* Has British MP George Galloway, who recently compared Israeli doctors to Auschwitz torturer Dr. Josef Mengele, even heard of the 285,000 acutely malnourished children of Somalia?
* Egypt bans Galloway from ever entering the country again, accusing him of inciting the riots that resulted in the death of an Egyptian policeman last week. (Canada banned Galloway last year.)
* “The BBC and especially its World Service had always been a beacon of light, of truth and objectivity to those of us behind the Iron Curtain, in the Evil Empire. Today its slander and bias towards Israel is painfully reminiscent of the old Soviet anti-Zionist propaganda.”
* “In 2006, Hizbullah had around 15,000 rockets, most of them with a range of 20 to 40 kilometers. In 2010, it has around 40,000 missiles, some with ranges of hundreds of kilometers. The next confrontation with Hizbullah will not involve only southern Lebanon and northern Israel, but also areas deep inside both countries. Not since 1948 has the Israeli home front been menaced as it is today.”
To save readers time, I have shortened some of the items below from Iran’s Fars news agency and the Palestinian Ma’an news agency, but included the URLs for those who want to read the full items. Due to other work commitments, there will be no other dispatches this week.
1. A note from Evgeny Kissin
2. On the BBC today, you can hear echoes of “the old soviet anti-Zionist propaganda”
3. An act of courage
4. Egypt: No more aid convoys through Rafah
5. Galloway compares Israel to Nazi doctor Mengele
6. If only the Euro-Left paid some attention to Somalia
7. An interview on South African radio
8. Iran rejects John Kerry’s request to visit
9. Hizbullah upset over Hamas training in Lebanon
10. Iran specifies location for 10 new nuclear sites
11 Iran, Russia set to increase trade, energy cooperation
12. CEO of France’s Peugeot: Auto industry untouched by Western sanctions on Iran
13. Mumbai’s Chabad House threatened with new terrorist attack
14. Escalation of rocket attacks from Gaza on the Negev and Ashkelon
15. Another Palestinian woman dies at the hands of the Palestinian police
16. Palestinians bid to join World Trade Organization (WTO)
17. Iranian soccer official apologizes for sending New Year’s greetings to Israel
18. “Not since 1948 has the Israeli home front been menaced as today”
19. “Why no ‘Viva Somalia?’” (Editorial, Jerusalem Post, Jan. 8, 2010)
20. “Storm clouds on the far horizon” (By Ari Shavit, Ha’aretz, Jan. 7, 2010)
21. “If this isn’t terrorism, what is?” (By Tom Gross, Wall Street Journal, Dec. 1, 2008))
[All notes below by Tom Gross]
A NOTE FROM EVGENY KISSIN
Evgeny Kissin, the world-famous classical pianist, who is a subscriber to this email list, asks me to point out that some news reports have wrongly stated that he is launching a campaign against the BBC. He is not launching a campaign, but what he has done is written an open letter sent to the Director-General of the BBC (so far unanswered) based on my dispatch of December 23, 2009, titled BBC feeding infamous anti-Semitic lies to Iranians -- in Persian.
Kissin, now 38, was already known as a child prodigy in the Soviet Union. He became a British citizen in 2002. His letter is below.
ON THE BBC TODAY, YOU CAN HEAR ECHOES OF “THE OLD SOVIET ANTI-ZIONIST PROPAGANDA”
Open letter to the Director General of the BBC
From: Evgeny Kissin
I first came to live in this country thirteen years ago and became a British subject seven years ago, having grown up in the Soviet Union. I was inspired and proud to belong to the country of Winston Churchill, who famously said “There is no anti-Semitism in England because we do not consider ourselves more stupid than the Jews” Above all, the BBC and especially its World Service had always been a beacon of light, of truth and objectivity to those of us behind the Iron Curtain, in the Evil Empire. Reaching out to far corners of the world, it was the voice of a country which for us was a model of democracy and human rights.
Since a long time now, I receive verified reports on an almost daily basis of the BBC’s slander and bias towards Israel, painfully reminiscent of the old Soviet anti-Zionist propaganda. This culminated with the BBC’s Persian Service’s blood libel concerning Israel’s alleged harvesting of Palestinian organs and blood for future transplant. It beggars belief that the British taxpayer should be funding an organisation which is aligning itself with Iran’s despotic leader in its anti-Semitic propaganda.
Other print media, like the Guardian, which erroneously printed this libel, propagated by Israel’s enemies, have since apologised. I am not aware of any such retraction from the BBC.
