Archive for the ‘Protocols of the Elders of Zion’ Category

If the Turks want to hang out with this guy…

June 8, 2010
What would Ataturk say?    Source: Google Images What would Ataturk say? Source: Google Images

Turkish President Gul pictured with the world’s most notorious extremist, who is quoted in the article below as saying that the Zionists are  “holding up the flag of the devil itself…” and are “the backbone of the dictatorial world order,” taking a page again from Julius Streicher’s Der Stuermer.  In its drive to be a regional power, Turkey is starting to make strange bedfellows.  What would Ataturk say?

Maybe Ahmadinejad is pre-empting the Security Council’s likely announcement of tougher sanctions with more hateful attacks against Israel.  But as we know from the Hamas Covenant, the Zionists control the UN Security Council, like almost everything else in the world and throughout history (tongue in cheek, however painfully)…

From Today’s CNN wire service:

Istanbul, Turkey (CNN) — Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad hit a strident tone on a variety of topics during a press conference on the sidelines of an Asian security summit in Istanbul on Tuesday.

A key item on the agenda at the summit is last week’s Israeli raid on an aid flotilla in the Mediterranean. Ahmadinejad said the confrontation revealed Israel’s “devilish” nature.

“It showed violence and hatred and war-mongering attitudes,” he said at a news conference. “The devilish sound of the uncultured Zionists was coming out from their deceit. … They were holding up the flag of the devil itself.”

The raid led to the deaths of nine people, all Turkish citizens — including one Turkish-American. Turkey is urging Israel to accept an international probe into the incident.

Ahmadinejad congratulated Turkey, which has been in a war of words with Israel following the raid, for its response.

Iran’s own nuclear program has been another major topic at the summit. The United States expects to bring a new resolution on increased sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program to a vote in the United Nations Security Council this week.

By calling for a resolution instead of sitting down for talks with Iran, the United States is “gravely mistaken,” Ahmadinejad said.

“Within the framework of respect and justice, we’re ready to negotiate with everyone. Anyone who is going to resort to the language of force and aggression, the response is clear,” he said.

Ahmadinejad went on to commend Turkey and Brazil for recently negotiating a deal with Iran on a uranium enrichment swap.

“The initiative marked the beginning of a new path — the beginning of an end to unilateralism in the world,” he said.

The United States, he added, missed an opportunity by not embracing the deal.

Asked whether the raid on the flotilla last week will change the way countries vote in the Security Council, Ahmadinejad said the raid will actually change many things.

For Israel, he said, “it has actually rung the final countdown for its existence. It shows that it has no room in the region and no one is ready to live alongside it. Actually, no country in the world recognizes it, and you know that the Zionist regime is the backbone of the dictatorial world order.”

He added, “Maybe at the Security Council, it will impact temporarily. The Zionist regime, with what it has done, it actually stopped its possibility to exist in the region anymore.”

How do you say W in Hebrew: Bibi

June 7, 2010
When is tough effective?

Benjamin Netanyahu subscribes to the George W. Bush school of anti-diplomacy.  It’s nice to blow off steam, especially when you are in the right.  But does brandishing your sword make an effective foreign policy?  Ask Kaiser Wilhelm II, the arch-villain of World War I, whose bluster and belligerence led to the encirclement of Germany, his gravest fear.  Ask most Americans after W left office — did W’s shooting from the hip help America’s image in the world?  Improve America’s security? 

I had meetings with Netanyahu in my capacity as a sovereign analyst for Israel several years ago.  He was then finance minister and a very effective one.  I always came away with the belief that his Achilles’ heel was his hubris.  His narcissism was always the elephant in the room, and more so than the average politician.  I can’t help but believe that his leadership has had something to do with such recent diplomatic fiascoes as the Biden visit and the Gaza flotilla.

Netanyahu, though ineffective, may be right about Gaza.  If you don’t understand why Israel is touchy about Hamas and Gaza, please read the Hamas Covenant in this link, as translated by the Yale University Avalon project, especially Art. 22.  It reads like Der Stuermer.  Here are a few snippets (out of order):

“Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it…

The Zionist plan is limitless. After Palestine, the Zionists aspire to expand from the Nile to the Euphrates. When they will have digested the region they overtook, they will aspire to further expansion, and so on. Their plan is embodied in the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion”, and their present conduct is the best proof of what we are saying…

The Prophet, Allah bless him and grant him salvation, has said:

“The Day of Judgement will not come about until Moslems fight the Jews (killing the Jews)…”

In their Nazi treatment, the Jews made no exception for women or children… 

With their money, they took control of the world media, news agencies, the press, publishing houses, broadcasting stations, and others. With their money they stirred revolutions in various parts of the world with the purpose of achieving their interests and reaping the fruit therein. They were behind the French Revolution, the Communist revolution and most of the revolutions we heard and hear about, here and there. With their money they formed secret societies, such as Freemasons, Rotary Clubs, the Lions and others in different parts of the world for the purpose of sabotaging societies and achieving Zionist interests. With their money they were able to control imperialistic countries and instigate them to colonize many countries in order to enable them to exploit their resources and spread corruption there.

