Hamas gunmen ride a motorcycle as they drag the body of a man, who was suspected of working for Israel, in Gaza City last week
* Leading Australian cartoonist criticized for substituting Nazis for Israelis
* “One media outlet that gets off far too lightly for its outrageous and irrational hostility against the State of Israel is the Financial Times”
* Veteran FT columnist Philip Stephens draws parallel between Benjamin Netanyahu and Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei
* It was a sight that shocked the world – the corpse of Ribhi Badawi being dragged through the streets of Gaza City by a motorcycle as Hamas gunmen fired into the air. But he was no collaborator with Israel
* He was tortured for seven months into confessing that he was working for Israel. “They burned him and broke his jaw and teeth,” said his widow. “He was hanged for 45 days by his arms and legs to make him confess. He confessed because of the torture.” (Meanwhile the Financial Times and others are calling Hamas a legitimate government)
* “A recent picture taken in Gaza reveals more than all the sanctimonious speeches calling on Israel to be ‘humane’ or ‘proportional’. The Islamist prime ministers of Tunisia and Gaza, both wearing suits and ties, dipped their hands in the blood of a ‘martyr,’ and then went to a press conference where they displayed their bloodied hands.”
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1. New shipment of Iranian rockets reportedly already en route to Gaza
2. Jordan Times: “Hamas arsenal hit, but rocket know-how intact”
3. New complement to Iron Dome in Israel’s Defense Shield succeeds in test
4. Arafat’s body to be exhumed today
5. Anti-Semitic cartoon in leading Australian paper criticized
6. Amnesty International official reprimanded after tweeting anti-Semitic joke
7. The Financial Times’ five lessons from the Gaza conflict
8. “Hamas victim was no collaborator, widow says” (By Matthew Kalman, NY Daily News, Nov. 26, 2012)
9. “British Colonel Kemp: Hamas leaders ‘running for their lives’” (Arutz Sheva, Nov. 25, 2012)
10. “Ehud Barak quits politics, but leaves door open for comeback” (Israel Hayom, Nov. 26, 2012)
11. “If you thought the Guardian was bad on Israel, check out the FT” (The Commentator, Nov. 25, 2012)
12. “Blood and Tribalism” (By Michael Widlanski, American Thinker, Nov. 21, 2012)
I attach several notes, followed by some articles. Most relate to last week’s clashes between Hamas and Israel.
[Notes below by Tom Gross]
NEW SHIPMENT OF IRANIAN ROCKETS REPORTEDLY ALREADY EN ROUTE TO GAZA
The (London) Sunday Times reports that a fresh cargo of rockets and other weapons has left the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas, and is most probably destined for Gaza. They included Fajr-5 rockets with a range of up to 75 kilometers that will initially be shipped to Sudan, and then smuggled by land to Gaza, according to intelligence reports.
According to the report, the cargo may also include Shahab-3 ballistic missiles, which could be stationed in Sudan and used as a direct threat to Israel from there.
Last month Sudan blamed Israel for an apparent air strike on the armouk Complex, a Sudanese military factory said to be run by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards. Israeli officials have neither confirmed nor denied involvement in the attack.
For more on that, see the note in this dispatch: Trying to save his other arm (& Iranian revolutionary guards in Sudan)
JORDAN TIMES: “HAMAS ARSENAL HIT, BUT ROCKET KNOW-HOW INTACT”
The Jordan Times reported yesterday that “although the Islamists’ firepower was hit hard during its eight-day confrontation with Israel, Hamas has valuable technical knowledge at its fingertips which could be used to rebuild its arsenal.”
In the first day of the conflict, Israeli officials said the Israeli air force had destroyed the lion’s share of Hamas’ arsenal of rockets with a range longer than 40 kilometers.
But Hamas and Islamic Jihad still managed to fire at least half a dozen rockets at metropolitan Tel Aviv, one of which hit a block of flats in Rishon Letzion, and at least two at Jerusalem, which struck suburbs south of the city in the West Bank.
