Sunday, September 30, 2007

U.S. and Iraqi Troops Strike at Al-Qaida; While Joe Biden and the Democratic U.S. Senate Shoot at Their Backs

Even as U.S. and Iraqi troops struck tremendous blows against Al-Qaida terrorists and other insurgents in battles over the weekend, they had to watch their rear for potshots from Delaware Senator, and Democratic Presidential candidate, Joe Biden (pictured left) and the Democratic majority in the U.S. Senate.

AP reports that in various operations, U.S. and Iraqi forces killed some 60 Al-Qaida Iraq fighters, and took over 70 others prisoner. In addition, the U.S. military conducted a raid that nabbed 15 "rogue members of a Mahdi Army militia," which was being armed and trained to fight U.S. forces by the Iranian Islamic regime. [This is the same regime whose head, Mahmoud Ahmanedijad, was an invited guest of Columbia University this past week.]

"Coalition forces have dealt significant blows to Al-Qaida Iraq in recent months, including the recent killing of the Tunisian head of the foreign fighter network in Iraq and the blows struck in the past 24 hours," military spokesman Col. Steven Boylan told The Associated Press.

However, even as the U.S. troops and their Iraqi allies prevailed in battle with Al Qaida and Iranian-sponsored insurgents, they had to watch their backs for snipers from the Democratic-controlled U.S. Senate. The Senate, let by Delaware Senator Joe Biden, passed a non-binding resolution calling for the sectioning of Iraq into three sectarian or ethnic territories, Kurd, Sunni and Shia. The resolution was sharply criticized by representatives of major poltical parties in both the Sunni and Shiite camps. The U.S. Embassy, in an unusual rebuke, said that the resolution would seriously hamper Iraq's future stability.

Way to go, Joe! That's responsibly promoting your Presidential ambitions.

Ahmadinejad's Holocaust Myths

Harvard Law School Professor Alan Dershowitz, blogging at the Jerusalem Post's site, notes that Iranian President Mahmood Ahmadinejad promoted two big lies about the Holocaust during his appearances at Columbia University and at the United Nations:
"The first every reasonable [person] knows is a total lie: namely that the Holocaust did not occur. The second myth, however, is one that escapes critical attention for the most part, because many people are not aware of its falsity. The myth is that the Palestinian people and their leadership had absolutely nothing to do with the Holocaust."

Professor Dershowitz recounts how the viciously anti-Semitic leader of the Palestinian Arab community from 1921 through 1948, Grand Mufti Haj Mohammed Amin al-Husseini, actively supported Hitler's Third Reich during the Second World War:

The Palestinians and their Arab allies were anything but neutral about the fate of European Jewry. The official leader of the Palestinians, Haj Amin al-Husseini, spent the war years in Berlin with Hitler, serving as a consultant on the Jewish question. He was taken on a tour of Auschwitz by Himmler and expressed support for the mass murder of European Jews. He also sought to “solve the problems of the Jewish element in Palestine and other Arab countries” by employing “the same method” being used “in the Axis countries.’ He would not be satisfied with the Jewish residents of Palestine - - many of whom were descendants of Sephardic Jews who had lived there for hundreds, even thousands, of years - - remaining as a minority in a Muslim state. Like Hitler, he wanted to be rid of “every last Jew.” As Husseini wrote in his memoirs:

“Our fundamental condition for cooperating with Germany was a free hand to eradicate every last Jew from Palestine and the Arab world. I asked Hitler for an explicit undertaking to allow us to solve the Jewish problem in a manner befitting our national and racial aspirations and according to the scientific methods innovated by Germany in the handling of its Jews. The answer I got was: “The Jews are yours.”

Beginning in the early 1920's, it was the Grand Mufti who fomented Arab riots and pogroms targeting centuries-old Jewish communities in the Old City of Jeusalem and Hebron. Jews were driven from their homes and businesses in what is now referred to by the Los Angeles Times and its ilk as "traditionally Arab East Jerusalem." In Hebron, defenseless yeshiva students and their families at the Hebron Yeshiva were slaughtered, and the British forcibly deported the survivors for their protection. These were Jewish communties that had lived peaceably along side their Arab neighbors for hundreds of years.

As also noted by Professor Dershowitz, the link between Palestinian Arabs and Nazism did not end with the fall of the Third Reich. The next chapter of the Grand Mufti's career was covered by this blog in an August 16, 2006 post, entitled "'Islamic Fascists?' Call them 'Islamic Nazis'". As recounted there:
After Germany's defeat, the Mufti was inexplicably allowed to flee to Cairo, where he continue his anti-Jewish activities. You know his nephew and philosphical heir, Mohammed Abdel-Raouf Arafat As Qudwa al-Hussaeini, by his nomme de guerre, Yasser Arafat, may his name be erased. One may follow the thread of his Islamic Nazism directly to Hezbollah, Hamas and Ahmadinejad today.

Professor Dershowitz provides further historical detail:
"In 1948, the National Palestinian Council elected Husseini as its president, even though he was still a wanted war criminal living in exile in Egypt. Indeed, Husseini is still revered today among many Palestinians as a national hero. Yasser Arafat, in an interview conducted in 2002 and reprinted in the Palestinian daily Al-Quds on August 2, 2002, the chairman calls Haj Amin al-Husseini 'our hero,' referring to the Palestinian people. Arafat also boasted of being 'one of his troops,' even though he knew he was 'considered an ally of Nazis.'"

