I just got back home from out of town. I found this urgent e-mail from Jewish Russian Telegraph:
…Our children will ask us — what did you do to defend Israel in Annapolis?
Time to call: Monday 11/26/07, during office hours
How to call: click http://jrtelegraph.callsforjerusalem.org/ for a completely automated calling system:
calls are free, courtesy of Coordinating Council for Jerusalem
Again, here is the link. It seems to be the same link that was posted on Little Green Footballs. This link allows you to call the White House, the State Department and the Israeli Embassy. I have just tried calling, but the offices are closed. They will send an e-mail tomorrow to remind me to call during the business hours. Please call also.
The mood is dark in the IDF’s General Staff ahead of next week’s "peace" conference in Annapolis. As one senior officer directly involved in the negotiations with the Palestinians and the Americans said, "As bad as it might look from the outside, the truth is 10 times worse. This is a nightmare. The Americans have never been so hostile."
On Thursday a draft of the joint statement that Israeli and Palestinian negotiators are discussing ahead of the conference was leaked to the media. A reading of the document bears out the IDF’s concerns.
The draft document shows that the Palestinians and the Israelis differ not only on every issue, but differ on the purpose of the document. It also shows that the US firmly backs the Palestinians against Israel.
As the draft document makes clear, Israel is trying to avoid committing itself to anything at Annapolis. For their part, the Palestinians are trying to force Israel’s hand by tying it to diplomatic formulas that presuppose an Israeli withdrawal to the 1949 armistice lines and an Israeli acceptance of the so-called "right of return" or free immigration of foreign Arabs to Israel.
The Palestinians are also trying to take away Israel’s right to determine for itself whether to trust the Palestinians and continue making diplomatic and security concessions or not by making it the responsibility of outside parties to decide the pace of the concessions and whether or not the Palestinians should be trusted.
As the leaked draft document shows, the Americans have sided with the Palestinians against Israel. Specifically, the Americans have taken for themselves the sole right to judge whether or not the Palestinians and the Israelis are abiding by their commitments and whether and at what pace the negotiations will proceed.
But the Americans have shown themselves to be unworthy of Israel’s trust. By refusing to acknowledge Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party’s direct involvement in terrorism and indeed the direct involvement of his official Fatah "security forces" in terrorism, the Americans have shown that their benchmarks for Palestinian compliance with their commitments to Israel are not necessarily based on the reality on the ground. Then too, the US demands for wide-ranging Israeli security concessions to the Palestinians even before the "peace" conference at Annapolis have shown that Israel’s security is of little concern to the State Department.
IDF sources blame the shooting murder of Ido Zoldan on Monday night by Fatah terrorists on Israel’s decision to bow to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s demand to take down 24 security roadblocks in Judea and Samaria. If it hadn’t been for US pressure, they say, it is quite possible that the 29-year-old father of two small children would be alive today.
But this is of no concern for Washington. As Rice has made clear repeatedly, the US wants to see "signs of progress." Since the Palestinians are taking no action against terror and doing nothing to lessen their society’s jihadist fervor, the only way to achieve "signs of progress" is by forcing Israel to make concessions to the Palestinians. And so that is exactly what Rice and her associates are doing.
It is really upsetting to me as an American to read this. Unfortunately Caroline Glick is absolutely correct. Read it for yourself. And
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…supports my favorite Presidential Candidate. I am talking about Vince Flynn, the author of "Memorial Day" and numerous other novels about Mtch Rapp, an American counter-terrorism operative who knows what needs to be done in the current war. His latest book, "Protect and Defend", deals with Iranian threat. I have yet to read this book. For now here is Vince Flynn’s interview that he gave to "Washington Times" upon release of his new book:
A page from his book
November 16, 2007
By Audrey Hudson – Novelist Vince Flynn’s hot new political thriller featuring CIA superspy Mitch Rapp hit the New York Times best-seller list at No. 1 this week.
In "Protect and Defend," Mr. Flynn pushes the political debate on the use of torture in the war on terror as he pits Rapp against master terrorist Imad Mukhtar.
The following are excerpts of a recent telephone interview with Mr. Flynn:
Question: In the real world, how effective do you think torture is with Islamic terrorists?
A: Far more effective than liberals would have you believe. Congress really upset me with how they treated Attorney General Michael Mukasey and how the media pushed this question. Why aren’t reporters forcing senators and Congress to answer the same questions about torture? What do you think we should have done? Given them a lawyer, three square meals a day and let planes get hijacked?
