y. 1998) and Marcella v. Capital Dist. Physicians' Health Plan, Inc., 293 F.3d 42 (2d Cir. 2002).

4. Cases: Flamer v. White Plains, 841 F. Supp. 1365 (S.D.N.Y. 1993), Ford v. McGinnis, 352 F.3d 382 (2d Cir. 2003), and Campos v. Coughlin, 854 F. Supp. 194 (S.D.N.Y. 1994).

5a. "Sotomayor's Notable Court Opinions and Articles," The New York Times, May 26, 2009.

5b. Cases: Bartlett v. N.Y. State Board, 970 F. Supp. 1094 (S.D.N.Y. 1997), Greenbaum v. Svenska Hendelsbanken, 67 F.Supp.2d 228 (S.D.N.Y. 1999), Raniola v. Bratton, 243 F.3d 610 (2d Cir. 2001), and Gant v. Wallingford Board of Education, 195 F.3d 134 (2d Cir. 1999).

6. "Sonia Sotomayor: 10 Things You Should Know," The Huffington Post, May 26, 2009.

7. "How Sotomayor 'Saved' Baseball," Time, May 26, 2009.

8. "Sotomayor's resume, record on notable cases," CNN, May 26, 2009.

9. "Sotomayor's resume, record on notable cases," CNN, May 26, 2009.

10a. Judge Richard C. Wesley, a George W. Bush appointee to the Second Circuit.

10b. "Sotomayor is Highly Qualified," The Wall Street Journal, May 9, 2009.

10c. Honorary Degree Citation, Pace University School of Law, 2003 Commencement.

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Judge Sotomayor and Five Million Criminal Votes for Obama

Posted: 26 May 2009 06:45 PM PDT BY SULTAN

There are 5.3 million votes for Obama out there, the only problem is that they happen to belong to murderers, rapists, armed robbers and other convicts and ex-convicts.

That golden box of 5+ million votes is being unlocked by Democrats in one of two ways. The first relies on changing state laws that prevent felon voting at the state level. Their greatest success has arguably been Florida, a crucial swing state with over a million ex-felons. When Governor Charlie Crist promised to let criminals vote during the election and then implemented it once in office, the impact on the 2008 Presidential election was quite sizable.

With anywhere from 250,000 to 500,000 new votes available, the Obama campaign ran a "You can Vote Too!" registration drive for ex-felons. And since Obama won Florida by barely 200,000 votes, the newly enfranchised murderers, rapists and pedophiles no doubt did their share to help put him in the White House.

Iowa restored felon voting in 2005, and between 2004 to 2008, swung from Republican to Democratic.

In 2007 Colorado struck down the requirement that ex-felons have to at least complete their parole before becoming eligible to vote, overriding a Colorado Supreme Court ruling. In 2008 Colorado voted for a Democratic Presidential candidate for the first time in 26 years.

Virginia, which also began legalizing felon voters, became another swing state that swung unexpectedly to Obama.

While legalizing felons alone did not swing any of these states, they were part of a larger program to liberalize the voting base, which is why such laws were invariably championed by Democrats and Liberal Republicans. Bringing in millions of new votes changes the game. And that was what happened in 2008.

However giving criminals voting rights on a state by state level has been a long slow process, and that is where the second method comes in, to strike down any bans on felon voting at the Federal level.

The key argument used by felon voting advocates is that barring criminals from voting is a form of racial discrimination, since a disproportionate number of convicted felons are black or members of other minority groups. This brings in the Voting Rights Act of 1965 into the picture. Using the VRA, the Supreme Court could potentially strike down any state laws banning criminals from voting. Even convicts still in jail.

This would immediately unlock that golden box of 5 million votes for Obama, even more than local state measures of ACORN's voting fraud, which relied heavily on ex-cons, did.

And the Voting Rights Act is where Judge Sotomayor comes into the picture. While the Supreme Court currently has not chosen to hear any cases involving felon voting, allowing state circuit courts to maintain the ban, Judge Sotomayor is an enthusiastic judicial advocate of applying the VRA to felon voting, treating criminals as a discriminated against group being denied their civic rights.

In Hayden vs Pataki, a case brought by Joseph "Jazz" Hayden, who stabbed a sanitation worker to death, and has since become a campaigner for letting felons vote, Judge Sotomayor dissented from the majority by arguing that the VRA in no way excludes or was meant to exclude felons.

SOTOMAYOR, Circuit Judge, dissenting:

"It is plain to anyone reading the Voting Rights Act that it applies to all “voting
qualification[s].” And it is equally plain that § 5-106 disqualifies a group of people from voting. These two propositions should constitute the entirety of our analysis. Section 2 of the Act by its unambiguous terms subjects felony disenfranchisement and all other voting qualifications to its coverage.

What that means is that Sotomayor believes that any voting qualification, including bans on having convicted murderers and rapists vote, is a violation of the Voting Rights Acts. Felons can be treated as a "group" that has been discriminated against by being banned from the right to vote.

This would allow Obama to "crack" more conservative states where felon voting enfranchisement has not made any headway, by treating felon disenfranchisement as a violation of the Voting Rights Act.

By nominating Sotomayor, Obama is very clearly looking ahead to 2012, by first nominating an Hispanic Woman, secondly a left wing judicial advocate, more specifically one whose views on ballot access will help open up that golden box of millions of votes, and in the case of a Bush vs Gore type Supreme Court case, will always argue on the side of inadequate access.

And of course Sotomayor's ruling in Ford vs McGinnis that Islamic rights for prisoners can be entirely at the whim of the prisoner, can't hurt. Nor her open position that her job is to make policy, rather than rule on the constitutionality of the laws.