The strikes marked the longest distances yet reached by rockets fired at Israeli civilians by terrorists in Gaza.
During the operation, the Israeli military said it struck more than 1,500 targets, including 19 terrorist hideouts, 26 weapons manufacturing and storage facilities and hundreds of underground rocket launchers.
But the Jordan Times reports that Hamas and Islamic Jihad have not only received Iranian rockets but have succeeded in manufacturing their own home-grown 200mm diameter rockets (whose range is close to 80 kilometers) using Iranian know-how.
During the 8-day confrontation, Hamas’ armed wing, the Izzeddine Al Qassam Brigades, said they had fired 1,573 rockets at central and southern Israel (although they didn’t use the word “Israel”).
NEW COMPLEMENT TO IRON DOME IN ISRAEL’S DEFENSE SHIELD SUCCEEDS IN TEST
The newest component of Israel’s anti-missile missile system that includes the Iron Dome, which is said to have performed remarkably well in intercepting Hamas and Islamic Jihad missiles targeting Israeli cities last week, has succeeded in its latest test.
The new intercept, called David’s Sling, aims to intercept medium range missiles in the same way Iron Dome demonstrated its ability to identify and destroy incoming rockets fired from short range.
The existing Arrow system will handle the long-range ballistic threats. When the full system is deployed in 2015, Israel will have the world’s best defensive shield, according to experts.
Last week, Iron Dome impressed armies and governments across the world with an incredible success rate of more than 80% in stopping missiles aimed at major Israeli population centers.
ARAFAT’S BODY TO BE EXHUMED TODAY
The body of Yasser Arafat, “the father of airline terrorism” and founder of the PLO, will be exhumed today as part of the investigation into his death in 2004. Conspiracy theorists believe he was murdered, either by members of his own Palestinian inner circle or by Israel.
Earlier this year, as part of a documentary it was making, Al-Jazeera TV borrowed personal items from Arafat’s widow and had them analyzed by a laboratory and then claimed they had discovered minute amounts of polonium-204, suggesting he was murdered.
Following completion of the samples taken today, Arafat will be re-interred in a military ceremony in Ramallah.
For more on Arafat, please see: Yasser Arafat, ‘the stuff of legends’: A warning for the future.
ANTI-SEMITIC CARTOON IN LEADING AUSTRALIAN PAPER CRITICIZED
A cartoonist for The Age, one of Australia’s leading papers, has been criticized for drawing on Holocaust parallels in a cartoon concerning Gaza last week.
“In his ugly, simplistic cartoon in The Age, Michael Leunig has once again crossed the line and used anti-Semitic words and themes,” a leader of Australia’s Jewish community said.
The offensive cartoon played on the words “First they came for the Jews…” the famous statement attributed to German pastor Martin Niemoller about the apathy of German intellectuals following the Nazi rise to power and their gradual elimination of certain minority groups.
In Leunig’s cartoon, he substitutes Nazis for Israelis.
Steve Bell’s conspiratorial cartoon last week in the British paper The Guardian, depicting a horrific looking Benjamin Netanyahu with Tony Blair and David Cameron as hand puppets, also caused controversy.
AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL OFFICIAL REPRIMANDED AFTER TWEETING ANTI-SEMITIC JOKE
A senior official at the British branch of the human rights organization Amnesty International has been reprimanded for singling out Jewish members of the British parliament and making an anti-Semitic joke about them.
Kristyan Benedict, campaigns manager for Amnesty’s London branch, tweeted last week as the violence in Israel and Gaza raged: “Louise Ellman, Robert Halfon and Luciana Berger walk into a bar... each orders a round of B52s,”
Ellman, Halfon and Berger are all Jewish members of Britain’s Parliament. (All three are also among dozens of British members of the House of Commons and House of Lords who subscribe to this email list.)
Amnesty’s campaigns director Tim Hancock criticized Benedict and said he didn’t believe humor was the best approach when people were being killed and injured in Israel and Gaza.
Last year during an official Amnesty event, Benedict threatened to “smack” a pro-Israel writer, Richard Millett, on his “little bald head”.