I think it should be done in the rarest of situations. Anybody who says torture doesn’t work hasn’t studied the history of torture. Torture, or aggressive interrogation, is only as good as the interrogators. Take Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, for instance. He got waterboarded and he sang like a canary … he ended up naming operatives and giving up a treasure trove of financial secrets as well as plans for future attacks. This was not Uday and Qusai Hussein at work. This was done with clinical precision, not brute force. There are multiple interrogators, lie detectors, doctors and a group of analysts in the next room connected to every friendly western intelligence agency to check everything the subject says.
That’s a far cry from what Senator [John] McCain experienced, and he says that torture does not work. I have a lot of respect for the man, but when he was in the Hanoi Hilton, he was brutally tortured to give up names, so he gave them the starting lineup of the Green Bay Packers. Back then, it would have been difficult to verify; but today, it’s called "Google."
I’m not talking about pulling people out of cafes in Baghdad, torture has to be reserved for high-value targets.
All of these men and some women who happen to participate in the program have to be waterboarded themselves, they’ve gone through it and they know how terrifying it is. I know Amnesty International would disagree with me, but every American needs to ask themselves, "If you could turn back the clock one week [before the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks] would you want Zacarias Moussaoui to have been interrogated by waterboarding?"
Q: How can we win the war on terrorism when many cannot acknowledge who the enemy is?
A: That’s a tough question. I’ll waffle on this. As a society, we need to start demanding a few things. We have embraced liberty, equality in the sexes and religion — we believe in all of this. If you want to come to this country and you are Muslim, you had better agree and be fine with the Christian and Jewish faith. But if you are going to come over here and preach hatred and raise money for Hamas and Hezbollah, we’re going to kick you out of the country.
As an Irish-Catholic kid in the 1980s, I remember being disgusted with the thugs and the terrorists in the [Irish Republican Army] and I don’t remember anyone who was Irish-American saying to [novelist] Tom Clancy after "Patriot Games": "How dare you portray people in the IRA for what they were, a bunch of thugs and terrorists?" What drives me nuts is people like [the Council on American-Islamic Relations] who, any time somebody in fiction or on TV has a villain who happens to portray what is going on in the world today — Islamic radicals who embrace a cult of death and are running around killing innocent women and children — they get upset about it. CAIR would better serve American Muslims if they spent more time criticizing these Islamic terrorist groups.
Q: If Americans are so opposed to torturing our enemies, how do you explain the popularity of Mitch Rapp?
A: They’re not opposed to torturing men like Sheikh Mohammed, but they don’t want to run around and talk about it in public. Look at Hollywood. They all detest President Bush because their friends will think they are smarter by hating him. They wear it as a badge of honor. They try to prove to people they are smart and compassionate and enlightened, so people will like them. But instead, they make these movies the American people don’t want to see, because deep down inside, the American public does not want to see a movie that bashes America. People like Rosie O’Donnell say they love America, but they have a funny way of showing it.
People want a guy like Mitch Rapp looking out for them. People want to believe there are guys like this out there protecting us.
Q: This year has seen a surge of antiwar films, which are flopping like dominoes, while "Protect and Defend" is the No. 1 book this week. Is Hollywood ready for Mitch Rapp yet?
A: I don’t think we are quite there. Hollywood is now saying people don’t want to watch movies about war. No, Americans don’t want to watch [bad] anti-American movies about war. Americans would love to watch a great movie where Mitch Rapp is meting out punishment to these crazy zealots, but I don’t know if Hollywood has the guts to do it. If Democrats take the White House, Hollywood will make a movie like that in a heartbeat.
Mitch Rapp has taken on a cult following, but Hollywood doesn’t get it for the same reasons they don’t understand talk radio, Wal-Mart or NASCAR.
Q: Who are you backing for president?
A: Rudy [Giuliani]. He’s a bit of a moderate and can unite the country and get the country focused on the war against terrorists. He symbolizes the gravity of the situation, and I don’t think the guy will back off for a moment having witnessed September 11. I don’t think the man will waiver. If he gets ahold of Osama bin Laden, he will throw everything he can at the guy.
