Mideast

MARCH 2015-MIDEAST OUTPOST

Outpost
Editor: Rael Jean Isaac
Editorial Board: Ruth King, Rita Kramer

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Mideast

Mixed Deal : William Mehlman

If Benjamin Netanyahu had thrice the 45-60 minutes he’ll be allotted for his March 3rd address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress–assuming that address hasn’t been sabotaged by the time these words appear–he’d be hard pressed to give full scope to the dimensions and potential consequences of the “get-out-of-jail” card the P5+1 (the U.S., Britain, France , Russia and China plus Germany) appears ready to award Ayatollah Khamenei sometime between now and the March 24th deadline for a “framework” agreement to a resolution of the Iranian nuclear weapons threat.
Putting this nine-year global drama in perspective, there’s an outside chance the March 24th run-up to a projected final June agreement with Tehran on the suspension of uranium enrichment will go the way of two previous “deadlines,” established and disestablished, since Iran signed on to a November, 2013 six-month deadline on a resolution of its enrichment activities (illegal under six separate UN Security Council Chapter VII rulings) and a halt to further work on its heavy water Arak plutonium reactor. We are now in the 15th month of that original six-month agreement.

“It will depend on difficult decisions the Iranians will have to make” regarding concessions integral to the conclusion of a deal, a senior Israeli diplomat observed. For the P5+1, he adds, “it may be hard to see the possibility of overcoming an Iranian demand, purely on the basis of a rough-edged ‘framework’ agreement, for the immediate lifting of all the sanctions currently in place.”

Mideast

From the Editor: Rael Jean Isaac

Divesting from America
It was bound to happen. Bursting with moral fervor, eager students hunting down miscreants from Israel to Israel to Israel have found an additional target—the United States of America. The University of California Student Association board, representing all 233,000 students enrolled in the UC’s ten campuses, approved a resolution calling on the university to financially divest from the United States.
The resolution outlines alleged U.S. “human rights violations” from drone strikes to a racist justice system to mistreatment of immigrants to propping up dictatorships.
The students have vowed to take their fight now to the UC Regents, the board governing the University of California.
There is an obvious first step the students could take toward implementing their program—renounce all Pell grants and demand an end to all federal funding for research throughout the university’s campuses. But to no one’s surprise this does not seem to have occurred to the social justice mavens of the Student Association Board. Indeed one can be confident they would howl with rage if any of their government benefits should be touched. Financial divestment from the federal cash cow for themselves or their faculty allies, one can safely say, is the last thing they have in mind.

What the Meaning of “Is” is
The administration is apparently confusing Israel with ISIS. We’ll cut Secretary of State Kerry some slack given that he is what might be termed “intellectually challenged.” But President Obama, who boasts of his academic credentials? That he should barrel down on Israel as if it were our main antagonist? Perhaps it’s because both ISIS and Israel begin with “IS.” Those nefarious letters could also account for Obama appointee Benjamin Wagner, U.S. attorney for California’s Eastern District, revealing in an interview (reported by Lloyd Billingsley) that he was more concerned with Islamophobia than ISIS.

Mideast

Hell on Earth: Mordechai Kedar

Islamic State publicized a horrifying twenty minute video this week, the high point of which was the execution of a Jordanian pilot, Maaz al-Kassasbeh, by burning him alive. The film attempts to justify the punishment by describing Jordan’s part in the war against ISIS, using photos of ISIS dead, including women, children, men and mainly those burned to death.

The entire film is meant to justify the scene that is shown near its end: the burning alive of the Jordanian pilot. The event is carefully staged: the pilot is put in an iron cage so that he has no chance of escaping the fire, and the orange clothes which he wears throughout the film are soaked in gasoline. Even the sand under the cage is full of gasoline and a rivulet of gasoline-soaked sand reaches the spot where a soldier stands carrying a stick to which a gasoline-soaked rag is attached. Another soldier lights the rag, it sets the rivulet on fire, the flames advance towards the cage and set the gasoline under the pilot’s feet ablaze and after the pilot dies in excruciating agony, a bulldozer arrives and covers the cage with rocks.

Mideast

We Can Kill Our Way To Victory: Daniel Greenfield

“We cannot win this war by killing them,” Marie Harf said on MSNBC.
Reversing thousands of years of battlefield experience in which wars were won by “killing them”, the State Department spokeswoman argued that you can’t defeat ISIS by killing its fighters.
“We cannot kill our way out of this war,” she said. “We need in the medium and longer term to go after the root causes that lead people to join these groups, whether it is lack of opportunity for jobs.”

