Retiring Sec. of Defense, Robert Gates, ‘Wake up Obama. Your cuts in our defense budget are killing us’

The title above, a paraphrase, of course (jsk)

‘Enough’

The Weekly Standard, JUN 6, 2011, VOL. 16, NO. 36

BY GARY SCHMITT AND THOMAS DONNELLY

In the next month, after more than four decades of distinguished public service including almost five extraordinary years at the Pentagon supervising the successful surges in Iraq and Afghanistan, Defense Secretary Robert Gates will retire. He departs as the very model of a Washington “wise man,” having served in senior positions in two Democratic and three Republican administrations—the best the inside-the-Beltway establishment has to offer. His parting words, delivered in a series of valedictory speeches, carry the weight of his long experience and sober judgment.

Gates’s career spans a remarkable period from the Cold War to today, the events of which raised immense hopes—none more than the collapse of the Soviet Empire—and were punctuated by deep darkness—9/11 and the year 2006 in Iraq.

In his May 22 speech at the University of Notre Dame commencement, Gates summed up the classical wisdom of a conservative: “If history—and religion—teach us anything, it is that there will always be evil in the world, people bent on aggression, oppression, satisfying their greed for wealth and power and territory, or determined to impose an ideology based on the subjugation of others and the denial of liberty to men and women.”

If mankind has fallen, the United States of America still struggles to lift it up. “Since I entered government 45 years ago, I’ve shifted my views and changed my mind on a good many things as circumstances, new information, or logic dictated,” Gates allowed in a speech last week at the American Enterprise Institute that developed the themes of his commencement address. “But I have yet to see evidence that would dissuade me from this fundamental belief: that America does have a special position and set of responsibilities on this planet.”

To protect and promulgate its liberties and the cause of liberty, America must be strong. “More than any other secretary of defense, I have been a strong advocate of ‘soft’ power—of the critical importance of diplomacy and development as fundamental components of our foreign policy and national security.” But, said Gates, “Make no mistake: the ultimate guarantee against the success of aggressors, dictators, and terrorists in the 21st century, as in the 20th, is ‘hard’ power—the size, strength, and global reach of the United States military.”

This is the heart of the matter. During his service under Barack Obama, Gates has been directed to make three significant rounds of reductions in Pentagon plans and budgets. The first came in early 2009. As the Obama administration prepared to inject $800 billion in “stimulus” into the faltering U.S. economy, canvassing agencies for “shovel-ready” projects, it ordered weapons cuts that totaled about $330 billion.

In 2010, seeing the shifts in the domestic political landscape, Secretary Gates seized the initiative to wring $100 billion in “efficiencies” from defense programs, hoping he would be permitted to reinvest the money in higher priority procurements. He got to keep about three-quarters of the “savings,” but the White House took not only the remainder but another $75 billion.

The net result was that Gates transferred $78 billion from one Pentagon pot to another, but a further $100 billion was cut. The third round began on April 13, when the president announced—though he hadn’t informed Gates until the night before—that the Defense Department would contribute another $400 billion to his “deficit reduction plan.”

If brought to fruition, the Obama administration will have sliced something on the order of 15 to 20 percent out of the already overstretched military it inherited. The dollar figures don’t reflect the full extent of the damage, but the loss in power is clear: The Army and Marine Corps will return to their pre-9/11 size, and major land, sea, and air projects have been reduced, ended early, or never brought into production. And it might be worse: Secretary Gates has acidly described the defense cuts called for by the chairmen of the president’s deficit commission, Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles, as “catastrophic,” driven by budget “math, not [military] strategy.”

Gates’s parting wisdom can be boiled down to one word: enough. The “low-hanging fruit,” he declared at AEI, “those weapons and other programs considered most questionable, have not only been plucked, they have been stomped on and crushed.” The fat has been trimmed; what’s left is bone.

Gates also defined the challenge for the man nominated to be his successor, Leon Panetta, who’s been a strong director of central intelligence but who also, as a congressman in the 1990s, led the charge to reduce defense spending. “We need to be honest with the president, with the Congress, with the American people, indeed with ourselves, about what the consequences [of further defense cuts] are: that a smaller military, no matter how superb, will be able to go fewer places and be able to do fewer things.”

Gates’s warning should be a call to arms for conservatives who, in election after election, have retained the public’s trust by adhering to the principle that American military preeminence is absolutely essential if we want security at home and great-power peace abroad.

It is a platform that Republicans in Congress and those running for president, in particular, need to reaffirm. Former Minnesota governor and 2012 presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty got it precisely right when he said: “I’m not one who’s going to stand before you and say we need to cut the defense budget. .  .  . I’m not for shrinking America’s presence in the world. I’m for making sure America remains the world leader.”

Through the surges in Iraq and Afghanistan, Bob Gates has seen the thin line that separates “too few” from “just enough.” He knows how hard it is to turn defeat into a chance for victory. When he says “enough,” conservatives—and all Americans—should listen.

Another Obama Personal Stimulus Package to relieve US Debt

Editorial: An entourage more royal than the Queen’s

By Dale McFeatters
Scripps Howard News Service editorials and opinion

The heads of government in London for the G-20 summit are discussing serious and weighty issues, which in time will be duly reported on, but right now the British press is entranced by the sheer size of President Obama’s traveling entourage. No wonder! Obama arrived with 500 staff in tow, including 200 Secret Service agents, a team of six doctors, the White House chef and kitchen staff with the president’s own food and water.

And, according to the Evening Standard, he also came with “35 vehicles in all, four speech writers and 12 teleprompters.” For sure, our president is not going to be at a loss for words. (No word as to how many teleprompters)

The press duly reported on Air Force One and all its bells and whistles but also on the presence of the presidential helicopter, Marine One, and a fleet of identical decoys to ferry him from Stansted airport to central London.

Among all those vehicles is the presidential limousine, which one local paper mistakenly called Cadillac One, but is universally referred to as the Beast. The limo, reinforced with ceramic and titanium armor, carries tear gas cannon, night vision devices, its own oxygen and is resistant to chemical and radiation attack. It is, marveled one reporter, a sort of mobile panic room. The Guardian called it “the ultimate in heavily armored transport.”

The president is entitled (Like all the other “entitlements” politicians use to attract votes and bankrupt the country) to all the security, communications and support he feels necessary to do his job but surely, when we’re trying to project a more restrained, humble image to the world, the president’s huge retinue could be scaled back to something less than the triumphal march from “Aida.”

http://www.scrippsnews.com

We could shut down the United States in terms of CO2 emissions for 100 years and …

2012 Voter’s Guide to the Climate Change Debate

From an article by Steve Milloy
The Washington Times, May 23, 2012

If you’re thinking of becoming a Republican presidential candidate – and who isn’t these days – you can plan on being pressed on the climate issue. In the wake of last week’s new report from a panel of the National Research Council (NRC) reiterating its old talking points on climate, The Washington Post editorialized that all (read “Republican”) candidates for political office should be quizzed about whether they agree with the “scientific consensus of America’s premier scientific advisory group.”