I was first exposed to neo-Nazi propaganda about the Holocaust as a high school student in Phoenix, Arizona. Even then, I noticed that such "literature" presented two mutually contradictory themes, which I summarized in the following slogan: "The Holocaust is a myth, and we should have allowed Hitler to finish the job." Forty years later, the Islamic neo-Natzis of our time are still touting the same slogan, only now they get to do it from lecterns at Columbia University and the United Nations.

Monday, September 24, 2007

So Just What Happened in Syria?

Dry Bones explains how to ferret out the truth:

Syrian denials, and North Korean indignation. Listeners to Hugh Hewitt may have hear Yoni Tidi disclose today that Israeli commandos, disguised as Syrian soldiers, seized some fissionable materials from the secret Syrian installation, which Israeli scientists established were of North Korean origin. Samples were sent to the U.S., which confirmed the provenance of the materials, and gave the go-ahead for the Israeli air strike.

One suspects that North Korea, having agreed in multi-lateral negotiations, out of economic desperation, to dismantle its nuclear weapons program, but as always desperate for cash, negotiated a deal with the Syrian regime to sell Syria its stockpile of fissionable uranium and equipment for weapons facilities. One further suspects that Iran bankrolled the transaction, hoping to thereby boost its own nuclear weapons program.

Harry Potter and the Four Species

Excerpt from J.K. Rowling's long-lost manuscript for Harry Potter No. 5.5, "Harry Potter and the Four Species":

"You know, Harry," Reb Dumbledore intoned, "it is not the Jew who selects the ethrog; it is the ethrog that selects the Jew."

Quarry for the Temple Mount's Giant Stones Discovered

Speaking of the Temple (see the previous post), the Israeli Antiquities Authority today announced the discovery of the quarry site for the giant stones that formed the retaining walls for the Temple Mount. Those stones can be seen to this day in what is known as the Western Wall (photo left). As reported here by Israel National News, the quarry is located in what is now one of Jerusalem's newest neighborhoods, Ramat Shlomo (also known as Reches Shuafat), between Ramot and French Hill. The quarry was found in the course of an archaeological rescue dig prior to the construction of a neighborhood school. Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupoliansky has ordered a halt to the school-building plans, budgeting 350,000 shekels ($86,500) for the archaeological work.

This is in marked contrast to the behavior of the Muslim Waqf on the top of the Temple Mount, where the digging of a five-foot deep, lengthy trench for electrical cables appears to have encountered the remnants of an ancient wall, possibly a wall of the Temple itself. Nonetheless, the excavation, using heavy equipment, is proceeding ahead in total disregard of the destruction of an important archaelogical find, and in blatant violation of Israeli law. The Muslim Waqf refuses to halt the destructuion, because it denies that the Jewish Temple ever existed on the Temple Mount. The Israeli government refuses to intervene, for fear of Muslim reaction, and the world is silent. [See "Druse Policeman Assaulted Trying to Stop Illegal Excavations on the Temple Mount," The Hedgehog Blog, August 29, 2007.]

Sukkot: The Time of Our Rejoicing

Sukkot, the feast of booths, is my favorite Jewish festival. Most observant Jews I know would probably agree. In our prayers, Sukkot is described as "zman simchateinu," the time of our rejoicing. It is an 8-day festival filled with rejoicing over the gifts that God has given us--a time of pure joy.

The Biblical commandments (Lev. 23: 39-43) associated with Sukkot include dwelling for 7 days in a sukkah, a temporary structure with a roof of schach, plant materials such as palm fronds, branches or bamboo, to remind us at the time of ingathering of the harvest that our livelihoods and security do not come from our own efforts and the solid roofs on our homes, but rather from God alone. Weather permitting, we eat all of our meals in the sukkah, and many people sleep there as well, in effect making their sukkot their regular dwellings and their homes their temporary ones.

The other major Biblically-based commandment is the waving of the four species, the ethrog (citron), the luvav (palm branch), the hadassah (myrtle branches) and the aravot (willow branches).

In Temple times, Sukkot was one of the three pilgrimage festivals, celebrated by the entire nation of Israel going up to the Temple in Jerusalem. Today, in the miracle of reborn Jerusalem, although the Temple has not been rebuilt, there is no more exciting place to be for Sukkot than Jerusalem. As the festival approaches--it begins this Wednesday evening at sundown--the people of Jerusalem are caught up in a frenzy of preparation, building their sukkot, shopping for the four species, and emptying the stores for their holiday feasts. This photo essay by Ezra HaLevi of Israel National News captures a little of the excitement of Jerusalem as Sukkot approaches.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Dry Bones Marks the Return to Television News of You Know Who ...

Mitt Wins Michigan Poll, But Is He Winning the War?

Real Clear Politics reports, "Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney came out on top this weekend at the biggest gathering of Michigan Republicans before their January 15th primary. At the Michigan Republican Leadership Conference, Romney, whose father served as governor of the Wolverine State, took 39% in a straw poll sponsored by The Hotline."