Is it not high time for the BBC to return to the values for which it was so much respected before it finds itself in the garbage of history together with Pravda, Tass, Volkischer Beobachter and Der Angriff?
AN ACT OF COURAGE
Tom Gross adds:
The arts world is not exactly friendly toward the Jewish state. Some of the greatest contemporary classical musicians even boycott Israel, despite the fact that Israel is home to many of the world’s foremost musicians. Even though Kissin is at the top of his profession, he may face vilification from some of his colleagues for his courage. Let us hope not.
You can see a photo and the BBC Persian blood libel story if you scroll down here.
EGYPT: NO MORE AID CONVOYS THROUGH RAFAH
Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmad Abu Al-Gheit announced yesterday that the Egyptian authorities will set up a new mechanism for shipping international aid to Gaza, following the violence resulting from last week’s “Viva Palestina” aid convoy for Gaza led by British parliamentarian George Galloway and other European extreme leftists.
All aid for delivery to Gaza will in future need to be handed over to the Egyptian Red Crescent at the Al-Arish terminal, he said. The aid will be processed by the Red Crescent and handed over to the Palestinian Red Crescent in Gaza following an inventory.
The decision came after violence last week at the Rafah border initiated by international activists in coordination with Hamas, in which one Egyptian policeman was shot dead by Hamas.
All but a handful of the 1,300 activists were denied entry into Gaza, and a series of protests in Egypt were quashed. Egyptian law prohibits public gatherings of more than six people. Some 50 “Viva Palestina” “peace activists” broke away from the crowd of hundreds, pelting Egyptian troops with rocks.
Egypt has declared Galloway persona non grata, accusing him of incitement that led to the riots. A Foreign Ministry statement on Friday said Galloway will not be allowed to enter Egypt again. Galloway left Egypt that morning from Cairo airport.
Mosques throughout Egypt took advantage of Friday prayers to criticize Hamas, the London-based Arabic-language newspaper Al-Quds Al-Arabi reported on Saturday. Imams in many of the 140,000 mosques operating under the auspices of Egypt’s Ministry of Awqaf took part in the verbal onslaught on the Palestinian Islamist group, blaming it and not Israel for the blockade imposed on Gaza.
“Its leaders want to stay in power, even at the cost of their own people’s suffering,” the imam of Cairo’s Al-Rahma Mosque said during his sermon.
GALLOWAY COMPARES ISRAEL TO NAZI DOCTOR MENGELE
George Galloway has compared Israel to Nazi doctor Josef Mengele who experimented on Jews – men, women and children – in the Auschwitz death camp without using any anesthetic. (His atrocities included removing the eyeballs from live children, particularly twins.)
In an article published in Scotland’s Daily Record newspaper entitled “Dark Echoes of the Holocaust”, the MP followed up on the recent false claims that Israel had removed organs from Palestinians, saying Israel was just like the Nazis and comparing Israeli doctors to Mengele.
Galloway referred to the concocted articles of Swedish journalist Daniel Bostrom, who wrote in Scandinavia’s most popular newspaper Aftonbladet that Israelis were kidnapping and murdering Palestinian children for their organs. (See past dispatches on this list for more on this.)
IF ONLY THE EURO-LEFT PAID SOME ATTENTION TO SOMALIA
I attach an editorial (“Why no ‘Viva Somalia?’”) by The Jerusalem Post about the spectacle of the Euro-Leftists and their Gaza convoys. “It points out that “there’s a revealing comparison to be made between the ‘siege’ of Gaza and what is happening in Somalia, where the World Food Program this week was forced to abandon one million tormented people because Islamist gunmen have made it impossible for its staff to operate.
“The al-Shabab accuses the WFP of being spies for the infidels and has murdered a number of aid workers. The extremists are enraged that the WFP will not pay protection money. Overall, 3 million Somalis depend on WFP relief, but the plight of 285,000 acutely malnourished children is especially heart-rending.
“Naturally, the WFP also operates in the ‘Occupied Palestinian Territories’ – that is, the area where the Palestinians refuse to create a demilitarized state of their own.
“The WFP – through no fault of its own – is part of a web of international bodies that is enabling, rather than trying to overcome, dependency among Palestinians. For 60-years-plus, UN agencies have gone along with the Arab world’s insistence that their Palestinian brethren remain perpetual refugees.
“Unlike the Somalis, the Palestinians have been fortunate in having Zionists for their enemies. How else could they attract celebrity politicians, like MP George Galloway, and superstar campaigners, like the International Solidarity Movement’s Hedy Epstein, a hunger-striking 85-year-old lady who ‘survived’ the Holocaust in London where she arrived in 1939.”