Like Obama her nomination is being treated as a "historical nomination", though Justice Benjamin Cardozo was arguably the first Hispanic Supreme Court Justice (who naturally doesn't count because he's Jewish), and her judicial advocacy views, her identity politics, will be treated as assets, in the same way that they were for Obama.

But the bigger picture is that Sotomayor is meant to be Obama's ace in the hole for the 2012 election.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Listen Up Obamits! III H.R.360, 1922

Listen Up Obamits! III H.R.360, 1922

This is from 1922!! No mention of any palestinians! You can copy and paste to forward to your representatives.

check out the discussion in the Congressional Record around this resolution:

The United States Congressional Record
National Home for
"Palestine of today, the land we now know as Palestine, was peopled by the Jews from the dawn of history until the Roman era. It is the ancestral homeland of the Jewish people. They were driven from it by force by the relentless Roman military machine and for centuries prevented from returning. At different periods various alien people succeeded them but the Jewish race had left an indelible impress upon the land.

Today it is a Jewish country. Every name, every landmark, every monument and every trace of whatever civilization remaining there is still Jewish. And it has ever since remained a hope, a longing, as expressed in their prayers for these nearly 2,000 years. No other people has ever claimed Palestine as their national home. No other people has ever shown an aptitude or indicated a genuine desire to make it their homeland. The land has been ruled by foreigners. Only since the beginning of the modern Zionist effort may it be said that a creative, cultural, and economic force has entered Palestine. The Jewish Nation was forced from its natural home. It did not go because it wanted to.

A perusal of Jewish history, a reading of Josephus, will convince the most skeptical that the grandest fight that was ever put up against an enemy was put up by the Jew. He never thought of leaving Palestine. But he was driven out. But did he, when driven out, give up his hope of getting back? Jewish history and Jewish literature give the answer to the question. The Jew even has a fast day devoted to the day of destruction of the Jewish homeland.

Never throughout history did they give up hope of returning there. I am told that 90 per cent of the Jews today are praying for the return of the Jewish people to its own home. The best minds among them believe in the necessity of reestablishing their Jewish land. To my mind there is something prophetic in the fact that during the ages no other nation has taken over Palestine and held it in the sense of a homeland; and there is something providential in the fact that for 1,800 years it has remained in desolation as if waiting for the return of the people."

Congressman Frank Appleby N.J.

" Political correctness is tyranny with manners. "

Did he say these?

Subject: Remember This Guy?

This one has been around for a while, but there is so much truth in it we need to review it every now and then, just to make sure we recognize the truth when we see it.

"Here's my strategy on the Cold War:

We win, they lose."

- Ronald Reagan

"The most terrifying words in the English language are: I'm from the government and I'm here to help."

- Ronald Reagan

"The trouble with our liberal friends is not that they're ignorant: It's just that they know so much that isn't so."

- Ronald Reagan

"Of the four wars in my lifetime none came about because the U.S. was too strong."

- Ronald Reagan

"I have wondered at times about what the Ten Commandment's would have looked like if Moses had run them through the U.S. Congress."

Ronald Reagan

"The taxpayer: That's someone who works for the federal government but doesn't have to take the civil service examination."

Ronald Reagan

"Government is like a baby: An alimentary canal with a big appetite at one end and no sense of responsibility at the other."

Ronald Reagan

"The nearest thing to eternal life we will ever see on this earth is a government program."

Ronald Reagan

"I've laid down the law, though, to everyone from now on about anything that happens: no matter what time it is, wake me, even if it's in the middle of a Cabinet meeting."

Ronald Reagan

"It has been said that politics is the second oldest profession. I have learned that it bears a striking resemblance to the first."

Ronald Reagan

"Government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it."

Ronald Reagan

"Politics is not a bad profession. If you succeed there are many rewards, if you disgrace yourself you can always write a book."

Ronald Reagan

"No arsenal, or no weapon in the arsenals of the world, is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women.

Ronald Reagan

"If we ever forget that we're one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under."

- Ronald Reagan





Settler Politics

Hanoch Daum Photo: Rafi Deloya

Are settlements the problem?

Past experience shows that evacuation of Israeli settlements changed nothing in region
Hanoch Daum Published: 05.23.09, 16:26 /

Israel Opinion

Somehow, the settlements are again the most burning and problematic issue in the Middle East. The Netanyahu-Obama meeting reintroduced this matter. As if this is the problem around here. As if the entire mess stems from the settlements. As if all we need to do is to remove Migron or Kalgaron for quiet to prevail. If only we evacuate another settlement unilaterally, life in the Middle East will change for the better.

Give and Take

Yesha heads, Barak meet on settlement construction / Efrat Weiss

West Bank settlement representatives call meeting with defense minister to discuss freeze in settlements construction, 'quiet expulsion' of residents. Barak: Illegal outposts hurting Israel, undermining settlement movement

And so what if history proves otherwise. So what if the unilateral withdrawal from Gaza led to more bloodshed and by now has enabled Hamas, at any given moment, to place tens of thousands of Israelis under the threat of Qassam rockets.

I am not a member of the Greater Israel camp. I assume, with some regret, that one of these days we shall have to renounce this vision, and I’m hopeful that the settlement blocs that remain in our hands will comprise as many Jews as possible. Yet according to all indications, that day, where we shall reach an agreement with someone on the other side, is so distant that it is completely unclear why this issue has become so urgent at this time.

After all, it has been proven already that even when Israel evacuates settlements nothing happens, and it was also proven that when an Israeli prime minister offers the Palestinians a withdrawal from 98% of the territory, including east Jerusalem, there is nobody on the other side that would sign such deal. It is clear to all of us that even if there is someone out there who decides to sign, Hamas will not feel bound by the agreement and will continue to fight us, under more convenient circumstances.

