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Emet m'Tsiyon

Friday, June 12, 2015

More European Greed, Failure & Hypocrisy: The Greek Case

We are all familiar with the moral pretensions and pretenses of Europe, particularly the European Union which embodies Europe's flaws quintessentially. They seem to know what is right for everybody else in the world, especially for Israel and the Jews. Just listen to us and you will have peace, they tell us. Why we should listen to them is beyond me, since I am old enough to remember that the Nazi Holocaust was perpetrated not just by Germans and Austro-Germans but was aided by most of Europe (by Arabs too but we're not talking about Arabs). Think of Quisling Norway and Vichy France and so on and so forth. Europe's world championship in hypocrisy is solid and unchallenged, as this Irish example bearing on Israel demonstrates. But even more striking is how the European Union  treats some of its own who appear to belong to a lesser class of Europeans.

The EU has never threatened Turkey with any sort of boycott for its occupation of northern Cyprus, whereas Cyprus, predominantly Greek ethnically, is a member of the EU itself. But there is obviously a lot of business to be done with Turkey or maybe the Greek Cypriots are just Europeans Grade B. Their brothers and sisters in Greece, also an EU member and a NATO member, suffer from counterproductive Eurozone schemes for settling their debt crisis. The Eurozone, a subsidiary comprising most EU members, imposed on Greece a terribly dysfunctional austerity plan that guarantees to keep most Greeks in poverty and does not encourage growth.

Anyhow Philippe Legrain in Foreign Policy updates some of the things that I and many professional economists have been saying for years [although I am not a professional economist, some big flaws in the "remedy" for Greece have been much too obvious]. Whatever the flaws in the economic plans to "help" Greece, their proposals for the Middle East  would work just as badly or worse if Israel adopted their plans to "help bring peace" to the Middle East. Here is Legrain:

Why Greece Should Reject the Latest Offer From Its Creditors




Why Greece Should Reject the Latest Offer From Its Creditors
Reform — Greece sorely needs it. Cash — the government is running desperately short of it. So it is time for Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to do what’s best for Greece and accept its creditors’ reform demands in exchange for much-needed cash. That is how the Greek situation is usually framed. It is utterly misleading.
Imagine you’re in prison for not being able to pay your debts. (You’re right, it’s almost unthinkable — civilized societies no longer lock up bankrupt individuals. But bear with me.) After five years of misery, you lead a rebellion, take control of the prison, and demand your release. The jailers respond by cutting off your water supply. Should you back down and return to your cell, perhaps negotiating for slightly less unpleasant conditions, in order to obtain a little liquidity? Or should you keep fighting to be free? That, in essence, is what the standoff between an insolvent Greece and its eurozone creditors is really about.
For months, Greece has had “only days” to agree a deal with its creditors before it runs out of cash. Eventually that will be true. But even if Tsipras accepted the creditors’ demands, Greece would still have “only days” before it ran out of cash. The 7.2 billion euros on offer right now wouldn’t even cover the Greek government’s debt repayments until the end of August. And for a measly two months of liquidity, Tsipras is expected to surrender his democratic mandate: break his election promises, agree to yet more tax increases and spending cuts that would depress Greece’s economy further, and relinquish his demands for debt relief.
Then the wrangling would start again. Because so long as Greece remains in its debtors’ prison, it will be dependent on its jailers for liquidity and therefore expected to comply with whatever additional conditions they impose. Tsipras should not submit to this debt bondage.
Nine of every 10 euros that eurozone governments and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have lent to the Greek government since 2010 have gone torepay its unbearable debts, which should instead have been restructured back then. But from now on, every last cent of additional funding would go to pay back debt. The Greek government now has a small primary surplus: It doesn’t need to borrow, except to service its debts of 175 percent of GDP.
Yet in exchange for additional liquidity, Greece’s creditors are demanding a return to the failed austerity policies of the past five years, which have shrunkthe economy by 21 percent and thrown one in four people — and one in two youth — out of work. The hypothesis that austerity can cure insolvency has been tested to destruction. Another dose of it would be perverse.
As Martin Sandbu of the Financial Times points out, further austerity isn’t even in the creditors’ interests. They are demanding a fiscal tightening of 1.7 percent of GDP in the second half of this year alone. Since raising taxes and cutting spending would depress the economy — shrinking tax revenues and inflating social spending, thereby unwinding some of the budget tightening — a fiscal squeeze twice as big would be required to achieve the creditors’ target, if the past five years are anything to go by. According to Sandbu, that would crunch the economy by 5 percent, perversely raising the ratio of debt to GDP by some 9 percentage points. To achieve a primary surplus of 3.5 percent of GDP by 2018, as the creditors are demanding, would require a fiscal squeeze of 8.3 percent of GDP, depressing the economy by 12.5 percent and increasing the ratio of debt to GDP by around 22.5 percentage points. Far from bringing Greece’s debts down to more sustainable levels, further austerity would cause them to soar.
Why would eurozone authorities be so cruel and foolish? Because they don’t really care about the welfare of ordinary Greeks. They aren’t even that bothered about whether the Greek government pays back the money they forced European taxpayers to lend to it, ostensibly out of solidarity, but actually to bail out French and German banks and investors. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other eurozone policymakers just don’t want to admit that they made a terrible mistake in 2010 and have lied about it since. So they want to be seen as standing up for eurozone taxpayers’ interests, and they want Greeks to put up and shut up until Merkel and her minions are comfortably in retirement, and it is someone else’s problem.
Further austerity isn’t the only consequence of leaving Greeks languishing in their debtors’ prison. Contrary to claims that Greece shells out scarcely any interest, it pays an average interest rate of 2.5 percent on its debts, according to Joakim Tiberg of UBS, a Swiss bank — 4.5 percent of GDP in total. With prices falling by 2.1 percent over the past year, the inflation-adjusted interest rate is 4.7 percent. Worse, the debt overhang creates crippling uncertainty about how the crisis might be resolved — including whether Greece might be forced out of the euro — stunting consumption, investment, and growth. Having creditors breathing down your neck to raise taxes is a further deterrent to investment. And the debt overhang also causes deflation, making the burden even more unbearable.
The creditors’ insistence on reform is also disingenuous. Greece has been run by the institutions known as the Troika — the European Commission, the European Central Bank, and the IMF — since May 2010. They have had every opportunity to insist on the reforms they are now demanding. Yet they kept on funding Greece because all they cared about was the fiscal targets (and wage cuts to boost “competitiveness”). The sudden focus on reform is primarily about forcing Tsipras to break the promises that got him elected in January.
Let me be clear: Greece urgently needs reform. Its economy is underdeveloped, hidebound, and dominated by oligarchic families who monopolize markets and suborn politics. Its public administration is corrupt and inefficient. Its legal system is dysfunctional, its tax system full of holes. Tsipras may or may not be willing to reform Greece. But ultimately, it ought to be up to Greeks whether and how they do so.
Indeed, the main sticking points between Athens and its creditors aren’t really reforms, they’re fiscal measures. While improving the collection and administration of value-added tax (VAT) is desirable, the creditors are also demanding a tax hike of 1 percent of GDP. That is wrong-headed, since it would hit the country’s main export sector, tourism, which accounts for 18 percent of GDP.
Pension reform is also necessary as Greeks live longer and fewer workers have to support more retirees. But the country’s social safety net is so threadbare that a single-slashed pension is often supporting a whole family of jobless people. So, while encouraging healthy people to continue working is desirable, pension cuts are not.
Some argue that Tsipras should sign up to what the creditors want, take the cash to pay off the looming bond payments to the IMF and the ECB, make a show of reform, and then press again for debt relief. But the notion that the creditors would then be more flexible is fanciful. In 2012, eurozone governments promised Greece debt relief once it achieved a primary surplus, but they still haven’t delivered it. The Greek government has now put forward sensible plans for restructuring its debts. Unless its creditors are willing to start negotiating meaningful debt relief, Tsipras should reject any deal on offer.
Merkel ought to be as magnanimous with Greece as the United States was with post-Nazi Germany, when Washington forgave half of the West German government’s debts in 1953 [this is not what was most important about the Marshall Plan money: None of it went back to the United States. All of it stayed in Germany-- Eliyahu m'Tsiyon]. But if eurozone authorities won’t be reasonable, unilateral default — and even euro exit — is preferable to debt bondage. 
[emphases are mine - Eliyahu

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Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Qatar denies that any workers have died working on sites for the 2022 soccer World Cup

Of course, we would expect a government accused in a situation like this to deny or minimize the loss of life that it may be  responsible for. Here Qatar engages in a brazen lie. The Guardian has followed this story and we have previously used the Guardian's material at Emet m'Tsiyon. What is interesting and what the Guardian still conceals or works to disconnect from other facts, from the wider context of Qatar, is Qatar's role as the leading funder of Hamas, the ones who made it possible for Hamas to shoot thousands of missiles at Israeli civilian locations last summer. Also missing is the efforts of US secretary of state John Kerry to force Israel to use Qatar's "mediation" to end the war with Hamas, whereas Qatar was clearly a major or the major ally of Hamas along with Iran and Turkey. In other words, the US as a great power or superpower or imperialist power worked to favor Hamas over Israel. When the Guardian talks about Qatar's oppression of foreign workers, it does not make a connection with Hamas or the USA. If you find something to the contrary, a Guardian webpage that I am not familiar with, let me know and post it here as a comment. [Guardian June 3, 2015 at 6:59 British time].