Amnesty UK has long been criticized for organizing a slew of events that go well beyond criticism of Israel, and for calling into question whether the country should exist at all.
THE FINANCIAL TIMES’ FIVE LESSONS FROM THE GAZA CONFLICT
Financial Times (Nov. 22, 2012)
1. Israel has learnt to end a war
2. Hamas is a legitimate regional player
3. Morsi has passed his first test
4. Mahmoud Abbas is a spent force
5. Missile defense saves lives in Israel (and Gaza too)
(Tom Gross: I would disagree with the first three of these.)
I attach five articles below.
The first concerns Hamas’ public executions of people it accused of collaborating with Israel.
Last week, Hamas again horrified residents of Gaza City when it publicly executed many Palestinians. In one instance, a van pulled into an intersection and four masked men forced six prisoners to lay face-down on the pavement. All six were shot to death as bystanders looked-on. One of the bodies was then tied to a motorcycle and dragged through the city surrounded by additional motorcycles with drivers yelling, “Spy.” Other bodies were placed in trash bins. Hamas has proudly acknowledged responsibility for all of the deaths.
-- Tom Gross
“THEY BURNED HIM AND BROKE HIS JAW AND TEETH. HE WAS HANGED FOR 45 DAYS BY HIS ARMS AND LEGS TO MAKE HIM CONFESS”
Hamas victim dragged through the streets of Gaza City Tuesday by motorcycle was no collaborator, widow says
By Matthew Kalman
New York Daily News
November 26, 2012
It was a sight that shocked the world — the corpse of Ribhi Badawi being dragged through the streets of Gaza City Tuesday by a motorcycle as Hamas gunmen fired into the air.
His crime? Collaborating with Israel to pinpoint Hamas targets.
But the charge wasn’t true, the militant’s grieving widow told The News.
Actually, Badawi, 37, had spent the last four years in a Hamas prison under armed guard.
He was tortured for seven months into confessing that he was working for Israel.
“They burned (him) and broke his jaw and teeth,” said his widow, Kholoud Badawi. “He was hanged for 45 days by his arms and legs to make him confess. He confessed because of the torture.
“He told me every detail of what had happened to him and he gave me a diary he was writing,” she added.
Ribhi Badawi was no innocent, having belonged to the Jaljalat Brigades, an Islamic group that wanted the Palestinians ruled by strict religious law.
But he was sentenced to death in a show trial. His family appealed and asked that the sentence be reduced to 10 years in prison, and the court was due to rule the day he was executed.
“We hoped they would accept our appeal because they had no evidence — just his supposed confession,” she said.
As Kholoud and her five young children accepted the condolences of neighbors and friends in their tiny home in the poverty-stricken Sheikh Radwan neighborhood of Gaza City, friends and neighbors said Badawi was a kind, helpful man who made a living as a herbalist.
They said he once broke down a wall to save an elderly, disabled neighbor whose house was hit in an Israeli airstrike.
Badawi’s father, Ahmed, said his son hated the Israelis more than Hamas.
“My son could never have been an informer,” he said. “They say he got money from the Israelis. Look at his house. This is the house of a poor man. He helped everyone. Everybody liked him. I bless him.”
Hamas officials declined to comment. They referred reporters to comments last week by a Hamas leader who said such executions must not happen again.
“THAT OUT OF 177 GAZANS KILLED DURING THE OPERATION, SOME 120 WERE TERRORISTS, SHOWS AN AMAZING DEGREE OF ACCURACY BY THE IDF”
(Colonel Richard Kemp, a former commander of the UK forces in Afghanistan, is a long-time subscriber to this email list.)
British Colonel Kemp: Hamas Leaders ‘Running for Their Lives’
By Elad Benari & Yoni Kempinski
November 25, 2012
Israel achieved the goals it set for itself in Gaza and has caused heavy damage to Hamas, says Colonel Richard Kemp.