For a long time now I’ve wanted to build a house in my community, located in Gush Etzion. It isn’t an isolated settlement or a controversial community. Even according to the leading leftists, I live in a settlement bloc that will be annexed to Jerusalem in the future. Even within the framework of the Geneva Accord, the one signed by Beilin (strange that we’ve seen wars around here since then,) our community is on the Israeli side.

No permits

Yet despite all of this, there is almost no construction in my community. There is plenty of space, under Israeli ownership, yet there are no construction permits. Every apartment that becomes available here draws dozens of interested buyers, prices are going up, and a new house here has become something that only people with quite a bit of money can afford.

It is important to note that quite a few people want to buy a house in Gush Etzion for reasons that have nothing to do with ideological motives. For a religious family, there is something very appropriate about this way of life: A religious community, religious education, synagogues, proper companionship, and great proximity to Jerusalem. Not that there is anything wrong with people who have a political agenda, yet this is not the reason why so many people wish to build a house here.

This is the farthest thing from building a new settlement. We are talking about children who got married and wish to live near their parents. There is no shortage of space for new homes. The only thing missing is the defense minister’s signature.

Last update - 00:17 01/01/2009

Only settlers are taking Obama seriously in Israel

By Gideon Levy, Haaretz Correspondent

Tags: ISrael News, Barack Obama

The acute shift in the United States' attitude toward Israel interrupted the public in the middle of its springtime nap. This nonstop sleep has continued for at least a decade. Sleep? Heck, this has been a coma.

Only one group of people has opened its eyes and gone to work - as usual, the settlers - while the other segments of Israeli society are entrenched in an awful state of apathy and inaction. Tzipi Livni is spending leisure time on a jet ski in Eilat, Meretz is still preoccupied with the pope's visit, the New Left Movement has been shelved, Peace Now is making do with counting the number of new homes built in settlements, authors are selling new books and celebrating birthdays, most of the media is busy with stupefying absurdities, and silence casts a shadow over the abyss.

Israel is arguably standing before the opportunity of a lifetime, yet there is not even a hint of real public debate. The town square is empty - for years it has been devoid of demonstrations and protests, neither for nor against, completely empty. The frightening indifference dragged us into wars, and the no-less horrifying indifference could lead us to miss a rare opportunity for peace.

Barack Obama has made Israel an offer it cannot - and must not - refuse, yet Israel fails to wake up. Where are those 57 percent of Israelis who said in the latest Haaretz poll that they support a two-state solution? What do they think? That this solution, which they allegedly support, will fall from the sky, without lifting a finger, without making waves among the depths of society, waves that will put such a grandiose process in motion? Where are the protests against the anti-peace position of our elected prime minister, who continues with his hackneyed we-will-not-divide-Jerusalem and we-will-not-come-down-from-the-Golan?

Isn't it time to stop saying one thing to a pollster and then continue napping? We have demonstrations only when factories are closed, albeit this happens too rarely. Yet there are no demonstrations to protest a country in danger of closing; a country already ostracized among wide swaths of international public opinion; a country up to its neck in its corrupting, brutal settlement enterprise; a country threatened by potential dangers including the shattering of its vital alliance with the United States.

Settler leaders are already running to and fro, disseminating their demagogic and ridiculous claims like "natural growth," along with their standard campaign of fearmongering and threats. The response is nothing. Silence and deep sleep. The field is left completely abandoned to their shenanigans. With the exception of a few determined, yet insignificant, outcast groups on the left, the settlers are the only active element in our society. This is how they will once again succeed in sowing fear and extorting the majority that is allegedly fed up with them (in polls, and only in polls), just as they have done these past 40 years. Tel Aviv will decide the fate of the settlement of Ofra, and Tel Aviv is lying in a coma, not responding, not answering, looking on at the developments with indifference.

Obama's first achievement - restoring the occupation and settlements to their rightful place on the international center stage - has already been noted to his credit. But he has not succeeded in bringing these issues to the center stage of public consciousness, which will ultimately determine its future.

Israel's poor have yet to internalize the connection between their poverty and the massive resources being futilely poured into the criminal settlement enterprise. The seekers of peace and justice still do not understand the momentous opportunity for change standing before Israel. The talk of the day is about the professional basketball finals and the final round of the reality TV show "Survivor." Even the final of "American Idol" attracts greater interest. And yet nobody talks about the real final round, the last round of the occupation, perhaps the final of all wars.

What happened to the days when "the future of the territories" was the topic of conversation during every family gathering on Fridays? Where are the days when a massacre that we did not directly commit was enough to bring hundreds of thousands onto the streets? They came, and they went. A stranger who stumbles on this place would hardly believe it: A fateful opportunity is liable to be missed due to public indifference.

This is perhaps the last boarding call to a flight whose destination is a better future, and the passengers are stuck in duty-free. Just another fragrant perfume at a can't-miss price, just one more bottle of whiskey at a discount, taking their time, delaying and delaying, all the while missing out on the real deal, the best deal.

One cannot sit at home, stare at the television, take vacations and leave our future in the hands of a tiny group of politicians and generals. People must wake up, make their voices heard, take action, all before it's too late and the plane leaves the terminal, once again without us.

Coming Attractions?