Qatar: 'Not a single worker's life has been lost'

The state-run Qatar News Agency has published a denial by the Government Communication Office of claims surrounding the deaths of migrant workers working on World Cup sites. (Read the Guardian’s investigation into these deaths here and here.)
The Qatari rebuttal tackles a blog published by the Washington Post, which said 1,200 migrant workers are estimated to have died during the construction of World Cup sites, and a further 4,000 could die by 2022:
This is completely untrue. In fact, after almost five million work-hours on World Cup construction sites, not a single worker’s life has been lost. Not one
Qatar has more than a million migrant workers. The Global Burden of Disease study, published in the Lancet in 2012, states that more than 400 deaths might be expected annually from cardiovascular disease alone among Qatar’s migrant population, even had they remained in their home countries.
It is unfortunate that any worker should die overseas, but it is wrong to distort statistics to suggest, as the Post’s article did, that all deaths in such a large population are the result of workplace conditions.
The Post’s article was accompanied by a dramatic graphic, which purports to compare the imagined fatalities in Qatar with the number of lives lost in the construction of other international sports venues, including the London Olympics, where just one worker was reported to have died.
A more accurate comparison according to the Post’s analysis would have also suggested that every migrant worker in the United Kingdom who died between 2005 and 2012 – whatever the job and whatever the cause of death – was killed in the construction of the 2012 London Olympics. [Guardian June 3, 2015 at 6:59 British time]
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How Hamas leaders got rich, with the help of Qatar and others [Globes 24 July 2014].
Hamas is led by very rich people [Egyptian TV]
Qatar funds the so-called "Free Gaza Movement"
Qatar and other super-rich Arab powers help finance American "higher education."

Business Insider comments on the numbers of dead workers [here]

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Saturday, May 30, 2015

Pope Acknowledges He Was Misquoted/Mistranslated by MSM Press

This piece from Times of Israel reports that the Pope is personally acknowledging that he was misquoted/mistranslated by press agencies and publications such as New York Times, Associated Press (AP), Reuters and Agence France Presse (AFP) [also see: here & here&here].
In comments made to veteran Portuguese-Israeli journalist Henrique Cymerman Thursday, Francis was quoted as saying that “anyone who does not recognize the Jewish people and the State of Israel — and their right to exist — is guilty of anti-Semitism.” 
Francis was also said to have backtracked on statements he was reportedly heard making earlier this month designating the visiting Abbas “a bit an angel of peace.”
The pope recalled telling Abbas in Italian that he hopes the Palestinian chief might one day become an angel of peace in the future, according to Cymerman — although ostensibly he has not yet reached that level.
Jewish-Portuguese journalist Henrique Cymerman, August 03, 2013. (Moshe Shai/FLASH90)
Jewish-Portuguese journalist Henrique Cymerman, August 03, 2013. (Moshe Shai/FLASH90)
The comments were sent by the Pope in writing to Cymerman along with Argentine Rabbi Abraham Skorka, one of Francis’s close interfaith colleagues, after the duo approached him following his meeting with Abbas, Channel 2 reported.

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Thursday, May 28, 2015

Did US Pres. Obama & French Foreign Minister Fabius Coordinate Lies about Justice Being on the Arab Side?

Last week Pres. Obama spoke to a Jewish congregation in Washington DC, and subtly told them that justice in the Arab-Israeli conflict was all on the Arab side, which he fashionably referred to as the "Palestinians." Just the other day, French foreign minister Fabius, about to make a trip to the Middle East for the sake of "peace," told a French radio station:
"We are for a two-state solution. We need to ensure Israel's security that's obvious. There is no peace and security without justice for the Palestinians, but let's be frank justice hasn't been given to the Palestinians," Laurent Fabius told France Inter radio
Is it mere coincidence that both Obama and Fabius spoke about justice being on the Arab side and, by implication, not on the Jewish side? Most likely not. Be that as it may, Fabius was probably franker on this claim than Obama dared to be in front of a Jewish audience, so Obama spoke more subtly. Subtle lies are one of Obama's specialties and I give him full credit for this talent of his.

Nevertheless, there is no justice without truth and if Obama's audience in Washington or Fabius' audience on Radio FranceInter thinks that justice is on the Arab side, then they are ignoramuses and fools manipulated by clever politicians. I for one think that promoting Obama's dangerous pro-Iran nuke policy was just part of the meaning of this speech.

Historically, not only was the Land of Israel the homeland of the Jews, called Judea by the Roman Empire, but nobody ever heard of a "palestinian people" before this psychological warfare invention came to light and was embodied in the PLO in 1964. There were always Jews living in the country and during the periods of Arab, Mamluk and Ottoman Muslim rule the Jews in the country were at the bottom of the social barrel, inferior even to the Christian subjects of the Islamic empires who were also called "dhimmis" in Islamic law and practice  and were subject to a whole series of oppressions, pecuniary exactions, and humiliations, like the Jews. Yet, as said, the Jews were in an inferior status even to the Christian dhimmis.

