Netanyahu 1, Obama 0

Or maybe it is Netayahu 4, Obama 0:

Bibi’s grand slam: Boxing in Obama on Iran’s nukes

On Tuesday, Bibi Netanyahu gave the speech of his life before a joint session of Congress — and he has Barack Obama to thank for it.

Yes, the very same Barack Obama who hates Bibi, the same Obama who was furious the speech was being given at all, walked the bases full for Netanyahu and served up the sucker pitch he hit for a grand slam.

While the response to the Speech of the Year has been somewhat divided based on party lines, there is no question Bibi came out the winner. President Obama, the far Left of the Democratic Party (including the House Minority Leader) and their protectors in the media are doing their best to respond, but it is clearly damage control.

First, while House Speaker John Boehner made the original invitation, 100% of the publicity for the event was provided by the vindictive Mr. Obama and his team, and the media firestorm that followed. (For you conspiracy theorists out there — maybe the Jews really do run the world??)

All the ruckus insured the maximum possible audience for the Prime Minister, who has been known for decades as one of the best public speakers anywhere. This was his 3rd (!!) speech to a joint session of Congress so he knew what to expect. He had to give the speech of his life, and he did.

No one expects the speech will change the President’s mind, but it will do the only 3 things that are in Bibi’s power to do to improve the chances of stopping Iran: 1) influence mainstream American opinion, 2) influence some centrist Democrats in Congress and 3) help get Bibi re-elected.

President Obama started the fight, as usual. He came out it looking petty, petulant, even childish.

Netanyahu, for once, asserted himself in return, but even then made sure to be as gracious as possible by thanking Obama for what he could at the beginning of his speech. He came out looking… Presidential. He gave a powerful but rational and truth-based appeal that certainly helped sway the uninformed and the open-minded.

There is no doubt who won this one.

Bibi nailed it.

Short and simple: Bibi nailed it:

Prime Minister Netanyahu delivers a historic speech to Congress

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses both houses of Congress

A special thanks to President Obama — for making a silly, vindictive fuss over the event and therefore insuring the maximum possible audience for the speech.

Defying Obama was risky indeed for Netanyahu, but opposing a Netanyahu speech turns out to have been even more risky for the President as speechifying is Netanyahu’s top skill of all.

The speech will will almost surely help Netanyahu’s reelection hopes, will almost surely hurt Obama’s attempt to capitulate to the Iranians, and will be a minor body-blow against the Democrats in general and the anti-Israel crowd in particular.

Bibi 1, Obama 0.

Did the White House Lie about Netanyahu?

We at IRIS are still confused about the recent surreal brouhaha about Prime Minister Netanyahu’s accepting an invitation to speak to Congress.

What exactly WAS the big deal here?? Why was Bibi blamed — it was Speaker John Boehner’s fault. Bibi has to check with Obama if it is ok to address Congress? Boehner doesn’t have to check but Bibi does? Strange.

Now an interesting piece of information has come to light — it seems the Administration knew all along about the invitation and Bibi did NOT “go behind their backs”:

Did the Obama Administration lie about Netanyahu?

The story began with a correction at the bottom of a New York Times story on January 30. This was picked up immediately by Breitbart and since then has been getting a bit of coverage on pro-Israel blogs.

But the questions remain:

Is it really true that the White House bald-face lied about the timing just to snub Netanyahu?

If it is true, why didn’t Netanyahu just say so?

Why is this not getting more coverage, at least in conservative and pro-Israel circles?

As Bibi (but not Boehner??) continues to come under pressure to cancel the speech, will this piece of truth come out or be disproved?

[Hat tip: Moshe Burt]

Human Shields in Gaza

Do the people around the world who complain about “civilian casualties” in Gaza understand that it is a war crime to target civilians with missile attacks (which Hamas does) and also to hide behind civilian shields (which Hamas also does)?  Or to shoot rockets from “protected” locations like schools, hospitals and mosques (which Hamas also does)?

Do they understand that civilians and protected institutions lose their protected status according to the rules of war when they are unlawfully used for war activities?