Date: Thursday, May 21, 2009, 12:50 PM

Pipes May 21, 2009

Seattle Responds to Its Jihadi, Naveed Haq
U.S. Judge Permits Scrutiny of Muslim Convert's Name
More on the North Carolina Jihadi, Mohammed Taheri-azar
A History of Muslim Terrorism against Jews in the United States
by Daniel Pipes
May 21, 2009

The arrest yesterday of four would-be jihadis before they could attack two synagogues in New York City brings to mind a long list of terrorist assaults in the United States by Muslims on Jews. These began in 1977 and have continued regularly since, as suggested by the following list of major incidents (ignoring lesser ones that did damage only to property, such a series of attacks on Chicago-area synagogues):

March 1977: Hanafi Muslims seized three buildings in Washington, including the headquarters of B'nai B'rith, and held hostages for 39 hours, leading to one death and one severe injury.

November 1990: El Sayyid Nosair assassinated Rabbi Meir Kahane in a New York hotel.

February 1993: Ramzi Yusuf, the mastermind of the bombing of the World Trade Center in New York, which claimed 7 lives and injured more than a thousand people,, declared the towers not a civilian target but a military one, by virtue of the fact that it might house a "Zionist official."

June 1993: "Boom! Broken windows. Jews in the street," is how one of the plotters described the carnage that would ensue from a planned "day of terror" with simultaneous bombings of the United Nations complex, the Lincoln and Holland tunnels, and other New York landmarks..

March 1994: Rashid Baz, a Palestinian immigrant, opened fire on a van carrying Orthodox Jewish boys across the Brooklyn Bridge, killing 16-year-old Ari Halberstam.

July 1997: 'Ali Hasan Abu Kamal, a 69-year-old Palestinian, shot seven tourists atop the Empire State building, killing one and severely wounding another; in his suicide note, he accused the United States of using Israel as "an instrument" against the Palestinians.

July 1997: Ghazi Ibrahim Abu Maizar's near-explosion of a pipe bomb in the New York City subway system.

July 2002: Hesham Mohamed Ali Hadayet's attack on the El Al counter at Los Angeles International Airport, killing two

September 2005: Jam'iyyat Ul-Islam Is-Saheeh plot against two Los Angeles-area synagogues, disrupted due to a dropped mobile phone.

May 2009: Four arrested in attempt to blow up two New York City synagogues.

(This listing is drawn in part from a 1999 article of mine; I shall add to it as needed.)


(1) Inexplicably, Muslim-on-Jewish violence peaked in the years 1990-97 and has declined since.

(2) Muslims of immigrant and of African-American origins have each engaged in a share of the attacks roughly proportionate to their demographics.

(3) As I concluded in a 2005 article on this subject, "Even though most Jews resist acknowledging it, the Muslim threat is changing Jewish life in the United States. The golden age of American Jewry is coming to an end." (May 21, 2009)

Related Topics: Antisemitism, Muslims in the United States, Radical Islam, Terrorism

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Dhimmitude at British Midland Airways
by Daniel Pipes
April 30, 2009

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British Midland Airways Limited, known as BMI, has taken two steps toward Islamization recently that should set off alarm bells.

It fired Lisa Ashton, 37, a stewardess, in April 2008 because she refused two directives concerning her time in Saudi Arabia: in public areas there she must wear the abaya, the black robe that covers everything but the face, feet, and hands; and she must follow behind her male colleagues. When Ashton turned down flights to Saudi Arabia, claiming discrimination, BMI dismissed her. Ashton brought suit against BMI. Describing her case, she said that "It's not the law that you have to walk behind men in Saudi Arabia, or that you have to wear an abaya, and I'm not going to be treated as a second-class citizen. It's outrageous. I'm a proud Englishwoman and I don't want these restrictions placed on myself." Ashton lost the first round when an employment tribunal ruled that BMI was justified in imposing "rules of a different culture" on its staff and cleared the company of sexual discrimination. Ashton may seek a judicial review of the decision.

The digital map on BMI writes Haifa as "Khefa" and does not name Israel.

Its digital maps on the airlines' twice daily flights from London's Heathrow Airport to Tel Aviv's Ben-Gurion Airport, the kind that passengers watch while on the plane, marking the flight's progress, did not show Israel. Mel Bezalel explains in the Jerusalem Post: "Instead of viewing Tel Aviv or other Israeli cities signposted on screens, customers flying on two BMI-owned Airbus A320 airplanes have instead been exclusively shown Haifa, spelled 'Khefa' - the Arab name of the city before 1948." BMI apologized and proffered an excuse: namely, that the digital maps were inherited when BMI bought British Mediterranean Airways (BMED) in 2007. BMED flew primarily to the Middle East and tailored its maps to the many Muslim passengers on its flights. BMI spokesman Phil Shepherd said that the "old maps" were due to be deactivated and new maps, which do mention Israel and Tel Aviv, will appear on screens in two weeks.

Comment: These two incidents vividly demonstrate how close commercial ties to the Muslim world, and especially Saudi Arabia, often involve cultural and political influence. Whether BMI or BMED, Western corporations in general need to work especially hard to maintain their integrity when encountering this pressure. (April 30, 2009)

Related Topics: Dhimmitude

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Drag Racing vs. Islamic Civilization?
by Daniel Pipes
April 22, 2009

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In an amusing article, "Drag Racing's Patron Sheik: Speed-Crazy Prince From Qatar Spends Millions in Bid to Dominate Sport; Sushi at the Dragstrip," Matthew Futterman writes in the Wall Street Journal about Sheikh Khalid bin Hamad Al-Thani, 22, a son of the emir of Qatar, and his well-funded love for car-racing.

The most important figure in drag racing this year isn't some good-ol' boy who grew up hot-rodding around the sport's birthplace in southern California. … A drag-racing fanatic since age 12, Mr. Al-Thani has made a long-term commitment to the sport and is spending an estimated $10 million this year to support a team with the best cars, crew, equipment and research available.

