Archive for December, 2007

Sharon on Anti-Semitism (2005)

December 28, 2007

From Jpost (2005, I believe): 

Following is the text of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s speech to a Knesset special session marking the struggle against anti-Semitism on Wednesday, January 26, 2005:

“For the second year, we mark the day commemorating the State of Israel’s struggle against anti-Semitism. We chose to mark this day of struggle against anti-Semitism on the day of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp, that horrible symbol of the Holocaust. The Allies knew of the annihilation of the Jews. They knew and did nothing. On April 19, 1943, the Bermuda Conference gathered, with the participation of representatives from Britain and the United States in order to discuss saving the Jews of Europe. In fact, the participants did everything in their power to avoid dealing with the problem. All the suggestions for rescue operations which the Jewish organizations presented were rejected. They simply did not want to deal with it. The Bermuda Conference was nothing more than a continuation of the shocking story of the “Ship of the Damned” the Saint Louis which set sail from Germany in 1939 with 1,000 Jews who succeeded in escaping from the Third Reich on board. The passengers knocked on the doors of Cuba and ports in the eastern United States, but were refused sanctuary and were forced to return to the shores of Europe. Most of them were murdered in the death camps. The leadership of the British Mandate displayed the same obtuseness and insensitivity by locking the gates to Israel to Jewish refugees who sought a haven in the Land of Israel. Thus were rejected the requests of the 769 passengers of the ship Struma who escaped from Europe and all but one [of the passengers] found their death at sea. Throughout the war, nothing was done to stop the annihilation [of the Jewish people]. When, in the summer of 1944, the mass deportations in Hungary were carried out, the Allies did not bomb the train tracks which led to Auschwitz from Hungary, nor the murder facilities in Birkenau, and this was despite the fact that they had the ability to do so. Allied planes attacked targets near Auschwitz, but they refused to bomb the camp itself, in which 10,000 Jews were murdered daily. Thus were 618,000 Jews annihilated in a number of weeks – the Jews of Hungary. Mr. Speaker, the sad and horrible conclusion is that no one cared that Jews were being murdered. “Do not put your trust in men in power,” said the poet author of the Book of Psalms and, indeed, during the most terrible critical hour, those in power, and the declared friends did not lift a finger. This is the Jewish lesson of the Holocaust and this is the lesson which Auschwitz taught us, the chained people. The State of Israel learned this lesson and since its establishment, it has done its utmost to defend itself and its citizens, and provide a safe haven for any Jew, wherever he may be. We know that we can trust no one but ourselves. This phenomenon of Jews defending themselves and fighting back is anathema to the new anti-Semites. Legitimate steps of self-defense that Israel takes in its war against Palestinian terror, actions that any sovereign state is obligated to undertake to ensure the security of its citizens, are presented by those who hate Israel as aggressive, Nazi-like steps. Many of the manifestations of anti-Semitism in the past years are no longer aimed just at Jews as individuals. Rather, they are aimed at the embodiment of all Jews – the State of Israel, the Jewish state. As early as 1967, in A Letter to an Anti-Zionist Friend, Dr. Martin Luther King wrote that anti-Zionism is no less than disguised anti-Semitism.I quote, “The times have made it unpopular in the West, to proclaim openly a hatred of the Jews. This being the case, the anti-Semite must constantly seek new forms and forums for his poison. He does not hate the Jews, he is just anti-Zionist! My friend, when people criticize Zionism, they mean Jews – make no mistake about it. These days, the generation which was witness to the horrors is disappearing, and ignorance is increasing. Fewer people around the world have heard of the Holocaust or are aware of what happened in Auschwitz, and the manifestations of anti-Semitism are on the rise. 60 years after the liberation of Auschwitz, the evil which gave rise to the horror still exists, and still threatens us. Israel stands with governments, as well as Jewish and international organizations around the world, which remember Auschwitz and are determined to fight this evil uncompromisingly and relentlessly. We will continue to act tirelessly in order to ensure that the memory of Auschwitz and the lessons of the Holocaust will not be forgotten, so that Auschwitz will never again return. Israel is a very small country, blessed with talented and courageous people. However, it must always be remembered that this is the only place in the world where we, the Jews, have the right and the capability to defend ourselves, by ourselves. And we will never relinquish this. It is our historic responsibility. It is my personal historic responsibility.”