AN INTERVIEW ON SOUTH AFRICAN RADIO
My Wall Street Journal op-ed last month is still generating considerable interest and has been republished in a number of places. Several radio stations have also asked me for an interview about it and for those interested, here is one interview from last Thursday with one of the leading news shows in South African.
IRAN REJECTS JOHN KERRY’S REQUEST TO VISIT
Below is the text from the Iranian government-controlled Fars news agency. Iran’s pro-democracy activists fear that any visit to the government in Tehran by U.S. Senator John Kerry would likely bestow increased legitimacy on the regime at a time when it is brutally cracking down on pro-democracy demonstrators, students, feminists, trade unionists and others. Kerry, the 2004 American Democratic Party presidential candidate, would have been the highest-ranking American politician to meet with the regime since the 1979 Iranian Islamic revolution. -- Tom Gross
Lawmakers Reject John Kerry’s Request for Visiting Iran
TEHRAN (FNA) - Iranian legislators on Sunday rejected a request filed by Head of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee John Kerry for paying a visit to Iran.
“Members of the Iranian parliament’s Foreign Relations Committee (a subcommittee of the parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission) voiced opposition to the request after studying the issue,” Head of the Committee Hassan Ebrahimi told FNA.
Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehman-Parast last week confirmed reports that John Kerry has filed a request for visiting Tehran.
“Since it (the request) is for a parliamentary visit, the issue has been referred to the parliament. The legislative officials are studying the case and they are in charge for providing a response,” Mehman-Parast said at a weekly press conference here in Tehran on Tuesday.
Earlier, the US daily Wall Street Journal had reported that the Massachusetts Democrat is considering an emissary trip to Iran.
HIZBULLAH UPSET OVER HAMAS TRAINING IN LEBANON
The semi-independent Palestinian Ma’an news agency reports the following:
Hizbullah upset over Hamas training in Lebanon
Published 06/01/2010 18:57
Bethlehem - Hizbullah communicated “deep disappointment” to the Hamas leadership over the discovery that the party was conducting military drills in a residential building in Lebanon without the party’s knowledge, the country’s An-Nahar newspaper reported Wednesday.
Information around the training was uncovered during the course of an investigation into an explosion in Haret Treik that killed two Hamas members last week, the paper said. Lebanese Defense Minister Elias Al-Murr said the blast targeted Hamas Representative in Lebanon Osama Hamdan.
According to the London-based Arabic daily Ash-Sharq al-Awsat, the attack was carried out as Hamas members received live ammunition training in the basement of the building under Hamas control.
The daily said Hizbullah told Hamas it would not intervene, and that Hamas “would have to resolve the problem on its own.”
Ash-Sharq al-Awsat also reported that Hamas decided to close its office in Haret Hreik until the situation was resolved.
IRAN SPECIFIES LOCATION FOR 10 NEW NUCLEAR SITES
Iran’s Fars news agency reports the following:
Iran Specifies Location for 10 New N. Sites
January 9, 2010
TEHRAN (FNA) - A member of the Iranian Parliament announced that the study phase for locating proper sites for 10 new nuclear enrichment plants has been accomplished.
Member of the Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Mohammad Karami-Raad told the Iranian students news agency that the issue of finding locations for the country’s new nuclear sites has been discussed in a meeting between the Head of Iran’s Nuclear Safety Organization and a number of officials from the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI).
He noted that during the said meeting, the Iranian officials also discussed initiating physical measures to protect the sites and strengthen the safety codes.
IRAN, RUSSIA SET TO INCREASE TRADE, ENERGY COOPERATION
Iran’s Fars news agency reports the following:
Iran, Russia Set to Draw Road Map for Energy Cooperation
January 9, 2010
TEHRAN (FNA) - Iran and Russia plan to draw a road map for developing mutual cooperation in energy fields in a joint meeting due to be held in Moscow in the near future.
The meeting of the Iran-Russia joint working group for energy will be held within the framework of an agreement signed by the Iranian Oil Ministry and Russian Energy Ministry at a last month meeting of the two countries’ joint economic commission.
Iran’s Deputy Oil Minister for International and Trade Affairs Hossein Noqre-Kar Shirazi is due to lead a 20-member Iranian delegation to Russia to the same end.
The delegation is scheduled to leave Tehran for Moscow next week.
Russia’s Deputy Energy Minister for Oil and Gas will lead the Russian side in the upcoming meetings with Noqre-Kar and his accompanying group.
The volume of Iran and Russia’s trade exchanges is estimated at $3.7 billion and the two countries are resolved to significantly increase their exchanges.