The top Palestinian Arab leader, Haj Amin el-Husseini, collaborated with the Nazis and in the Holocaust. Why does Obama not remember that? Husseini was given a headquarters in Berlin during the war by the Nazis as well as funds for his entourage of other Arabs, palestinian Arabs, who were with him in Berlin. He broadcast for the Germans over Radio Berlin, urging the Arabs to "Kill Jews wherever you find them." And hundreds of Jews were massacred in Arab lands by Arabs during the Holocaust.

Indeed, historical justice is on Israel's side, although our enemies like Obama and Laurent Fabius, the foreign minister of France, claim that these Arabs need "justice." Indeed, this is an evil Judeophobic falsification of history, since it was the Arabs who oppressed Jews for more than 1000 years and whose religion teaches them to hate Jews. And it was the top palestinian Arab leader who collaborated with the Nazis and in the Holocaust and who was pleased when Hitler told him that it was his plan to extend the Shoah to the Jews in the Arab countries. And it was the Arabs in the country, in Israel, following the leadership of the Mufti Husseini, who started a war against the Jews within hours of the 29 November 1947 UN General Assembly partition recommendation for both a Jewish and an Arab state in the Land of Israel, plus an internationally governed enclave or corpus separatum in and around Jerusalem and Bethlehem.

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Sunday, May 17, 2015

New York Times Lies about Pope Calling Mahmud Abbas "an Angel of Peace"

The New York Times lies once again. And lies to the detriment of Jews. The NYT is softly sliding into the status of an open enemy of the Jews.  The Pope did not call PA/PLO leader Mahmud Abbas "an angel of peace." Rather, he expressed the wish that Abbas would become one by reaching an agreement with Israel. The NYTimes was not the only media outlet to lie about what the pope said when he met Abbas [Abu Mazen] at the Vatican. The AFP & AP, Agence France Presse and Associated Press, and many others did it too. But let us use the NYT as representative:
Mr. Abbas’s meeting with the pope ended with an exchange of gifts. Presenting Mr. Abbas with a medallion, the pope said it depicted an angel of peace “destroying the bad spirit of war.” It was an appropriate gift, the pope added, since “you are an angel of peace.” [New York Times, May 16, 2015]
However, according to the Vatican Insider site of the respected daily La Stampa, the pope actually said: you could be an angel of peace: lei possa essere un angelo della pace». He had already called both Peres and Abbas "uomo di pace" [man of peace] when he met them separately in Israel last year [he met abbas in Bethlehem]. However some media outlets would rather hear "you are an angel of peace."

Just to reinforce the point, here are how some other Italian news sites covered the same event:
Here is Il Giornale. It has:  Papa Francesco ha visto questa mattina il presidente dell'Autorità palestinese, Mahmud Abbas, che ha accolto con un abbraccio e un auspicio, chiedendogli di essere "un angelo della pace".
That is, the pope met Abbas, "asking him to be 'an angel of peace'"

This report for a women's website quotes the pope saying: Ho pensato a lei: che lei possa essere un angelo della pace». I thought of you, that you could be an angel of peace."

La Stampa's Vatican Insider site also quotes from the Vatican's official statement about the pope's meeting with Abbas. The pope was definitely talking about negotiations and not about unilateral steps, whereas lately Abbas has been taking a unilateral approach in violation of prior agreements with Israel, including the Oslo Accords. The statement says that both the pope and Abbas were:
"expressing the wish that direct negotiations between the parties might resume. in order to find a just and lasting solution to the conflict."
In this regard, the pope is friendlier to Israel than the French who want a UN-imposed settlement.
"si è parlato del processo di pace con Israele, esprimendo l’auspicio che si possano riprendere i negoziati diretti tra le Parti per trovare una soluzione giusta e duratura al conflitto. A tale scopo si è ribadito l’augurio che, con il sostegno della Comunità internazionale, Israeliani e Palestinesi prendano con determinazione decisioni coraggiose a favore della pace. Infine, con riferimento ai conflitti che affliggono il Medio Oriente, nel riaffermare l’importanza di combattere il terrorismo, è stata sottolineata la necessità del dialogo interreligioso»" [Vatican Insider of La Stampa]
So keep in mind that mainstream publications in the United States and other Western countries cannot be trusted when they report about Israel. They cannot even quote the pope correctly and honestly.

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here is an English language version of the Vatican Insider site reporting on this event at the Vatican.
Tom Gross placed this story among his Mideast Dispatches [here].

Here is a report in Spanish [aqui]:
En el intercambio de regalos el Papa le entregó a Abbas, un medallón del ángel de la paz, y le dijo: “El ángel de la paz destruye el espíritu maligno de la guerra”. Y añadió: “He pensado en su persona para que sea un ángel de la paz”. El Santo Padre le regaló también la exhortación apostólica Evangelii Gaudium en idioma inglés."
The encyclical Evangelii Gaudium is said to be sympathetic to Jews.