Colonel Kemp travelled to Israel on the outbreak of Operation Pillar of Defense in Gaza, in order to gain a firsthand insight into the conflict and be able to provide an objective analysis of the fighting between the IDF and Gaza terrorist groups.
While in Israel he held talks with high level IDF and government officials, visited IDF units and spent much time in the Gaza border area as well as in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.
In 2009, Kemp gave evidence to the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, refuting Judge Richard Goldstone’s allegations concerning war crimes supposedly conducted by the IDF during Operation Cast Lead. For this evidence Kemp drew on his independent assessment of the Gaza conflict, his 30 years’ counter-terrorism experience and his knowledge of the Israeli defense and intelligence organizations gained during his military service and while working in the UK Prime Minister’s Office.
“I think it’s a tragedy that [Operation Pillar of Defense] had to happen,” Kemp said, “but after 1,000 missiles being fired from Gaza into the Israeli civilian population over the last year and a build-up of 120 in a short period of time, I don’t think the Israel Defense Forces had any other choice other than to mount the operation.”
Kemp said he was impressed with the accuracy of Israeli intelligence in targeting senior Hamas terrorists during the operation, and noted that out of 177 Gazans killed during the operation, some 120 were terrorists.
“Every civilian casualty is a great tragedy, but unfortunately when you’re fighting an enemy like Hamas which uses the civilian population to shield itself, this is an unfortunate outcome and the only other choice is to allow them to carry on hammering the rockets into Israel,” he said.
Kemp, a former commander of the UK forces in Afghanistan, said the targeted killings of Hamas terrorists were important, explaining that similar actions by the U.S. and the UK against Al-Qaeda terrorists have significantly damaged its abilities to hit Western targets.
“I think that the targeted killing of Hamas’s leadership has done untold damage to Hamas,” he said. “Hamas talks big now, it’s talking victory, but actually it’s been very severely damaged: both their leadership and also their munitions.”
Kemp added, “I believe that Israel has accomplished the mission it set out to achieve. I know there’s a lot of dissatisfaction that Hamas has not been dealt an absolutely fatal blow but I don’t think that was ever Prime Minister Netanyahu’s objective. He could have gone on to obliterate Hamas but that would’ve taken a lengthy and extremely costly ground campaign.”
EHUD BARAK QUITS POLITICS, BUT LEAVES DOOR OPEN FOR COMEBACK
Ehud Barak quits politics, but leaves door open for comeback
November 26, 2012
At a dramatic press conference on Monday, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak announced his surprising resignation from politics after nearly 50 years in service of the country.
“I have decided to resign from politics and I will not be running in the [upcoming] elections,” Barak told reporters at his office in the Defense Ministry headquarters in Tel Aviv. “I enlisted to the IDF in 1959 and I served the people of Israel for 47 years as well as I could.”
The defense minister reassured reporters that he would remain in his post until the establishment of the next government, following the Jan. 22 elections and then “I will free up time to focus on my family.”
“I have exhausted my contribution to politics, which I was never entirely passionate about, and I feel that I must make way for others to man senior political positions. Turnover in positions of power is a good thing,” Barak said, explaining the decision that took most Israelis by surprise.
“This decision was not without its misgivings, but ultimately, I am at peace with it,” he declared.
“Thus I complete seven and a half years in the Defense Ministry, spanning three governments, one of them under my own leadership,” he said.
“During these years, I led a systematic rehabilitation, bolstering the long arm and dealing with the Iranian threat, pushing Iron Dome and the other anti-missile interceptors and ensuring a deep diplomatic and military cooperation with the Americans,” Barak said.
“I want to thank from the bottom of my heart the IDF commanders, both in compulsory service and career soldiers, the people of the Defense Ministry and the members of the intelligence community, who allowed me to fulfill my duties as defense minister successfully. I am proud to have led such wonderful people. I want to thank the prime minister and my colleagues in the government, as well as my devoted friends in the Independence Party leadership, who gave me a lot of strength for many years and for long hours,” Barak added.
“In the coming three months, we will continue to face every challenge, and I assure you, there will be many,” he concluded.