Gazan
Gazan “Missile Defence”

Do they realize that they are “useful idiots” playing into Hamas’ hands and encouraging Hamas leaders to continue to try to get their own people killed so they will get more sympathy?  Do they realize they are therefore insuring there will be more civilian casualties on both sides in the future?

Finally, does this say something, anything at all, about a group of people that voted Hamas into power and continues to play along with the Human shield game?  Anything?

Hat tip: Boldt Andreas

Melanie Phillips on the State of Israeli Hasbara in Britain

Melanie Phillips, a staunch British advocate for Israel had this to say about the sad state of affairs of Israeli hasbara (public relations) in England:



 

Perhaps it could be said that, in her frustration, Ms. Phillips exaggerates somewhat. However, the lack of an effective hasbara campaign by the Israeli government is both well-known and longstanding.

Of course combating anti-Israeli propaganda all over the world is a massive job, especially when an anti-Israel (read: anti-Jewish) message is so readily accepted in so many quarters. But the Israeli government and Foreign Ministry have proven quite incapable of doing a competent job, let alone showing the kind of ingenuity that Israelis are famous for in so many other fields.

It should be clear that a substantial portion of the Israeli Foreign Ministry, including the diplomatic core, are from the political Left and are highly invested in the ever-failing peace process — politically, professionally and personally. These people shy away from an active defense of Israel’s position since that is confrontational and would upset the Arabs. And they may be hesitant to work with Israel’s natural allies on the Right.

Due to the way the system in Israel works, these people can not and will not be purged from positions of importance any time soon. Don’t expect them to change or to go away. Therefore it is pointless to rely on the Israeli government to handle this job effectively.

The only options are 1) to bypass the “official” hasbara system and/or 2) to find an effective pro-Israel message that the Left in Israel can support.

Alas, it seems that #1 is much easier to accomplish than #2.

The Haaretz Spy Scandal

The Jerusalem Post’s commentator Caroline Glick comments on Israel’s leftist-agendized media as epitomized by the Haaretz spy scandal:

When the gag order was revoked last Thursday, Israelis… learned that Anat Kamm, a reporter hired by the Walla Web portal when it was partly owned by Haaretz, had been under house arrest for four months. She is on trial for acts of espionage with the intent of harming national security that she committed not as a reporter, but during her service in the IDF… She continued reporting for Walla, while under house arrest until the end of March.

Haaretz staff reporter Uri Blau fled the country not to protect a source, but to evade punishment for possessing classified military documents in breach not only of the law but of a plea bargain agreement with the Shin Bet.

Kamm served in the IDF from 2005 to 2007 as a secretary in the office of the commander of Central Command. In the weeks before her release from service, she copied about 2,000 highly classified IDF documents onto two CDs and uploaded them to her home computer. After her release, she shopped the documents around to various military reporters and eventually gave them to Blau…. Such information in the hands of Israel’s enemies could cause the death of thousands of Israeli soldiers and civilians…

The Shin Bet launched its investigation of stolen IDF documents, which led it to Blau and then to Kamm after Blau published articles in November 2008 based on the documents he received from Kamm. At the time, the Shin Bet asked that Blau return all the classified documents in his possession. In return for his agreement to do so, the Shin Bet agreed not to prosecute him for illegally possessing classified materials. Blau returned 50 such documents and asserted that he had no more documents in his possession.

But then the Shin Bet found Kamm. And after confessing to stealing the 2,000 documents, she told them that she gave them all to Blau. When Blau found out that the Shin Bet knew he lied, and still illegally possesses thousands of classified documents, he decided not to return to Israel…

With the knowledge that their reporter lied to the Shin Bet and fled the country Haaretz chose to pay his living expenses in London and his legal expenses in Israel.

In her statements during her investigation published in court documents, Kamm revealed that she is a messianic leftist. She came to the army not to serve the country, but to transform it. It was only when she realized that she had failed to bend the IDF to her will that she decided to reveal its secrets.

Kamm’s treachery is a deeply disturbing comment on the mindset of the radical Left in Israel. But her crimes are even more alarming when we realize that Kamm is not a lone renegade. In her treasonous activities, she enjoys the support of a massive organization…

Haaretz has demonstrated that leftist traitors have a powerful sponsor capable of exacting painful revenge on the State of Israel for daring to prosecute them.

