Monday, May 28, 2007
Holocaust Denial on University of Haifa Chat List
2. A rare non-treasonous Op-Ed in Haaretz:
Sderot is us
By Ari Shavit
Every night, Sderot Mayor Eli Moyal tours his city, checking the number of
houses with lights on. Last week the number of lights dropped each
evening. On the eve of Shavuot it reached a nadir. Whole apartment blocks
stood empty. On the street where Moyal himself lives only a few residents
remained. At its height, Sderot had a population of 24,000, the exhausted
mayor says. In recent years, when the Qassam attacks mounted, the number
fell to about 20,000. But now, with the refugees whom Hamas chased out
being scattered throughout the country, no more than 10,000 people remain
in the city. And suddenly the feeling is that perhaps it has really
happened: Perhaps Sderot has been broken.
But Sderot has still not been broken. If the rocket attacks cease, most
people will return. Without security, without hope, without happiness - a
depressing return to no-choice. So the basic fact remains: Sderot 2007 is
a city that seems cursed. A frontier city with no home front. A frontier
city with no aura of heroism. A frontier city that the government should
protect, but isn't protecting. A frontier city that the nation should be
standing behind, but is not. A frontier city abandoned by the center of
It should not have been like this. Sderot is not Gush Katif. There is no
debate. On the contrary: Sderot is a "Green Line" city. Sderot is a
post-withdrawal city. Sderot is the righteous Israeli city after the
occupation. Sderot is the future. Indeed, it is the litmus test that will
teach us in real time what we can expect in the future when we withdraw
completely. This being the case, Sderot should have been the apple of the
eye of all those preaching withdrawal in the past, and of everyone who
still believes in withdrawal. Sderot should have been the city of peace
writers and peace singers and peace industrialists. A "peace now" city. A
city of Israeli solidarity. A city of mutual responsibility. A city where
strong Israelis stand together with Israelis who are less strong in the
face of Islamic zealotry.
All this is not happening. Bank Hapoalim is funding the new emergency
center there. But the large sum needed to renovate the city's shelters was
raised by American evangelical Christians. The major community work in the
city is being done by Hanan Porat. Yitzhak Mordechai is working in Sderot,
and Arcadi Gaydamak is amusing himself there in the absence of the center
of the country. Enlightened, satiated Israel is not standing with all its
strength behind Sderot.
The attack on Sderot is a strategic attack on peace. It is an attack on
the two-state solution. If the attack succeeds, there will be no chance of
any future withdrawal. If the attack succeeds, the occupation will be
perpetuated. Therefore, before the great political decision is made on how
to act in Gaza, a moral decision has to be made about Sderot. Sderot must
become the national project of the current period. Its residents cannot be
expected to confront the Qassams alone. In the face of buses removing
people from the city, buses of supporters must set out for it. In the face
of the economic collapse of Sderot should come an unprecedented economic
embrace of it by government and nongovernment bodies alike.
At the same time, it should be made clear that there is one law for Sderot
and Tzahala: A Qassam on Sderot is like a Qassam on Kikar Hamedina. The
insensitivity has got to stop. Sderot has to be defined as the Israeli
front line. The struggle for the city should be viewed as both a struggle
for Israeli sovereignty and as a symbol of the responsibility of Israelis
for each other.
Sderot is us, all of us. We rise and fall with Sderot.
3. Ehud NeBARAKnezzer:
4. May 26, 2007
COMMENTARY: THE WEEKEND INTERVIEW
Dealing With Iran
By JAMES TARANTO
May 26, 2007; Page A9
NEW YORK -- Benjamin Netanyahu runs a few minutes late for our Monday
afternoon meeting. When he arrives in his midtown Manhattan hotel suite,
he explains that he has just received word from home of the latest
Palestinian war crime. "Hamas fired 15 rockets into Israel today. One of
them hit a car, killed a woman," says Mr. Netanyahu, the former Israeli
prime minister and now leader of the opposition. The victim, 32-year-old
Shirel Friedman, was on her way to see her mother.
For the 57-year-old Mr. Netanyahu, there is a sort of grim vindication in
such attacks. He quit the government of then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon
in August 2005, objecting to Mr. Sharon's plan for unilateral withdrawal
from Gaza. "I had a very big argument with him on this," Mr. Netanyahu
recalls. "He thought that we would have the right of free action -- that
we would garner international support for any reaction. I thought that is
a very thin sheet of ice -- the international community can turn against
you as quickly as it turns for you -- but the overwhelming fact is that
the Muslim militants and Iran will find a new base, a few miles from Tel
Aviv, with the ability to cover the south of the country and the center of
the country with rockets."