Barak also took the time to dispel speculations suggesting that he would join up with other parties, insisting that he would not run in the election. But he also never explicitly said he would not return to politics.
The political echelon did not waste a second before issuing responses to Barak’s dramatic announcement, with Labor Chairwoman Shelly Yachimovich expressing her sorrow over Barak’s resignation even before the press conference ended.
“Barak is the world’s most decorated soldier, and one of the most highly regarded defense figures in the international community. He contributed to the IDF and to the security of the country more than the public will ever know,” Yachimovich said.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also voiced his appreciation for the outgoing minister, saying, “I thank him for his cooperation and I very much appreciate his longtime contribution to the security of the state.”
But not all the responses were sympathetic. MK Danny Danon (Likud) issued a statement shortly after the announcement, declaring, “Thank God we are rid of this nuisance.”
“After Barak realized that he could not secure a seat on the Likud list he understood his irrelevance in the political arena and decided to initiate his resignation, instead of the people forcing it upon him,” Danon said in a statement.
Likud minister Yuli Edelstein echoed his colleague’s sentiments, saying, “Today is a day of independence for Likud.”
“Barak will go down in the annals of Israel’s governments as the worst defense minister in the history of the Jewish settlement enterprise. His conduct was rife with egotistical and political considerations, all at the expense of the Jewish settlers,” said Edelstein. “I wouldn’t be surprised if, at the first opportunity, he will find a reason to return to politics and to his evil ways.”
The Strong Israel faction, headed by rightists Aryeh Eldad and Michael Ben-Ari, also issued a celebratory response, adding that “now Netanyahu and [Foreign Minister Avigdor] Lieberman will be able to approve all the construction plans for Judea and Samaria that had gotten bogged down on Barak’s desk. Or, alternately, it may emerge that Barak was only a fig leaf and that it was the prime minister himself who was responsible for the mistreatment of the settlers.”
On the other side of the political spectrum, Israel’s Left was no less critical of the resigning minister. “Barak played a dual role in the political system,” said Meretz Chairwoman Zahava Gal-On. “I commended him as the one who normally blocked extreme policies, but sometimes he was the one who spearheaded extreme moves and pushed them forward.”
“There is something symbolic about the fact that Barak, the man who invented the ‘no partner’ spin, the man who disappointed and failed to sign a peace agreement with the Palestinians, who didn’t end the occupation the way we expected him to, is resigning precisely in the same week his ‘partner’ [Palestinian Authority President] Mahmoud Abbas extends a hand to peace with Israel and seeks recognition of the PA as a state. Now Barak is gone, just when he gets a chance to rectify the historic damage he caused.”
Hadash Chairman Dov Khenin said, “Ehud Barak was the pillar that made possible the existence of the most extreme rightist government in Israel’s history. He will never be able to absolve himself of this historic responsibility. Barak’s political maneuvering cannot mask his culpability for the four difficult years of frozen diplomacy, the damage he caused to the possibility of peace with the Palestinians and the general economic and social deterioration.”
The news even elicited a response from Gaza. Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said that Barak’s resignation was yet another victory for the Gaza terror organizations, Israel Radio reported. He explained that the resignation was proof that Israel’s recent Gaza Strip offensive, which Barak led, had been a failure.
Tom Gross adds: I have written several times about the anti-Israel bias of the Financial Times, for example, here:
“NO, PHILIP. IT’S NOT THAT THE ISRAELI PREMIER NEEDS TO ‘CAST’ HAMAS AS TERRORISTS, THEY ARE TERRORISTS”
If you thought the Guardian was bad on Israel, check out the FT
The Commentator (UK)
November 26, 12
One media outlet that gets off far too lightly for its outrageous and irrational hostility against the State of Israel is the Financial Times.
For a paper that -- somewhat absurdly given its utter failure to predict the financial crisis; as well as its myopia on the EU -- takes itself tremendously seriously, what really jumps out at you when the discussion turns to Israel is the combination of flat out stupidity and visceral hostility.