Three passages from Evangelii Gaudium are found on this blog post in English, as well as discussion of what the pope said and its grammatical fine points [here]

Vatican Radio in Italian reported the story of the Pope Francis-Mahmud Abbas meeting, which is tantamount to an official statement. No mention of "an angel of peace" [qui].
Vatican Radio in German has "Be an angel of peace" [OR May you be an angel of peace] --  "Sei ein Friedensengel“ sagte Papst Franziskus laut italienischen Nachrichtenagenturen [hier]
Walter Russell Mead on papal diplomacy and papal canonization of two Arabic-speaking saints [here]

5-19-2015 Brian of London and the Israellycool blog have done good work on exposing the media lie [here]


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Sunday, May 03, 2015

Obama & Kerry to Iran: If you like your nuke you can keep your nuke!!

If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor, period.
Barack Hussein Obama, President of the United States
to the AMA 15 June 2009 

Prez Obama lied to his own people when he wanted to push through his so-called Obamacare medical plan, in order to quiet down opposition and prevent his electoral base from verging into opposition to that plan. In fact, his plan has led to a severe reduction in medical care for many Americans, including those retired people living on Social Security and used to receiving medical care under the previous Medicare plan. And under Obamacare, many Americans cannot keep their doctor. Obama is lying again today. If Obama is capable of lying to his own people so as to negatively affect their medical care, and thus their health, why would he not lie to nations outside the USA?

He sent secretary of state Kerry to lie for him to the Arab states opposed to and threatened by a nuclear Iran, as well as to Israel which shares common ground with Arab states, at least on this one issue on which both Israel and most Arab states share fears of an Iranian Bomb. Last night [Saturday night]  I heard Kerry say on Israel TV channel 10:
"We will have inspectors in there every single day. That's not a 10-year deal. That's forever. There have to be inspections," he said. [Also see Jerusalem Post, 2 May 2015, Internet ed.]
Every day? Have the Iranians agreed to that? In fact, Iran has been legally bound for several decades to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty which already obliged Iran to undergo inspections of nuclear sites or suspected nuclear sites. But Iran has long resisted compliance with the treaty and prevented inspectors from the IAEA [international atomic energy agency] from inspecting in Iran as they had the legal right to do by virtue of the treaty. Which Iran has been violating for years by that fact alone, among others. Nonetheless, major Western powers, the UK, France, Germany and the USA have given Iran several "last chances." The first "last chance" was in 2003. Hence, you have to ask whether these powers really wanted to stop Iran from obtaining The Bomb --- or did they quietly want Iran to have The Bomb?

Anyhow, with Obama & Kerry and their team of lethal clowns in power, things are getting worse from the nuclear non-proliferation standpoint. Now, in order to calm down Arab opposition to the Iran nuke deal, the White House is said to be offering them high tech weapons never offered to them before (which they are however well able to pay for). But the USA is already committed to maintaining an Israeli upper hand over the Arabs in armaments, in view of the fact that the  Arabs were long threatening Israel but Israel was not threatening them. Since Obama has no compunctions about violating the international obligations of the United States, including treaties, it might sell these Arab states the very most advanced weapons. This will create a very dangerous situation in the Middle East which will be worse than the present dangerous situation. Some Arab states may work to develop their own nuke weapons to reinforce themselves, supposedly, against Iranian aggression. 

So Obama's "peace efforts" are looking more and more like war efforts. Nevertheless, Kerry claimed that:
"I say it again. We will not sign a deal that does not close off Iran's pathways to a bomb and that doesn't give us the confidence to all of our experts and global experts, that we will be able to know what Iran is doing and prevent them from getting a nuclear weapon."

A sure way to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon would be to make sure that Iran divests itself of its nuke bomb making capacity. The Lausanne framework as proclaimed by Obama and by Iranian officials [who did not agree on the content of the framework] is meant to contain Iran's capacity to produce a nuke bomb, not to eliminate that capacity. Hence, according to what Obama and his minions are admitting to now, the agreement which is not yet an agreement will allow Iran to keep its nuke bombmaking capacity. Hence there is always the danger that it will make a bomb, The Bomb, once it has decided to do so. And in a short time. Furthermore, Kerry's claim about "inspectors in there [watching Iran's nuke project] every single day" sounds groundless, given the fact that Iran has been preventing IAEA inspectors from viewing its nuke project for years, and when not preventing access for the inspectors, it has been making things difficult for them. 