Although this threat is intended to intimidate Republicans who tend toward queasiness when confronted with environmental issues, the attack is easy to parry and then even to counterattack – that’s why Al Gore and his enviros duck debating so-called “climate skeptics.”

First, let’s dismiss a couple of faulty premises of The Post’s editorial.

While it is true that the NRC operates under the umbrella of the National Academy of Sciences, the NRC panel that authored the report has nothing to do with the prestigious individual scientists who make up the National Academy of Sciences membership. NRC panels are highly politicized and often stacked, and no climate skeptics were included in the panel that wrote last week’s report.

Next, science doesn’t work on a consensus basis. We don’t accept that the Earth revolves around the Sun because most scientists or a group of scientists have agreed to say so. Science is driven by data, not groupthink. In actuality, the NRC report is more an exercise in political science than climate science.

Skeptics don’t deny global warming or climate change. We think the atmosphere probably has warmed slightly and on an average basis over the past 200 years (for unknown reasons) and we recognize that climate is changing continually, albeit slowly. We don’t agree, however, that man-made emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases are having either detectable or predictable effects on climate – and we have at least two key means of establishing this point.

First, atmospheric CO2 concentrations have increased by about 8 percent or so since the mid-1990s. According to climate alarmists, this should have caused measurable global warming. But none has been observed, a fact that finally was admitted by climate alarmists in the wake of the Climategate scandal.

Next, if it were true that global temperature was so sensitive and dependent upon atmospheric CO2 levels, then climate models (essentially elaborate scientific formulas) could be constructed to predict accurately the temperature effects from changing CO2 levels. But not only do existing models not predict the future temperature, they can’t replicate the past when historical data is put through them.

But shouldn’t we err on the side of precaution and reduce emissions anyway? As the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency already has demonstrated and admitted, we could shut down the United States in terms of CO2 emissions for 100 years and we would make precious little difference in the atmospheric CO2 level – possibly on the order of 5 percent.

Given that an 8 percent increase in CO2 over the past 15 years has amounted to zero global warming, candidates would be on firm ground wondering whether it’s worth wrecking the economy over a 5 percent increase over 100 years.

Candidates should not fall for bogus distractions like melting polar ice, threatened polar bears, bad weather and the like. The Washington Post wants candidates to be quizzed on what they would do about “the rising seas, spreading deserts and intensifying storms that, absent a change in policy, loom on America’s horizon.”

Natural disasters, topographic changes and population booms and busts have always occurred and will continue to occur. None of these phenomena can be tied scientifically to man-made emissions of CO2. So they are simply irrelevant sideshow issues. Carbon dioxide should not be referred to as a “pollutant.” It is colorless, odorless and tasteless and is an essential nutrient for plants and, therefore, humans. Alarmists call it “carbon pollution”; the rest of us call it “life.”

One last science point is the Climategate scandal. Alarmists claim that numerous subsequent investigations of the matter by independent groups have failed to uncover wrongdoing or faulty science, but none of these whitewashes were truly independent or anything more than superficial. No input from skeptics, even those mentioned in the emails, was included.

None of this is difficult to learn and articulate. Yet ask almost any Republican politician about any of this, and the best you can hope for from them is an expression of concern about jobs and the fact that China and India aren’t cutting their emissions.

While those are true and valid points, they, too, are sideshow distractions. The central point of the science debate is whether man-made CO2 emissions are causing harm. There is no evidence that they are.

“What if you’re wrong about the science?” or, “Shouldn’t we err on the side of better-safe-than-sorry?” you may be asked. Of course, it’s the alarmists who need to be second-guessing themselves. They’ve been wrong repeatedly and never right since they started forecasting climate doom almost 25 years ago. Give them no quarter.

Steve Milloy publishes JunkScience.com and is the author of “Green Hell: How Environmentalists Plan to Control Your Life and What You Can Do to Stop Them” (Regnery 2009).

© Copyright 2011 The Washington Times, LLC

Hey Congress! Here’s how the Arabs and even India support us in the UN

Plus: Video on Ken Salazar, Obama and oil drilling with Shawn Hannity and Michele Malkin

How come we continue to give these nations billions of dollars plus the many billions more that the primarily, Arab Cartel, OPEC, rips us off for gasoline? I just filled up my passenger sedan this AM for $57.00. What a bargain! Thank you President Obama and the EPA for aiding and abetting this OPEC monopoly by not allowing us to drill in our own areas and instead, deliberately bankrupt our country. Is this part of the disaster provoking technique that Rahm Emanuel recommended while he was Obama’s Chief of Staff? Look out city of Chicago.

Jerome S. Kaufman

Below are the actual voting records of various Islamic States
which are recorded in both the US State Department and United Nations records:

Kuwait votes against the United States 67% of the time

Qatar votes against the United States 67% of the time

Morocco votes against the United States 70% of the time

United Arab Emirates votes against the U. S. 70% of the time.

Jordan votes against the United States 71% of the time.

Tunisia votes against the United States 71% of the time.

Saudi Arabia votes against the United States 73% of the time.

Yemen votes against the United States 74% of the time.

Algeria votes against the United States 74% of the time.

Oman votes against the United States 74% of the time.

Sudan votes against the United States 75% of the time.

Pakistan votes against the United States 75% of the time.

Libya votes against the United States 76% of the time.

Egypt votes against the United States 79% of the time.

Lebanon votes against the United States 80% of the time.

India votes against the United States 81% of the time, although not an Arab State with only a minority practicing Islam

Syria votes against the United States 84% of the time.

Mauritania votes against the United States 87% of the time.

U S Foreign Aid to those that hate us:

Egypt, for example, after voting 79% of the time against the United States, still receives $2 billion annually in US Foreign Aid.

Jordan votes 71% against the United States

And receives $192,814,000 annually in US Foreign Aid.

Pakistan votes 75% against the United States

Receives $6,721,000,000 annually in US Foreign Aid.

India votes 81% against the United State with only apx. 13% Muslim

Receives $143,699,000 annually.

WHY? How long must we play sucker?
THEY ACTUALLY BITE THE HAND THAT FEEDS THEM.

Perhaps it is time to get out of the UN and give the tax savings back to the American workers who are having to skimp and sacrifice to pay the taxes.

Plus: Video on oil crisis

http://youtu.be/5PkK2I0B8oI

JUST A FEW THINGS PM NETANYAHU FORGOT TO MENTION

THE BOTTOM-UP US-ISRAEL RELATIONS

(Redacted from a much more detailed article)

By Ambassador (retired) Yoram Ettinger

The ties between the US and Israel resemble a triple-braided cord, which is not easily broken, consisting of shared values and mutually beneficial economic and security interests. 
The US affinity towards the Jewish State is exceptional in the international relations arena.  It is based upon a bottom-up structure, deriving its potency from the American people more than from American politicians.