The full results, as reported by RCP:

Romney 39% (383 votes)
McCain 27 (260)
Paul 11 (106)
Giulaini 11 (104)
Thompson 7 (70)
Huckabee 3 (25)
Hunter 1 (12)
Brownback >1 (3)
Tancredo 0 (0)
Uncommitted 2 (16)

Yes, it's just a straw poll, and yes, the late George Romney was a Governor of Michigan; so, yes, the spinners will have a field day down playing another win for Mitt Romney. So long as he keeps on winning, things should turn out just fine.

However, John Hinderaker at Powerline doesn't think so. He explores why Mitt has not caught on nationally with Republicans, and, as near as I could divine, decides that Mitt lacks "charisma thing," to quote former President George H.W. Bush.

Hugh Hewitt responds to Mr. Hinderaker here. It is a typically astute Hewitt analysis. Here are the money quotes:

John did note Romney's leads in Iowa, New Hampshire and Michigan, which is to me the complete answer to John's question --Romney is doing "better" because his plan is rolling out as he had hoped: Romney is betting the campaign on the idea that demonstrated success in consecutive actual votes as opposed to polling will catapult him past Rudy Giuliani and Fred Thompson. (Senator McCain is simply not a factor except as a spoiler, probably for Rudy more than anyone else since Senator McCain's primary appeal is his absolute firmness on pursuing victory in the war.)

So Romney's entire strategy depends upon the early contests. Mayor Giuliani's strategy depends upon surviving weak showings where campaigns have actually been run and concluded and winning in the big states beginning in Florida, but especially New York and California where his general reputation currently overwhelms the campaign efforts of Governor Romney and the star power of Senator Thompson.

The key measures of the effectiveness of the candidates how they are doing in their central challenges: Is Romney establishing the leads he needs in the early contests, and are eith Giuliani or Thompson holding on to their leads in the big, later states. John frets that Romney doesn't seem to be doing well in the national polls when he isn't focusing on the national polls. The key question ought to be is Giuliani or Thompson holding on to or building upon their leads in the big states?

Romney has in fact built the leads in the early states that he needs, and will spend the next three months defending them. He's doing exactly what he set out to do.

But the latest numbers out of California suggest trouble for the Giuliani/Thompson strategy.

It's an interesting time to be a Republican. Fun, even. I just hope we are still having fun in on election night November 2008.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

In Which I Continue (Doggedly) To Espouse A Position That Is Anathema To Many Republicans

This Washingon Post piece by Michael Gerson is right on target. Here's a taste, referring to the current crop of GOP presidential candidates:
One gets the impression of decent men, intimidated by the vocal anger of elements of their own party.
How true. Polls continue to show most Americans (and most Republicans) would be willing to allow a path to citizenship for the illegals now in the USA. That position is so unacceptable to a vocal but activist minority among Republicans, however, that no candidate who really is serious about winning the nomination dares take it.

Or this:

That anger is pushing Republicans into some powerful symbols of indifference to Hispanic voters. The Univision Republican debate, scheduled for last Sunday with simultaneous translation into Spanish, was postponed when only Sen. John McCain agreed to show up. Rep. Tom Tancredo objected to the event on principle: "We should not be doing things that encourage people to stay separate in a separate language" -- which raises the question: Is saying "Viva Cuba Libre" no longer permissible for Republicans? And this snub came on the heels of conspicuous Republican absence at a forum held by the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials, and at the National Council of La Raza convention.

It is a strange spectacle. Conservatives are intent on building a more appealing, post-Bush Republican Party. But their most obvious change so far is to reverse remarkable Republican gains among one of the fastest-growing groups of American voters. The renovators seem more like the wrecking crew.

And here's one more:
Latino support for GOP candidates dropped back to 30 percent in 2006. According to one poll, Latinos under age 30 now prefer a generic Democrat over a Republican for president by 42 points. A harsh, Tancredo-like image of Republicans has solidified in the mainstream Hispanic media. And all of this regression will be even more obvious in the next few months, because more than half of the Hispanic voters in America live in states that are part of the new lineup of early primaries.

I have never seen an issue where the short-term interests of Republican presidential candidates in the primaries were more starkly at odds with the long-term interests of the party itself. At least five swing states that Bush carried in 2004 are rich in Hispanic voters -- Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, Colorado and Florida. Bush won Nevada by just over 20,000 votes. A substantial shift of Hispanic voters toward the Democrats in these states could make the national political map unwinnable for Republicans.


Read the whole thing. If you disagree with Gerson and with me, his piece might make you seethe. But I hope it will also make you think.

Iran Promises "Final Response" to US and Israel on October 12

Israel National News/Arutz 7 reports:
Iran has promised a devastating “final response” to supporters of the Jewish State on October 12, the Islamic Republic’s Quds (Jerusalem) Day.

“Supporters of the Zionist regime will receive their response during the world Quds Day's rallies,” Iranian government spokesman Gholam-Hossein Elham said at a weekly press conference Wednesday.

According to the state-controlled Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), Elham was describing Iran's planned response for US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's visit “to the occupied Palestine [sic].”

"The US loses all opportunities to cooperate with regional and other world states by trying to support a regime (the Zionist regime) which is now at its weakest political and social position," Elham said. "Supporters of the Zionist regime will definitely receive the final response for their support on Quds day."

Quds Day is held each year on the last Friday of the Islamic month of Ramadan. It was instituted in 1979, following the Islamic revolution by Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini.

Monday, September 17, 2007

DRY BONES Asks "What Happened?"

It has been two long since The Hedgehog Blog featured a Dry Bones cartoon. Today, Kirschen gives his take on the speculation regarding last week's Israeli airstrike in Syria.