As for the State of Israel… the Haaretz spy scandal demonstrates is that the state is utterly unwilling to deal with this dangerous state of affairs. Shin Bet Director Yuval Diskin stated that Israel will not change its screening process of candidates for military service. In the post-Kamm IDF, religious youths will continue to be grilled about their willingness to expel Jewish Israelis from their homes, and radical leftist youths will not be questioned about their loyalty to the state and willingness to keep the IDF’s secrets.

Ma’ariv and Globes both reported that thousands of Israelis canceled their subscriptions to Haaretz this week. Haaretz denied the reports. But really, it doesn’t care. Haaretz’s target audience is not Israeli. It is global. And there it remains the champion of those who seek an Israeli affirmation of their anti-Israel attitudes.

Once again, the real problem is not the bad apples in the barrel but the vast numbers of people that support them (and vote for them).

Obama’s Building Crisis: Netanyahu’s Political Boost?

As we recently suggested here, Los Angeles Times columnist Edmund Sanders writes that U.S. President Obama’s crisis over the building licensure for Ramat Shlomo could provide prime minister Netanyahu with a political boost:

By drawing a line against expansion of Israeli housing units in Jerusalem, the Obama administration is confronting a policy that enjoys a strong consensus among Israelis: the effort to ensure that the city remains united and under their control.

U.S. officials reacted with fury last week to a decision to build 1,600 housing units in an area of… East Jerusalem…

But focusing the debate on Jerusalem may actually prove to be of domestic political benefit for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu…

“For Netanyahu, this is the best issue you could have given him,” said Efraim Inbar, a political science professor at Bar-Ilan University, who said the prime minister could emerge politically stronger by refusing American pressure to limit or temporarily delay housing construction in East Jerusalem.

“Jerusalem touches an important nerve for so many Jews that they would support the government, even in a confrontation with the U.S.,” Inbar said. “Even if it causes damage, sometimes you have to draw a red line.”

He said about 70% of Israelis support a “united Jerusalem” under Israel’s control, according to polls he has conducted.

The Jewish population of East Jerusalem has grown from almost nothing before 1967 to 200,000 today.

US State Dept Decries Goldstone Report, Palestinian Media

Pinch me — now even the U.S. State Department has criticized the Goldstone Report as well as rhetoric by the Palestinian media:

The Goldstone report was widely criticized for methodological failings, legal and factual errors, falsehoods, and for devoting insufficient attention to the asymmetrical nature of the conflict and the fact that Hamas and other Palestinian militants were deliberately operating in heavily populated urban areas of Gaza. The government of Israel also sharply rejected the charge that it had a policy of deliberately targeting civilians.

In addition, the report said:

In both the Gaza Strip and the West Bank… Palestinian media frequently published and broadcast material that included anti-Israeli content. Rhetoric by Palestinian terrorist groups included expressions of anti-Semitism, as did sermons by some Muslim religious leaders. Some Palestinian religious leaders rejected the right of Israel to exist. Hamas’ al-Aqsa television station carried shows for preschoolers extolling hatred of Jews and suicide bombings.

Arab Apartheid Week

Finally, the appropriate response to the mindless “Israel Apartheid Week” events being held by the Arabs and their “useful idiots” this week in cities around the world. Instead of explaining for the thousandth time that Israeli Arabs have full rights, unlike blacks in the Apartheid years of South Africa, columnist (and former IRIS co-chairman) Michael Freund suggests that we should turn the tables and launch a yearly “Arab Aparthied Week”.

Well, I say the time has come to stop playing defense and to bring the offense out onto the field. We need to turn the tables and fight back against our opponents by taking the struggle toward their end-zone.

A good place to be start would be to organize an annual “Arab Apartheid Week,” which would highlight the decrepit state of human and political rights throughout the Arab world.

There is a solid case to be made that the Arab states remain the last great outpost of despotism and tyranny on earth, and people need to be reminded as much. Indeed, the Arab world today is a living encyclopedia of outmoded forms of government, from sultanates such as Oman and emirates such as Qatar, to thuggish dictatorships such as Syria and dynastic monarchies along the lines of Jordan. It may be a political scientist’s dream, but it is a nightmare for the hundreds of millions of Arabs chafing under oppression and tyranny.

