Archive for February, 2009

Diplomacy By Itself Won’t Work With Iran

Saturday, February 14th, 2009

by Michael Rubin*

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced last summer that Iran possessed 6,000 centrifuges. But the problem is no longer just enrichment. Last week the Islamic Republic launched a satellite into orbit, demonstrating an intercontinental ballistic missile capacity.

Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s confidants have repeatedly urged nuclear weapon development. Ayatollah Mohammad Baqer Kharrazi, secretary-general of Iranian Hezbollah, for example, declared in 2005: “We are able to produce atomic bombs, and we will do that. … The United States is not more than a barking dog.”

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Media hails Iraqi elections as ‘extraordinary achievement’

Monday, February 9th, 2009

By Andrew L. Jaffee

Iraqis voted on Saturday for local representatives, on an almost violence-free election day aimed at creating provincial councils that more closely represent Iraq’s ethnic, sectarian and tribal balance. By nightfall, there were no confirmed deaths, and children played soccer on closed-off streets in a generally joyous atmosphere. …

So admits the New York Times (NYT) in a story entitled, “Under Tight Security, Iraqis Vote on Almost Violence-Free Election Day,” published on January 31, 2009. In another story, the NYT admitted that the elections occurred in “Iraq’s most peaceful period since the American invasion in 2003.” This is all a far cry from the constant litany of doomsday prognostications we’ve been listening to since the Coalition effort to bring democracy to Iraq began in 2003.

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Rabbi Noah Weinberg: A Tribute

Sunday, February 8th, 2009

Please watch this short film, a tribute to Rabbi Noah Weinberg, who devoted his life to helping Jews keep ties to their heritage, fostered a renaissance among the Jewish people, and founded Aish.com — spreading the message that each person can help change the world:

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An Opening to Iran? They’ve sold us this rug before

Saturday, February 7th, 2009

by Michael Rubin*

During the Democratic primaries, Barack Obama promised to meet the leaders of Iran “without preconditions.” He appears a man of his word. Within days of his election, the State Department began drafting a letter to Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad intended to pave the way for face-to-face talks. Then, less than a week after taking office, Obama told al-Arabiya’s satellite network, “If countries like Iran are willing to unclench their fist, they will find an extended hand from us.” The president dispatched former Defense Secretary William Perry to engage a high-level Iranian delegation led by a senior Ahmadinejad adviser.

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Combating Lies About Israel: The Truth Is Out There

Friday, February 6th, 2009

By Andrew L. Jaffee

As usual, during a Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the international press readily eats up all sorts of exaggerated claims made by the Arab side. This time — during Israel’s attempt to stop constant, terrorist rocket fire from Gaza — the IDF (Israeli Defense Forces) was accused of shelling a UN school. Remember that during the “second intifada” in 2002, Yasir Arafat accused Israel of “massacring” thousands of Palestinians in the battle of Jenin. In fact, “The death toll was 56 Palestinians, the majority of them combatants, and 23 Israeli soldiers.” No massacre. The problem is that once the media reports on accusations leveled against Israel, it rarely steps back to correct the lies. Maybe a footnote is added to one or two stories, but the public relations damage to Israel’s image has already been done. This time, will the media report on the true facts revealed about the IDF’s “school shelling,” or Hamas’ use of its own people as human shields, or Hamas’ stealing of UN emergency supplies destined for those Palestinians who really need it? It can seem hopeless, but the truth is out there.

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Does Israel Need Think Tanks?

Friday, February 6th, 2009

by Hannah Elka Meyers*

Think tanks may once have been a solely American phenomenon, but they have now begun to take root in many countries, including Israel.[1] In the United States, think tanks are immensely influential. Prominent examples, such as the Heritage Institute, Hoover Institution, American Enterprise Institute (AEI), and Brookings Institution, among other things serve as personnel resources for new administrations and their impact on policy is pronounced. In Iraq, for example, the Baker-Hamilton Commission, sponsored jointly by the U.S. Institute for Peace, the Center for the Study of the Presidency, and the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy, on the one hand, and the American Enterprise Institute’s “Choosing Victory,” which led to the surge, on the other, helped define the U.S. debate.[2]

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Senate Stimulus: 300,000 Jobs for Illegals?

Wednesday, February 4th, 2009

1 in 7 New Construction Jobs Could Go to Illegal Immigrants

WASHINGTON, D.C. (February 4, 2008) — The Senate Stimulus bill currently being considered contains about $104 billion in new government funding for construction projects with the goal of creating jobs for millions of unemployed Americans. Unlike the House version, there is no provision in the bill to bar illegal immigrants from getting these taxpayer-funded jobs. This could result in several hundred thousand illegal immigrants receiving jobs.

The current version of the Senate Stimulus bill (The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act) contains $104 billion in construction spending, including highways, schools, and public housing.

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Obama, the Middle East and Islam – An Initial Assessment

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2009

by Daniel Pipes*

Why, just two weeks into a 209-week term, assess a new American president’s record on so esoteric a subject as the Middle East and Islam? In Barack Obama’s case, because of:

(1) A contradictory record: His background brims over with wild-eyed anti-Zionist radicals such as Ali Abunimah, Rashid Khalidi, and Edward Said, with Islamists, the Nation of Islam, and the Saddam Hussein regime; but since being elected he has made predominantly center-left appointments and his statements resemble those of his Oval Office predecessors.

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“Moderate” Muslims versus American-Muslims

Monday, February 2nd, 2009

by Supna Zaidi*

With the inclusion of Ingrid Mattson, President of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), in the national prayer service this week, it seems it is again time to re-evaluate America’s desire to forge alliances with “moderate” Muslims. Various news sources report that Mattson’s invitation raised criticism due to ISNA’s alleged connections to terrorism. It is a fact that ISNA is a listed un-indicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation terrorist financing case and one of a number of “individuals/entities who are and/or were members of the US Muslim Brotherhood.” It is also a fact that Mattson and heads of other “moderate” Muslim organizations have failed to criticize Hamas by name.

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Balancing the bias

Monday, February 2nd, 2009

by Asaf Romirowsky*

What can be done to reverse the failures of Middle East studies in North America? Students today are subjected to radical views of the Middle East by professors who seldom brook dissent. Georgetown’s Program for Jewish Civilization (PJC) offers an alternative for students seeking to avoid the academic weaknesses that have so infected Middle East studies.

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George Mitchell’s Return to Middle East Diplomacy

Sunday, February 1st, 2009

by Daniel Pipes*

Obama’s appointment of the former U.S. Senate leader as “Special Envoy for the Middle East” has met with good reviews from most concerned. Sallai Meridor, Israel’s ambassador to the United States, said his government “holds Senator Mitchell in high regard and looks forward to working with him on taking the next steps towards realizing a future of peace and security for Israel and her neighbors.” J Street, Israel Policy Forum, and Americans for Peace Now all lauded his appointment.

But not me.

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