Recognizing the Axis of Evil

On January 29, 2002, in his State of the Union address, President George W. Bush famously identified North Korea, Iraq and Iran as members of an "axis of evil." President Bush said, "States like these, and their terrorist allies, constitute an axis of evil, arming to threaten the peace of the world."

At the time some of the President's critics challenged his description of North Korea, Iraq and Iran, on the grounds that those nations were not allied with one another, and indeed, in the case of Iraq and Iran, were enemies. However, according to Caroline Glick, writing in the Jerusalem Post, that criticism is incorrect, as demonstrated by the Israeli air force strike into Syria last week that, according to the Sunday Times, destroyed a North Korean-supplied and Iranian-financed nuclear weapons facility. (Of course, Iraq is no longer a charter member of the axis of evil, thanks to the allied armed forces that overthrew his regime. "Baby Assad" of Syria now wears the mantle of his late and unlamented fellow Baathist dictator.) Ms. Glick writes:
What the raid exposed is that the free world faces a cohesive alliance of enemy forces that collaborate closely in their joint and separate offensives against their common foes. Whether or not it is called the axis of evil, after the IAF raid it is undeniable that its members - North Korea, Iran and Syria - collaborate closely in their joint war.

I can already anticipate the response of Bush haters and critics of the Iraq War: The cooperation of Syria, Iran and North Korea is the product of the U.S. invasion of Iraq and the overthrow of the Saddam Hussein regime. Not so, as Ms. Glick explains:
Contrary to the prevailing wisdom, this is not a temporary alliance of convenience among three otherwise unrelated states. It is a strategic alignment of three regimes that have been acting in tandem on multiple levels for decades. Their collaborative operations have served two primary functions. First they cooperate in perpetuating their holds on power. This they do primarily through criminal enterprises. Second, they work together to wage war against their common foes. The second objective is advanced primarily through the proliferation of ballistic missiles and weapons of mass destruction.

Furthermore, all three regimes view diplomatic exchanges with their enemies not as a means to solve their disagreements with them, but as a means to gain advantage by forcing US, Israeli and international concessions that legitimize their regimes and enable them to continue to conduct their war.

TIES BETWEEN the countries have been developing since the 1980s. That cooperation blossomed into a full-scale alliance during the 1990s. This is notable because the 1990s marked the period when both US and Israeli foreign policies centered on repeated attempts to appease all three governments.

This is an important column. Please give it the attention it deserves. One only hopes that it is read by a Democrat or two.

Palestinian Authority Celebrates 9-11 Anniversary With Pro Bin Laden Cartoon

We all had our ways of observing the sixth anniversary of the 9-11 attack. The Palestinian Authority, under the authority of the "moderate" Mahmoud Abbas, observed the anniversary by publishing a cartoon extolling Osama Bin Laden. As reported by Palestinian Media Watch:

The Palestinian Authority continues a long tradition of celebrating the 2001 World Trade Center terror attacks by publishing cartoons in its official daily that glorify Osama Bin Laden and the attacks, or mock the suffering of the U.S. This year's cartoon shows Bin Laden smiling while making the “V” for victory sign with two fingers in the shape of the burning Twin Towers. The PA daily that published the cartoon, Al Hayat Al Jadida, is owned by the PA and controlled by the office of Mahmoud Abbas. The only text on this cartoon is "Exclusive to Al Hayat Al Jadida," which means it was prepared specifically for the official Palestinian Authority daily.

For examples of how the Palestinian Authority has lauded Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda, and celebrated the attacks on our country, in the past, please read the entire bulletin from Palestinian Media Watch. Readers should keep in mind that we are not dealing here with a free and unfettered press, but rather a daily newspaper owned and controlled by the Palestinian Authority; the very organization with which Ehud Olmert, urged on by the Bush Administration, currently is negotiating wide-ranging territorial concesions in Yehuda, Shomron and Jerusalem, which would put Israel's entire population within easy rocket and mortar range, and expose every flight leaving Israel's Lod International Airport to the threat of surface-to-air missiles.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Sunday Times: Israeli Raid on Syria Destroyed North Korean Nuclear Equipment

The Sunday Times reports that last week's Israeli air strike in Syria destroyed a shipment of North Korean nuclear equipment. If so, kudos not only to the Israeli Air Force, but to Defense Minister Ehud Barak.

However, neither the Israelis, nor the Syrians are talking for the record. Previously CNN reported that this same raid had targeted weapons shipments from Iran, as noted here by The Hedgehog Blog. Evidence for that version of the raid's target may be found in the fact that, according to the Sunday Times story, this weekend President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran sent Ali Akbar Mehrabian, his nephew, to Syria to assess the damage.

Whatever the true target, as the Sunday Times article concludes, "The new 'axis of evil' may have lost one of its spokes."

Friday, September 14, 2007

Worth Watching - Rudy's Ad About Hillary and Gen. Petraeus

This ad appears on Rudy Giuliani's web site:

I suspect that during the campaign we'll see a lot of the footage of Mrs. Clinton announcing "with conviction" her support for the invasion of Iraq.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Fred Thompson Supporters: Say "Ouch!"