Five years earlier, Ehud Barak, Mr. Netanyahu's successor as prime
minister, had similarly withdrawn from southern Lebanon, creating a safe
haven for Hezbollah, which has periodically rocketed cities in Israel's
north. In both cases, Mr. Netanyahu says, Israel's leaders were
"captivated by a concept, and the concept was that we purchase security
from retreat, from withdrawals -- that is, that the way to stop the
attacks on us is to placate our enemies by unilaterally withdrawing from
territory under our control, thereby robbing them of the pretext to attack
us. In fact, this was interpreted exactly in the opposite manner. . . . It
was interpreted not as a sign of strength but as a show of weakness."
"There is not much difference" between Hezbollah and Hamas, Mr. Netanyahu
says. "They are both supported by Iran, supplied by Iran, inspired by
Iran." They share a common goal, "to get us to withdraw from more
territory -- of course this time not so-called occupied territory, but
Israel proper. For them, any inch of Israel is occupied territory, and the
'liberation' will be culminated when Israel ceases to exist."
Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, made that clear in 2005, when he
declared that "Israel must be wiped off the map" -- a particularly
chilling pronouncement given that his regime is seeking weapons that would
make it capable of doing just that. "This could be the rise of the first
undeterrable, fanatical nuclear power in the world," says Mr. Netanyahu.
"It's an apocalyptic, messianic sect that could possess nuclear weapons,
to the detriment of all mankind."
How to deal with the Iranian nuclear threat has proved a conundrum for
America and the West, including Israel. Mr. Netanyahu acknowledges that
military strikes would pose "complications and difficulties" and thus
"should be a last resort." But diplomacy has been tried for several years
with scant results.
Mr. Netanyahu proposes a third way. The Iranian regime, he argues, is
economically vulnerable. He is in America to urge state and local pension
funds to divest from foreign companies that do business in Iran (U.S. law
already keeps American firms out).
"This could be very effective," he tells me, "because Iran is in desperate
need of new investments for its sagging oil industry. It's curtailed its
oil production by 7%, I think, in each of the last three years. It's
running unemployment to a rate of close to 20%, and Ahmadinejad is
continuously being criticized from rivals within the regime and outside
the regime for failing to deliver on economic problems."
Divestment "could stop Iran dead in its tracks," Mr. Netanyahu argues.
"We're talking about several dozen companies . . . that are propping up
the energy sector in Iran and a few other relevant sectors. They are
eminently susceptible to stock prices. Their chief executives are
compensated by stock prices. Divestment depresses stock prices and
immediately forces reconsideration." This in turn would squeeze "Iranian
economic elites," who Mr. Netanyahu says are motivated by money, not
ideology. "That elite funds and finances a lot of politicians, and when
they see their own holdings and their own businesses endangered, they'll
put pressure to either block the nuclear program or to change the regime."
Mr. Netanyahu believes Americans across the political spectrum could unite
behind the principle that "a regime that promotes genocide cannot receive
American taxpayers' savings . . . through European intermediaries." And
the idea is catching on.
Last year Missouri's treasurer, Sarah Steelman, established a terror-free
mutual fund and spearheaded a move to divest the $6.9 billion State
Employees Retirement System from companies that do business in Iran and
other terror-supporting nations. Earlier this month Florida's Legislature
unanimously approved a bill mandating divestment from companies with ties
to Iran or Sudan. On Capitol Hill, Sens. Barack Obama (D., Ill.) and Sam
Brownback (R., Kan.) have introduced the Iran Sanctions Enabling Act,
which would create a federal list of investors in Iran and shield fund
managers from lawsuits if they disinvest.
The big prize, of course, is California, whose $247 billion pension fund
is the nation's biggest. "I spoke to Gov. [Arnold] Schwarzenegger on this
a few weeks ago," Mr. Netanyahu says. "He said he'd look into it. I'm
going to call him, possibly before I leave tonight." On Tuesday an
official from the Israeli Embassy in Washington emailed me that Mr.
Netanyahu "did get in touch with Governor Schwarzenegger yesterday. . . .
The Governor was aware of the divestment bill and said that it may get
passed by the end of the summer."
With Democrats seeking retreat from Iraq, bipartisanship is in short
supply in America just now. Two days after Mr. Netanyahu and I spoke, a
major presidential candidate for the first time announced that he no
longer even believes there is a "global war on terror." John Edwards, who
voted for the Iraq war in 2002, now dismisses the entire war on terror as
"a slogan designed only for politics . . . a bumper sticker, not a plan."
I ask Mr. Netanyahu if the U.S. made a mistake in liberating Iraq. He says
it did not: "I think it was right to bring down Saddam Hussein, who
murdered hundreds of thousands of innocent people." But he brings the
discussion back to Iran. "It would have been prudent to use the rapidity
of success of victory -- that is, the fact that the U.S. had accomplished
in three weeks what Iran couldn't accomplish in 10 years and a million
casualties -- to deliver a stern warning to Iran to dismantle its nuclear
program. In a way, this was achieved without design with Libya's nuclear
program that had been much more advanced than anyone understood. . . .