CEO OF FRANCE’S PEUGEOT: AUTO INDUSTRY UNTOUCHED BY WESTERN SANCTIONS ON IRAN
Iran’s Fars news agency reports the following:
Peugeot CEO: Auto Industry Untouched by Western Sanctions on Iran
January 3, 2010
TEHRAN (FNA) - Chief executive of France’s giant carmaker, Peugeot, said that the sanctions imposed by the West on the Islamic Republic have had no negative impact on the relations of the western auto industry with Iran.
“Challenges brought up in media are not related to the auto industry,” Peugeot CEO and Manager of Peugeot and Citroen Brands Jean-Marc Gales said in response to a question about his company’s solution to challenges imposed on Iran’s largest car-manufacturing company, Iran-Khodro (IKCO), as a result of international sanctions.
… Commenting upon Peugeot’s short and long-term strategy for cooperation with the IKCO, the Peugeot CEO noted, “Peugeot’s strategy is based on dynamism, profitability and growth of market share, specially outside Western Europe. In this regard, Peugeot and IKCO 20-year prosperous cooperation plays a significant role.”
MUMBAI’S CHABAD HOUSE THREATENED WITH NEW TERRORIST ATTACK
The Jewish Chabad House in the Indian city of Mumbai, which was one of several sites targeted by Islamic terrorists in November 2008, has received anonymous threats in recent days warning of another attack.
Most of the terrorists in 2008 were from Pakistan but one of the masterminds was an American-born son of a Pakistani immigrant. Six people inside Chabad House, including its director Rabbi Gavriel Noach Holtzberg and his wife, Rivka, were murdered.
At the end of this dispatch I include my article for The Wall Street Journal about the attacks (“If this isn’t terrorism, what is?”), which still has relevance today for those interested in how the Western media misreports terrorism.
ESCALATION OF ROCKET ATTACKS FROM GAZA ON THE NEGEV AND ASHKELON
There has been an increase in rocket and mortar attacks from Gaza into Israel in recent days.
Since Thursday, 10 mortar shells and at least five rockets, including a Katyusha, have been fired into Israel, the highest number in such a short period since Israel’s Operation Cast Lead ended a year ago.
On Thursday night, for the first time since Cast Lead, a Katyusha rocket landed on the outskirts of Ashkelon, one of Israel’s biggest cities. No injuries or damage were reported.
In response to the attack on Ashkelon, the Israeli airforce bombed an arms-smuggling tunnel along the Gaza-Egypt border.
The Kassam attacks on Saturday followed a Hamas announcement on Friday that it had managed to smuggle new types of weapons into Gaza despite the blockade.
The Izzadin al-Kassam Brigades published photographs of weapons, including missiles with a double warhead, 107mm caliber missiles designed to penetrate fortified structures, and a new type of armor-piercing RPG missile.
Hamas spokesman Abu Ubeida said that the group has “thousands of good weapons capable of harming Israel.”
ANOTHER PALESTINIAN WOMAN DIES AT THE HANDS OF THE PALESTINIAN POLICE
The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) has issued the following press release (below). (Press releases of this kind are regularly issued, but the Western media almost never reports Palestinian-upon-Palestinian killings and torture. I occasionally carry them in these dispatches. The PCHR demands for an investigation to be carried out have almost no chance of taking place under the Hamas regime in Gaza.)
-- Tom Gross
PCHR Demands Investigation into the Circumstances of the Death of Nazira al-Sweirki
The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) expresses its grave concern regarding the circumstances of the death of Nazira Jaddou’a al-Sweirki, 56, from al-Tufah neighborhood in Gaza City, who died in the custody of the Palestinian police in Gaza. PCHR demands that the competent authorities immediately open an investigation into the circumstances of al-Sweirki’s death. The Centre also calls for the results of this investigation to be made public, and for the perpetrators to be prosecuted and brought to justice.
According to investigations conducted by PCHR, four vehicles belonging to the Palestinian police arrived at al-Sweirki’s home at approximately 20:00 on Friday, 1 January 2010. The policemen demanded to see the victim’s son, Mohammed al-Sweirki, 22, who was in his shop on the ground floor of the building to blow out candles that had been lit on the balcony, apparently to celebrate the anniversary of Fatah movement. Fatah supporters light candles to celebrate the anniversary of the movement because the security services in Gaza prevent them from organizing celebrations on this occasion. A dispute arose between the policemen and the victim’s sons Sami, 40, Amer, 27, and Mohammed, 22; the policemen beat the three civilians and arrested Mohammed and Amer. In his testimony to PCHR, Sami al-Sweirki stated: “When she saw my two brothers in the jeep, my mother – who was in the shop – tried to pull them out of the jeep. My mother suffered from a heart disease and from high blood pressure and diabetes. One of the policemen hit her on the back and another policeman pulled her into the jeep. Then they drove away at a very high speed.”
