Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Standing Tough


Standing Tough

First matters first: I have an update on Zakkai, the baby boy with the tumor along his spine and in his thoracic cavity, that is not positive.  When he originally was discovered to have a tumor on his spine that had caused him to stop walking, surgery was done to relieve the pressure on his spine and his improvement was immediate and gratifying. Then came the news that what they had been told was a malignant tumor was in fact benign.  His most diligent parents, in seeking consultations from a variety of top-notch sources, were overwhelmed by a vast array of different opinions -- everything from leaving it alone for now to different approaches to surgery.  But essentially it was all very promising.  Until now.  They have learned that this tumor, although it is benign, is very aggressively growing.  It has returned to the spine and is eating into vertebrae.  Surgery is recommended quickly -- although they will do some speedily consults first --and they fear for his recovery and for the prospect of his being paralyzed for life.  In fact, they fear for his life. And so please, pray for him: Rafael Zakkai Avraham ben Yakira Avigael, and put out the word as broadly as you can. 
For those wanting more details, as the parents are able to post:http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/zakkai
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As to standing tough:
Now, perhaps more than ever, it is important for Israel to stand tall and convey our convictions of what is right.  Following the news about Israel breaking ties with the Human Rights Council came this, as described by Israel Hayom:
"Audiences at the annual J Street conference in Washington on Monday were shocked when one of the event’s honorees, Deputy Chief of Mission at the Embassy of Israel in Washington, DC, Barukh Binah, stood at the podium and issued a respectful yet scathing criticism of the advocacy group’s policies. As he took the podium at the event's gala dinner, Binah received rapturous applause, according to the tweets of several conference-goers. However, as the tone and content of Binah's speech became more apparent, the crowd was stunned into silence."
Stunned silence sounds good. This is the first time that Israel has sent an official delegate to the conference of J Street, which, in spite of its claims, is decidedly "progressive" in its approach and not particularly supportive of Israel.  I confess that I was more than a bit unsettled when I read that Ambassador Michael Oren decided to send someone, but, given that scenario, this is as good as it might get.
"'We share your democratic values ... as we continue to face intolerable threats, we sometimes have to make decisions of life and death. We welcome the opinions of our brethren in the Diaspora, especially on issues of Jewish identity and pluralism, but at the end of the day, it is we, the Israelis, who must bear the ultimate burden and may have to pay the ultimate price. And we, dear friends and family, have no margins of error, none whatsoever. (Emphasis added)
"'I understand that you, my friends, are all about future and hope. So are we, the young and most energetic country that we are. But while our view is towards the future, we dare not forget our past. History must not shackle us, but its lessons must guide us,' Binah said. (Emphasis added)

"Taking aim at various voices within the American Jewish community, as well as a growing theme among some American pundits, who think that the current Israeli government is abusing the memory of the Holocaust to point to the threat from Iran, Binah said, 'And please, do not tell me that it is no longer relevant, because it is. It is alive and scorching just like the trail left by an Israeli Air Force F-16, flown over Poland's valleys of death by the granddaughter of the commanders of a ghetto revolt. It is alive in ink on paper as long as a 12-year-old, an eighth generation Israeli born, dedicates her bat mitzvah book to "members of my family whom I never met," though nobody coached her in this direction.'
"Binah went on to issue a thinly veiled dig at the group, saying, 'We need you to stand with us. It is as simple as that, and someone ought to say it. Internal activism is a central part of democratic society, butpressures on the elected government of Israel can present us with a problem, when we need you the most. Friends, I urge you to stand by our side as Americans, as members of your community, as Jews. For the sake of our forefathers and our future, we must keep our brotherhood strong.' (Emphasis added)
"Further admonishing J Street's focus on highlighting Israel's settlement enterprise, Binah said, 'You may be critical of settlements, but if you choose to show the most extreme, it behooves you to present the greater mass of moderates as well. If you show them [politicians J Street brings to Israel] negative aspects of checkpoints, please show as well the catastrophe and grief of terror victims. If you show them Israel’s failings, show them also our triumphs such as the aliyah of the Jewish community of Ethiopia. I urge you to strive for balance, so that these lawmakers may become friends of Israel who might be critical, and not critics of Israel who are not friends.'"
 
