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Wednesday, July 29, 2009


These are the true friends of the Jews.

Re: Hillel's famous quote: "If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am not for others, what am I? And if not now, when?" Thank God that there others who are for us right now, even though there are so many of us who are not for ourselves. But how long will others be willing to stand up for Jews when we not only won't stand up for ourselves; but also when so many Jews are so ungrateful to these Christians.

July 26, 2009

Silent No More

By Peggy Shapiro

Where could you hear radio talk show hosts Dennis Prager and Michael Medved, military analyst Elliot Chodoff, Israel's Ambassador Michael Oren, Senator Joe Lieberman, country music star Randy Travis, and cantor and musical theater singer Dudu Fisher on the same stage with ministers and orthodox rabbis? Where could you see over four thousand Christians waving Israeli and American flags to the singing of national anthems of Israel and the U.S. and breaking out in spontaneous dance during the playing of Havah Nagilah? Where could you witness Baptists, Methodists, Lutherans and Pentecostals wearing Star of David necklaces, which they had just purchased at an Israel bazaar? That's what I heard, saw, and witnessed at the Conference of Christians United for Israel in Washington D.C. on July 19-22 when Christian Zionists from a multitude of denominations and backgrounds took up the huge Convention Center and made over 400 lobby appointments on Capital Hill to speak up for Israel and mark a change in the Jewish-Christian relationship.

The attendees were African Americans, Asians, Caucasians, Hispanics, teens, octogenarians, the affluent and the unemployed from all over the U.S. I met a Nigerian mechanical engineering student who was pursuing a Master's Degree and supporting a wife and child, a stunningly beautiful airline hostess who brought her granddaughter, an African American grandmother who was planning her 16th trip to Israel, and a food chemist for a large corporation. I spoke to a shy woman from the southern tip of Illinois. She had never made a public speech or taken political action and called herself "a hick from the sticks." My roommate, along with 89 others, made their way to Washington from Minnesota on a 24-hour bus ride. The crowd was diverse, but they shared one common mission, which was proclaimed on the banners which hung from every rafter: "For Zion's sake, I will not keep silent." They were united by their commitment to speak up on behalf of the State of Israel and for its rights to exist, to self defense, and to sovereignty.

The focus of the conference was a two-pronged message to Congress and to the Obama administration, which has recently taken Israel to task for adding housing to accommodate the natural growth in its "settlements" while soft-peddling any criticism of Iran's nuclear ambitions: Israel is not the obstacle to peace and the U.S. must place crippling sanctions on Iran to stop the terror-sponsoring state from acquiring nuclear arms.

Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) told the group, "Critics say the stumbling block [to peace in the Middle East] is settlements or Jerusalem or refugees," "We all know the real stumbling block to peace is posed by those who vehemently deny the nation of Israel's historical right to the land of Zion." Democrat Shelley Berkley (D-Nev) minced no words in her criticism, " pin the peace process" on the settlement issue "is absolutely foolhardy." "To publicly dress down the State of Israel is a huge mistake." CUFI founder and chairman Pastor John Hagee forcefully summed up the message, "America is singling out Israel...Despite all of the risks Israel has taken for peace, our government is pressuring Israel to take more risks. Hello Congress, we're putting pressure on the wrong people here. You want to get tough, get tough with the terrorists, not the only democracy in the Middle East." The crowd responded with a thunderous ovation.

Speaker after speaker pointed to the refusal of Palestinians and Arabs to accept a Jewish state in any part of the Middle East as the cause of the sixty-one year conflict, and to Iran for escalating the terror through its proxies of Hezbollah in the north and Hamas in the south. They urged the administration not to underestimate Iran's nuclear ambitions and the existential threat they pose to Israel and to the entire region. U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), who accepted CUFI's Defender of Israel Award at the Tuesday Night to Honor Israel, evening, said, "The chief obstacle to peace in the Middle East is not Israelis living on the West Bank but the regime in Tehran.".

After an extravagant Night to Honor Israel, on Wednesday, CUFI delegates took the message to Capitol Hill to tell their members of Congress not pressure the Jewish state but to respect the democratic nation and work with it as a friend. Representatives were also asked to co-sponsor legislation that could strengthen the President's hand in the event that negotiations do not prove fruitful. One bill is the Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act, which would impose sanctions on companies that help Iran import or produce refined petroleum. The other bill, The Iran Sanctions Enabling Act, which authorizes state and local governments to divest from companies investing in Iran's energy sector, never made it to the floor when it was introduced last year.

The CUFI conference sent a message not only to Congress and to the President, but also to Jews. Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who addressed the conference via satellite, acknowledged that the conference marked the changing relationship of Christians and Jews. "For centuries, the relationship between Christians and Jews was marked by conflict rather than partnership and friendship, but this is changing. A new chapter in the relationship between us is now being written." Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice-chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, in a passionate speech proclaimed that the threats Jews face today from a regime which is determined to wipe Israel off the map are fundamentally different from the threats Jews faced in 1939 because now "tens of millions of Christians who will not be silent and stand with the State of Israel."

In the breakout sessions to fellow Christians, pastors addressed the skepticism of some in the Jewish community about allying with Christian Zionists because of a history of church anti-Semitism and replacement theology (Christians replaced Jews as the "Chosen People.") In a number of meetings clergy warned that some Evangelicals, such as former President Jimmy Carter, are spewing anti-Semitism when they profess Replacement Theology. The pastors gave the biblical foundation for the support of Israel. It is not the conversion of Jews nor the hastening the end of days, but the strongly held belief that God blesses those who bless the Jews and curses those who curse the Jews. (Genesis 12:13)

C.U.F.I., established only four years ago, now has 150,000 members, who are living their belief and who have aspirations for growing to millions of voices which "are silent no more" when Jews or the Jewish State are in danger.

Page Printed from: at July 29, 2009 - 09:57:06 PM EDT


Christian Right Crusades for Israel

by Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu

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John Hagee, a leading Christian evangelist who heads the Christian United for Israel movement, told 4,000 followers in Washington Wednesday night that, "The chief obstacle to peace in the Middle East is not Israelis living on the West Bank but the regime in Tehran." He charged that U.S. President Barack Obama is “singling out Israel" for concessions towards the establishment of a new Arab state within Israel's current borders.

Speaking at “A Night to Honor Israel" conference, Hagee declared, "Hello, Congress. We are putting pressure on the wrong people here. You want to get tough, get tough with the terrorists, not the the only democracy in the Middle East."

Hear Hagee's speech to AIPAC in 2007:

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, trying to garner support against the pressures of the Obama administration, spoke to the group on Wednesday via satellite after a conversation earlier in the day with leaders of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.

He told the Christians for Israel, "For centuries, the relationship between Christians and Jews was marked by conflict rather than partnership and friendship. But this is changing…. Today millions of Christians stand with Israel because they stand for freedom; millions of Christians stand with Israel because they stand for truth; and millions of Christians stand with Israel because they want to see a genuine peace in the Holy Land.”

Independent Senator Joseph Lieberman, Israel Ambassador to Washington Michael Oren and singer Dudi Fisher attended the Christian conference. Hagee told the delegates that Israel has the sovereign right to grow and develop the settlements of Israel as you see fit and not yield to the pressure of the United States government."

President Obama has railed out against construction for Jews in eastern Jerusalem as well as in Judea and Samaria, lumping all of them together as “settlements.” In his “reaching out to the Muslim world” speech in Cairo in early June, he applied the label “illegitimate” to “settlements,” referring to Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.

Virginia Republican Congressman Eric Cantor, speaking at the conference earlier in the week, said that American polices in the Middle East must “be firmly grounded in the beliefs of the Judeo-Christian tradition upon which this country was founded.”

Rejecting the Obama claim that a Jewish presence in Judea and Samaria and eastern Jerusalem is an obstacle to peace, Rep. Cantor told the Christian delegates, "We all know the real stumbling block to peace is posed by those who vehemently deny the nation of Israel's historical right to the land of Zion."

Hagee has been out of the limelight since Republican presidential candidate John McCain rejected his endorsement in the 2008 campaign because of remarks that many were thought were anti-Catholic and insensitive to Jews.

He told US News & World Report this week his group is trying to repair ties and build contacts on university campuses to educate Christians to stand with Israel. Hagee’s organization this summer is bringing 40 campus leaders to Poland to study the Holocaust before visiting Israel.

Commenting on criticism that the Christian for Israel group is seen as rightwing and partisan, Hagee stated, “Our membership is broad and diverse. We are a big tent for Christians who support certain fundamental propositions about Israel, namely that Israel has a right to exist and a right to defend herself from attack like any other nation.

“We are always working to broaden our base. We are reaching out to Catholics and the Protestant denominations. We are reaching out to Hispanic and African-American churches.”

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Israel's Obama Problem

Posted: 28 Jul 2009 07:19 PM PDT BY SULTAN
Hints have begun trickling out of Washington D.C. that the Obama administration has realized that it went too far in attacking Israel, and may now be looking to take a step back. With general opposition from Israelis, street protests, and a forceful rejection from the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, the failure of Obama's approach is fairly obvious. But that doesn't mean that Israel's Obama problem is over. Not by a long shot.

The Obama administration's hard line on Israel was a show of arrogance by people who assumed that they owned the American Jewish community and that Netanyahu would quickly knuckle under. They proved to be wrong on both counts. But that initial setback only means that a new administration plan will rely less on an overt frontal attack.

In their first engagement, Netanyahu succeeded in tangling Obama in ambiguities, while letting the administration's own aggressiveness blunder into making Jerusalem an issue up front. That disastrous approach helped unify Israelis and even the American Jewish leadership into taking a stand against Obama. Obama's own overt thuggishness hurt him badly, with all but the Israeli far left backing away from him.