That same leverage could have been used on Iran."
If Mr. Netanyahu seems preoccupied with Iran, it is not because he is
dismissive of other threats, including al Qaeda. "Of the two, Iran is more
dangerous, because the Sunni militants so far have not gotten their hands
on a nuclear weapons program. . . . If the Taliban were to topple the
current regime in Pakistan and get their hands on nuclear weapons, I would
say they're more dangerous than Iran, or equally dangerous."
He sees al Qaeda as existing on a continuum with Tehran's Shiite
fundamentalists: "They're now competing with each other on the soil of
Lebanon to gain paramountcy -- al Qaeda in the north and Hezbollah in the
south. But both of them practice suicide attacks, both of them have the
cult of death, and both of them are absolutely uninhibited in the use of
force against their chosen enemies. Now, is there a difference? Yeah, I
suppose. I think one wants to send us back to the ninth century and one
wants to send us back to the seventh century." The Shiite extremists, Mr.
Netanyahu quips, "give us two centuries extra."
Yet he is careful to distinguish between "militant Islam" and the broader
Muslim population. "Militant Islam condemns and intimidates and kills
Muslims before anyone else. That's what they're about. The infidels are
defined first as the renegades of Islam -- that is, Muslims who do not
practice some . . . pre-medieval religious creed that is hopelessly
antiquated for most Muslims and most Arabs."
Because of the militants' power to intimidate and the weak civic
institutions in Arab societies, Mr. Netanyahu is wary of pushing those
societies too quickly toward electoral democracy. He thinks it was a
mistake to allow Hamas to compete in last year's Palestinian voting. "But
I think that one element that should be expedited as rapidly as possible
is the democratization of markets. I think that expanding economic freedom
is just as important -- in some cases more important -- in moderating
societies than accelerated moves to political freedoms without the proper
I ask if he can point to any positive examples in the Arab world. "How
about Dubai? How about the Gulf states? What you see there is quite
remarkable. It also tells you that Arabs and Muslims are not inherently or
genetically programmed to oppose free markets. That's just nonsense. With
the right system of incentives and economic freedoms, you see this
explosive growth that I, frankly, admire. . . . We always said that if we
have peace, then we'll have prosperity. It may be the other way around."
In the aftermath of last summer's war with Hezbollah, public confidence in
Israel's government has hit bottom. Recent opinion polls give Prime
Minister Ehud Olmert a dismal 3% approval rating. Mr. Netanyahu is happy
to pile on: "The right strategy . . . is to use superior force, come in
from their rear, at their most vulnerable point, and use a lot of ground
power to physically eliminate them. . . . None of this was done, and the
people felt that this failure was too stinging to be left alone, so they
want a change of government." He faults the government for "lack of
experience . . . lack of decisiveness, lack of leadership." And he worries
that Israel faces near-term threats on three fronts: Lebanon, Gaza and
Syria, "which is arming feverishly."
Is a political comeback in his future? "I hope that we can get to
elections as soon as possible," he says. "But that's a decision for 61 out
of 120 Knesset members to make, and they're not going to readily part with
Mr. Taranto is editor of OpinionJournal.com1.
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Hyperlinks in this Article:
5. This made my day:
6. Elect Ehud Barak and Make Haifa look like this again thanks to
thousands more Katyushas:
7. Mega-Moonbat Reuven Kaminer, an anti-Israel extremist, has a
conniption over Israel Academia Monitor. They must be doing something right!:
'Some of you may have come across a group of right wing Jewish loonies on
the internet by the name "Israel-academic-monitors (sic)." Well, the
loonies have a zombie machine that scans the net for any appearance by a
democratic (sic) Israeli academician. Automatically, they send out links
to what they consider "anti-Israeli" or anti-Semitic statements made by
that academician. Well, the loonies' zombie machine sighted Baruch
Kimmerling's name in articles on his death and sure enough, the emails
warning the world about Baruch Kimmerling are now scattered all over the
course, they - the monitors - would explain that it is all automatic. Even
so, I ask them, gentlemen, have you no shame?'
Dirt on Kaminer:
Kaminer is a mini-chief in the Stalinist HADASH Arab communist party:
8. It is always pleasant to see one of Israel's Oslo lefties return to
planet earth. Ben Kaspit is an establishment leftist who is one of the
main columnists in Maariv. He has long supported Oslo self-annihilation
and capitulation. Well, on May 17, 07 he wrote (my translation):
"The vision of murderous gangs, chaos, and Islamist extremism at the gates
of Ashkelon is now being realized as we watch. This is the grand
and colossal failure of the Gaza Withdrawal.... We are now paying the
price for that."
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