Credit: bsu
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We have a particular need for strength because of a widely publicized "event" that we must deal with this Friday: "The Global March on Jerusalem."  Organizers of the event have promised there will be no violence, but the IDF is preparing for all eventualities.
The greatest concern is with the border with Lebanon -- not Syria, because of internal strife.  Nonetheless, troops are being deployed along all borders.  The concern is with regard to massive breach of borders.
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Then, I will add, there is apparently to be a "Welcome to Palestine Campaign" on April 15-21.  This, according to the publicity that actually came to me as an e-mail, calls for 1,500 people (likely an exaggeration) to come into "Palestine" for "peace building"  and "to challenge the Israeli siege of the occupied territories."
If this is accurate, it sounds potentially more problematic than the event this week, but at this point I have no additional information.
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I would like to return for one moment to the Washington Post editorial on the Toulouse tragedy that I addressed the other day.  This is for a take on a different, albeit related, subject.  The last part of the editorial read:
"Mr. Merah also claimed he attacked the Jewish school to avenge Palestinian children killed by Israel. This brought the best response of a terrible week, from Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad. 'It is time for these criminals to stop marketing their terrorist acts in the name of Palestine and to stop pretending to stand up for the rights of Palestinian children who only ask for a decent life,' Mr. Fayyad said."
This, my friends, is unmitigated nonsense. Political nonsense, of course.  And I could not let it pass. 
I can well imagine the way PA leaders must have cringed when a thoroughly vilified terrorist was identified with the Palestinian cause; they knew this would not do them any good and that the connection had to be disavowed.
According to Maan, a Palestinian news agency, what Fayyad said was:
"This terrorist crime is condemned in the strongest terms by the Palestinian people and our children... No Palestinian child can accept crimes against innocent people."
But, as Palestinian Media Watch points out, the PA daily teaches Palestinian children to commit crimes against innocent people.  According to the official Fatah Facebook page, accessed a week ago, this statement could be found:
"This is Dalal, my eternal love... Dalal is my mysterious young woman, my revolutionary Jihadi inspiration. I loved her but knew only her name, Dalal Mughrabi."
Dalal Mughrabi, who killed 12 children and 25 innocent adults during the Coastal Road Massacre of 1978, remains a Palestinian Arab heroine, venerated within the society in dozens of ways.
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Marwan Barghouti, in Israeli prison for multiple life sentences for his part in terrorist killings, remains a very popular figure on the Palestinian Arab street.  (Seems to me this adulation of terrorists is one of the truest indicators of who the Palestinian Arabs are.)  Now it has made the news that he has advised:
"The launch of large-scale popular resistance at this stage serves the cause of our people.
"Stop marketing the illusion that there is a possibility of ending the occupation and achieving a state through negotiations after this vision has failed miserably." 
Should we be surprised?  Not at all. Does it make "resistance" more likely.  Possibly. 
The news release said that this statement was part of a message read to supporters in Ramallah marking the tenth anniversary of his imprisonment.  The degree of latitude that Arabs in Israeli prisons have with regard to getting out messages broad-scale always astounds me -- but perhaps it should not.
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Khaled Abu Toameh says today that Barghouti's message is intended for the PA officials as much as for Israel.  His message -- calling for a "large-scale resistance," cutting off security and economic ties with Israel, combating financial corruption and renewing effort to achieve recognition of a state at the UN -- "is similar to demands made by PA President Mahmoud Abbas's critics and rivals in Hamas."
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In light of what has happened in Toulouse, and the debate about Islam that has ensued, this video is exceedingly relevant, even though it appears to be from 2010.  It addresses the Islamization of Paris:
(With thanks to Judith N.)
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Today's news reports, incredibly, that the father of Mohammed Merah, Mohammed Benalel Merah, in Algeria, intends to sue France for his son's death.
"If I was the father, I would remain quiet in shame," said French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe.  Indeed.
While a Sarkozy advisor, Henri Gaiano said, "He is within his rights, but a word comes to my mind: indecency."
This perhaps reveals a great deal.
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From the unlikely source of NPR:
"Intelligence and law enforcement officials say analysts and experts who have been tracking al-Qaida for more than a decade have been quietly reassigned. Some are being moved completely out of al-Qaida units. Others are being asked to spend less time watching al-Qaida and more time tracking more traditional foes — like state-sponsored terrorists.
"U.S. officials declined to provide specific numbers or detail which intelligence units have changed priorities, but they did say that a goodly portion of the analysts who have been reassigned from their al-Qaida duties are being asked to focus on one country: Iran.
Now, according to a senior adviser at the consulting group Oxford Analytica, "after years of relatively low-level operations by Iranian-backed terrorists, Teheran appears to be back on the offensive.'
"'There is no way you conduct that number of attacks [as described in the article] without having senior leadership saying this is what we want to do.' And that goes a long way toward explaining why Iran is fast becoming such a priority in the U.S. intelligence community."
Hmm...
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Meanwhile, at the opening of the International Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul, South Korea, on Monday, President Obama told representatives of 50 nations that:
"I believe there is a window of time to solve this diplomatically, but that window is closing.  Iran’s leaders must understand that there is no escaping the choice before it. Iran must act with the seriousness and sense of urgency that this moment demands. Iran must meet its obligations.
"Provocations will not be answered with prizes. Those days are over."
Hmm... again.  Is the light beginning to dawn for Obama?  Too soon to tell, but this will be watched closely.
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At that same Summit in Seoul, unaware that he was within range of the microphone, told Russian President Dmitry Medvedev that he would have greater flexibility on foreign policy after the election in November.
Obama later attempted to explain that he simply meant that the election prevented him from engaging now in serious negotiations on disarmament.  But I'm not buying that.  A word to the wise...
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A housekeeping matter:  While your communication is appreciated, and sometimes of considerable value, I receive far too many messages to always respond personally; please understand this.  In fact, I am sent far too many article, links to articles and assorted tidbits to always attend to all of those, either.  What I do ask, please, is that you identify any URL you send to me.  If you send just the URL itself, with no hint as to what it will lead me to, I am not likely to track it.
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© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by Arlene Kushner, functioning as an independent journalist. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution.