Over One Quarter of US Jews: US-Israel Relations Negative
by Gil Ronen
The American Jewish Council's Annual Survey of Jewish Opinion shows that over one quarter of Jews in the United States define the current state of relations between the US and Israel as negative.
When asked to characterize relations between Israel and the United States, 10% chose “very positive,” 63% “somewhat positive,” 22% “somewhat negative” and another 4% “very negative.”
Last year, 11% chose “very positive,” 70% “somewhat positive,” 14% “somewhat negative” and 2% “very negative.”
The total proportion that answered “negative” or “very negative” was therefore 26% in 2010, up from 16% the previous year. The total proportion that answered “positive” or “very positive” was 73% in 2010, down from 81%.
Sixty-eight percent of US Jews believe there is either “little” or “no” chance of sanctions and diplomacy curbing Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Fifty-three percent would support, and 42 percent oppose, U.S. military action to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, while 62 percent would support, and 33 percent oppose, Israeli military action.
In 2009, 56% said they would support US military action against Iran and 36% said they would oppose it. Regarding Israeli action, the 2009 numbers were 66% in support and 28% opposing.
These numbers seem to show that support for such a strike, either by Israel or the US, is weakening. However, it should be noted that the 2010 survey included a question about the ability of “a combination of diplomacy and sanctions” to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons. The 2009 survey did not raise the possibilty of a sanctions regime as an alternative to military action. The 2010 inclusion of a question regarding sanctions may have affected respondents' answers regarding military action.
President Obama’s overall performance as president won the approval of 57%, with 38% disapproving. Exit polls in the 2008 election showed that President Obama won 78 percent of the Jewish vote. (IsraelNationalNews.com)
Jews blamed for pedophile backlash
By JONNY PAUL
Bishop quoted as saying “Zionist attack” behind criticism of church.
LONDON – An Italian Catholic Web site is claiming that a retired bishop has blamed the Jews for the current backlash against the church over sex abuse claims.
Giacomo Babini, 81, the emeritus bishop of Grosseto, allegedly said in an article on the Pontifex Web site that he believed a “Zionist attack” was behind the criticism of the church, considering how “powerful and refined” the criticism was.
“They do not want the church, they are its natural enemies. Deep down, historically speaking, the Jews are God killers,” he was quoted as saying.
The comments were spotted by the American Jewish Committee (AJC) on Friday.
Referring to the comments as anti-Semitic libel and to Pontifex as an extremist Catholic right-wing Web site, AJC is calling on the Italian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CEI) to condemn the comments.
“Babini, the retired Bishop of Grosetto, referring to the pedophile scandals, accused Jews of a ‘refined Zionist’ media attack against the Church. He called Jews a ‘Deicide’ people and inferred that the Holocaust took place due to Jews ‘strangling Germany economically’ through ‘usury,’” the AJC said.
“We urge the Italian Bishops Conference to categorically condemn these slanderous stereotypes, which sadly evoke the worst Christian and Nazi propaganda prior to World War II,” said Rabbi David Rosen, AJC’s International director of Interreligious Affairs.
“The high level of mutual trust and solidarity that binds our two communities today demands that there be zero tolerance for such defamatory statements by religious representatives.”
One of the highest representatives of the CEI told the AJC that Babini’s comments were contrary to Catholic thinking.
“These remarks are entirely contrary to the official line and mainstream thought of the Catholic Church,” Bishop Vincenzo Paglia told the AJC.
In a statement, CEI denied that Babini had given the interview.
“Statements I have never made about our Jewish brothers have been attributed to me,” Babini said on Monday.
In a response posted on its Web site, Pontifex said it stood by its story and that Babini has previously made anti-Semitic comments.
Pontifex claimed that in an interview on January 27, Babini said: “The Jews use the Holocaust as a club” and on January 25 said: “The Jews are no longer our brothers, they overslept at the coming of Christ, they have chosen not to be our brothers.”
Report: Anti-Semitic Attacks up Worldwide in '09
A new study from Tel Aviv University reveals attacks against Jews increased worldwide in 2009.
The study reveals that anti-Semitic incidents of physical violence more than doubled last year to more than 1,100.
"The year ... was the worst since monitoring of anti-Semitic manifestations began two decades ago, in terms of both major anti-Semitic violence and the hostile atmosphere generated worldwide by the mass demonstrations and verbal and visual expressions against Israel and the Jews," the study showed.