They were behind World War I, when they were able to destroy the Islamic Caliphate, making financial gains and controlling resources. They obtained the Balfour Declaration, formed the League of Nations through which they could rule the world. They were behind World War II, through which they made huge financial gains by trading in armaments, and paved the way for the establishment of their state. It was they who instigated the replacement of the League of Nations with the United Nations and the Security Council to enable them to rule the world through them. There is no war going on anywhere, without having their finger in it…

There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad…

Initiatives, and so-called peaceful solutions and international conferences, are in contradiction to the principles of the Islamic Resistance Movement…

Israel, Judaism and Jews challenge Islam and the Moslem people…

…the ferocity of the Zionist offensive and the Zionist influence in many countries exercised through financial and media control, as well as the consequences that all this lead to in the greater part of the world…”

There you have it.  That’s who’s in power in Gaza.  Hence, the blockade (to prevent the flow of weapons and to pressure Gazans to kick the genocidal extremists out).  History has shown that civilized people should believe what extremists write in their books and manifestos.

As for Turkey, the AK Party did a nice job cleaning up its image in recent years in order to appear to the world as a sort of Islamic version of a European Christian Democratic party.  This has kept Turkey’s secular generals from kicking them out, as they did to the Islamists not long ago. Now, ensconced in power, Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan and his cronies are trying to reorient foreign policy in a more “Islamist” direction, putting ideologues in key foreign policy posts, taking on Israel, championing the oppressed Muslims of Gaza.  Yet, he shows he either hasn’t read the Hamas Covenant or doesn’t care, when he says that Hamas is not a terrorist organization, but a resistance movement (see article).  Sir, is the PKK terrorist or a resistance movement (the PKK is the Kurdish “liberation” movement on Turkish soil that the Turks believe is “terrorist”)?  Were the Turks who murdered masses of Armenians in the early 1900s, which Hitler later said was his inspiration for the Final Solution, genocidal killers?  C’mon, it’s not so hard to tell right from wrong in this world!  Turks should have a re-think about how moderate the Islamism of the AK Party really is.

Israel’s blockade of Gaza could be counterproductive.  It certainly has become a diplomatic liability.  If there is a better way to staunch the flow of weapons to Gaza that Iran is ready to send, if there is a better way to empower those that would topple the would-be committers of genocide running Gaza today, then I say scrap the blockade.  Israel certainly needs to scrap its bunker mentality and engage with the rest of the world, before, like Wilhelmine Germany, it becomes encircled.  P.R. should be a top Israeli priority; and, in order to clean up the country’s global image, Israelis should perhaps start by voting Netanyahu out of office at the next opportunity.  Read about his vehement defense of the Gaza flotilla raid. He may be right, but he certainly is not very diplomatic.  

Hillary: Israeli action an insult

March 14, 2010

With the voluble Veep safely stateside, Hillary took off the gloves and expressed just how pissed off she and the Commander-in-Chief are with ally Israel, the behavior of which she found an “insult” to the United States.  I wrote a piece on the Veep’s visit, found at this link and below.  President Obama voiced his anger through his favorite adviser, David Axelrod, on two Sunday morning news shows, though Israel managed to avoid a Sunday morning onslaught, thanks to the prominence of health care this week.  Axelrod was likely told to repeat Hillary’s “insult” language, to which he added the word “affront.”  Language like this is unusual in reference to the US-Israel relationship.  Last time, I can remember things this bad between the two Western allies was during Bush I (HW), when loan guarantees for Israel to help with the settlement of Russian immigrants, provided by the US in light of Israel’s restraint in the face of Saddam Hussein’s Scud attacks in the 1991 Gulf War, were to be withheld due to Jewish settlements on the West Bank.  Then Sec. of State Baker used colorful language to dismiss the power of Jews in America, and H.W. himself, in Walt & Mearsheimer fashion, attacked the Jewish lobby, complaining that he, as president of the United States was “one lonely little guy” against “powerful political forces.” By comparison, when Ariel Sharon told the West in 2001 that Israel would not be sacrificed like Czechoslovakia in 1938, W’s reaction was that this statement was “unacceptable,” exceptionally mild language given Sharon’s broadside.  The Sharon speech came after 9/11, as W was assembling an international coalition to invade Afghanistan and had expressed his “vision” of a Palestinian state, the first time a US President had explicitly called for a Palestinian state.    