Most Americans identify the Jewish State with cardinal US domestic values – not just with foreign policy – that reflect the Judeo-Christian roots of American democracy, liberty, morality, justice and the federalist system.  Such sentiments have produced systemic and solid support for Jewish sovereignty in Zion, dating back to the 17th century Pilgrims and the 18th century American Founding Fathers.  These sentiments are currently echoed by the representatives of the American people in the legislatures of the 50 states and in the US House of Representatives and Senate in Washington, DC.

While American presidents play a critical role in shaping US-Israel relations, the American people and their representatives set the foundations, direction and tone, as well as the content of the bilateral relations, sometimes overruling or redirecting White House policies.

The 390 year old infrastructure of shared values between the US and the vision of a Jewish State – since the sermons of William Bradford on the “Mayflower” in 1620AD – has been buttressed in recent years by Israel’s significant contribution to US national security in the face of mutual threats and in the pursuit of joint interests.

In addition, Israeli cutting-edge technologies have stimulated the US economy.  Moreover, Israel’s role as the only reliable and capable Middle Eastern ally of the US is highlighted by the recent seismic developments destabilizing every Arab country.

The enthusiastic legislators of 2011 adhere to the legacy of the authors of the 1787 US Constitution.  The latter were inspired by the Jewish Bible, by the Exodus from Egypt and by the political structure of the 12 Jewish tribes, which were governed by Moses the Executive, Aaron, the tribal governors and the legislature of 70 elders.  The US Founding Fathers regarded themselves as “the modern-day People of the Covenant.” Hence, the term “Federalism,” a derivative of the Latin word for “Covenant” – Foedus.

As a result, a marble replica of Moses – who is perceived by Americans as the chief law giver – is featured, prominently, at the House of Representatives on Capitol Hill, facing the seat of the Speaker of the House, the chief legislator. Two sculptures of Moses welcome visitors at the entrance to the Supreme Court and above the bench of the US Supreme Court Justices.  Another sculpture of Moses is displayed in the rotunda of the Library of Congress.

The inscription on the Liberty Bell, a corner stone of the American ethos is from the book of Leviticus 25:10: “Proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof.” It inspired the anti-slavery movement, in general, and Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin, in particular.

The Ten Commandments proliferate in US government buildings, under the assumption that they have deeply impacted American civil laws. A granite rock, shaped like the Two Tablets, welcomes visitors to the Texas State Capitol in Austin, and the official seal of Yale University features the Hebrew words, “Urim and Thummim,” which were the power of the High Priest during the Exodus.

Furthermore, the map of the US features thousands of sites bearing biblical names, such as Salem (JeruSalem), Zion, Beth El, Bethlehem, Dothan, Ephrata, Hebron, Jericho, Canaan, Pisgah, Carmel, Gilboa, Rehoboth, Goshen, etc.

American leaders often quote from the Bible, since the US is the most religious Western society, believing in God and in Judeo-Christian values (90% and 80% respectively), with 42% of Christians frequenting Sunday church services.

Netanyahu should not have focused on the Palestinian issue, and certainly should not have offered further concessions. He should have focused on the larger context of US-Israel relations, which benefits America on the federal, state and district levels.

He should have proposed specific job-creating, export-increasing and security-enhancing bilateral programs, similar to the mutually-beneficial existing programs.  He should have offered the US expanded access to the ports of Haifa and Ashdod, and to dramatically enlarge and diversify the prepositioning of American military systems in Israel, for use by the US upon regional emergencies.

The larger context of the US-Israel relationship extends beyond the foundations of shared-values and transcends the Arab-Israeli conflict. It is not a one-way-street relationship – with the US giving and Israel receiving; it is a mutually-beneficial two-way-street.

For example, Senator Daniel Inouye, Chairman of the Appropriations Committee and its Subcommittee on Defense, and former Chairman of the Intelligence Committee, contends that “Israel’s contribution to US military intelligence is greater than all NATO countries combined.”  General Keegan, former chief of US Air Force Intelligence, asserted that “the scope of intelligence gained by the US from Israel is equal to five CIAs.”

Currently, US special operations forces are trained in Israel, on their way to Iraq and Afghanistan, leveraging Israeli battle tactics and counter-terrorism experience in the face of improvised explosive devices (IEDs), car bombs, booby-traps, suicide bombers and anti-tank missiles.  According to Brig. General Michael Vane, Deputy Chief of Staff at the US Army Training and Doctrine Command, the Israeli experience played a role in defeating terrorists in Iraq’s “Sunni Triangle.”

In September 2007, Israel demolished a nuclear plant in Syria, dealing a blow to the anti-Western Syria-Iran-North Korea axis, while upgrading the posture of deterrence and the joint interests of the US and Israel.

In 1982, Israel devastated 23 most advanced Soviet surface-to-air missile batteries, employed by Syria and considered impregnable. Israel’s battle tactics and electronic warfare were shared with the US, thus tilting the global balance of power in favor of the US and delivering to the US defense industries sensitive and rare knowhow.

In 1981, Israel decimated Iraq’s nuclear reactor, in defiance of US and international pressure. This provided the US with the conventional option during the 1991 war against Iraq, sparing the US a traumatic nuclear confrontation.

In 1970, Syria, invaded Jordan, aiming to topple the Hashemite regime and activate a pro-Soviet domino scenario into the Gulf States.  US forces were over-stretched in Vietnam, but Israel mobilized its military, forcing Syria into a swift evacuation of Jordan, thus avoiding a dramatic setback to US national security and economy.  Israel’s capability of snatching roasting chestnuts out of the fire – without US involvement – vindicated enhanced US-Israel strategic cooperation, irrespective of severe US-Israel disagreements over the Arab-Israeli conflict. The US is determined to avoid cutting off its nose to spite its face.

Israel’s unique contribution to US national security was summed up by the late General Alexander Haig, who was the Supreme Commander of NATO and US Secretary of State: “Israel is the largest, most battle-tested and cost-effective US aircraft carrier, which does not require even one American soldier, cannot be sunk and is located in a critical region for American national security and economic interests.  If Israel did not exist – the US would have to deploy a few additional aircraft carriers to the Mediterranean, along with tens of thousands of military personnel, costing the US taxpayers $20BN annually and dragging the US into additional regional and international confrontations.”

Israel constitutes a bonanza for the US defense industries, advancing US national security, employment, research & development and exports. In addition, Israel is a battle-proven laboratory, which has upgraded and refurbished hundreds of US military systems and technologies. It shares with the US most of these improvements, enhancing the competitive edge of the US defense industries, thus saving many US lives and mega billions of dollars in terms of new jobs, research and development. For instance, the current generation of the F-16 includes over 600 modifications introduced by Israel.  Also, during the Cold War, Israel transferred to the US captured Soviet combat aircraft, radar and other military systems, which afforded the US a crucial advantage over the USSR, operationally and industrially.

US-Israel cooperation, in defiance of mutual threats, should not be undermined by US-Israel disagreements over the Arab-Israeli conflict and the Palestinian issue. Recent Arab havoc has reaffirmed that the Palestinian issue has never been the root cause of Middle East turbulence or the crown jewel of Arab policy-making. In fact, regional turbulence is unrelated to the Arab-Israeli conflict, the Palestinian issue, Israel’s policies or Israel’s existence.