If I were a Thompson supporter, I'd be very unhappy about George Will's devastating column today. The smart ones will be worried; the "Fred is our salvation and can do no wrong" group will simply be angry. Excerpt:
Sean Hannity, who is no Torquemada conducting inquisitions of conservatives, asked Thompson: "When you look at the other current crop of candidates -- Republicans -- where is the distinction between your positions and what you view as theirs?" Thompson replied: "Well, to tell you the truth, I haven't spent a whole lot of time going into the details of their positions."
Wow. Laid-back is one thing; downright dumb is another. And however you look at Thompson's statement, it is just a dumb thing to say on national TV.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Most of you have seen this already . . .

but it's good to keep it in mind.

You can see the full-size version here.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Vietnam Syndrome Back With a Vengeance

It's back, writes Norman Podheretz in today's Opinion Journal, or perhaps it never left us. When Lowell, the Hedgehog, started this blog, not long after September 11, 2001 began the misnamed War on Terror (it is actually the War against Islamism), he presciently posted the "Thought for the Year," a quote from North Vietnamese General Vo Nguyen Giap, in a 1990 interview with historian Stanley Karnow that has appeared ever since in the left-hand margin of this blog. Read it again now, in light of the Congressional Democrats performance during the testimony of General Petraeus, and ask yourself if anything has changed.

Breaking News: CNN Overflight of Syria by Israeli Jets Was Raid on Iranian Arms Depot

Last week the news was filled with Syrian charges of overflights by Israeli planes that had "dropped munitions" on its territory. Later, fuel tanks apparently jettisoned by the planes were found on the Syrian-Turkish border, triggering a diplomatic protest by Syria. Israel remained silent, refusing to acknowledge the overflights.

We may now know the reason why. CNN reports that the overflight of Syria by Israeli Air Force planes last week actually was part of a raid, involving both air and ground forces, that may have targeted Iranian arms shipments intended for Hezbollah. The ground forces were spotters, who directed the airstrikes by Israeli fighter bombers that "left a big hole" in the Syrian desert.

Reportedly, the United States was very pleased with the Israeli raid. A look at a map accompanying a story about the raid in the Jerusalem Post [see below] shows why. The target site of the raid was close to the Syrian-Iraqi border. Some of the Iranian weapons destroyed by Israel might have found their way arms, had they not been destroyed by Israel, probably would have been used against U.S. troops in Iraq and their allies.

It also appears that Saudi Arabia may not be too upset, although it certainly will issue a public condemnation. Relations between Syria and Saudi Arabia have been strained, and the same CNN article that reports the raid also reports the cancellation of a trip by the Syrian foreign minister to Saudi Arabia.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Kassam Missile Hits Israeli Army Base; 25-30 Wounded

Ynet reports that a Kassam missile launched from Gaza hit the Zikkim army base in the Western Negev, a mile north of Gaza, early Tuesday morning Israel time. Reports indicate that some 25 Israeli soldiers were wounded. This is the largest number of casualties in a Kassam rocket attack to date.

With Kassam missiles launched at Sderot, Ashkelon and the Negeve area daily, it was only a matter of time before the terrorists got lucky. While the Olmert government has succeeded until now in ignoring the plight of the relatively poor and politically powerless community of Sderot, this last incidient may compel Israel to take strong military action against northern Gaza.

9/11/2007 Update: Regrettably, the toll of the Kassam hit was higher than we reported yesterday. The Jerusalem Post today states that 69 Israeli soliders were wounded, included 1 critically and three seriously. This shows the potential danger of the crude home-made rockets, thousands of which have fallen on the Israeli town of Sderot.

A Hamas spokesman called the attack "a victory from God." For that blasphemy alone, Israel should retaliate.

Sunday, September 09, 2007


Although the report is denied by the Israel Defense Forces, Hamas and Israeli news agencies are reporting that Israeli commandos, disguised as local Arabs, arrested Muhawesh al-Kadinear a mile inside Gaza, near the Rafiah Crossing, Friday night. Al-Kadinear is the senior Hamas terrorist responsible for the kidnapping of IDF Cpl. Gilad Shalit in a cross-border raid last summer. As reported by Israel National News:
Palestinian Authority sources said the undercover soldiers were riding a donkey-pulled wagon carting groceries and even conversed with local Arabs before carrying out the arrest. Al-Kadi was working on a tract of land near his house at the time.

According to Hamas, the IDF men wore Hamas Executive Force uniforms and drove a Subaru. Hamas members first believed al-Kadi had been apprehended by Fatah members, following clashes between the two terrorist groups Friday. They said they were planning on launching a reprisal against Fatah when they learned that those who apprehended the Hamas man fled toward the border with Israel and were escorted by IAF helicopters.

Why Don't They Criticize the Petro-Dollar Lobby?

Writing in the Wall Street Journal online, Jeff Robbins notes how former President Carter; and Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer, the authors of The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy; "have managed something of a feat: They express no concerns about the massive pro-Arab effort, funded in significant measure by foreign oil money, taking American Jews to task for participating in the American political process; meanwhile, they inoculate themselves against charges of anti-Jewish bias by pre-emptively predicting that 'the Jewish lobby' will accuse them of it."

"Messrs. Walt and Mearsheimer, in particular, have been heralded by Israel's critics for their "courage" in attacking American Jews, who have allegedly "strangled" criticism of Israel. Their case seems one part laughable, and one part eyebrow-raising."