Basic and fundamental freedoms such as personal autonomy and individual rights are routinely trampled upon, and ethnic and religious minority groups suffer extreme discrimination and intolerance. Just ask Coptic Christians in Egypt, Baha’is in Iran or Shi’ites in Saudi Arabia for starters.

Or Jews anywhere in the Middle East…

This was borne out most recently by a report issued by Freedom House, the independent Washington-based group that advocates for freedom worldwide. Its annual survey, “Freedom in the World 2010,” would make for eye-opening reading for all those who cry “apartheid” whenever they see a flag with a Star of David.

Consider the following findings:

Of the 18 countries in the Middle East that Freedom House surveyed, only one is considered to be “free.”

And just who might that be? Yep, you guessed it: Israel.

Not a single Arab country – not one! – did Freedom House consider “free”…

In effect, then, this means that of the approximately 370 million human beings currently residing in the Middle East, only 2 percent enjoy true freedom – namely those who live in the Jewish state.

So much for “Israeli apartheid”…

An annual Arab Apartheid Week, held on campuses and at community centers, could be an effective vehicle for driving home this fundamental truth.

The Hidden Agenda Behind “Israel Apartheid Week”

The Jerusalem Post has published this piece by Dore Gold providing insight into the hidden agenda behind “Israel Apartheid Week”:

To begin with, in apartheid South Africa (1948-1994), blacks were not allowed to vote or to be candidates in the general elections, they could not attend white universities or be treated in white hospitals, and they were forcibly removed from white cities. Anyone who is the least bit familiar with Israel knows that Israeli Arabs vote for the Knesset and that there are Israeli Arab Knesset members, who also serve as deputy speakers of Israel’s parliament; an Israeli Arab judge sits on Israel’s Supreme Court; Israeli Arabs study in all Israeli universities and there are mixed Arab-Jewish cities, like Haifa, Jaffa, Ramle and Jerusalem.

Can you imagine the opposite happening in Jordan, where it is a capital crime to sell land to a Jew? Or any of the many Arab countries that won’t let someone visit if the person previously visited Israel?

What underlies the Israel Apartheid Week campaign… is a highly politicized interpretation of Israel’s history in which the Jewish people are viewed as a colonialist movement that recently came from Europe to usurp lands from the indigenous Palestinian population, rather than the authentic claimants to sovereignty in their historical homeland.

Prof. Moshe Gil of Tel Aviv University wrote in his 900-page monumental work, A History of Palestine: 634-1099, that as late as the seventh century, Jews still had a massive presence in most parts of what had been their sovereign territory up until the Roman invasion. Some suggest that the Jews were still the majority. According to Gil, on the eve of the Muslim conquests, the Jewish presence in the land was nearly 2,000 years old.

Moreover, there was a constant effort of Jews to return to their land in the centuries that followed, despite the dangers. By the 1860s the Jews, in fact, reestablished their majority in Jerusalem, well before the arrival of the British Empire. When the League of Nations decided to recognize the Jewish claim to a national home in 1922, it specifically recognized the pre-existing right of the Jewish people to what was to become British Mandatory Palestine.

Israel Apartheid Week is not about respect for human rights; it is an incredibly hypocritical initiative that ignores the apartheid practiced by the Palestinians themselves, who make the sale of land to Jews punishable by death.

If it is Israel that wants Apartheid, why is it that the Arabs (and their Apartheid Week supporters) insist that all Jews be removed from the territories in order for there to be peace?

EIDHR: Humanitarian, or Europe’s Trojan Horse in Israel?

The IRIS blog has posted several reports recently concerning New Israel Fund, J Street and efforts to compel registration of foreign funded NGO’s. An investigative report in The Jerusalem Post adds further fuel to the necessity for laws which act against foreign funded NGO’s by begging the question, European Initiative for Democracy and Human Rights: Funding Humanitarian Needs, or Europe’s Trojan Horse Lobby in Israel?:

Between 2002 and 2008, the European Parliament’s European Initiative for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) granted a total of $14 million to various Israeli NGOs. $5.5 million was directed specifically to causes for Palestinians such as the Association for Civil Rights in Israel’s project “Building a Better Future: Empowering the Palestinian Residents of East Jerusalem to access their planning and house [sic] rights” which received $135,000. A further $7 million went specifically to programs that benefit Israeli Arabs such as the al-Awna fund’s “Master Plan for the Unrecognized Beduin Villages: Securing minority rights for housing and social services” which received $263,000. Even when the EIDHR funded programs for women it did so only for programs for Beduin or Israeli Arab women, except for a token $100,000 it gave to an organization called Isha le Isha (Woman to Woman) which helps fight women trafficking.