Amer al-Sweirki testified: “My mother began to suffocate and told my brother and me to take her to hospital. The policemen did not respond to her appeals and continued to drive to al-Tufah Police Station. She began to lose consciousness. Then the policemen took her to al-Shifa Hospital in the jeep. Her condition continued to deteriorate until she died before arriving at the hospital.”
PCHR notes that this incident represents part of a larger-scale campaign implemented by the security services of the government in Gaza over the past few days. This campaign aimed at preventing Fatah supporters from celebrating Fatah’s 45th anniversary on 1 January 2010 and included the delivery of summons to hundreds of activists and supporters of Fatah across the Gaza Strip.
In view of the above incident, PCHR:
1. Calls upon the competent authorities to open an immediate investigation into the circumstances of al-Sweirki’s death, to announce the results of the investigation to the public, and to hold the perpetrators accountable.
2. Calls upon the competent authorities to ensure the issuance of strict instructions to law enforcement officers who must adhere to the law in all of their actions.
3. Affirms the right of civilians to freedom of opinion, freedom of expression, and peaceful assembly, all of which are granted in the Palestinian Basic Law as well as in relevant international instruments. PCHR also stresses that suppression of celebrations represents part of a policy of political repression and is a flagrant attack on public freedoms.
For more information please call PCHR office in Gaza, Gaza Strip, on +972 8 2824776 - 2825893
PCHR, 29 Omer El Mukhtar St., El Remal, PO Box 1328 Gaza, Gaza Strip.
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, Webpage www.pchrgaza.org
PALESTINIANS BID TO JOIN WORLD TRADE ORGANIZATION (WTO)
The Palestinian Authority is forming a “national team” to help lobby to gain membership of the World Trade Organization (WTO). Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said the team would lead efforts to reform Palestinian economic institutions as part of the campaign to gain permanent observer status and eventually membership to the WTO. Fayyad, an American-trained economist, is trying to implement a two year plan to create governing institutions capable of managing an independent Palestinian state.
IRANIAN SOCCER OFFICIAL APOLOGIZES FOR SENDING NEW YEAR’S GREETINGS TO ISRAEL
The head of Iran’s soccer federation has been forced to issue a public apology and a member of his staff has been forced to resign after the federation mistakenly sent a New Year’s greeting to its counterpart in Israel.
“It was a big mistake sending an e-mail to the Zionist entity’s football federation,” Ali Kaffashian, president of the Iran Football Federation, said in a statement. “However, I am sure the director of the foreign relations office did not do it on purpose.”
Kaffashian said Iran’s soccer association routinely sent greeting cards to all members of the world football federation, FIFA, except for Israel. Iran has refused to meet with Israel in international sports competitions.
“NOT SINCE 1948 HAS THE ISRAELI HOME FRONT BEEN MENACED AS TODAY”
I attach three articles below, two of which I referred to above. In the other, Ari Shavit, a leading commentator for Ha’aretz, writes of the dangers Israel faces in 2010 concerning:
(1) Iran, which two years ago had only a few active centrifuges for enriching uranium and now has 8,000 centrifuges, 4,000 of which are operating at full capacity and without problems.
(2) Missiles: In 2006, Hizbullah had around 15,000 rockets, most of them with a range of 20 to 40 kilometers. In 2010, the Shi’ite militia has around 40,000 missiles, some with ranges of hundreds of kilometers. The next confrontation with Hizbullah will not involve only southern Lebanon and northern Israel, but also areas deep inside both countries. Not since 1948 has the Israeli home front been menaced as it is today.
(3) Legitimacy: Both in 2006 and in late 2008, the international community displayed far-reaching patience for Israeli use of force. In 2009, [without President Bush to lobby for Israel] this changed radically. The belated response to Operation Cast Lead showed that the world is sick of Israel, for whom it now has zero tolerance for any use of force. As a result, even in areas where Israel enjoys military superiority, it’s not clear to what extent it will be able to use it.
[All notes above by Tom Gross]
THE 285,000 ACUTELY MALNOURISHED CHILDREN OF SOMALIA
Why no ‘Viva Somalia?’
The Jerusalem Post
January 8, 2010
What could be worse than being forgotten in the rubble of war? As The New York Times reported this week, Gazans feel forsaken. The constant flow of humanitarian aid is staving off hunger and disease, but a pall of listlessness besets the Strip.