A Psychoanalysis of Pessah (Passover)

December 28, 2007

Article from earlier this year in Jpost (I believe) about how Freud looked at the Passover story and Moses: 

In 1934 Sigmund Freud came to the conclusion that Moses was an Egyptian. It was the result of a careful reading of the Bible, a brief reading of the works of the American Egyptologist James Henry Breasted and his own experience as a psychoanalyst in the science that he had named 40 years previously.

But Freud was unwilling to publish his results as the year 1934 was a difficult one for him and his fellow Jews. He did not wish to undermine Jewish faith at a time when it was being threatened by the rise of official and repressive anti-Semitism in many parts of Europe. He also did not wish to antagonize the Catholic Church, which controlled his native Vienna, and which needed a Jewish Moses as much as the Jews did. Freud worried that in revenge they might well have tried to restrict his successful medical and psychiatric practice.

It should be remembered that Freud was a good Jew in the sense that he consistently refused to convert to Christianity at a time when it would have enabled him to achieve an earlier professorship and a better income. He refused to follow the example of Gustav Mahler and others in Germany and Austria, who had traded their religion for a professional post. Freud was not a believer, but he was very sensitive to his Jewish culture and in 1930 he wrote, in the preface to the Hebrew translation of his Totem and Taboo, in answer to those who might doubt his beliefs and ask him, “What is there left to you that is Jewish?” he would reply, “A very great deal, and probably its essence.”

The thesis Freud refused to publish in 1934 became clear four years later after he had moved to London, when he felt that the pure air of England would allow him to propagate the ideas described below. But first it is necessary to examine the problem that Freud tried to solve.

 THE STORY of the Exodus is central to Jewish belief and, like all good stories, it has a hero and a villain. The hero without a doubt is Moses and the villain is Pharaoh – but which Pharaoh?

Scholars have wrestled with that problem for 200 years and believers think there is a solution, but in practice no solution has yet been found.

 Josephus placed the Hebrews with the Hyksos, the rulers of foreign lands expelled by the brother Pharaohs Kamose and Ahmose, who claimed to have driven out the hated foreigners, which would be in about 1570 BCE.

But this hardly works with the Jewish chronology that the Exodus took place 480 years before the building of Solomon’s Temple in 950 BCE.

Another candidate would be the lady Pharaoh Queen Hatshepshut, who also claimed to have expelled hated foreigners in about 1480 BCE; but then how could the Israelites have destroyed the walls of Jericho 100 years earlier, as the general consensus of archeologists believe? So the best bet today is Rameses the Great, who gave his name to the Land of Rameses, where the Hebrews dwelt, and to the city of Rameses that they built.
But Rameses never said that he expelled the hated – or any other – foreigners, nor do his dates fit with Jericho or the Jewish chronology which puts the Exodus at 1312 BCE.

Enter, finally, Akhenaten, the Pharaoh of El Amarna, who worshipped one god, the Aten, and only that one. His ideas were was so revolutionary that Egyptian history scrubbed him out of the record. It was only late in the 19th century that scholars resurrected his memory, and not until 1905 did he come back to public notice, when Breasted published his fine History of Egypt.

