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Monday, September 29, 2014

The Star of David Molecule

From The University of Manchester:

Scientists at The University of Manchester have generated a new star-shaped molecule made up of interlocking rings, which is the most complex of its kind ever created.


Known as a ‘Star of David’ molecule, scientists have been trying to create one for over a quarter of a century and the team’s findings are published at 1800 London time / 1300 US Eastern Time on 21 September 2014 in the journal Nature Chemistry.

Consisting of two molecular triangles, entwined about each other three times into a hexagram, the structure’s interlocked molecules are tiny – each triangle is 114 atoms in length around the perimeter. The molecular triangles are threaded around each other at the same time that the triangles are formed, by a process called ‘self-assembly’, similar to how the DNA double helix is formed in biology.

The molecule was created at The University of Manchester by PhD student Alex Stephens.

Professor David Leigh, in Manchester’s School of Chemistry, said: “It was a great day when Alex finally got it in the lab. In nature, biology already uses molecular chainmail to make the tough, light shells of certain viruses and now we are on the path towards being able to reproduce its remarkable properties.

“It’s the next step on the road to man-made molecular chainmail, which could lead to the development of new materials which are light, flexible and very strong. Just as chainmail was a breakthrough over heavy suits of armour in medieval times, this could be a big step towards materials created using nanotechnology. I hope this will lead to many exciting developments in the future.”

The team’s next step will be to make larger, more elaborate, interlocked structures.
What - no molecular sukkah?

(h/t Ronald)


09/29 Links Pt2: Lady Gaga: World is wrong about Israel; Abbas Finds a Friend in The NYTs

From Ian:

Lady Gaga: World is wrong about Israel
Pop star Lady Gaga says the world’s image of Israel is inaccurate, calling the country “a beautiful place.”
“Oh it was fantastic!” said Lady Gaga in an interview published Friday by The Independent, talking about her September 13 performance in Tel Aviv. “Tel Aviv was magnificent. The world view of Israel is just not reality. It’s in a beautiful place, the people are in good spirits.”
“I had a very emotional show with those fans. It was wonderful,” she said.
The 28-year-old singer also said her duet at the Tel Aviv show with famed crooner Tony Bennett was not planned, but was rather his idea.
“And I was very overwhelmed when Tony surprised me there. I knew he was coming in [to Tel Aviv] for a show, but he came a day early and he said: ‘Hey, you wanna sing “Anything But Love” at the ArtRave?’ And I thought: ‘Gosh, how magnificent! To bridge the jazz and the pop world at the same time.’ And at that show there were 25,000 people singing every word.”
Outrage over top German politician comparing Hamas to Israel
The Social Democratic Party of Germany has stepped up the rhetoric against Israel. Rainer Arnold, a defense expert and deputy for the SPD, told the SPD party newspaper Forward in September that “radical forces in both camps” - meaning Israel and Hamas - were fueling the ongoing conflict in Gaza.
Prof. Gerald Steinberg, president of NGO Monitor and political science professor at Bar-Ilan University, told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday that Arnold “has displayed a disturbing inability to distinguish between the aggression of Hamas and the defense by Israel.”
The SPD is Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition partner in government. Dr. Elvira Grözinger, a member of the German branch of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East, told the Post that “some people in the SPD like Arnold seem to be totally ignorant of the fact that Hamas is listed as a terrorist organization by the EU, the US and Israel. Israel has not only the right but a duty to defend itself and its citizens.”
She added, “Whoever denies Israel this right [self-defense] is an anti-Semite willing to eventually approve the destruction of the Jewish state. It is high time for this party [SPD] to repudiate such opinions and take measures against its members who belittle terror.”
'Lancet' Editor Visiting Israel Amid Anti-Semitism Uproar
As the scandal over The Lancet's recent article, "Open Letter for the People in Gaza," grew at week's end, following NGO Monitor's discovery that two of the primary authors promoted an anti-Semitic video by white supremacist David Duke, NGO Monitor called on Dr. Richard Horton to take responsibility for his decisions as editor of the journal.
NGO Monitor noted that, rather than retracting the letter and apologizing, Horton is coming to visit Israel this week.
"The trip will not provide Horton immunity from the justifiable moral outrage of Israelis, the Jewish community, and medical professionals," said Yitzhak Santis, Chief Programs Officer at NGO watchdog group, NGO Monitor. "Nor will it absolve Horton of his responsibility to correct his politicized, non-scientific editorial distortions. If he cannot do so, he should resign," Santis said.

The strangely aged "14-year old" martyr

On July 13, the Gaza Ministry of Health announced the death of 14-year old Hussein Abdelkader Muheisen, who died of his wounds suffered a few days earlier.

It was published in a number of Arabic sites, including Palestine Today.

His death was not mentioned by PCHR.

Today, Palestine Today celebrates the young man, who actually was 24 years old:



Islamic Jihad claims that Muheisen led a team that ambushed elite Israeli soldiers, killing several. That is not true, since the first Israeli casualty was on July 15.

The Meir Amit Terrorism Center so far has identified 354 terrorists, 49%, out of 751 Gaza dead that they identified positively. They note that many of the terrorists killed were not listed in various NGO reports, so when PCHR was claiming a high percentage of civilians killed, one reason it was exaggerated was because they ignored some people they knew were terrorists.