Enter Philip Stephens, a veteran FT columnist who, on the back of the recent conflict with Hamas, delivered a rant of his own this Thursday.
When I talk about flat out stupidity and visceral hostility, I really do mean it. It is not meant as a gratuitous insult.
Stephens’ aim in the piece is to draw some sort of parallel between Benjamin Netanyahu and Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, “a fellow reactionary”, he says. (His point, in a nutshell, is that they’re both warmongers.)
He argues that, “The parallel with Iran is anyway an uncomfortable one” by which he seems to mean that it’s uncomfortable in the sense that it’s a truth some might not like to hear. In reality, the parallel is not so much “uncomfortable” as “cretinous”.
Comparing the Israeli leader with a Holocaust denier may have anti-Semitic undertones, but I do not accuse Stephens of deliberate anti-Semitism. He is so desperate to impugn the character of the Israeli leader that he lashes out wildly, weirdly and, beyond demonisation, without a clear sense of purpose.
For example, consider this, which encapsulates in a single paragraph the mentality we are dealing with:
“[Netanyahu] lives in the shadow of a war hero brother, who perished during the Israeli rescue of hostages at Entebbe, and a father who believed Arabs would never make peace with Jews. As long as Hamas can be cast as terrorists, Mr Netanyahu can refuse to talk peace. The unspoken delusion is that Israel’s security can be forever underwritten by military victories.”
At every level, what is this guy talking about? Let’s start with the stuff about living under the “shadow of a war hero brother”. Netanyahu is one of the most successful Israeli politicians of modern times. I doubt that he’s living in anyone’s shadow, but then again I’m not interested in playing the amateur psychologist.
Has Stephens conducted in depth interviews with Netanyahu about his family background and his relationship with his brother? Is he qualified to make such an assessment? And what’s that bit about his dad? What, so, like most objective observers, Netanyahu’s father could see that the Arabs have a deep seated problem with Israel? And that’s somehow significant?
This is just weird.
And then we get to the “substance”. “As long as Hamas can be cast as terrorists, Mr. Netanyahu can refuse to talk peace”. No, Philip. It’s not that the Israeli premier needs to “cast” Hamas as terrorists, they are terrorists, as the Obama administration, and even the European Union recognise.
And then, to round things off, we get this: “The unspoken delusion is that Israel’s security can be forever underwritten by military victories.” (In passing, let me just say that I love the man’s use of the word “delusion”... directed at someone else!)
Again, no Philip. Netanyahu shows absolutely no sign of believing that “Israel’s security can be forever underwritten by military victories”. In fact, his posture on the military front is almost entirely defensive. It wasn’t Netanyahu who unilaterally launched barrage after barrage of rockets against Gaza. He responded to unprovoked rocket attacks from Hamas.
One could argue that he favours military action against Iran’s nuclear programme, but he’s not the only one and, in any case, he would launch such an attack in the manner of preventative defence.
Like all Israeli leaders he adopts a broad range of strategies to secure his country, from diplomacy through public relations to deterrence. You can disagree with Benjamin Netanyahu on many things, but casting him as a warmonger does not fit with the available evidence.
But who cares about evidence when your mission is purely about demonisation?
There’s all the standard idiocy in the piece about “Bantustan”s and “apartheid”, as well as a total failure to address the consistent problem of Palestinian rejectionism not to mention the rather inconvenient truth that only two Arab countries have ever made a peace agreement with Israel.
The worry for Netanyahu and all other intelligent observers (ie. not Philip Stephens) is that one of those two countries, Egypt, may renege on its agreement and adopt a much more aggressive stance. I’m sure if that happens the FT will manage to roll out someone or other to say it’s all Israel’s fault. Really, I’m not being ironic.
Much of the rest is the usual anti-Israel rant. In a pointed remark against Netanyahu, he concludes by saying:
“If there is a single lesson from the tumultuous events of the past few years, it is that the era of the armed reactionary is coming to a close.”