It is so dreary that B’Tselem, an Israeli-staffed organization that’s funded mostly by European governments and American foundations, has distributed video cameras to 18 young people just to get them out and about.
They make really cool videos about all sorts of subjects – such as smuggling laundry detergent through tunnels between Gaza and Sinai; resisting the “occupation” by singing hip hop music; there’s also one about a girls’ soccer team.
The videos have found their way onto Ynet, a popular Hebrew news Web site.
THERE’S a revealing comparison to be made between the “siege” of Gaza and what is happening in Somalia, where the World Food Program this week was forced to abandon one million tormented people because Islamist gunmen have made it impossible for its staff to operate.
The al-Shabab accuses the WFP of being spies for the infidels and has murdered a number of aid workers. The extremists are enraged that the WFP will not pay protection money. Overall, 3 million Somalis depend on WFP relief, but the plight of 285,000 acutely malnourished children is especially heart-rending.
Naturally, the WFP also operates in the “Occupied Palestinian Territories” – that is, the area where the Palestinians refuse to create a demilitarized state of their own.
The WFP – through no fault of its own – is part of a web of international bodies that is enabling, rather than trying to overcome, dependency among Palestinians. For 60-years-plus, UN agencies have gone along with the Arab world’s insistence that their Palestinian brethren remain perpetual refugees.
UNLIKE THE Somalis, the Palestinians have been fortunate in having Zionists for their enemies. How else could they attract celebrity politicians, like MP George Galloway, and superstar campaigners, like the International Solidarity Movement’s Hedy Epstein, a hunger-striking 85-year-old lady who “survived” the Holocaust in London where she arrived in 1939 on the kindertransport.
Galloway’s “Viva Palestina” procession left London on December 6 and arrived in El-Arish this week. He quickly picked a fight with the Egyptians over how many vehicles could enter Gaza from Sinai. Cops and activists threw sand at each other and fought with sticks.
The “Viva Palestina” spectacle was coordinated with Hamas, which needed a pretext to orchestrate an “intifada” against the anti-smuggling barrier Cairo has belatedly begun installing under the Philadelphi Corridor.
On the Gaza side of the border, Palestinians shot dead an Egyptian guard, as other guards opened fire on Palestinian rioters, critically wounding five.
Late Wednesday, Egypt allowed Galloway and 55 fellow travelers into Gaza, “bandaged, bleeding and bruised… because they tried to bring medicine to … people under siege in Gaza,” said the intrepid British parliamentarian.
Too bad that Galloway and Epstein, along with the play-by-play Al-Jazeera coverage they engender, didn’t drive their convoy of 150 truck and 500 international activists – self-satisfied Europeans, mostly, but also 17 Turkish legislators – straight to Somalia to face down the al-Shabab.
THE DIFFERENCE between Somalia and Gaza is that the people of Somalia are not only forgotten in the rubble, their desperation is… simply not interesting.
They are people without options.
Those responsible for their plight are Islamists, not Zionists or Westerners – though, for the Euro-Left, it’s all America’s fault somehow.
In stark contrast, the people of Gaza do have options that would end their misery.
They could stop supporting Hamas, which has mobilized their polity against coexistence with Israel; they could make peace among themselves and allow the comparatively moderate West Bank Palestinian leadership – which is recognized by the international community – back into the Strip. They could free IDF soldier Gilad Schalit whom they kidnapped in 2006. They could stop launching mortars against Israel’s civilian population, as they repeatedly did this week. They could choose a two-state solution and accept that Jews also have a right to a homeland. They could end the “siege.”
They could build instead of reveling in the rubble and in their victimization.
DANGERS AHEAD FOR ISRAEL
Storm clouds on the far horizon
By Ari Shavit
January 7, 2010
Investors on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange have made a strategic decision: Things are going to be just fine. The same goes for buyers of luxury apartments in upscale towers. When share indexes soar 33 percent in half a year, when one square meter on Rothschild Boulevard costs $20,000, when you can’t get a table at a posh restaurant on New Year’s Eve, it’s clear what kind of mood we’re in. Unlike early 2009, it’s an optimistic mood. Everything’s going to be just fine, just great.
The exhilaration springs from relief. Against all the gloomy forecasts, a global economic holocaust never happened. In Israel at the moment, neither an economic nor a diplomatic apocalypse is discernible. The calm on the security front plays its part, too. In the past 11 months, only one Israeli has been killed inside the Green Line in a terror attack. Both the northern and southern borders are quiet. There’s no war in the offing. The economy is flourishing, even under Benjamin Netanyahu’s unwieldy government.