Bibi speech at UN (video, transcript)

Full video of Bibi Netanyahu's speech at the UN today:



Here's the transcript:

Thank you, Mr. President,
Distinguished delegates,

I come here from Jerusalem to speak on behalf of my people, the people of Israel. I've come here to speak about the dangers we face and about the opportunities we see. I've come here to expose the brazen lies spoken from this very podium against my country and against the brave soldiers who defend it. Ladies and Gentlemen, The people of Israel pray for peace. But our hopes and the world's hope for peace are in danger. Because everywhere we look, militant Islam is on the march. It's not militants. It's not Islam. It's militant Islam.

Typically, its first victims are other Muslims, but it spares no one. Christians, Jews, Yazidis, Kurds – no creed, no faith, no ethnic group is beyond its sights. And it's rapidly spreading in every part of the world. You know the famous American saying: "All politics is local"? For the militant Islamists, "All politics is global." Because their ultimate goal is to dominate the world. Now, that threat might seem exaggerated to some, since it starts out small, like a cancer that attacks a particular part of the body. But left unchecked, the cancer grows, metastasizing over wider and wider areas.

To protect the peace and security of the world, we must remove this cancer before it's too late. Last week, many of the countries represented here rightly applauded President Obama for leading the effort to confront ISIS. And yet weeks before, some of these same countries, the same countries that now support confronting ISIS, opposed Israel for confronting Hamas. They evidently don’t understand that ISIS and Hamas are branches of the same poisonous tree. ISIS and Hamas share a fanatical creed, which they both seek to impose well beyond the territory under their control.

Listen to ISIS’s self-declared caliph,Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi. This is what he said two months ago: A day will soon come when the Muslim will walk everywhere as a master… The Muslims will cause the world to hear and understand the meaning of terrorism… and destroy the idol of democracy. Now listen to Khaled Meshaal, the leader of Hamas. He proclaims a similar vision of the future: We say this to the West… By Allah you will be defeated. Tomorrow our nation will sit on the throne of the world. As Hamas's charter makes clear, Hamas’s immediate goal is to destroy Israel. But Hamas has a broader objective. They also want a caliphate. Hamas shares the global ambitions of its fellow militant Islamists. That’s why its supporters wildly cheered in the streets of Gaza as thousands of Americans were murdered on 9/11. And that's why its leaders condemned the United States for killing Osama Bin Laden, whom they praised as a holy warrior. So when it comes to their ultimate goals, Hamas is ISIS and ISIS is Hamas. And what they share in common, all militant Islamists share in common: • Boko Haram in Nigeria; • Ash-Shabab in Somalia; • Hezbollah in Lebanon; • An-Nusrah in Syria; • The Mahdi Army in Iraq; • And the Al-Qaeda branches in Yemen, Libya, the Philippines, India and elsewhere.

Some are radical Sunnis, some are radical Shi'ites. Some want to restore a pre-medieval caliphate from the 7th century. Others want to trigger the apocalyptic return of an imam from the 9th century. They operate in different lands, they target different victims and they even kill each other in their quest for supremacy. But they all share a fanatic ideology. They all seek to create ever expanding enclaves of militant Islam where there is no freedom and no tolerance – Where women are treated as chattel, Christians are decimated, and minorities are subjugated, sometimes given the stark choice: convert or die. For them, anyone can be an infidel, including fellow Muslims. Ladies and Gentlemen, Militant Islam's ambition to dominate the world seems mad. But so too did the global ambitions of another fanatic ideology that swept to power eight decades ago. The Nazis believed in a master race. The militant Islamists believe in a master faith. They just disagree about who among them will be the master… of the master faith. That’s what they truly disagree about. Therefore, the question before us is whether militant Islam will have the power to realize its unbridled ambitions.

There is one place where that could soon happen: The Islamic State of Iran. For 35 years, Iran has relentlessly pursued the global mission which was set forth by its founding ruler, Ayatollah Khomeini, in these words: We will export our revolution to the entire world. Until the cry "There is no God but Allah" will echo throughout the world over… And ever since, the regime’s brutal enforcers, Iran's Revolutionary Guards, have done exactly that. Listen to its current commander, General Muhammad Ali Ja'afari. And he clearly stated this goal. He said: Our Imam did not limit the Islamic Revolution to this country… Our duty is to prepare the way for an Islamic world government… Iran's President Rouhani stood here last week, and shed crocodile tears over what he called "the globalization of terrorism." Maybe he should spare us those phony tears and have a word instead with the commanders of Iran's Revolutionary Guards.

He could ask them to call off Iran's global terror campaign, which has included attacks in two dozen countries on five continents since 2011 alone. To say that Iran doesn't practice terrorism is like saying Derek Jeter never played shortstop for the New York Yankees. This bemoaning of the Iranian president of the spread of terrorism has got to be one of history’s greatest displays of doubletalk. Now, Some still argue that Iran's global terror campaign, its subversion of countries throughout the Middle East and well beyond the Middle East, some argue that this is the work of the extremists. They say things are changing. They point to last year's elections in Iran. They claim that Iran’s smooth talking President and Foreign Minister, they’ve changed not only the tone of Iran's foreign policy but also its substance.