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In light of the current war against Islamo-Fascist ideology I was willing to give Russian President Putin a benefit of a doubt, despite his clearly dictatorial tendencies. I was willing to view him as a Russian version of Spain’s Franco or Chile’s Pinochet, a dictator whose goal is to prepare his country for true constitutional democracy. Unfortunately it looks more and more like I have been wrong. A friend e-mailed me this disturbing article:
Russia: ‘National Leader’ Idea Gains Strength
By Brian Whitmore
Russia — Members of the Vladimir Putin Fan Club participate in a rally in Moscow, 25 Oct 2007
Recent rally supporting Putin
November 18, 2007 (RFE/RL) — Russia has a hot new catchphrase that is obsessing the political elite and is being chanted like a mantra by the media: National Leader.
More than 700 delegates from across the country turned up for a well-orchestrated pep rally in the city of Tver on November 15 to pledge allegiance to President Vladimir Putin and implore him to remain in power after his term ends next year.
Since Putin is constitutionally forbidden from seeking a third consecutive term as president, the event’s organizers are proposing to grant him a sort of elevated mythological status as Russia’s supreme ruler who would lord over any future president or prime minister — unburdened by troublesome term limits and pesky constitutional restrictions.
The meeting, held in a local theater adorned with Russian tricolor flags and banners reading "For Putin!," followed a wave of demonstrations in support of the president in numerous Russian regions. It resulted in forming an organization called the "All-Russian Council of Initiative Groups to Support Putin."
"We are gathering not for a third term," Pavel Astakhov, a prominent attorney who was elected the organization’s leader, told RFE/RL’s Russian Service. "We respect the president’s word and we believe him when he says he will not change the constitution. And since he will not change the constitution, we need to find a new configuration of authority."
Astrakhov later told reporters that his group has gathered 30 million signatures in support of Putin remaining in power as Russia’s "national leader." (emphasis mine – Eric-Odessit)
He insists that that the recent groundswell of pro-Putin demonstrations is a genuine grassroots movement and is not being orchestrated by the Kremlin. Press reports and critics of the Kremlin, however, have alleged that students and state employees have been pressured to attend the rallies.
Read the whole thing. So, it looks like Russia is moving from a Communist dictatorship to a nationalist totalitarian dictatorship. I don’t call it "Nazi" only because there seems to be no "socialist" part of it. A country that is looking for some national idea and finding only nationalism, but lacking any moral foundation and failing economically and demographically, may blame others for its failings and lash out to prove its greatness. That is very dangerous. We might still find Russia allied with our enemies, even though it does not make any sense at this point.
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I am re-posting my Thanksgiving post from last year. There is one notable addition to those whom I should give my thanks. That group of people I most definitely meant to thank last year, but forgot to mention them by name. I am talking about members of the American Armed Forces, past and present. Thanks to them, we all have the lives we have. So, thank you, American Military.
Thanksgiving is a quintessentially American holiday. So, what am I thankful for? I am thankful for my family, for my wonderful wife and 2 beautiful girls. I am also thankful for the generally pretty good life I have. But who should thank for all this? The religious people thank G-d for all their blessings. But I am not religious enough in order to do that. And then it dawned on me. I should thank this wonderful country called United States of America and its wonderful people.
So, thank you, America, for existing, for being a beacon of freedom in the world where freedom is far from being commonplace. Thank you for making freedom your “national idea”, if you will.
Thank you, America, for accepting me as your own. You welcomed me, my family and friends and made us all Americans, part of your great people. You accept anybody who is willing to be accepted. You made acceptance and tolerance part of your ideology too.
Finally, thank you, America, for defending “liberty and justice for all” all over the world. Your young people volunteer to go and fight for what’s right and moral. If I were 20 years younger I would have joined them (lame excuse really, but that’s the only one I have). Winston Churchill once said: “The Americans can always be counted on to do the right thing, after they had exhausted all other possibilities”. He knew what he was talking about. It is only natural to try “all other possibilities”: people always look for easy solutions. But in the end Americans do the right thing, no matter what the cost, for doing the right thing is a part of American ideology too.
Thank you, America.
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Many people who follow the world events, especially the current war against Islamo-fascist ideology are familiar with the Muhammed Al-Dura controversy. It was claimed that a 12 year old Palestinian boy was caught in a crossfire between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian terrorists and killed. The Islamists and their sympathizers in the West were quick to blame the Israelis for the death of the boy. I personally thought that the poor boy and his father were simply at the wrong place at the wrong time and were caught in the crossfire. However, slowly but surely the evidence were beginning to emerge first that the boy could not possibly have been hit by the fire from the Israeli position, and then that the whole thing was likely staged and nobody died. France 2 television channel that reported the alleged shooting showed a very small portion of the raw footage they had – only 59 seconds. Only 3 minutes were distributed to other news organizations. French journalist Philippe Karsenty attempted to expose France 2 and was sued by the TV channel. In one of the most biased court decisions he was convicted of libeling France 2. Karsenty appealed the court ruling, and was granted a hearing. The supporters of Philippe Karsenty created a petition demanding the release of 27 minutes of raw footage shot by France 2 Palestinian cameraman. At the hearing France 2 showed 18 minutes of raw footage, out of 27 minutes that were shot. While the questions remain about the 9 minutes that were not shown, it has been proven that, at the very least, nobody can say for sure whether the poor boy had been shot at all, much less that he had been shot by the Israelis. Thus, this modern blood libel has begun unraveling. I hope that at some point the whole 27 minutes of the raw footage will be released to the public. For now, here are some impressions of the people who were in the court room.
I can’t really add much to it.
Here is an essay on the subject by Yaacov Ben Moshe. And, on second thought, here is what I can add to everything already said on this subject: unlike the previous blood libels against Jews, this one was perpetrated by Charles Enderlin, himself a Jew. When the realization of this finally dawns on him, he will have to live with that.
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Sultan Knish, with whom I was having a friendly dispute over my recent book review responded to me several days ago. So, here is my reply. I’ll try to keep it short because I don’t want to keep dragging it along.
First of all, I strongly disagree that the Left was somehow less anti-Semitic than the Right. The only place where it applied to a very limited extent was the early years of the Russian Revolution and the Civil War, mainly because the Jews were often major figures on the Left. And even there the anti-Semitic atrocities committed by the Red 1st Cavalry Army were numerous and stopped only by the Army’s commissar Voroshilov, whose wife was Jewish. Later, during World War 2, according to some sources Soviet Partisan leader Ponomarenko issued orders not to accept Jews into partisan units (this varied from one instance to the next). The treatment of the Jews by the Soviet partisans described in "Defiance: The Bielski Partisans" by Nechama Tec, a book that tells the story of the Bielski brothers’ efforts to save as many Jews as they could. In Poland, according to the book I reviewed, as well as Dan Kurzman’s "The Bravest Battle", Polish Communist leader Gomulka also issued orders not to help Jews. In fact, according to both books, explicit orders to help the Jews came from the Polish Government in London, which controlled the Home Army. So, the amount of anti-Semitism was about equal on both Left and Right, as was the amount of help to the Jews. I am just trying to avoid giving the Left an undeserved credit.
I don’t think that Polish and Jewish nationalists found common ground in their respective nationalisms. I think the fact that the members of the ZZW were officers of the Polish Army and fought together with the Polish officers back in 1939 was much more significant for their cooperation. It is only natural: in an extreme situation, when survival is at stake, political considerations get replaced by the bond of combat, as they should.
Sultan’s analogy of white nationalists being OK with Israel, but still wanting to rid their countries of Jews, might be a good explanation of why European white nationalists are friendly to Israel. But I don’t think it applies to America. In this country white nationalists are aligned with Islamists. By the way, Sultan has a great analysis of the recent dispute within the anti-Jihadist movement.
The NKVD conspiracy may or may not be true, especially in view of Sultan’s recent revelation about the author of the article I mentioned in a private e-mail, but I don’t see how, even if it is true, it excuses post-war pogroms in Poland. After all, the fact that the pogroms in czarist Russia were often instigated by the government does not excuse the Russian anti-Semites.
Sultan mentions Russian military historians "claiming that Hitler was a Soviet agent". He must be talking about Vladimir Rezun, better known under his pen name of Viktor Suvorov. Suvorov indeed claims that Hitler was manipulated by the Soviets back in the 1920s, although I did not take this claim as meaning that he was consciously working for the Soviets. I think in this Suvorov takes his argument too far. But, for the record, I have to say that I subscribe to his theory that Stalin was getting ready to attack Hitler (this would not be necessarily bad). Suvorov describes his theory in "Icebreaker". In my opinion, this is the only theory that explains disastrous Soviet defeats in 1941 without portraying Soviet generals who eventually won the war in the East as complete idiots. This theory is also supported by the circumstantial evidence that I read about in sources totally unrelated to Suvorov, as well as stories my grandpa told me. But that is a subject of another discussion.