There was not one cent directed specifically towards any of the numerous and diverse Jewish communities in Israel: Ethiopians, Russians, Yemenites, Persians or Jews from the Caucasus. The only mention of Jewish citizens as potential recipients was in a grant to the Mossawa Center, the advocacy center for Arab citizens in Israel. It received $402,000 for a project that “aims to combat racism and transform inter-communal relations between target groups who include the Jewish majority, Arab minority and ethnic groups including the Russian, Ethiopian, Mizrahi and Reform Jewish communities.”

Around $73,000 was directed towards former IDF soldiers. It wasn’t to help them with trauma or reward them for a “shared citizenship.” It was to get them to “break the silence” about what they witnessed while in the army, to provide testimony that might lead to a process whereby European courts might put the soldiers or their officers on trial for war crimes. Of course that is not what Breaking the Silence stated for the public. They described their project as “personal encounters with former Israeli combat soldiers.”

THE EIDHR’s “instrument” to affect Israeli policy is merely the tip of the iceberg. In its November 2009 report “Trojan Horse: The impact of European government funding for Israeli NGOs” NGO Monitor illustrated that individual European embassies in Israel and other EU projects give lavishly to Israeli NGOs, sometimes even making up the majority of their budgets. In fact “foreign-funded local NGOs are responsible for a significant portion of the petitions brought before the Israeli High Court of Justice,” says the report.

The EU, realizing it could not get Israel to change its laws through diplomatic means, has resorted to creating an internal lobby within Israel to get Israel to bend to the will of Europe.

An important question not answered in this investigative report is to what extent the money trail covered in Im Tirzu’s report on New Israel Fund leads back to the European Initiative for Democracy and Human Rights. Presumably this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Leftist Journalist: Israel’s Struggle is ‘Struggle of the World’

Spaniard Pilar Rahola writes, as a leftist journalist, that Israel’s struggle is ‘The Struggle of the World’:

Why don’t we see demonstrations in London, Paris, and Barcelona against Islamic dictatorships? Why has there been no leadership in support of the victims of Islamic dictatorship in Sudan? Why is there never any outrage against the acts of terrorism committed against Israel? Why confuse support of the Palestinian cause with the defense of Palestinian terrorism?

And finally, the million dollar question: Why is the left in Europe and around the world obsessed with the two most solid democracies, the United States and Israel, and not with the worst dictatorships on the planet? The two most solid democracies, who have suffered the bloodiest attacks of terrorism, and the left doesn’t care.

In every pro-Palestinian European forum…. they are never concerned with freedom for the people of Syria or Yemen or Iran or Sudan. They are never preoccupied when Hamas destroys freedom for the Palestinians. They are only concerned with using the concept of Palestinian freedom as a weapon against Israeli freedom.

In my native city of Barcelona, the city council decided to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the creation of the State of Israel by having a week of solidarity with the Palestinian people. President Zapatero…. places the blame on Israel for the conflict in the Middle East.

Spain has suffered the worst terrorist attack in Europe and it is in the crosshairs of every Islamic terrorist organization…. They kill us with cell phones hooked to satellites connected to the Middle Ages. And yet the Spanish left is the most anti Israeli in the world.

I am not Jewish. Ideologically I am left and by profession a journalist. Why am I not anti-Israeli like my colleagues? Because as a non-Jew I have the historical responsibility to fight against Jewish hatred and currently against the hatred for their historic homeland, Israel. To fight against anti-Semitism is not the duty of the Jews, it is the duty of the non-Jews.

The struggle of Israel, even if the world doesn’t want to accept it, is the struggle of the world.

The writer is a Spanish journalist, writer, and former member of the Spanish parliament.