They believe Rouhani and Zarif genuinely want to reconcile with the West, that they’ve abandoned the global mission of the Islamic Revolution. Really? So let's look at what Foreign Minister Zarif wrote in his book just a few years ago: We have a fundamental problem with the West, and especially with America. This is because we are heirs to a global mission, which is tied to our raison d'etre… A global mission which is tied to our very reason of being. And then Zarif asks a question, I think an interesting one. He says: How come Malaysia [he’s referring to an overwhelmingly Muslim country] – how come Malaysia doesn't have similar problems? And he answers: Because Malaysia is not trying to change the international order. That's your moderate.



So don’t be fooled by Iran’s manipulative charm offensive. It’s designed for one purpose, and for one purpose only: To lift the sanctions and remove the obstacles to Iran's path to the bomb. The Islamic Republic is now trying to bamboozle its way to an agreement that will remove the sanctions it still faces, and leave it with the capacity of thousands of centrifuges to enrich uranium. This would effectively cement Iran's place as a threshold military nuclear power. In the future, at a time of its choosing, Iran, the world’s most dangerous state in the world's most dangerous region, would obtain the world’s most dangerous weapons. Allowing that to happen would pose the gravest threat to us all. It’s one thing to confront militant Islamists on pick-up trucks, armed with Kalashnikov rifles. It’s another thing to confront militant Islamists armed with weapons of mass destruction.

I remember that last year, everyone here was rightly concerned about the chemical weapons in Syria, including the possibility that they would fall into the hands of terrorists. That didn't happen. And President Obama deserves great credit for leading the diplomatic effort to dismantle virtually all of Syria's chemical weapons capability. Imagine how much more dangerous the Islamic State, ISIS, would be if it possessed chemical weapons. Now imagine how much more dangerous the Islamic state of Iran would be if it possessed nuclear weapons. Ladies and Gentlemen, Would you let ISIS enrich uranium? Would you let ISIS build a heavy water reactor? Would you let ISIS develop intercontinental ballistic missiles? Of course you wouldn’t. Then you mustn't let the Islamic State of Iran do those things either. Because here’s what will happen: Once Iran produces atomic bombs, all the charm and all the smiles will suddenly disappear. They’ll just vanish. It's then that the ayatollahs will show their true face and unleash their aggressive fanaticism on the entire world.

There is only one responsible course of action to address this threat: Iran's nuclear military capabilities must be fully dismantled. Make no mistake – ISIS must be defeated. But to defeat ISIS and leave Iran as a threshold nuclear power is to win the battle and lose the war. To defeat ISIS and leave Iran as a threshold nuclear power is to win the battle and lose the war.

Ladies and Gentlemen, The fight against militant Islam is indivisible. When militant Islam succeeds anywhere, it’s emboldened everywhere. When it suffers a blow in one place, it's set back in every place. That’s why Israel’s fight against Hamas is not just our fight. It’s your fight. Israel is fighting a fanaticism today that your countries may be forced to fight tomorrow.

For 50 days this past summer, Hamas fired thousands of rockets at Israel, many of them supplied by Iran. I want you to think about what your countries would do if thousands of rockets were fired at your cities. Imagine millions of your citizens having seconds at most to scramble to bomb shelters, day after day. You wouldn't let terrorists fire rockets at your cities with impunity. Nor would you let terrorists dig dozens of terror tunnels under your borders to infiltrate your towns in order to murder and kidnap your citizens. Israel justly defended itself against both rocket attacks and terror tunnels. Yet Israel also faced another challenge. We faced a propaganda war. Because, in an attempt to win the world’s sympathy, Hamas cynically used Palestinian civilians as human shields. It used schools, not just schools - UN schools, private homes, mosques, even hospitals to store and fire rockets at Israel. As Israel surgically struck at the rocket launchers and at the tunnels, Palestinian civilians were tragically but unintentionally killed. There are heartrending images that resulted, and these fueled libelous charges that Israel was deliberately targeting civilians.

We were not. We deeply regret every single civilian casualty. And the truth is this: Israel was doing everything to minimize Palestinian civilian casualties. Hamas was doing everything to maximize Israeli civilian casualties and Palestinian civilian casualties. Israel dropped flyers, made phone calls, sent text messages, broadcast warnings in Arabic on Palestinian television, always to enable Palestinian civilians to evacuate targeted areas. No other country and no other army in history have gone to greater lengths to avoid casualties among the civilian population of their enemies. This concern for Palestinian life was all the more remarkable, given that Israeli civilians were being bombarded by rockets day after day, night after night. As their families were being rocketed by Hamas, Israel's citizen army – the brave soldiers of the IDF, our young boys and girls – they upheld the highest moral values of any army in the world. Israel's soldiers deserve not condemnation, but admiration. Admiration from decent people everywhere. Now here’s what Hamas did: Hamas embedded its missile batteries in residential areas and told Palestinians to ignore Israel’s warnings to leave. And just in case people didn’t get the message, they executed Palestinian civilians in Gaza who dared to protest. No less reprehensible, Hamas deliberately placed its rockets where Palestinian children live and play. Let me show you a photograph. It was taken by a France 24 crew during the recent conflict. It shows two Hamas rocket launchers, which were used to attack us. You see three children playing next to them.