Obama hoped to leverage Israel's political rivalries to undermine Netanyahu. Instead Netanyahu leveraged Obama's thuggishness to overturn Livni who had become Obama's main Two State Solution proponent in Israel. Now with her Kadima party headed for a split, Obama's pressure on Netanyahu will have actually helped to strengthen the ruling Likud-Labor coalition.

Obama had brought a club, while Netanyahu had brought Judo lessons. And the outcome left Obama shaking his head and wondering what happened.

Meanwhile the American Jewish leadership has not proven nearly as tractable as expected. Obama's attempt to include the Soros funded Anti-Israel group, J-Street, on a par with real Jewish American organization was a bust, because all the weight Obama throws behind J Street cannot transform it into a valid representative of the Jewish community. Meanwhile his marginalization of non-left wing groups in his Roosevelt room meeting only fed the backlash against him within the American Jewish leadership, leading to the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations issuing a strong statement in support of Israel's right to Jerusalem.

Obama's promoters had worked very hard to create the illusory consensus of mass Jewish support for Obama, particularly by bandying about the phony 78 percent figure. In the real world though Obama's "base" within the Jewish community skews young, unaffiliated and unconcerned with Israel. Meanwhile the actual American Jewish communal and organizational leadership tends to skew older, more affiliated and very concerned about Israel.

The liberal Jewish media has tried to highlight that split to argue that the traditional American Jewish leadership is out of touch, but in fact they are in touch with the future of the Jewish community in America. By contrast Obama's base represents a demographic that is exiting from the Jewish community, and that prioritizes liberalism over Judaism. With Israel, Obama encountered the Jewish version of "folks clinging to their bibles and their guns". By creating a liberal echo chamber in the Roosevelt Room of J Street, with the likes of the Israel Policy Form, Peace Now and the National Jewish Democratic Council pretending to represent a Jewish consensus, he instead wound up out of touch with the real feelings in the American Jewish community.

But while Obama may have lost the opening round at home and in Israel, that only sets the stage for the next phase of the engagement. Obama is almost certain to lead with another high profile speech, this time perhaps in Israel. While Hillary Clinton and Gates build up some credibility on Iran, a subject that last time around Obama and his minions bluntly ignored, Obama will have a carrot to offer along with the stick, the promise that Israeli concessions will lead to American action on Iran. While Netanyahu is smart enough to know that Obama will do nothing about Iran, it's a lifeline that may prove too big to ignore.

A big part of the Jewish and Israeli backlash to Obama originated from the administration blatantly ignoring Israeli concerns about Iran's nuclear program and Hamas terrorism, as well as the refusal to hold Fatah to any actual terms. This time around it's fairly certain that the Obama administration will pay some lip service on at least 2 out of 3 of these, with Fatah likeliest to get a pass. Backed by a high profile speech to the Knesset that will be big on moving rhetoric of the "Some of my best friends are Jews" and "A good life for all the children of Abraham" variety, and short on substance, the next Two State Solution bid will pay more attention to PR and be less blatantly hostile than Obama's first shot across Israel's bow.

But essentially Israel's Obama problem comes down to this. While Israel has strong support in Congress because of the Jewish vote and general American sentiments in favor of Israel, Saudi Arabia has far more support among the foreign policy and defense establishment that actually make policy. It is why Congress passes pro-Israel resolutions, while the administration and the state department tends to ignore them. The Obama Administration is the most strongly Saudi influenced administration in American history, and considering that the other contenders are FDR, Carter and Bush Sr, that is saying a great deal indeed.

While the much ballyhooed AIPAC spent time meeting and greeting congressmen, the Saudis much more profitably spent that time working with diplomats and policy wonks where the real power in foreign policy lies. The likes of Chas Freeman, who but for an ugly statement in Tienanmen Square missed playing a key role in the Obama Administration, are their creatures. So is James L Jones, who unofficially is the second most powerful man in the Obama Administration, cracking the whip in all directions. As in part is Obama himself.

Obama's key foreign policy agenda is to win the love of the Muslim world. He has few counters left, having already sacrificed his own dignity and America's self-respect. Trying to pay off the Muslim world using Israeli territory is hardly a new idea in American or Israeli politics, but it's one that Obama intends to push to the limit. And backed by a Saudi allied foreign policy establishment that has no moral commitment to democracy or human rights, and sees Israeli as the primary destabilizing obstacle in the region-- there is no limit to how far Obama will push Israel, if Israel allows itself to be pushed.

The initial ruthless push was a manifestation of contempt by the Obama Administration for both Israel and American Jews. That contempt has not gone away, it has only been leavened by caution. The Obama official who stated bluntly that the administration had plenty of its own Jews working for them and did not need to liason with any representatives of the Jewish community, was giving voice to the administration view of where Jews belonged.

And the conflict is far from over. The Obama Administration has yet to really go after Netanyahu and American Jewish leaders, particularly through the media. That is likely being reserved for phase three. It has casually undermined Israel's defense contracts, but so far has not brought out the open economic blackmail. It has struck out at AIPAC only by way of going after conservative Democrats. It has not made a serious push to force a no confidence vote on Netanyahu and then rig a new election, the way Clinton did to get rid of Netanyahu the first time around. Netanyahu knows all this, which is why he's playing for time.

The Obama Administration would prefer to use those as the clinchers, not as their opening cards. But they already overplayed their hand by targeting Jerusalem. Obama could bring out his inner Chavez, deliver a speech lambasting Jews and AIPAC. He is however more likely to leave clownish theatrics like that to Biden, who along with Hillary Clinton has been the administration's fall guy for communicating the hard line on Israel.

The Obama Administration will have to choose between open antagonism or a soft shoe approach, and for now the next phase is likely to be led off by a soft shoe opening, with a dagger safely tucked away where it can be quickly put to use.


Fatah: No Recognition of Israel – Ever

by Maayana Miskin

Senior members of Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah have announced that their group will never recognize Israel, and will continue to call for war against Israel. “Fatah does not recognize Israel's right to exist, nor have we ever asked others to do so,” said senior Fatah member Rafik Natsheh, a close associate of Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.

Media reports, according to which Fatah has recognized Israel and has called on Hamas to do the same, are false, Natsheh said in an interview with the pan-Arab daily Al-Quds Al-Arabi. “It's all media nonsense. We don't ask other factions to recognize Israel; we ourselves do not recognize Israel,” he said.

Fatah controls the PA in Judea and Samaria, and is the party of Abbas. Unlike the rival breakaway PA led by Hamas in Gaza, the Fatah-led PA has agreed to recognize Israel, although it will not recognize Israel as a Jewish state.

The PA recognizes Israel because if it did not, it would not be able to “serve the Palestinian people,” Natsheh explained. However, Fatah does not have such constraints.

Not only will Fatah never recognize Israel, but it will never end its call for armed struggle against Israel, he said. “Let those who are deluding themselves hear: this will never happen,” he said.

A second senior Fatah member, Azzam el-Ahmed, agreed that Fatah would not drop its call to wage war on Israel.

Natsheh and Ahmed gave interviews in advance of the Fatah general assembly in early August, in which the organization will meet to discuss its goals and to hold elections. The meeting will be the first in approximately 20 years.


July 28, 2009

Palestinian Media Watch

Historic opportunity
at Fatah Sixth General Conference:

Eliminate 4 foundations of the conflict
and join the peace process

by Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik

On Aug. 4-5, 2009, the Fatah movement will convene its Sixth General Conference - the first such gathering in 20 years and the first since the 1993 signing of the Oslo Accords. This official gathering offers a historic and unique opportunity for Fatah, and for Mahmoud Abbas, Chairman of both Fatah and the Palestinian Authority, to officially and publicly eradicate four Fatah principles that are basic foundations of the conflict. This would demonstrate to the world and to Palestinians that the Palestinians have joined the peace process.

1- Fatah does not recognize Israel's right to exist. Fatah leaders emphasize that this ideology is current and not merely an oversight.

Mahmoud Abbas: "It is not required of Hamas, or of Fatah, or of the Popular Front to recognize Israel." [Al-Arabiya TV [Dubai] and PATV Oct. 3, 2006]
Click to view

Muhammad Dahlan, senior Fatah MP:

"I want to say for the thousandth time, in my own name and in the name of all of my fellow members of the Fatah movement: We do not demand that the Hamas movement recognize Israel. On the contrary, we demand of the Hamas movement not to recognize Israel, because the Fatah movement does not recognize Israel, even today." [PA TV March 17, 2009]

2- Fatah continues to use maps that don't acknowledge Israel's existence.
Abbas holding map of "Palestine"President Barack Obama has condemned such maps as a threat to Israel's security:

Obama: "I will never compromise when it comes to Israel's security... Not when there are terrorist groups and political leaders committed to Israel's destruction. Not when there are maps across the Middle East that don't even acknowledge Israel's existence."
[AIPAC Conference, June 4, 2008]
In photo to the right, note PA flag and word "Palestine" in English at top of map. [Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Apr. 28, 2009]

Fatah website home pageSuch a map also appears as an official Fatah symbol under guns and under the PLO flag. When this symbol was created it had only one meaning - that Fatah would destroy Israel through violence. This map is not merely a historical symbol. Today Fatah promotes this symbol and it appears no fewer than 11 times on the official Fatah website home page.