Birthcertifigate issue refuses to go away. Criminal Charges filed!

QUESTION OF ELIGIBILITY
Criminal complaint charges Obama birth record ‘forged’
22-page brief filed with FBI claims ‘irrefutable proof’ document a fraud

May 31, 2011

By Jerome R. Corsi
© 2011 WND (World Net Daily)

This is the first of three articles on the criminal complaint that scanner-expert Doug Vogt filed last week with the FBI. An international expert on scanners and document-imaging software filed a 22-page criminal complaint with the FBI, charging that the long-form birth certificate released by the White House is criminally fraudulent.

“What the Obama administration released is a PDF image that they are trying to pass off as a Certificate of Live Birth Long Form printed on green security paper by the Hawaiian Health Department,” Doug Vogt writes, “but this form is a created forgery.”

Get the inside details on what could be the most serious constitutional crisis in modern history, in “Where’s the Birth Certificate? The Case That Barack Obama is Not Eligible to be President,” autographed by the author!

Vogt’s criminal complaint asserts: “I have irrefutably proven that the Certificate of Live Birth that President Obama presented to the world on April 27, 2011, is a fraudulently created document put together using the Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator programs, and the creation of this forgery of a public document constitutes a class B felony in Hawaii and multiple violations under U.S. Code section Title 18, Part 1, Chapter 47, Sec.1028, and therefore an impeachable offense.”

When the Obama birth certificate “forgery” comes to the public’s attention, Vogt continues, “It will surpass all previous scandals including the Watergate scandal of the Nixon administration.”

Since 1993, Vogt has owned Archive Index Systems Inc., in Bellevue, Wash., a company that sells a wide variety of document scanners worldwide and develops document imaging software.
Before that, Vogt owned Nova Typesetting for 11 years.

Read more: Criminal complaint charges Obama birth record ‘forged’

Israel thanks PM Stephen Harper and the Nation of Canada

Israel Thanks Canada for Defense at G8 Summit

by Chana Ya’ar

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman made sure to pick up the telephone and call his counterpart in Ottawa this weekend to thank him for Canada’s stance at the G8 summit last week. Lieberman told John Baird, who recently came into the post, that Canada is a “true friend of Israel.”

Israel’s foreign minister added that Prime Minister Stephen Harper had been correct in his reading of the situation to know that the 1967-1949 Armistice lines are incompatible with the demographic realities in the Jewish State – and are indefensible as borders. Harper blocked the G8 from issuing statements with any mention of the recommendation, stated by U.S. President Barack Obama in his Middle Eastern policy speech a week prior.

Although G8 leaders called for peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority in the group’s final communique issued Friday in Deauville, France, the “1967 lines” were not included. A day later, the Arab League issued its own communique, stating it would support the Palestinian Authority’s refusal to return to any negotiations.

Instead, the Arab League will back a bid by the PA to appeal directly to the United Nations for recognition of a new Arab country called “Palestine” in Gaza, Judea and Samaria with much of Jerusalem as its capital – including many areas where Jews currently live and work.

The “peace process follow up committee” at the Doha meeting in Qatar said it would request membership for the “State of Palestine” at the UN General Assembly meeting in New York in September. Qatar is set to chair that meeting, according to the current rotation.

As Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu pointed out in his speech to the US Congress last week, there are more than half a million Israelis, most of whom are Jewish, living in the areas claimed by the PA and they are not all leaving. Israel’s decision will be based upon Israel’s necessary defensive positions and demographic considerations long in place.

The least competent manager of our diplomatic portfolio in a long time.

By WALTER RUSSELL MEAD
Professor of Foreign Affairs and Humanities at Bard College and Editor-at-Large of The American Interest magazine

The Dreamer Goes Down For The Count

I had never thought there were many similarities between the pleasure-loving Charles II of England and the more upright Barack Obama until this week. Listening to his speeches on the Middle East at the State Department, US-Israel relations at the AIPAC annual meeting and most recently his address to the British Parliament the comparison becomes irresistible.

“Here lies our sovereign king,” wrote the Earl of Rochester about King Charles: Whose word no man relies on. Who never said a foolish thing Or ever did a wise one.”

This seems to capture President Obama’s Middle East problems in a nutshell. The President’s descriptions of the situation are comprehensive and urbane. He correctly identifies the forces at work. He develops interesting policy ideas and approaches that address important political and moral elements of the complex problems we face. He crafts approaches that might, with good will and deft management, bridge the gaps between the sides. He reads thoughtful speeches full of sensible reflections.

But the last few weeks have cast him as the least competent manager of America’s Middle East diplomatic portfolio in a very long time. He has infuriated and frustrated long term friends, but made no headway in reconciling enemies. He has strained our ties with the established regimes without winning new friends on the Arab Street . He has committed our forces in the strategically irrelevant backwater of Libya not, as he originally told us, for “days, not weeks” but for months not days.

Where he has failed so dramatically is in the arena he himself has so frequently identified as vital: the search for peace between Palestinians and Israelis. His record of grotesque, humiliating and total diplomatic failure in his dealings with Prime Minister Netanyahu has few parallels in American history. Three times he has gone up against Netanyahu; three times he has ingloriously failed. This last defeat — Netanyahu’s deadly, devastating speech to Congress in which he eviscerated President Obama’s foreign policy to prolonged and repeated standing ovations by members of both parties — may have been the single most stunning and effective public rebuke to an American President a foreign leader has ever delivered.

Netanyahu beat Obama like a red-headed stepchild; he played him like a fiddle; he pounded him like a big brass drum. The Prime Minister of Israel danced rings around his arrogant, professorial opponent. It was like watching the Harlem Globetrotters go up against the junior squad from Miss Porter’s School; like watching Harvard play Texas A&M, like watching Bambi meet Godzilla — or Bill Clinton run against Bob Dole.

The Prime Minister mopped the floor with our guy. Obama made his ’67 speech; Bibi ripped him to shreds. Obama goes to AIPAC, nervous, off-balance, backing and filling. Then Bibi drops the C-Bomb, demonstrating to the whole world that the Prime Minister of Israel has substantially more support in both the House and the Senate than the President of the United States .

President Obama’s new Middle East policy, intended to liquidate the wreckage resulting from his old policy and get the President somehow on to firmer ground, lies in ruins even before it could be launched. He had dropped the George Mitchell approach, refused to lay out his own set of parameters for settling the conflict, and accepted some important Israeli red lines — but for some reason he chose not to follow through with the logic of these decisions and offer Netanyahu a reset button.

As so often in the past, but catastrophically this time, he found the “sour spot”: the position that angers everyone and pleases none. He moved close enough to the Israelis to infuriate the Palestinians while keeping the Israelis at too great a distance to earn their trust. One can argue (correctly in my view) that US policy must at some level distance itself from the agendas of both parties to help bring peace.

But that has to be done carefully, and to make it work one first needs to win their trust. Obama lost the trust of the Israelis early in the administration and never earned it back; he lost the Palestinians when he was unable to deliver Israeli concessions he led them to expect.