Hillary is a gloves-off kinda gal and likes this kind of situation better than making nice; that’s what we all love (and sometimes hate) about her.  She was always Bubba’s spine; we believed her when she said she could handle the call at 3 am.  In fact, maybe this spat with Netanyahu goes back all the way to when Bubba intervened in Israeli elections in the 1990s in favor of Netanyahu’s rivals.  Bill and Bibi never got along, and the Clintons hold grudges. 

In any case, the Secretary of State and the President are entitled to express their feelings of being insulted by Israel, as they were elected to do just that, communicate America’s position vis-à-vis foreign countries.  And, we as voters are entitled to review the Obama administration’s record on this and other issues in 2 ½ years and either keep them there or throw them out.  Polls of American attitudes toward Israel and the Palestinians consistently show over 50% for Israel, while support for the Palestinians remains stuck at below 20%.  Israel’s support rose to 63% in the most recent Gallup poll a month ago, found hereSupport for the Arab side, on the other hand, has crept up from near 10% to the mid-teens over the last 20-30 years.  In any case, Walt/Mearsheimer, I don’t know if these numbers can be explained simply in terms of the so-called vice grip of Jews over Congress and the media.  But, people who live by the polls, often die by the polls, and such numbers can change abruptly, although they haven’t for decades.  I’ll bet the “support for Israel” numbers will dip a bit as a result of the latest “insult.”  Thanks, Bibi.

America is a funny place on the Israel/Palestinian issue.  I have noticed a rising distaste for Israel and a growing sympathy with the Palestinian cause, especially on college campuses.  The fact that the young are increasingly disposed to view Israel unfavorably is worrying to any friend of Israel.  On the other hand, America is divided on this.  I remember driving through Missouri and listening to a Christian radio station that ran a story about a popular church in Indiana that had acquired one of the Jerusalem buses bombed by Palestinian terrorists, killing and maiming Israeli civilians including children, and had placed the remains of this bus on the front lawn of their Baptist church in solidarity with the people of Israel.  As I said, America can be a funny place.  I am sure the politicians are aware of these trends and act accordingly.

Middle East: the Biden Visit — another viewBy Roger Scher

With the trip of the Veep to Israel and the Palestinian territories, there has been extensive commentary on the FPA site about the conflict in the region, including a report arguing for a two-state solution, produced by the Boston Study Group.  I agree with the prevailing view that the Israeli government made a huge gaffe by embarrassing the Veep with the announcement of the construction of 1600 homes for Israelis in East Jerusalem.  No gain at all for Israel at the cost of modestly damaging US-Israeli relations, which, at least with the Obama administration, could prove hard to repair.  Having met Prime Minister Netanyahu a number of times when I was involved with rating Israel’s bonds, I suspect the buck stops with him. His hubris was behind this, if only in spirit rather than in deed. On the other hand, the point that Jerusalem should not be divided, should remain under Israeli sovereignty with strong guarantees for Muslim control over Islamic holy sites, should not be dismissed out of hand.

FPA’s Israel blogger points out that the announcement on home construction, while the voluble Veep was in the region, was a snub at Israel’s most important ally.  As I said, I couldn’t agree more.  On the other hand, FPA’s Middle East blogger suggests that what Israel is ultimately up to is “ethnic cleansing,” a controversial term suggesting the forcible removal of ethnic groups, usually during war and often involving genocidal killing. A polemical, perhaps rabid statement, especially given that the blogger should have included, by his/her measure, the dismantling of Jewish settlements by the Israeli government under heavy international pressure.  Actually, ethnic cleansing is what occurred in the Krajina region of Croatia in 1995, when hundreds of thousands of Serbs were driven from their homes and many killed, as the Croatian army overran the region (with a blind eye turned by the West).  There are many similar such instances of ethnic cleansing.  Should the IDF overrun the West Bank and Gaza and drive Palestinians into Jordan or Egypt, then our friend at the ME blog would have a point.  Till then, pipe down.

The paper featured on the FPA site from the Boston Study Group advocating a two-state solution seems reasonable.  A two-state solution is clearly the best solution to the bi-national competition among Jews and Sunni Arabs for the same territory in the region.  The major problem I had with this document was the inclusion among the authors of Stephen Walt, whose bias against Israel and the US-Israel alliance is well-known.  His inclusion undermines the seriousness of the document.  (More on Dr. Walt below.) 

As for Bibi’s gaffe with the voluble Veep, I am not of one mind.  My principal position would be as noted above that the Israeli government achieved little and lost a great deal.  Maybe Bibi was suggesting that holding off on announcing construction in Jerusalem should be reserved only for a presidential visit.  While President Obama cannot visit every country, he has made Middle East peace (and his special pull in the Arab world) a centerpiece of his foreign policy.  Perhaps he should stop off in Israel some time. Nevertheless, it seems to me that this is an unadulterated diplomatic fiasco for Israel. Way to go, Bibi.  You should stick to economics and limit Yishai and other right-wingers to committees in the Knesset .

My secondary position comes more from emotion and a sense of what is right and wrong.  A few years ago, the Israeli leftist and peace activist and former Labor minister, Yossi Beilin, said that the deal with the Palestinians should be a swap – a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza (including dismantling most Jewish settlements, aka “ethnic cleansing”) in exchange for Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem.  Believe it or not, that’s what Yossi Beilin said before he participated in the much-more generous Geneva initiative.  The nature of any deal is — you give something up, I give something up.  Yet the Arab position, notably in the much vaunted 2002 Saudi peace plan, is, Israel gives something up (withdrawing to the 1967 borders) and the Arabs agree not to make war.  I concede and you agree to take the gun away from my head. 

History shows that no city should be divided.  Berlin was reunified.  Jerusalem is the third holiest city of Islam, but is the holiest spot on Earth for Judaism, not to mention the importance it holds for Christians.  During Jordanian rule over East Jerusalem, Jews were not allowed to visit the Cotel, or Western Wall.  Today, under Israeli sovereignty, the Islamic Waqf administers Islamic holy sites in Jerusalem.  In the West Bank, Jewish shrines have been destroyed under Palestinian Authority rule.  Israel protects Islamic sites under its control.

Thus, the deal should be a Palestinian state on most of the West Bank and all of Gaza in exchange for Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem, but with mechanisms for Islamic interests to be under the control of Muslim/Palestinian entities.  Much as the Ottoman Turks allowed the French and Russians to oversee the interests of Christians in Jerusalem in the 19th century, some such mechanism involving a new Palestinian state, the Saudis, Jordanians and the Islamic Waqf could be found. That would be fair. 

Under Jordanian and Egyptian rule from 1948-67, the West Bank and Gaza were not permitted to become an independent Palestinian state, nor were refugees there allowed to integrate into Jordanian or Egyptian society, where other Sunni Arabs live.  A separate Palestinian nationality is a recent creation resulting from the war over Mandate Palestine (which at one time included Jordan, which even today is majority Palestinian).  By contrast, under Israeli rule, there have been Palestinian elections in the territories (much to everyone’s chagrin in Gaza) and a devolution of power to the Palestinian authority. The Palestinians can declare the capital of their new state Al-Quds if they want to, locating it on the outskirts of metropolitan Jerusalem, or they could keep it simply where it is today, in Ramallah.  The Germans moved theirs from Bonn to Berlin, so the Palestinians would likely follow their lead. 

The swap – Palestinian state and dismantling of most settlements for Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem – is the right thing to do in my view.  Israel’s ultimate leftist, Yossi Beilin, backed this a while back. But, the Palestinian/Arab side has succeeded in moving the debate.  It is now about splitting Jerusalem. In return, maybe, just maybe, the Palestinian side would give up the so-called right of return of Palestinians to their pre-1947 homes in Tel Aviv, Haifa and elsewhere.  (Should Jews demand a return to Morocco, Iran, Iraq, Tunisia and other states where they lost all they had – or even just financial compensation?) This is called staking out an extremist position as a negotiating tactic.  Your adversary may ultimately concede out of exhaustion. Arafat was a master of this strategy, using terrorism and the intifadah as levers. 

US policy, which many argue is biased toward Israel, inadvertently backed the Arab view on Jerusalem, thanks in large part to the handiwork of Bill Clinton at Taba (and quite frankly of Ehud Barak).  Bubba was guided only by his desire to be the man who brought peace to the Middle East, a sort of redemption for his impeachment over the Monica Lewinsky scandal.  It has been very good PR on the part of the Arabs to move the debate this way, and woeful PR on Israel’s part.  Israel has been woeful at PR since 1967.

But as they say in Texas, that dog won’t hunt.  The debate has already been moved. In order for Israel to obtain international legitimacy, it must negotiate over Jerusalem.  That is why I don’t think it was productive for the Netanyahu government to have approved this housing project while Biden was in town.  And contrary to what Stephen Walt and others would say, time is not on Israel’s side.  Israel’s power will decline relative to its neighbors.  So, I agree with the Boston Study Group – a two-state solution is needed now, however unlikely under Bibi.