At the coming Fatah Conference, will Abbas sit under the official Fatah symbol, a symbol that to Palestinians implies the goal of destroying Israel?
In photo to the right: Fatah website home page

3- Fatah charter still calls for Israel's destruction
Fatah charter on websiteFatah's charter, calling for Israel's destruction, is still valid and still appears on Fatah's website:

Article 8: "The Israeli existence in Palestine is a Zionist invasion with a colonial expansive base, and it is a natural ally to colonialism and international imperialism."

Article 19: "Armed struggle is a strategy and not a tactic, and the Palestinian Arab People's armed revolution is a decisive factor in the liberation fight and in uprooting the Zionist existence, and this struggle will not cease unless the Zionist state is demolished and Palestine is completely liberated."
Link to Fatah charter on Fatah site
4- Fatah continues to endorse violence and terror
On many occasions Fatah leaders have echoed the Hamas policy of justifying a ceasefire as a temporary or tactical measure:

Mahmoud Abbas: "Now we are against armed conflict because we are unable. In the future stages, things may be different... I was honored to be the one to shoot the first bullet in 1965 [Fatah terror against Israel began in 1965], and having taught resistance to many in this area and around the world, defining it and when it is beneficial and when it is not... we had the honor of leading the resistance. We taught everyone what resistance is, including the Hezbollah, who were trained in our camps [i.e. PLO camps in '60s and '70s]."
[Al-Dustur (Jordan), Feb. 28, 2008]

Muhammad Dahlan, senior Fatah MP: "The political plan guarantees the continuation of our national struggle in all its forms..."
PA TV host: "If so, the [violent] resistance and struggle continue."
Muhammad Dahlan: "This is our right, a legal right. The international community affirms it for us. But it is the responsibility of the leadership to use it when it wants, in the proper place and at the proper time. We cannot leave it in the hands of youth who use their own judgment. This is the difference between [PA] using this right and just anyone using it. I lived with Chairman Yasser Arafat for years. Arafat would condemn [terror] operations by day while at night he would do honorable things. I don't want to say any more about this."

[PATV (Fatah), July 22, 2009]

Conclusion - Historic opportunity for Fatah to join the peace process
- If Abbas's Fatah refuses to recognize Israel,
then a peace process has not yet begun.
- If Abbas sits under a map of Israel as "Palestine",
then a peace process has not yet begun.
- If Abbas's Fatah charter calls for Israel's destruction,
then a peace process has not yet begun.
- If Abbas's Fatah continues endorsing armed conflict,
then a peace process has not yet begun.

The convening of the Fatah Sixth General Conference
is a historic opportunity for Fatah to enter the peace process.


PA's Dahlan: Arafat deceived the world

Dahlan: "Arafat would condemn [terror] operations by day
while at night he would do honorable things"

Dahlan: "Resistance [terror] is our right, a legal right"
for Palestinians "in the proper place and at the proper time"

by Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook

PA (Fatah) Member of Parliament Muhammad Dahlan has publicly stated that Yasser Arafat was deceiving the world when he condemned Palestinian terror. Dahlan made these comments after defending the Palestinian Authority's "right" to use terror, and citing Arafat's behavior as an example:

"Arafat would condemn [terror] operations by day
while at night he would do honorable things."

Dahlan said this in the context of defending the use of Palestinian terror, which he called a "legal right." He advocated that this "legal right" be implemented carefully "in the proper place and at the proper time," and only by the "leadership" of the PA.
It is interesting to note that the forces that will be available to fight Israel, if and when the PA leadership decides the timing is right, are the soldiers being trained by US Lt. Gen. Dayton.

The strategy of engaging in a diplomatic process while continuing to embrace violence or planning to use it in the future is a common theme expressed by PA leaders.

Abbas himself told the Jordanian newspaper Al-Dustur last year that the PA was not involved in terror operations because it was "unable," but added that "in the future stages, things may be different."

"Now we are against armed conflict because we are unable. In the future stages, things may be different. I was honored to be the one to shoot the first bullet in 1965 [Fatah terror against Israel began in 1965], and having taught resistance to many in this area and around the world, defining it and when it is beneficial and when it is not... we had the honor of leading the resistance. We taught everyone what resistance is, including the Hezbollah, who were trained in our camps [i.e. PLO camps in the 60s]."

[Al-Dustur, Jordan, Feb. 28, 2008]

Neither Arafat nor PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas ever condemned terror because it is wrong, but only because it is ineffective or because it damages Palestinian interests.

Following is the transcript of the interview with Dahlan:

Muhammad Dahlan, senior Fatah MP: "Israel, we have to set a logical time limit of two years, in my opinion. The political plan guarantees the continuation of our national struggle in all its forms, in a way that will fulfill our national aspirations within this period of time."

PA TV Host: "If so, the [violent] resistance and struggle continue."
Muhammad Dahlan: "This is our right, a legal right. The international community affirms it for us. But it is the responsibility of the leadership to use it when it wants, in the proper place and at the proper time. We cannot leave it in the hands of youth who use their own judgment. This is the difference between [PA] using this right and just anyone using it. I lived with Chairman Yasser Arafat for years. Arafat would condemn [terror] operations by day while at night he would do honorable things. I don't want to say any more about this."
[PA TV (Fatah), July 22, 2009]

Your House?

Let's say I break into your house

A lady wrote the best letter in the Editorials
in ages!!! It explains things better than all
the baloney you hear on TV.

Her point:

Recently large demonstrations have taken place
across the country protesting the fact that Congress
is finally addressing the issue of illegal immigration.

Certain people are angry that
the US might protect its own
borders, might make it harder
to sneak into this country and,
once here, to stay indefinitely.

Let me see if I correctly understand
the thinking behind these protests.
Let's say I break into your house.
Let's say that when you discover
me in your house, you insist that I leave.

But I say, 'No! I like it here.
It's better than my house. I've made all
the beds and washed the
dishes and did the laundry
and swept the floors. I've
done all the things you don't
like to do. I'm hard-working
and honest
(except for when I broke into your house).

According to the protesters:

You are Required to let me stay in your house

You are Required to feed me
You are Required to add me to your family's insurance plan
You are Required to Educate my kids
You are Required to Provide other benefits to me & to my family

My husband will do all of your yard work because
he is also hard-working and honest. (except for that breaking in part).

If you try to call the police or force me out,
I will call my friends who will picket your
house carrying signs that proclaim my
RIGHT to be there.

It's only fair, after all, because you have
a nicer house than I do, and I'm just
trying to better myself. I'm a hard-working
and honest, person, except for well,
you know, I did break into your house
And what a deal it is for me!!!

I live in your house, contributing only a
fraction of the cost of my keep, and
there is nothing you can do about it
without being accused of cold,

uncaring, selfish, prejudiced, and
bigoted behavior.

Oh yeah, and I DEMAND that you learn
MY LANGUAGE!!! so that you can
communicate with me.

Why can't people see how ridiculous
this is?! America is populated and governed by idiots.

If you agree, pass it on (in English).

If not blow it off.........
along with your future Social Security funds and a lot of the former benefits of being an American Citizen.


Good news, the UK may be getting its own Muslim police force. (Via Jihad Watch)

MUSLIM crime victims could gain the right to have their cases overseen by police from their own religion, it emerged last night.

Police in London already give victims the right to ask for a Sikh officer to be involved in an investigation but the scheme could be introduced for other religions elsewhere.

Chief Supt Joanna Young, from the Met’s Criminal Justice Policy Unit, said: “If it’s a success, I would encourage the other (police) associations to do likewise.”

The project is intended to help investigate “honour” killings and forced marriages but Metropolitan Police Federation chairman Peter Smyth said: “We’re stretched thin enough already. Are Sikh officers going to have their rotas changed so there’s always one on duty?

“It’s political correctness gone mad. We talking about the creation of a separate force within a force.”.


Is Egypt Stable?

by Aladdin Elaasar
Middle East Quarterly
Summer 2009, pp. 69-75

Now in his eighties, Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak has ruled Egypt with an iron fist since 1981; he has turned Egypt into a police state rivaling Syria's or Tunisia's, with a security force numbering nearly two million.

As Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak enters his twenty-eighth year in power, Egypt's future is more uncertain than ever. Egyptian society is stagnant, and while Egyptians are proud of a heritage that goes back millennia, they are pessimistic about the future of their country,[1] unsure whether Egypt can weather peacefully an economic downturn and a troubled transition upon the incapacitation or death of its octogenarian leader. Indeed, at a time when the Obama administration is once again basing U.S. policy toward the Middle East on the assumption of the Egyptian government's durability, many Egyptians—most prominently outspoken Egyptian journalist Abdulhalim Qandil—argue that Mubarak's regime is on the verge of collapse.[2]

The Economy

The Egyptian economy is in trouble. Egyptian unemployment, according to international organizations, hovers above 20 percent, almost twice the official Egyptian government estimate;[3] underemployment is epidemic. According to Transparency International, Egypt ranks in the bottom tier of Arab states for high levels of perceived corruption.[4] The inflation rate continues to increase,[5] increasing pressure on the unemployed, poor and elderly. Food riots erupted in April 2008 as the annual rise in food prices topped 20 percent.[6] The gap between rich and poor is also growing. Perhaps three million Egyptians live in swank upper class villas in neighborhoods such as Ar-Rihab, Ash-Shuruq, Sharm el-Sheikh, Marina, and Muqattam Heights while 44 percent of the country subsists on less than $2 per day.[7] Less than 20 percent of Egyptians own nearly 80 percent of the country's wealth.[8]

Mubarak and his National Democratic Party cannot shirk accountability as they have been in sole control of the economy for more than a quarter century. When Mubarak took power, the Egyptian economy was in a much better shape. Government public revenues were 8.3 billion Egyptian pounds (E£) in 1981. From 1986 to 1987, expenditures nearly doubled, from E£ 13.2 billion to E£ 22.2 billion. Budget deficits increased from E£ 4.9 billion in 1985-86 to E£ 8.7 billion in 1986-87. American economist Ibrahim M. Oweiss, an expert on the Egyptian economy, concluded that since the mid-1980s "the Egyptian economy has essentially stagnated."[9] The growth rate of gross domestic product per capita has been approximately zero.[10] Mubarak has been unable to make the reforms necessary to address unemployment, inflation, housing, food crises, and Egyptians' other urgent needs.