The President is now wandering across Europe seeking to mend fences with allies ( Britain, France, Poland ) he had earlier neglected and/or offended; at home, his authority and credibility have been holed below the waterline.

Everyone who followed the events of the last week knows that the President has lost control of the American-Israeli relationship and that he has no near-term prospects of rescuing the peace process. The Israelis, the Palestinians and the US Congress have all rejected his leadership.

Peace processes are generally good things even if they seldom bring peace; one hopes the President can find a way to re-launch American diplomacy on this issue but for now he seems to have reached a dead end — and to have allowd himself to be fatally tagged as too pro-Israel to win the affection of the Europeans and Arabs, and too pro-Palestinian to be trusted either by Israel or by many of the Americans who support it.

Internationally, this matters a great deal; domestically it matters even more. The President has significantly less capacity to act than he did a week ago. The Bin Laden dividend, already cruelly diminished by what The Daily Caller said was the administration’s “victory lap in a clown car” is now history. The GOP, in trouble recently as voters recoil from what many see as Republican extremism on issues like Medicare and public unions, will be able to use the national security card in new and potent ways.

As the stunning and overwhelming response to Prime Minister Netanyahu in Congress showed, Israel matters in American politics like almost no other country on earth. Well beyond the American Jewish and the Protestant fundamentalist communities, the people and the story of Israel stir some of the deepest and most mysterious reaches of the American soul. The idea of Jewish and Israeli exceptionalism is profoundly tied to the idea of American exceptionalism. The belief that God favors and protects Israel is connected to the idea that God favors and protects America .

It means more. The existence of Israel means that the God of the Bible is still watching out for the well-being of the human race. For many American Christians who are nothing like fundamentalists, the restoration of the Jews to the Holy Land and their creation of a successful, democratic state after two thousand years of oppression and exile is a clear sign that the religion of the Bible can be trusted.

Being pro-Israel matters in American mass politics because the public mind believes at a deep level that to be pro-Israel is to be pro-America and pro-faith. Substantial numbers of voters believe that politicians who don’t ‘get’ Israel also don’t ‘get’ America and don’t ‘get’ God. Obama’s political isolation on this issue, and the haste with which liberal Democrats like Nancy Pelosi left the embattled President to take the heat alone, testify to the pervasive sense in American politics that Israel is an American value. Said the Minority Leader to the Prime Minister: “I think it’s clear that both sides of the Capitol believe you advance the cause of peace.”

President Obama probably understands this intellectually; he understands many things intellectually. But what he can’t seem to do is to incorporate that knowledge into a politically sustainable line of policy. The deep American sense of connection to and, yes, love of Israel limits the flexibility of any administration. Again, the President seems to know that with his head. But he clearly had no idea what he was up against when Bibi Netanyahu came to town.

As a result, he’s taking another ride in the clown car, and this time it isn’t a victory lap. I hope I’m wrong, but I think the next intifada got a lot closer this week. (Hashem forbid!)

How to determine the winner of the Obamacare/Medicare debate?

Redacted from the article, “Beyond Mediscare”
By Yuval Levin
The Weekly Standard, May 30, 2011

Do House Republicans want to kill the elderly? If you listen to the left these days, you’d certainly think so. Last week, a liberal advocacy group called “The Agenda Project”—which claims to advance “rational, effective ideas in the public debate”—released an ad showing a look-alike of House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan pushing an old woman in a wheelchair off a cliff. “Is America beautiful without Medicare?” the ad inquires of viewers. “Ask Paul Ryan and his friends in Congress.”

Nor is it only rabid interest groups that have succumbed to such appeals. Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of health and human services, said more or less the same thing earlier this month. When asked about the House Republican budget’s approach to Medicare, Sebelius said that, under the plan, “If you run out of the government voucher and then you run out of your own money, you’re left to scrape together charity care, go without care, die sooner. There really aren’t a lot of options.”

The president himself has come pretty close to this view. The Republican budget, Obama said in a speech at George Washington University last month, “says instead of guaranteed health care, you will get a voucher. And if that voucher isn’t worth enough to buy the insurance that’s available in the open marketplace, well, tough luck—you’re on your own. Put simply, it ends Medicare as we know it.”

Clearly, the GOP Medicare reform has struck a nerve. Democrats seem unwilling to speak about it honestly. Maybe they know that the facts do not support their case.

Let’s start with “Medicare as we know it.” According to the Congressional Budget Office and Medicare’s trustees, the program has a long-term unfunded liability of more than $30 trillion. It’s about a decade from insolvency. The trustees’ latest annual report, released on May 13, notes that the Medicare trust fund is projected to run out of money five years sooner than was projected last year. Its current trajectory would swallow up the federal budget. Taxes could not be raised high or fast enough to keep up with its growth without crushing the economy.

The Democrats cannot deny the figures, but their solution is to let the crisis come. President Obama’s budget offered nothing beyond Obamacare as a solution. In an extraordinary letter affixed to the recent trustees’ report, Medicare’s chief actuary noted that Obamacare’s approach to the program—price controls determined by a board of experts and devoid of market-based reforms that could help health care providers improve their efficiency—would actually exacerbate Medicare’s troubles.

The Republican budget offers precisely such market-based reforms. It proposes not just to reduce the growth rate of Medicare spending, but to introduce consumer pressures into the system that would create financial incentives for providers to work more efficiently and reduce the growth of the health care costs that are at the heart of the problem.

Currently Medicare recipients play no part in determining who gets paid and how much, and have no sense of what their health care costs. Providers have no financial incentive to deliver better care at lower prices. And price controls that would reduce what Medicare pays per service (the Obamacare solution) would only create an incentive for providers to supply a greater volume of services to make up the difference. That is exactly what price controls have done in the past—drive efficiency down and costs up.

The House Republican proposal would change Medicare’s counterproductive design. It would leave today’s seniors and those now 55 or older in the current system, since they have planned their retirements around it. But everyone younger than that would join a redesigned Medicare when they retire.

Rather than pay all providers a set fee directly, seniors would use the money (in the form of a premium support payment that would start at current Medicare rates and grow with inflation) to choose insurance plans from a menu of guaranteed private coverage options. Poor seniors and those in the worst health would get significantly greater support, while the wealthiest would receive less.

And seniors would be buying guaranteed insurance with limits on out of pocket costs, not paying directly for care. Sebelius’s notion that they would simply “run out” of money if they got sick is nothing more than fear-mongering.

Insurers and providers would compete for seniors’ dollars. They would be free to find innovative ways to offer better quality at lower costs. That’s how markets produce efficiency: by letting sellers find ways to offer buyers what they want at prices they want to pay. Everyone agrees that such efficiency improvements are essential. As Ryan has put it, the basic choice offered by the parties’ competing approaches to Medicare has to do with how efficiency is achieved. It’s a choice between giving a board of experts the power to deny care to seniors based on its magisterial judgment of quality and value, and giving seniors the power to deny business to providers based on their individual opinions and priorities.