According to the report, most attacks occurred in Britain and France by Muslims angered by Israel's invasion of Gaza.
The report was released on the eve of Israel's annual Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Scotland: Targeting Israelis for Protest is not Anti-Semitic
Scotland: Targeting Israelis OK
by Maayana Miskin
Turkey to Challenge Israel, Support Hamas
A Scottish sheriff has ruled that targeting Israeli citizens for protest is not anti-Semitic or illegal. The ruling was handed down in a case involving the disruption of a Jerusalem String Quartet concert.
The quartet was interrupted during the Edinburgh Festival concert in 2008 by a small group of protesters screaming “They're Israeli army musicians! End genocide in Gaza, boycott Israel!” Prosecutors argued that the disruption was “racially aggravated” because it targeted private Israeli citizens and not representatives of the state.
However, Sheriff James Scott ruled that charging the protesters with racial bias because they specified that they were targeting Israel could lead to a situation in which those protesting a state or its army were unable to name the state, for fear of being charged with hate crimes. Defense attorney Aamer Anwar had made a similar argument, warning that the case could set “a dangerous precedent.”
The protest was organized by the Scottish Palestinian Solidarity Campaign, a group that compares Israel to apartheid South Africa, and states as its mission, “We oppose a Jewish supremacist state in Israel/Palestine as others opposed a White supremacist state in South Africa or Alabama.”
Similar protests followed, including one in March of this year, when the Quartet was interrupted as it played in Wigmore hall. Following that incident, the Jerusalem Quartet released a statement criticizing the disruption of its concert as “mistaken” and “inconsiderate.” The Quartet does not represent the government of Israel any more than its audience represented the government of the United Kingdom, the statement argued.
Members of the Quartet also played up their own pacifist credentials. “As it happens, none of us was in a combat unit . We served our conscription as musicians,” they wrote. In addition, they said, two members of the group are also members of the joint Israeli-Arab Divan Orchestra, led by composer Daniel Barenboim.
"It is destructive of our attempts to foster Israel-Arab relations for us to be the subject of demonstrations of the kind we suffered the other day,” they said. (IsraelNationalNews.com
Holocaust could happen again, warns expert
As it does every year on the 27th day of the Hebrew month of Nisan, Israel came to a standstill at 10 AM Monday morning as air raid sirens blared across the country commemorating the senseless massacre of six million Jews in the Nazi Holocaust.
Memorial ceremonies were held at several locations, as the nation's leadership took time away from their duties to pay their respects to those who perished, those who survived and the thousands of Gentiles who risked and often lost their own lives to save those of Jews targeted by the Nazi regime.
Meanwhile, a prominent Israeli-British historian warned that the slogan "Never Again" is fading, and that there is a very real possibility for a repeat of the Holocaust.
In his new book "A Lethal Obsession: Anti-Semitism from Antiquity to the Global Jihad," Hebrew University Professor Robert Wistrich explains that the politics and social attitudes that gave rise to and allowed the Nazi Holocaust to occur are still very much with us. In particular, Wistrich notes that Islam has much more openly conducted a religious war against the Jews in recent years, while Europe and the West have reacted with general indifference to that fact.
"We are in an era once again where the Jews are facing genocidal threats as a people," Wistrich said in an interview with Ha'aretz. "We have not been in that situation for quite a while. And maybe this is the first time since the Holocaust that Jews feel that this is palpable."
Wistrich also acknowledged the enormous rise in anti-Semitism in Europe in recent years, fueled largely by more brazen Muslim populations there.
An annual study done by Tel Aviv University titled "Anti-Semitism Worldwide" revealed that attacks on and harassment of Jews doubled in 2009, especially in Europe and Canada.
In 2008 there were 559 reported incidents of anti-Semitism worldwide. In 2009 that number jumped to 1,129. The UK was the biggest offender, with anti-Semitic incidents there increasing from 112 in 2008 to 374 in 2009. France was close behind, with 50 anti-Semitic incidents in 2008 and 195 in 2009. Canada saw an increase from just 13 anti-Semitic incidents in 2008 to 138 incidents in 2009.
The report noted that the enormous jump in just one year can be attributed to the blurring of lines between hatred of Jews as a people and condemnation of Israel as a nation. In other words, and as many Israelis and friends of Israel have warned, anti-Israel sentiment is the new anti-Semitism.
by Maayana Miskin
Turkey is planning a gesture that will challenge Israel and provide support to Gaza's Hamas leaders next month. A flotilla of ships funded by Turkey will approach Gaza in May, in an attempt to challenge Israeli control at sea - or, as organizers put it, “break Israel's illegal blockade on Gaza.”