As for Stephen Walt’s participation in the Boston Study Group paper, he and offensive Offensive Realist John Mearsheimer have argued that US Middle East policy has been captured by Jewish power.  While discussing the influence of the Israel lobby on US foreign policy is fair and the political climate should be one in which criticism of this lobby should not be reflexively labeled anti-Semitism, the vehemence of the Walt & Mearsheimer claims and their clear distaste for Israel undermined their argument.  What’s more, the Walt-Mearsheimer thesis that the US-Israel alliance runs against US interests flies flagrantly in the face of the theory that Stephen Walt himself created, namely, the realist theory of alliances.  According to Walt, alliances that run counter to a nation’s interests will not endure. Well, the US-Israel alliance has endured, Steve, and many, including the voluble Veep, agree that Israel’s security and interests are often in America’s interests, much to your and your buddy John’s chagrin. 

Further, Walt’s chapter in the Boston Study Group report appears eminently reasonable, but reading carefully, one can discern his tilt against Israel.  He pushes heavily the argument of Israel’s invincible military and of the paper tigers that are Israel’s regional threats.  I would argue that history has shown that a mistaken belief in one’s invincibility, driven by perceptions from wars past, often precedes a military defeat.  A foreign policy realist like Walt should understand this.  So, friends of Israel would do well to be cautious about how strong they think little Israel, with its small territory, small population, dysfunctional political system, and few allies, is relative to its enemies.  Finally, thwarted on the conventional battlefield over the last 60 years, Israel’s enemies are finding effective non-conventional means to seek Israel’s destruction, including guerrilla warfare, WMD, human rights calls for one-person-one-vote, one state, the right of return, and an end to “apartheid” in Israel (yes, that means you, Jimmy Carter), the role of the Israeli Arabs, terrorism, the ballot box, usage of oil wealth, etc.  The myth of Israel’s invincibility could be one way Israel-bashers can weaken the state.

Obama’s Speech to the Muslim World

June 4, 2009

President Obama with Egypt's Hosni Mubarak  Source:  Huffington Post

President Obama’s speech to the Muslim world today, titled “A New Beginning,” was at its best when it explained the grievances of both sides of the Muslim/non-Muslim divide, but much less effective when it dealt with substantive issues, such as Iran’s acquisition of a nuclear weapon. 

Like he did so powerfully for Americans in his famous speech on race of March 2008, President Obama in this speech exhorted the citizens of Planet Earth to bridge our differences, understand each other better, and solve our common problems peacefully.  I applaud his effort at launching a new beginning between what he calls Muslim-majority nations and the rest of the world, especially the United States, in order to build a peaceful “alliance of civilizations.” Barack Obama, in his now-famous speech on race (“A More Perfect Union”), drew tens of millions of Americans to his movement, even though arguably he failed to adequately explain his association with his pastor, whose comments had offended Americans and precipitated the speech.  Nevertheless, this kind of speech, which the president is so good at, can work well.  It helped get him elected; and, he believes the power of his personality can solve Huntington’s clash of civilizations.

In spite of the hubris underlying Movement Obama’s appeal to our better angels (his predecessors were incapable of the moral transformation this singular man and his team believe they can accomplish), we all hope it works.  It is foolish to cynically dismiss such important, yet elusive, building blocks of civilization as legitimacy that can win over hearts and minds to good causes.  Charismatic moral leadership can help us pitiful humans stop the slaughter and evolve.   Yet it is likewise naive, though emotionally satisfying, to discount the risks of disillusionment that underlie a phenomenon such as Barack Obama.

The president outlined seven key issues that Muslims and the West must address: the violence of extremists, the Arab-Israeli conflict, nuclear weapons, democracy, religious freedom, women’s rights, and economic development.  He definitely covered the major issues, though some of them, while not unimportant, appear more the product of a Democratic focus group, or more accurately, an effort to please a number of constituencies, than issues really critical to a new beginning of peace and cooperation between the West and the Muslim world.  I’ll let the reader decide which ones should be high on the priority list.

Here is a transcript of the speech, but it is worthwhile to have a look at what he said specifically about nuclear weapons and Iran.  Of note is how short this section was, especially when compared to issue number two, the Arab-Israeli conflict.

“The third source of tension is our shared interest in the rights and responsibilities of nations on nuclear weapons.

This issue has been a source of tension between the United States and the Islamic Republic of Iran. For many years, Iran has defined itself in part by its opposition to my country, and there is indeed a tumultuous history between us. In the middle of the Cold War, the United States played a role in the overthrow of a democratically-elected Iranian government. Since the Islamic Revolution, Iran has played a role in acts of hostage-taking and violence against U.S. troops and civilians. This history is well known. Rather than remain trapped in the past, I have made it clear to Iran’s leaders and people that my country is prepared to move forward. The question, now, is not what Iran is against, but rather what future it wants to build.

