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 (

Monday, January 31, 2011

Iran's arm smuggling ring...

They're trying to get arms to Islamists in West Africa...
Tehran will face renewed international pressure over its involvement in arms smuggling when a trial scheduled to start today in Nigeria is set to reveal details of a botched Iranian operation to supply weapons to guerrillas in West Africa.

Under United Nations Security Council Resolution 1747, which was passed in 2007, Iran is banned from the purchase or export of weapons. But a detailed investigation by Western intelligence officials following the seizure of weapons at the Nigerian port of Apapa last October has exposed a well-coordinated plot by Iran's Revolutionary Guards to supply a number of Islamic rebel groups in West Africa. These include Muslim militants in northern Nigeria and other militias battling the government in Lagos for a bigger share of the lucrative oil revenues from the Niger delta.

Some of the weapons, which comprised rocket-propelled grenades, machine guns and assault rifles, were also destined for rebel groups based in Senegal and Gambia. They were concealed in a cargo of construction materials in 13 shipping containers.

A key defendant in the trial will be Azim Aghajani, an Iranian national who has been identified by intelligence officials as a senior officer of the Qods Force, Iran's Revolutionary Guards unit responsible for supporting overseas Islamist militant groups. He was one of two Iranians who sought sanctuary at the Iranian embassy in Abuja immediately following the seizure of the weapons, which was triggered by a tip-off from the CIA.

The other Iranian was identified as Ali Akbar Tabatabaei, who is described by Western intelligence sources as the commander of Qods Force operations in Africa. He managed to escape to Tehran following an emergency visit to Abuja in November by Manoucher Mottaki, who was then serving as Iran's foreign minister. Intelligence officials believe that the Iranian regime has now sent Tabatabaei to Venezuela to command Qods Force operations in Latin America.

But Mr. Mottaki failed in his efforts to avoid a major diplomatic incident. The Nigerian government refused to free Aghajani and allow the arms cache to be returned to Iran. Instead, the Nigerians, furious at Iran's attempts to arm the "Hisbah" Islamist militia in the north Nigerian province of Kano, seem determined to expose Iran's crimes. Prosecution officials now predict to reveal embarrassing details of Tehran's involvement in the smuggling operation.

In addition, the Nigerian authorities have provided the U.N. committee responsible for monitoring the sanctions against Iran with full details of the arms find. An eight-member U.N. team, which includes representatives from all five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, visited Nigeria earlier this month to investigate the shipment before the trial begins.

This is not the first time Tehran has been caught red-handed in arms smuggling operations. Israeli security officials regularly intercept Iranian weapons shipments destined for Islamist terrorists in Gaza and southern Lebanon. And last September Italian officials uncovered several tons of material described by U.N. Security Council officials as "high potential explosives" that were being shipped from Iran to terrorist groups in Syria and Lebanon.

Was El-Baradi a stooge for Iran???

This man must not be allowed to hijack the Egyptian revolution...
The director of the US Jewish foreign policy umbrella called Mohammed ElBaradei, the opposition leader emerging from the Egyptian ferment, a "stooge of Iran."

Malcolm Hoenlein, the executive vice-president of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, accused ElBaradei of covering up Iran's true nuclear weaponization capacities while he directed the International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN nuclear watchdog.

"He is a stooge of Iran, and I don't use the term lightly," Hoenlein said in an online recorded interview with Yeshiva World News on the Egyptian crisis. "He fronted for them, he distorted the reports."

Saturday, January 29, 2011

The powerful Jewish community in Toronto???

Toronto Pride is a mess. Laden with debt, leaderless, and now with fewer sponsors, one wonders if the Jewish community will be blamed. Here's a current article from NOW magazine...
But I don't care how powerful the Jewish community is in Toronto, no way a first-time filmmaker like Martin Gladstone should have had so much more impact on the issue than a smart leader of Pride who underdstood how to protect the festival's interests.

Barry Rubin on Egypt...

Barry Rubin is an important source on what is happening in the Middle East...
1) How do you judge the Egyptian protests?
It is tempting to see this as a revolution that will bring down the regime. But Egypt is not Tunisia. And while the demonstrations are passionate it is not clear that the numbers of participants are huge. If the elite and the army hold together they could well prevail, perhaps by removing Mubarak to save the regime. We should be cautious in drawing conclusions.

2) Do you see the threat of an Islamist takeover by the Ikhwan?
So far the uprising has not been led by the Muslim Brotherhood. But it is the only large organized opposition group. It is hard to see how it would not be the leading force after a while. The leadership would have to decide that it is facing a revolutionary situation and that this is the moment for an all-out effort. But if it does so and fails there will be a terrible repression and the group will be crushed. It appears that the Brotherhood is joining the protests but has not made its basic decision yet. In the longer term if the regime is completely overthrown I do believe the Brotherhood will emerge as the leader and perhaps the ruler of the country.

3) Do you see any chances that Egypt will witness the same model of Iran of 1979, the democratic protests followed by an Islamist rule?
Absolutely yes. On one hand, so far they lack a charismatic leader. On the other hand, alternative non-Islamist leadership is probably weaker than it was in Iran. Remember also that the Iranian revolution went on for almost a year, with the Islamists emerging as leaders only after five or six months. Many experts predicted that moderate democrats would emerge as rulers and said an Islamist regime was impossible but that isn't what happened. I very much hope I am wrong.

4) How the Arab status quo can be reformed and changed without letting the Jihadist fanatics take power? Is it possible to have democracy and liberalism?
One would need strong leaders, strong organizations, an ability to repress opposition, a clear program, and unity, among other things. None of this is present on the moderate democratic side. Again, I wish it was otherwise. More than any other country, reformers--though not all of them--have believed they can work with and then manipulate the Islamists. That seems like a mistake.

The chances for democracy and liberalism are different in every country. Tunisia has a good chance because there is a strong middle class and a weak Islamist movement. But in Egypt look at the numbers in the latest Pew poll.

In Egypt, 30 percent like Hizballah (66 percent don’t). 49 percent are favorable toward Hamas (48 percent are negative); and 20 percent smile (72 percent frown) at al-Qaida. Roughly speaking, one-fifth of Egyptians applaud the most extreme Islamist terrorist group, while around one-third back revolutionary Islamists abroad. This doesn’t tell us what proportion of Egyptians want an Islamist government at home, but it is an indicator.

In Egypt, 82 percent want stoning for those who commit adultery; 77 percent would like to see whippings and hands cut off for robbery; and 84 percent favor the death penalty for any Muslim who changes his religion.

Asked if they supported “modernizers” or “Islamists” only 27 percent said modernizers while 59 percent said Islamists:

Is this meaningless? Last December 20 I wrote that these “horrifying figures in Egypt…one day might be cited to explain an Islamist revolution there….What this analysis also shows is that a future Islamist revolution in Egypt and Jordan is quite possible.

5) What kind of threat the Muslim Brotherhood network pose to Israel and the Western democracies?
In power? A huge threat: renewed warfare, overwhelming anti-Americanism, efforts to spread revolution to other moderate states, a potential alignment with Iran and Syria (though that might not happen), incredible damage to Western interests. In short, a real disaster. What shocks me is that Western media and experts seem so carried away by this movement they are only considering a best-case outcome. As I suggested, I would prefer things were otherwise but I am deeply worried and one of the things I'm worried about is that others don't seem to be worried.

Why is it ok for women to be sexist???

This sort of stuff is becoming more and more common...
Only last week, for example, Jo Brand, the newly crowned Best Female TV Comic at the British Comedy Awards, was on Have I Got News For You and replied to the question ‘What’s your favourite kind of man, Jo?’ by saying: ‘A dead one.’ Oh, how the audience fell about. And the other contestants, all male, chortled away too.

I’m not saying it wasn’t funny. I’m just saying we live in a world where the thorough-going awfulness, uselessness and superfluity of the male sex is such a given, that a frontline television comic can get big laughs by saying she’d prefer it if we were all dead.

And I’m trying to imagine a world in which I am on that show and they say, ‘What kind of women do you like, Giles?’ and I reply: ‘Dead ones.’ I just don’t think it would get the same laughs, do you?

Here’s another of Jo Brand’s (excellent) gags. ‘What’s the way to a man’s heart? Straight through the chest with a kitchen knife!’ Again, not unfunny. But predicated on the idea that killing men is hilarious. Whereas killing women, as we all know, is a very serious affair and not to be joked about.

It’s not just Brand, it’s all women. ‘What do you call the useless flap of skin attached to a penis?’ they joke. ‘A man!’ they all reply, and clink their chardonnay glasses and chortle till dawn. How on earth did this get to be OK?

Friday, January 28, 2011

Barnard-Henri Levy on BDS....

Important morning reading..
First, because one boycotts totalitarian regimes, not democracies. One can boycott Sudan, guilty of the extermination of part of the population of Darfur. One can boycott China, guilty of massive violations of human rights in Tibet and elsewhere. One can and should boycott the Iran that is oppressing Sakineh and Jafar Panahi − a country whose leaders have become deaf to the language of common sense and compromise. One can even imagine, as we once did with regard to the fascist generals’ Argentina or Brezhnev’s USSR, boycotting those Arab regimes whose citizens’ freedom of expression is forbidden, and punished, if necessary, with blood.

One does not boycott the only society in the Middle East where Arabs read a free press, demonstrate when they wish to do so, send representatives to parliament, and enjoy their rights as citizens. Regardless of what one thinks of the policies of its government, one does not boycott the only country in the region and, beyond the region, one of the unfortunately limited number of countries in the world where voters have the power to sanction, modify and reverse the position of said government. To such an extent that finding, like Mr. Hessel, in his recent best-selling book, the source of his “main indignation” in the workings of a democracy that, like all democracies, is by definition imperfect but perfectible ‏(yet, on the contrary, having nothing to say about the millions of victims of Africa’s forgotten wars, about the persecution of Christians in the Middle East, or about the massacre of Bosnia’s Muslims‏) is at best profoundly stupid and at worst, disgraceful.

And then, because, in any event, this boycott campaign is in reality indifferent to the stance of Mr. X or Mrs. Y. on their government. It is unaware of, nor does it care to know, what Israeli citizens themselves think, for example, of the resumption of settlement construction in the West Bank. It doesn’t give a hoot about demands, parameters, actual conditions of peace between the citizens in question and their Palestinian neighbors. Of the latter, their aspirations, their interests, their possible hopes and the way the Hamas regime has smashed those hopes in Gaza, it doesn’t give a tinker’s damn and never says anything, either.

No. Regardless of what its promoters and its useful idiots say, the only real, accepted, hackneyed goal of this boycott campaign is to delegitimize Israel as such. That is what the comparison with the South Africa of apartheid implicitly expresses. That is what the anti-Zionist rhetoric that serves as the common denominator of all the groups constituting the BDS movement explicitly says, and, if words have any meaning, what signifies their intent to undermine the very idea that today, like it or not, binds the Israeli nation. And that is why this campaign, in fact, contravenes the customs, rules and laws of international and, in this case, French or American national law.

And then, lastly, there are those at the heart and, sometimes, at the origin of this campaign whose inspiration is, to say the least, not that of de Gaulle’s Free French nor of those who penned the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, nor of those in favor of a just peace between the Israeli and Palestinian peoples.

I submit, to whomever wishes, the declarations of Omar Barghouti, one of the founders of the Palestinian BDS campaign, affirming that his goal is not two states but two Palestines. And those of Ali Abunimah, co-founder of Electronic Intifada and also opposed to the two-state solution, who does not hesitate to compare Israel to Nazi Germany and this or that of its philosophers to the columnists of Der Stuermer. And the declarations of the leaders of Sabeel, that group of Palestinian Christians firmly implanted in North America, who, anxious to lend the idea of “responsible investment” a “theological” basis, do not hesitate to subtly but surely reactivate the stereotype of the Christ-killing Jew. Not to mention some rather shady initiatives whose purpose is to mark Jewish − sorry, Israeli − merchandise with supposedly derogatory stickers intended for the attention of the vigilant French consumer.

All that is deplorable and, once again, indisputable. Presenting the promoters of this discourse of hatred as victims speaks volumes of the current state of confusion − intellectual and moral − of a Western world one would have hoped had been cured of its worst criminal past.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Can Anti-Semitsm grow in the Middle East???

Looks like Jews are the hot topic in Jordan..
For more than sixty years of conflict, the carefully government-channeled hatred revolved around Zionism and Israel, rather than around Judaism and Jews.

Since 2008, however, the Jordanian printed media has been launching a fierce attack on almost everything Jewish.

Why would the supposedly-moderate Jordan adopt a strong anti-Semitic agenda?

The answer to this question is simple; Jordan's oppressed Palestinian majority has been seeking more civil rights in the last few years. Therefore, the Jordanian government has to distract them by igniting anti-Semitic rhetoric.

Arab regimes apparently needed a new method to direct their own people's anger towards someone else. The US and Europe were, of course, out of the question, and the communist "infidel" states were no longer in existence. Again, Arab regimes were stuck with Israel as "the source of all evil" with no way for regimes to revive that notion: their people have become fed up after decades of propaganda. The Arab regimes' "Plan B" was to ignite an even larger religious zeal by constantly reminding their people that the Israelis are "a part of a larger Jewish scheme of controlling the world."

Today, the message has dramatically changed; media language and definitions have been surgically altered by many Arab governments. The term "Zionist" has turned into "Jews," and, for the more moderate Arab media, "Peace talks" into "Jewish opposition to peace…or world peace."

The growing trend of anti-Semitism on Arab TV shows has been vigorously picking up momentum the last few years. Anti-Semitic-themed shows have become common on many of the 300-plus Arab satellite networks, including TV Channels and media outlets owned by theoretically pro-Western Arab governments are no exception -- crossing the line from anti-Semitism to open support for terrorism.

Examples for this are countless. In January 2010, the Jordanian state television aired an interview with former Prime Minister Faisal Al-Fayez, in which he threatened Israel with "six million Jordanian suicide bombers." Al-Fayez was a Jordanian senator at the time and has recently been appointed Speaker of the House of the Jordanian Parliament.

Also, Jordanian state and privately owned televised media have been launching a massive campaign against Israel being a Jewish state -- thus making a shameless leap from anti-Zionism to anti-Semitism.

In Jordan, the government-controlled mainstream media has been promoting anti-Americanism as much as anti-Semitic propaganda. In the Jordanian media, terms like "American imperialism," "the evil American conspiracy," "The U.S. marines occupational anti-Arab ideology," and "the American-Jewish alliance to destroy the Arab Ummah [Nation]," are everyday slogans – many by writers on the government's payroll.

Netanyahu's Hoocaust Remembrance Day Speech...

Have the lessons of the Holocaust been learned?

For us, the Jewish people, the answer is yes.
For the rest of the world, the answer is no, or at least not yet.

Today, 66 years after the horror, we are here, in Jerusalem, the eternal capital of our nation. We, the representatives of the Jewish nation, are holding a special ceremony to mark the International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

The lesson that we have learned, first of all, is that we are here, in our sovereign country, in our capital city.

We have learned another important lesson, probably the most crucial lesson to be learned from the atrocity, from the chain of atrocities that brought about one much worse; this has continued for hundreds and thousands of years, since we lost our country and our sovereignty, and since we lost our capability to defend ourselves. The lesson learned was that we had to restore the capacity of the State and the army for self-defense.

This lesson was understood by Herzl even before the great atrocity took place. He foresaw it, and we implemented it.

But there is one other lesson. At the end of the Holocaust, there were 11 million Jews in the world. Before it, there were 18 million.

Even at a very slow rate of natural increase of the population, there should have been almost 30 million Jews in the world, but in fact, there are only 13.5 million; much less, half of what there should be. This did not happen by physical loss; it happened because of assimilation and the loss of identity.

The only place where the Jewish people has grown is here, in Eretz Yisrael, in the State of Israel. We have continuous substantial and blessed growth. There is no nation that could live on a demographic pin head. Therefore, while cultivating our country, we must continue to encourage aliyah, bringing Jewish people to Israel, and to prevent their assimilation abroad. All the projects that we operate - Birthright, Masa and also Moreshet - are aimed at our young adults and also young Jews abroad. They are essential elements in assuring our future.

Have we learned the lesson? The answer is yes. Has the world learned the lesson? Well, I think one thing is clear: the fact that global anti-Semitism is renewing and expanding is obvious. If anyone thought that anti-Semitism stopped after World War II and the Holocaust, it is now evident that it was only a hiatus. The same forces that you mentioned joining together, share a new/old anti-Semitism with the world, and so we must fight it, globally too. For that, I congratulate my friend Silvan Shalom, who, when serving as Foreign Minister, brought about an important United Nations resolution - marking this day, a resolution which was adopted by the UN.

This resolution is indeed implemented in many countries, which is an important achievement and in many ways also unique, at least in the ability to propose an Israeli draft resolution to this organization, which I am well familiar with, I spent a long time there. It was a milestone. But I still ask: does the world that condemns that anti-Semitism also condemn this anti-Semitism?

Every now and then, very feebly - it isn't just anti-Semitism; it is the regime - a member country of the UN, the regime of ayatollahs - stands up and knowingly and openly calls for the annihilation of at least another six million Jews, without even a hint of pretense. And nobody says a thing. Well, that's not exact. Here and there a comment might be heard, but where is the anger, the outrage? Where is the outcry? Where is the "J'accuse?" I'm not asking about us. We are here; we've learned our lessons. But where is the global uproar that should have risen from advanced communities around the world in response to explicit declarations of genocide, of exterminating a people, that same people!

We must be honest with each other. Diplomacy is, first and foremost, identifying the situation as it is. If we want to change it, we must understand it. And we have a very disturbing historical phenomenon. I don't think that it is only hard for us, but for all civilized people, all civilized peoples, who allow such an affliction, such statements, such savagery, barbarism and primitivism to be uttered and spread. It is said; it spreads, becomes acceptable, commonplace, and always prepares the ground for the next action and also prevents those actions that will not take place.

I am aware that there are many leaders and good-hearted, conscientious people around the world. I know that they think what I think. I know that in their hearts, they tell themselves what I am saying today from this podium.

However, that will not suffice. Because in the face of this regime, that calls for our annihilation, and arms itself with weapons of mass destruction in order to fulfill its nefarious intentions, there should be a much stronger protest. This makes me somewhat disheartened, my friend Silvan.

I was in that institution, I served in it as the representative of Israel. One day I heard that there were rumors about a file about Waldheim, who was then President of Austria. It might have been the Secretary-General of the UN. The Secretary-General said he had a profile about a war criminal in some UN archive.

What was this archive? It turned out that there was a war-criminal archive instituted by Churchill and the Allies during the war to collect material against Nazi criminals and their collaborators. They gathered the information, and listened and discussed and prepared the files and at the end of the war they took these files, brought them to the UN, and locked them in the basement, where they just lay for decades.

I asked if I could go in there, and they said "no." I asked why, and was told that I needed the consent of all the allied countries, 18 or 19 countries, I think, and there was no such approval. Well, it took me a year until I got the okay and was taken to the archive.

It wasn't exactly in the basement, it was on the first floor of a UN building somewhere in New York. I walk in and see boxes upon boxes; I go to 'W,' pull out the box: Waldheim, Kurt, and various notes. My hair stood on end (I had more hair then). Horrible things, lying there, hidden for dozens of years. I look at the next file (I didn't start taking boxes out, it was the same box): Birkenau 1944, records of exterminations, the death marches, trains, the S.S., it's all documented. 1944, but I think I also saw files that referred to 1943.

My friends, these 18 countries, perhaps the best statesmen in history, distinguished men, truly great men - they knew. They knew in real time, and not from this particular testimony that I have just mentioned. There are plenty of testimonies: terrible things that are very hard to read. They knew, but they did not act.

Why did they not act? Because they were busy fighting the major battle against the Nazis, which was their main concern. But how hard would it have been to bomb the railway tracks leading to the death camps? When you go there, and many of you have been there - I was there with some of you, several times - you see they could have bombed the camps. They were already bombing that awful chemical plant only seconds away. They would only have needed to tilt the plane a bit and could also have bombed the ramp and two incinerators, and the tracks. It wouldn't have made the slightest difference to their war effort. They knew and they did nothing.

Today they are very aware of it. They know, they hear, they see, they photograph. You don't need special intelligence, you only need to turn on the television, hear the news, read the newspaper. Will they act? Will they talk? Will they really talk? Will they attack? Will they condemn?

The Iranians say that it's against the Zionists, anti-Zionism. It was Martin Luther King who burst that bubble better than anyone else. He said, and I quote: "When people criticize Zionists, they mean Jews. You're talking anti-Semitism!"

Martin Luther King. That's right. So that's what the Iranians say. But this is the truth. It is not only a threat against us, because it always begins with the Jews but never ends with the Jews. The hatred of Jews kindles an overall fire, and I expect that on this day, when I applaud the world for marking the most heinous crime in world history and the history of our people which was perpetrated against our people - I hope others will also learn the lesson. We already have.

I expect the world to learn the lesson and start fighting in words and in deeds against the new anti-Semitism. That is what I expect and I am certain, my friends, that you expect the same.

To shoot an elephant...

Scene from a film shown this week in the UK...

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The UN gangs up on Israel....

A nice article from Alan Dershowitz...
Although I have opposed Israel's civilian settlements in the West Bank since 1973, I strongly believe that the United States should veto a resolution currently before the U.N. Security Council that would declare illegal "all Israeli settlement activity in the Occupied Palestinian Territory." This condemnatory resolution is being supported by all members of the Security Council other than the U.S. So it will pass unless the U.S. exercises its veto power.

There is a big difference between a government action being unwise, which the Israeli policy is, and being illegal, which it is not. Indeed, the very Security Council resolution on which proponents of the condemnation rely makes it clear that the legal status of Israel's continued occupation isn't settled.

Passed in 1967, Resolution 242 (which I played a very small role assisting then-U.N. Ambassador Arthur Goldberg in drafting) calls for Israel to return "territories" captured during its defensive war of 1967. The words "all" and "the" were proposed by those who advocated a complete return, but the U.S. and Great Britain, which opposed that view, prevailed.

Even partial return of captured territories is conditioned on "termination of all claims of belligerency" and "acknowledgment of the sovereignty . . . of every state in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force."

Resolution 242 does not mention the rights of nonstates, such as the Palestinian Authority, Hamas or Hezbollah, the latter two of which do not accept the conditions of the resolution. (Nor do Iran and several other states in the region.) It would be wrong for the Security Council retroactively to rewrite Resolution 242, which is the foundation for a two-state solution—Israel and Palestine—44 years after it was enacted.

But the real reason the U.S. should veto this ill-conceived resolution is that it is inconsistent with U.S. policy, which has long advocated a negotiated resolution of the Palestinian-Israeli dispute. As Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has put it: "We continue to believe strongly that New York is not the place to resolve the longstanding conflict."

A negotiated resolution will require the Palestinian Authority to acknowledge that some of the land captured by Israel from Jordan, after Jordan attacked Israel, rightfully belongs to Israel. These areas include the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem and the Western Wall—which were illegally captured by Jordan in its aggressive and unlawful 1948 war calculated to undo the U.N.'s decision to divide the area into Jewish and Arab homelands. Additionally, there will have to be land swaps that recognize the realities on the ground. Areas such as Ma'ale Adumim and Gilo, for example, have become integral parts of Jewish Jerusalem.

Finally, Resolution 242 explicitly requires that Israel have "secure and recognized boundaries," an implicit recognition that its pre-1967 boundaries were neither secure nor recognized. Some territorial adjustments will be essential if Israel is to remain more secure than it was in the lead-up to the 1967 war.

The Palestinian Authority seems to understand at least some of these realities, as reflected in the recent disclosure of 1,600 internal documents by Al Jazeera. In one 2008 document, Palestinian negotiator Ahmed Qurie is quoted proposing that Israel annex all settlements in Jerusalem, with the exception of the Jewish areas of Har Homa and part of the Old City of Jerusalem. Some on the Security Council, however, clearly don't understand.

The current draft of the proposed resolution condemns "all Israeli settlement activities." Read literally, this condemnation would extend to the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem, the Western Wall, and those areas that even the Palestinian Authority concedes must remain under Israeli control. Israel will not, and should not, return "all" such territories. The U.S. does not believe it should, nor do reasonable Palestinians.

Benny Morris on the Palestinian Papers....

This is a bigger story about journalism...
Whatever happened to the image of the hardboiled, cynical journalist, who believes no one and questions everything?

He may still exist, but not when it comes to the Palestinians. Take Jonathan Freedland, the usually sharp Guardian columnist. He did grudgingly concede that the trove of 1600-odd documents on the past decade's Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations just published by the Arab Al Jazeera network and his own newspaper "may have been leaked selectively." But he then dove in, recklessly and breathlessly, as one who has just found solid gold bricks. The scoop of the century! Here was, he wrote, "proof" of "how far the Palestinians were willing to go" to make peace with Israel—and, once again, how "intransigent" the Israelis were, in private and publicly. Here was the key to understanding the absence of Israeli-Palestinian peace.

In addition to casting aside all skepticism, Freedland also displayed a very short memory (this, let it be quickly admitted, is not uniquely Freedland: It is a common journalistic shortcoming). Had he exercised memory, or looked, indeed, at his newspaper's own archive, he might have discovered that the astonishing Palestinian "concessions"—mainly, that the bulk of the new Israeli neighborhoods in north, east, and south Jerusalem, built on or across the 1967 lines, were already "conceded" to the Israelis in the Clinton "parameters"—President Bill Clinton's peace proposals—of December 2000, which the Palestinians to this day maintain were substantially accepted by the previous Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat. Clinton had laid down the principle, in dividing Jerusalem, of Jewish neighborhoods to go to Israel and Arab areas to come under Arab sovereignty.

Similarly, Arafat had already agreed that the Jewish Quarter and the Western ("Wailing") Wall (and perhaps also the Armenian Quarter) in Jerusalem's Old City should be under Israerli sovereignty, with the Palestinians getting the Muslim and Christian quarters. Nothing new here either.

But Arafat in 2000-2001 had balked at two things—and neither, as far as I know, have been conceded by the current heads of the Palestinian Authority-PLO: sole Palestinian sovereignty over the southeastern corner of the Old City, the Temple Mount\Haram ash Sharif; and the Palestinian refugees' "Right of Return," meaning that the Palestinians still alive from the 1948 War's exodus and their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren must be allowed to return to the areas of pre-1967 Israel.

Both subjects are crucial, one symbolically, the other concretely. Arafat, with his aides in tow, always denied that there had been Jewish temples on the Temple Mount—hence, there was no historic connection between the Jews and Jerusalem, and, by extension, between the Jews and the Land of Israel/Palestine. Only the Palestinian Arabs had an historic right to the country, all of it.

And more concretely speaking, he insisted on the refugees' "right of return" and the implementation of a return, meaning that anywhere between 4.7 million (the UN figure) and 6 million (the PLO figure) "refugees" would flood back to their former family homes and lands inside Israel. Given that Israel today has a population of 5.7 million Jews and 1.5 million Israeli-Arab citizens (who by and large call themselves "Palestinians"), a mass "refugee" return would mean the transformation of Israel, instantly, from a Jewish to an Arab state. Ergo, no Israel.

In the Palestinian-Israeli negotiations of 2008 the Palestinian leaders, one and all, were unconciliatory on the refugee issue. Only a mass return would satisfy them. (Israel until now has been tactful and diplomatic in not publishing the exact details of the 2006-2008 negotiations: Perhaps it is time that Netanyahu or his predecessor, Ehud Olmert, who conducted the negotiations, publish Israel's offer to the Palestinian Authority—which reportedly was 97 per cent of the West Bank, 100 per cent of the Gaza Strip, and half of Jerusalem (including joint control over the Temple Mount), the city to serve as the Palestinians' capital. And publish also Abbas's response—which was not to respond and not to make any counter-proposal, which amounted to a flat "no.")

The fact that Abbas and company (not to mention their Islamist rivals, Hamas) steadfastly refuse to give up the "right of return" in the negotiation with Israel (and it does not matter what one or another of them may have said at some point in internal Palestinian discussions) is the surest indication that they have no intention of making peace with Israel. (Another indication is Abbas's consistent refusal to recognize Israel as a "Jewish state.")

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Iran continues to kill people.....

Well, they do have a talent for it...
Iran executed six people on Monday bringing the number of executions since the beginning of 2011 to 64, an average of one person every nine hours.

It was reported that among those executed were two activists who were members of an exiled group that joined post-election protests. The Tehran prosecutor's office named the two as Jafar Kazemi and Mohammad Ali Hajaghaei. In addition, those executed included three men accused of sexual assault and a serial killer who was sentenced to a public flogging.

Besides drug charges, the Iranian constitution gives out a death sentence for murder, rape, adultery, armed robbery and espionage. Most of the citizens executed since the beginning of the year were convicted of drug offences. Just last week, ten drug smugglers were executed. National media outlets reported that the ten were flogged and fined before they were killed.

Monday, January 24, 2011

BBC and Global Warming...

Is Iran closer to a nuclear weapon???

Despite the Stuxnet virus, are they still making progress???
Leading American scientists Friday warned against Western complacency over Iran's nuclear drive, saying in a study that Tehran last year boosted its capacity to build an atomic bomb.

The study, published by a body set by scientists from the top-secret Manhattan Project which built the world's first atomic bomb, comes as the United States and five other powers hold nuclear talks with Iran in Istanbul.

And it follows claims by US and Israeli officials that international efforts have slowed Iran's nuclear drive.

The Washington-based Federation of American Scientists said on its website that the gas centrifuges at Iran's main enrichment plant in Natanz became more efficient in 2010.

Centrifuges are the machines that enrich uranium for fuel in either civilian nuclear power plants or for a bomb's destructive power. Uranium must be enriched to 90 percent for a bomb, compared to five percent for power plants.

"Despite a drop in centrifuge numbers during 2010, the total enrichment capacity of Iran's main facility has increased relative to previous years," said the study authored by Ivanka Barzashka.

Testimony from the Turkel Commission...

Brutality on deck..
"Upon landing on the middle deck, I fractured my arm, and a mob of dozens of people attacked me and basically lynched me." So reads the testimony of the first soldier who fast-roped down from the helicopter unto the deck of the Turkish ship, Mavi Marmara, last May.

"(The assailants were) pulling off my helmet, strangling me, sticking fingers into my eyes to gouge them out of their sockets, pulling my limbs in every direction, striking me in an extremely harsh manner with clubs and metal rods, mostly on my head," recalled the comando that the report refers to as soldier no.1. "I truly felt that I was about to die, way beyond what we define as life-threatening."

The report released by the Turkel committee, which looked into the raid on the Gaza-bound flotilla, includes a number of such testimonies from the naval commandoes that took part in the incident, some of whom were taken captive and held in the ship's interior.

The statements, which were collected by the Israeli Defense Forces upon the commission's request, paint a grim picture. The first soldier on the scene described it as a battlefield; while still in the air, he saw that the activists awaiting bellow were wearing gas masks and life jackets and were armed with iron clubs, rods and axes.

Moreover, the report states that the weapons IHH activists used in order to attack the soldiers were made from pieces of the ship's railing, despite the crew's attempts to stop them from cutting up the metal for this cause.

The captain of the Marmara, Mehmut Torel, said he had been surprised by the large number of weapons the activists had succeeded in creating. He testified to having thrown some of them overboard while stowing others away in a locked room.

Torel added that, knowing what the consequences would be if the activists were allowed weapons, he asked them repeatedly to behave civilly. "I thought that because there were civilians on board nothing would happen," he testified.

"The behavior of the people at this stage was definitely like fighters of an enemy which has come to kill the other side, that is, me," soldier no.1 said. "I felt that at any moment I would take a blow to the head which would kill me."

The commander of the Navy commando force said in his testimony before the Turkel committee that the resistance on board had been well-planned.

"No regular citizen knows how to fight at night with a vest and gas mask for an extended period of time, to take a weapon, cock it, and fire without fear when engaging someone in a fight, unless he was properly trained ahead of time," he said.

'I realized I won't be able to overpower mob'

At one point, soldier no. 1, who was earlier thrown by the Turkish activists to a lower deck, 3.5 meters (11.5 feet) bellow, realized that he will not be able to overpower the assailants. He considered jumping into the water, but was afraid to hit the deck bellow him. He was able to grab hold of his gun, cock it and shoot one of the attackers in his leg. He then received a harsh blow to the head.

"This stunned me briefly, and in this second they grabbed the weapon from me," he said. "At this stage, I thought that the mob wanted to take me as a captive and use me as a bargaining chip for entry to Gaza or in general. A lot of blood began streaming down my face from the wounds to my head. The mob continued to hit me."

Soldier no. 4, as the report calls the fourth soldier to rappel from the first helicopter, was the one to suffer the worst injury. After the incident he was hospitalized, put on a respirator and was operated on to treat a scull fracture.

Soldier no. 4 recalled that upon his arrival, one activist was waiting for him with a crowbar, but he managed to beat the activist to the punch.

"Immediately another four terrorists jumped onto me while one of them wrapped the chain around my neck and strangled me," he recounted. "While I was struggling with them I thought of

drawing my pistol but I felt that if I drew it, because they were up against me and kicking me, I wouldn't be able to shoot and they would grab the pistol from me. At this stage, I lost consciousness, apparently from the strangling - I saw stars."

Leaked papers prove what we knew all along....

The Palestinians know that most settlements will stay...
Game over. No way back. An entire edifice of anti-Israeli demonisation definitively consigned to the scrap heap, never to be recycled again. This is the uncompromising message that comes out of yesterday’s revelations on Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations. To the horror of a European political intelligentsia which has been steadfast to the point of fanatical in its opposition to Israeli “settlements” in east Jerusalem, the Palestinian leadership itself, we now know, has long accepted that the vast majority of Israeli settlements can be considered legitimate and would become part of Israel under any reasonable peace agreement.

This is utterly devastating since it simultaneously shows that everyone from the British Foreign Office and the BBC to the European Commission and the continent’s passionately anti-Israeli NGO community have been adopting a position which was significantly more uncompromising on “settlements” than the Palestinian leadership itself, and also that that same Palestinian leadership had accepted that the so called 1967 “borders” — the gold standard for practically every anti-Israeli polemic around — are irrelevant to the prospects of a lasting peace.

In one of its most resentful leader columns for years, the Guardian was nothing short of apoplectic: not so much with Israel, but with a Palestinian leadership which has effectively blown the credibility of the Guardian’s very own mantras on the MidEast straight out of the water. The Palestinian leadership, the paper declaimed, had been shown to be “weak” and “craven”. Their concessions amounted to “surrender of land Palestinians have lived on for centuries”. And, in words that look alarmingly close to the position adopted by Hamas, “The Palestinian Authority may continue as an employer but, as of today, its legitimacy as negotiators will have all but ended on the Palestinian street.” This is sheer spite.

The Palestinian leadership accepts what any reasonable person has been able to accept for decades. The Guardian then slams them as surrender monkeys. The Guardian newspaper is more hardline against Israel than the Palestinian leadership itself. And bear in mind, as you mull over the implications of that stark and unyielding state of affairs, that the Palestinian Authority is led by Mahmoud Abbas, who is a Holocaust denier.

But it gets worse. The only conceivable way out of this for the anti-Israel community is to turn this all upside down and argue — as analysts, reporters (anyone they can get their hands on) have been doing on the BBC all day — that what this really shows is the extent of Israeli “intransigence”: the Palestinians offer all these concessions, and still the Israelis say no! This was the line adopted by Paul Danahar, the BBC’s MidEast bureau chief, who quite casually averred that, “The Israelis look churlish for turning down major concessions”. Good thing no-one’s taking sides then.

Tragicomically, it just won’t wash. Privately and morally, senior Palestinians can see that there is nothing illegitimate or even especially problematic about most of the “settlements”, (as reasonable observers of the MidEast have been saying for years). This we know from the leaks themselves. But publicly and politically they cannot sell such concessions to their own people. This we know because they are currently trying to distance themselves from the leaks, and because they educate their own people in an implacable rejectionism which extends to the “moderate” Palestinian authority glorifying suicide bombers and other terrorists by naming streets and squares after them.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Letter from the Free Thinking Film Society

Dear Free Thinking Film Society Supporter:

I want to express my extreme disappointment that Iranium was not shown in Ottawa this week. We are committed to ensuring this film is shown in the capital of Canada - and that our cultural policies are not dictated by the Khomeinist thugs of Iran.

So, I am happy to announce that Iranium will now be shown on Sunday, February 6th at 7:00 PM at the Library and Archives Canada. Clare Lopez will also be flying in to talk at the event. Tickets are $15.00 (Students/Seniors - $8.00) and will be available, in advance, at the following locations:

Compact Music, 785 1/2 Bank Street
Compact Music, 190 Bank Street
Ottawa Folklore Centre, 1111 Bank Street
Ottawa Festivals, 47 William Street

Tickets will also be available at the door, but to ensure you get a seat, please buy your ticket in advance.

Tickets are also available on line (click here)

What really happened this week

On Monday, January 17th at 2 PM, I was informed by staff of the Library & Archives Canada (LAC) that they had received 'complaints' about Iranium and had decided to cancel the film. They offered to find an alternate venue.

I then phoned the office of the Minister of National Heritage (James Moore) to complain about the cancellation. I also sent an e-mail through the official website.

The LAC then offered to move the film to the Museum of Nature, but for a substantial fee. I really couldn't understand why the film could be shown in one building, but not the other. I told the LAC that if it had to be moved, they would have to pick up the costs.

After conferring with our Board of Directors, we decided that it was way too late to move the film, and that we should hold our ground and insist that the film be shown at the LAC. At 6:30 PM on Monday night, I received a call informing me that the film was now back on at the LAC.

On Tuesday morning, January 18th, I was informed that the complaints had indeed come from the Iranian Embassy! At 4 PM, I received a call from a senior manager at the LAC that there were protestors inside and outside the building; that they had called the RCMP; who had then informed them that security could not be assured; and that they had no choice but to cancel the film.

I immediately got into my car and drove to the Archives, arriving about 4:50 PM. The building had been closed and employees were leaving the building. Few people knew what was happening - and I didn't see any protesters anywhere. I was then informed that there were no protests - just the 'threat of protests.'

The police then arrived and the fire department arrived. I conducted a few interviews and left with Clare Lopez for my home. After we left, the hazardous materials team arrived - apparently because of two envelopes left at the front desk - but that occurred after the building had been closed down.

So, there you have it. We still need some answers! What event on Iranian culture was cancelled by the Archives in December of 2010 and why? Why did the Archives cancel so fast on Monday? Why would anybody care if the Iranian Embassy was unhappy? Were there actually threats on Tuesday? From whom? Was there just the 'threat of protest'? Why can't people protest a film? And, why couldn't the building be secured?

And, finally, why can the building now be secure on February 6th for the 'new' screening?

I applaud the Minister of National Heritage, James Moore, for his determination in standing up for freedom of speech - but it should never have had to go to his office.

I want to thank the hundreds of people who have called or e-mailed with their support for the Free Thinking Film Society and what we are doing. In particular, I have received many e-mails from Iranian-Canadians who thought they, and their families, had left the Khomeinist regime behind, and are outraged to see Khomeinist influence right here in the capital of Canada.

I want to thank the Board Members of the Free Thinking Film Society who have stepped up to the plate to help out the last three hectic days.

Iranium will now show on Sunday, February 6th at 7 PM at the Library & Archives Canada (395 Wellington). Admission is $15.00 ($8.00 for students/seniors). Clare Lopez will be speaking at the event. Reception to follow Q&A.


Frederick Litwin

Free Thinking Film Society
February 6, 2011
Library and Archives Canada
7:00 PM
Since the inception of the Islamic Revolution in 1979, Iran has displayed an absolute hatred for the West. Coupled with an extremist ideology, this regime has terrorized the world at large for over 30 years. This 70-minute film will explore the principles of the revolution, and visually demonstrate the hatred and violence exhibited by Iran’s brutal leadership. The film will document the regime’s abusive treatment of their once proud citizenry, and will chronicle the regime’s use of terror proxies abroad to inflict deadly messages on their self-described enemies. Please join us for this film, and a speaker..and reception to follow at about 9:00 PM

Admission: $15 (includes HST), $8.00 for students/ seniors

Copyright © 2010-2011 Free Thinking Film Society.
All rights reserved.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

I love Macy Gray...

What a great attitude...
After posting a Facebook status asking her fans for their opinion on whether she should go ahead with two planned concerts in Tel Aviv, and later confirming she would in fact be performing, Macy Gray is now dealing with the backlash from her decision.

Gray confirmed that she and her band would be coming to Israel as planned on her Twitter account Wednesday night stating: "Dear Israel fans. Me and the band will be there in 20 days. Can't wait. See you then. Peace."

Soon after, she was forced to defend her decision from those claiming she was supporting apartheid, and even a Nazi-like regime.

One post asked her "would you play a show in Nazi Germany if you had fans there?" To which Gray responded with "think about that. I wouldn't have fans there".

The singer noted that she was overwhelmed by the response to her Facebook post and said "I wasn't expecting any of this. But I am listening and I don't support oppression."

It appeared that Gray was taken aback by the aggressive tone of some of the posts. In response to a poster claiming to be "passionately Palestinian" she wrote: "See I'm willing to listen - really listen - but some of you so called boycotters are just assholes."

More on the anti-semitic attacks in Montreal...

Montreal is becoming dangerous...
I cannot recall any Jews being particularly shaken by the familiar French Canadian ritual of throwing stones at synagogues when I was growing up in Montreal’s multiethnic Outremont neighborhood in the late 1950s and early ’60s. Not only was it a common occurrence that garnered no press attention; it was in fact a bit of a game, immortalized by writers like the novelist Mordecai Richler and poet Irving Layton. Another such game was the Quebecois kids’ ritual of throwing snowballs at “les maudits Juifs” (the very first French words I learned as a young child) walking to and from synagogues and yeshivas.

While we never dared retaliate against the stunning stained glass of the town’s ubiquitous Catholic churches, vigorous snowball battles between Jewish and French kids (often with rocks embedded in the snow) were an almost daily activity in the wintertime. I recall this warfare rather fondly, as I do many more unhealthy aspects of growing up in a charged and diverse environment in the days before “diversity” became an abstract social ideal.

We kids did not shake; we fought back. And the shattering of glass did not evoke Kristallnacht to the many equally unshaken Holocaust survivors then living in Outremont. The most frequently targeted shuls simply installed wired window shields. Problem solved.

More Context

Oh, Canada

Why anti-Zionism festers in a country otherwise known for its friendliness

How different has been the worried response to this weekend’s attacks on four synagogues and a yeshiva in Montreal’s most heavily Jewish-populated township, Cote St. Luc. The vandalism, which left a number of windows shattered but no one hurt and no Torah scrolls or sacred books damaged, led the evening news on both of Montreal’s English television stations. “Montreal Jews Shaken After Four Synagogues, School Vandalized” read the headlines in Monday’s Montreal Gazette. The story also led the Sunday evening news on Canada’s national CTV network.

One might credit this sudden flood of attention to the prevailing ethic of political correctness, in which slurs and petty hate crimes that were once accepted as part of life in the big city are now taken with the utmost seriousness. After all, the very idea of creating a separate, more seriously punishable, criminal category for “hate-based crimes” only emerged in the 1980s, in both Canada and the United States.

Yet the real reason the recent spate of attacks on Montreal’s Jewish institutions—as well as some recent physical assaults on Hasidic Jews in Outremont—is newsworthy is that ethnic violence is no longer local, and the perpetrators (those who have been apprehended to date) are not Quebecois street toughs. After the firebombing of the United Talmud Torah in the Montreal suburb of Ville St. Laurent in 2004, the nasty work of North African Muslim immigrants, the Jews of Montreal came to a painful realization that they were no longer dealing with rock-filled snowballs. Today’s attacks are not a continuation of the lame local games we used to play. They are something new, and more frightening.

The Montreal Chamber of Commerce has long showcased the city as a taste of Europe within driving distance of New York and Boston, which it is. But, along with the sweetness of old Europe, Montrealers have been tasting the ugliness of the new Europe’s serious violence and racial tensions, generated by a rapidly growing underclass of Muslim immigrants.

Unlike American states, as well as Canada’s other nine provinces, Quebec enjoys complete autonomy in the domain of immigration policy—and has long given priority to immigrants from former French colonies such as Haiti and Vietnam. Today, the largest numbers of French speakers come from former colonies in Arab lands from Morocco to Lebanon. The city of Montreal today has the world’s largest Lebanese community outside of Beirut and the second-largest Moroccan and Algerian diasporas, after Paris and Marseilles. As in France itself, these immigrants have brought a deep, historically rooted contempt for European cosmopolitanism and heavy doses of anti-Semitism. Those apprehended by the Montreal police and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police for involvement in the dozen or so attacks on Jewish institutions in the city during the past five years—which included the fire-bombings of a synagogue and a Jewish day school—were all Quebeckers of North African descent. None were native French Quebecois.

How the city’s Jewish community, already severely depleted by the mass exodus that followed the rise to power of the separatist Parti Quebecois, fares remains to be seen. But one thing is certain: Attacks on Jewish institutions such as those of last weekend are part of a grave international problem. And Montreal is increasingly becoming a lure for those who dream of more spectacular—and potentially devastating—acts of terror.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Do the Palestinians of Jerusalem prefer to be Israelis???

More reasons not to divide Jerusalem....
In 1949, when Israel's War of Independence had just recently been won, there were about 100,000 Arabs among its citizens. At the time almost no-one called them Palestinians, not even they themselves. Until then they had been subjects of the British Mandate. Now they were citizens of Israel, and no-one really knew what that meant. Over the next 15 years, for example, many of them lived under military rule, unlike the Jewish citizens. At the same time, the State of Israel invested considerable funds and efforts to ensure all their children went to school, an effort no-one had previously made. (I wrote a bit about this here). It was a complicated story, with lots of shades of gray.

Then, in 1967, it suddenly took on a new and unexpected aspect. Following 19 years of near-total separation from the Arabs of the West Bank, who often lived a mere mile or two away, suddenly the separation was over. There was no border between Bartaa and Diab, Bakaa and Bakka el-Sharkiya, Jaat and Zeita, Taibe and Far'un, not to mention Beit Safafa and Beit Safafa. And yet, it wasn't really gone, the separation. To everyone's surprise, 19 years of being Israelis vs. 19 years of being Jordanians had caused a deep rift, and everyone saw it. (There were no Israeli-Arab villages right next to Gaza).

I'm not a scholar of the matter, but my impression is that as time went on and the Israeli occupation of the West Bank lengthened into years and decades, some of the distinctions became blurred. But many of them didn't. Then, when Israel began to build the separation barrier in 2002, the blurring receded. There was the famous case of the mayor of Um El-Fahm, the largest Arab town along the Green Line, who publicly sighed with relief when the fence went up alongside his town: finally the Israeli Jews will know we're not on the West Bank and they'll come back to our stores and restaurants on weekends, he announced; we'll be able to get on with the project of integration into Israel without the confusion of the West Bank folks (two miles south of his town).

One of the most controversial things Avigdor Lieberman keeps saying is the assertion that when the time for two states really does finally come along, Israel must insist that all those Arab towns I mentioned above must be defined as Palestine, not Israel, since their denizens are ethnically Palestinians,and should live in Palestine. Nothing makes them more furious.

That's the background for this story about the town of A-Taibeh, home of the Zuabi clan and their most famous daughter, Knesset Member Hanin Zuabi, who is probably the most vocal of the anti-Israeli voices among the Palestinian MKs. Apparently she's not at all appreciated in her home town, where everybody wants to accelerate the process of becoming Israelis, not aggravate the Jews. The story may fly in the face of what you expect, but it shouldn't. Wander around the Galilee these days and there are lots of signs on many levels that the local Arabs may identify ethnically as Palestinians (and they may not), but they are very serious about being Israelis. And their Jewish neighbors, rabid rabbis or no rabid rabbis, are mostly reciprocating the process. We haven't reached utopia yet, and probably won't for a while, but the trajectory is positive. I've previously written about this here, for example).

Then there's the case of Beit Safafa. This small Arab village south of Jerusalem was divided by the Green Line in 1949. The northern half of the village was in Israel, and became part of Jerusalem. The southern half was in Jordan. Then, in 1967, the southern half was also incorporated into Jerusalem and Israel, just like Diab, Bakaa el-Sharkiya and Zeita weren't. A Palestinian friend of mine insists that as a result, the entire neighborhood is now the most Israeli of all East Jerusalem neighborhoods. 43 years of being in Israel have erased the chasm created by those first 19 years of not being in Israel.

The crucial question is if the same might happen in the rest of East Jerusalem. What happens to Palestinians who spend 35 years with the rights and benefits of being Israelis, and then, in 2003-4, they get physically severed from the West Bank? Because that's what's happening in East Jerusalem. The 270,000 Palestinians are cut off from the West Bank on the level of daily life (though they are allowed to travel there at will). They've got Israeli freedoms, Israeli health care, Israeli social security. Economically they're near the bottom of the Israeli standard of living (except the ones who are well off), but that's considerably better than on the West Bank and the possibility of improvement is significant. They can live anywhere inside Israel, should they so decide. This practical severing from the West bank is about six years old. How long will it take to achieve the same result as the 19-year severing back in 1948-67?

The Pechter poll presented yesterday suggests the process is already well underway. A plurality of East Jerusalem Palestinians want to remain Israelis. Haaretz summarizes the findings here. The full report is here, and a presentation based upon it is here. And note - since the report itself doesn't - that the numbers who prefer to remain in Israel are actually higher than stated, since the neighborhoods of Shuafat and Kfar Akeb don't really count, since they're outside the barrier and not really in Jerusalem. Kfar Akeb, for all practical purposes, is simply the southernmost neighborhood of Ramallah.

Russia warns of an Iranian Chernobyl.....

Stuxnet should get the 2011 Nobel Peace Price...
Russian nuclear scientists are providing technical assistance to Iran's attempts activate the country's first nuclear power plant at the Gulf port.

But they have raised serious concerns about the extensive damage caused to the plant's computer systems by the mysterious Stuxnet virus, which was discovered last year and is widely believed to have been the result of a sophisticated joint US-Israeli cyber attack.

According to Western intelligence reports, Russian scientists warned the Kremlin that they could be facing "another Chernobyl" if they were forced to comply with Iran's tight deadline to activate the complex this summer.

Palestinian economy is mostly just aid....

This is not sustainable...
More than 60% of the Palestinian Authority's Gross National Product comes from the United States, European Union, United Nations, World Bank and others countries, according to a study conducted by economic analyst Eyal Ofer in cooperation with President of Financial Immunities consulting firm Adam Roiter.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

4 Synagogues vandalized in Montreal.....

A regular occurrence in Montreal...
Vandals struck at four synagogues and a Jewish school in Cote St. Luc and Hampstead very early Sunday morning, hurling rocks through windows of the buildings.

The synagogues struck were Dorshei Emet, Tifereth Beth David Jerusalem, Beth Rambam and Beth Zion, while the Yavne Academy in Cote St. Luc was also vandalized, Rabbi Reuben Poupko said.

Poupko, chairman of the Jewish Community Security Coordinating Committee, believes the vandals attacked very late at night, likely around 2 a.m.

"These are cowards who act under the cover of darkness, who fling rocks in the middle of the night, and they will not determine how the Jewish community behaves or gathers for prayer or for study," Poupko said. "We will continue to use our institutions despite these continued assaults on our buildings."

Police have been alerted to the incident, and say there is surveillance video available to assist with the investigation.

Just two months ago, another synagogue in Laval suffered extensive damage after it, too, was targeted by vandals who placed a garden hose into a pipe that leads into the building's oil tank and left it to flood overnight.

About 2,300 litres of oil spilled onto the back lawn, causing contamination and other damage to the Young Israel of Chomedey synagogue.

The cost of the damage ran up to $100,000, but within weeks the synagogue received about $30,000 in donations to help with the repairs.

In another troubling incident last March, a synagogue in Outremont was defaced with swastikas.

Vandals broke into the Congregation Ahavat Israel at the corner of Van Horne Ave. and Durocher St. overnight and threw religious symbols such as prayer shawls to the ground and drew swastikas on the pulpit.

Nasrallah blames US and Israel for fall of Lebanon's government.....

Ah ha...I knew the Israelis were behind this...
Hizbullah Leader Hassan Nasrallah discussed the international probe into the murder of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri, blaming Israel and the US for the Lebanese government's fall, in a televised speech on Sunday.

Nasrallah accused Hariri's son, Prime Minister Sa'ad Hariri, of acting under "heavy American influence." He explained that there was an agreement between the two major Lebanese parties, mediated by Saudi Arabia, that the government would denounce the investigation's findings and stop funding the International Court of Justice. However, Hariri traveled to America, where he announced that he would not accept the compromise.

"Hariri flew to America in order to show the agreement's success, but without any warning said 'sorry, we can't do it,'" Nasrallah said. "Who stopped the [agreement]? Clearly it was America and Israel that opposed them to begin with...They intervened with force and said that it cannot be that it will continue, it must stop, and suddenly. That is the only explanation, given the factors."

An 'execution binge' in Iran....

Nice way to start off the new year...
A rights group monitoring Iran is denouncing a spike in reported executions coming at an average rate of one person every eight hours since the beginning of the year.

The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran says at least 47 prisoners have been hanged since Jan. 1, including a reported Kurdish activist accused of fighting against the state. A statement from the New York-based group Sunday says other jailed Kurds also are at risk of facing the gallows.

Most of the others executed were convicted of violent crimes such as murder.

Hangings are common in Iran. But a spokesman for the rights group, Aaron Rhodes, described it as an "execution binge."

Will Iran give Hezbollah the bomb???

Many newspapers in the muslim world are unreliable, so it's hard to say whether this report has any validity...
The Kuwaiti daily Al-Siyassa, known for its anti-Iranian and anti-Syrian orientation, reported, citing a senior source in Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps, that Iran would complete the production of three small nuclear bombs by 2013, one of which would go to Hizbullah, while the other two would serve as deterrence against the Gulf states, especially those hosting foreign military forces.

Source: Al-Siyassa (Kuwait), January 16, 2011

Wikileaks: More than 30 countries 'helping' Iran get nuclear weapons....

How accurate this report is is hard to say...
Iran has been developing contacts in more than 30 countries to acquire technology, equipment and raw materials needed to build a nuclear bomb, a Norwegian newspaper said on Sunday, citing U.S. diplomatic cables.

Aftenposten said that according to the cables, obtained by WikiLeaks, more than 350 Iranian companies and organizations were involved in the pursuit of nuclear and missile technology between 2006 and 2010.

Iran says its nuclear program has purely peaceful aims but the West suspects is designed to develop a weapons capability.

"For years, Iran has been working systematically to acquire the parts, equipment and technology needed for developing such weapons, in violation of UN sanctions against the country's nuclear and missile program," Aftenposten said.

Aftenposten has said that it has all 250,000 U.S. cables leaked to WikiLeaks, most of which have not yet been published, and is gradually releasing them.

It cited sources as saying Iran is racing to develop nuclear weapons before its already crippled economy succumbs to the sanctions. "A race exists between the bomb and financial collapse," the daily cited a cable quoting a French nuclear expert.

Iran was practically out of uranium, which it needs to enrich for use in weapons, forcing Tehran to look abroad for more radioactive material, cables said.

"Iran's limited domestic supply of uranium makes it practically impossible to supply the nation's current and future nuclear power plant capacity," said a U.S. State Department note from February 2009.

"Consequently, the Iranians are likely to be forced into dealing with foreign suppliers to get uranium for their domestic nuclear industry," it added.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Al-Jazeera's Bra...

Another great piece by Khaled Abu Toameh...
Over the past decade, several Al-Jazeera journalists working in the Arab world have been arrested or threatened or expelled.

Earlier this month, Hamas issued threats against Jivara Budairi, a female correspondent for Al-Jazeera. Her crime was that she reported a hunger strike declared by detainees in Hamas-run prisons in the Gaza Strip.

Fortunately for Budairi, she lives in the West Bank and not in the Gaza Strip, where Hamas would most likely have arrested her her immediately after her report was aired on the popular Arab TV network.

Hamas's public condemnation of Budairi is seen as a direct threat not only against her, but also against other journalists who dare to report anything that could reflect negatively on the Islamist movement in the Gaza Strip. The Western-funded Palestinian government in the West Bank is not any better when it comes to protecting freedom of expression and journalists' rights.

What did Al-Jazeera do in response to Hamas's denunciation of their female reporter? The station did not complain to human rights organizations or groups that monitor violations of freedom of expression around the world.

This week, however, these organizations and many Western correspondents did hear from Al-Jazeera -- but regarding a different case.

Najwan Simri Diab, another female reporter working for the station, complained that she felt "humiliated" because female Israeli guards had asked her to remove her bra during a security check.

Diab had been invited, along with dozens of journalists, to an event with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem. A female security guard at the entrance to the hall where the prime minister was supposed to deliver a speech asked Diab to remove her bra and mentioned that otherwise she would not be able to enter.

Al-Jazeera chose to make a big fuss out of the case of Diab. It filed a complaint with the Foreign Journalists' Association and invited Israeli and Western journalists to cover this "outrageous violation of freedom of the media."

Diab, a citizen of Israel, has taken the case a step further, arguing that she had been singled out because she is Arab.

For Al-Jazeera, the controversy over Diab's bra seems to be much more important and newsworthy than Hamas's threats against another female reporter covering a prison hunger-strike..

Last month, Kuwait closed the office of Al-Jazeera over coverage of a police crackdown on a public opposition gathering.

A few weeks earlier, Morocco decided to expel Al-Jazeera journalists because of their "irresponsible" coverage of the North African kingdom.

Al-Jazeera has also been banned from covering the current riots in Tunisia.

Recently, Al-Jazeera reporter Mohammed Bader was detained for a month by Egyptian security forces.

How much anti-semitism is enough???

A terrific article by Anne Bayefsky in the Jerusalem Post...
Recent WikiLeaks cables reveal that diplomats at the UN are haunted by a thorny question: How much UN-driven anti-Semitism is too much? The original UN was built on the ashes of the Jewish people and owes its human rights foundations to the victims of the Holocaust. At today’s UN, we have now learned, diplomats hunker down near the General Assembly hall “listening outside with headphones on” trying to figure out the extent of the hate-speech that those on the inside should endure before walking out.

The particular subject of the WikiLeaks cable from US officials in Stockholm was a September 2009 assembly speech by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Sweden held the EU’s rotating presidency, and it fell upon Swedish diplomats to decide when Ahmadinejad had crossed pre-arranged “red lines.” As it turned out, some EU members walked out of the speech, while Sweden stayed put. According to the cable, the Swedes were upset by the “embarrassing lack of EU coordination” – not by the bigotry broadcast over the UN global megaphone.

What had the Europeans confused would seem to be Jewish conspiracy theory 101. Ahmadinejad had used his UN platform to describe Jews as “a small minority [who] dominate the politics, economy and culture of major parts of the world by its complicated networks, and establish a new form of slavery... to attain its racist ambitions.” Yet this roused a mere 11 of the UN’s 192 members from their seats, including the US. Israel had chosen not to attend.

Five months earlier in April 2009, Ahmadinejad had mounted another UN-provided stage in Geneva and began by denying the Holocaust, claiming that the “Zionist regime” had been created “under the pretext of Jewish sufferings.” At this “antiracism” gathering (dubbed “Durban 2”) he continued: “The word Zionism personifies racism that falsely resorts to religion and abuses religious sentiments to hide their hatred and ugly faces.” This time UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon remained glued to their chairs. Nine states, including the US and Israel, had decided to boycott beforehand, while the remaining EU states and a few others belatedly got up and left.

In September 2010 Ahmadinejad used his UN invitation to New York to suggest that 9/11 was an inside job – “segments within the US government orchestrated the attack” for the sake of “the Zionist regime.” On this occasion seven countries, including the US, headed for the doors. Israel had previously figured out it was not worth going.

PLAYING MUSICAL chairs is not the only response to UN-based anti- Semitism. The vast majority listen attentively and many applaud. Sometimes no one moves at all. On June 8, 2010, the Syrian representative lectured the UN Human Rights Council: “Israel... is a state that is built on hatred... Let me quote a song that a group of children on a school bus in Israel sing merrily as they go to school and I quote ‘With my teeth I will rip your flesh. With my mouth I will suck your blood.’”

The Obama administration, which chose to join this council, had a representative present, and neither he nor any other council member budged. UN officials, who routinely interrupt anything they deem insulting to Muslim states, said nothing.

Years of UN-driven anti-Semitism have clearly deadened the nerve endings of democracies. On November 29 and 30, 2010 the UN General Assembly sponsored its annual UN Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People followed by the usual anti- Israel agenda items.

From center stage in New York via Libya and Syria came the following: “Zionism, in reality, is the worst form of racism”; “The cancerous settlement in all the Palestinian territories”; “Israel shows and rears its ugly face”; “The word Israel has become synonymous with words such as aggression, killing, racism, terrorism.”

Numerous states voiced their opposition to “Judaization” – UN vocabulary for the crime of any Jew on any Arab territory. They bellowed about Israeli “butchering,” “apartheid,” “ethnic cleansing,” “genocide,” “racism,” “brutality,” “crimes against humanity,” “torture,” “killing in cold blood” and “barbarism.” Guilt started “over 60 years ago” – that is, with Israel’s creation.

It would not have been difficult for listeners to discern that the fabrication of a cancerous Jewish state with its bloodthirsty ugly Jewish occupants was anti-Semitism. But not a single country moved. No UN gavel interrupted the speakers. Just the diplomatic niceties of thanking and bowing before Mr. President and Mr. Ambassador, and excellencies and distinguished delegates.

By the end of a year of double-standards, discrimination and hate-mongering 80 percent of all 2010 General Assembly resolutions criticizing specific countries for human rights violations were directed at the Jewish state. Only six of the remaining 191 UN member states faced human rights criticism at all, one of which was the US. And now half of the country-specific condemnatory resolutions and decisions ever adopted by the UN Human Rights Council target Israel.

THIS YEAR will be worse, as UN headquarters prepares to host the first summit of “heads of state and government” on racism in September. “Durban 3,” named after its notorious 2001 namesake that took place in Durban, South Africa, is aimed at “mobilizing political will...for the full and effective implementation of the Durban Declaration.” This declaration charges Israel with racism and names no other state.

In contrast to Durban 1 and 2 which were attended by very few world leaders, Durban 3 is intended to be the golden ticket for Ahmadinejad and company to promote Zionism is racism. From a New York podium, a few days after the 10th anniversary of 9/11, they will also instruct Americans about tolerance. Though Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper has refused to attend, Obama is still undecided.

The invention of Islamophobia...

I hope over the next year to bring Pascal Bruckner to Canada to is his latest article...
At the end of the 1970s, Iranian fundamentalists invented the term "Islamophobia" formed in analogy to "xenophobia". The aim of this word was to declare Islam inviolate. Whoever crosses this border is deemed a racist. This term, which is worthy of totalitarian propaganda, is deliberately unspecific about whether it refers to a religion, a belief system or its faithful adherents around the world.

But confession has no more in common with race than it has with secular ideology. Muslims, like Christians, come from the Arab world, Africa, Asia and Europe, just as Marxists, liberals and anarchists come or came from all over. In a democracy, no one is obliged to like religion, and until proved otherwise, they have the right to regard it as retrograde and deceptive. Whether you find it legitimate or absurd that some people regard Islam with suspicion – as they once did Catholicism – and reject its aggressive proselytism and claim to total truth – this has nothing to do with racism.

Do we talk about 'liberalophobia' or 'socialistophobia' if someone speaks out against the distribution of wealth or market domination. Or should we reintroduce blasphemy, abolished by the revolution in 1791, as a statutory offence, in line with the annual demands of the "Organisation of the Islamic Conference". Or indeed the French politician Jean-Marc Roubaud, who wants to see due punishment for anyone who "disparages the religious feelings of a community or a state". Open societies depend on the peaceful coexistence of the principle belief systems and the right to freedom of opinion. Freedom of religion is guaranteed, as is the freedom to criticise religions. The French, having freed themselves from centuries of ecclesiastical rule, prefer discretion when it comes to religion. To demand separate rights for one community or another, imposing restrictions on the right to question dogma is a return to the Ancien Regime.

The term "Islamophobia" serves a number of functions: it denies the reality of an Islamic offensive in Europe all the better to justify it; it attacks secularism by equating it with fundamentalism. Above all, however, it wants to silence all those Muslims who question the Koran, who demand equality of the sexes, who claim the right to renounce religion, and who want to practice their faith freely and without submitting to the dictates of the bearded and doctrinaire. It follows that young girls are stigmatised for not wearing the veil, as are French, German or English citizens of Maghribi, Turkish, African or Algerian origin who demand the right to religious indifference, the right not to believe in God, the right not to fast during Ramadan. Fingers are pointed at these renegades, they are delivered up to the wrath of their religions communities in order to quash all hope of change among the followers of the Prophet.

On a global scale, we are abetting the construction of a new thought crime, one which is strongly reminiscent of the way the Soviet Union dealt with the "enemies of the people". And our media and politicians are giving it their blessing. Did not the French president himself, never one to miss a blunder - not compare Islamophobia with Antisemitism? A tragic error. Racism attacks people for what they are: black, Arab, Jewish, white. The critical mind on the other hand undermines revealed truths and subjects the scriptures to exegesis and transformation. To confuse the two is to shift religious questions from an intellectual to a judicial level. Every objection, every joke becomes a crime.

The desecration of graves or of places of worship is naturally a matter for the courts. In France, for the most part it is Christian graveyards or churches that are affected. Let us not forget that today, of all the monotheist religions, Christianity is the most persecuted – particularly in Islamic countries such Algeria, Iraq, Pakistan, Turkey or Egypt. It is easier to be a Muslim in London, New York or Paris than a Protestant or Catholic in the Middle East or North Africa. But the term "Christianophobia" does not function – and that's a good thing. There are words which taint language, which obscure meaning. "Islamophobia" is one of the words that we urgently need to delete from our vocabulary.

More Belgian Jews leaving....

Some are going to Israel....but I am sure elsewhere as well...I'd like to know the total number of Jews leaving Belgium as opposed to the number arriving in Israel...
According to figures released by the Jewish Agency and published this past week on the website, in 2010 there was an increase of 63 percent in the number of Belgian Jews who made aliyah to Israel. Two hundred and fifty Belgian Jews chose to make Israel their home in 2010, compared to 152 in 2009.

The report cites increasingly open anti-Semitism in recent years and the rise of violent attacks against members of the community, especially its highly-visible hareidi religious members, as causes for the sharp rise in the numbers of individuals making aliyah.

There are 40,000 Jews in Belgium today, about half of whom are members of the Jewish community of Antwerp, which is famous for its involvement in making the city a leading global center of the diamond trade, but at the same time has increasingly been under threat in recent years. brought figures published by Belgian organization, The Centre for Equal Opportunities and Opposition to Racism, which issued in 2009 a report indicating a surge in anti-Semitism in the country. Between 2004 and 2008, the Centre recorded some 60 anti-Semitic incidents each year. The same number of incidents was recorded in the first four months of 2009 alone.

Anti-Semitic incidents have been on the rise not just in Belgium, but throughout Europe. In fact, just six months ago, European Jewish Congress President Moshe Kantor said that European Jewry is in its worst condition since the end of World War II.

“Jews are afraid to walk the streets in Europe with Jewish symbols,” Kantor said. “Synagogues, Jewish schools and kindergartens require barbed-wire fences and security, and Jewish men, women and children are beaten up in broad daylight.”

A main target of anti-Semitic attacks has been the synagogue in the Swedish city of Malmo. Last year, it was struck twice within two weeks, both attacks being in the form of a bomb striking the synagogue. Luckily, there were no injuries either time.

Anti-Semitic remarks in Belgium are not restricted just to the masses. The leadership has also been known to make such remarks, one example being that of Karel de Gucht, the country’s former Foreign Minister and currently the European Commissioner for Trade. De Gucht was number six on the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s 2010 list for the top anti-Semitic slurs, due to the following remarks he made in September: “...Don’t underestimate the power of the Jewish Lobby on Capitol Hill. ... You shouldn’t underestimate the grip it has on American politics, no matter whether it’s Republicans or Democrats.”

Hezbollah has a gun to Hariri's head....

Hezbollah is now stealing Lebanon...
Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri told Druze leader MP Walid Jumblatt on Friday that the opposition wants him to "surrender and present concession after concession … to top it all of, they have a gun pointed to my head."

Friday, January 14, 2011

Stop Target in Canada!

Shouldn't the Target logo be banned in Canada? Isn't their symbol incendiary??? Won't people be tempted to take some 'target' practice at store clerks or innocent shoppers? Shouldn't our Human Rights Commissions step in now??? Before a disaster happens..

Or should the Broadcast Standards Board perhaps ban Target from advertising on radio?

What are your thoughts on stopping Target?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

'Fuck Canada' Guy wants to be head of UBC Students...

I hope he wins! This is from Tarek Fatah...
Omar Shaban is the former VP of the Canadian Arab Federation who celebrated Canada Day on July 1, 2009 as “Fuck Canada Day.” He is back in the news, but with a changed spelling of last name. This time as a candidate for the presidency of the University of British Columbia students council.

Will the student body of this esteemed Canadian institution allow Omar Shaban or Chaaban, a man who has contempt for Canada, get elected as president? Time will tell, but I will not be surprised if he succeeds. In an era when the RCMP is willing to kowtow to Islamists, expressing “regret” for arresting jihadi terror suspects during the month of Ramadan, anything is possible.

Only time will tell if the disease that affects guilt-ridden white liberals has now spread to their university-going sons and daughters.

Stay tuned. UBC students go to the polls on January 21, 2011.

Tarek Fatah

Dire Straits' song 'Money for Nothing' banned from Canadian radio...

Just a matter of time before they start taking Mark Twain out from libraries...
The 1980s song "Money for Nothing" by the British rock band Dire Straits has been deemed unacceptable for play on Canadian radio.

In a ruling released Wednesday, the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council says the song contravenes the human rights clauses of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters' Code of Ethics and Equitable Portrayal Code.

A listener to radio station CHOZ-FM in St. John's, N.L., complained last year that the song includes the word "faggot" in its lyrics and is discriminatory to gays.

The broadcaster argued that the song had been played countless times since its release decades ago and has won music industry awards.

A CBSC panel concluded that the word "faggot," even if once acceptable, has evolved to become unacceptable in most circumstances.

The panel noted that "Money for Nothing" would be acceptable for broadcast if suitably edited.
Gee, do you think Dire Straits will go back into the studio???

An insight into the refugee problem....

The problem with Palestinian so-called refugees is that they only want to be re-settled in is an article from a German magazine...
This is an amazing article from German magazine Cicero. A helpful email correspondent assisted with the translation.
Refugees from Reality

When Ingo Way visited the Palestinian refugee camp of Aida and met the people who live there. Startled and almost scared, he reports on their grim hope to "return" one day to a country in which many have never set foot.

The Aida refugee camp has been in Bethlehem since 1950. Today just over 3,000 people live there - descendants of those Arabs who fled during the war of 1948 from Israel. the Aida camp is maintained by the UNRWA and it doesn't look like one would imagine a "camp." Aida consists of massive houses and is thus more like a neighborhood than a camp - not even a slum. The entrance to the refugee camp is decorated with a gigantic key, written in English and Arabic, which reads: "Not for Sale". What is not for sale is not difficult to guess: the Arabian soil from the Jordan to the Mediterranean, which must not be abandoned for any peace treaty with Israel. Is this an uncharitable interpretation on my part? Let's see.

I enter the Lajee Center, a kind of community center for residents of Aida, with lounges, a tea kitchen, an Internet cafe and an exhibition space, in which they are presently showing a photo exhibition with pictures from several other refugee camps. Upstairs I meet Khouloud Al Ajarma, who according to her business card is the "Arts & Media Center Coordinator of Lajee Center." Khouloud was born 23 years ago in Aida; her grandmother came from a village in Israel that does not exist anymore. She studied in England, so she speaks with marked British accent. And she talks a lot - eloquent, fluent, confident. Khouloud does not wear a headscarf; instead she wears a pink knitted cap that covered her entire head of hair. On top of the pink sweater she is wearing a black jacket, a checkered skirt that covers her knees, but that allows a look at her black tights and fashionable ankle boots. I like Khouloud - she is educated and pretty with I've always liked British accents.

After her graduation, Khouloud returned back to Aida. She is aiming to "return" to Israel, although she has not been there before. "To remain a refugee is a political decision," she admits. Hence it is for her and for the other inhabitants of Aida out of the question to start a new life elsewhere, or to even become ordinary citizens of Bethlehem - because then they lose their refugee status conferred on them by the UNRWA. "We want no normalization," says Khouloud. "We want to remain refugees to exercise our right of return one day."

At this point something must be said about the UNRWA. The United Nations has two refugee relief organizations: the UNRWA for Palestinian refugees, and another, the UNHCR, for all other refugees in the world. And for all these UNHCR refugees their status will end after the first generation. The status of refugee is not inherited. And accordingly it is the responsibility of UNHCR to ensure that refugees get full civil rights in the countries in which they have fled. Life in refugee camps is a status that UNHCR resolves to end.

UNRWA has a completely different mandate. They regard it as their task to attend to the refugee camps in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, Lebanon, in Jordan and Syria, and they extend the refugee status over generations. And there is no end in sight. Khouloud is also, according to UN definition, a refugee - she would be even if she had stayed in England - and her children will be too. Khouloud's sister lives in Jordan and is married to a Jordanian. Through this marriage she is able to choose whether she wants to become a Jordanian citizen or remain a Palestinian refugee. She chose the latter. This inheritability of refugee status is an exception that the UN has established for Palestinians and for nobody else.

Khouloud doesn't protest this in any way. She says, "Yes, it is a special privilege. But this special privilege is our due. Why? It's about justice!" Tt is therefore not surprising that Khouloud doesn't grant any importance to the negotiations between the Palestinian Authority and Israel. "Our people do not want a two-state solution. Our leadership is not acting in our name. And the Israelis know that as well." But what do "the people" want, what does Khouloud want? "It's about the right of our country," she says. "To renounce this right would not only be a betrayal of the refugees, it would be a betrayal of Palestine. That's not what our martyrs died for."

I get a little queasy. Before me is not a screaming fanatic like Shirin A., but a young woman with a Western education that speaks with a quiet and serene voice of blood and soil as if she were discussing an upcoming business meeting. She speaks very clearly of what they wish for: a single state from the Jordan to the Mediterranean, in which all Palestinians, the descendants of refugees from 1948 and are now scattered all over the world return to live, can return to live. Toclarify the scale: In the wake of Israel's independence war of 1948 left about 700,000 Arabs left the territory of present-day Israel. Some were forced, some went voluntarily, hoping to come back for a victory of Arab armies. But the Arab states lost the war they had begun. Today there are between four and five million people who hold the status of "Palestine refugees". Khouloud even speaks of eight million. If it were up to her, they would all be allowed to settle in Israel.

For Khouloud it seems to matter little that this will never happen by peaceful means. Because for the Israeli side, it is unacceptable - it would be the end of Israel as a Jewish state. "Why do we need a Jewish state?" Khouloud asks rhetorically. "Surely we can all live together in a democratic state of Palestine." This would, she says, of course, have a "Palestinian majority. " And what would happen to the Jewish minority in such a state? "Such small things," says Khouloud, "are not important. For them a solution will eventually be found."