Robbins, the former president of the Boston chapter of the World Affairs Council, a national organization that debates foreign policy, describes his own experience with the Saudi-funded anti-Israel lobby, and its backers in the American oil and defense industries. He then writes:

If the charge that American Jews are able to stifle criticism of Israel is simply silly, the leveling of the charge that there is something nefarious about Jews urging support for the Jewish state raises questions about whether Messrs. Walt and Mearsheimer have descended into a certain ugliness. And the tactic of trying to neutralize those questions by loudly predicting that they will be asked, however clever a tactic it may be, does not neutralize them.

It is apparently the authors' position that, even in the face of the overwhelming leverage of an Arab world swimming in petrodollars, with a lock on the U.N. and an unlimited ability to pay for pro-Arab public relations, American Jews are obliged to stay silent. In essence, Messrs. Walt and Mearsheimer have repackaged the "the-Jews-run-the-country" stuff which has long been the bread and butter of anti-Semites. ...

But if anti-Semitism is too harsh a term, and if the word "bigoted" is also taken off the table, perhaps one can be forgiven for concluding that "anti-Jewish bias" fits the bill here. After all, where there is nothing wrong with foreign money from Arab countries advancing a pro-Arab agenda in Messrs. Walt's and Mearsheimer's world--but there is something very wrong with American citizens who are Jewish exercising their civic right to speak out on behalf of Israel and taking issue with the pro-Arab agenda--even the most vehement disclaimers of any bias against Jews lack a certain credibility.

The potency of the Middle East-funded anti-Israel lobby around the world and in the U.S. is difficult to ignore. Yet, Messrs. Walt and Mearsheimer and others who adhere to an anti-Israel line ignore it. In and of itself, this is not surprising. When at the same time they portray American Jews' efforts to make the case for Israel as morally suspect, however, they open themselves up to reasonable charges of something far more troublesome than mere hypocrisy, and that is anti-Jewish bias, by whatever name.

Please read the entire column. One would only add that the "Jewish episode" of the recent CNN "documentary" God's Warriors (which featured the expert commentary of Carter, Walt and Mearsheimer) managed to take the Carter-Walt-Mearsheimer thesis one venal step further, equating the thoroughly secular AIPAC, the American Israel Political Action Committee, with Islamist suicide bombers and Christiam abortion clinic bombers.

Israel Thwarts a Series of Terror Attacks, One from the "Moderate" Fatah; LA Times Silent; Olmert and Abbas Plot More Land Concessions

Thursday afternoon Israeli Air Force (IAF) fighters launched missiles at two vehicles speeding toward an Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) outpost at the Kissufim border crossing between Israel and Gaza. A series of huge secondary explosions after the missiles hit their targets indicated that the vehicles carried hundreds of kilograms of explosives. As reported by Israel National News/Arutz 7, the IAF was on alert following intelligence reports of an impending attack procured by the General Security Services. The terrorist vehicles were some 300 meters away from the IDF outpost when they were intercepted.

Two terrorists were killed outright by the missiles, two more were killed by machine gun fire from the attacking jets, and Golani Division troops, who entered Gaza to mop up, engaged in a fire fight with two surviving terrorists and killed them. Arab sources claimed one attacker escaped. Col. Shlomi Dahan said that the six Palestinians killed were carrying machine guns, grenades and some of them even suicide bomb belts. "This was an attack with the goal of kidnapping a soldier," Dahan said. He also speculated that an attack on nearby Kibbutz Kissufim may have been an objective of the terrorists.

The Al-Quds Brigades (Islamic Jihad) and the Al-Aksa Brigades (Fatah) took credit for the attack, announcing afterwards that the objective was to carry out an attack in the IDF outpost. Fatah, is headed by PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, who has been meeting recently with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and the Quartet's Special Envoy Tony Blair ahead of an upcoming Middle East summit to be convened by the United States. Olmert continues to take steps to "strengthen" Fatah against its rival for power in the PA, Hamas.

The foiled attack at the Kissufim crossing was one of four Palestinian attacks on Israel launched within a 24-hour period on Thursday. I am shocked, shocked to inform Hedgehog readers that the Los Angeles Times carried no news coverage regarding any of the attacks, perhaps because it would have been difficult to spin them into an anti-Israeli story.

Then today (Sunday), as reported here by the Jerusalem Post, IDF soldiers at the Beit Iba checkpoint, near Nablus (the Biblical city of Shechem), intercepted a teenage boy trying smuggle three pipe bombs into across the "green line," apparently intended for a terrorist attack in Tel Aviv. The Beit Iba checkpoint is one of the roadblocks for which the U.S. State Department, former President Carter, the L.A. Times, Peace Now and their ilk are always criticizing Israel, because they create hardship for the Palestinians. I await their analysis regarding the hardship that the three pipe bombs might have caused in Tel Aviv.

IDF sources said all terror organizations active in the so-called "West Bank" (Yehuda and Shomron - Hamas, Fatah, Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) - were plotting to carry out terror attacks in Israel and were sometimes cooperating with each other. Note that these terrorist activities do not orignate from Hamas-ruled Gaza, but rather from the territories governed by PA President and Fatah Chaiman Mahmoud Abbas. The policy of publicly seeking negotiations and Israeli concessions while privately tolerating, if not actively fomenting. terror attacks was precisely the tactic pursued by the late Yassir Arafat (may his name be erased) in the years following the Oslo Accords. It has characterized the entire history of the so-called "peace process." Secretary of State Rice and Prime Minister Olmert always stress that Abbas is different from Arafat and a true partner for peace. So far the only discernible difference is that he wears a nice suit and tie rather than a military uniform.