For politicians, it is also a choice between reforming a program that seniors are comfortable with and leaving it alone despite its fatal problems. Republicans have chosen to deal with that difficulty by leaving current seniors with all the benefits they are accustomed to in the current program and reforming it for the next generation.

Democrats have chosen to deal with it by pretending there is no problem, falsely insisting that any reform will harm today’s seniors, and leaving a colossal disaster for the next generation. Republicans, in other words, have chosen a policy solution that carries political risk while the Democrats have opted for political advantage.

Do you know what al-Hijra is? You had better!

Redacted from Dutch Parliamentarian Geert Wilders’ Speech
Nashville Cornerstone Church. May 12, 2011

…Do you know why America is better than Europe? Because you enjoy more freedom. European and Canadian people are dragged to court for telling the truth about Islam.

I, too, have been dragged to court. I am an elected member of the house of representatives in the Netherlands. I am currently standing in court like a common criminal for saying that Islam is a dangerous totalitarian ideology rather than a religion. The court case is still pending, but I risk a jail sentence of 16 months.

…I am here today with an unpleasant message. I am here with a warning. I am here with a battle cry: “Wake up, Christians of Tennessee. Islam is at your gate.” Do not make the mistake which Europe made. Do not allow Islam to gain a foothold here. Islam is dangerous. Islam wants to establish a state on earth, ruled by Islamic sharia law. Islam aims for the submission, whether by persuasion, intimidation or violence, of all non-Muslims, including Christians.

Islam is an ideology of conquest. It uses two methods to achieve this goal: the first method is the sword. Do you know what figures are on the flag of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, a country where Christian churches are banned and Christians are not even allowed to wear a tiny crucifix? There is a huge sword on that flag, just below the Islamic creed. The message is clear. Without the sword Islam would not have been able to spread its creed.

The second method is immigration. Islam’s founder Muhammad himself taught his followers how to conquer through immigration when they moved from Mecca to Medina. This phenomenon of conquest through immigration is called al-Hijra. In Europe we have been experiencing al-Hijra for over 30 years now. Many of our cities have changed beyond recognition. “In each one of our cities” wrote the well-known Italian author, Oriana Fallaci shortly before her death in 2006, “there is a second city, a state within the state, a government within the government. A Muslim city, a city ruled by the Koran.”

“Multiculturalism” is a disaster. Almost everyone acknowledges this today, but few dare say why. Let me tell you why: Multiculturalism made us tolerate the intolerant, and now intolerance is annihilating tolerance. Only two weeks ago, the British press revealed how the so-called “London Taliban” is threatening to kill women who do not wear veils in the London borough of Tower Hamlets.

In some neighborhoods Islamic regulations are already being enforced – also on non-Muslims. Women’s rights are being trampled. We are confronted with headscarves and burqa’s, polygamy, female genital mutilation, honor-killings where men murder their wives, daughters or sisters because they do not behave in accordance with Islamic rules.

Among 15-year-old German Muslims, 40 percent consider islam more important than democracy. Among Muslim university students in Britain, 40 percent support sharia. One in three of those students considers it legitimate to kill in the name of islam.

Muhammad personally participated in the ethnic cleansing of Medina, where half the population once was Jewish. Muhammad helped to chop off their heads. On his deathbed, he ordered his followers to cleanse Arabia of all Jews and Christians.

To this very day, Christian symbols are prohibited in Saudi-Arabia. If you wear a cross in Saudi Arabia, they send you to jail. And now, Europe is beginning to look like Arabia. Just today, a poll revealed that in Brussels, the capital of the European Union, half the Islamic youths are anti-semitic. It is dangerous for Jews to walk the streets in Brussels.

If you wear a cross or a kippah in certain urban areas in Europe today, you risk being beaten up. In the capital of my own country, Amsterdam, a tram driver was forced to remove his crucifix from sight, while his Muslim colleagues are allowed to wear the veil.

In June 2008, the Christian church authorities in the Danish town of Arhus decided to pay so-called “protection money” to islamic so-called “security guards” who assure that church goers are not harassed by islamic youths.

On March 31, 2010, Muslims entered the Roman Catholic cathedral of Cordoba, Spain, and attacked the guards with knives. They claimed the cathedral was theirs.

Last month, the bishops of Sweden sent out a letter to priests advising them to avoid converting asylum seekers from islamic countries to Christianity, because the converts would risk losing their lives.

In the Netherlands, the city authorities in Amsterdam register polygamous marriages. The authorities in Rotterdam serve only halal meals in municipal cafeterias. Theaters provide separate seats for women who are not allowed to sit next to men. Municipal swimming pools have separate swimming hours for men and women, Muslim lawyers do not have to stand when the judges enter court rooms. Meanwhile Jews are no longer safe on our streets. Political “leaders” advise Jews to emigrate. Jews are already running for Israel. But, I say: Jews must not leave, violent Muslims must leave!

We can see what islam has in store for us if we watch the fate of the Christians in the Islamic world, such as the Copts in Egypt, the Maronites in Lebanon, the Assyrians in Iraq, and Christians elsewhere. Almost every day, churches are set aflame and Christians assassinated in islamic countries.

Rivers of tears are flowing from the Middle East, where there is only one safe haven for Christians. You know where that is. The only place in the Middle East where Christians are safe is Israel. That is why Israel deserves our support. Israel is a safe haven for everyone, whatever their belief and opinions. Israel is a beacon of light in a region of total darkness. Israel is fighting our fight. The jihad against Israel is a jihad against all of us. If Israel falls, we, too, will feel the consequences. If Jerusalem falls, Athens, Rome, Amsterdam and Nashville will fall. Therefore, we all are Israel.

A recent poll in post-revolution Egypt found that 85 percent of Egyptians are convinced that islam’s influence on politics is good, 82 percent believe that adulterers should be stoned, 84 percent want the death penalty for apostates. The press refers to the events in the Arab world today as the Arab spring. I call it the Arab winter.

Dear friends, here is my warning. Make no mistake: Islam is also coming for America. In fact, it is already here. America is facing a stealth jihad, the islamic attempt to introduce sharia law bit by bit. Last March, a judge in Tampa, Florida, ruled that a lawsuit against a mosque and involving the control of 2.4 million dollars, should proceed under Islamic law.

We must resist this invasion with all our might. You and I, Americans and Europeans, belong to a common Western culture. We share the ideas and ideals of our common Judeo-Christian heritage. We must pass this heritage on to our children and grandchildren, we must stand together, side by side, in our struggle against Islamic barbarism.

Obama’s virtual reality

By Yoram Ettinger
Israel Opinion/Ynet
21 May ’11

Op-ed: President’s idealistic vision ignores Arab tradition of tyranny, political violence

On November 2, 2010, the US electorate decided that President Obama was detached from domestic reality, and therefore dealt the Democratic Party a devastating defeat in federal and state legislatures, as well as in gubernatorial elections. In his May 19, 2011 speech on the Middle East, the President proved himself detached from Mideast reality as well.