But if you can take your gaze away from the partying, with the help of a telescope, you’ll see a distant bank of clouds. Yes, Pakistan is far away, but it’s relevant. Afghanistan is remote, but what happens there has local repercussions, and Afghanistan is in deep trouble. Iraq is nearing the moment of truth when the American forces leave. In Yemen, Al-Qaida is making itself felt. Much closer to home, in Egypt, the end of the Mubarak era is nearing, and there’s always Hizbullah. Even Turkey is playing with fire. If all this isn’t enough, for the last three years, out of sight, Israel’s national security has undergone attrition in three different spheres.
Iran: In 2007, Iran had only a few active centrifuges for enriching uranium. In 2008, the number increased, but their efficacy was still limited. Early in 2010, Iran has 8,000 centrifuges, of which 4,000 are operating well. This does not mean that the end is nigh, but it does mean that Israel has failed to keep Iran from the nuclear-weapons threshold. With 1,800 kilograms of enriched uranium already stockpiled in underground bunkers, Iran has the capability of putting an atomic bomb together within one year.
Missiles: In 2006, Hizbullah had around 15,000 rockets, most of them with a range of 20 to 40 kilometers. In 2010, the Shi’ite militia has around 40,000 missiles, some with ranges of hundreds of kilometers. The next confrontation with Hassan Nasrallah will not involve only southern Lebanon and northern Israel, but also areas deep inside both countries. The longer-range, greater firepower and accuracy of Hizbullah’s arsenal have fundamentally changed the strategic situation. And when Hamas’ rockets and Syrian and Iranian missiles are factored in, a worrying picture emerges. Not since 1948 has the Israeli home front been menaced as today.
Legitimacy: Both in 2006 and in late 2008, the international community displayed far-reaching patience for Israeli use of force. In 2009, this changed radically. The belated response to Operation Cast Lead showed that the world is sick of Israel, for whom it now has zero tolerance for any use of force. As a result, even in areas where Israel enjoys military superiority, it’s not clear to what extent it will be able to use it. The assault on Israel’s right to defend itself has damaged its deterrence, security and stability.
The implications are clear: Israel must prepare seriously for the possibility that another round of fighting will be forced on it, while it must do everything it can to avoid a flare-up. Seen from this angle, the bid to get talks going with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is positive.
But this won’t be enough. Experience has shown that it is very doubtful a clear-cut outcome can be reached with Abbas. This highlights the need to relaunch talks with Syria. An end to the conflict between Jerusalem and Damascus is the sole diplomatic move that could provide a bulwark against the negative regional trends encircling Israel. Only an Israeli-Syrian peace treaty can spur an immediate, positive strategic turn in the Middle East.
It’s hard to say if this is feasible. Bashar Assad leads a double life. In the daytime he faces west, but at night he plays forbidden games with the East. With one eye he puts out peace signals, with the other he winks at the terrorists. No intelligence agency can predict which way he’ll go in the end, when he has to choose. But when the horizon is as cloudy as it is, Israel has no choice but to make an effort.
NO, THEY WEREN’T “PRACTITIONERS”
If this isn’t terrorism, what is?
By Tom Gross
The Wall Street Journal
December 1, 2008
Last week, in Mumbai, India, we witnessed as clear a case of carefully planned mass terrorism as we are ever likely to see.
The seven-venue atrocity was coordinated in a highly sophisticated way. The terrorists used BlackBerrys to stay in touch with each other during their three-and-half-day rampage, outwitting the authorities by monitoring international reaction to the attacks on British, Urdu and Arabic websites. They followed news updates and live TV streams, using them to their advantage so as to maximize causalities.
It was a meticulously organized operation aimed exclusively at civilian targets: two hospitals, a train station, two hotels, a leading tourist restaurant, and a Jewish center.
There was nothing remotely random about it. This was no hostage standoff. The terrorists didn’t want to negotiate. They wanted to murder as many Hindus, Christians, Jews, atheists and other “infidels” as they could, and in as spectacular a manner as possible. In the Jewish center, some of the female victims even appear to have been tortured before being killed.
TERRORISTS OR DOCTORS?
So why are so many prominent Western media reluctant to call the perpetrators terrorists? Why did Jon Snow, one of Britain’s most respected TV journalists, use the word “practitioners” when referring to the Mumbai terrorists? Was he perhaps confusing them with doctors? Why did Reuters describe the motivation of the terrorists, which it preferred to call “gunmen,” as “unknown”? Were we meant to suppose that it might have been just anything – that to paraphrase Mark Steyn, they were perhaps disgruntled former employees of Lehman Bros embarking on an exciting midlife career change?