Meanwhile, as also reported by the Jerusalem Post, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, buoyed by his near-zero popularity rating, the total absence of any political mandate to negotiate further withdrawals in Yehuda and Shomron, and dire warnings of the danger of further concessions from Israeli intelligence and military advisors, including his own Defense Minister, plans to sit down on Monday with Abbas to continue "peacemaking efforts" in advance of a planned visit by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice and an international peace conference set for November in Washington, D.C.

All indications are that the Olmert government will offer to withdraw from almost all of Yehuda and Shomron, cede portions of pre-1967 Israel to make up for any post-1967 territories retained by Israel, and recognize Palestinian sovereignty over East Jerusalem, including most of the Old City and the Temple Mount. President George W. Bush, for whom I voted twice, and Secretary Rice not only fully back this policy, but are diplomatically pressuring Israel to maximize the concessions to be made to the terrorist Palestinian regime, which does not even speak for the even more extreme terrorist Palestinian regime that rules Gaza.

Frankfurt Rabbi Stabbed by Arabic-Speaking Attacker

The Jerusalem Post reports the attack here. Of course, the attacker was anti-Zionist, not anti-Semitic. After all, Arabs are Semites. [Readers, please note that the last two sentences were written sarcastically, imitating the typical style of anti-Israeli, pro-Palestinian commentators, most often although not exclusively the denizens of the extreme left.]

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Fred Thompson Lincolnesque? Not A Chance. (Lowell rains on Ralph's parade, just a little.)

As a fellow Lincolnophile, I need to respond to my fellow Hedgehog's post below.

Readers here know that I am a committed Romney supporter. I also like Fred Thompson very much. If Fred is nominated I will work hard for him and vote for him enthusiastically. What I cannot get over yet, however, is his relative lack of accomplishment in anything that really matters in government or business. He has been an effective prosecutor early in his career, then an actor-lobbyist, a U.S. senator of no great distinction, and again an actor-lobbyist. He's never run anything larger than a Senate office and a Senate committee. His greatest successes have come as an actor. (Don't even try to bring up Ronald Reagan by comparison. By the time he ran for president Reagan had served two terms as a very successful governor of California and was the recognized leader of an entire conservative movement in the U.S.)

By the time Lincoln ran for president, he was a very successful lawyer also, and he had not run anything either. But Lincoln had proven his mettle as a skilled political operative in Illinois and as a national spokesman for preserving the Union. I've read Goodwin's book too, and was very impressed with Lincoln's commitment to political success. Yes, he was a candidate who was careful not to engage in internecine war with the other Republicans, but he was single-minded in his drive for the nomination. He did nothing "cute" like the tactics Thompson has adopted so far. And, I might add, Lincoln loved debates. He would never have dodged a debate with the other leading candidates in order to generate better publicity for himself. Perhaps most tellingly, no one had to persuade Lincoln to run for president. He wanted the presidency very much.

I have a hunch I'll be hearing more from Ralph about this . . . .

If You Repeat A Falsehood Often Enough, Does It Become True?

That's apparently what the Associated Press thinks.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Lincoln and Thompson: The Stealth Candidates

The spectacle of Fred Thompson, declaring his candidacy for the Presidency before a cost-free audience numbering in the millions on the Tonight show yesterday evening, while his nine rivals appeared before a much smaller Fox Cable audience at the New Hampshire GOP debate, reminded me of the book in which I am currently immersed, Team of Rivals: The Political Geninius of Abraham Lincoln, by Doris Kearns Goodwin. Until Ms. Goodwin's best-selling political history, few people realized or appreciated that Abraham Lincoln, from the time of his earliest campaigns for Congress, and in his work in organizing and promoting first the Whig Party and later the Republican Party in Illinois, practically invented modern political campaigning. He pioneered the process of organizing his supporters in each precinct to identify which voters were for him or his cause, against him or wavering. He made sure that local precinct workers personally contacted the undecided voters and shored up the wavering voters before election day, and that the party faithful worked on election day to make sure that the likely Whig or Republican voters made it to the polls early. He made sure never to needlessy alienate a rival or seek retribution against a political betrayer, and his magnamity on that score probably allowed him to secure the Republican Presidential nomination, against all odds, in 1860.

In that campaign, Lincoln faced a particularly daunting task. He was a former one-term Congressman, whose opposition to the Mexican War had proven so unpopular that he did not seek re-election, and even then probably lost votes for the Whig Party, which lost his previously safe seat. He had failed twice to win a Senate seat from Illinois (at a time when Senators were chosen by State legislators, not by popular vote), although in his second campaign, against Stephen Douglas, their famous series of debates on the slavery issue had won him some national recognition.

Despite that achievement born of a political defeat, he was a "dark horse" and long shot for the Republican Presidential nomination in 1860, who at best might be expected to receive a courtesy "favorite son" nomination from the Illinois delegation at the Republican National Convention, and then bow out after the first ballot. After all, his rivals included some of the best-known and most popular politicians of the day, most eminently New York Senator and former Governor William Seward, who was regarded as the front runner in both the United States and Europe. Other potential nominees, both more widely known than Lincoln, were Salmon Chase of Ohio, the former Senator and Governor, and founder of the Free Soil Party in Ohio, a forerunner of the Republican Party, and an outspoken abolitionist and champion of equal rights for African Americans (which Lincoln was not); and Edward Bates of St. Louis, Missouri.

