My name is Fred and I am a gay conservative living in Ottawa. This blog supports limited government, the right of the State of Israel to live in peace and security, and tries to expose the threat to us all from cultural relativism, post-modernism, and radical Islam. I am also the founder of the Free Thinking Film Society in Ottawa (

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Oh no....the oil slick wasn't so bad.....

Now, can we get back to drilling, please???
So, the oil in the Gulf of Mexico is disappearing much more quickly than expected.

Nature is taking its course, aided by a naval-size flotilla of skimming boats and some powerful chemical dispersants.

The sea's warm surface and oil-munching bacteria have dissipated the slick to such an extent that a planeload of journalists had to fly for an hour before their pilot could find a patch of oil. His relief, according to one reporter on board, was comparable to the anxious captain of a tourist boat spotting a distant pod of dolphins.

It turns out that the playful sea mammals, like other creatures, suffered much less damage than was forecast. A grand total of three dead dolphins covered in oil have been recovered by wildlife rescue teams. The spill has so far killed less than one per cent of the number of birds claimed by the Exxon Valdez disaster in Alaska in 1989.

With the gush plugged for the past two weeks, experts are beginning to question whether the BP spill can really be called an environmental disaster at all.

Doubts remain about the long-term underwater affects of the oil on the ecosystem, but the greatest tragedy remains the 11 lives lost when BP's Deepwater Horizon rig exploded on April 20, causing the well to rupture.

On Friday, the company's new chief executive Bob Dudley announced that the clean-up operation could now begin to be scaled back. It was one of the American's first public utterances since replacing Tony Hayward as chief executive.

In an earlier appearance before BP employees in Britain, Dudley praised his predecessor for having the decency to stand down "just when things are starting to go right".

It was not something Dudley would dare to say in the United States, where Hayward, as he acknowledged last week, remains a villain.

There are understandable reasons for this.

His "I want my life back" remark was callous in its carelessness.

You also don't compare the biggest oil leak in US history to a "drop in the ocean", even though that has turned out to be more or less the case, when your company is responsible for dumping 60,000 gallons a day into the sea, and when it has probably been economical with the truth about the size of the outflow.

But Hayward's pillorying revealed how the well-spoken scoundrel remains a latent British stereotype, one that is connected to the "don't-forget-we-kicked-your-butts-in-1776" smirk that can easily greet a British visitor on July 4.

It was also a reminder that the primary purpose of a scapegoat is to deflect blame. Amid the anger at BP, there were very few in government, the environmental movement or the media prepared to acknowledge that the despoliation of the Gulf and of the Louisiana coast has been going on for decades.

Long, long ago the state – and its people and its elected representatives – embraced oil and all its hazards. Development of the industry was rampant, corrupt, poorly regulated and carried out with little regard to the delicate marshlands that everyone was so worried about once the BP well burst open.

The thirst for oil, and the jobs and revenues it brought, led to the construction of 4,000 offshore oil and gas platforms. Thousands of miles of pipeline and a complex of roads and canals contributed to the disappearance of more than 2,000 square miles of Louisiana coastline over the past century. Teams assessing the damage caused by BP to the wetlands found 350 acres of oily marshes, but the state was already losing many times that amount every year.

As the Washington Post's energy correspondent put it, Louisiana had become a "Cajun sheikhdom", with over-dependency on one commodity leading to underdevelopment in many areas.

That reliance explained why the major issue for locals during the spill was not the nationality of the BP's CEO. They cared about prompt payment of compensation – and there are few complaints heard about that these days – and President Barack Obama's moratorium on deep-water drilling, which was regarded as a mass job-deprivation programme.

Syria wants Hariri tribunal secret...

They're protecting Hezbollah...
Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad told Saudi King Abdullah during their meeting in Damascus Friday that the UN tribunal investigating the 2005 assassination of Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri must be closed to protect Lebanon's stability, AFP cited from a report in Lebanese newspaper Al-Akhbar on Saturday.

Assad made clear to Abdullah - a key supporter of the faction of Sa'ad Hariri, son of the former premier and current prime minister - that Syria would find any attempt to hold Hizbullah accountable for the elder Hariri's death as unacceptable.

The UN Special Tribunal for Lebanon is reportedly set to announce that Mustafa Badr al-Din, a senior Hizbullah operative and close relative of the former Hizbullah terror chief Imad Mughniyeh, is the main suspect in the Hariri assassination.

According to an Israel TV report on Thursday night, Hariri’s son, the current Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, asked the tribunal to postpone releasing Din’s name, because of the potentially incendiary implications for Lebanon of such an announcement.

Din, the cousin and brother- in-law of Mughniyeh, who was killed in a car bomb in Damascus in February 2008, was also reportedly responsible for planning the attempted assassination of the ruler of Kuwait in 1985, among other operations.

Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hizbullah, said last week that members of his group would be among those indicted by the tribunal, which he dismissed as an “Israeli plot.”

A statue for Helen Thomas???

What next? A statue for Louis Farrakhan???
The Arab American National Museum in Dearborn has launched a fund-raising drive to pay for a statue of legendary journalist Helen Thomas that concerns some in the Jewish community.

Thomas, a former White House correspondent and native Detroiter born to Lebanese immigrants, was forced to quit her job at Hearst Newspapers last month after saying Israelis should "get the hell out of Palestine." She apologized.

On Tuesday, the museum started a 45-day campaign to raise the remaining $10,000 for the roughly $30,000 statue. Some in the Jewish community are wary of honoring Thomas.

"I just hope that the support for this memorial is there despite her anti-Israel and anti-Semitic views and not because of them," said Richard Nodel, president of the Jewish Community Relations Council.

Anan Ameri, director of the museum, said she disagrees with her comments, but Thomas "spent her life ... doing a lot of good things."

Venezuela harbors FARC terrorists.....

No protests over Chavez, though....
COLOMBIA'S PRESENTATION to the Organization of American States about Venezuela's hosting of the FARC terrorist movement prompted a flurry of speculation about the motives of Álvaro Uribe, Colombia's outgoing president. Why, it was asked, did he want to end his eight years in office in another confrontation with Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chávez? Could he be trying to sabotage his successor, Juan Manuel Santos, who is due to take office on Aug. 7?

Allow us to offer a simple explanation: Mr. Uribe, who has devoted his presidency to rescuing Colombia from armed gangs of both the left and the right, is deeply frustrated by Venezuela's continuing support for the FARC -- and by the failure of the international community to hold Mr. Chávez accountable for it. Before leaving office, Mr. Uribe felt compelled to make one more effort to call attention to a problem that, were it occurring in the Middle East, would surely be before the U.N. Security Council.

That Venezuela is backing a terrorist movement against a neighboring democratic government has been beyond dispute since at least 2008, when Colombia recovered laptops from a FARC camp in Ecuador containing extensive documentation of Mr. Chávez's political and material support. Colombia's presentation to the OAS last week contained fresher and more detailed intelligence. Ambassador Luis Alfonso Hoyos supplied precise map coordinates for several of the 75 FARC camps that he said had been established on Venezuelan territory and that harbor some 1,500 militants. He showed photos and videos, including one of a top commander from another Colombian terrorist organization, ELN, sipping Venezuelan beer on a popular Venezuelan beach.

Mr. Chávez responded with predictable bluster, breaking off relations with Bogota and threatening (not for the first time) to cease oil exports to the United States. Another crisis with Colombia probably benefits the caudillo, who is desperate to distract attention from his country's imploding economy and soaring violence.

Nevertheless, the question remains: Will other democracies support Colombia against this flagrant violation of international law? The Obama administration is characteristically lukewarm. The State Department, which has designated the FARC a terrorist organization, said it found Colombia's allegations "persuasive" but limited itself to supporting "a transparent international process" to investigate them. Perhaps more consequentially, one of the leading candidates in Brazil's presidential election campaign, José Serra, said "it is undeniable that Chávez is sheltering these FARC" militants. Under outgoing president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, Brazil has been one of Mr. Chávez's chief apologists and enablers. Were that support to be withdrawn, Mr. Chávez might have to rethink his terrorist alliance.

Jewish money in a congressional race....

Actually, it was my money....
Despite the upcoming congressional elections November, Jewish Democrats and Republicans found themselves awkwardly united this week, following the embarrassing public relations lapse of Democratic congressman Mike McMahon's reelection campaign, whose staff released on Thursday a list of 80 Jewish donors who contributed to the campaign of his Republican rival, Mike Grimm.

The point was to show that Grimm’s campaign money doesn’t come from his district - but not surprisingly, the “Jewish money” became the main point of discussion.

“This is a United States congressman that's segregating people out by their religion,” concluded Grimm.

In an attempt to minimize the damage, McMahon’s communications director Jennifer Nelson - who was quoted by the New York Observer as saying: “There is a lot of Jewish money, a lot of money from people in Florida and Manhattan, retirees." - was fired.

McMahon, who represents New York's 13th district, repudiated Nelson's comments saying they were “entirely inappropriate” and “unauthorized”, and added that he was “outraged” by them.

For the Jewish Republicans, however, it wasn’t the end of the story.

Republican Jewish Coalition Executive Director Matthew Brooks said on Friday in a statement that "in more than 25 years in politics I have never seen anything more despicable and offensive than this”

"Congressman McMahon has fired his communications director, but what about the other staff involved? Who asked for that list to be compiled? Who approved that action? Congressman McMahon needs to do more than apologize for 'inappropriate comments' - he must be held accountable for actions that his campaign staff took to count Jews supporting his rival," Brooks said. “I don't think this is something that should be swept under the rug. Seeing such bigotry from a sitting congressman's campaign is deeply troubling."

Zionists have poisoned Iran's Cigarettes...

Actually, it was me!
An Iranian official says cigarettes smuggled into Iran have been tainted with pig blood and nuclear material as part of a Western conspiracy.

The semiofficial Mehr news agency quotes Mohammad Reza Madani from the Society for Fighting Smoking as saying contraband Marlboros have been contaminated with pig hemoglobin and unspecified nuclear material.

Madani claims Philip Morris International, which sells Marlboro outside the US, is "led by Zionists" and deliberately exports tainted cigarettes.

Why don't we hear from Afghans???

This is a cross post from Terry Glavin's excellent blog...
Aisha is an 18-year-old Afghan woman whose nose and ears were cut off by a Taliban butcher for the "crime" of running away from the beatings she routinely suffered at the hands of her husband's family. Aisha's picture appears on the cover of Time magazine this week, provoking controversy.

Lost in all the self-serving and cowardly Code Pinkish yesbuttery and the handwringing about the propriety of a major magazine running a photograph so shocking - can we not at least stop for a moment to notice that Aisha, in the full flower of womanhood, is unspeakably beautiful in spite of her disfigurement? - is that fact that she wants the world to see her face. By her own account, she wants the world to see what the Taliban's resurgence means to Afghan women, and to see the obvious implications of the "negotiated" solution to the Afghan struggle that is so de rigueur in bourgeois-left circles in the rich countries of the world.

In her essay on the struggle of Afghan women, Time magazine's Aryn Baker reports the question Aisha raises: Talk that the Afghan government is considering some kind of political accommodation with the Taliban frightens her. "They are the people that did this to me," she says, touching her damaged face. "How can we reconcile with them?"

What is especially striking about this event is that for once, an Afghan opinion, and that of an Afghan woman, no less, has actually appeared not only as the focus of an article about Afghanistan in a major English-language periodical, but on its cover.

Remarkably, and fortuitously, the Afghan journalist Josh Shahryar, who cut his teeth as a writer for the Kabul Weekly (whose brave editor, Fahim Dashty, is a dear friend of ours), has just now managed to find a place for this essay in the Huffington Post. He writes:

I keep yearning for a day when I can turn on the TV, switch to CNN, FOX, MSNBC or CBS and see a discussion about Afghans where they actually question an Afghan. Day after day I wait, but in vain. I run through articles published about my country in the Washington Post and the New York Times to see opinion pieces written by Afghans -- but almost never see one.

. . . At a time when your media was supposed to tell you that your blood and sacrifice has indeed helped Afghanistan and that we are thankful to you, they told you otherwise. We don't like you -- they say -- and don't want your help. We are ungrateful devoted murderers who are just dying to kill you -- they warn. Our picture has been so skewed that you won't even recognize us if we walked amongst you. I won't be surprised if you think that we have fangs and blood dripping from our mouths and are just waiting to bite your jugular. This is who we are to you.

It is comforting to know that Aisha is now in a secure location in Afghanistan, with armed guards watching over her, thanks to Women for Afghan Women. Aisha will soon visit America for reconstructive surgery at the Grossman Burn Foundation. Time magazine is pitching in to help her.

Not so fortunate, in the matter of the concurrent media hubbub arising from WikiLeaks' recent sticking-it-to-the-man document dump, are the uncounted ordinary Afghans whose exposure to reprisals and terror has been so disgracefully overlooked in all the crawthumping about the implications for "our" security interests and "our" troops in the WikiLeaks affair. Once again, a round of applause to the self-congratulating WikiLeaks archgeek Julian Assange.

The Times reports that after just two hours of combing through the WikiLeaks documents it was able to find the names of dozens of Afghans said to have provided detailed intelligence to US forces - Afghans the Taliban and Al-Qaeda should be expected to be targeting in the war zone by now.

"If I were a Taliban operative with access to a computer — and lots of them have access to computers — I’d start searching the WikiLeaks data for incident reports near my area of operation to see if I recognized anyone," writes Joshua Foust. "And then I’d kill whomever I could identify. Those deaths would be directly attributable to WikiLeaks."

In conversation with Spencer Ackerman, Foust reports that, against WikiLeaks' claims of diligence, he found several identities of Afghans disclosed by the WikiLeaks documents - unredacted, full names, where they live, and so on - and those identities are now available to Taliban butchers. "I found myself shocked that WikiLeaks would be that cavalier with Afghan lives."

I am not shocked, I regret to say. But I am as disgusted as my comrade Brian Platt is - read his post here and if you have a shred of decency in you, you will be disgusted by the WikiLeaks' operation, too. And by the way, if you think anything really "new" was revealed by the vandals at WikiLeaks, here's another article by Josh Shahryar. It appeared in the Kabul Weekly, five years ago.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Is Jordan an Apartheid State....

Lots of discrimination against Palestinians...
THE CAUSES of Jordan’s recent line of official hostility toward Israel are deep-rooted in the makeup of the Jordanian state itself. Jordan is a country with a Palestinian majority which allows them little or no involvement in any political or executive bodies or parliament.

This lack of political and legislative representation of Jordanians of Palestinian heritage has been enforced by decades of systematic exclusion in all aspects of life expanding into their disenfranchisement in education, employment, housing, state benefits and even business potential, all developing into an existing apartheid no different than that formerly adopted in South Africa, except for the official acknowledgement of it.

The well-established apartheid system has created substantial advantages for East Bankers who dominate all senior government and military jobs, along with tight control of security agencies, particularly the influential Jordanian General Intelligence Department, all resulting in tribal Jordanians gaining superiority over their fellow citizens of Palestinian heritage.

The fact that East Bankers have done very well under the current situation provides motive for Jordanian officials to maintain the status quo and work on extending it; especially as the helpless Palestinian majority has no say and very little it can do against such conditions.

The East Bankers’ desire to keep their privileges has gone unchallenged until recent years, when the international community mentoring the peace process has brought into its dynamics one of Jordan’s most critical commitments of the peace treaty with Israel, by which Jordan is obligated to negotiate the conditions of the displaced individuals from both sides.

When Jordanians of Palestinian heritage moved to Jordan in 1967, they were Jordanian citizens legally relocating inside their own country as Jordan had declared the West Bank a part of the Hashemite kingdom 19 years earlier. Therefore, the Palestinians’ move to Jordan was similar to an American’s move from New York to New Jersey.

This fact was hard to absorb by the Jordanian government, as it dictates that citizens of Palestinian heritage are equal to them in rights and therefore entitled to political representation.

Such concept would have shaken the privileged ruling elite and has been confronted by a dramatic rise in radical nationalism among East Bankers and extensive support of the apartheid policies of the government that pushes Palestinians to believe they should return to “Palestine” as their home country.

Since 2008, East Bankers have been embracing hostility toward Israel with dedication to “liberating Palestine” as an excuse to further exclude the Jordanians of Palestinian heritage with calls for a universal denaturalization to put pressure on Israel. Such calls have been emphasized and publicized by the media, which are tightly controlled by Jordanian intelligence.

The radical nationalists went as far as aligning themselves with Islamists to defend their cause, as both call for turning Jordanians of Palestinian heritage into refugees rather than citizens.

The anti-Palestinian/anti-Israeli conservative nationalist political salons in Amman have been calling for threatening Israel with what they describe as the Palestinian demographic bomb by sending the Palestinians to Israel.

The Jordanian state seems to subscribe to this idea through sustaining the on-going process of striping Palestinians in Jordan of their citizenships. Although it has been done to a few thousand, it is viewed as a victory for radical nationalists. This trend poses a serious threat to regional stability and Israeli national security.

The Nakba Obsession....

The Palestinians have to come to terms with the fact that the descendents of refugees are not going to go back to their old homes...
Earlier this year, another pathbreaking work of historical scholarship appeared that, if facts mattered at all in this debate, would put the final nail in the coffin of the Nakba myth. The book is Palestine Betrayed, by Efraim Karsh, head of the Middle East program at King’s College London. Karsh has delved deeper into the British and Israeli archives—and some Arab ones—than any previous historian of the period. He deftly uses this new material to seal the case that the Nakba was, to a large extent, brought on by the Palestinians’ own leaders.

For example, using detailed notes kept by key players in Haifa, Karsh provides a poignant description of an April 1948 meeting attended by Haifa’s Arab officials, officers of the nascent Israeli military, Mayor Shabtai Levy, and Major General Hugh Stockwell, the British military commander of Haifa. Levy, in tears, begged the Arab notables, some of whom were his personal friends, to tell their people to stay in their homes and promised that no harm would befall them. The Zionists desperately wanted the Arabs of Haifa to stay put in order to show that their new state would treat its minorities well. However, exactly as Stone reported in This Is Israel, the Arab leaders told Levy that they had been ordered out and even threatened by the Arab Higher Committee, chaired by the grand mufti from his exile in Cairo. Karsh quotes the hardly pro-Zionist Stockwell as telling the Arab leaders, “You have made a foolish decision.”

In describing the battle for Jaffa, the Arab city adjoining Tel Aviv, Karsh uses British military archives to show that the Israelis again promised the Arabs that they could stay if they laid down their arms. But the mufti’s orders again forbade it. In retrospect, it is clear that the mufti wanted the Arabs of Haifa and Jaffa to leave because he feared not that they would be in danger but that their remaining would provide greater legitimacy to the fledgling Jewish state.

Unfortunately, no amount of documentation and evidence about what really happened in 1948 will puncture the Nakba narrative. The tale of dispossession has been institutionalized now, an essential part of the Palestinians’ armament for what they see as the long struggle ahead. It has become the moral basis for their insistence on the refugees’ right to return to Israel, which in turn leads them to reject one reasonable two-state peace plan after another. In the meantime, the more radical Palestinians continue to insist that the only balm for the Nakba is the complete undoing of the historical crime of Zionism—either eliminating Israel or submerging it into a secular democratic state called Palestine. (The proposal is hard to take seriously from adherents of a religion and a culture that abjure secularism and allow little democracy.)

Nor will the facts about 1948 impress the European and American leftists who are part of the international Nakba coalition. The Nakba narrative of Zionism as a movement of white colonial oppressors victimizing innocent Palestinians is strengthened by radical modes of thought now dominant in the Western academy. Postmodernists and postcolonialists have adapted Henry Ford’s adage that “history is bunk” to their own political purposes. According to the radical professors, there is no factual or empirical history that we can trust—only competing “narratives.” For example, there is the dominant establishment narrative of American history, and then there is the counter-narrative, written by professors like the late Howard Zinn, which speaks for neglected and forgotten Americans. Just so, the Palestinian counter-narrative of the Nakba can now replace the old, discredited Zionist narrative, regardless of actual historical facts. And thanks to what the French writer Pascal Bruckner has called the Western intelligentsia’s new “tyranny of guilt”—a self-effacement that forbids critical inquiry into the historical narratives of those national movements granted the sanctified status of “oppressed”—the Nakba narrative cannot even be challenged.

This makes for a significant subculture in the West devoted to the delegitimization of Israel and the Zionist idea. To leftists, for whom Israel is now permanently on trial, Stone’s 1948 love song to Zionism has conveniently been disappeared, just as Trotsky was once disappeared by the Soviet Union and its Western supporters (of whom, let us not forget, Stone was one). Thus Tony Judt can write in The New York Review of Books—the same prestigious journal in which Stone began publishing his reconsiderations of Zionism—that Israel is, after all, just an “anachronism” and a historical blunder.

Several years ago, I briefly visited the largest refugee camp in the West Bank: Balata, inside the city of Nablus. Many of the camp’s approximately 20,000 residents are the children, grandchildren, and even great-grandchildren of the Arab citizens of Jaffa who fled their homes in early 1948.

For half a century, the United Nations has administered Balata as a quasi-apartheid welfare ghetto. The Palestinian Authority does not consider the residents of Balata citizens of Palestine; they do not vote on municipal issues, and they receive no PA funding for roads or sanitation. The refugee children—though after 60 years, calling young children “refugees” is absurd—go to separate schools run by UNRWA, the UN’s refugee-relief agency. The “refugees” are crammed into an area of approximately one square kilometer, and municipal officials prohibit them from building outside the camp’s official boundaries, making living conditions ever more cramped as the camp’s population grows. In a building called the Jaffa Cultural Center—financed by the UN, which means our tax dollars—Balata’s young people are undoubtedly nurtured on the myth that someday soon they will return in triumph to their ancestors’ homes by the Mediterranean Sea.

In Balata, history has come full circle. During the 1948 war, Palestinian leaders like Haj Amin al-Husseini insisted that the Arab citizens of Haifa and Jaffa had to leave, lest they help legitimize the Jewish state. Now, the descendants of those citizens are locked up in places like Balata and prohibited from resettling in the Palestinian-administered West Bank—again, lest they help legitimize the Jewish state, this time by removing the Palestinians’ chief complaint. Yet there is a certain perverse logic at work here. For if Israel and the Palestinians ever managed to hammer out the draft of a peace treaty, Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority, would have to go to Balata and explain to its residents that their leaders have been lying to them for 60 years and that they are not going back to Jaffa. Which, to state the obvious again, is one of the main reasons that there has been no peace treaty.

Iran's nuclear web....

A nice look at how they procure nuclear technology...
When Mahmoud Yadegari became the first man in Canada convicted of supplying nuclear equipment to Iran two weeks ago, his lawyer was quick to downplay his importance. The 36-year-old Iranian-born Canadian was nothing more than a “rube” caught up in Tehran’s global smuggling operation, said lead counsel Frank Addario, noting that, before his landmark conviction under UN special regulations and the Canadian Nuclear Safety Act, Yadegari was merely a truck driver in desperate need of a dollar. “I think if he could redo it,” said Addario, “he would have continued driving a truck.”

The depiction required a certain leap of imagination. In the six months leading up to his April 2009 arrest, Yadegari had contacted 118 companies across North America and sent more than 2,000 emails to suppliers in hopes of getting his hands on parts used in the enrichment of uranium for nuclear fuel. Several firms warned him that his activities ran afoul of international law, while his “handler” in Tehran—a man named Nima Tabari— instructed him on how best to avoid attracting the attention of authorities. Yet the hapless Torontonian pressed on, and in March 2009 was caught trying to ship devices called pressure transducers to Iran via the United Arab Emirates. He now faces up to 10 years in prison.

Still, there was truth buried somewhere in Addario’s spin. As Yadegari prepared for sentencing last week, unanswered questions swirled around that “handler”—a mysterious figure who had steered Yadegari, marionette-like, through the forest of manufacturers, suppliers and middlemen capable of providing the parts Iran so desperately seeks. Based in Tehran and seemingly undaunted by the world’s disapproval of his activities, Nima Alizadeh Tabari is a living symbol of the Islamic republic’s indifference toward UN sanctions, and domestic criminal laws intended to stop it from getting the bomb. Investigators believe he had as many as a dozen agents working around the world at the time of Yadegari’s arrest, including more in Canada, while an investigation by Maclean’s reveals Tabari had close ties to companies known to have supplied nuclear parts to Iran. “It’s safe to say that the loss of Yadegari didn’t put a dent in Tabari’s business,” says Cpl. Pete Merrifield, the RCMP officer who led the investigation into Yadegari. “He had a lot more irons in the fire.”

Certainly all roads during the Yadegari probe led back to the 37-year-old businessman who, until recently, ran a trading company out of an office building in central Tehran. Tajhiz Sanat Ideal, or TSI Co., bills itself as a dealer in all manner of material, from wood and leather to—strikingly—equipment for the “nano and nuclear industries.” But if the Yadegari case is any guide, Tabari spends most of his time looking for so-called “dual-use” parts that can be put to work in nuclear centrifuges—machines used to enrich uranium into weapons-grade nuclear fuel. Starting in November 2008, he kept Yadegari on the run seeking an array of transmitters and valves that special regulations of the UN act forbid to be shipped to Iran. The handler seemed as consumed by the task as his agent: when police opened Yadegari’s email inbox in April 2009, they found some 28 messages from the Iranian, bearing instructions such as, “The below part [numbers] must be exactly confirmed . . . USD25,500 will be sent to you . . . please acknowledge the order.” Said one U.S. investigator familiar with the emails: “I don’t think there’s any doubt about who was directing whom.”

High on Tabari’s shopping list were pressure transducers, instruments that translate pressure measurements into electronic signals that can be displayed and recorded on a computer. Though widely available for use in everything from oil refineries to medical labs, the devices are on the UN’s list because they are a key component in centrifuges. Yadegari’s conviction stemmed from his purchase of 10 transducers from a company based in Markham, Ont., two of which he tried to send to Iran by way of Dubai.

What seems increasingly clear now is that the Yadegari case was no one-off. Through online inquiries, and interviews with authorities in both Canada and the U.S., Maclean’s has established not only that Tabari is still in business, but that he is linked to other suspected nuclear traffickers. Speaking on condition of anonymity, one law enforcement source said TSI is believed to be a front firm for the Kalaye Electric Company, an arm of the state-controlled Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, which appears on a UN Security Council list of entities involved in Iran’s nuclear proliferation activities. According to the security council and numerous NGOs, the company has acted as procurer for fuel enrichment sites, including a formerly secret facility in Natanz that first came to light in 2002.

Rocket explodes in the heart of Ashkelon....

This seems to be a powerful Grad rocket...
A rocket fired from the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Hanoun exploded in the heart of a populated area in the southern city of Ashkelon on Friday morning. Eight people suffered shock. Two empty floors of an apartment building, several cars and a nearby pavement sustained damage. Many windows were shattered.

Police dispatched to the rocket's landing site urged the residents to stay in their homes for fear of additional rockets.

"We heard the siren and ran into the fortified room," says Dudi Ben-Shlush, who lives on the fourth floor of the building hit by the rocket. "We heard the loud explosion only after we came out. The entire building trembled, windows were shattered, and the shutters were damaged.

"When we went downstairs, we saw that our two cars were completely damaged and their windows were shattered. It was very scary; we thought the entire building was going to collapse."

Nechama Carmi, who lives in the same building, was washing her car when she heard the siren. "I ran into the stairwell and waited there. When I came out I heard the loudest explosion I've heard since Operation Cast Lead. It was very strong and terrifying."

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Head of UN Goldstone panel should resign...

We've blogged on this topic before....
German judge Christian Tomuschat is facing increased pressure to step down as head of the UN panel charged with reviewing the implementation of the Goldstone report's demands.

Critics say Mr Tomuschat has already likened Israel's self-defence actions to "state terrorism", and thus cannot provide an unbiased assessment of whether Israel and Hamas have properly investigated and then tried those alleged to have committed war crimes during Operation Cast Lead.

Mr Tomuschat, professor emeritus at Humboldt University, Berlin, was named this summer as head of the panel, which is to submit its report in October. The other members of the committee are attorney and special UN rapporteur Param Cumaraswamy of Malaysia and former New York State Supreme Court Justice Mary McGowan Davis.

At issue are Mr Tomuschat's past statements on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In a 2002 essay on responses to terrorism, he wrote - commenting on Israel's military response to terrorist attacks - that a state that orders retaliation against "presumed terrorists" knowing civilians might be killed "deserve[s] the same blame as those targeted by them".

He also expressed doubt that such a state's judicial system could "conduct effective investigations and punish the responsible agents".

Speaking to the Jerusalem Post last weekend, Mr Tomuschat insisted that his past statements have been objective and ridiculed the suggestion that he resign from the panel.

But Hillel Neuer, director of the Geneva-based NGO, UNWatch, said that he should indeed step down.

"A panel tasked with assessing the effectiveness of Israel's war crimes investigations, headed by someone who has already made up his mind and declared himself on this precise question - against Israel - is not only absurd but a travesty of justice."

The appointment of an open critic of Israel is further evidence, he said, of an anti-Israel bias on the UN Human Rights Council, which includes as members states that are dictatorships, are implicated in genocide or otherwise have shady records on human rights.

"Even if it were Mother Therea and Mahatma Ghandi on the committee, the entire process would be tainted by bias," Mr Neuer said.

Recently the former foreign minister of Iceland, Ingibjorg Solrun Gisladottir, was removed from the UNHRC committee of inquiry into Israel's conduct in the ill-fated flotilla raid in May, after she was found to have signed a petition supporting the flotilla.

In his 2002 essay, Mr Tomaschut also suggested that the victim of a terror attack might be to blame for his own suffering: "Any state under terrorist attack should "analyse its own conduct and ask itself whether it has made mistakes which have given rise to frustration, hatred and despair."

What the BDS Movement is all about...

How is this possible? Mother kills daughter and just gets probation...

And, how many years would a man have gotten in prison for this????
A Calgary mother will not serve any jail time for strangling her teenage daughter, a judge rules.

Aset Magomadova, who was convicted last fall of manslaughter, was instead given a suspended sentence and three years of probation.

Magomadova used a scarf to kill her troubled daughter, Aminat, 14, after a violent struggle in their southeast Calgary home in 2007.

The mother was acquitted of the original second-degree murder charge.

Crown prosecutor Mac Vomberg had asked the Court of Queen's Bench for a 12-year sentence, arguing that Magomadova abused her position of trust and authority and that her actions needed to be strongly condemned.

But Justice Sal LoVecchio, reading from his 25-page decision, said: "Showing mercy does not mean we approve of the act. It simply means sometimes a particular situation may demand a slightly different solution.

Iran and Israel: After the Bomb...

Flotilla madness...

The latest fad in idiocy...
A couple of years ago, a Palestinian refugee camp was encircled and laid siege to by an army of tanks and Armored Personnel Carriers. Attacks initiated by Palestinian militants triggered an overwhelming response from the army that took the life of almost 500 people, including many civilians. International organizations struggled to send aid to the refugee camps, where the inhabitants were left without basic amenities like electricity and running water. During the conflict, six U.N. personnel were killed when their car was bombed.

Government ministers and spokesmen tried to explain to the international community that the Palestinian militants were backed by Syria and global jihadist elements. Al Qaeda condemned the government and the army, declaring that the attack was part of a "crusade" against their Palestinian brothers.

While most will assume that the events described above took place in the West Bank or Gaza, they actually took place in Lebanon in the summer of 2007, when Palestinian terrorists attacked the Lebanese Army, which struck back with deadly force. The scene of most of the fighting was the Nahr al-Bared refugee camp in Northern Lebanon, which was home to the Islamist Fatah al-Islam, a group that has links with al Qaeda.

At the time, there was little international outcry. No world leader decried the "prison camps" in Lebanon. No demonstrations took place around the world; no U.N. investigation panels were created and little media attention was attracted. In fact, the plight of the Palestinians in Lebanon garners very little attention internationally.

Today, there are more than 400,000 Palestinians in Lebanon who are deprived of their most basic rights. The Lebanese government has a list of tens of professions that a Palestinian is forbidden from being engaged in, including professions such as medicine, law and engineering. Palestinians are forbidden from owning property and need a special permit to leave their towns. Unlike all other foreign nationals in Lebanon, they are denied access to the health-care system. According to Amnesty international, the Palestinians in Lebanon suffer from "discrimination and marginalization" and are treated like "second class citizens" and "denied their full range of human rights."

Amnesty also states that most Palestinian refugees in Lebanon have little choice but to live in overcrowded and deteriorating camps and informal gatherings that lack basic infrastructure.

In view of the worsening plight of the Palestinians in Lebanon, it is the height of irony that a Lebanese flotilla is organizing to leave the port of Tripoli in the next few days to bring aid to Palestinians in Gaza. According to one of the organizers, the participants are "united by a feeling of stark injustice."

This attitude exposes the dishonesty of the whole flotilla exercise. Whether it is from Turkey, Ireland or Cyprus, those that participate in these flotillas reek of hypocrisy. There are currently 100 armed conflicts and dozens of territorial disputes around the world. There have been millions of people killed and hundreds of millions live in abject poverty without access to basic staples. And yet hundreds of high-minded "humanitarian activists" are spending millions of dollars to reach Gaza and hand money to Hamas that will never reach the innocent civilians of Gaza.

This is the same Gaza that just opened a sparkling new shopping mall that would not look out of place in any capital in Europe. Gaza, where a new Olympic-sized swimming pool was recently inaugurated and five-star hotels and restaurants offer luxurious fare.

Markets brimming with all manner of foods dot the landscape of Gaza, where Lauren Booth, journalist and "human rights activist," was pictured buying chocolate and luxurious items from a well-stocked supermarket before stating with a straight face that the "situation in Gaza is a humanitarian crisis on the scale of Darfur."

No one claims that the situation in Gaza is perfect. Since the bloody coup and occupation by Hamas of Gaza in 2007, in which more than 100 Palestinians were killed, Israel has had no choice but to ensure that Hamas is not able to build up an Iranian port on the shores of the Mediterranean. Until Hamas meets the three standards laid out by the international community, namely renouncing violence, recognizing Israel's right to exist and abiding by previously signed agreements between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, Hamas will continue to be shunned by the international community.

The classic Islamic view of Jews...

This is the heart of the problem...
Muslims often accuse Jews of harassing and plotting against Muhammad, Islam's founder and prophet, a charge abundantly clear since the start of classic Islamic writings, which are filled with anti-Jewish imagery.

In our "post-modern" age, most Western scholars, who are secular, find it difficult to accept the idea that medieval texts can dictate the lives of, or even inspire, people today. They criticize those who see the conflict as religious, arguing that scholars who see the conflict as religious, place too much emphasis on these ancient texts, as both the times and circumstances have changed. For them, these texts are outdated. In short, secular scholars find it difficult to believe that people even still regard religious ideas as relevant.

In talking with the common people in the Arab and Muslim world, however, it becomes clear that for them, these classical texts are as relevant today as when they were written. For the overwhelmingly majority of Muslims, these texts indicate that the conflict is indeed religious, not territorial.

As Muslims view the world, Muhammad was the ideal Muslim. How he acted is how all Muslims should act. So how Muhammad acted towards the Jews in Medina and Khaybar is how Muslims should act towards Jews.

How, then, did Muhammad act?

In 622 CE, Muhammad asked the Jews to recognize him as a prophet and join Islam. When they refused, he turned against them. After Muhammad became stronger in Medina, he instructed the Muslims to terrorize the Jews. Muhammad's first victim was Ka'ab bin al-Ashraf, the leader of one of the three Jewish tribes in Medina. After the Muslims decapitated him, they brought his head to Muhammad who took it and said, "Praise G-d for the death of Ka'ab." (Source: Kitab al-Maghazi [The Book of Muslim Raids Against the non-Muslims], Vol. 1, pages 184-190).

Immediately thereafter, Muslim tradition talks about the murder of the Jewish trader ibn Sunayna by the Muslim, Muhaysa bin Mas'ud. When Muhaysa's brother Huwaysa, heard about the murder, Huwaysa beat his brother mercilessly and said to him: "Much of the fat in your stomach is due the man (i.e., the Jew) you just murdered." Muhaysa responded, "If the one who commanded me (i.e., Muhammad) to slaughter ibn Sunayna would ask me to kill you – my own brother – I would do so." His brother responded, "a religion that can make a brother kill his own brother is a wonderful/amazing religion." Huwaysa immediately converted to Islam. (Source: Kitab al-Maghazi, Vol. 1, pages 190-192). Simultaneously, the Muslims murdered many more Jews in the back alleys of Medina.

In 624, when the Muslims besieged another Jewish tribe in Medina, the Jews gave up. Muhammad wanted to execute them, but one of the powerful non-Muslim allies of the Jews prevented Muhammad from doing so. Muhammad gave in, but exiled the Jews and expropriated their property and agricultural lands. A year later, Muhammad did the same thing to another Medinan Jewish tribe. (Source: Kitab al-Maghazi, Vol. 1, pages 176-180 & pages 363-380).

In 627, Muhammad besieged the last Jewish tribe in Medina. Their powerful non-Muslim ally had by that time died; the Jews had no one to protect them. The Jews then sent a messenger to Muhammad and expressed their willingness to surrender and leave the city. Muhammad said no and told them that if they agreed to surrender, he would appoint a negotiator who would settle the issue. When the Jews agreed. the negotiator Muhammad appointed was the man who had organized the murder of the above-mentioned Ka'ab, and who passionately hated the Jews. He decided that the Jewish men would be executed, and that their women and children would be distributed among the Muslims. About 750 Jews were then murdered in the marketplace in Medina, and heaped into a common grave. Muslim tradition teaches that Jewish blood flowed like a river through the market. (Source: Kitab al-Maghazi, Vol. 2, pages 496-520).

Interestingly, this image has been used over and over again throughout Muslim history. In 2004, for example, when Nick Berg, an American Jew working in Iraq, was kidnapped and then murdered by the Iraqi al-Qaida leader al-Zarqawi, as Zarqawi was about to behead Berg, he said: "I will do to you what Muhammad did to the Jews in Medina."

In 628, Muhammad besieged the Jewish city Khaybar. Before doing so, he sent in assassins to murder the Jewish leaders of the city, thereby terrifying the rest of the people. A bloody battle ensued; the Jews surrendered. Muhammad imposed on them the Jizya tax [for non-Muslims], and they thus became "dhimmis" [officially second-class citizens]. Muhammed also demanded that the Jews turn over to the Muslims half of their crops (note: the Muslims did not know how to raise crops). On the day that the Jews of Khaybar surrendered, Muhammad married to Jewish wife of the leader of the city, whose father Muhammad had previously killed. At the same time, her husband was tortured to death so he would tell the Muslims where he had hidden his treasure. (Source: Kitab al-Maghazi, Vol. 2, pages 440-479).

The victory against the Jews in Khaybar is deeply etched in the Muslim historical memory; it has become a source for mockery of the Jews so much so that it is constantly invoked at every opportunity when discussing the Arab-Israeli conflict. It is very common to hear Palestinians, when demonstrating against Israel, shout "Khaybar Khaybar Ya Yahud Jaish Muhammad sa-Ya'ud, (Khaybar Khaybar, Oh Jews, Muhammad's army shall return!") -- as the Turkish terrorists on board the Flotilla headed towards Gaza shouted just a few months ago.

There is also another version of this slogan - "Khaybar Khaybar Ya Yahud, ila Falastin na'ud, (Khaybar Khaybar, Oh Jews, We Shall Return to Palestine). In this context, the message is to return to "all of Palestine," including Israel's pre-1967 borders, as can been seen on virtually every Palestinian and Arab map.

The Muslim victory at Khaybar also serves as an inspiration for Hizbullah, the Shiite terrorist organization. Its spokesmen constantly invoke the imagery of Khaybar regarding their struggle against Israel, for example, calling the Fajar 5 rockets they fired at Israel during the 2006 Lebanon War "Khaybar Rockets;" and in 2002, the Iranians developed a rifle they named "Khaybar 2002."

Among the Palestinians, it is now an essential and integral part of the education system throughout most of the Muslim world, most notably in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and among Israel's Arabs as well.

This is from a country at peace with Israel....

Jordan's despicable trade unions...
Jordan's Islamist-led trade unions on Wednesday strongly condemned Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's visit to Jordan, describing him as a "criminal."

"At a time when the Zionist enemy is killing our people in Palestine and destroying their homes, as well as planning schemes against Jordan's security, officials receive Netanyahu the criminal in Amman," head of the unions' council Ahmad Armuti said in a statement.

"The trade unions completely reject this visit and hold the government responsible for its political and public responsibilities, in line with the constitution."

Tracking lost property of Jewish refugees...

Billions of dollars were stolen from Jewish refugees from Muslim countries...
A new department set up by Ministry of Pensioners Affairs to manage the legal claims of Israeli Jews of Middle Eastern descent who lost their property when they left countries throughout the region has begun collecting information.

The office will help identify, locate and seek compensation for the assets of the more than one million Jews who came to Israel from Iran, Iraq, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Iraq, Yemen, Lebanon and Syria.

The initiative follows a law approved earlier this year by the Knesset requiring the compensation of Jews from Arab countries and Iran to be included in any peace negotiations.

“The Palestinians have been collecting evidence of their losses for many years,” said Yoni Itzhak, a spokesman for the Pensioners Affairs Ministry.

“So we are not waiting until there is a negotiation for a peace accord. We need to be prepared, so that if there are negotiations and the Palestinians say, ‘We are owed a few billion dollars,’ We will say, ‘OK, no problem,’ and be ready with a much higher figure of what we are owed.”

The ministry says that as of 2007 “the estimated value of Jewish property in Arab countries is 50 percent more than the value of the property of Palestinian refugees and is valued at billions of dollars.” The ministry did not provide specific figures.

Following the establishment of the state, most Muslim states declared or supported war against Israel, and the status of Jews in these countries became threatened.

According to estimates by the United Nations and a number of civil society organizations, during Israel’s first decade about 265,000 Jews left Morocco, 140,000 left Algeria, 135,000 left Iraq, 120,000 left Iran, 103,000 left Tunisia, 75,000 left Egypt, 63,000 left what is now Yemen, 38,000 left Libya, 30,000 left Syria and 5,000 left Lebanon. More than half a million additional Jews have left these countries since.

Most of the emigres headed to Israel, and just a few thousand Jews remain in the Arab world today.

“People often forget that there is also the Jewish side to the refugee story in the Middle East,” Itzhak said. “Almost every Jew who left Iran or an Arab country can tell you a whole story about what they left. These people left their things, their houses, their institutions – in some cases because of threats and laws that forced them out. So just like the Palestinians tell everyone that they have the keys to their old homes, we have our keys as well.”

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Writers conference canceled because there is one Israeli...

Horrors...could you imagine - Arab writers actually might meet an Israeli???
A writers’ conference at a public university in southern France was canceled after some Arab participants refused to attend because of the presence of Israeli author Esther Orner. The meeting at the Université de Provence Aix/Marseille was intended to feature Mediterranean authors. “The story beneath all this – and it’s an enigma – is that nobody knows the names of the Arab writers” who refused to dialogue, Orner told JTA.

Jean-Raymond Fanlo, a Spanish Literature professor at the university, told French media that one of the Arab authors who boycotted Orner’s presence was “a major writer around which we will organize a vast program in Marseille schools for back to school.” Fanlo refused to divulge the author’s name for fear of adding controversy. As a result of the Arab refusal, the university said in a statement that it was forced to cancel the whole seminar.

The professor who invited Orner to speak on a panel titled ‘Writing in the Mediterranean’ reportedly quit the group that organized the conference following the incident. “I don’t understand how people from another country can dictate what a prestigious university can do," Orner said. "I find it incredible.”

Orner said she felt obliged to publicize information about the conditions of her revoked invitation to speak because “individual people like me have to do something” in reaction to propaganda aimed at “delegitimizing Israel.”

Facebook page advertises Auschwitz Spa....

Neat holiday packages on facebook...
A facebook page advertising a 'spa' at Nazi death camp Auschwitz has been removed by the social-networking site following a complaint from Jewish human rights organization The Wiesenthal Center.

It is not known who created the page, which was written in French and reportedly included statements advertising 'spa services' such as: “river of Jewish blood” and
“Saunas using gas."

The Jews of Yemen....

Here's what it's like to be Jewish in Yemen...
From his home in Beersheba, Yahya Marhabi still misses his hometown of Sana'a, Yemen. He left it nine years ago, but it is not the neighbors he misses, nor is it the air of constant fear.

Marhabi misses his sister, Lea (18), who disappeared several months ago.

Marhabi claims she was abducted, forced to convert to Islam and marry a Muslim. Some six weeks ago, he returned to Yemen to look for Lea, and saw firsthand how Jews were living in a country where al-Qaeda cells roam free.

Marhabi's concern for the Jewish community in Yemen, including his parents and brother who still live in Sana'a, does not give him a moment's rest. Lea, he said, was abducted from the Jewish quarter by Muslims, probably members of al-Qaeda.

"She was abducted just two weeks after marrying one of the Jewish men of the congregation. She was forced to convert to Islam and marry one of her abductors," he said.

Lea's Jewish husband, he continued, has since remarried, realizing chances of her return were slim. Marhabi, however, has vowed to find his sister.
"This was a hard blow for us. Not a day goes by that I don't think of her, try to figure out a way to help her, to bring her home," he said. "If I were there at the time of her abduction I would have done everything to bring her back, but it's not that simple now. There is little we can do – but we are doing it."

Did she or didn’t she?

Arab media paint a different picture: According to reports in the Palestinian News Agency, Lea eloped with a young Muslim man by the name of Aaron Salam, converted of her own free will and kept in touch with her family – at least long enough to make it clear she had no desire to come home.

The reports claim that the wedding was celebrated by the local elite, with dignitaries such as the president of Yemen, the deputy prime minister and other high ranking officials attending the ceremony. The report further alleged that the young couple eloped after the Marhabi family rejected the young man's offer of marriage.

"They made it look like she went willingly rather then she was abducted," Marhabi said, "But we know she was kidnapped and we pray that she comes back to us, by some miracle."

New reality in Sana'a

After four weeks of searching to no avail Marhabi returned to Israel. The Sana'a he left nine years ago, he said, is not the one he found, or even the one he remembered from his previous visit.

Today, he said, the story of the Jewish community in Yemen is one of a few hundred Jews, trying to survive amid a Muslim majority. The Jews currently living in the Yemenite capital essentially live in a ghetto; and in constant fear of violence, abduction and murder.

Al-Qaeda's grip on Yemen has grown considerably over the past few years. "The real change began a year ago, when the brother of the head of the Jewish community was murdered," said Marhabi.

The act prompted the president to order a well defined, closed off area be set for Jews in Sana'a.

"Life there is very hard. They barely leave the area. They have no freedom, they don't work and they are afraid of coming into contact with the Arab population. Only the men leave the area, and only in broad daylight, and usually only to go to the market. They also make sure to disguise all their Jewish markings, like skullcaps. If they are recognized as Jews, they are spat and cursed at."

The volatile situation, he added, even had Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh order armed troops to guard the Jewish quarter of Sana'a. "He made a personal trip to the area to reassure them, that they would be protected.

"He really doesn’t want any harm to come to any of them. He even gives them money, since they don't work," he said.

Jewish life in Sana'a is clouded by fear and uncertainty, said Marhabi. "There is no joy there. People there have no light in their eyes. They are very lonely – 185 Jews amid a huge Arab nation. There used to be such joy there. Contentment, despite the hardship. Now there is just fear. Al-Qaeda wants to eradicate the Jews."

To be or not to be

Some 18 families came to Israel from Yemen in recent months. Jews find it hard to leave despite the hardships, and Israel is currently trying to convince the remaining Jews to leave.

"There are several issues with coming to Israel," said Marhabi. "First, it's not easy to leave one's homeland. It's also a different world there, altogether.

"They are also afraid to leave, because they are afraid they will be left with nothing. The Arabs won't buy their property because they know it's only a matter of time before they leave Yemen anyway, leaving it behind for the taking."

A real WikiLeaks story...

The malicious influence of Iran....
Cooperation among Iran, al Qaeda and other Sunni extremist groups is more extensive than previously known to the public, according to details buried in the tens of thousands of military intelligence documents released by an independent group Sunday.

U.S. officials and Middle East analysts said some of the most explosive information contained in the WikiLeaks documents detail Iran's alleged ties to the Taliban and al Qaeda, and the facilitating role Tehran may have played in providing arms from sources as varied as North Korea and Algeria.

The officials have for years received reports of Iran smuggling arms to the Taliban. The WikiLeaks documents, however, appear to give new evidence of direct contacts between Iranian officials and the Taliban's and al Qaeda's senior leadership. It also outlines Iran's alleged role in brokering arms deals between North Korea and Pakistan-based militants, particularly militant leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and al Qaeda.

One of the more remarkable reports describes a November 2005 trip that departed from Iran in which Mr. Hekmatyar, the militant leader, and Osama bin Laden's financial adviser traveled to North Korea to close a deal with the North Korean government to obtain remote-controlled rockets to use against coalition aircraft in Afghanistan.

"The shipment of said weapons is expected shortly after the new year," the report said.

Several reports describe Iran as a hub of planning activity for attacks on the Afghan government. A May 2006 report describes an al Qaeda–Hekmatyar plot to equip suicide bombers and car bombs to attack Afghan government and international targets—using cars and equipment obtained in Iran and Pakistan.

By April 2007, the reports show what appears to be even closer collaboration. A report that month describes an effort two months earlier in which al Qaeda, "helped by Iran," bought 72 air-to-air missiles from Algeria and hid them in Zahedan, Iran, in order to later smuggle them into Afghanistan.

Mr. Hekmatyar, the leader of Afghanistan's Hezb-i-Islami insurgent group, lived in exile in Tehran when the Taliban governed Kabul. He resettled on the Afghan–Pakistani border after the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 and established a tenuous alliance with the Taliban and al Qaeda. More recently, he sent a delegation to Kabul to negotiate a peace deal with Afghan President Hamid Karzai and the U.N.

Is Al-Qaeda developing biological weapons???

Were 40 terrorists killed at a training camp in Algeria???
The group of 40 terrorists were reported to have been killed by the plague at a training camp in Algeria earlier this month.

It was initially believed that they could have caught the disease through fleas on rats attracted by poor living conditions in their forest hideout.

But there are now claims the cell was developing the disease as a weapon to use against western cities.

Experts said that the group was developing chemical and biological weapons.

Dr Igor Khrupinov, a biological weapons expert at Georgia University, told The Sun: "Al-Qaeda is known to experiment with biological weapons. And this group has direct communication with other cells around the world.

"Contagious diseases, like ebola and anthrax, occur in northern Africa. It makes sense that people are trying to use them against Western governments."

Dr Khrupinov, who was once a weapons adviser to the Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev, added: "Instead of using bombs, people with infectious diseases could be walking through cities."

It was reported last year that up to 100 potential terrorists had attempted to become postgraduate students in Britain in an attempt to use laboratories.

Ian Kearns, from the Institute for Public Policy Research, told the newspaper: "The biological weapons threat is not going away. We're not ready for it."

Wisdom from Judea Pearl...

He is the father of Daniel Pearl, who was murdered by Al-Qaeda...
Take the protest march on behalf of Gilad Shalit last month. Tens of thousands of Israelis took to the roads, tens of thousands stood by roadsides feeding the marchers, and millions watched the marchers on Israeli TV. I have not seen any of it on CNN, for it was aimed inward, toward the Israeli government. We would have surely seen some of it had this enormous energy been directed outward, say, as a protest against the United Nations or the Red Cross or foreign embassies for not doing their share in stopping the most blatant human rights violation of our generation.

Or take Peter Beinart’s much-debated article “The Failure of the American Jewish Establishment” (The New York Review of Books, June 10). Judging by the number of invitations I received to attend his lecture in Los Angeles, one would think that this creative intellectual has finally discovered a formula for peace or a new weapon to silence rockets without hurting civilians or, at the very least, an Arab intellectual willing to accept Israel. None of the above. Reading his article again and again, all I hear is how uncomfortable he feels being a Jew at a time when Jews are accused of supporting a nondemocratic entity called Israel, and how we can now extricate ourselves from this discomfort by speaking out, not against the distortions, but against a leadership that places its faith in the solid democratic character of Israeli society. I hear a desperate son coming home screaming: “Mother, the boys at school called you dirty names again. I hate you for causing me to face those bullies, and I hate you for making me feel so inadequate, unable to defend your honor except by joining them in amplifying your blemishes.”

Beinart was treated royally in Los Angeles because he is the prophetic voice for many Jews of Discomfort; they love him because he takes their discomfort and elevates it to a noble feeling of moral purity. They used to feel guilty for Israel’s actions while conscious of her problems; no more. Elevated in virtue, they now see every blemish on Israel’s face as “the litmus test” for her impure personality — hers, not theirs.

Observe another Jewish intellectual, the French philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy, who is perhaps further to the left than Beinart. He, too, feels uncomfortable with some of Israel’s actions, and he, too, proposed ways to correct them. Yet instead of pointing fingers at the Jewish establishment, he takes to the trenches and, using his column on The Huffington Post, he tells his leftist colleagues: Stop this madness, look at yourself in the mirror. Is your liberalism dead when it comes to Israel? (June 7, Huffington Post).

It is all a matter of surface-to-weight ratio, says my physics book: Jews of spine confront their maligners, Jews of Discomfort blame their leaders.

Deep inside, Levy knows, perhaps, that ours may well be the last generation in which Jews can earn respect in academic and intellectual circles; pro-coexistence scholars are already pariahs in academia, forced to hide their sentiments from colleagues. (See my column in this newspaper, “Our New Marranos,” March 19, 2009), and if Israel goes under, Jews of Discomfort will certainly find themselves exorcised by the elite they now seek to appease. They would be remembered not for their discomfort, but for what they really were: members of a people who once supported a mistake called Israel — ruling elites do not easily forgive “mistakes” they labored to undo.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Hate mail from UNRWA....

This is a cross post from the Media Backspin blog (well worth reading)....
Hate mail from a UNRWA email address arrived in my in-box today. I'm omitting the first half of the email address so this person doesn't get bombarded with emails.
From: A/RAHIM, Saadi
. . .
Date: Mon, Jul 26, 2010 at 10:21 AM
Dishonest reporting, That’s your true identity, and your true character. Thank God that many people; including Jews, all over the world even inside Israel, whom you like to call self hating Jews; have started to see the big lies of Zionists including yours. I wonder how many truly of those around. If you really want to be fair and honest about it, which I doubt, go back and read history with a fair and nonbiased mind.

I did some Googling, and found on LinkedIn a Saadi Rahim who works for the UNRWA -- as an officer in charge of transportation and logistics in Jordan.

What unstated big lies of the Zionists (and HonestReporting) is Mr. Saadi Rahim referring to? These?

UNRWA: Perpetuating the Misery
UNRWA Knew Camp Was Infiltrated, Did Nothing
UNRWA's Hamas Employees
What Else is the UNRWA Not Telling Us?
Extracurricular Activities

More importantly, by using a UNRWA email address, he may technically be representing the UNRWA. Do Rahim's views of Zionism represent the UNRWA? What does this say about the organization Rahim works for?

Even if Rahim's views don't technically represent the UNRWA, he did use an official email address the same way Octavia Nasr had CNN written all over her tweet.

Muslim anti-semitism in Denmark...

Esther has translated a Danish article on anti-semitism...
Star of David taboo in Nørrebro...

More Danish Jews are seeing the discontent and hatred of some people against acts by the state of Israel transferred to them as individuals, when they sport their Jewish identity.

For fear of ending up in a conflict or worse - of being attacked - more Danish Jews are removing clothing or jewelry that can reveal their Jewish affiliation.

This is confirmed by the Mosaic Faith Society, which in its incident reports saw a drop of antisemitic incidents in the past year.

"Several times I've advised against wearing kippah or anything else - for example, in Nørrebro, because experience tells us that it can lead to unpleasant experiences."

And there are probably more who keep it hidden, says the chairman of the Mosaic Faith-Society, Finn Schwarz.

One of those is 32 year old Peter Kaltoft from Amager, who today keeps his kippah on the shelf.

He takes it out only on special events, or when he's in the synagogue on Krystalgade (Krystal avenue) in Copenhagen.

"When I wear my kippah, I don't only symbolize Judaism, but apparently also Israel, and that can be offensive for some people," he says.

Danish Jews are more vigilant when the conflict between Israel and Palestine flares up.

The last time you could see this was when an 18 year old man was attacked on May 1st in Fælledparken in Copenhagen, because he said he was a Jew.

This episode happened at the same time as the high-profile clash between the Israeli commandos and the Turkish aid ships, that were bound for Gaza. [Ed: This is wrong, the Gaza flotilla raid was May 30th ]

"There is no doubt a link between what happens in Israel-Palestine and what goes on in Denmark. When the conflict is sparked in the Middle East, the same happens at home," says Finn Schwarz, who has found that Jews all over the world are held responsible for the civilian losses that follow in the wake of the fighting between the Israeli army and the Palestinians.

Peter Kaltoft had been subjected to various scenarios.

"The most common is nasty harassment, where I'm spitted and shouted at."

He says it also happens that they drive behind him slowly in their cars, while they hurl abuse out the window.

Harassment, shouts and spitting

He was accosted several times during the month, until almost a year ago he decided to be more careful with his faith and head covering.

Peter Kaltoft remembers in particular an episode from a year and a half ago, when he was on his way home from the synagogue in Nørreport.

"I went home alone after I had been in the synagogue, when several Middle Eastern men came towards me. They were very agitated, yelled a lot of unpleasant curses and slowly moved closer and closer. First they asked if I was a Jew, to which I answered that I was, and then they began to beat and push, until I was able to run away," says Peter Kaltoft, who since the attack rarely shows his kippah or Star of David in public.

"It's isn't just a decision I've taken for myself, but also for the sake of those I go with. They shouldn't be attacked or harassed because I'm wearing a kippah," says Peter Kaltoft.

The Star of David was provoking

30 year old Søren from Roskilde can nod with identification to the fear and aggravating episodes.

Nearly two years ago he was attacked by 3-4 Middle Eastern men in a club in Nørrebro. They felt provoked by a Star of David which he had as a pendant on his necklace.

For almost two years, Søren was a customer in the club without any problems, but at one time there was again battled between the Israelis and Palestinians in Gaza, and the incitements to hate and murder of Jews flourished in the streets.

"They say that I had a Star of David on my neck and they came over and asked if I was Israeli. I answered no, to which they asked if I was a Jew. And then I said yes," says Søren, who was then told to find a different place to hang out, or he'll be killed.

Søren contacted the police, who advised him to keep away from the area for a while.

"I kept away for close to two months, but then I thought 'f--- no'."

"This is a free country. Imagine if you couldn't wear a cross in certain places in Denmark," says Søren.

But maybe he should have stayed away.

"You will die, f---ing Jew"

The boys from the club didn't forget Søren or the Star of David.

"I came in and there was an Arab man there who yelled and screamed at me. Then several of his friends came and they began to harass and push," Søren says.

"I tried to calm the situation by putting my hand on the shoulder of the group's leader, but I should never have done that. He exploded and slammed me a respectable one. I was bashed so much that I couldn't breath. Finally he held me in a stranglehold and said, "Now you'll die, you f---ing Jew". Søren managed to finally get out and was attacked again outside the club, after which the police showed up, called by a witness.

The agents stopped the violence, but Søren wasn't happy with their approach.

"They told me that they couldn't do anything, since I was, in a way, out for it, when I wore my Star of David round my neck in an immigrant environment," says Søren.

After a got a hospital report to document his injuries, the police took the case more seriously, says Søren. The attackers were never convicted, since nobody wanted - or dared - testify against them.

Morgenavisen Jyllands-Posten saw the documents in the case, which confirm the sequence of events.

Copenhagen Police did not want to comment on the case.

"It's almost dangerous to go with something that can identify you as a Jew. I'm not the only one - Jew's kippah are regularly spit on," says Søren, that after this unpleasant experience removed everything which can identify him as a Jew.

From Frederiksberg in Copenhagen to Vollsmose in Odense, Danish Jews are pelted with stones by angry Danish-Palestinians.

Also when going out at night, Danish Jews have been denied entrance to discos by Danish-Palestinian doormen, if they wore Jewish symbols.

The incidents reports from the Mosaic Faith Society and other scientific studies show that the instigators of the majority of antisemitic incidents have Middle-Eastern backgrounds.

New Danes responsible

Of the 189 antisemitic incidents of violent, intimidating or harassing character, youth of Middle-Eastern background were responsible for 138, says the Mosaic Faith-Society.

Peter Nannestad of the Department for Political Sciences at Aarhus University, is aware of this situation.

In November 2009 he concluded in a report that a large proportion of Muslim residents share a widespread skepticism towards Jews.

65.8% of five immigrant groups answered that you can't be careful enough towards a Jew. The report also said that 75.2% of the interviewees didn't want a family member to get married to a Danish Jew.

Additionally, 31.9% thought that there were too many Jews in Denmark.

Søren is a fictional name, since he preferred to remain anonymous. The editors know his real identity.

Iran makes a mockery of the UN...

Time for a Council of Democracies...
The United Nations has just created a new "entity" on women's rights, called U.N. Women. Elections to its governing board are now being organized. How long before Iran wins a seat?

If the question sounds absurd, the realities at the U.N. are even more mind-bending. The most recent high-profile outrage on this score was Iran gaining a seat in April on the U.N.'s Commission on the Status of Women. But that's the least of it. The reality is that Iran, despite being under four sets of binding sanctions resolutions by the U.N. Security Council, has learned to manipulate the institution in ways that make a mockery not only of the U.N. itself, but also of U.S. claims of diplomatic competence.

Rarely remarked upon, but even more appalling than Iran's beachhead on the women's rights commission, is Iran's seat on the 36-member executive board of the U.N.'s flagship agency, the U.N. Development Program, headquartered in New York. Iran actually chaired the UNDP executive board last year, during the thick of the bloody protests in which Teheran's mullocracy was beating, jailing and killing protesters calling for democratic development in Iran.

That same UNDP executive board, with Iran still in its lineup today, also serves as the governing body for the U.N. population fund (UNFPA) and the U.N. Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM). Iran's three-year term on the UNDP board expires at the end of 2010. But have no fear that Iran will be shut out of U.N. high councils on the status of women--or, for that matter, issues involving children and food aid. The newly created entity, U.N. Women, with or without Iran on its board, will be holding joint meetings with the executive boards not only of the UNDP, but also of the New York-based U.N. children's agency (UNICEF) and the Rome-based World Food Program (WFP). Iran sits on the boards of both UNICEF and the WFP, where its terms extend, respectively, through the end of 2011 and 2012.

Iran also fields a hefty presence among the governing councils of U.N. outfits involved in matters germane to weapons, outer space and global crime. Through 2012 Iran--the world's leading terrorist-sponsoring state--is a vice chair of the Executive Council of the U.N.'s Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). Iran sits on two major commissions of the Vienna-based U.N. Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC), including the UNODC's 20-member Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, where in 2009 it won a three-year-term. And this past April Iran won a seat with a four-year term on the U.N.'s Geneva-based Commission on Science and Technology for Development--never mind its brazen violations of U.N. sanctions on its rogue nuclear program.

Protestors harass shoppers in London...

Carry an Israeli product and you can expect trouble...
Monmouth street in the popular London shopping district of Covent Garden is experiencing its own micro-downturn - and it's nothing to do with the credit crunch.

Shop-owners have had to call in the police as demonstrations and counter-demonstrations outside the London branch of Israeli skincare shop Ahava - famous for its Dead Sea products - have driven away customers.

One shopkeeper said that protesters were "running down the road chasing people with flyers", and a shop opposite Ahava, Miss Lala's Boudoir, has closed down because of the disruption caused by the protests.

Colin George, manager of clothes shop The Loft, next door to Ahava, said: "I'm worried about my business. There are protesters every fortnight with around 50 people each time. The police put barriers on the highway, but usually they spread out across the street handing out leaflets. It doesn't look good for the street.

"People avoid them because they shout slogans and hand out leaflets. People don't like it. They don't know which shop they are protesting outside. The figures have dropped on Saturdays by about 20 per cent. Shoppers don't turn up until three o'clock when the protesters leave."

The manager of the nearby Orla Kiely store said: "It can be intimidating for families to walk past those protesters. They run down the road chasing people with flyers."

Shop owners called a meeting with local police after concerns were raised about the effect the fortnightly protests were having on other stores.

Police have now said there can be no more than 12 protesters at a time in both pro-Palestinian and counter demos, and have banned them from using megaphones. They have also cordoned off a section of the road to stop protesters obstructing other stores.

The Mavi Marmara Metaphor...

An important article in Standpoint...
The working alliance between Islamists and leftists in Britain emerged out of anti-Israel demonstrations after the start of the second Intifada in October 2000, which preceded 9/11 and the protests against the war in Iraq. A decade on, anti-Zionism and the Israel/Palestine conflict remain its energizing core. There is no other conflict in the world which would have motivated Islamist and leftist campaigners to cooperate for a flotilla similar to that which approached Gaza at the end of May, with consequences which are still reverberating around the Middle East and beyond.