So other regional governments, Arabs, Israel, and others, believe that Iran will have The Bomb sooner or later and most likely sooner. Therefore, 
"Leading Persian Gulf states want major new weapons systems and security guarantees from the White House in exchange for backing a nuclear agreement with Iran, according to U.S. and Arab officials." . . . [Wall Street JournalJAY SOLOMON And  CAROL E. LEE, May 2, 2015]
". . . The demands underscore what complicated diplomatic terrain Mr. Obama is navigating as he drives toward one of his top foreign-policy goals, and they demonstrate how a nuclear deal with Iran aimed at stabilizing the Middle East risks further militarizing an already volatile region." [Ibid, WSJ, 2 May 2015]
Although these Arab countries are mainly interested in having the most advanced weapons to counter the Iranian threat, which will grow if Iran has The Bomb,  their having these weapons will also threaten Israel. 
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shares the Arab governments’ belief that Iran poses the greatest security challenge to their region. But there remains fear in Israel that over the long term any sophisticated systems sold to the GCC countries could eventually be turned on Israel, according to Israeli officials. [Ibid.]
Another danger is that the failure to enforce existing and longstanding treaties, like the NPT [nuclear non-proliferation treaty] or the laws of the sea treaties or the treaty guaranteeing US defense of the Marshall Islands, relevant in regard to the ship seized by Iran last week that was flying the Marshall Islands flag, is dangerous.
Assuming America does not act to enforce international conventions, however, Iran will have proved her point that the conventions are no longer enforced. [Cmdr J E Dyer, USN ret here]
This means that the USA under Obama is helping make treaties ridiculous, and thereby increasing the risk to peace in other ways than simply letting Iran build The Bomb.

Once again, Obama and Kerry's "peace efforts" turn out to be war efforts.
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Sarah Honig supplies additional reasons not to trust Obama's administration [here].
Karen Elliott House explains and describes Saudi Arabia's new diplomacy [here] on 1 May 2015 in Wall Street Journal. See this paragraph: 
". . .  in two weeks . . . Mr. Obama hosts a summit of the Gulf Cooperation Council, or GCC, a collection of small Gulf countries plus Saudi Arabia, that Riyadh is seeking to lead in combating Iran’s Middle East expansion. The Saudis still hope to persuade Washington to be more active in the fight not just against Islamic State forces but also against Bashar Assad in Syria.
Mr. Obama seems to see the summit as simply an opportunity to encourage these nations to fend for themselves, showing U.S. concern for their security without offering concrete action. As Saudis point out, there is a chasm between Mr. Obama’s words and actions—as seen in his unilateral erasing of the “red line” he declared regarding Mr. Assad’s use of chemical weapons in Syria."

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Friday, April 24, 2015

High Schoolers in Land of Arab Spring Revere Hitler & ISIL

Hitler was very popular among Arab nationalists before WW2 in the 1930s. Now, 70 years after the end of the Nazi German Holocaust, perpetrated under Hitler's command, he is popular among some Arab youth, students at at least two high schools in Tunisia, the land where the Arab Spring began. This has been revealed in French media organs

In Tunisia, "Islamofascism" is not merely a media formula. It can take on a quite concrete appearance. . . . At the high school in  Jendouba in the northeast of the country, a banner showing Hitler saluting the German flag was displayed, the site of Francetv Géopolis reports.
En Tunisie, l'«islamofascisme» n'est pas qu'une formule médiatique, et peut prendre un visage bien concret. . . . .Au lycée de Jendouba au nord-est du pays, une bannière représentant Hitler saluant le drapeau allemand a été déployée, rapporte le site de Francetv Géopolis.

In another high school in the area of Jendouba, it was the black flag of the Islamic State that was put on display. . . . .

Dans un autre lycée de la zone de Jendouba, c'est le drapeau noir de l'Etat islamique qui a été exhibé. . . . 

In the girls high school of Kairowan (LJFK), the religious center of Tunisia, a banner showing a representation of the persecutions of the Islamic State was hung on a wall. One can see on it a masked warrior armed with a scimitar accompanied by two prisoners dressed in the typical orange pajama. One of them in flames might represent the Jordanian pilot burned alive by Da`ash [ISIL] last February. 

Dans le lycée de jeunes filles de Kairouan (LJFK), centre religieux de la Tunisie, une banderole représentant des exactions de l'Etat islamique a été accroché sur le mur. On y voit un guerrier masqué armé d'un cimeterre accompagné de deux prisonniers vêtus du typique pyjama orange dont un, dans les flammes, pourrait représenter le pilote jordanien brûlé vif par Daech en février dernier.
The article in Le Figaro looks for an excuse why many in the Arab world are so fascinated with Hitler. And the reporter finds a false reason.
The fascination for the 3rd Reich is not rare in the Arab countries, which did not undergo the trauma of Nazism and are gladly hostile to Israel.
La fascination pour le Troisième Reich n'est pas rare dans les pays arabes, qui n'ont pas subi le traumatisme du nazisme et sont volontiers hostiles à l'Etat d'Israël. . . . [Le Figaro, 15 April 2015]

This reason is false because in fact Nazi German troops, the Wehrmacht, did occupy Tunisia in late 1942 and early 1943. The Jews there were subjected to the preliminary stages of the Holocaust while mass murder camps were being built in North Africa. In fact, Walter Rauff, the Nazi expert in murdering Jews spent several months in Tunisia. Read excerpts from his reports to his superiors and diaries here.