Over the past decade, the Egyptian pound has lost almost half its value against the U.S. dollar. A recent report by Goldman Sachs suggests a greater devaluation may be on the horizon. "Without a further depreciation in the Egyptian pound, the Central Bank of Egypt would risk further big losses in the foreign exchange reserves and only delay the inevitable adjustment that is needed," the report found.[11] Should devaluation occur, the cost-of-living would increase because of Egypt's dependence on imports for many goods and services. This in turn would drive below the poverty line the many million Egyptians struggling to keep their families afloat.

Cairo should also be concerned over its foreign exchange reserve, which has fluctuated significantly. Between 1997 and 2001, it declined by half from US$30 billion to $15 billion before recovering to $31 billion in 2008.[12] However, after the bread riots in April 2008,[13] the Egyptian government may not have the political will power to devalue its currency and so risks depleting its foreign exchange reserves, which, in turn, could constrain its ability to stabilize its own currency.

There is very little indication that the Egyptian government can turn the situation around. Annual growth is not enough to absorb new entrants into the labor market.[14] According to former Egyptian trade minister Ahmad Guwaili, the Egyptian education system does not prepare students adequately for the needs of the labor market.[15] Those who do succeed often leave the country to pursue more lucrative opportunities abroad. According to the U.N. International Labor Organization, to halve the $1-a-day working poverty by 2015, gross domestic product (GDP) must grow at 4-5 percent a year, and to halve the $2-a-day working poverty by 2015, GDP must grow by 8-10 percent a year. Egypt's growth rate is closer to 3 percent for this year and will contract to 2.4 percent in 2010.[16] Nor has Egypt's productivity moved in tandem with GDP, an unusual pattern, which the International Labor Organization attributes to increases in oil revenues accompanied by "stagnant productivity."[17]

Egypt has an overwhelmingly young population: 37 percent of the population is below fifteen-years-old, and 58 percent is younger than twenty-five,[18] and the working-age population is increasing by 3 percent per year. A quarter of young men and a whopping 59 percent of young women are unemployed.[19] The Mubarak regime has done little to increase employment, especially among youth. Ninety percent of the unemployed are between fifteen and twenty-four.[20] One writer in the Egyptian weekly Al-Ahram expressed his frustration with the current labor situation:

The drowning of 184 young Egyptian men off Italian coasts didn't make waves in this country. It happened off Libya. It happened off Greece. And it keeps happening. Over and over, our young men brave death to get away ... there is a reason. There is a well of poverty and despair so deep that impels them to act so insanely.[21]

The problem transcends the economic and can have profound social ramifications since many Egyptian men can neither afford to rent nor purchase an apartment, let alone marry,[22] a dangerous phenomenon in a country that in the recent past, has had to battle an insurgency of young men recruited by violent Islamist groups. Amidst this affordable housing crisis, developers have constructed luxury complexes for the affluent, a jarring irritant to the dispossessed. Even if the young and unemployed do not turn to Islamism, either for lack of conviction or because of the effectiveness of the state security apparatus, their despair and frustration can manifest itself in a high rate of drug and alcohol use, divorce, domestic violence, sex crimes, and prostitution, all of which compound Egyptian social and economic problems.[23]
The Opposition?

Edward S. Walker, Jr., who was the U.S. ambassador to Egypt from 1994 to 1997, and subsequently served as assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs, criticized

the duality of Egyptian policy, which can be called having its cake and eating it, too. It [the regime] plays to its domestic audience through the media, officially sponsored clerics, and the educational system. The regime blames all its shortcomings on imperialism, Zionism, the West, and the United States and uses that to build domestic support.[24]

Although Egypt tolerates a number of opposition parties—the Arab Socialist Party (Hizb Misr al-Arabi al-Ishtiraki), the Liberal Party (Hizb al-Ahrar), the Progressive National Unionist Party (Hizb at-Tajammu' al-Watani at-Taqadummi al-Wahdawi'), the New Wafd Party (Hizb al-Wafd-al-Jadid), Tomorrow Party (Hizb al-Ghad), Kifaya, and the Democratic Front Party (Hizb al-Jabha al-Democrati—Mubarak handpicks high-level officials from within his National Democratic Party to serve in all high level and most mid-level posts. After decades of democratic drought, opposition parties are ineffective and have little organization capacity. When they do organize, they face a lack of resources and oppressive government tactics. Mubarak's government owns the media, and so even the best organized opposition receives little public exposure.

When the ruling party does abuse its power or flout the constitution, Egyptians have little recourse. According to the U.S. State Department, the Egyptian executive branch interferes with the judiciary. Senior officials can operate with impunity regardless of the law. Nowhere is this more apparent than with regard to judicial oversight of elections. By law, the judiciary in Egypt is required to supervise elections, but many judges report government pressure to legitimize fraud. Since the 2005 presidential elections, judges have led protests and sit-ins protesting against the government's decision to prosecute two senior colleagues: Hisham Bastawisi and Mahmud Mekki, members of the Court of Cassation, Egypt's highest appellate court, who sought an inquiry into fraud in the presidential elections and have asked for electoral and political reform.[25] Egyptian-American sociologist Saad Eddin Ibrahim, an increasingly strident critic of the regime, suggested that the

battle with the judges may well prove to be Mubarak's Achilles' heel. Justice is a central value for Egyptians, and its absence is at the core of all protests. There could have been no more compelling evidence of this than the unprecedented numbers of people who rallied peacefully in solidarity with the judge.[26]

Ibrahim criticized Mubarak's use of the Emergency Law, first imposed in 1981, which gave the security forces broad powers to search without warrants and detain indefinitely without charge. While Mubarak promised an end to the emergency regime, the National Democratic Party-dominated parliament simply wrote its provisions into "reformed" anti-terror legislation.[27]

As the Bush administration abandoned its freedom agenda after the Hamas victory in Palestinian elections and with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton openly acknowledging in the context of China that the Obama administration would prioritize human rights concerns even less, the Mubarak regime appears to feel itself having carte blanche to curtail civil liberties. The State Department's 2008 human rights report found that Cairo's respect for freedoms of press, association, and religion all declined over the year. The Egyptian government continues to restrict other civil liberties, particularly freedom of speech, access to the Internet, and freedom of assembly, as well as to crackdown on the activities of nongovernmental organizations,[28] such as Ibrahim's Ibn Khaldun Center for Development Studies.

As a result, there is a dangerous political void in Egypt. The average Egyptian citizen feels that his voice is not heard.[29] While Egypt nominally allows multiparty elections, polling brings no change. The International Crisis Group called the 2005 elections "a false start for reform" and noted "presidential elections are merely symbolic so long as the opposition is too weak to produce plausible candidates."[30] U.S. abandonment of demands for reform and the embrace of Mubarak and his son Gamal by both the Rice and Clinton state departments have encouraged the Egyptian leadership to accelerate its crackdown on dissent and raised the Egyptian public's cynicism toward the United States.

Such cynicism was compounded by the long-delayed 2008 municipal elections considered a sham by both Egyptian and outside observers. Not only independent candidates close to the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, but also politicians from registered opposition parties reported difficulties registering in an apparent government campaign to prevent opposition candidates from participating in the elections. More than 3,000 candidates, whose registration the government prevented, sued the government. Although the courts ruled in favor of the candidates in 2,664 cases, the government refused to implement the rulings.

On March 30, Human Rights Watch issued a statement questioning the legitimacy of the elections in which, subsequently, National Democratic Party candidates won 92 percent of the seats. There were only nine women in the People's Assembly (out of 454 total seats) and twenty-one in the upper-level Shura Council (out of 264). Only three women received portfolios—for the ministries of International Cooperation, Manpower and Immigration, and Families and Population—in the thirty-two member cabinet. Christians are as underrepresented as women. Copts may represent 8 to 12 percent of the population but received less than 2 percent of the seats in the People's Assembly and Shura Council.[31] The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace described the elections as "a step backwards for Egyptian politics," and the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights did not monitor the elections because of citizens' reluctance to participate and the elections' lack of competitiveness.[32]
Challenge to Obama?