It will be hard to overcome decades of mistrust, but we will proceed with courage, rectitude and resolve. There will be many issues to discuss between our two countries, and we are willing to move forward without preconditions on the basis of mutual respect. But it is clear to all concerned that when it comes to nuclear weapons, we have reached a decisive point. This is not simply about America’s interests. It is about preventing a nuclear arms race in the Middle East that could lead this region and the world down a hugely dangerous path.

I understand those who protest that some countries have weapons that others do not. No single nation should pick and choose which nations hold nuclear weapons. That is why I strongly reaffirmed America’s commitment to seek a world in which no nations hold nuclear weapons. And any nation – including Iran – should have the right to access peaceful nuclear power if it complies with its responsibilities under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. That commitment is at the core of the Treaty, and it must be kept for all who fully abide by it. And I am hopeful that all countries in the region can share in this goal.”

He alludes to the differing perceptions underlying the mistrust between Iran and the West.  He points out  the danger of a nuclear arms race in the region.  And, as he does throughout the speech, he portrays himself as someone who, unlike his predecessors, understands the other side’s point of view.  He understands Muslim frustration over the fact that some countries are allowed to have nuclear weapons, while others are not. 

What is missing in this speech is anything Churchillian.  What is missing is realism…for example, a statement that the U.S. is determined to prevent the acquisition of nuclear weapons by unstable or radical regimes, be they Muslim or not.  The risk of the Obama phenomenon is that his extended hand and emotional understanding will not be backed up by a steely determination to oppose dangerous regimes.  True, he takes a stab at this in his remarks about Al Qaeda and extremism.  However, just as it was nearly impossible for Bush to establish moral authority, it will be challenging for Obama to convey strength and determination, and to inspire respect and, yes, fear among America’s adversaries.  I understand he was addressing Muslims, but still there were no unequivocal statements against the Iranian acquisition of the bomb.  

He acquiesced to the Arab narrative in many ways.  The most salient example was his putting the Arab-Israeli conflict, or as he termed it, “the situation between Israelis, Palestinians and the Arab world,” as one of his seven key issues causing tension in the region.  It sure is, but why not the India-Pakistan conflict over Kashmir?  The Shia-Sunni divide was noted, but not as a key cause of tension.  Genocide in Darfur was not mentioned.  Saudi Wahhabism and other sources of extremism in Muslim education were not mentioned. 

The Arab narrative suggests that everything nasty that happens in that part of the world is linked to, if not caused by, Israeli actions vis-à-vis the Palestinians.  Never mind how the rest of the Arab World has treated the Palestinians, refusing to settle these refugees in neighboring countries, the way India and Pakistan settled Hindu and Muslim refugees after their 1948 conflict.  What’s more, the language about Israeli settlements was harsher in this speech than in the past.  The United States does not accept the legitimacy of settlements, and the settlements must stop.  This is quite different from Bush’s statement that after forty years of conflict, forty years of woeful Palestinian (and in most cases, Arab) leadership, some of Israel’s settlements have become a reality on the ground and the subject of negotiation.  Of course, Obama may turn around and tell the Israelis he was only talking about the “growth” of settlements, not the full dismantling of all settlements.  The Obama administration has asked the Israeli government for clarification of its views on settlements, when “clarify” is exactly what Team Obama needs to do on this issue.   

Nevertheless, all in all, it was a valiant effort on the part of President Obama.  I hope he can engender understanding and cooperation through the power of his personality.  His administration has orchestrated this overture to the Muslim world quite well.  The president argued as much in his speech.  He has stuck it to Israel on settlements.  He is pulling out of Iraq. He has called for all nations in the region, and in the world, to give up nuclear weapons.  He is giving humanitarian aid to Pakistan and Afghanistan.  He is launching educational and economic initiatives in the region.  This is the change he offers from Bush’s bluster.  And, he says, the Arab world must do its part.  I hope it works.

Protocols still making the rounds…

January 27, 2008

From an April 2006 article 

 

U.S. museum exhibit focuses on anti-Semitic ‘Protocols’

By The Associated Press
WASHINGTON – A century-old forgery used to justify ill-treatment of Jews in Czarist Russia and widely circulated by the Nazis is distributed even today in many languages to stoke hatred of Israel, says an exhibit at the U.S. Holocaust Museum.

Colorfully bound editions of “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion” have appeared recently in Mexico and in Japan, where there are few Jews, says exhibit historian Daniel Greene. High-school texts in Syria, Lebanon and schools run by the Palestinian Authority use the book as history, he says.