War is one of the few things in life we can reliably kill our way out of. The United States has had a great track record of killing our way out of wars. We killed our way out of WWI. We killed our way out of WWII. The problem began when we stopped trying to kill our way out of wars and started trying to hug our way out of wars instead. Progressive academics added war to economics, terrorism and the climate in the list of subjects they did not understand and wanted to make certain that no one else was allowed to understand. Because the solution to war is so obvious that no progressive could possibly think of it.

Mideast

The Hack’s Guide to Covering Israel: Matti Friedman

This is excerpted from a speech before the Britain Israel Communication & Research Centre in London on January 26.

I have been writing from and about Israel for most of the past 20 years, since I moved there from Toronto at age 17. During the five and a half years I spent as part of the international press corps as a reporter for the American news agency The Associated Press, between 2006 and 2011, I gradually began to be aware of certain malfunctions in the coverage of the Israel story–recurring omissions, recurring inflations, decisions made according to considerations that were not journalistic but political, all in the context of a story staffed and reported more than any other international story on earth. When I worked in the AP’s Jerusalem bureau, the Israel story was covered by more AP news staff than China, or India, or all of the fifty-odd countries of sub-Saharan Africa combined. This is representative of the industry as a whole.

In early 2009, to give one fairly routine example of an editorial decision of the kind I mean, I was instructed by my superiors to report a second-hand story taken from an Israeli newspaper about offensive T-shirts supposedly worn by Israeli soldiers. We had no confirmation of our own of the story’s veracity, and one doesn’t see much coverage of things US Marines or British infantrymen have tattooed on their chests or arms. And yet T-shirts worn by Israeli soldiers were newsworthy in the eyes of one of the world’s most powerful news organizations. This was because we sought to hint or say outright that Israeli soldiers were war criminals, and every detail supporting that portrayal was to be seized upon.

Much of the international press corps covered the T-shirt story. At around the same time, several Israeli soldiers were quoted anonymously in a school newsletter speaking of abuses they had supposedly witnessed while fighting in Gaza; we wrote no fewer than three separate stories about this, although the use of sources whose identity isn’t known to reporters is banned for good reason by the AP’s own in-house rules. This story, too, was very much one that we wanted to tell. By the time the soldiers came forward to say they hadn’t actually witnessed the events they supposedly described, and were trying to make a point to young students about the horrors and moral challenges of warfare, it was, of course, too late.

Mideast

Netanyahu: Steward of Israel’s Destiny: Ruth King

On Feb. 15, 2015 Israel’s Prime Minister said “Jews have been murdered again on European soil only because they were Jews. Of course, Jews deserve protection in every country, but we say to Jews, to our brothers and sisters: Israel is your home.” The next day he repeated: “To the Jews of Europe and to the Jews of the world I say that Israel is waiting for you with open arms.”
The response was less than gracious. The New York Times called it “insensitive and timed for political advantage. “

Foreign leaders were also miffed.

President François Hollande of France told French Jews: “Your place is here, in your home. France is your country.“ And again: “I will not just let what was said in Israel pass, leading people to believe that Jews no longer have a place in Europe and in France, in particular.” That Sunday, hundreds of Jewish tombstones were found vandalized in eastern France.

The Danish prime minister, Helle Thorning-Schmidt said: “The Jewish community is a large and integrated part of Danish society.” Thanks Helle. Your nation is exploding with Muslim immigrants, who get generous benefits from welfare programs, but engage in Islamic violence and demands for Sharia law. Not a peep from you.

Most irritating were the responses of some Jews: Thanks for the option but we like it here was the line of some Swedish, Danish, Belgian, Austrian and French Jews.
Jair Melchior, Denmark’s chief rabbi, said he was “disappointed” by Mr. Netanyahu’s call. For good measure he added:” “If the way we deal with terror is to run somewhere else, we should all run to a deserted island.”

Shlomo Avineri, an Israeli professor of political science who just prior to the Yom Kippur War, in the pages of Commentary, accused Israel of harboring a “Massada complex”, described Mr. Netanyahu’s call as “an intellectual and moral mistake” and accused him of taking a populist stance for electoral purposes.
Have these Jews forgotten so soon what happened when Jews had nowhere to go?

Outpost

Editor: Rael Jean Isaac
Editorial Board: Herbert Zweibon, Ruth King

Outpost is distributed free to
Members of Americans For a Safe Israel
Annual membership: $50.

Americans For a Safe Israel
1751 Second Ave. (at 91st St.)
New York, NY 10128
tel (212) 828-2424 / fax (212) 828-1717
E-mail: afsi @rcn.com web site: http://www.afsi.org

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