BY THEN Freud, throughout his life a keen collector of Egyptian artifacts, was already on the track of the Egyptian side of Moses. He counted Moses as the creator of monotheism, but wondered from where he derived that belief. As he read Breasted and learnt about the monolatrism – the worship of one god though not denying the existence of others – of Akhenaten, he realized it was this Pharaoh who had influenced Moses in some way. But Freud took it much further.The Moses story follows closely on that of other great leaders who are given a humble origin from which they reach great heights. Moses was a prince at the court of Pharaoh, Freud says at the court of Akhenaten, and the account gives him a humble Israelite origin that makes his rise appear even more spectacular. As a prince at the court of El Amarna, he was convinced of Akhenaten’s revolutionary ideas and devastated when they were rejected by the people of Egypt after Akhenaten’s mysterious death. And when the crown prince Tutankhamun was forced by the priests to revert to the official worship of Amun and many other gods, Moses took himself off and found a people to whom he could bring the new ideas. That people was the downtrodden Israelites, whom he took into the desert to inculcate them with the new religion, which he had developed even further into the belief of the one and only God, the god of thunderous appearance on Mount Sinai. It needed Moses’ own powerful personality to mold the people to his ideas, for when he disappeared, they reverted to the Egyptian golden calf that they had known; and when he reappeared he put such harsh laws on them that they were made to believe in him and his ideas, as a son will follow a harsh father, seeking always to gain his approval. But they would also resent this harshness, and that is why they rebelled at every opportunity and gave up for many years after his death the strict laws he had imposed on them at the Exodus and at Mount Sinai. TO FREUD this was all an account based on folk memory, what is today called Mnemo-history by such scholars as Jan Assmann of Heidelberg University. As an Egyptologist, Assmann has studied the ideas of Akhenaten in much more detail than Freud was able to do, and he confirms Freud’s thesis that the revolutionary ideas of Akhenaten could have influenced a charismatic figure such as Moses. But he points out, quite rightly, that Freud himself “did not believe in the God that he had discovered.” So what was the essence of Judaism that Freud held on to? He believed in the chain of tradition which has to have an anchor, what he would call a collective repressed memory. The repression was due to the fact that the Children of Israel, according to Freud, eventually rose up and killed Moses, their harsh tormentor, and then regretted the act, but necessarily repressed the memory of it. Freud related that to the case of the first humans, who lived in small groups where the sons were totally subservient to the one dominant father, who alone has all the females and against whom the sons eventually rise up to kill and consume his flesh. The question then remains as to how to focus on this whole drama of Moses and the Israelites. This is where Freud insists on the centrality of the Exodus. It is the one over-arching piece of folk history that binds all the sons of Israel together. It is the story of the coming out of Egypt that binds us to the story of Moses, and the belief in the one and only God that Moses, the giver of harsh laws, discovered for us. It is the essential piece of mnemo-history that we believe and repeat together each year, and throughout the year – the going out of Egypt, when God and the Children of Israel had the purest of relationships in the desert, before the death of Moses and the temporary reversion to other cults.

The writer is a fellow of the Albright Institute of Archaeological Research, Jerusalem.

A 106 yr old who survived Nazis, Czars

December 27, 2007

From an AP article a few years ago:

 106-year-old survivor of czarist pogroms, Nazis dies in New York By AP “Bubbe” Maryasha Garelik, who lived through the entire 20th century, surviving the pogroms of czarist Russia, Soviet anti-Semitism and Nazi terror and then dispensing her wisdom to thousands of Lubavitch Jews, has died. She was 106.She died Wednesday night in Brooklyn’s Crown Heights neighborhood and was buried Thursday at the Old Montefiore Cemetery near the grave of the ultra Orthodox sect’s revered “rebbe,” Rabbi Menachem Schneerson.“She was small in size – less than 5 feet tall – but a giant in stature,” Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky said.For decades, the bubbe (grandmother in Yiddish) dispensed wisdom to thousands in her Brooklyn neighborhood who came seeking her guidance. Her advice came from decades of trial by fire.According to a Lubavitch biography of Bubbe Maryasha, her father was killed in a pogrom, or organized massacre, in Czarist Russia when she was 5, and her grandparents, with whom she and her mother lived, were subsequently executed.

Years later, under Soviet rule, Garelik, her husband and their small children were evicted from their apartment into the deep snow because he refused to do factory work on the Jewish Sabbath. As a Jewish underground
operative, he was arrested in the 1930s during Stalin’s rule, then shot. (His wife did not know exactly what happened to him until 1998, when his fate was revealed in an unsealed Soviet secret police file).

“She was a lone person who stood up to a regime that shot her husband in cold blood in a field,” Kotlarsky said. “She was left with six children, ages 1 to 14, and she persevered and raised them by herself, with ethical and moral integrity.”

When authorities warned her against lighting the Sabbath candles, Garelik fled with her children. The family moved six times in three years due to harassment from Soviet authorities; one home was a stable.

But she was resourceful, growing potatoes in back of a synagogue to feed her family – with enough left over to pay for the dilapidated synagogue to be fixed.

When an acquaintance tried to persuade her to send her children to the Communist public school, she said emphatically: “Stalin will be torn down
before my children are indoctrinated that way,” as quoted by her granddaughter Henya Laine, who is now herself a grandmother in Brooklyn.
 By 1941, when the Germans advanced onto Soviet soil, Garelik and her brood escaped to Uzbekistan, where she made and sold socks to survive. In 1946, they ended up in a detention camp in Germany.After the war, she moved to Paris, where she established a Lubavitch Jewish girls’ school that still exists. She immigrated to the United States in 1953, helping to start a Brooklyn organization whose members visited the sick, and a boys’ school for which she collected money into old age.God gave her “two healthy feet,” she would say. “I can walk, I can take care of myself and help others.”

The Lubavitch Hasidic movement follows the teachings of Eastern European rabbis, emphasizing the study of Hebrew scriptures while spreading its faithful worldwide. Some of Garelik’s more than 500 descendants are Lubavitch emissaries in Australia, China, England, France, Panama, Poland and South Africa.

Legitimizing Hamas…

December 27, 2007

See the article below from February 2006 about how France was supporting Russia’s move to meet with Hamas.  That was then; Sarkozy is now (thank God).  Still, this reminds us that a divided, wishy-washy Western response to the Hamas challenge recalls the handling of the Spanish Civil War in the thirties, when the Western powers dithered and failed to support the Spanish Republicans against Franco (even imposing an arms embargo on all parties), while the Nazis and fascists armed and supported Franco (even sending the Luftwaffe to bomb Spanish cities).  Guess who won?  Franco.  Guess who got to test the mettle of the Western powers ahead of world war?  The Nazis.  As the West goes down the slippery slope toward legitimizing Hamas, this sends a message to Islamist extremists and Iran that there is no will in the civilized world to stand up to their plans to gain power, to confront the West (with Iran as a nuclear-armed power) and to seek the destruction of Israel. 

From Haaretz February 2006:

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice won assurances from Russia on Friday that Moscow would send a firm message to Hamas that the militant group must change if it wants world support, the State Department said.Earlier, France dealt a fresh blow to Israeli and U.S. efforts to isolate Hamas when it expressed support for the Russian initiative, reiterating however that the it must renounce violence and recognize Israel.Rice telephoned Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Friday to discuss Moscow’s surprise plans to invite Palestinian election winner Hamas for talks, a move that irked Washington and was not discussed when Rice met Lavrov in London last week.

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“We have been assured that should the Russian government meet with Hamas, that they would send that — that the meeting would be with the intent of sending that clear, strong message,” said State Department spokesman Sean McCormack.The United States classifies Hamas as a terrorist body and has ruled out any direct contact until the militant group renounces violence, disarms militants and recognizes Israel.French Foreign Ministry spokesman Denis Simonneau said Russia did not consult its international partners about its initiative. But “we believe that it is an initiative that can contribute to advancing our positions,” he added.“We share with Russia the goal of leading Hamas toward positions that would allow for the goal of two states living in peace and security to be reached,” he said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday invited leaders of Hamas, the militant group responsible for dozens of suicide bombings in Israel, to visit Moscow. A Hamas leader quickly accepted the invitation.

To read an analysis of Putin’s statements on Hamas, click here.

Putin’s announcement contradicts a statement issued two weeks ago by the Mideast Quartet, to which Russia belongs, which said a two-state solution requires all participants in the democratic process “to renounce violence and terror, accept Israel’s right to exist, and disarm.” The other Quartet members are the United States, United Nations and European Union.

Hamas official Ismail Haniyeh said Hamas leaders would visit Russia if they receive an official invitation.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov, who was attending a meeting of NATO defense ministers in Sicily on Friday, said that while Moscow is critical of Hamas’ ideology just as other nations, it considers it practical to maintain contacts with the group.

“Hamas is in power, this is a fact,” Ivanov said. “Sometime in the future, many leading states will start maintaining some contacts with Hamas.”

Ivanov was expected to meet with Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz on the sidelines of the NATO meeting.

Minister Meir Sheetrit on Friday accused Putin of “stabbing Israel in the back” for saying he planned to invite Hamas leaders to visit, and said Moscow should not play any role in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.

Russia “cannot fill any position regarding negotiations with the Palestinians” unless it changes its position on Hamas, Sheetrit told Israel Radio.

But Sheetrit, a Kadima member, said no such invitation should be forthcoming until Hamas renounces its charter, which calls for Israel’s destruction. Sheetrit also recalled Russia’s support of the Arab bloc during the Cold War, saying Putin’s comments show that “Russia is returning to the mistakes of the past.”

NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer Friday told Haaretz that the organization will not hold talks with Hamas.

Scheffer, currently in Sicily for a meeting of NATO’s defense ministers, said that there will be no contact with Hamas even if Hamas leads the Palestinian Authority government, which NATO opened contacts with last year.

“It’s an absolute impossibility to have any kind of dealing with Hamas by NATO,” de Hoop Scheffer said. “Contact with Hamas is out of the question.”

Avigdor Lieberman, of the far-right National Union party, warned Friday that Russia could be opening the door to further legitimization of Hamas.

“Legitimization from one of the important players in the Quartet will pave the way for others, for those who don’t exactly love us, to cooperate closely with Hamas,” said Lieberman.

Meretz chairman Yossi Beilin said Israel should not negotiate with Hamas unless it recognizes Israel and refrains from terror, but suggested that Israel focus on deciding its own policy rather than “chasing after” other countries and monitoring their relations with Hamas.

Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz, meanwhile, is slated to meet with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Egypt on Tuesday to discuss the outcome of Hamas’ victory in last month’s Palestinian parliamentary elections.

Putin expressed his intention to host Hamas leaders at a press conference in Madrid on Thursday.

“Having maintained our contacts with the organization Hamas, we intend to invite their leaders to Moscow in the near future to search for solutions,” Putin said.

“We have never considered Hamas a terrorist organization,” said the Russian leader. “Hamas came to power … as a result of democratic, legitimate elections, and we must respect the choice of the Palestinian people.”

Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, who met in New York on Thursday with the UN ambassadors of the five permanent Security Council members, urged them to stand fast on the four conditions that the council – again including Russia – had previously set for recognition of Hamas: recognition of Israel, disarmament, abandoning terror and accepting the road map peace plan.

“Every sign of weakness and of recognition will be interpreted by Hamas as legitimizing terror,” she said. “It’s important that the international community insist on the fulfillment of these conditions.”