The danger for the West is that dissatisfaction that already manifests itself in general anti-Western and very specific anti-American sentiment could be the precursor to even more virulent anti-Western Islamism. It is possible to find parallels in Egypt to pre-revolutionary Iran. Years before the Islamic Revolution in Iran, young Iranians were applauding Jalal al-e Ahmad's Westoxification, a strident condemnation of Western influence on society.[33] As former French diplomat Eric Rouleau noted more than a decade ago, the rise of political Islam in Egypt should not surprise,

given the social ills engendered by extended unemployment, especially among the qualified young; aggravated social polarization in which ill gained wealth, insolently displayed, stood out against the growing misery of the rural and urban population; and generalized corruption spreading right up to the highest levels of society and state.[34]

Unlike Gamal Abdel Nasser and Anwar Sadat, Mubarak has never appointed a vice-president. Mubarak has been polishing his son Gamal to be his successor, a mockery of Egyptian republicanism and democracy.[35] Egyptians are enraged that they appear ready to follow the path of Syria, in which a president, who came to power in a military coup, installed his own son as successor. If Gamal takes power, Egyptians fear he would continue his father's policy of enriching the elite, suppressing the poor, all while ignoring effective reform. Mubarak has ruled Egypt with an iron fist; he has turned Egypt into a police state rivaling Syria's or Tunisia's with a security force infrastructure that numbers nearly two million.[36] Indeed, many U.S. analysts acknowledge Egypt's instability. "It will rock the world," wrote Michelle Dunne, a Carnegie Endowment for International Peace scholar. "Octogenarian Mubarak, will leave office, either by his own decision or that of providence, probably within the next three years."[37]

Instability in Egypt after Mubarak's incapacitation or death may become an international security concern. There is no clear chain of command or civil society base to facilitate the transfer of power to the next president. According to Thomas Barnett, a national security analyst and former professor at the U.S. Naval War College, the insecure succession could create a vacuum in which the Muslim Brotherhood could rise:

By hardwiring themselves into the goodwill of the masses through highly effective social-welfare nets, the Brotherhood is retracing the electoral pathway to power blazed by Hamas in Palestine and Hezbollah in Lebanon: hearts and minds first, blood and guts later.[38]

Meanwhile, there are already signs of discord between Washington and Cairo. Citing Mubarak's cold peace with Israel and dealings with terrorist supporting states on its borders, Robert Satloff, executive director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, told the U.S. House of Representatives' Committee on International Relations, "The foundation of the bilateral relationship has eroded. Divergences have emerged over a wide range of Egyptian policies."[39] Equally alarming is the rise of anti-American and anti-Semitic conspiracy theories in Egypt's state media and society.

Obama will find himself facing a difficult choice when instability strikes the largest Arab country. Every Egyptian leader since Nasser has arisen from the military. Would an ambitious general stage another coup? Perhaps under populist pressure, would a new regime or junta scrap the Camp David accords as some judges demanded during the July 2006 Israel-Hezbollah war?[40] Or is it possible that the Muslim Brotherhood may gain strength, even paramount control? Populism—Islamist or otherwise—should be a concern given a moribund economy and growing disparity between classes and the amount of military equipment and even nuclear technology that the U.S. government has provided Egypt. If the Muslim Brotherhood were to achieve power in Egypt, the destruction of Israel would again be the unifying principle for governments in the region.

Aladdin Elaasar, a former professor of Arabic language and area studies at the Defense Language Institute and the Monterey Institute of International Studies, is author, most recently, of The Last Pharaoh: Mubarak and the Uncertain Future of Egypt in the Volatile Mid East (Chicago: Beacon Press, 2009). The Egyptian government has banned his books.

[1] John R. Bradley, Inside Egypt: The Land of the Pharaohs on the Brink of a Revolution (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008), pp. 209, 213-4.
[2] Abdulhalim Qandil, Al-Ayyam al-Akhira (Cairo: Dar Ath-Thaqafa al-Jadida, 2008), "Introduction."
[3] Daily News Egypt (Giza), Feb. 15, 2009.
[4] "2008 Corruption Perceptions Index," Transparency International, Berlin, accessed Apr. 22, 2009.
[5] MarketWatch (Dow Jones & Company, Inc., New York), Apr. 11, 2008.
[6] International Herald Tribune (Paris), Apr. 6, 2008.
[7] "Human and Income Poverty: Developing Countries," Human Development Report 2007/8. (New York: U.N. Development Programme, 2007), p. 240.
[8] Khalil al-Anani, "Union of Dictatorships," Islamists Today, Aug. 20, 2008; Daily News Egypt, Aug. 26, 2008.
[9] Ibrahim M. Oweiss, "Egypt's Economy: The Pressing Issues," Georgetown University, accessed Mar. 13. 2009.
[10] Alan Richards, "Economic Roots of Instability in the Middle East," Middle East Policy, Sept. 1995, pp. 175-87.
[11], Feb. 18, 2009.
[12] Asharq al-Awsat (London), Jan. 14, 2002.
[13] Associated Press, Apr. 10, 2008; ABC News, Apr. 10, 2008.
[14] Al-Ahram (Cairo), Jan. 26, 2006; Al-Hayat (London), Jan. 16, 2008.
[15] Nimrod Raphaeli, "Unemployment in the Middle East: Causes and Consequences," Inquiry and Analysis, no. 265, Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), Feb. 10, 2006.
[16] International Herald Tribune, Feb. 24, 2009.
[17] World Employment Report 2004-2005 (Geneva: U.N. International Labor Organization, 2004), p. 30.
[18] Michelle Dunne, "A Post-Pharaonic Egypt?" The American Interest, Sept./Oct. 2008.
[19] BBC News, Feb. 16, 2005.
[20] "Egypt," U.N. International Labor Organization, May 22, 2006.
[21] Al-Ahram Weekly (Cairo), Nov. 8-14, 2007; Ash-Sharq (Doha), Nov. 9, 2007, in the MEMRI Economic Blog, Nov. 9, 2007.
[22] Egyptian Gazette (Cairo), Oct. 20, 2007.
[23] Agence France-Presse, Oct. 3, 2007; Mohamed Talaat el-Harawi, "U.S. State Department: Egypt Is a Transit Country for Human Trafficking," U.S. Copt Association, Jan 20, 2009; "Country Narratives: Egypt," Trafficking in Persons, 2008 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. State Department, 2008), pp. 111-2.
[24] "The Future of Egypt," panel discussion with participants from U.S. Department of State International Information Programs, Washington D.C., Public Affairs Office at the U.S. Embassy in Israel, and the Global Research in International Affairs, Apr. 6, 2006.
[25] BBC News, Apr. 20, 2006.
[26] The Daily Star (Beirut), June 16, 2005.
[27] The Daily Star, June 16, 2005; BBC News, May 26, 2008.
[28] "2008 Human Rights Report: Egypt," 2008 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices (Washington, D.C.: U.S. State Department, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, Feb. 25, 2009).
[29] Maye Kassem, Egyptian Politics, the Dynamics of Authoritarian Rule (Boulder: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2004), pp. 87, 90, 109.
[30] "Reforming Egypt: In Search of a Strategy," International Crisis Group, Oct. 4, 2005.
[31] "2008 Human Rights Report: Egypt."
[32] Cited in "2008 Human Rights Report: Egypt."
[33] Jalal al-Ahmad, Gharbzadagi [Westoxification] (Tehran: 1962).
[34] Eric Rouleau, "Egypt's Islamists caught in a bind," Le Monde Diplomatique (Paris), Jan. 1998.
[35] Daniel Sobelman, "Gamal Mubarak, President of Egypt?" Middle East Quarterly, Spring 2001, pp. 31-40; Gamal Mubarak, "We Need Audacious Leaders," interview, Middle East Quarterly, Winter 2009, pp. 67-73.
[36] The Daily Star, June 16, 2005.
[37] Dunne, "A Post-Pharaonic Egypt?"
[38] Thomas P. M. Barnett, "The Country to Watch: Egypt," Esquire, Oct. 2006.
[39] Robert Satloff, "U.S. Policy towards Egypt," testimony to the U.S. House Committee on International Relations, Apr. 10, 1997.
[40], Aug. 4, 2006.


Give Me that Old-time Schadenfreude: Dabashi vs. AbuKhalil

by Winfield Myers • Jul 24, 2009 at 10:56 am

Hamid Dabashi, an Iranian specialist at Columbia University, is usually a reliable source of rabid anti-American, anti-Western, and anti-Israeli hysteria. To pick but one example, he turned a review of the movie 300, which depicted the epic battle between the Spartans (i.e., the West) and Persians (the East) at Thermopylae into an apologia for Palestinian suicide bombers:

Leonidas' mission in Snyder's 300 is an act of suicidal violence—a suicidal violence that if performed by white people in remote corners of history is heroic but if by Palestinians or Iraqis then it becomes sign [sic] of barbarism.

Yet the Iranian-born Dabashi, writing in the Egyptian English-language newspaper Al-Ahram Weekly, has turned his purple prose on a fellow Middle East studies professor whose record of rants against the West equals his own: Lebanese-born Asad AbuKhalil of Cal State Stanislaus. Writing on his blog The Angry Arab, AbuKhalil asserted that an American conspiracy is behind the anti-government demonstrations in Iran:

I am now more convinced than ever that the US and Western governments were far more involved in Iranian affairs during the demonstrations than was assumed by many.

It's difficult not to indulge in a bit of schadenfreude over this sordid affair. Dabashi has joined many of his colleagues in rooting for the right side for a change, a (doubtless temporary) trend examined recently by CW's Cinnamon Stillwell.

AbuKhalil (whose writing evinces considerable liberation from the colonialist tool called the paragraph) has simply stuck to the original playbook of the Middle East studies establishment: conspiracy theories, rabid anti-Americanism, and empirical certitude that all the world's troubles begin and end with the plight of the Palestinians. He delivers more of the same in a rebuttal of Dabashi; its very title, "Hamid Dabashi's Attack on My Person," reflects the victimology that marks the highest state of consciousness for this academic clan.

Let's look at a few choice passages from Dabashi's article, "The Left Is Wrong on Iran," with my comments.

This is perhaps my favorite sentence, written months before Halloween:

One simply must have dug oneself deeply and darkly, mummified inside a forgotten and hollowed grave on another planet not to have seen, heard and felt for millions of human beings risking their brave lives and precious liberties by pouring into the streets of their cities demanding their constitutional rights for peaceful protest.

Dabashi is entirely correct below (if only the Middle East studies establishment would take this line to heart):

[H]as a sophomoric reading of postmodernity so completely corrupted our moral standards that there is no reality any more, just representation?