President Obama is determined to introduce democracy to Arab countries, in spite of their 1,400 year old systemic track record of tyranny, terror, political violence, uncertainty, volatility and treachery. He prefers the virtual reality of the “Arab Spring,” rather than contending with the Middle Eastern reality of the “Stormy Arab Winter.” Hence, he views the seismic events rocking the region as “a story of self-determination” and is convinced that “repression will not work anymore.”

Obama’s virtual reality leads him to compare the violent Arab Street to “the defiance of those patriots in Boston who refused to pay taxes to a king, or the dignity of Rosa Parks as she sat courageously in her seat.” Are the two million Egyptians who assembled at Cairo’s Tahrir Square, cheering Sheikh Kardawi, a top Muslim Brotherhood leader, following in the footsteps of Patrick Henry and Martin Luther King???

President Obama offers to relieve “a democratic Egypt” of up to $1billion in debt and to channel billions of dollars to Egypt and Tunisia, “the vanguard of this democratic wave…, (which) can set a strong example through free and fair elections, a vibrant civil society, accountable and effective democratic institutions and responsible regional leadership.” He expects the flow of aid to generate trade, entrepreneurship and a free market economy. However, he downplays the absence of an appropriate infrastructure of values and education in the Arab Middle East, which is a prerequisite for democracy and a free market economy.

Obama has chosen to ignore in his speech clear and present threats to US economic and national security interests – such as Iran’s nuclearization and Islamic terrorism – while the “Arab Roller Coaster” runs uncontrollable and Russia and China deepen their penetration of the Middle East. Furthermore, the US is about to withdraw from Iraq and Afghanistan, which could be leveraged by rogue regimes, exacerbating regional violence, instability and uncertainty.

In February, 2010, President Obama appointed a new ambassador to Damascus – following four years of diplomatic absence – “because Assad could play a constructive role in the Middle East.” So much for Mideast realism…

Like deer caught in headlights

Persian Gulf leaders are traumatized by the Iranian threat, by domestic upheaval and by a potential Iraqi “earthquake” in the aftermath of the US departure, irrespective of the Palestinian issue. Other Arab leaders are shaky in the face of lethal domestic turbulence, which is totally unrelated to the Palestinian issue, to the Arab-Israeli conflict or to Israel’s existence. Nonetheless, Obama is convinced that “the conflict between Israelis and Arabs has cast a shadow over the region.”

Like a deer caught in a headlights-look, the American president is glued to the Palestinian “screen saver.” He is convinced that the Arab-Israeli conflict and the Palestinian issue are a root cause of Middle East turbulence, the crown jewel of Arab policy-making and a core cause of anti-US Islamic terrorism.

Hence, he disregards the sweeping popularity of bin Laden and Saddam Hussein on the Palestinian Street, the presence of Palestinian terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan, Abbas’ track record in intra-Arab subversion and terrorism and the anti-Semitic, anti-Israel and anti-US hate-education and incitement in Abbas-controlled education, the media and the clergy.

Obama also disregards the unprecedented Palestinian terrorism triggered by the Oslo Accord, by the Israeli initiative to establish the Palestinian Authority and by Israel’s withdrawal from the entire Gaza Strip and from 40% of Judea and Samaria.

Obama pressures the Jewish State to partition Jerusalem and to retreat to the 9-15 miles wide pre-1967 lines, in defiance of precedents which document that the Palestinian-Israeli conflict has never been over the size – but over the existence – of the Jewish State. Thus, Obama radicalizes Palestinian expectations and demands, distances them from – and replacing them at – the negotiation table, and signals to the Palestinians that terrorism is rewarded. By doing so, he forfeits the role of an honest broker.

President Obama’s position is at odds with the majority of the American people and most Democrats. It is out of step with most Senators and Representatives, who are empowered to initiate, bloc, suspend, amend and turn around policy. Therefore, Obama’s plan will not be implemented unless the Jewish State wastes its substantial base of American support, submitting itself to the pressure of a relatively-weak president, who is rapidly losing the “Bin Laden bonus,” and increasingly requires congressional cooperation in order to be reelected.

In fact, it was the pressure by congressional Democrats that forced Obama – against his worldview – to declare in his speech that “symbolic actions to isolate Israel at the UN in September won’t create an independent state.” In other words, the US will not tolerate a Palestinian Tsunami in the UN in September.

Are you prepared to defend yourself and your family?

SUMMER CAMP
Reply @ info@bnaielim.org

Shalom Everyone. Once again this year the camp Kitat Konenut New York will be holding our sixth annual 2-week Israeli Counter-Terror Training Camp this summer (2011) at Camp Tel Chai in Upstate NY! Here is the website with photos http://www.camptelchai.webs.com/

Here is just some of the agenda:

For Real Physical Training:

*Extreme Krav maga
*Edged weapons defense
*Non-lethal weapons training
*First aid
*Basic firearms safety
*All military shooting positions
*Shooting under stress
*Advancing on a target (single and team)
*Ballistics
*Exiting a vehicle under fire
*Urban combat training
*wilderness hikes
*Swimming and water exercises
*Airsoft and paintball simulation drills
*Identifying terrorist activity
*Counter-terrorism techniques
*Gun laws
*Coordination with law enforcement, And much, much more!

The camp is co-ed, though sleeping quarters are separate. All food is Kosher and the camp is shomer Shabbat. Those who do not observe Shabbat either may join the group or will have a free day. There is a synagogue at camp and those who pray may do so. Also there will be visting Rabbis at the camp.

There will be two shabbatons with guest speakers, festive food and activities appropriate for the day. The Camp is geared towards responsible American Jews, ages 18-30 who want to learn how to protect their communities. All training is given by highly skilled Israeli Combat Soldiers.

The Dates are Wednesday, August 10th through Sunday, August 21st.

Tuition is $500 all inclusive in the Catskill Mountains of Upstate NY at Camp Tel Chai. For more information or to register for camp check out our website: www.camptelchai.webs.com

 or email us at: mefaked@kitatkonenutnewyork.org

Pruden dissects Obama, Netanyahu and Useful Idiot American Jews

PRUDEN: A Come-to-Moses moment at hand   
By Wesley Pruden
The Washington Times
Friday, May 13, 2011

The State Department, which has never been particularly friendly to Jews, is getting a little cover for its unrelenting deference to the enemies of Israel. The Jews eager to cover for the diplomats are the weak, the naive and, alas, the familiar.

They’re the liberal, mostly Democratic, Jews offended by the “aggressive” Israelis who understand what’s at stake in the Middle East. They’re embarrassed by and resentful of the “righteous Gentiles” eager to help Israel prevent a second Holocaust, this one in the Middle East, rather than to contribute to building another Holocaust museum later.

Israel once united the contentious factions of American Jews, but now the mere existence of Israel exacerbates tension between the realists and the deaf, blind dreamers. Nevertheless, a “come-to-Moses” moment is approaching. Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority, fresh from his kiss-and-make-up session with the terrorists of Hamas, is coming to New York City in September to press the United Nations to recognize an independent Palestinian State.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be in Washington next week to address a joint session of Congress and to meet with President Obama. Maybe they’ll talk about that. The occasion will give Messrs. Obama and Netanyahu, in diplo-speak, “An opportunity for the United States and Israel to review the full range of issues, from Iran to the regional change to the peace process.”