Hamas deliberately put its rockets in hundreds of residential areas like this. Hundreds of them. Ladies and gentlemen, this is a war crime. And I say to President Abbas, these are the war crimes committed by your Hamas partners in the national unity government which you head and you are responsible for. And these are the real war crimes you should have investigated, or spoken out against from this podium last week. Ladies and Gentlemen, As Israeli children huddled in bomb shelters and Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system knocked Hamas rockets out of the sky, the profound moral difference between Israel and Hamas couldn’t have been clearer: Israel was using its missiles to protect its children. Hamas was using its children to protect its missiles. By investigating Israel rather than Hamas for war crimes, the UN Human Rights Council has betrayed its noble mission to protect the innocent. In fact, what it’s doing is to turn the laws of war upside-down. Israel, which took unprecedented steps to minimize civilian casualties, Israel is condemned.

Hamas, which both targeted and hid behind civilians – that a double war crime - Hamas is given a pass. The Human Rights Council is thus sending a clear message to terrorists everywhere: Use civilians as human shields. Use them again and again and again. You know why? Because sadly, it works. By granting international legitimacy to the use of human shields, the UN’s Human Rights Council has thus become a Terrorist Rights Council, and it will have repercussions. It probably already has, about the use of civilians as human shields. It’s not just our interest. It’s not just our values that are under attack. It’s your interests and your values.

Ladies and Gentlemen, We live in a world steeped in tyranny and terror, where gays are hanged from cranes in Tehran, political prisoners are executed in Gaza, young girls are abducted en masse in Nigeria and hundreds of thousands are butchered in Syria, Libya and Iraq. Yet nearly half, nearly half of the UN Human Rights Council's resolutions focusing on a single country have been directed against Israel, the one true democracy in the Middle East – Israel. where issues are openly debated in a boisterous parliament, where human rights are protected by independent courts and where women, gays and minorities live in a genuinely free society. The Human Rights… (that’s an oxymoron, the UN Human Rights Council, but I’ll use it just the same), the Council’s biased treatment of Israel is only one manifestation of the return of the world’s oldest prejudices.

We hear mobs today in Europe call for the gassing of Jews. We hear some national leaders compare Israel to the Nazis. This is not a function of Israel’s policies. It's a function of diseased minds. And that disease has a name. It’s called anti-Semitism. It is now spreading in polite society, where it masquerades as legitimate criticism of Israel. For centuries the Jewish people have been demonized with blood libels and charges of deicide. Today, the Jewish state is demonized with the apartheid libel and charges of genocide. Genocide? In what moral universe does genocide include warning the enemy's civilian population to get out of harm's way? Or ensuring that they receive tons, tons of humanitarian aid each day, even as thousands of rockets are being fired at us? Or setting up a field hospital to aid for their wounded? Well, I suppose it's the same moral universe where a man who wrote a dissertation of lies about the Holocaust, and who insists on a Palestine free of Jews, Judenrein, can stand at this podium and shamelessly accuse Israel of genocide and ethnic cleansing.

In the past, outrageous lies against the Jews were the precursors to the wholesale slaughter of our people. But no more. Today we, the Jewish people, have the power to defend ourselves. We will defend ourselves against our enemies on the battlefield. We will expose their lies against us in the court of public opinion. Israel will continue to stand proud and unbowed. Ladies and Gentlemen, Despite the enormous challenges facing Israel, I believe we have an historic opportunity. After decades of seeing Israel as their enemy, leading states in the Arab world increasingly recognize that together we and they face many of the same dangers: principally this means a nuclear-armed Iran and militant Islamist movements gaining ground in the Sunni world. Our challenge is to transform these common interests to create a productive partnership. One that would build a more secure, peaceful and prosperous Middle East. Together we can strengthen regional security. We can advance projects in water, agriculture, in transportation, in health, in energy, in so many fields. I believe the partnership between us can also help facilitate peace between Israel and the Palestinians. Many have long assumed that an Israeli-Palestinian peace can help facilitate a broader rapprochement between Israel and the Arab World.

But these days I think it may work the other way around: Namely that a broader rapprochement between Israel and the Arab world may help facilitate an Israeli-Palestinian peace. And therefore, to achieve that peace, we must look not only to Jerusalem and Ramallah, but also to Cairo, to Amman, Abu Dhabi, Riyadh and elsewhere. I believe peace can be realized with the active involvement of Arab countries, those that are willing to provide political, material and other indispensable support. I’m ready to make a historic compromise, not because Israel is occupying a foreign land.
The people of Israel are not occupiers in the Land of Israel.
History, archeology and common sense all make clear that we have had a singular attachment to this land for over 3,000 years. I want peace because I want to create a better future for my people. But it must be a genuine peace, one that is anchored in mutual recognition and enduring security arrangements, rock solid security arrangements on the ground.

Because you see, Israel's withdrawals from Lebanon and Gaza created two militant Islamic enclaves on our borders from which tens of thousands of rockets have been fired at Israel. These sobering experiences heighten Israel's security concerns regarding potential territorial concessions in the future. Those security concerns are even greater today. Just look around you. The Middle East is in chaos. States are disintegrating. Militant Islamists are filling the void. Israel cannot have territories from which it withdraws taken over by Islamic militants yet again, as happened in Gaza and Lebanon. That would place the likes of ISIS within mortar range – a few miles – of 80% of our population. Think about that. The distance between the 1967 lines and the suburbs of Tel Aviv is like the distance between the UN building here and Times Square. Israel’s a tiny country.

That’s why in any peace agreement, which will obviously necessitate a territorial compromise, I will always insist that Israel be able to defend itself by itself against any threat. Yet despite all that has happened, some still don't take Israel’s security concerns seriously. But I do, and I always will. Because, as Prime Minister of Israel, I am entrusted with the awesome responsibility of ensuring the future of the Jewish people and the future of the Jewish state. And no matter what pressure is brought to bear, I will never waver in fulfilling that responsibility. I believe that with a fresh approach from our neighbors, we can advance peace despite the difficulties we face.

In Israel, we have a record of making the impossible possible. We’ve made a desolate land flourish. And with very few natural resources, we have used the fertile minds of our people to turn Israel into a global center of technology and innovation. Peace, of course, would enable Israel to realize its full potential and to bring a promising future not only for our people, not only for the Palestinian people, but for many, many others in our region. But the old template for peace must be updated. It must take into account new realities and new roles and responsibilities for our Arab neighbors. Ladies and Gentlemen, There is a new Middle East. It presents new dangers, but also new opportunities.

Israel is prepared to work with Arab partners and the international community to confront those dangers and to seize those opportunities. Together we must recognize the global threat of militant Islam, the primacy of dismantling Iran’s nuclear weapons capability and the indispensable role of Arab states in advancing peace with the Palestinians. All this may fly in the face of conventional wisdom, but it’s the truth.
And the truth must always be spoken, especially here, in the United Nations. Isaiah, our great prophet of peace, taught us nearly 3,000 years ago in Jerusalem to speak truth to power.

לְמַעַן צִיּוֹן לֹא אֶחֱשֶׁה וּלְמַעַן יְרוּשָׁלִַם לֹא אֶשְׁקוֹט עַד-יֵצֵא כַּנֹּגַהּ צִדְקָהּ וִישׁוּעָתָהּ כְּלַפִּיד יִבְעָר. For the sake of Zion, I will not be silent. For the sake of Jerusalem, I will not be still. Until her justice shines bright, And her salvation glows like a flaming torch.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Let's light a torch of truth and justice to safeguard our common future.
Thank you.

09/29 Links Pt1: From Arab Spring to Islamic Winter - to Total Chaos; Dig In For a Long War

From Ian:

From Arab Spring to Islamic Winter - to Total Chaos
Middle East experts Dr. Mordechai Kedar and Prof. Eyal Zisser recently sat down with Arutz Sheva ahead of the Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashanah), and recapped the tumultuous and bloody events of the Arab world over the past year.
Kedar, a senior lecturer at Bar Ilan University, began by noting the current warfare is the continuation of a trend of disorder since the "Arab spring" revolutions began in 2011, leading to the "deterioration of states like Syria, Iraq, Libya, Yemen."
"On the ruins of these countries we see already enclaves of Islamic states," said Kedar, noting the Islamic State (aka ISIS) that has brutally seized power and declared statehood in parts of Iraq and Syria, as well as the Al Qaeda-linked Boko Haram terror group that similarly declared statehood in Nigeria.
Zisser, an expert on Syria and Lebanon and Dean of the Faculty of the Humanities at Tel Aviv University, concurred with Kedar's appraisal, saying "the Arab spring turned out to be an Islamic winter, and now it's not a spring, it's not a winter - it's simply chaos and anarchy."
The western world has exhibited "hypocrisy" towards the developing bloodshed in the Middle East according to Kedar, who remarked the world only wakes up when Westerners are beheaded.
Summing Up the Year in the Arab World - Dr. Mordechai Kedar and Prof. Eyal Zisser


Michael J. Totten: Dig In For a Long War
So we’re resisting one group of odious actors and boosting the other.
We’ve done this before, most famously during World War II when the US and Britain formed an alliance with Josef Stalin against Adolf Hitler in Germany. The long Cold War against Russia began almost immediately after the allies defeated the Nazi regime. One of the West’s last moves in that war was backing the Mujahideen in Afghanistan against the Soviet occupation, some of which later formed the Taliban as others joined the Northern Alliance.
If there were an easier way to clean up the world, believe me, we’d do it. But there’s not. So here we are.
When the Syrian civil war started I argued that the Assad should take be taken care of before the Sunni Islamists, but the latter were weaker then, and in any case we’ll have to deal with both in the long run either way. Because there can be no chance whatsoever of peace and quiet in the Middle East until both the Islamic State and the Iranian-Syrian-Hezbollah axis are defeated. Effectively dealing with just one of those factions will take many years.
The Obama administration has been perfectly in line with American public opinion these last few years in wishing the Middle East would just sod off and leave us alone. Huge numbers of Middle Easterners have felt the same way about us. After working in and writing about the region for ten years, I’m sick of it too. But we’re stuck with each other, like it or not.
PA’s Erekat claims 96% of Gaza dead were civilians
In an Army Radio interview conducted in English, Erekat also claimed that Israel killed 12,000 people and injured another 12,000 in Gaza, though it was possible that he misspoke and intended to say 2,000 fatalities — the widely accepted figure.
Responding to Erekat’s interview, Israel’s Communication Minister Gilad Erdan said the Palestinian leadership was operating “an industry of lies” aimed at fundamentally delegitimizing Israel, and that there was “no one to talk to” about peace on the Palestinian side.
Erekat spoke three days after Abbas leveled the genocide allegation against Israel in his speech to the UN General Assembly in New York. Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was set to address the General Assembly later Monday, having vowed to “refute the lies” disseminated by Abbas against Israel.
Erekat, in the radio interview, defined genocide as “a direct attempt to eliminate, horrify, relocate, destroy a way of life” and claimed “Israel committed the killing of 12,000 and wounding 12,000 Palestinians; 96 percent of them are civilians.”

How antisemitism hides among the intellectual elite - Ed Husain's offensive tweet

Over the weekend, a number of newspapers breathlessly published a story about nn El Al flight that was delayed due to the apparent inconsiderateness of some Haredi passengers:

A flight from New York to Tel-Aviv descended into an “11-hour long nightmare” after ultra-orthodox Jewish passengers on board refused to sit next to women, delaying take-off and causing further disruption during the flight.

On Wednesday, the eve of Rosh Hashanah, the El Al flight to Israel was carrying a large number of ultra-Orthodox Jews intending to celebrate the Jewish New Year in Israel, alongside a number of secular Jews.

But the flight did not take off on time, according to Shalom Life, after a group of Haredi Jewish passengers refused to sit next to women, believing that men and women should be segregated.

“People stood in the aisles and refused to go forward,” a passenger on board the flight, Amit Ben-Natan, told the publication.

“Although everyone had tickets with seat numbers that they purchased in advance, they asked us to trade seats with them, and even offered to pay money, since they cannot sit next to a woman. It was obvious that the plane won’t take off as long as they’re standing in the aisles,” he said.

The Haredi passengers agreed to sit in their assigned seats for take-off, but one passenger described the overall experience as an “11-hour long nightmare,” referring to the difficulty before take-off and the ensuing disturbances on board, caused by the Haredi passengers “jumping out” of their seats when the fasten-seatbelt sign was switched off.
The newspaper then added that there was controversy in London recently when religious Jews put up signs on a public street requesting that men and women who were attending a religious procession walk on opposite sides of the street for the duration.

I'm not defending the reported rudeness of the haredim. They could have bought extra seats to remain empty, they could charter flights, they could wrap themselves in large garbage bags if they mistakenly believe that Judaism doesn't allow them to sit next to women. (Somehow, there are plenty on New York subways and buses jostling people next to them like everyone else.) There is no excuse for them to inconvenience others by standing in the aisles during the flight. But this is hardly a big news story.

A little research shows that the flight left about 25 minutes after its average departure time and it arrived 7 minutes behind its usual arrival. This is hardly earth-shaking news. But when you have strange black-clad men acting weird, it turns into a story.

Ed Husain is the model of a modern, moderate Muslim. He is a senior fellow for Middle Eastern studies at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York,[2] and a Senior Advisor at the Tony Blair Faith Foundation. A former Islamist who wrote about his experiences, he was appointed to the Freedom of Religion or Belief Advisory Group of the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

When he read this article he was moved to tweet:



Really? Religious Jews who offer to pay people so they can better adhere to their own beliefs are the inspiration for jihadists who would behead them instead?

Religious Jews in the Diaspora try, by and large, try to adhere to their beliefs from within the system. They might ask for reasonable accommodation but not to change how everyone else lives their lives. (It is the non-religious Jews who get upset over, and try to ban, Christmas displays and trees in malls, not the haredim.)

Tolerance works both ways.

It is 100% true that the haredim need to ensure that their beliefs do not impinge on the rights of others.

On the other hand, supposedly progressive people need to be at least as tolerant towards others as they insist others be. It is easy to say that you aren't an antisemite when the Jews you don't object to are indistinguishable from everyone else. But real tolerance means that you accept everybody who is not like you. It applies to the disabled, to those of different skin colors, and to those who wear what you consider funny clothing for religious reasons.

Ed Husain may be considered a shining example of a progressive Muslim - but he just revealed himself to be a bigot nonetheless. The comparison he makes is thoroughly offensive and patently false on a number of levels. Any supposed liberal who is not offended by his comparison needs to examine his or her own beliefs a lot more carefully.

This is an example of how supposed intellectuals - people who are in the forefront of religious freedom! - can still be racist. It is disheartening that the response on Twitter has been so tepid.

I hope that Husain realizes how truly disgusting and bigoted his tweet was and apologizes for it.

(h/t Theo, Arsen)

Saudi paper says Lincoln assassination was a Jewish plot

Kennedy assassination and 9/11 done by Jews? Come on, that isn't cutting edge antisemitism.

If you want to push the envelope on getting people to hate Jews, you have to go back further in history.

A Saudi columnist, Abdullah Sultan, has written a history of sorts of how American presidents have been victimized by Da Joooz!

Writing in the official Saudi press Agency Okaz, Sultan tells us that Thomas Jefferson wrote to John Quincy Adams that "I am a believer that these banking institutions, which are controlled by the Jews, are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies .. The gaseous existence also created a financial aristocracy that has become its own power to defy the government." (A small part of that quote seems accurate but it was not in reference to Jews.)

The article has a similar anecdote about Andrew Jackson, who was known to have problems with corruption at banks but Sultan again pretends that his antipathy was towards Jews, supposedly saying to them "You are a group of thieves and vampires."

Finally, the article goes into detail about how the Rothschilds connived with American Jews to start the Civil War in order to preserve their usurious practices and how Lincoln tried to fight heroically against them, only to be assassinated by the Jewish traitors.

This isn't the first antisemitic screen by al-Sultan.  His last five articles have all been about Jews, including this one I noted a few weeks ago.

Again, this is in the official Saudi state-run media.

"Helluva pinpoint operation": US airstrikes hit Syrian grain silos, killing workers

In July, John Kerry was caught insulting Israel by sarcastically saying about Israeli airstrikes, "It's a helluva pinpoint operation." He then repeated it for emphasis.

Apparently, the Secretary of State was believing Hamas-fed media reports that Israel was targeting civilians, without checking what Israel had to say.

Now comes today:

U.S.-led air strikes hit grain silos and other targets in Islamic State-controlled territory in northern and eastern Syria overnight, killing civilians and wounding militants, a group monitoring the war said on Monday.

The aircraft may have mistaken the mills and grain storage areas in the northern Syrian town of Manbij for an Islamic State base, said the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. There was no immediate comment from Washington.
Also:
6 civilians ( all men ), were killed by air strikes by coalition warplanes on al-Fadghami area in the southern countryside of al-Hasakah.
Will reporters even ask the State Department about this? Will there be sarcastic comments about US pinpoint airstrike capability and intelligence? Will there be any video reports showing mangled bodies and wailing mothers? Will anyone say that targeting a grain silo is a war crime of depriving people of food, as Goldstone did?

Or are Arab lives only valuable when their deaths can be blamed on Jews?





Sunday, September 28, 2014

Erekat doubles down on Abbas' "genocide" accusation

Well, it is official: The Palestinian Arab leadership is accusing Israel of genocide.

After Mahmoud Abbas made the accusation and the State Department denounced it, PLO executive committee member Saeb Erekat confirmed that, no, it was not a misstatement - this is what the PLO really thinks. 

Erekat said that "genocide was practiced by the Israeli government on the sons of the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip, and we will endeavor to hold accountable those who committed these crimes; we will not allow them to go unpunished."

By the way, Abbas floated the idea of "genocide" back in July, when the war was a whole one day old. At the time I noted that no world leader was likely to censure Abbas for such incitement and, frankly, for being such an obvious liar.

Since the world coddled Abbas then, as it always does, he felt emboldened to say it to the world.

As long as the Western world continues to treat Palestinian Arab leadership like children who cannot be held responsible for their words and actions, they will continue to act like children who are not accountable to anyone. It is very simple psychology, but world leaders are so afraid of causing a temper tantrum (which means, a return to 1970s-type terrorism and oil embargos) that there are no penalties for inciting hate.

And, yes, accusing the Jewish state of "genocide" when it is defending itself is pure antisemitism.


Matchmaker, Matchmaker...and Thomas Edison's antisemitism



During Rosh Hashanah prayers I sat next to a very nice gentleman, 68 years old. I was impressed with how nicely and devoutly he prayed as well as his sense of humor and personality.

It turns out that he is looking for a wife. But there is one problem: he is a Kohen and as such has limitations on who he can marry. So he - very nicely - asked me, as I'm sure he asks many people, if I know any fine ladies in their 50s and 60s that fit into the halachic framework for him (essentially, who are not divorcees.)

Hey, it is that time of year when we are all looking for extra good deeds, and I do have a bit of an audience here, so if anyone knows of a religious Jewish woman seeking a husband who fits this profile, contact me and we can explore this further. Although he lives in the New York area, he is willing to relocate for the right person.

During a break he mentioned to me that Thomas Edison was an antisemite. I had never heard of that - we all know about Henry Ford and Charles Lindbergh, but I never heard that about Edison. So I did a little research and the anecdotal evidence seems fairly strong:

U.S. author Paul Auster, who wrote "The Invention of Solitude," said his father was hired "for a brief moment" as an assistant in Edison's library "only to have the job taken away from him the next day because Edison learned he was a Jew."

Car developer Henry Ford, known for anti-Semitic views, sent Edison a complete set of the notorious anti-Jewish work "The International Jew," author Allan Gould writes.
Also, an Edison biographer says:
It wasn't until I journeyed into the Big City to the Berg Collection at The New York Public Library in Manhattan and asked to see copies of the pocket journals of naturalist John Burroughs that I hit upon a dirty little secret -- transcripts of antisemitic fireside conversations between Edison and his close friend Henry Ford on their summer camping trips in the Adirondacks during and after World War I.
That antisemitism wasn't nearly as bad as Ford's, but it was there:




IMDB adds, "In his later years, [Edison] often committed social faux pas by making racist and anti-Semitic comments before the press."