Interesting bit of history — James Baker and Yitzhak Shamir…

December 24, 2007
The article below discusses James Baker’s involvement in linking Israel to the Iraq War in the Baker-Hamilton Report from a year ago.  The article depicts a bit of history involving George H.W. Bush’s Secretary of State, who notoriously said about American Jews, “f_ck them; they don’t vote for us [the Republicans] anyway.”  It’s true; they don’t.  But the pro-Israeli evangelicals do. What’s interesting to me is that the article below also showcases Israeli (and Jewish) leaders’ sometimes paranoid tendency to see anyone who is less than Zionist as an anti-Semite.  A legitimate point.  Not being pro-Israel or even being anti-Israel is not the same as hating Jews, though sometimes they come together.  We should just assume that someone who backs policies and initiatives inimical to Israel is simply not a supporter, rather than demonizing him/her; just as a proponent of unfettered logging and oil exploration in the Arctic Wildlife Refuge is probably not an environmentalist.  We must combat their arguments with our arguments, rather with namecalling.  Walt and Mearsheimer may simply be anti-Israel, rather than anti-Semites, and we must fight their ideas with our ideas.  They win when they can say, “Every time I speak out against Israeli aggression, I am labeled an anti-Semite.”  That feeds the hysteria about overwhelming Jewish power.  Say anything critical of Israel and the Jewish media/Hollywood/financial power elite crush you with a label of anti-Semitism.  This was always Mel Gibson’s argument before his drunken tirade.  Sorry for the lecture.   Baker redux
By Daniel Ben Simon
One Friday afternoon 15 years ago, the U.S. secretary of state, James Baker, sat in prime minister Yitzhak Shamir’s bureau in Jerusalem and discussed with him the need to implement the diplomatic initiative that bore his name. Great tension prevailed in the room. One of the Israeli participants has related that Shamir evinced impatience and restlessness and constantly looked at his watch. “He was shocked by the secretary of state’s style of speaking and his bluntness,” added the source. This was yet another in the series of the secretary’s pressuring visits, aimed at persuading Israeli leaders to agree to conduct direct talks with Palestinian representatives. Israel demanded that talks be held only with Palestinians living in the territories; the Americans insisted on including representatives from the Palestinian diaspora, so as to give official recognition to the Palestine Liberation Organization, which had its headquarters in Tunis. Prior to that, the unity government in which the Labor party had participated had broken up because of disagreement on this issue.The watch hands moved slowly. One of the participants in the meeting suggested that it be stopped because of the approach of the Sabbath. After ascertaining the precise time that the Sabbath would begin, Baker insisted on continuing. Suddenly an American official came into the bureau and whispered something into the ear of one of the secretary’s aides, who transmitted the contents to the secretary. Baker blanched. He rose and in a trembling voice said to the prime minister that he had just been informed that his mother had passed away. He apologized that he would not be able to continue the meeting and left, followed by the other members of the American peace team.A sigh of relief was heard in the prime minister’s bureau. One of the senior people present thanked God aloud for His intervention, which had saved Israel from Baker’s talons. However, after he recovered from his mother’s death, Baker refused to leave Israel to its own devices. He succeeded in seating its representatives at the Madrid conference next to Palestinian and other Arab delegates. When Israel hardened its heart, he threatened to block the transfer of the special American aid for the absorption of immigrants from the Commonwealth of Independent States. At that time the “Baker initiative” looked to the Likud government like a dangerous attempt on the part of president George H.W. Bush’s administration to force a peace agreement on Israel. Baker was so keen on advancing an agreement between Israel and the Palestinians that among Likud members the rumor spread that the man was motivated by anti-Semitism. Otherwise, why was he so indefatigably engaged with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? What was wrong with that man, they wondered, that was making him act so obsessively about trying to make the Israelis live in peace? “There is no doubt that this individual is a bit anti-Semitic,” asserted a senior person in the prime minister’s bureau, whose feelings reflected Shamir’s. “Let him leave us alone. Is there a dearth of conflicts in the world?” The conflict between the two administrations ended badly and threatened to muddy the relations between Israel and the United States. In June of 1992, Shamir lost the election to Yitzhak Rabin, and half a year later Baker followed him into retirement, together with his boss, the first president Bush. Now, 14 years later, the ghost of James Baker is again hovering above the skies of Jerusalem. Now sitting on Shamir’s chair is Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who was serving as a junior minister during the days Baker was first haunting Israel. Immediately upon taking up his exalted position, Olmert once again donned his old Likud garments, as though he had never taken them off.