While residents of Gaza have access to the sea, the Israel Navy prevents travel by sea between Gaza and surrounding countries, in an attempt to prevent weapons smuggling. Gaza terrorists have previously used incoming ships to smuggle arms, and have used the sea to transport bombs to the coast of southern Israel.
The ships are sponsored by the Turkish group IHH (Insani Yardim Vakfi), which receives government support. IHH also held a massive fundraiser to collect the more than $2 million it spent on the boats.
The IHH group will be joined by ships from Britain, Greece, and Ireland in the attempt to break Israel's control at sea. The delegation will include members of parliament and journalists, organizers said.
The flotilla follows previous such missions in challenging Israel's ban on international travel to and from Gaza, as part of a campaign dubbed “Free Gaza” by its organizers. The latest group of ships will bring several hundred passengers and 5,000 tons of cargo, including humanitarian supplies, cement, and building materials.
The decision to bring cement is another challenge to Israeli policy in Gaza. Israel allows humanitarian aid through its border with Gaza, but allows cement and metal pipes to enter the area only for use in specific projects, in coordination with international aid groups. Israeli defense experts worry that if Hamas were allowed to import cement and pipes freely, it would use them to build bunkers and rockets as it has done in the past.
A spokesman for the government-backed IHH said the project would serve to “wake the world's consciousness about the crimes committed against Palestinians.”
IHH organizers said they see several possible outcomes to their venture: either Israel will allow them to land in Gaza, giving them a PR victory, or Israel will prevent them from reaching Gaza by stopping the ships or seizing their cargo, thus subjecting itself to international condemnation. Another scenario is that Israel's navy might fire on the ships, which could possibly be considered a declaration of war on the ships' countries.
Ties between Israel and Turkey, once friendly, have been strained since early 2009, when Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and other senior leaders harshly condemned Israel for its counterterrorism operations in Gaza. Erdogan publicly snubbed President Shimon Peres, Turkey later held a joint military exercise with Syria
, and cancelled Israel's participation
in a scheduled military exercise.
In 2010, Turkish television aired a virulently anti-Israel drama that depicts Israel kidnapping babies
and murdering innocent Arabs. (IsraelNationalNews.com)
US Expert Predicts 'Oil and Gas Rush' to Israel
by Gil Ronen
A US energy industry expert estimates that international companies may soon join exploration efforts for oil and gas in Israel.
The expert, Fred Zeidman, told Globes website that it is very likely that international firms will join the exploration efforts on Israeli territory, a year after the 'Tamar' and 'Dalit' discoveries in the Mediterranean Sea. One international firm is already involved: Noble Energy, which was the partner of Delek and Isramco in the discoveries.
Two of Israel's largest financial groups – Nochi Dankner's IDB group and Ofer Nimrodi's Israel Land Development – have also entered the sector.
'A crazy rush'
"It happens all the time," Zeidman said. "We see in the US that the moment a company discovers oil or gas that can be transported, there's a crazy rush to the region by other companies, and that's a function of the size of the reserves found. Around the world, as soon as Noble goes to a place, many other companies follow in its wake. The prospects here are amazing, and I have no doubt that we'll see an economic boom, and a rush of more companies to Israel from overseas following Noble."
The U.S. Geological Survey estimates that 122 trillion cubic feet of undiscovered, recoverable natural gas are in the Levant Basin Province in the eastern Mediterranean region, according to a new report.
The area includes the coastal areas near Israel, Lebanon and Syria.
“The Levant Basin Province is comparable to some of the other large provinces around the world,” stated Brenda Pierce, USGS Energy Resources Program Coordinator. “Its gas resources are bigger than anything we have assessed in the United States.”
The Levant Basin Province also holds an estimated 1.7 billion barrels of undiscovered oil, that can be recovered with existing technology. This is the first time the USGS has assessed the Levant Basin area for extractable resources. (IsraelNationalNews.com)
Carter's adviser projects a Middle East plan full of fallacies
DEBKAfile Exclusive Analysis April 12, 2010, 6:55 PM (GMT+02:00)
Jimmy Carter's NS adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski
Ex-President Jimmy Carter's National Security advisers Zbigniew Brzezinski and former Democratic congressman Stephen Solarz have come up with yet another Middle East peace plan - this one, as published in the Washington Post, relies heavily on a dramatic Barack Obama peace odyssey to the region with a party of Arab leaders and Quartet (US, Russia, EU and UN) members climaxing in a dramatic speech "to all the peoples of the region" from the Old City of Jerusalem.
This would be "the culminating event in the journey for peace."
If the US offer is rejected by either side or both, the two writers advise the United States "to seek the UN Security Council's endorsement of its framework for peace, thus generating worldwide pressure on the recalcitrant party."
's analysts agree that the Brzezinski-Solarz extravaganza deserves Hollywood's finest director. The only trouble is that it pretends to be a serious peace plan when, even as a script, it is full of holes which fly in the face of the facts.
Perhaps President Obama's failure to visit Israel despite his trips to Arab capitals, including his outreach to the Muslim world from Cairo - which was not matched by any gesture toward the Jewish world - can be glossed over for now. But just the airy proposal to send Arab rulers to Jerusalem is enough to discredit the plan in advance.
Not only is it inconceivable that the Saudi king, the Syrian president, the Iraqi prime minister - or any other Arab rulers - would consent to set foot in the Jewish state, but even Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak and Jordan's King Abdullah, both of whom enjoy the fruits of peace accords with Israel, have never accepted invitations to visit Israel.
The Saudis even rejected out of hand any suggestion of allowing Israel civilian over-flights when President Obama asked for a token gesture to smooth the road to peace diplomacy.
A bubble without substance
Who should know better than Carter's former adviser that the most perfect peace plans burst like bubbles without solid substance? Yet the duo opened their article with this quarter-truth:
"More than three decades ago, Israel statesman Moshe Dayan… declared he would rather have Sharm el-Sheikh without peace than peace without Sharm el-Sheikh. Had his views prevailed Israel and Egypt would still be in a state of war. Today," the writers go on to infer, "Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu… is conveying an updated version of Dayan's credo - that he would rather have all of Jerusalem without peace than peace without all of Jerusalem."
The two writers naturally omitted the very facts which undermined their argument:
The remark Dayan tossed off in a different period did not prevent him from joining the government of Likud leader Menahem Begin in 1977 in order to undertake a secret mission in women's disguise to an Arab country to meet Egyptian president Anwar Sadat's secret envoy. He then delivered Begin's offer to return all the Egyptian land Israel captured after it was attacked by Egypt - in return for peace.
Sharm el-Sheikh in Sinai was naturally part of the offer - of which, incidentally, the Carter administration in which Brzezinksi starred knew nothing.
The Likud leader's peace initiative laid the foundation for Anwar Sadat's extraordinarily brave pilgrimage to Jerusalem, his speech to the Israeli Knesset, his private prayer for peace from the mosques of Israel-held Temple Mount and the first Arab peace accord with Israel.
Can Carter's former adviser Brzezinski or former congressman Solarz produce a single Arab ruler prepared to accept the current Likud prime minister's peace messengers and hear what they have to offer - much less meet him in Jerusalem or anywhere else in the world as he has proposed?
Yet both writers adopt wholesale the position advanced most vocally of late by Jordan's King Abdullah (whose reign depends heavily on Israeli protection) that Israel is the foremost enemy of peace in the region and must be squeezed harder for more concessions.
Palestinians turned down four previous Israeli offers of a state
Their projected peace plan has the effect of good advice to the Palestinians and their Arab patrons to sit tight and wait for President Obama to table his "framework for peace" at the UN Security Council as a mandatory resolution. This would force Israel's hand and then all their wishes wouldl drop in their laps without the need to face Israel in negotiations.
This proposition is gainsaid by another fact of life which both Brzezinski and Solarz choose to ignore and which every objective, informed Middle East observer knows:
The Palestinians - today as always before - are secretly opposed to the independent state on offer.
In the 33 years since the Begin-Dayan peace initiative, four Israeli leaders have offered the Palestinians the lion's share of the areas Israel captured from Jordan and Egypt in the 1967 war.
In 1993, Yitzhak Rabin signed the Oslo framework accords which permitted Yasser Arafat to end his exile in Tunisia and establish himself at the head of a ruling administration with military and intelligence branches on the West Bank and Gaza Strip. He had the kernel of a state which he used for nothing more than to develop terrorist attacks against Israel.
In 2000, Ehud Barak, then prime minister, sat opposite Arafat at Camp David and in the presence of US president Bill Clinton offer the Palestinian leader 100 percent of the Gaza Strip and 98 percent of the West Bank for permanent peace.