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Monday, March 16, 2015

The Delusions of Diplomats & Generals

UPDATING & CORRECTION: 3-17-2015
see at bottom

PM Netanyahu has his enemies at home as well as abroad. Some domestic enemies use their supposed expertise in military matters or intelligence to criticize the prime minister. It's no secret that the Labor Party continued to have great influence over state institutions even many years after the Likud became the major party in the country or  a party of roughly equal weight to Labor. The police, judiciary, military and intelligence services still underwent great Labor Party influence, including in appointments and promotions. Lately, a group of roughly 200 retired military and intelligence officials signed a joint statement decrying Netanyahu's policies and advocating election of Yits'haq Herzog as prime minister on the list of the Zionist Camp Party, basically a continuation of the Labor Party formed in combination with the small HaTnu`ah Party of Tsipi Livni  on an ad hoc basis for this election.

These military and intelligence "experts" made all sorts of criticisms of Netanyahu, including some regarding last summer's war in Gaza. Some of these criticisms attacked the prime minister from the "right," asking why he had not crushed Hamas totally, etc. Ya`aqov Amidror, himself a former intelligence chief, responded to some of these criticisms:
One of the critics claimed the Israel Defense Forces would be able to defend any border that emerged from the negotiations. This statement holds no water because sometimes you cannot fight terrorism at the border (in case you forgot: Israel had to reconquer Judea and Samaria in 2002 to stop the wave of terrorists attacks). It is very sad to see such professionally misguided comments be used for the sake of political mudslinging.
So any border can be defended, can it? But at what price? Do we want to give the Arabs military advantages, such as strategic terrain, mountains etc, that will tempt them to start another war? These would-be peacemakers end up causing war.

Amos Yadlin, a former defense official now designated by the "Zionist Camp" to be defense minister if it wins the election, objected to Netanyahu accepting an invitation from the US Congress to address it on the issue of the Iranian nuclear project.
He agrees with Netanyahu that the Iranian nuke is a problem but offers a different way of dealing with it. He proposes talking quietly to the US foreign policy and military establishments and winning their cooperation for acting jointly against the Iranian nuke. The problem is that Israel has no way of forcing the United States to cooperate in working against the Iranian nuke. Especially if it does not want to. And we now see that the White House and the State Department and the military and national security establishments of the United States are right now interested in allowing Iran to get The Bomb. For this purpose, they are accusing the senators and congressmen who had questioned their policy of interfering with policymaking and with their negotiations with Iran although the US constitution clearly gives the Senate the right and duty to examine all treaties before signature and then to approve or reject them. On the Iran Bomb issue, the previous Bush administration was not all that active in opposing an Iran Bomb and gave Iran "one last chance" to come clean about its efforts as far back as 2003. Gilad may understand that the present US Govt wants Iran to have The Bomb but what he is saying is totally different. He is holding out the pie-in-the-sky notion that Israel with a government led by Herzog could somehow persuade the American officials to do what they have not shown a desire to do over the last 15 years. Herzog for his part, supposedly told an American journalist that he trusted Obama to get a good deal in negotiations with Iran. Many or most US senators, including many Demcrats, do not agree. Maybe we could put a cute blonde wig on Herzog and call him Pollyanna.

Then there is the diplomat, Michael Oren. He believes in unilateral withdrawal from Arab population centers in Judea-Samaria, the so-called "west bank." He would retain most settlements under Israeli control but would withdraw the army from many areas, while "Israeli troops would still patrol strategic borders." Of course, Israel would be more vulnerable to terrorist attacks and conventional military attack the more territory that it withdraws from. Moreover, some of the reasons that he cites for such a withdrawal, such as ending "occupation" of Arab-inhabited areas and Arab population growth outpacing Jewish population growth, are not valid. Israel gave up control nineteen years ago of all major Arab cities and population  centers to the "Palestinian Authority". What places is he talking about? Then it is also not true that Arab population growth in Judea-Samaria is so much greater than Jewish population growth in Israel. Lastly, we meet the main refutation of the utility of unilateralism. That is, any borders or lines that Israel withdraws or retreats to will not be recognized by the US or by the so-called international community or the UN,  EU, etc. Instead, Israel will be asked: Why don't you go farther? Why don't you go all the way? And pressure on Israel is sure to increase in such an eventuality.  Further unilateral retreat will be seen as a sign of admission of guilt for alleged "occupation of Arab lands" prior to the retreat.