Edison's film production company also made a couple of films using antisemitic Jewish stereotypes. Here is the plot of his 1904 comedy short, Cohens' Advertising Scheme:

Cohen is pacing up and down in front of his store waiting for a customer. After vainly looking up and down the street Cohen enters the store. A tramp now appears on the scene, clothed in rags, and admires the fine clothes which Cohen has for sale outside his establishment. Cohen steps out and seeing the poor tramp, shivering with cold, offers him an overcoat. The tramp tells him he is broke. An idea strikes Cohen and he re-enters the store. He immediately comes out with a fine new coat which he assists the tramp to put on. After thanking Cohen the tramp goes on his way. The reason for Cohen's charity appears in an advertisement on the tramp's back, "Go to Cohen's for clothing, Baxter Street."
And here is a 13-minute with the same Jewish character, scheming to commit insurance fraud - Cohen's Fire Sale. Notice the scene at the very end where he cannot kiss his new fiancee because of the size of his nose.



But the gentleman I met had a quite normal sized nose.

So if anyone out there is interested in meeting him, let me know.

Iranian TV notes that Arab leaders told Palestinians to leave in 1948

Here is an excerpt from an Iranian PressTV meant to show how awful Israel is. But without quite realizing it, this shows that Arab leaders instructed their brethren to get out of Palestine in 1948.

The video also demonstrates how awful the situation is in crowded Lebanese "refugee" camps where generations are being taught to hate, as the interviews prove.



(h/t B)

09/28 Links: Radical Islam, Israel and Agitprop; Abbas is the problem, not the solution

From Ian:

Radical Islam, Israel and Agitprop
Many Europeans who would laugh at the idea of negotiating with ISIS or al-Qaeda say that Israel should negotiate with Hamas.
Almost nobody sees that the invention of the "Palestinian people" has transformed millions of Arabs into a genocidal weapon to be used against the Israelis, and even, as in Europe recently, the Jews. Transforming people into a genocidal weapon is a barbaric act.
Israel was urged to find ways to coexist peacefully with people who did not want to co-exist with it. Terrorism against Israel fast became acceptable: a "good" terrorism.
Hamas's stated aim is the destruction of Israel. Its stated way to achieve this aim is terror attacks, called "armed struggle" by Hamas leaders. To this day the Palestinian Authority has not ceased praising and promoting terrorism.
If hatred of Israel is increasing in the U.S., it is largely confined to academics and other extreme radical circles, many of which are funding or receiving funding from Soviet-style agitprop organizations. Journalists are recruited to disseminate descriptions of "facts" as if they were real facts. Pseudo-historians rewrote the history of the Middle East. The falsified version of history replaced history.
Netanyahu headed to NY to counter 'slander and lies' after Abbas, Rouhani UN speeches
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu heads to the United States on Sunday to battle Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons and Palestinian unilateralism, when he addresses the UN General Assembly in New York and meets with US President Barack Obama in Washington.
“After the Iranian president’s deceptive speech and [PA President Mahmoud Abbas] Abu Mazen’s incitement, I will tell the truth about Israel’s citizens to the entire world,” Netanyahu said on Saturday night. “In my UN General Assembly speech and in all of my meetings I will represent the citizens of Israel and will – on their behalf – refute the slander and lies directed at our country.”
Netanyahu is to address the General Assembly on Monday and meet with Obama on Wednesday.
Sources in the Prime Minister’s Office said Abbas’s speech was not that of a man who seeks peace.
“It’s a speech that is full of incitement and lies,” the sources said.
Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, who also is heading to the UN General Assembly, accused Abbas of engaging in political terrorism against the State of Israel and warned that, as long as Abbas is president, it would not be possible to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“Abbas does not want and can not be a partner to a logical diplomatic settlement,” Liberman said.
Abbas is the problem, not the solution
Netanyahu must not return to paying protection money to the enemy in Ramallah, in the form of the release of terrorists, a freeze on Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria or aiding the reconstruction of Gaza. If, God forbid, Netanyahu is tempted by the reckless advice from the Left, he could lose his support from the Right. Likud ministers will refuse to publicly back him if he is suspected of marching down the foolish Oslo path, and the heads of Habayit Hayehudi and Yisraeli Beytenu will continue to bash him for not toppling Hamas.
If it becomes clear that Netanyahu's diplomatic horizon is what the Left and many media outlets hope it will be, the disappointed Right will not fall in love with Netanyahu again and he could pay a heavy political price. But if Netanyahu wants to improve the country's situation, he must mold the diplomatic horizon in line with his promises and advance Israel's interests. As I see it, he must, first and foremost, deny the theoretical connection between peace and a Palestinian state, as these are a contradiction in terms.
The Zionist vision, not "peace," must be Israel's top priority. The government should focus on gathering the Jewish people in their homeland, which would increase the chances of true peace.
Abbas has ended the peace process
There is no doubt that at this point, Abbas has abandoned the path of negotiations. He strives to impose some sort of solution on Israel, and he fails to understand that the tumultuous developments in the Arab world, including the conflict between Ramallah and the Gaza Strip, have plunged the Palestinian stock to a new low.
Many in the world still subscribe to Abbas' criticism of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, especially when it comes to settlement construction during the peace talks, but the Palestinians' demands no longer seem as poignant given Abbas' refusal to hold earnest negotiations.
The majority of Israelis who subscribe to the two-state solution would probably allege that Netanyahu's insistence to forge ahead with construction outside the main settlement blocs has made it difficult of the Palestinians. I would also hedge that Netanyahu is not keen to pursue the two-state solution, but that no longer matters, since Abbas has beat him to the punch by debunking it.