What's an academic feud without some Marxian/postcolonial psychoanalysis?

He fancies himself opposing the US and Israel. But he has such a deeply colonised mind that he thinks nothing of us, of our will to fight imperial intervention, colonial occupation of our homelands, and domestic tyranny at one and the same time. He believes if we do it then Americans and the Saudis must have put us up to it. He is so utterly lost in his own moral desolation and intellectual despair that in his estimation only Americans can instigate a mass revolt of the sort that has unfolded in front of his eyes.

And again in his conclusion:

A colonised mind is a colonised mind whether it is occupied by the European right or by the cliché-ridden left: it is an occupied territory, devoid of detail, devoid of substance, devoid of love, devoid of a caring intellect. It smells of ageing mothballs, and it is nauseating.

I'll close by quoting Middle East scholar Martin Kramer, who in an email put Dabashi's article into context:

It's a gem of Dabashi style—overwritten in a Persian way, oozing passion, and it easily competes with the perverse account of his visit to Israel. But the bottom line is valid: for years, Dabashi expresses unquestioning solidarity with every kind of Palestinian nut case, and when the Iranian people finally get the courage to make a peep, the Angry Arab et al. suspect an imperialist plot. Dabashi now discovers that being truly pro-Palestinian means you must oppose freedom for anyone until the privileged Pals get what they want (whatever that is). No freedom for the Iraqis, who should have continued sweltering under Saddam, and none for the Iranians. What, A'jad not good enough for them?


We're From the Government, and We're Here to Help

Posted: 21 Jul 2009 07:31 PM PDT BY SULTAN

The best argument against any new government program, is government itself. Were the United States government a corporation, its business model would make Enron, Countrywide and Bernard Madoff look like models of rock solid corporate responsibility. The kind of corporation that goes trillions of dollars into debt, buys wrenches at a thousand dollars a pop and spends much of its budget on kickbacks for the friends of its boards members.

If at the height of the New Deal, liberals were full of optimism about what the powers of an expanded Federal government could accomplish, few liberals today can argue with a straight face that the Federal government is either competent, efficient or even any better at managing money than your average unemployed drunken brother in law. The old rhetoric of the New Deal is there, its proponents have simply learned to completely detach it from the reality that government is doomed to be incompetent and ineffective, compared to private citizens.

The current push for nationalized health care or ObamaCare, ignores the fact that the government has badly mismanaged much smaller health care systems, including the VA system and the Indian Health Service, both of which liberals had been busy denouncing until not too long ago. Meanwhile Medicaid costs have already been rising out of control with states and the Federal government trying to pass the bill back and forth to each other. A problem that is already popping up with ObamaCare as Governors from both parties condemn any attempt by Congress to create unfunded mandates for the states to fill.

The conflict between the states and the Federal government reached a new ugly low, when the Justice Department charged New York State with "knowingly submitting false claims for reimbursement" forcing a half a billion dollar payout by the state to the Feds. It's not quite up there with the shot fired at Fort Sumter, but with some states like California already on the verge of bankruptcy, ObamaCare may well be the final flood that sinks it all, overburdening already tightly stretched state budgets and dumping an impossible system on state governments no longer able to cope with it.

After Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac helped bring down the housing market, instead of making it more affordable; Welfare created dependency and despondency; and even something as relatively simple as the digital transition that had been preplanned for over a decade, resulted in a snafu and a six month extension-- why would anyone assume that the government is our best choice for handling anything?

The grand socialist experiments elsewhere have not brought utopia, instead in poor countries they have brought warlordism, misery and corruption, and among the rich nations, decline, indolence, shortages, industrial collapse and the erosion of freedom. We have already been on the latter path for some time now. The more government has grown in size, the more American industry has withered, manufacturing has dissipated, small farms have collapsed and small businesses have struggled, unable to simply leave the country, the way their larger competitors have done.

Wal-Mart is not America's largest employer, that would be the Federal government, which has nearly twice as many employees as Wal-Mart does. The difference of course is that you aren't forced to pay the salaries of Wal-Mart employees, because Wal-Mart turns a profit. The Federal government turns a deficit, and does so with glorious abandon. That is because the Federal government can't go bankrupt so long as it can continue borrowing money from China against its key collateral, that being the United States, namely you.

When was the last time a corporation borrowed against its employees as collateral? That sort of thing was illegal in America since the end of slavery. But every American citizen is a de facto investor in the United States and responsible for its debts. While Obama can count on a golden parachute ride of speaking commitments and jeans commercials, the average American citizen will be left holding the bag for debts totaling in the trillions. Debts that would require drastic cuts in programs that the public has become dependent on.

Imagine a gambler in a casino who has racked up a fortune in debt he can never possibly repay. So he borrows some more. What difference does it make when you can't possibly pay back what you've already taken? Except the gambler still has a shot at winning something with another roll of the dice. But when the Federal government spends money, every throw comes up snake eyes.

The big draw of the expanding Federal government is more and more services, but how can the government help anyone, when it can't even help itself?


Posted: 22 Jul 2009 07:25 PM PDT BY:SULTAN

A Roman tactician once coined the maxim, "If you would have peace, prepare for war." Hence the motto of the Strategic Air Command, which was ready at a moment's notice to rain nuclear fire across the world, was "Peace is our Profession", displayed beneath a mailed fist holding both the olive branch and the thunderbolt. The message to potential enemies was painfully clear. Choose.

The latter century's military history can be read to coin an equally blunt maxim. "If you would have war, prepare for peace." In the wake of WWI's horrors, America and much of Western Europe decided that nothing could be worse than a war. The remainder of that first half century would be dedicated to teaching them the lesson that there was indeed something worse than a war, and that was losing or nearly losing a war.

The nations who desperately prepared for peace all through the 20's and 30's, confronted enemies willing to mime peace negotiations only long enough for the tanks to cross the border. Pacifism had ushered in Nazism. Some of the best soldiers in the Wermacht did not wear uniforms or even were aware of their affiliation. They were the idiots cheering on Aldous Huxley's anti-war speeches in a city that would not long after trade in anti-war slogans for the cries of air raid wardens. Yet enough of them, like Bertrand Russell, survived, having learned nothing from the experience and were all too eager to repeat the same thing all over again, giving up their unofficial work for the Wermacht, for their unofficial work for the Soviet Army.

There is no better strategic boost to the aggression of an enemy power than an assertion that you would rather not fight. And over and over again when that assertion is made, war follows. No sane homeowner would hang up a sign in a troubled neighborhood reading, "Reluctant Guard Dog Would Rather Not Bite" or "Before You Break Into My House, Give Me a Call To See If We Can Work This Out Some Other Way." And yet First World nations keep hanging up such signs over and over again.

The European nations as well as Israel are object lessons in how even the world's strongest militaries can turn into pudding in the hands of socialists who exchange the sword for the open hand. 50 years ago the sun never set on the British Empire. Today there are parts of England itself where the sun will not set on an Englishman because there are none living there anymore. 50 years ago France was debating whether to fight on in Algeria or pull out. Today the same war is no longer being fought in Algeria, but in France.

At the end of the last century a Swede named Alfred Nobel felt guilty enough for inventing dynamite that he left his money to be used to distribute prizes for human achievement, including the Nobel Peace Prize by a committee of elderly Swedes operating out of Stockholm. Yet the name Stockholm is more commonly associated with the Stockholm Syndrome, a state of affairs in which captives experience greater identification with their captors, than with their rescuers. This seems appropriate enough as Stockholm today is rife with Muslim violence, rapes, murders and violent assaults are off the charts. Their justification from one survey, "The immigrant youth regard the Swedes as stupid and cowardly: “The Swedes don’t do anything, they just give us the stuff. They’re so wimpy."

It makes one wonder if Alfred Nobel were alive today, whether he wouldn't find something bigger than dynamite to feel guilty over. Such as creating an entire prize to celebrate stupid cowardly wimpiness as a trait worth emulating.

On June 9th 2005, Israel's then Prime Minister Olmert announced to the audience at the far left wing Israel Policy Forum, "We are tired of fighting, we are tired of being courageous, we are tired of winning, we are tired of defeating our enemies." Almost a year to the date, on June 12th, 2006, Hezbollah attacked Israel, kidnapping and murdering Israeli soldiers, and touching off what would be called the Second Lebanon War. A conflict that Olmert miserably bungled because he had been too tired of fighting, too busy planning for peace by retraining IDF soldiers to forcibly evict Jewish residents of disputed territories, rather than training them to fight the enemy.

If you would have peace, prepare for war. If you would have war, announce to your enemies that you are tired of fighting. Teach your people that their true enemies are not without, but within in the form of nationalists, patriots, "right wing extremists" and anyone else who doesn't think peace through appeasement is feasible. Redeploy your security forces to fight the phantom threats of right wing extremism, rather than the terrorists creeping up in the night to cut your throats. War will surely follow.

Israel is a case study in how a society and military capable of handling multiple enemy armies superior in size could implode within a single generation, once its government and cultural elites decided to reprogram everyone to prepare for peace. Military efficiency sharply dropped, draft dodging sharply increased, the people lost faith in a military solution, the military lost faith in a military solution, and millions waited and watched while the diplomatic representatives of a country that in its infancy had held back seven enemy armies, wrangle with the grotesque terrorist leader over the terms of their surrender, not his. A farce in the name of peace that was honored with a Nobel Prize.

