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Saturday, January 31, 2009


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Friday, January 30, 2009

JINSA Report #853 "The Choice Is Ours"

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JINSA Report #853
January 30, 2009
"The Choice Is Ours"

"The choice is ours," is the loose translation in The Washington Post of a comment made in Baghdad before Saturday's vote. More than 15 million Iraqis will choose from 14,400 candidates on 400 lists for 440 seats on provincial councils. The Post story interviews several people ready to take possession of their fractious country (at least in 14 of 18 provinces) and notes that "elections have now won an enthusiastic if grudging fealty, emerging as a true arena for contest in which nearly every sect, ethnicity and tribe in the country has staked its future." Says one Baghdadi, "My sense and the sense of people I talk to is that if they don't vote, then they're responsible for a situation that stays bad."

What more could small-d democrats ask?

The Post, one of the most important newspapers in the United States, has finally acknowledged that in the secure space the U.S.-led surge has produced, the Iraqi people have agreed that voting beats killing. The story even acknowledges what promoters of democracy have always known, that in an open political system, alliances will change and coalitions will emerge. A Sunni politician said, "Everyone knows the political map will change, definitely. Everyone is waiting to see the results to rearrange their papers and to set up their alliances for the next elections."

It's a good thing didn't listen when Harry Reid said the war was lost. Or when then-candidate, now-President Obama said the surge had failed. Even now, The Post hedges - "In some ways, (elections) have revealed a landscape perhaps more precarious than the one the United States inherited in 2003." 

Certainly there remains in Iraq sectarian problems and elections are not a panacea - in fact, three Sunni candidates were assassinated this week, which probably shows the fear of those unwilling to present themselves to the public for a vote. But even at that, it is hard to imagine how freely contested elections make a country more precarious than Saddam's torture rooms, mass graves and the poison gas he used against the Kurds and the Shiite Marsh Arabs.  

Dictators definitely present the advantage of a single address for all issues, but that is an advantage that accrues only to outsiders, not to the people who have to live under them.  It is hard to imagine that Iraqis would trade their messy, fractious but free and competitive elections for a return to the terror of Saddam.

Slipping a look across Iraq's border to Iran, where a clique rather than a single person runs the dictatorship, one wonders how the Iranian people understand the burgeoning freedom of their neighbor next door. Or whether people ruled by Bashar Assad, Hosni Mubarak, Moammar Qaddafi or the corrupt cadres of Hamas, Hezbollah or Fatah wonder what it would take to produce clean, open, multiparty elections in their prisons.

We are reminded of the question put to Benjamin Franklin, "Well, Doctor, what have we got - a Republic or a Monarchy?" To which Dr. Franklin replied,  "A Republic, if you can keep it." The Iraqis will have to work hard to keep their new system, and they still need American support, but they have proven they can build a system to keep.

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Thursday, January 29, 2009

January 2008 JINSA Newsletter

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  January 2009
In This Issue
Israeli Operations in Gaza
JINSA Accuses Iran of Facilitating Hamas Rockets
Annual Award Dinner Photo Gallery
Neumann Op-Ed Appears in Chicago Tribune
JINSA Protests Anti-Semitism in Turkey
Bryen Appears on "Steel on Steel"

Save the Date March 26, 2009

JINSA will hold a one day conference entitled:

"Slipping Under the Radar:
Emerging Security Issues for the Obama Administration"

Click here to download the save the date card

  New LEEP Information Page with Video

Click here to visit the new LEEP information page
Analyses of Israeli Operations in Gaza

The first article discusses how operations in Gaza provide an opportunity to review Israeli doctrine in the West Bank and Lebanon as a means of assessing Israel's overall security operations.

Click here to read the article

In another article, JINSA discusses the concept of proportionality in international law and how it applies to Israel's retaliation to Hamas rocket attacks.

Click here to read the article

JINSA and Major Organizations Protest Anti-Semitism to Turkish PM

JINSA and four other major Jewish organizations sent a letter to the Prime Minister Erdogan on January 21, 2009 expressing concern over the current wave of anti-Semitic manifestations in Turkey.

Click here to read the letter

Op-Ed by JINSA Executive Director Tom Neumann Appears in the Chicago Tribune

In an op-ed in the Chicago Tribune on January 25, 2009, JINSA Executive Director Tom Neumann makes the case that anti-Israel attitudes do not fall into a pattern of normal political hostility of the type directed toward other countries.

Click here to read the op-ed

2008 Jackson Award/Grateful Nation Award Photo Gallery

Click here to view the gallery

JINSA Accuses Iran of Facilitating
Rocket Attacks

At the beginning of Operation Cast Lead, JINSA spoke out about Israel's retaliation after all other means were exhausted.

Click here to read the press release

Shoshana Bryen on the "Steel on Steel" Radio Program

Shoshana Bryen, JINSA's Senior Director of Security Policy, discussed Middle East policy under the Obama Administration on the weekly radio show "Steel on Steel." "Steel on Steel" is a news radio forum covering politics, religion and economics.