Research, Futterman explains, is the name of the game:

Sheikh Khalid bin Hamad Al-Thani, left, with Al-Anabi team executive Chad Head.

While drag racing looks simple, it's really a scientific chess game where engineers play as large a role as the driver stomping on the gas pedal. The trick is to synchronize the engine and clutch during a massive controlled explosion as track conditions change. Intricate adjustments, such as the addition of just a few grams of weight in the clutch, can be the difference between winning and losing, or even a fatal crash into the wall at 300 mph. …Most teams have the same equipment, but more money allows for more research and testing, which makes for smarter decisions on race day about an infinite number of adjustments. Mr. Al-Thani hopes his investment will one day make him international drag racing's dominant owner.

The article goes to explain how Al-Thani's lavishly funded efforts at a moment of recession could indeed help achieve his dream. But the larger question, left unasked in the article, is how Al-Thani reconciles the good-ol' boy culture of his favorite sport with the strictures of Islam as understood in his native Qatar. Put differently, as these two cultural giants, Islam and the United States, face off in one young man, which one will prevail? Will he bring Islam to the track or racing to Qatar? Or some unpredictable mix of the two?

This should be interesting to watch develop. (April 22, 2009)

Related Topics: Muslims in the United States, Persian Gulf

(Daniel Pipes sends out a mailing of his writings 1-2 times a week.)

You may post or forward this text, but on condition that you send it as an integral whole, along with complete information about its author, date, publication, and original URL.

OBAMITS listen up II

The Iranian Nuclear Threat

Posted: 20 May 2009 07:26 PM PDT BY SULTAN

Israel knows it needs to coordinate its strategy on Iran with other nations and that attacking Teheran's nuclear facilities would mean "big trouble," CIA director Leon Panetta said on Wednesday.

"Yes," he said, "the Israelis are obviously concerned about Iran and focused on it. But [Netanyahu] understands that if Israel goes it alone, it will mean big trouble. He knows that for the sake of Israeli security, they have to work together with others."

Yes, Big trouble indeed. Bigger trouble than a nuclear device exploding over Israel at the cost of millions of lives.
But much the same message has been delivered by both Hillary Clinton and Bill Gates. When Netanyahu came to Washington to talk Iran, he got repeated demands that Netanyahu instead implement the ethnic cleansing of Jewish towns, in what the U.N. considers occupied territory. With Hillary Clinton explicitly forbidding "Natural Growth", which refers to children growing up, getting married and living in the same towns as their parents do...

Obama's answer to Israel's concerns over its survival, is to demand the ethnic cleansing of Jews from parts of Israel. He might as well have gone whole hog and delivered it in a speech in Berlin for Holocaust Memorial Day.

Only if Israel somehow prevents Jewish boys and girls from growing up and getting married and living in a place the Beloved Leader does not approve of... will Obama and his minions be prepared to work together on Iran. And this is what he means by working together.

Netanyahu also discussed Iran with Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell said.

"The Secretary reiterated President Obama's commitment to try to engage Iran and offer incentives to persuade them to change course in order to become a full-fledged member of the international community," Morrell said.

"However, should Iran rebuff the U.S. initiative, the Secretary told the Prime Minister there would be serious consequences, including much stronger international sanctions,"

So after the endless diplomatic initiatives and the Iranian stalling, there might actually be sanctions... if the international community approves of them. And by the time this whole circus is done, Tel Aviv might well be a radioactive cinder. Meanwhile Kim Jong Il just fell off his chair laughing at the entire charade.

Obama's whole line of "Don't Attack Iran, Attack the Settlements" should begin to get through to any Jew who voted for him, just what Obama's real policy on Israel is.

Meanwhile just in case Netanyahu gets any ideas about attacking Iran, the Obama Administration is obstructing Israel from access to advanced fighter plane technology.
The Obama administration has imposed obstacles on Israeli efforts to procure U.S.-origin fighter-jets.

Administration sources said the White House has drafted measures that could prevent Israel and other non-NATO allies from procuring U.S. fighter-jets, including the F-35. They said the administration would require that Israel obtain special permission from the Defense Department and State Department to acquire the Joint Strike Fighter.

Over the last few months, the administration has rejected a series of Israeli requests regarding modifications of the F-35. They included Israeli electronic warfare systems and acquisition of U.S. software codes that would allow Israel to repair the aircraft's central computer. The U.S. refusal meant that the Israel Air Force would be forced to send the F-35 to the United States for any repairs, a process that could take months.

The bottom line here of course is to sideline any Israeli plans for an air strike against Iran and spread anxiety and uncertainty through Israel's air command. The message is that Israel is out of the loop now. It's a message that Netanyahu got loud and clear on his visit to D.C.

All Iran has to do now is follow the North Korean playbook, stall for time, agree to meaningless negotiations, take in aid money from the US... while moving its nuclear program full speed ahead. And any Israeli move against Iran will mean that it will be accused of fomenting war and opposing a peaceful diplomatic resolution.

Meanwhile Israel's only option is to plan and execute an air strike against Iran's extensive nuclear facilities, that will be kept secret from everyone, including the US forces in the region, and the extensive surveillance infrastructure, including satellites, drones and all intelligence sources. Should Israel's planes be detected, the odds are good that they would either be challenged to turn back, or if word reaches the White House or some of Obama's new Pentagon people, Iranian forces would get an early warning of the strike.

The challenges involved in such an operation are incredible, but Netanyahu's visit was a formality that confirmed that Israel has no other options on the table. The Obama alternative is nothing more than to play footsie with Mahmoud until Iran has the nuclear capabilities to blackmail any other players in the region, including the US, and to destroy Israel.