And now the United States is next. Say goodbye to the F-22's. We won't need them where we're going. Which is on a trip to Moscow, Istanbul, Paris, London, Cairo, Berlin and any other world capitol for heavy doses of speechmaking. Preparing for peace requires talking a lot and making grand statements backed by nothing except the puffs of hot air drifting around the hall and the obligatory round of applause afterward. There was speechmaking like that with even grander statements followed by applause all throughout the 20th century, but it was not speeches about peace that kept anyone safe, but the sacrifices of the soldiers in the field, condemned as the pawns of warmongers before they were needed, dismissed as dangerous thugs after they were done. Unregarded in life, showered with sentimental honors long after the death, by the same governments busy mistreating their own contemporaries in the field.

Now as America has an administration desperately prepared for peace, the war has gotten harder than ever. The only difference is that an adoring press no longer recites the total casualty counts in an accusatory tone. The dead soldiers only mattered when their names were bullets to be shot at a conservative administration. Their usefulness have passed. Their deaths are now only an embarrassment, a testament to the fact that preparing for peace cannot hold back the tide of war.



"If the engagement process is not successful, the United States is prepared to press for significant additional sanctions," Gates said. He added that the U.S. would try to abandon the current policy of gradual international pressure, where layers of generally mild sanctions have been added each time Iran has flouted international demands.

"We would try to get international support for a much tougher position," Gates said.

"Our hope remains that Iran would respond to the president's outstretched hand in a positive and constructive way, but we'll see."


I am forwarding this attachment and hope all readers will not consider this with any specific political relationship – but purely as she identifies herself as an Independent.

In my mind she has written a letter/message that could have been from any of us. Her points are pretty much on target and cover a multitude of messages that have spread and are today across the email network on an almost daily basis. Though she pulls it all together!

The following letter, read on Glenn Beck's show, is rapidly circulating around the country. Americans everywhere identify with this 53-year-old woman. She has given us a voice. Once you read this, you will want to forward it to all of your friends...

GLENN BECK: I got a letter from a woman in Arizona . She writes an open letter to our nation's leadership:

I'm a home grown American citizen, 53, registered Democrat all my life. Before the last presidential election I registered as a Republican because I no longer felt the Democratic Party represents my views or works to pursue issues important to me. Now I no longer feel the Republican Party represents my views or works to pursue issues important to me. The fact is I no longer feel any political party or representative in Washington represents my views or works to pursue the issues important to me. There must be someone. Please tell me who you are. Please stand up and tell me that you are there and that you're willing to fight for our Constitution as it was written. Please stand up now. You might ask yourself what m y views and issues a re that I would horribly feel so disenfranchised by both major political parties. What kind of nut job am I? Will you please tell me?
Well, these are briefly my views and issues for which I seek representation:

One , illegal immigration. I want you to stop coddling illegal immigrants and secure our borders. Close the underground tunnels. Stop the violence and the trafficking in drugs and people. No amnesty, not again. Been there, done that, no resolution. P.S., I'm not a racist. This isn't to be confused with legal immigration.

Two, the TARP bill, I want it repealed and I want no further funding supplied to it. We told you no, but you did it anyway. I want the remaining unfunded 95% repealed. Freeze, repeal.

Three: Czars, I want the circumvention of our checks and balances stopped immediately. Fire the czars. No more czars. Government officials answer to the process, not to the president. Stop trampling on our Constitution and honor it.

Four, cap and trade. The debate on global warming is not over. There is more to say.

Five, universal healthcare. I will not be rushed into another expensive decision. Don't you dare try to pass this in the middle of the night and then go on break. Slow down!

Six, growing government control. I want states rights and sovereignty fully restored. I want less government in my life, not more. Shrink it down. Mind your own business. You have enough to take care of with your real obligations. Why don't you start there.

Seven, ACORN. I do not want ACORN and its affiliates in charge of our 2010 census. I want them investigated. I also do not want mandatory escrow fees contributed to them every time on every real estate deal that closes. Stop the funding to ACORN and its affiliates pending impartial audits and investigations. I do not trust them with taking the census over with our taxpayer money. I don't trust them with our taxpayer money. Face up to the allegations against them and get it resolved before taxpayers get any more involved with them. If it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, hello. Stop protecting your political buddies. You work for us, the people. Investigate.

Eight, redistribution of wealth. No, no, no. I work for my money. It is mine. I have always worked for people with more money than I have because they gave me jobs. That is the only redistribution of wealth that I will support. I never got a job from a poor person. Why do you want me to hate my employers? Why -- what do you have against shareholders making a profit?

Nine, charitable contributions. Although I never got a job from a poor person, I have helped many in need. Charity belongs in our local communities, where we know our needs best and can use our local talent and our local resources. Butt out, please. We want to do it ourselves.

Ten, corporate bailouts. Knock it off. Sink or swim like the rest of us. If there are hard times ahead, we'll be better off just getting into it and letting the strong survive. Quick and painful. Have you ever ripped off a Band-Aid? We will pull together. Great things happen in America under great hardship. Give us the chance to innovate. We cannot disappoint you more than you have disappointed us.

Eleven, transparency and accountability. How about it? No, really, how about it? Let's have it. Let's say we give the buzzwords a rest and have some straight honest talk. Please try -- please stop manipulating and trying to appease me with clever wording. I am not the idiot you obviously take me for. Stop sneaking around and meeting in back rooms making deals with your friends. It will only be a=2 0prelude to your criminal investigation. Stop hiding things from me.

Twelve, unprecedented quick spending. Stop it now .
Take a breath. Listen to the people. Let's just slow down and get some input from some nonpoliticians on the subject. Stop making everything an emergency. Stop speed reading our bills into law. I am not an activist. I am not a community organizer. Nor am I a terrorist, a militant or a violent person. I am a parent and a grandparent. I work. I'm busy. I'm busy. I am busy, and I am tired. I thought we elected competent people to take care of the business of government so that we could work, raise our families, pay our bills, have a little recreation, complain about taxes, endure our hardships, pursue our personal goals, cut our lawn, wash our cars on the weekends and be responsible contributing members of society and teach our children to be the same all while living in the home of the free and land of the brave.

I entrusted you with upholding the Constitution. I believed in the checks and balances to keep from getting far off course. What happened? You are very far o ff course. Do you really think I find humor in the hiring of a speed reader to unintelligently ramble all through a bill that you signed into law without knowing what it contained? I do not. It is a mockery of the responsibility I have entrusted to you. It is a slap in the face. I am not laughing at your arrogance. Why is it that I feel as if you would not trust me to make a single decision about my own life and how I would live it but you should expect that I should trust you with the debt that you have laid on all of us and our children. We did not want the TARP bill. We said no. We would repeal it if we could. I am sure that we still cannot. There is such urgency and recklessness in all of the recent spending.

>From my perspective, it seems that all of you have gone insane. I also know that I am far from alone in these feelings. Do you honestly feel that your current pursuits have merit to patriotic Americans? We want it to stop. We want to put the brakes on everything that is being rushed by us and forced upon us. We want our voice back. You have forced us to put our lives on hold to straighten out the mess that you are making. We will have to give up our vacations, our time spent with our children, any relaxation time we may have had and money we cannot afford to spend on you to bring our concerns to Washington . Our president often knows all the right buzzword is unsustainable. Well, no kidding. How many tens of thousands of dollars did the focus group cost to come up with that word? We don't want your overpriced words. Stop treating us like we're morons.

We want all of you to stop focusing on your reelection and do the job we want done, not the job you want done or the job your party wants done. You work for us and at this rate I guarantee you not for long because we are coming. We will be heard and we will be represented. You think we're so busy with our lives that we will never come for you? We are the formerly silent majority, all of us who quietly work , pay taxes, obey the law, vote, save money, keep our noses to the grindstone and we are now looking up at you. You have awakened us, the patriotic spirit so strong and so powerful that it had been sleeping too long. You have pushed us too far. Our numbers are great. They may surprise you. For every one of us who will be there, there will be hundreds more that could not come. Unlike you, we have their trust. We will represent them honestly, rest assured. They will be at the polls on voting day to usher you out of office. We have cancelled vacations. We will use our last few dollars saved. We will find the representation among us and a grassroots campaign will flourish. We didn't ask for this fight. But the gloves are coming off. We do not come in violence, but we are angry. You will represent us or you will be replaced with someone who will. There are candidates among us when he will rise like a Phoenix from the ashes that you have made of our constitution.

Democrat, Republican, independent, libertarian. Understand this. We don't care. Political parties are meaningless to us. Patriotic Americans are willing to do right by us and our Constitution and that is all that matters to us now. We are going to fire all of you who abuse power and seek more. It is not your power. It is ours and we want it back. We entrusted you with it and you abused it. You are dishonorable. You are dishonest. As Americans we are ashamed of you. You have brought shame to us. If you are not representing the wants and needs of your constituency loudly and consistently, in spite of the objections=2 0of your party, you will be fired. Did you hear? We no longer care about your political parties. You need to be loyal to us, not to them. Because we will get you fired and they will not save you. If you do or can represent me, my issues, my views, please stand up. Make your identity known. You need to make some noise about it. Speak up. I need to know who you are. If you do not speak up, you will be herded out with the rest of the sheep and we will replace the whole damn congress if need be one by one. We are coming. Are we coming for you? Who do you represent? What do you represent? Listen. Because we are coming. We the people are coming.


Basic Economics

If somebody is unable to understand THIS explanation, I have serious doubts about their ability to even function in society, much less run our country!

As the late Adrian Rogers said, "you cannot multiply wealth by dividing it."

Professor is a Genius

An economics professor at a local college made a statement that he had never failed a single student before,
but had once failed an entire class.


That class had insisted that socialism worked and that no one would be poor and no one would be rich, a great equalizer.