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Its 24 chapters profess to record discussions by Jewish leaders of plans to take over the world. Historians have traced parallels in the text to a 19th-century French book, directed against supporters of Emperor Napoleon III, which does not mention Jews.

“The Internet has about 500,000 sites where the book is discussed – about half and half for and against,” Greene estimated.

The exhibit cites a quote from Joseph Goebbels, a decade before he became Adolf Hitler’s propaganda minister:”I believe that ‘The Protocols of the Wise Men of Zion’ are a forgery. (However) I believe in the intrinsic, not the factual truth of the ‘Protocols.”‘

In the United States, the exhibit points to the Rev. Charles Coughlin, a Roman Catholic priest whose popular radio sermons in the late 1930s opposed war with Nazi Germany. His periodical, “Social Justice” serialized the “Protocols” in 1938.

When Egyptian government-sponsored TV showed a series based on the “Protocols” in 2002, the State Department condemned it.

In 2005, a new edition of the book was published in Syria and shown at the Cairo International Book Fair. The edition suggests, the museum says, that the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks were organized by a Jewish conspiracy.

Last October, an Iranian bookseller exhibited an edition published by his country’s Islamic Propaganda Organization at the annual Frankfurt Book Fair. The Holocaust Museum exhibit notes the display violated German law, which forbids libel against any religious group.

Retired Israeli Judge Blames Lebanon War on Protocols…

January 27, 2008

From an August 2006 article:

In this war, the Protocols are to blame

By Hadassa Ben-Itto
The second Lebanon war has drawn to a close, and criticism is coming from every direction: We fell asleep on guard duty, we underestimated the opponent’s power, we did not prepare properly, we were overconfident, we have sinned in arrogance and false promises to our allies overseas and to the citizens of Israel, we have deluded ourselves in thinking the existence of the State of Israel ensures the future of the Jewish people, that the old times are gone, never to return. A popular cry rises for an inquiry commission, and for heads to roll. Had I been called forth for such a commission, I would have testified about a failure that has existed for many years, taboo and undiscussed, but just as relevant to this war. Indeed we were asleep on guard duty when we failed to develop an effective strategy against another lethal weapon, one just as dangerous as the rockets and missiles. We repeatedly ask ourselves how the entire Muslim world has been incited against us, both their leaders and the street, even those who are not involved in the Palestinian conflict and have little concern for the Palestinians’ destiny. Why do the masses flood the streets calling for our destruction? Is it a call to arms to defend Arab honor? And why do human rights organizations, whose prescribed agendas do not include a struggle against the Jewish people and the State of Israel, join in? A senior American diplomat once told me: “I can’t believe this is happening to the Jewish people once again. You have not learned your lesson. Had you thoroughly read ‘Mein Kampf,’ you would have known what to expect. Again the writing is on the wall and you are looking away. Wars do not begin on battlefields. Read the UNESCO treaty that declares, ‘Wars start in the minds of people.'”
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For a hundred years now, the world has been exposed to a dangerous lie accusing us of all humanity’s downfalls, a claim that our very existence threatens world peace. This is the famous “Jewish conspiracy” whose objective is world domination, and is documented with great detail in the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” published in every language in millions of copies. We haven’t read it, or even bothered translating it into Hebrew. Since World War II, we have not bothered to trace the methodical mind poisoning of hundreds of millions of Muslims around the world who are being told that Jews pose an existential threat. The facts are apparent, evident in newspapers, studies and statistics. We have seen it all but have done nothing. We have tired of dealing with haters of Israel, have despaired of denying the tales, have become complacent, have not appreciated the danger and failed to look for ways of dealing with it. It is impossible to recruit entire nations, hundred of millions of people, in a struggle to destroy Israel and the Jews other than with a methodical long-term propaganda campaign. This time the Muslim world, which has picked up the Nazi torch, has joined the cause and set for itself the goal of destroying our nation and people. And it says so openly, in public speeches by the president of a United Nations member country, in constitutions such as Hamas’, in sermons at mosques. The protocols’ wording does not change, but each one of the thousands of editions is accompanied by a forward explaining how the Jewish plan is in action, here and now. Thus a new forward was drafted in response to the Sept. 11 attacks, the war in Iraq, and countless other events that have been blamed on the Jews. The Arabic editions, whether printed in Iran, Syria or Egypt, are also distributed in Muslim communities in the West. They are featured in book fairs and sold discounted at shops. In recent years, countries including Egypt, Syria and Qatar have produced television series based on the protocols and broadcast them throughout the Arab world during Ramadan, when the families come together to break the fast. Many popular soap operas, which target audiences of all ages, perpetuate the claim of a criminal Jewish conspiracy to take over the world. The Muslim world believes in this tale, even though there are a few intellectuals who halfheartedly admit the protocols could have been a forgery. Only recently I happened to meet an American doctor of Lebanese Christian descent at a hospital in the United States. When I asked him whether he is familiar with the protocols, he replied that he has the book at home, knows it well and indeed believes it. It is part of our culture, he said in perfect English, with an American accent and a straight face. The Arab editions contain completely delusional, vehement, slandering forwards, describing the entire history of the world as an expression of the Jewish diabolical plan, accompanied by horrible caricatures (which are allowed, so it seems, as long as they do not make fun of Muslims). These types of editions are not lacking in the West, but they are sold alongside versions targeting an educated audience. This includes the edition printed in the U.S. in 2004, which is sold in respectable book stores.