This is a problem that has been developing for a long time, because of the US failure to stop the chain of proliferation. That chain began with nuclear secrets being passed to the USSR. With the fall of the USSR, nuclear proliferation went out of control. The Clinton Administration took no serious steps against the nuclear proliferation coming out of North Korea. That failure brought nuclear weapons to Pakistan, setting the stage for a potential nuclear exchange with India that may cost hundreds of millions of lives.

If Iran develops nuclear weapons, the next stage in the chain of proliferation will be the many terrorist groups controlled and backed by Iran. It will not be a matter of "if" terrorists get access to a suitcase nuke... but when.

Iran will be able to kill millions anywhere from New York to Jerusalem, without getting the official blame for it. Meanwhile Iran's long range missiles will be used for nuclear blackmail against regional Arab powers, and of course to keep any threatened US intervention at bay.

Though the Arab world had ignored Israel's own secret nuclear arsenal, knowing that they were defensive weapons of last resort, not offensive weapons-- Iranian nuclear development has helped touch off a rash of nuclear programs in the region. Everyone from Egypt to Libya to Saudi Arabia wants their own nukes. And even for those who don't care whether Israel lives or dies, might want to contemplate what the consequences of a nuclear exchange between Egypt and Iran might look like, the resulting effect on Europe, which isn't that far away, or the impact on an oil based economy.

And that's what it comes down to. Obama has made it clear that not only will he not take any action to stop Iran, but he is doing what he can to prevent Israel from taking action against Iran's developing nuclear capabilities.

This comes even as the Obama Administration is tearing down research into next generation anti-missile defense systems and inviting Russia to join a missile defense umbrella for Europe... that was developed to defend against Russian nuclear blackmail. This is not an administration that is interested in the security and safety of the United States or Europe, let alone Israel. It is guided by dogmatic left wing politics that see American security as the problem, not the solution.

Each failure to cut the chain of nuclear proliferation has resulted in disastrous consequences. Now with only a single step separating terrorists from nuclear weapons, the next terrorist attack on America may not claim 3,000 lives... but 3,000,000 lives.

That is the real consequence of the Iranian nuclear threat. And while the US under Obama will certainly take no action, he does not wish to be seen openly working to promote Iranian nuclear weapons either. That is why vocal protests and outcries at this stage can make a real difference in how much interference and blackmail Obama will use against Israel.

And that is what we can do to help stop the Iranian nuclear threat. Ahmadinejad is a madman, Obama is not. He's cynical, cowardly and vulnerable to attacks on his public image. He wants a friendly public relationship with Israel and Jews. He does not want to face protesters or deal with marches. He does not want to be accused of aiding and abetting a would be genocidal mass murderer.

Speaking out, organizing and conducting a loud public campaign of protest, as the Bergson group did against FDR's silence on the Holocaust, can limit how much Obama can interfere with an Israeli strike against Iran. The countdown has begun and the time is now. And we can all be a part of it.
Last update - 07:18 21/05/2009

Obama is dividing Jerusalem

By Israel Harel

Tags: Israel News, Obama, Islam

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's enemies have gotten together to promote a few sacred causes: to bring Israel to its knees, to force a Pax Americana on Israel (the "Obama plan") and to grind the prime minister's status to dust.

If the media in his own country is trying to grind Netanyahu down, why shouldn't the American administration - which has mobilized the enthusiastic Israeli media for its own needs - take advantage of the latter's disparaging attitude to attain its goals? (Although it is repelled by such an attitude. In American culture, with its code of honor and restraint, this type of behavior would not pass.)

They have not managed to bring Netanyahu to his knees, but they have managed to fan a foreign fire of Biblical proportions ("Please, with might," Gideon Levy begs Barack Obama in a piece on May 17). This fire persuaded whomever it persuaded that an American presidential initiative can be presented, without any preparatory dialogue with the government in power, that is unacceptable to the vast majority of Israeli Jews.

Besides the demand to exert powerful pressure on Israel, the peacemakers demanded that Obama also end the "special relationship" between the United States and Israel. These relations, the Israeli patriots explained, are damaging to U.S. interests.

Here, too, their labors bore fruit. The speech on a vision of peace for the Middle East, slated for June 4, will not be given at the White House, not even at a joint session of Congress. Only by delivering the speech in Cairo, intentionally skipping a visit to Jerusalem (and even to Tel Aviv!), will the spirit of peace alight on the lips of the American messiah.

Obama has little knowledge of the history, ideology and psychology of the Arab opposition to the Jewish state's existence. But he has a strategy: to thaw relations with Islam. It is clear what will be demanded in return.

But those who built his program, which purely by coincidence conforms entirely to the ideas of the extreme left in Israel (whose wheeler-dealers are in close touch with Rahm Emanuel and his ilk), are showing an ambition and arrogance that will leave them cooked.

No Arab leader, political or religious, has yet been found who agrees to give up the right of return, which is a central pillar in the Obama plan. The idea to internationalize the Old City and its governance by the United Nations is a futile idea. Only assimilated Jews - and one can be so in Israel, too - could garner support for this idea from a neophyte president, who has no idea how deep the Jewish bond is to its capital, especially to the area containing its most sacred sites.

Obama has tossed a lot of balls into the air, maybe too many. Even a magician like him cannot catch them all. The last ball, the especially heavy one of the Obama plan, might land on his foot, but also on the feet of everyone in the region, who will pay the price imposed on them by the person who wants (by force) to change the order of things. That will also be the case if he does not set aside his disconnected initiatives and quickly connect to reality in other places in the world, as well as at home.