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I recently wrote a review of a book I have read: "Two Flags: Return to the Warsaw Ghetto" by Marian Apfelbaum. I submitted this review to the latest Jewish Blog Carnival. That is probably how a commenter by the name of Sultan Knish found me. His comment is 3rd there. He is a typical Jewish Conservative, with views very similar to my own. His blog is very good and nicely done. So it was very strange to read in his comment assertions typically coming from leftist Jews, not unlike frequent accusations of Christian Right of anti-Semitism. Although, I suppose I should not be surprised: I’ve heard many times from fellow Jews, including the ones from the former Soviet Union, who are usually on the Right, that anybody could potentially be an anti-Semite. So I would like to respond to his comment on the front page of this blog. I have to preface my response with this: Sultan Knish and I agree on more issues than we disagree on. In fact, we probably agree on almost everything. So this is a minor disagreement between friends (I am pretty sure we could be friends, had we met).
Sultan Knish begins his comment by asserting: "The Home Army was indeed anti-semitic". What is the basis of this assertion? Or, more to the point, what does it mean? Does it mean that Polish Home Army was an anti-Semitic organization, conducting anti-Semitic policies? Or does it mean that many its members were anti-Semites? Well, I have no doubts that many members of the Polish Home Army were anti-Semites. But so were many members of the US Army, and other Allied armies for that matter. Patton was known to say anti-Semitic things. But that does not make US Army anti-Semitic. As for the Polish Home Army policy regarding the Jews, that was most definitely not anti-Semitic. There is evidence that they did what they could under the circumstances. That includes evidence presented in the book I reviewed.
Sultan Knish also says that much of Poland was anti-Semitic. Again, it is true that anti-Semitism in Poland was rampant. But it is not fair to single out Poles for that. People often talk about Polish anti-Semitism, but forget about the Vichy French, who ran their own concentration cam in Drancy. People forget about Latvians serving in Arajs Kommando, Estonian SS Division, Lithuanian Nazis and Ukrainian SS Division. People forget about Dutch SS and Belgian SS. I am deliberately listing Nazis from the Allied countries. And those Nazis were quite numerous. So, in light of this, singling our Poles does not seem fair. Especially given the fact that among Righteous Gentiles Poles outnumber everybody else. This is really not surprising, since the Jews comprised about 10% of Polish pre-war population and since most of the Holocaust happened on Polish territory. But this also means that there were a lot of people willing to risk their lives to help the Jews, despite rampant anti-Semitism.
Finally, Sultan Knish brings up the notorious Kielce pogrom that happened after the war to prove general anti-Semitism of the Polish population. But there is no need to prove this: I agree that anti-Semitism was rampant in Poland. I mentioned that I read in a Russian-Jewish magazine an article that suggested that the Kielce pogrom was instigated by the Soviet intelligence (this is disputed in the Wikipedia link I referenced above). Even if that pogrom was indeed instigated by the Soviets, it does not mean that there were no Poles perfectly willing to kill the Jews in Kielce. Quite the opposite. The name of the magazine I read that article in is Alef (sorry, the link is in Russian). It is published by Chamah in New York. The author of the article was Vilen Lulechnik, a Jewish military historian from Russia, living in the US (sorry again, the link is in Russian again). But whether that pogrom was instigated by the Soviets or not, it is very hard to suspect the magazine and the author of the article in Polish nationalism. Suggesting that NKVD was involved in the post-war pogroms does not whitewash or excuse the original crime, but merely adds another set of criminals to already existing ones. Comparing my mention of an article in a Jewish magazine to Holocaust denial was a bit offensive (understatement here). It certainly was not my intent to whitewash the crimes of Polish anti-Semites. I am merely attempting to give credit where credit is due. Besides, the times have changed. After all, it was the Polish Members of the European Parliament who boycotted anti-Israeli anti-Semitic hatefest organized by UN. So, while condemning Polish anti-Semites, we should be grateful to those Poles who helped the Jews, who were and are on the side freedom, decency and Western Civilization.
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I haven’t posted for a while: between being very busy at work and San Diego wild fires I simply did not have time. I still don’t, but today a have a little bit of time for my blog.
If anyone is curious how my family faired during the fires, we did have to evacuate: it was pretty close to our house. But we are OK, and our house is OK too. Now it’s all back to normal.
I added this link below to my sidebar. Apparently Amazon now lets you rent or buy movies by simply downloading them to your computer. Then you can either watch them on your computer screen or, if you have an S-Video output on your video card, hook it up to your TV and watch a movie normally on TV. There is also a way to use TiVo in order to watch a movie on your TV. This is a great idea. For a very long time I was wondering when it would become available. Now it is. Check it out. This certainly beats going to a video store or waiting for a DVD to arrive in the mail.
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