If the past is the usual reliable guide, the White House and the State Department will actually see this as an opportunity to pressure Israel to submit to further accommodation to those who want to “wipe Israel off the map,” in the vow of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the president of Iran and the chief enabler of Hamas.

Mr. Obama himself is all aquiver working on his speech, probably to be delivered next week, eager to speak softly and carry small convictions made of strawberry Jell-O. The Wall Street Journal reports that he will urge Muslims to “reject Islamic militancy in the wake of Osama bin Laden’s death and embrace a new era of relations with the United States.” Ah, if only.

But it’s not just the Jews who get the back of his hand. There hasn’t been a peep out of the White House since a dozen Egyptian Christians were killed and scores injured by violent Muslims last weekend. Christian homes and businesses were trashed and burned. The pope condemned it; Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper condemned it. Nothing from the president, though there’s White House precedent for condemning burning churches. (Bill Clinton once condemned the burning of black churches in Arkansas even when nobody had burned any churches in Arkansas.)

Some American Jews who are fed up with the passivity, or worse, of well-established advocacy groups are splitting to establish new organizations with an appetite for the red meat that is the diet of everyone else in the Middle East. One particular target is the confederation of local Jewish Federations that, no doubt well-meaning, offer aid and comfort to those who mean Israel nothing but ill.

In New York City, writes Jonathan Rosenblum, a columnist for the Jerusalem Post and the Hebrew daily Maariv, a Jewish Federation affiliate on the Upper West Side supports organizations promoting boycott, divestment and sanction of Israel. In Washington, the Federation funds an anti-Jewish theater troupe called Theater J, whose recent offerings include a play about Israelis as modern Nazis. A Southern California chapter contributes money to send students to Israel to be treated to scolding lectures by Hamas speakers.

This Jewish cover for anti-Israel initiatives is no doubt welcomed by Arabists in Foggy Bottom, where skepticism of Jews is part of the established old order. In his biography of Harry S. Truman, David McCullough tells of the fierce and bitter State Department resistance to recognizing the state of Israel at its founding in 1948. “The striped-pants conspirators,” Mr. Truman called the men just below George C. Marshall, the secretary whom the president regarded as something of a saint. “Some White House men … believe that a number of positions taken by career men on this matter were based on anti-Semitism, not diplomacy,” wrote one prominent pundit. Men at the State Department accused the president’s men of being more concerned about Israel than American security.

Six decades later, some things have changed, but not all. One thing that has changed is that there’s no one remotely like Harry S. Truman, a president fully at ease with the true character of the country he leads, in charge at the White House.

• Wesley Pruden is editor emeritus of The Washington Times.

Where are the “Establishment” Protestant churches?

Where are the “Establshment” American Protestant Churches when their brethren are being slaughtered all over the Arab world?

Many times they prefer, by any stretch of their imaginations, to somehow blame the Israelis for whatever, wherever, Christian tragedy occurs. Don’t confuse anyone with the facts.

Egypt’s Other Extremists

While the Muslim Brotherhood gets all the ink, the Salafists go on a rampage.

Redacted from an article by Paul Marshall
The Weekly Standard, MAY 16, 2011

Judging the likely trajectory of post-Mubarak Egypt requires assessing the depth of public support for Islamism, and usually, this has meant assessing the strength and intentions of the Muslim Brotherhood. While the Brotherhood remains central, however, the country is also facing a frequently violent upsurge of Salafist versions of Islam.

The groups can overlap, but the Brotherhood tends to stress an Islamic state and political organization, and its members have no prescribed mode of dress, apart from modesty. In this sense they are a modern movement. The Salafists are often distinguishable by full beards for men and full face covering for women, and they stress emulating the piety and practice of the first three generations of Muslims (Salaf means “predecessor” or “forefather”). 

Strongly influenced by Wahhabi teachings, the Salafists have tended to follow local sheikhs rather than have a countrywide organization, and under Mubarak they were usually quiescent or else inclined to a violent extremism that led to rapid and severe repression by the regime’s efficient security apparatus. But many Salafists are now trying to take advantage of the widespread chaos in Egypt in order to impose their repressive version of Islam on their neighbors and ultimately on the country.

One Salafist target is Egypt’s Christians, the Copts, the largest non-Muslim minority in the Middle East On March 20, in Qena, Salafists, including an off-duty policeman, accused a Copt named Ayman Mitri of renting an apartment to a prostitute, cut off one of his ears, mutilated his other ear, and slashed his neck. The attackers then informed the police that they had carried out the punishment required by Islamic law. As was usual under Mubarak, the police refrained from pressing charges and called for a “reconciliation” meeting between the religious communities.

Also as under Mubarak, the authorities’ refusal to punish attacks on Christians has led to more attacks. On March 23, Salafists surrounded St. George’s church in Beni Ahmad and successfully demanded that a church expansion approved by the government be stopped. On March 27, they blockaded St. Mary’s church in Giza, saying it did not have a permit. After yet another “reconciliation” meeting between Copts and Muslims, services at the church were forbidden until it acquired a new permit. 

On March 28, Salafists attacked a liquor store in Kasr El-Bassil owned by a Copt, destroyed other stores, and demanded that coffee shops be closed. One villager was killed and eight others injured. On April 5, hundreds occupied St. John the Beloved church in Kamadeer, stopping repairs after heavy rain, and told Copts that they were not allowed to pray there any more. After yet another “reconciliation,” Copts were told to build a church 200 meters away, one without a dome, cross, bell, or any other external feature marking it as a church.

Beginning on April 15, over 10,000 demonstrators, mostly Salafists, protested in the southern province of Qena against the appointment of a new governor, Emad Mikhail, who is a Christian (the previous governor, Magdy Ayoub, was also Christian). Protesters blocked main roads, stopped buses to separate men and women passengers, and disrupted the main rail route in Upper Egypt for eight days. There were threats to bar Mikhail from the province and even to kill him. 

Perhaps thinking that these more extreme Islamist currents make it appear relatively moderate, the Brotherhood condemned the killing of Osama bin Laden. Already before that, it had become more outspoken about its own desire for an Islamic state. 

These newer statements about Islam and law by senior leaders of the Brotherhood have alarmed democracy activists and many others. In response, the Coptic Orthodox Church suspended its dialogue with the Brotherhood and dropped its plans to invite the group’s leaders to attend Easter celebrations.

Severe religious freedom violations engaged in or tolerated by the government of Egypt have increased dramatically since the release of last year’s report, with violence, including murder, escalating against Coptic Christians and other religious minorities. Since President Mubarak’s resignation from office in February, such violence continues unabated without the government’s bringing the perpetrators to justice.

Paul Marshall is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom and co-author, with Nina Shea, of the forthcoming Silenced: How Apostasy and Blasphemy Codes are Choking Freedom Worldwide.