Click here the listen to the interviews

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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

ADL Terrorism Update - January 2009

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January 2009 
Renewed Terrorist Threats In response to Israel’s military action in Gaza to stop Hamas rockets from being fired at Israeli towns and cities, several terrorist groups and their supporters have increased their threats against Israel and Jews. The threats, which are coming from Hamas, Hezbollah, Al Qaeda, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine among others, exhort Muslims to target Israeli civilians, Jews all over the world, Israeli embassies and American forces in Afghanistan.

Related Materials

Lashkar-e-Taiba (LET), a Pakistani-based Islamic terrorist organization, has embraced a more global anti-Western ideology that considers the United States, Israel and India to be its primary enemies. LET has vowed that it will plant the “flag of Islam” in Washington, Tel Aviv and New Delhi.

Terrorist Attacks Database
Terrorism-Related Arrests And Convictions Database
Breaking News And In-Depth Features
For Domestic Terrorism See ADL's LEARN Web Site


Chicago Cousins Plead Guilty in Terrorism Case

Five Men Convicted of Conspiring to Attack in Fort Dix

Anti-Terrorism Judgment Upheld Against U.S. Charities

PFLP Calls for Takeover of Israeli Embassies

Qaradawi Incites Violence Against Jews and Israel

Zawahiri Calls for Attacks on Israeli and Western Targets

Al Qaeda Leader Calls for Attacks in the West

Jews and Westerners Targeted in Mumbai Terror Attacks

Landmark Anti-Terrorism Judgment Lauded

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JINSA Report #852 It Wasn't A War To "Win"

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JINSA Report #852
January 28, 2009
It Wasn't A War To "Win"

Spiegel online ran an article this week entitled "Gaza in Ruins: Who Has Won Here?" by Ulrike Putz. It was an excellent survey of the mess of lives, ideology and ruin among the Palestinians. But a journalist - or political envoy to the region, Sen. Mitchell - knows that asking the right questions is essential to understanding. And you have to understand that this wasn't a war to "win." 

The right question is, "What is a civilized country to do when terrorists hiding amidst their own people fire ever-increasing numbers of ever-increasingly long-range and precise rockets into your civilian towns and villages?" Or, "What is a civilized country to do when a terrorist organization backed by a large, wealthy revolutionary country (Iran) announces that it will no longer honor a ceasefire previously honored largely in the breach anyhow, and the terrorists announce they will increase the frequency and range of the rockets and then proceed to do so?" Because while Israel was not retaliating, Hamas was making increasing headway in targeting Israeli towns and infrastructure, one might ask, "How long should Israel put the safety of Palestinian civilians, not on a par with its own civilians, but ahead of its own?" And, in the end, one might ask, "How long could Israel ignore the evident unwillingness or inability of Egypt to prevent the smuggling of increasingly lethal weaponry into Gaza?"

Israel answered those questions with restraint, restraint and restraint, until it was no longer possible for the government to look at its citizens and say, "Keep taking rocket fire, because something on the political horizon might make it worth it in the long run." Nothing positive was coming, people were increasingly traumatized and, in the end, it was the right, the duty and the obligation of the Government of Israel to do what it could to stop it or mitigate its effects.

Not to "win the war." Not to "destroy Hamas." Not to create disaffection between the Palestinians and Hamas in hopes that they would arise and topple the dictatorship. Not to restore Fatah to Gaza. Not to play the large, geostrategic game. Not to bring "peace" or a "two-state solution." Just to lessen the shooting, degrade the arsenal, destroy as many tunnels as possible and kill off some of Hamas's leadership. Just to respond to the crying need of the people of the south of Israel. It is what civilized governments DO.

If Hamas or Fatah responded to its people, what would they do?

Would they listen to 60-year-old Abu Abed, who told Putz, "'I've changed my mind about Hamas. I can't support any party that wages a war that destroys our lives.' He is particularly pained by the fact that Hamas is still selling the cease-fire as a victory," when a corpse of a Hamas fighter still lies, unclaimed, in his house. Would they listen to his neighbor who said, "Many people are now against Hamas but that won't change anything, because anyone who stands up to them is killed."

We expect nothing from them. But we expected more from other countries that claim to be civilized (the United States public largely excepted) who are furious with Israel for not continuing to suffer in silence. How would they answer the real questions? How will George Mitchell answer them in the name of the United States and President Obama?

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JINSA Report #851 The Two-State Solution Has Failed

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JINSA Report #851
January 28, 2009
The Two-State Solution Has Failed

At its theoretical best, it was never two states for two people.  