It was the genius of Lincoln and his campaign managers to recognize that the very prominence of the three better-known candidates meant that none would likely achieve the majority of delegate votes needed to win the nomination in the early ballots. That gave Lincoln an opening. However, had Lincoln openly campaigned for the nomination, the three better-known rivals, who were directing their energies at defeating one another, might have diverted some of their attacks toward Lincoln. By remaining in the background, Lincoln was able to obtain a tremendous coup--securing Chicago, in his home state of Illinois, as the site of the convention. None of his rivals suspected that they were yielding an advantage to a potentially successful candidate.

The Lincoln team continued to out-maneuver its opponents right up to the convention. In the months before the convention, Lincoln embarked on a major speaking tour of the Northeast, establishing himself as a legitimate "second choice" in the minds of many who supported Seward wholeheartedly or lukewarmly. (In contrast, Chase and Bates remained at home and Seward toured Europe.) He obtained a commitment from the Indiana delegation to support his nomination on the first ballot, adding to his strength in the Illinois delegation. And most tellingly, Lincoln detected a weakening in the support of the Ohio delegation for Salmon Chase, caused by unsettled political scores of the sort that Lincoln never allowed to fester in Illinois, and his Lincoln's political operatives took steps to assure that Lincoln would receive the dissident Ohio votes on the first and subsequent ballots. All this was done deliberately, with intense planning and diligent effort.

At the convention itself, held at the Wigwam in Chicago, Lincoln's supporters waged a virtuoso campaign on his behalf. Those supporters included some former political rivals, who in gratitude for the absence of malice on Lincoln's part, in the face of betrayals that had cost him in his Senate campaigns, now went all out to secure him the Presidential nomination. His campaign also was not above some political dirty tricks. When Seward's supporters, accompanied by marching bands and banners, arrived at the Wigwam for the second day of the convention, when nominations and balloting would begin, they found that they could not gain admission to the galleries for non-delegates, because Lincoln's supporters, some of whom had been given counterfeit convention tickets, had already packed the house. Naturally, that meant that Lincoln received the strongest floor demonstration when his name was entered into nomination.

The sum total of this effort was that Lincoln received the nomination on the third ballot, stunning Seward, Chase, Bates and most of the nation.

Now, I am not equating Fred Thompson with Abraham Lincoln. But, for that matter, Rudy Giuliani isn't William Seward either. Mitt Romney, whom I wholeheartedly support, is probably even now less known and supported in the Republican Party than were Chase and Bates in their day. Where I am comparing Lincoln with Thompson is the cleverness of their respective stealth entries into the Presidential campaign. By steering clear of the early jostling, ditching the New Hampshire debate, and announcing his candidacy on the Tonight Show, Thompson has unquestionably stolen a trick on his opponents. Whether he can keep it up remains to be seen, but there is no question that he is a formidable candidate, that his rivals had better not take for granted.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Just a little reminder of the past, in service of the future

Hello, everyone, from the Hedgehog. I suppose there are some who think the Kosher Hedgehog is the only such critter who posts here. If you've been reading over the last 3-4 months, I wouldn't blame you for thinking so.

But I am back, and I am going to try to post more often. Here's a beginning.

If you're like me, as the Norman Hsu story has unfolded you have been reminded of how such shenanigans (in this case, crimes) were a regular part of the news in the 1990's, during what I hope will be the only Clinton presidency. Nothing characterized the infuriating brazenness of the Clinton years more than the constant financial scandals.

But I will say no more. Michael Ramirez is much more eloquent in his cartooning than I could ever be with mere words:

And Instapundit has more.

Rocket Strikes Sderot Day Care Center; Islamic Jihad Calls the Attack "A Present for the New School Year."

A salvo of seven Kassam rockets hit the sourthern Israeli town of Sderot on Monday morning. One of the rockets slammed into the courtyard of a day care center, where 15 babies receive care. Thank God, no one was wounded in the attack, although twelve people, including some of the babies at the day care center were treated for shock.

The Jerusalem Post reports, "Despite the fact that none of the 15 babies at the center were wounded, frantic parents across the city - already furious over the government's failure to protect them and their children from the near-daily rocket fire - pulled their children out of schools on the second day of the academic year." The Sderot Parents Association decided they would not take their children to schools and day care centers beginning Tuesday, until the government changed its policy regarding ongoing Kassam rocket attacks on the western Negev town.

"Of course I'll take them out. Should I leave them in the hands of Hamas?" one parent told Associated Press Television News, as he arrived to remove his children from school.

Islamic Jihad took credit for the attack, saying on its internet site that it had launched nine Kuds-3 rockets, and that the attack was "a present for the start of the new school year."

In last summer's Lebanon fighting, when Hezbollah mounted missile and artillery emplacements next to civilian apartment buildings, Israel received international condemnation when children were injured or killed in the course of Israeli airstrikes against military targets. In the case of Sderot, Islamic Jihad has proudly taken credit for attacks directed at children. We wait for the world to speak out, but we do not hold our breath.

(H/T: Little Green Footballs.)