The Mavi Marmara, which held the bulk of the ‘flotillistas', is a metaphor for so much of the left-Islamist alliance. There were two main types of people on board: Islamists, mainly from Muslim countries and aligned with, or members of, the Muslim Brotherhood; and European and north American leftists, from a variety of pro-Palestinian campaigns and direct action groups. What is striking is that despite sharing the same political and physical space, they had completely different narratives about why they were there, how they intended to meet their aims and even who organised the whole flotilla in the first place.

The Islamist version, as expressed in several interviews by participants and organisers in the Arab and Turkish media, presents the flotilla as an initiative of Hamas and its supporters — mainly aligned with the Muslim Brotherhood — in various countries. The main organiser was Turkey's IHH, which has long-standing links with Hamas; the European end, according to IHH head Bulent Yildirim, was coordinated by the London-based Hamas activist Mohammed Sawalha. Its political roots lie, most probably, in the Istanbul Declaration of February 2009. This Declaration, famously signed by the MCB's Daud Abdullah and also by Sawalha himself, came from a conference held to form an international strategy for supporting Hamas after the war in Gaza the previous month. The Palestinian end of the flotilla was handled exclusively by Hamas in Gaza, as was the case with previous land-based convoys. This is not challenged in any of the Islamist accounts of the episode. Yemeni MP Muhammad al-Hazmi, from the Brotherhood-aligned al-Islah party and photographed on board the Mavi Marmara brandishing a ceremonial Yemeni dagger, has described how participants met Sawalha and Yildirim on arriving in Istanbul, before attending the 25th anniversary event of the Federation of Islamic Organisations in Europe — a Europe-wide network of Muslim Brotherhood groups which met in Istanbul the week before the flotilla set sail.

A dominant theme emerged from numerous interviews given by Islamist flotillistas before, during and after their time at sea: this was a quest for jihad or martyrdom (or, in the more specific terms used, to reach Gaza or die trying). In December last year, when this particular flotilla was first announced, Sawalha told Hizbollah's al-Intiqad newspaper that "the next time the confrontation will be directly with the Zionist enemy itself on the high seas." His words were eerily prescient. The Algerian Islamist party the Movement of Society for Peace, whose deputy leader was on board, published photos from the flotilla with the caption, "Photos of Algerian Mujahideen." According to one Arab journalist on board the Mavi Marmara, "Religious fervour was very much present throughout the voyage...There were cries of 'Allah Akbar' and people reciting the Koran. It made you feel as if you were going on an Islamic conquest or raid." A Jordanian delegation member said afterwards, "We hoped to return in shrouds and to give our lives for the sake of Allah." Furkan Dogan, the Turkish-American who was killed during the raid, wrote in his diary shortly beforehand: "I think there is not much time left for that moment of martyrdom. Is there anything more honourable? If there is, it should be my mother. I am not sure of that either. Which one's better? My mother's compassion or dying for a noble cause?"

Dying for a noble cause was not on the agenda of the European and North American leftists on board. For them, this was a Peace Boat taking humanitarian supplies to suffering Palestinians. It also had the political purpose of lifting the Israeli blockade to allow free passage of goods and people in and out of Gaza. This is the narrative that sees Gaza as akin to the Warsaw Ghetto, and the flotilla as a modern-day Berlin Airlift. That their goods may be handed over to the Hamas government in Gaza for distribution is just a fact of circumstance with no deeper ideological meaning. (Contrast this with the words of Mehmet Kaya, who runs the IHH office in Gaza: "We only work through Hamas, although we don't limit our aid to its followers. We consider Israel and the United Nations to be the terrorists, not Hamas.") Although they must have considered the possibility of danger, there are no videos of western leftists welcoming the prospect of martyrdom. Few appear to have expected those resisting the Israeli boarding party to have used the level of violence they did. Previous seaborne efforts to reach Gaza have either been allowed through unmolested, or were apprehended at sea without violence, and they were not aware of any reason to imagine this time would be different.

Rather than seeing this as a Muslim Brotherhood-organised operation, the leftist flotillistas present an action with a much more varied and diffuse background. Some held positions in formal groups such as the Free Gaza Movement, the Palestine Solidarity Campaign or Viva Palestina; others are individuals who have spent time with the International Solidarity Movement or campaigned for the Palestinians in their local towns and cities. This reflects the decentralised, network-based campaigning which has come to typify the left in many Western countries. It is also, importantly, how the flotilla is perceived and reported in Western media. Even foreign minister William Hague described it as "collections of individuals from different countries [coming] together to try to force Governments to change course and reach a global audience in doing so." The idea that this was a Hamas-inspired project, organised via Muslim Brotherhood networks as part of its asymmetric warfare against Israel, is not just absent from most Western interpretations of what happened: it is actively and defiantly scorned. The Guardian's Nicholas Lezard, for example, had little time for the idea that "the debacle was in fact a work of supreme cunning on the part of Hamas, deliberately engineered in order to discredit Israel in the eyes of the world." His implication was that this allegation is an invention of pro-Israeli propaganda, despite the evidence of Hamas figures claiming exactly the same to be true. Lezard then went on: "I and the blameless Review section of this newspaper will be denounced as either Hamas stooges, antisemites, or both. It would appear that unimpeachably impartial reporting from this miserable part of the world is a categorical impossibility." The point is not that the Islamist narrative of who organised the flotilla, and why, is right, and the leftist one is wrong, much less that Lezard and the Guardian are Hamas stooges or antisemites. Rather, it is that the Islamist and leftist versions of what happened to do not enter the thinking of the other. Lezard is correct to say that impartial reporting on this subject is extremely rare, but not for the reasons that he seems to think.

Once on board, there is little doubt which of these groupings were dominant. IHH members appear to have had an authority over the ship that was unmatched even by its captain and crew, declaring parts of the ship out-of-bounds to all but themselves. Videos show passengers chanting the anti-Jewish battle-cry, "Khybar Khybar Ya Yahood!" (which evokes the military defeat and subjugation of a Jewish tribe by the Prophet Muhammad in 629 C.E.). There do not appear to be comparable videos of flotillistas strumming guitars and singing Imagine or The Internationale. This follows the general trend of left-Islamist cooperation, which usually results in an Islamisation of leftist discourse, rather than a secularisation of Islamist language. After the Israeli raid on the Mavi Marmara which left nine flotillistas dead, Islamists and leftists alike spoke in a language of martyrs and sacrifice.

Fascist Greenpeace closes petrol stations....

Standard operating procedure for Greenpeace...
Protesters from environmental group Greenpeace disabled some of BP's 50 petrol stations in central London on Tuesday in protest at the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

Greenpeace said its activists had managed to close down 47 service stations in the capital. BP confirmed 30 had been forced to close temporarily. The company branded the demonstrations an "act of vandalism" and said it would reopen the sites as soon as it was safe to do so.

The protests coincided with BP's second-quarter results where the oil company reported a $17 billion loss and said it had set aside $32 billion to tackle the spill.

Greenpeace and BP said activists stopped the flow of fuel by flipping safety switches on forecourts before removing them to prevent the service stations from reopening.

BP described the action as "an irresponsible and childish act" which interfered with safety systems.

"The action shows a total disregard for the safety of motorists and staff at the sites," a BP spokeswoman said.

She said one of the sites affected is used to supply ambulances with fuel.

Ahmadinejad attacks an octopus....

Gee, he really hits us where it hurts...
He claims that the octopus is a symbol of decadence and decay among "his enemies".

Paul, who lives at the Oberhausen Sea Life Centre, in Germany, won the hearts of the Spanish by predicting their World Cup victory.

He became an international star after predicting the outcome of all seven German World Cup matches accurately.

However, the Iranian president accused the octopus of spreading "western propaganda and superstition." Paul was mentioned by Mr Ahmadinejad on various occasions during a speech in Tehran at the weekend.

"Those who believe in this type of thing cannot be the leaders of the global nations that aspire, like Iran, to human perfection, basing themselves in the love of all sacred values," he said.

Palestinian corruption...

Food co-op in the US boycotts Israel....

It will only buy US products when Israel disbands as a jewish state...
Olympia’s Food Co-op has grandly announced its intention to boycott Israeli products unless that country disbands itself as a Jewish state.

To earn a place for its products on co-op shelves, Israel must forfeit its right to defend itself by tearing down its security fence and must bring back the Arab refugees who, in an entirely self-inflicted calamity, fled in 1947-48 rather than accept the U.N.’s two-state solution.

This is a policy of politicide: Israel may not exist as a Jewish state.
More information here...
Olympia Food Co-op members will get another chance next month to discuss a controversial board decision to boycott Israeli products at its two stores.

Nine of the co-op board’s 10 members voted Thursday to participate in the international boycott. Harry Levine, a staff representative to the board, said he didn’t take a stand on the issue.

Not everyone on the co-op staff agrees with the decision, Levine said. He said that outside of his role as a board member, he supports it.

“My personal view is that boycotts can be effective tools in changing governments,” he said. “I personally support it, and I’m an American Jew.”

The board voted to boycott Israeli products as a way to “compel Israel to follow international law and respect Palestinian human rights,” according to a statement the board released. The boycott announcement has been posted on the co-op’s website,, as well as at its two stores.

Israeli products removed from the stores include gluten-free crackers, ice cream cones and a moisturizing cream, Levine said.