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It is no wonder that in Olmert’s immediate environs, paranoid talk about Baker the Terrible is again being heard. Once again, preposterous diversionary maneuvers are being undertaken with the goal of depicting the document that bears his name as hallucinatory. “This is an internal American document that does not concern us,” was the prime minister’s description this week of the Baker-Hamilton document.Why has the Israeli leadership gone on the defensive? Because of Baker’s personality, which radiates aggressive imperiousness, and because for the first time a senior American figure has acknowledged that the absence of an agreement between Israel and the Palestinians contributes to the unrest in the Middle East and even beyond it. All that was missing was that someone there would come to the conclusion that this unending conflict is endangering American interests in the region and even beyond it. This linkage resonates in Europe and is endlessly reiterated in the ears of Israeli representatives. Every Jewish child in France can explain the connection between the new Muslim anti-Semitism in his country and the second intifada. Everyone understands what a terrible price this conflict is exacting; it’s only Israel that is insisting on reducing its dimensions as though it were a neighborhood spat.The attitude toward Israel that is expressed in the Baker-Hamilton document is a direct result of the diplomatic paralysis and the prime minister’s perpetuation of the status quo in all arenas. This is one of the reasons, along with the wretched war in Lebanon, for the mortal blow to his popularity.

Olmert will save himself – and us – only if he starts to implement the desire of the voters who put their trust in him. Only by taking diplomatic initiatives will Olmert be able to dispose of the need to take defensive measures against the Baker-Hamilton report and dispel at least some of the unease that has spread in this country since Ehud Olmert sat down in former prime minister Ariel Sharon’s chair.

Interesting article on Hamas election victory in January 2006…

December 21, 2007

From January 2006:

Points that are food for thought include: 1) the notion that with Hamas in power, UN Res. 242 (land for peace) is dead, and the conflict is no longer Israel vs Palestine, how do we split the land, but Arab vs. Jew, Muslim vs. the West; and 2) the series of mistakes made by Israeli leaders includes not doing a deal with Jordan and Egypt in the 70s, negotiating at Oslo with the PLO instead of with local leaders, building settlements, and finally, giving into Condy Rice and allowing Hamas to be elected.  Finally, this all will play into the hands of Netanyahu, whose personality may not make him fit to be Israel’s PM.  Interesting ideas if nothing else. 

From January 2008:

The recent revelation that Condy Rice was “surprised” by the Hamas victory suggests that we in the US cannot afford having gullible neophytes run our foreign policy anymore.  All the more reason to get a new “Kissinger” at the State Department.  Hopefully, if Hillary is elected she won’t put Holbrooke there, who has as much strategic depth as Madeleine Albright.  Unfortunately, not a deep bench for foreign policy on the Democratic side.  Got me worried.  People talk about Biden whose got the IQ of a talk show host…

Analysis: Hamas victory one of most important events in Middle East since Six Day War

By Amir Oren, Haaretz Correspondent
Hamas’ victory in the Palestinian elections is one of the most important events in the history of the Middle East since the Six Day War. Not only does it change the picture, but also it puts it into a completely different frame. Palestine under Hamas rule puts an end not only to the road map and the Oslo process, but also to the formula embodied by UN Resolution 242: “land for peace” and an accompanying end to the conflict. Not only does it perpetuate the conflict, but also it reshapes it – from an Israeli-Palestinian conflict to a Jewish-Arab one, and even a Western-Muslim one. Such a conflict, backed by the global Jihad movement and Khomeinist Iran, has neither a solution nor an end. Hamas received the territories due to the generosity of Israel, which was its custodian until it transferred them to another trustee, the Fatah-based PLO.