Despite the stupidities of these ideas, whether or not sincerely held,  we will hear them over and over. Maybe they conceal some very cynical political calculations.
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A previous version of this post incorrectly identified Amos Gilad, who is still serving in the Israeli defense establishment, with the retired general, Amos Yadlin. Gilad is still serving as said. He is the head of the political/security branch of the Defense Ministry. He too, like Netanyahu, believes that Iran is the greatest security threat to Israel.

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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Obama Is Negotiating with Hitler's Iranian Spiritual Heirs

Other than developing a nuclear bomb in violation of Iran's commitment to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the NPT, what else is Iran doing in violation of international law and of all decency? Our last post showed threats made by the present ayatollah government of Iran against the Jews of Israel. These threats violate UN Charter, Article 2:4. Some of these show an uncanny resemblance to Hitler's threats to annihilate the Jews, as shown in the previous post. So on those grounds alone there seems to be something wrong in negotiating with Iran as if somehow an agreement with the present ayatollahs' regime could bring about a peaceful resolution of Iran's quest for The Bomb in violation of the NPT. Part of the problem with Obama's negotiating stance --and that of the P5+1 powers as a whole-- is that they seldom if ever speak of the treaty violation embodied in the very quest by the ayatollahs' regime for a nuclear weapon.

Nevertheless, it would be helpful to display the threats that the present Iranian regime has made in order to properly appreciate the nature of the regime and its purposes. The threats were not only against Israel:

"Israel will disappear and the Western countries that defend it would do well to abandon it so that they themselves are not overwhelmed by the rage of hundreds of millions of Muslims. If the rage of the peoples of the region becomes a storm, it will not be contained within the boundaries of Lebanon and Palestine but will crash down on you too. Think of your own long term interests in the region. This is our final word."
[Muhammad Ahmadinejad 20 October 2006, quoted by Carlo Panella in Fascismo Islamico (Milan: Rizzoli 2007), pp 23-24. Also in Le Monde, 22-23 Octobre 2006; p4]

For those who want to check, here is the quote above as translated into Italian by Carlo Panella:

"Israele scomparirà e i Paesi occidentali che lo difendono faranno bene ad abbandonarlo per non essere essi stessi travolti dalla rabbia di centinaia di milioni di musulmani. Se la rabbia dei popoli della regione diventa una tempesta, non sarà contenuta nei confine del Libano e della Palestina, ma si abbaterà anche su di voi. Pensate ai vostri interessi a lungo termine nella regione. Questa è la nostra ultima parola." [Mohammed Ahmadinejad, 20 ottobre 2006, citato da Carlo Panella in Fascismo Islamico (Milan: Rizzoli 2007), pp 23-24]

Let's examine what Ahmadinejad said above. He made these threats against the Western countries, although the United States had helped the Khomeini regime take power in 1979 when Ahmadinejad was just a junior regime thug leader. France too had helped Khomeini by letting him take refuge in France before he came back to Iran. The US role was described by George Lenczowski in a piece in American Spectator circa 1981. A-jad threatens a storm against the Western countries, although some had helped the regime take power in Iran. He threatens Western interests in the Middle East, but he suggests that these interests will be protected if only the Western states collaborate in destroying Israel. This is explicit in another part of A-jad's statement of the same date. Addressing the UK and the USA, he says: "You . . .  brought into the Middle East this Israeli people of terrorists and enemies of religion [ie, of Islam]. You helped it to subdue the peoples of the region. The best thing now is for you yourselves to take it away." [Panella, op cit, p24]. The remark: "This is our final word," has a strong odor of Hitler's bombastic threats and ultimatums.

Unfortunately, some of Ahmadinejad's demagoguic lies are widely believed nowadays, so much so as to be what Max Nordau called "conventional lies of civilization." For the record, Jews have always lived in the Middle Easten region and in the Land of Israel in particular since the beginnings of the Jewish/Israelite people thousands of years ago. About half of Israel's Jewish population migrated from Muslim-ruled lands, including Iran where Jews were oppressed. So much for the UK and USA bringing Jews into the Middle East. Next, since Israel became independent in 1948 --which was opposed by the UK & USA-- they have usually favored and encouraged the Arab states and PLO against Israel. As of now, the USA and the EU to which the UK belongs contribute something like a billion dollars per year to the budget of the Palestinian Authority. One may add the millions donated by the EU and its member states to so-called non-governmental organizations besmirching Israel and undermining it in public opinion.

Finally, A-jad threatened Europe in particular. "The Americans are far away but you are the neighbors of the peoples of this region. . .  [If you support Israel, you must expect] the hatred of the peoples of the world. . . if the hurricane is unleashed, its effects will not be limited to the borders of Palestine and they will strike you."
[quoted in Panella, op cit, pp 24-25; also Le Monde, 22-23 Octobre 2006; p4]

This is the nature of the regime that Obama claims will restrain itself and keep an agreement if he conducts proper negotiations with it. Can Obama not know the thuggish, fascistic nature of the regime in Teheran?

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