Arafat rejected the offer there and then and, two months later, in September, unleashed his suicide terror offensive against Israel.
In 2005, Ariel Sharon unilaterally pulled every last Israeli civilian and soldier our of the Gaza Strip and handed it over to the Palestinian Authority - only to have it fall a year later in June 2006 in a putsch staged by the Iranian-backed, extremist Hamas, exposing southwester Israel to a systematic missile offensive.
In 2007, Ehud Olmert offered Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) 94.4 percent of the West Bank for a Palestinian state. Abbas turned him down.
In the fourteen months since Binyamin Netanyahu has been prime minister, he has been consistently snubbed every time he proposed restarting peace talks, even after he reluctantly accepted the Obama principle of a two-state solution to the conflict. He even accepted proximity talks as an interim measure for getting negotiations going.
Abbas demanded that the 10-month settlement construction freeze on the West Bank be extended to Jerusalem and the US president backed him up on this proviso, preferring to pressure Israel to give in than the Palestinians to relent.
No need to talk: Obama will deliver
The result is that Israel faces an ultimatum - by Washington: give the Palestinians what they want, or forget about negotiations.
So why on earth do the Palestinians need to bother with diplomacy when the Obama administration is more than willing to fetch and carry for them? And if anyone is threatened with UN sanctions for intransigence, it is not the Palestinians, but Israel, because the world body can raise an automatic majority for condemning Israel at any time - especially if Obama as has been hinted withholds the US veto.
The Brzezinski-Solarz "peace plan" as published in the Washington Post is based on three principles:
First, compensation for, and the resettlement of, the Arab refugees in the Palestinian state but not in Israel.
Second, the genuine sharing of Jerusalem as the capital of each state and some international arrangement for the Old City.
Third, a territorial settlement based on the 1967 borders with mutual and equal adjustments to allow the incorporation of the largest West Bank settlements into Israel.
There is nothing new in these three principles, all of which have been accepted as bases for negotiations by all Israeli governments from the 1993 Oslo accords until the present day. Israel has always insisted, however, on maintaining control of its own security with defensible borders, a proviso guaranteed by the powers after 1967, which for obvious reasons the Palestinians have never accepted.
asks therefore: Why not go along with their all-or-nothing demands? Let us for the sake of argument accept the writers' claim (without solid proof) that the "Israeli occupation" harms US national interests and objectives in the region, and tell the Palestinians they are free to go ahead and establish their own state right away without further palaver with Israel.
Iran ignored as a menace
Every inch of the Gaza Strip - 100 percent - is already in Palestinian hands and more than 70 percent of the West Bank, so there is no reason for delaying statehood in the areas they already control. It would enjoy American support and Israel could be persuaded to offer guarantees against attacking the new state - unless of course it reverts to being a jumping off base for terrorists or turns itself into a forward military position for Iran, Hamas or Hizballah.
This reversal of the conventional agenda for Middle East diplomacy may prove to be a productive opener for fruitful negotiations. On the other hand, It might bring out the truth for the fifth time: According to debkafile
's most reliable informants, statehood on the basis of the pre-1967 lines is not what the Palestinians are after. Every Palestinian leader has spurned this solution and today, Abbas and prime minister Salam Fayad are carefully avoiding building the administration, economic and industrial rudiments of independent an independent state.
To find this out, Brzezinski and Solarz need go no further than former UK prime minister Tony Blair who spends time in Ramallah and is a frequent visitor to Washington as the Middle East Quartet's special envoy, charged with overseeing the creation of Palestinian organs of state.
In off-the-record conversations with US officials, including Barack Obama, Blair has complained that the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah is neither willing nor able to establish the infrastructure of independent statehood.
The Brzezinski-Solarz peace plan therefore rests on the flimsiest possible premises, is unsupported by any serious research into past or present factors. It appears to be designed to clothe Israel, rather than the Arab-backed Palestinians, in peace rejectionist garments, as a service to key elements of the Obama administration, such as his national security adviser James Jones.
In so doing, the two world-class strategists failed to notice the biggest peril looming largest over the Middle East and America's regional interests: Iran's pursuit of a nuclear bomb, its threat to wipe Israel off the map and its growing power to radicalize the Palestinians of Lebanon, Gaza and the West Bank.
If Israel bows to every single Palestinian demand, will the Iranians roll up their nuclear and hegemonic plans and give obeisance to Barack Obama?