It could have been four states - Jordan, the West Bank, Israel, and Gaza - for two-and-a-half-and-a-half people: Israelis in Israel; Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza, and Jordan; and the two halves being Arabs in Israel and Bedouins in Jordan. At its worst, it is two states - Jordan and Israel - with enclaves of irredentist Palestinians supported by Iran, Syria, Venezuela and Cuba eating at their sides. And always, there are hundreds of thousands of original refugees and their descendants festering in third countries - Lebanon, Syria and Egypt - unable to go where they want, and unwilling to go where they can.

At their theoretical best, the Palestinians could have taken up President Bush's conditions for American political support of their independence:

Peace requires a new and different Palestinian leadership, so that a Palestinian state can be born. I call on the Palestinian people to elect new leaders, leaders not compromised by terror. I call upon them to build a practicing democracy based on tolerance and liberty. If the Palestinian people actively pursue these goals, America and the world will actively support their efforts.

That was very theoretical - lyrical, but theoretical. The old, terrorist-dominated Palestinian leadership wasn't interested in ceding authority to young technocrats, or interested in tolerance of either Jews or independent-minded Palestinians. It wasn't interested in liberty or practicing anything. Each gift or concession Fatah and Hamas received from Israel or the international community was turned to the furtherance of violence and the veneration of death and destruction.  

Cry for Palestinian children, but remember the photos on the Hamas website (now removed) of beautiful children in uniforms, pretending to be suicide bombers, marching with guns to the approval of adult men. Search the Internet for the New York Times story of August 3, 2000 by John Burns, "Palestinian Summer Camp Offers the Games of War," alerting us that even before the so-called "second intifada" that Fatah was teaching its children that death was their destiny."  

Cry for the Palestinian economy, but remember the greenhouses - purchased on September 3, 2005 from settlers in Gush Katif for $14 million private Western dollars; employing 4,000 Palestinians; exporting $75 million worth of fruits, vegetables and flowers annually and destroyed on September 13, 2005.  

Remember, too the Palestinian civil war that bifurcated leadership roughly, but not completely, along territorial lines. All the king's horses and all the king's men couldn't bring Fatah leadership back to Gaza, even if we wanted to do it. And why should we?

Our new President has told us to put away childish things. One would be the idea that Palestinian nationalism ever saw its expression in two rump states straddling a strong, viable, democratic State of Israel partnered with a modern, forward-looking king in Jordan. Once we put that behind us, Israel will be more secure and the Palestinians may finally begin to look for a way out of the swamp.  If they do, we should help them; if they don't...

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

JINSA Report #850 "Palestinian Support for Hamas Has Not Declined" Part II

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JINSA Report #850
January 27, 2009
"Palestinian Support for Hamas Has Not Declined" Part II

If "support" for Hamas is in part fear of Hamas - as it is of every dictatorship - and if "support" for Hamas is support for an ideology organized and operated by people who commit war crimes*, how much should the world care if Palestinians say they "support" Hamas? How much did the Allies care about German public support for National Socialism? Or the Japanese who insisted that the Emperor was a deity and their duty was to die for him? How much do the Marines care about public support for al Qaeda in Iraq, or for the Taliban in Afghanistan?

We didn't and we don't.

To the extent that it is fear, they need to be rescued. To the extent they actually support Hamas and Fatah - which are strategically no different; both require that Israel and Jordan be replaced by a Palestinian State in which Jews may or may not be tolerated - they cannot be permitted to succeed. There are ideologies that are unacceptable, movements that cannot be given legitimacy, and governments that fail.  

Admittedly, the world is having a tough time with the principle, not only regarding the Palestinians. In Sudan, the government is abetting if not conducting genocide in Darfur.  In Zimbabwe, the government has caused epidemics and starvation among its people. In Iran, the government calls for genocide against Israel and builds nuclear weapons. In the old Iraq, the Saddam government gassed its own people and launched missiles at the civilians of Tehran, but those who never called for his prosecution want trials for us.  

International opinion has been extraordinarily tolerant of the depredations by Palestinians, including against their own their children, but rejects Israel's defense against it. Are they afraid of Hamas, or do they support its aims? Only here in the United States has opinion strongly supported Israel. But it remains to be seen how the new administration will address the issue. Recalling the previously unsuccessful George Mitchell as an envoy does not bode well for facing the truth and moving forward.

The truth is that the Palestinian experiment in self-government has utterly, abjectly and possibly irrevocably failed - not for lack of financial or political support from the world, including Israel, but because the Palestinians never agreed to the conditions that accompany civilized independence, including a decent respect for the neighbors. The result is ever-increasing radicalization and impoverishment of the Palestinian people by two Palestinian governments at war with one another and with Israel.  

If the United States is to help the Palestinians out of the morass of their failed leadership and help Israel achieve the recognition and security to which it is entitled, it matters little what the Palestinians say they want. It matters greatly that we accept that the reality that neither Hamas nor Fatah will bring peace to its people or recognition to Israel.

*Firing at civilians, hiding among civilians, training child soldiers and executing prisoners are all violations of the Geneva Convention.

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