The professor then said, "OK,
we will have an experiment in this class on Obama's plan".

All grades would be averaged and everyone would receive the same grade so no one would fail and no one would receive an A.

After the first test, the grades were averaged and everyone got a B.
The students who studied hard were upset and the students who studied little were happy.

As the second test rolled around, the students who studied little had studied even less and the ones who studied hard decided they wanted a free ride too so they studied little.
The second test average was a D!
No one was happy.

When the 3rd test rolled around, the average was an F.

The scores never increased as bickering,
blame and name-calling all resulted in hard feelings and no one would study for the benefit of anyone else.

All failed, to their great surprise, and the professor told them that socialism would also ultimately fail because when the reward is great, the effort to succeed is great but when government takes all the reward away, no one will try or want to succeed.

Could not be any simpler than that.

(Please pass this on)

Monday, July 20, 2009





Alan Solow, Chairman, Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations,

Lee Rosenberg, President-elect, AIPAC,

David Victor, President, AIPAC Malcolm Honlein, Executive Vice Chairman, Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations,

Abraham Foxman, National Director, Anti-Defamation League,

Jason Isaacson, Director of Government and International Affairs, American Jewish Committee,

Nancy Ratzan, President, National Council of Jewish Women,

Kathy Manning, Chair, Executive Committee, United Jewish Communities,

Andrea Weinstein, Chair, Jewish Council for Public Affairs,

Marla Gilson, Washington Director, Hadassah,

Stephen Savitsky, President, Orthodox Union Rabbi,

Steven Wernick, Executive Vice President and CEO, United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism,

Rabbi Eric Yoffie, President, Union for Reform Judaism,

Ira Forman, Chief Executive Officer, National Jewish Democratic Council,

Debra DeLee, President and CEO, Americans for Peace Now,

Jeremy Ben Ami, Executive Director, J STREET
Instead of criticizing the substance of administration policies, the strongest critics at Monday’s meeting complained that the president is too willing to express disagreements with Israel in public, which they say gives the Palestinians and the other Arab states a free pass and undermines support for U.S. policy within Israel.

Obama vigorously defended that policy, saying that a public airing of differences between close friends can only bolster their friendship.

“What we heard from the administration is that the president believes he has an ability to open up to the world in a way that his predecessors didn’t,” said Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League. “He argues that by reaching out and showing a different approach, we can bring peace and security — he used the word ‘normalization’ — to Israel and the Arabs.”

Foxman pressed Obama to keep policy disputes between the two governments private, arguing that perceived differences between the two allies can be exploited by Palestinian leaders not interested in making compromises.

The president did not back down an inch, he said.
“He spelled out that he has a strategy — and the strategy is to tell it like it is. Tell your friends the truth. The problem is, some of us feel he is not telling the truth in a fair way.”

The unintended result, he said, is that “Israel looks like it is the obstacle to peace when it doesn’t agree with U.S. demands. It takes the Palestinians off the hook and it means Israel will not feel secure enough to take risks.”
Foxman said he and Malcolm Hoenlein, the Conference of Presidents’ executive vice president, pressed hard on that point — but that “the president disagreed. He said that for the past eight years there was no public difference between the U.S. and Israel — and nothing was accomplished. So it’s time for a change.”

Foxman said he and other critics came away with a sense that Obama administration policy in the region will continue without major change — but the way that that policy is packaged may be refined.
Still, there was little opposition to specific Obama administration policies, and several observers said this week’s Jewish outreach efforts gave the administration a tentative green light to proceed with aggressive peace efforts.

“He knows how to push while he’s hugging,” said Jeremy Ben-Ami, executive director of the pro-peace process J Street, who attended the Jewish leadership gathering, another signal of the administration’s desire to hear from a broader segment of the Jewish and pro-Israel communities.

“He embraces the very basic concerns of the Jewish community on issues like security and the U.S.-Israel relationship, and at the same time he is taking them forward on a peace agenda that he believes is in Israel’s interests,” Ben-Ami said.

“It was brilliantly done,” said Kean University political scientist Gilbert Kahn. “The fact this meeting took place shows that the White House wanted to grab these issues before they bubbled up. They were proactive. They have 80 percent support from the Jewish community, and they don’t want it to go down to 55.”
Obama: Pressure on Israel to Continue
Tammuz 22, 5769, 14 July 09 04:05
by by Nissan Ratzlav-Katz

( U.S. President Barack Obama assured 15 leaders of Jewish American organizations of his commitment to Israel, but he also insisted he would continue to publicly press the Jewish State to conform to his vision of Middle East peace. Hosting the Jewish delegates in the White House on Monday, Obama said that Israel needs "to engage in serious self-reflection" if it is to succeed in reaching a resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict. The American president repeatedly made it clear that in his view this can only mean the creation of an Arab state within Israel's current borders. He presented the "two-state solution" as a solution he wishes to promote to deal with Israel's purportedly precarious demographic situation.

President Obama also said that he will continue to press his administration's demands on Israel urgently and publicly, regardless of opposition from the Netanyahu government. Keeping American disputes with Israel from the public eye, as he claimed was done in the past, has not served the interests of peace, Obama informed his guests. He likened this decision to the open and honest conversation needed among close friends.

At the same time, Obama stated, his administration would not adopt a foreign policy inimical to Israel's security needs. Some of those present suggested that a visit by President Obama to Israel would go a long way to assuring the Israeli people of that commitment. Obama expressed approval of the idea.

Regarding Iran, the U.S. leader said that he remains in favor of dialogue. If the Iranians reject that approach, he added, "we will have to see how we proceed. But it would be a mistake to talk now about what we're going to do and how we're going to do it."

The president excluded from the meeting the strongly pro-Land of Israel National Council of Young Israel, a synagogue federation, and the Zionist Organization of America.
Jewish World Review July 20, 2009 / 28 Tamuz 5769

By Anne Bayefsky | President Barack Obama last Monday met for the first time with leaders of selected Jewish organizations and leaks from the meeting now make one thing very clear. The only free country in the Middle East no longer has a friend in the leader of the free world. Obama is the most hostile sitting American president in the history of the state of Israel.

This was the very first meeting with Jewish community's leaders. Earlier requests for an audience with major Jewish organizations had reportedly been ignored. Six months after taking office the president finally got around to issuing an invitation to stop the bleeding. Increasing numbers of Jews even among the overwhelming number who voted for Obama have been voicing serious concern about his real agenda.

The meeting, however, did not showcase the president's trademark engagement and dialogue routine. Instead, he decided to cherry pick his Jewish audience to include pro-Obama newcomers with little support in the mainstream Jewish world, such as J Street, while blackballing the Zionist Organization of America. The oldest pro-Israel group in the United States, with a Washington office second in size only to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), was not a voice Obama wanted to hear. This leaves the president willing to engage Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad but not ZOA President Mort Klein.

The growing alarm in the Jewish community was also something the White House was bent on covering up. They refused to put the meeting on the President's public schedule until it was outed. The White House demanded strict confidentiality and issued a terse couple of lines that it occurred when it was all over.
But there is no papering over the distressing reality that emerged. The president told his listeners that he preferred putting daylight between the United States and Israel. His reported justification: "there was no light between the US and Israeli positions for the last eight years, and no progress was made."

Evidently, unilateral disengagement from the Gaza Strip, 21 settlements and 9,000 residents counts for nothing. The Palestinian terrorist leadership and street have refused to accept a Jewish state for the past eight years (and the previous 53) because the United States did not add sufficiently to Israel's isolation.

The president apparently believes that the Palestinians are more likely to end terrorism, incitement to violence and rampant antisemitism if the United States applies more pressure on their victims. Even if Obama doesn't get it, Mahmoud Abbas does. He is now refusing to negotiate anything with the new Israeli government until Obama's settlement conditions are met.

During the meeting, the president repeatedly described his new policy in terms of one of Yasser Arafat's favorite mantras, "even-handedness." That's diplotalk for a moral equivalence between an Arab war against Jewish self-determination launched from the day of Israel's birth decades before any "occupation" and the conditions of third-generation Palestinian "refugees" kept in limbo pending Israel's destruction. But Obama's even-handedness was no slip of the tongue. In his Cairo speech, the president equated the Holocaust to Palestinian "dislocation."

The president promoted his strategy of putting hard public "pressure" on Israel as a means to build more credibility with Arab states. He must have meant the kind of credibility that comes from his policy of leaving an "open door" to Iran after its discredited election.

Obama then claimed that the widespread perception of an anti-Israel agenda was all the media's fault because the media is only interested in a "man-bites-dog" story. When an administration sends a US ambassador back to Syria though it is still listed as a key state sponsor of terrorism, hosts terrorist kingpins pursuing Israel's annihilation, and was caught trying to acquire weapons of mass destruction, the story is far-fetched alright, but true.

The president joked that Al-Jazeera often airs pictures of him wearing a yarmulke at the Western Wall. Except the photo-op during the election campaign had been intended to fool a Jewish audience that is no longer amused.

Reports also quote the president as claiming Israel has yet to "engage in serious self-reflection." Considering Israel is a democratic country forced to send its children into the armed forces for two to three years and its men into reserve duty for another twenty-five, that isn't the audacity of hope. It's just plain audacity.

There is no doubt that the pressure on Israel from the Obama administration is going to get a lot worse, as the President told the group "there is a narrow window of opportunity for advancing the peace process." Everyone understood the threat. The narrow window is Obama's self-defined political ambitions bearing no relationship to the realities of the Middle East or the welfare of either Israel or the United tates.

Every weekday publishes what many in Washington and in the media consider "must reading."