Again, why did Britain’s highly regarded Channel 4 News state that the “militants” showed a “wanton disregard for race or creed” when exactly the opposite was true: Targets and victims were very carefully selected.
Why did the “experts” invited to discuss the Mumbai attacks in one show on the state-funded Radio France Internationale, the voice of France around the world, harp on about Baruch Goldstein (who carried out the Hebron shootings in 1994), virtually the sole case of a Jewish terrorist in living memory?
Unfortunately in recent years we have become used to leftist media burying their heads in the sand about the threat that Islamic fundamentalism poses, in much the same way as they once refused to report accurately on Communist atrocities. But what are we to think when even such a renowned publication as The Times of London feels the need to refer to terrorists as “militants”, rather than calling them by their right name? “Militant”, after all, can be a neutral term in many contexts, and a favorable one in others. What is the motivation of journalists in trying to mangle language? Do they somehow wish to express sympathy for these murderers, or perhaps make their crimes seem almost acceptable? How are we going to effectively confront terrorists when we can’t even identify them as such?
BLAME IT ON THE ZIONISTS
But then the terrorists in Mumbai didn’t need to make any public announcements. They knew that many deluded Western journalists and academics will do that job for them, explaining that the West is to blame, especially the Zionists.
We have started seeing this already on the BBC – the world’s largest TV and radio network, which broadcasts in dozens of different languages around the world, and is lavishly funded by the British taxpayer.
You would be hard pressed to find any talk of radical Islam on the BBC in recent days, or mention of the fact that Islamists think India should be a Muslim country. Instead the BBC continues to try to persuade its massive global audience that “it is a local Indian problem,” that “the subcontinent has a history of unrest,” and so on.
Even the Pakistani angle has been presented as some kind of local Pakistan-India dispute rather than as a problem with radical Islam – this despite the fact that according to numerous reports the Mumbai terrorists themselves were screaming “Allah Akbar” (Allah is the Greatest) as they murdered “the Jews and the infidels” in line with Bin Ladenist ideology.
For some time, many have argued that an element of anti-Semitism has distorted the way the BBC covers the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But now, following the Mumbai events, we can perhaps see that anti-Semitism may even be at work in the way BBC covers foreign news in general.
For most of the Mumbai siege, the BBC went out of its way to avoid reporting that the Jewish community center was one of the seven targets. At one point viewers were told that “an office building” had been targeted (referring to the Jewish center as such).
Then on Friday morning, TV pictures of Indian commandos storming the besieged Jewish center were broadcast by networks around the world. Heavily armed commandos, their faces covered by balaclavas, rappelled from helicopters onto the roof while Indian sharpshooters in buildings opposite opened fire as a helicopter circled overhead. Huge crowds of onlookers could be seen looking aghast as they watched from nearby streets. While Sky News and other channels were gripped by these dramatic pictures, BBC World was not, almost pretending there was no siege at the Jewish center – even though by then it was one of only two sites that remained under attack in Mumbai. Had the terrorists chosen to besiege a church or mosque instead can you imagine the BBC ignoring it this way?
“AN ACCIDENTAL HOSTAGE SCENE”?
Meanwhile – perhaps even more disgracefully – a New York Times report on the last day of the siege stated: “It is not known if the Jewish center was strategically chosen, or if it was an accidental hostage scene.”
Has The New York Times learned anything since the Holocaust when, even after the war ended in the spring of 1945, the paper infamously refused to report that the Hungarians, Czechs, Slovaks, Germans and so on killed in the camps had been Jews, and killed as Jews?
Dozens of eyewitness accounts by local Indians said the gunmen shouted “Allah Akbar” from the Jewish center. It is housed in a non-descript block and is not obviously marked from the outside as a Jewish center. It is the one Jewish building in a densely crowded city of millions. And the Times, the self-proclaimed paper of record, wants to let readers think it might have been an accidental target?
Even the Times’s British equivalent, The Guardian, began its news story: “The inclusion of the headquarters of an ultra-orthodox Jewish group was obviously intended to send its own message.”
Does The New York Times think that the seeking out and murder by Muslim terrorists of the only New York rabbi in Mumbai and his wife was “an accidental target”?
Indeed, there was nothing accidental about any of the seven sites that the terrorists attacked. And it was no accident that Mumbai was hit. It is the most multi-religious city in India – with Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Parsees and Jews living in relative harmony.