Today, Jerusalem Day, a state ceremony will be held marking 42 years since the liberation of Israel's capital. In his speech, Netanyahu can somewhat cool down Obama's messianic fervor and (politely) make clear to whom - exclusively - Jerusalem belongs. He can pledge that after the Paratroopers liberated the city in 1967, no foreign power will ever again pass through its gates.

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Jewish World Review May 21, 2009 / 27 Iyar 5769

Bibi Agonistes

By Cal Thomas | Things are not always as they appear in the Middle East. Appearances can also deceive whenever an Israeli prime minister and a U.S. president get together in Washington.

During their two-hour meeting at the White House on Monday, it appeared as though Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu were bosom buddies. Netanyahu, especially, praised the new president and claimed agreement with Obama that, as a first priority, Iran must be stopped from possessing nuclear weapons.

A "senior official traveling with the prime minister" (one of those euphemisms required to disguise who is really speaking) told a small group of reporters and columnists following the White House meeting that, for the first time since the creation of Zionism, Jews and Arabs see eye-to-eye concerning the strategic threat a nuclear Iran would present. "This goal supersedes anything else," said the official. In response to questions, the official acknowledged that Arab leaders say one thing to their friends and something quite different to their enemies.

President Obama invoked an end-of-the-year timeline for diplomacy with Iran to work. This would seem to give Iran a green light to pursue its nuclear bomb for the next seven months. At the end of December when we in the West learn that Iran has been stringing us along and using diplomacy as a delaying tactic, what then? Will it be Israel that bombs the nuclear sites, or will it be one or more of those Arab nations supposedly of one mind in opposition to a nuclear Iran?


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It's a safe bet to put your money on Israel doing the dirty work and suffering the usual condemnation — accompanied by more terrorist attacks from Hamas and Hezbollah — from the United States, the United Nations and the European Union, the latter two seeing nothing worth fighting to preserve.

A more sobering assessment has come from RAND, a nonprofit research corporation. In a new report entitled "Dangerous But Not Omnipotent: Exploring the Reach and Limitations of Iranian Power in the Middle East," prepared for the U.S. Air Force, RAND dismisses hopes that bilateral talks between the United States and Iran will alter Tehran's behavior. It calls such hopes "unrealistic" and advocates a broad international effort that would leverage incentives and punishment based on Iran's response. This has been tried before and has mostly proved ineffective because there are countries that do not abide by economic boycotts.

The senior Israeli official noted that while Israel has lived up to its obligations and commitments — especially when it has come to relinquishing land taken from enemies who launched attacks from that land, and who would do so again if they get it back — the Palestinian side has not. Does this not beg the question as to why any future promises should be believed when every previous promise has been broken?

Yes, for 60 years, Arab leaders have been captured by their own propaganda, as one member of the Israeli delegation told me. So how do you reverse that, I asked, and when can the world expect to see them stop publishing textbooks, delivering sermons and printing cartoons in state-owned newspapers that equate Jews with pigs and monkeys and call for their destruction? He couldn't say.

If there is to be a Palestinian state, what kind of state will it be? Would it be allowed to have an army, or a "police force" that would effectively serve as an army? Surely Israel could not stand for another armed force in its neighborhood. Would a Palestinian state be permitted to have an airport and overland access to countries that might supply it with terrorists and weapons?

A recent Washington Times editorial put it well: "The Obama administration should focus less on creating a Palestinian state and more on helping Palestinians earn the right to statehood." That is exactly the right order.

In 1996, Netanyahu came to Washington for the first time as prime minister to meet with President Clinton. I recall him warning the Clinton administration that the greatest threat facing Israel is the arming of Iran with nuclear weapons. He was a prophet then and that prophecy is now on the verge of coming true.

In a rebuke to the president's commitment to diplomacy, Iran conducted a missile test within hours after Netanyahu left Washington for Israel. If Iran gets a nuclear bomb, everything will change in the Middle East. Whatever dim prospects for peace there may be will come unraveled. That's why stopping Iran's nuclear ambitions trumps a Palestinian state and everything else.

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Cal Thomas Archives
JWR contributor Cal Thomas is co-author with Bob Beckel, a liberal Democratic Party strategist, of "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".

Thursday, May 21, 2009

OBAMITS: Listen up!!

Obama’s U.N. Mistake

Anne Bayefsky - May 15, 2009

Eye on the UN

In advance of Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to the United States on Monday, President Obama unveiled a new strategy for throwing Israel to the wolves. It takes the form of enthusiasm for the United Nations and international interlopers of all kinds. Instead of ensuring strong American control over the course of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations or the Arab-Israeli peace process, the Obama administration is busy inserting an international mob between the U.S. and Israel. The thinking goes: If Israel doesn’t fall into an American line, Obama will step out of the way, claim his hands are tied, and let the U.N. and other international gangsters have at their prey.

It began this past Monday with the adoption of a so-called presidential statement by the U.N. Security Council. Such statements are not law, but they must be adopted unanimously — meaning that U.S. approval was essential and at any time Obama could have stopped its adoption. Instead, he agreed to this: “The Security Council supports the proposal of the Russian Federation to convene, in consultation with the Quartet and the parties, an international conference on the Middle East peace process in Moscow in 2009.”

This move is several steps beyond what the Bush administration did in approving Security Council resolutions in December and January — which said only that “The Security Council welcomes the Quartet’s consideration, in consultation with the parties, of an international meeting in Moscow in 2009.” Apparently Obama prefers a playing field with 57 members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, 22 members of the Arab League — most of whom don’t recognize the right of Israel to exist — and one Jewish state. A great idea — if the purpose is to ensure Israel comes begging for American protection.