Laid before me is such a book. It does not contain only the original Protocols, but also many documents corroborating the conspiracy story. The book deals in an “in-depth” manner with what is known as the “Jewish problem”, while giving much credit to Jews as being wise, intelligent, Nobel prize winners, a distinguished nation, and therefore so dangerous to the world. The book even deals with the issue of forgery. The London Times, the first to expose the forgery in 1921, is called part of the Jewish conspiracy. Others who have exposed the forgery, among them a Russian princess and a French theologist, are portrayed as previously convicted felons.

The Jewish nation’s intelligence services, which thoroughly follow admonitions of anti-Semitism, cannot be blamed. There are faculties and research institutes, conventions and publications, even internet Web sites following the publications in Arab countries. But apart from a few fanatic devotees, there is no real awareness of the danger. There is no strategic plan for dealing with it.

The political correctness guiding today’s public discourse forbids saying anything against non-Jews, even when these things are true. It is not all Muslims, it is not the Koran, announcers must add every time they inform the world of yet another terrorist attack perpetrated by Muslims. If a similar protocols were to be published about Muslims, or any other minority or racial group, the streets would have been ablaze, as they were over a few measly caricatures in a Danish newspaper.

When the president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, publicly announces his intent to destroy us, we do not ask ourselves why, along with the rockets and nuclear weapons, he orders the printing and distribution of the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion.” His emissaries had the audacity to display an English translation of the Protocols at the Iranian stand of the world fair in Frankfurt.

And the Jewish world is silent – for a hundred years, and now as well.

Jews do not burn embassies, we do not send inflamed masses to the streets, but this does not mean we are excused from finding alternatives. And there are alternatives.

The conspiracy against the Jewish people – the spreading of an evil tale in order to prepare for another extermination of the Jews – must be dramatically exposed.

Send the distributors of these lies to flood the world’s courts, as defendants in criminal lawsuits, since today most countries have laws forbidding incitement against religious, national or ethnic groups.

We must engage in a legal, political, public and media battle in order to raise a clear and coherent voice: Enough, stop slandering us!

The writer is a retired judge, author of the book “The Lie that Wouldn’t Die: The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.”

Major Philip P. Graves, British journalist, hero, exposed Protocols as a forgery in 1921…

January 24, 2008

From Wikipedia.  Go to the source and read the very cool London Times article on his exposing of the anti-Semitic Protocols of the Elders of Zion as a forgery…

Major Philip Perceval Graves (February 25, 1876June 3, 1953) was a British journalist and writer.  While working as a foreign correspondent of The Times in Constantinople, he exposed The Protocols of the Elders of Zion as anti-Semitic fraud. Born in Ballylickey Manor, Cork County, Ireland, into a prominent Anglo-Irish family, Graves studied in Haileybury and Oxford University and became a prominent journalist and author. As a correspondent of The Times in Constantinople from 1908 to 1914, he reported on the events preceding World War I.  In 1914, as a British citizen, he had to leave the Ottoman Empire due to the war.  In 1915-1919, he served in the British Army in the Middle East war theatre. Graves exposed the Protocols as a forgery in The Times, August 16-18, 1921.  After the war he exposed The Protocols of the Elders of Zion as anti-Semitic forgery in a series of articles in The Times. After 1919, Graves reported from his own homeland on the Anglo-Irish War.  He worked as a foreign correspondent in India, the Levant and on the Balkans and finally returned to London to work as an editor of The Times. His most monumental work was a 21-volume history of World War II.  Graves received numerous international awards and titles, among which are French Légion d’honneur and Italian Crown order. In his journeys, Philip Graves developed an interest in entomology and published articles in scientific journals.  He was member of the Royal Irish Academy. He retired in 1946 and dedicated himself mainly to zoological hobbies.