And if there’s a single lesson from your piece Philip Stephens it is that the era of the flat-headed, reflexively anti-Israeli British columnist is still very much with us.
PRIME MINISTERS DIPPING THEIR HANDS IN BLOOD
Blood and Tribalism
By Michael Widlanski
November 21, 2012
A recent picture taken in Gaza reveals more than all the sanctimonious speeches calling on Israel to be “humane” or “proportional” in fighting the Islamic terror state in Gaza that has made life a living hell for thousands in Israel.
The Islamist prime minister of Tunisia, Rafik Abdessalem, and the Hamas “prime minister” of Gaza, Ismail Haniyyeh, both wearing suits and ties, visited the body of a young boy killed in the new fighting. They dipped their hands in the blood of the boy, and then went to a press conference where they displayed their bloodied hands.
Some of us remember pictures of Arabs dipping their hands in blood and then brandishing them to the crowd. This occurred after a Palestinian mob grabbed two Israeli reserve soldiers and butchered and burned them in front of a cheering throng in 2002.
The two unarmed reserve soldiers had made a wrong turn, mistakenly entering Ramallah just north of Jerusalem. They had not attacked anyone. They were unarmed, but they were Jewish.
Dipping the hands in the blood is a tribal gesture – taking credit for killing an enemy or rubbing up against the blood of a “martyr” who died because terrorists hid an arms depot under his house.
The tribal blood-dipping, like “honor killings” of women suspected of “improper behavior” is not really an Islamic ritual but a vestige of pre-Islamic tribalism. When two top Arab leaders engage in such tribalism, it belies all the diplomatic trappings and all the claims of Islamic democracy.
“Our message to the international community is that this blatant Israeli aggression on our people in Gaza must stop,” said the foreign minister of Tunisia, the first Arab state to enjoy “Arab Spring.” He never explained why he never complained about Arab terrorists spilling the blood of non-Arabs and non-Muslims.
“Israel has to realize that the Arab world has undergone many changes, and what was permitted to Israel in the past will not be permitted now,” said the Tunisian minister whose government was the first messenger of “Arab Spring.”
Recept Erdogan, the Islamist prime minister of Turkey said almost exactly the same thing. Erdogan personally supported Hamas terrorists with money and diplomacy. He visited Egypt and warned Israel it would not be “allowed” to subdue the terrorists of Hamas and Islamic Jihad the way it had in 2008.
It is worth remembering that this same Erdogan has been touted by President Barack Obama as one of the great hopes of the Middle East, as one America’s greatest friends and even as a possible mediator between the U.S. and Iran. This says a lot about President Obama’s judgment of other leaders and his understanding of the Mid-East.
Turkey’s Erdogan has also offered himself as a mediator between Israel and Hamas, though Erdogan has done his best to isolate Israel from taking part in NATO drills and counterterror forums. With such mediators, one probably does not need enemies.
Egyptian president Muhammad Morsi has also offered to mediate. Like Hamas, he and his Muslim Brotherhood preach that Jews are the sons of pigs and monkeys.
Morsi violated the Israeli-Egyptian Peace Treaty by remilitarizing the Sinai Peninsula, supposedly to stop the various terror groups there, but he has done little to stem the flow of rockets and explosives to Hamas and other terror groups via Sinai.
This is no surprise. Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood is the father and mother of groups like Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Al-Qaeda. A Brotherhood graduate, Sheikh Omar Abdul-Rahman, organized the 1993 World Trade Center attack after helping to assassinate Egypt’s Anwar Sadat in 1981, after he made peace with Israel.
Like Hamas, Egyptian leader Morsi finds it very difficult even to say the word “Israel”. He prefers the Arabic term for “aggressors,” while Hamas spokesmen use the term al-ihtilal – The Occupation – or al-kawn al-sihyouni: the Zionist entity.
Israel’s neighbors – some of whom used to have good ties with Israel – now cannot even bear to say its name in public.
Say hello to the new tribal Middle East where several leading Arab/Islamic countries have passed through the Arab Spring into an Ice Age of pre-Islamic tribalism.