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Israel took the West Bank from Jordan and the Gaza Strip from Egypt and gave them to Yasser Arafat, who abused his trust and bequeathed his legacy to Hamas. The secularists did not moderate the religious, and now Fatah is liable to resume terror attacks in order to compete with Hamas in belligerence. Israel’s existential struggle until 1967 stemmed from the proximity of its population centers to Arab armies, with their air forces and tank corps. But the Six Day War resulted in Israel’s occupation of Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem. From this position of strength, Israel made three fateful mistakes: Yitzhak Rabin’s first government gave up the chance to return the West Bank to Jordan’s King Hussein; succeeding governments embittered Hussein’s life until he disengaged from the West Bank; and the second Rabin government decided to talk with the Palestinians, not with local leaders, who could have reached a realistic compromise. Instead, he engaged Arafat and his Tunis crowd in the Oslo process, which collapsed like a house of cards under the illusion of a Palestinian government that would be free of both terror and corruption.

And gradually, all the governments forgot the original reason for retaining the territories until peace was achieved as a buffer zone against an invasion and began seeding them with settlements.

Ariel Sharon and his deputy, Ehud Olmert, gave into American pressure and
allowed Hamas to be elected. Condoleezza Rice’s threats against Hamas now are barren and risible: If she indeed absolves Israel of the promise she wrested from it of increasing Palestinian freedom of movement, the Palestinians will suffer for a while, but only until the Americans get used to the new situation. And what Hamas ceases to get from other states it will obtain from Iranian oil revenues and Saudi protection money.

Rabin brought Arafat. Arafat brought Benjamin Netanyahu and Sharon to power. Sharon brought Hamas. And Hamas will yet bring back Netanyahu – and the lion shall lie down with the lamb.

Good news on Darfur (July 31, 2007)…

December 21, 2007

UN Council Approves Darfur Force of up to 26,0000

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – The U.N. Security Council voted unanimously on Tuesday to authorize up to 26,000 troops and police in an effort to stop attacks on millions of displaced people in Sudan’s Darfur region.

Expected to cost more than $2 billion in the first year, the combined United Nations-African Union operation aims to quell violence in Darfur, where more than 2.1 million civilians have been driven from their homes and an estimated 200,000 have died over the last four years.

The resolution allows the use of force in self-defense, to ensure freedom of movement for humanitarian workers and to protect civilians under attack.

What’s wrong with America…

December 20, 2007

Helmsley’s Dog Gets $12 Million

in Will The Associated Press

August 29, 2007

Leona Helmsley’s dog will continue to live an opulent life, and then be buried alongside her in a mausoleum. But two of Helmsley’s grandchildren got nothing from the late luxury hotelier and real estate billionaire’s estate.Helmsley left her beloved white Maltese, named Trouble, a $12 million trust fund, according to her will, which was made public Tuesday in surrogate court.

She also left millions for her brother, Alvin Rosenthal, who was named to care for Trouble in her absence, as well as two of four grandchildren from her late son Jay Panzirer _ so long as they visit their father’s grave site once each calendar year.

Otherwise, she wrote, neither will get a penny of the $5 million she left for each.

Helmsley left nothing to two of Jay Panzirer’s other children _ Craig and Meegan Panzirer _ for ‘reasons that are known to them,’ she wrote.

But no one made out better than Trouble, who once appeared in ads for the Helmsley Hotels, and lived up to her name by biting a housekeeper.

‘I direct that when my dog, Trouble, dies, her remains shall be buried next to my remains in the Helmsley mausoleum,’ Helmsley wrote in her will.

The mausoleum, she ordered, must be ‘washed or steam-cleaned at least once a year.’ She left behind $3 million for the upkeep of her final resting place in Westchester County, where she is buried with her husband, Harry Helmsley.

She also left her chauffeur, Nicholas Celea, $100,000.

She ordered that cash from sales of the Helmsley’s residences and belongings, reported to be worth billions, be sold and that the money be given to the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust.Her longtime spokesman, Howard Rubenstein, had no comment.Helmsley died earlier this month at her Connecticut home. She became known as a symbol of 1980s greed and earned the nickname ‘the Queen of Mean’ after her 1988 indictment and subsequent conviction for tax evasion. One employee had quoted her as snarling, ‘Only the little people pay taxes.’