The U.N. presidential statement also makes laudatory references to another third-party venture, the 2002 Arab “Peace” Initiative. That’s a Saudi plan to force Israel to retreat to indefensible borders in advance of what most Arab states still believe will be a final putsch down the road. America’s U.N. ambassador, Susan Rice, announced to the Security Council that “we intend to integrate the Arab Peace Initiative into our own approach.”

Make no mistake: This U.N. move, made with U.S. approval, sets America on a well-calculated collision course with Israel. U.S. collusion on this presidential statement was directly at odds with Israel’s wishes and well-founded concerns about the U.N.’s bona fides on anything related to Israel. Israeli U.N. ambassador Gabriella Shalev issued a statement of Israel’s position: “Israel does not believe that the involvement of the Security Council contributes to the political process in the Middle East. This process should be bilateral and left to the parties themselves. Furthermore, the timing of this Security Council meeting is inappropriate as the Israeli government is in the midst of conducting a policy review, prior to next week`s visit by Prime Minister Netanyahu to the United States. . . . Israel shared its position with members of the Security Council.”

By contrast, Rice told reporters: “We had a very useful and constructive meeting thus far of the Council. We welcome Foreign Minister Lavrov’s initiative to convene the Council, and we’re very pleased with the constructive and comprehensive statement that will be issued by the president of the Council on the Council’s behalf. This was a product of really collaborative, good-faith efforts by all members of the Council, and we’re pleased with the outcome.”

The Obama administration’s total disregard of Israel’s obvious interest in keeping the U.N. on the sidelines was striking. Instead of reiterating the obvious — that peace will not come if bigots and autocrats are permitted to ram an international “solution” down the throat of the only democracy at the table — Rice told the Council: “The United States cannot be left to do all the heavy lifting by itself, and other countries . . . must do all that they can to shore up our common efforts.” In a break with decades of U.S. policy, the Obama strategy is to energize a U.N. bad cop so that the U.S. might assume the role of good cop — for a price.

On Tuesday the Obama administration did it again: It ran for a seat on the U.N. Human Rights Council. As expected, the administration won election to represent the Council’s Western European and Others Group — it was a three-state contest for three spaces.

The Council is most famous, not for protecting human rights, but for its obsession with Israel. In its three-year history it has:

adopted more resolutions and decisions condemning Israel than condemning the 191 other U.N. members combined;

entrenched an agenda with only ten items, one permanently reserved for condemning Israel and another for condemning any other U.N. state that might “require the Council’s attention”;

held ten regular sessions on human rights, and five special sessions to condemn only Israel;

insisted on an investigator with an open-ended mandate to condemn Israel, while all other investigators must be regularly renewed;

spawned constant investigations on Israel, and abolished human-rights investigations (launched by its predecessor, the Commission on Human Rights) into Belarus, Cuba, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Liberia, Iran, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.

Moreover, every morning before the Human Rights Council starts, all states — and even observers like the Palestinians — get together in their regional blocs for an hour to negotiate, share information, and determine positions. All, that is, except Israel. The Western European and Others Group refuses to give Israel full membership. Now the U.S. will be complicit in this injustice.

Joining the Council has one immediate effect on U.S.-Israel relations: It gives the Obama administration a new stick to use against Israel. Having legitimized the forum through its membership and participation, the U.S. can now attempt to extract concessions from Israel in return for American objections to the Council’s constant anti-Israel barrage.

Obama administration officials may believe they can put the lid back on Pandora’s box after having invited the U.N., Russia, the Arab League, and the Organization of the Islamic Conference to jump into the process of manufacturing a Palestinian state while Israel is literally under fire. They have badly miscalculated. By making his bed with countries that have no serious interest in democratic values, the president has made our world a much more dangerous place.

Anne Bayefsky is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute and at Touro College. She is also editor of

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Let's give Iran more time to produce the bomb

Clinton plays down more U.S. sanctions on Iran now

An Iranian missile that state media says is a surface-to-surface Sejil 2 missile is seen in front of a banner at an unknown place in Semnan Reuters – An Iranian missile that state media says is a Sejil 2 surface-to-surface missile is seen in front of …

* Clinton warns of Mideast arms race

Wed May 20, 5:37 pm ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Wednesday played down the chances of more U.S. sanctions on Iran for now and suggested that if diplomatic efforts to curb Iran's nuclear ambitions fail, multilateral sanctions may be better.

The United States accuses Iran of seeking to develop a nuclear weapon and hopes to persuade Tehran to rein in its nuclear ambitions.

Iran says its nuclear program is to produce electricity so it can export more of its valuable oil and gas, but it prompted more concern on Wednesday by testing a missile which defense analysts said could reach Israel and U.S. bases in the Gulf.

On Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama for the first time set a rough timetable for his diplomatic outreach to Iran, saying that by the end of this year the United States should have a sense of whether the effort was making progress.

"Until we have tested, within the time period set forth by the president, where we think this engagement is going, I am not sure that adding new unilateral sanctions is really that helpful," Clinton told lawmakers when asked about the utility of the U.S. Congress imposing more sanctions on Iran.
"At some point it might very well be," she added. Clinton said part of the Obama administration's rationale for pursuing engagement with Iran was to increase the chances that its partners, notably China and Russia, may be willing to impose additional economic sanctions if the talks fail.

"We already have a lot of sanctions on the books but the most effective ones are the ones that we have been able to persuade a lot of our partners to pursue as well," she added.

"So, it's a little bit of a chicken and an egg issue. How we proceed with sanctions depends upon on how the engagement works," she said. "The fact that we do have some sanctions and that they express the will of the international community is a powerful tool in our toolbox."

Obama on Monday said he hoped to begin negotiations with Tehran soon, after Iran holds elections next month. Iran's leaders have so far largely rebuffed his efforts to reach out to them and toughened their rhetoric.

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