Arlene from Israel

I will not here have comment about the terrorist attack in Boston and subsequent events at MIT — even as I am watching it all closely (actually having relatives in and near Boston myself). The story is unfolding as I write, and comments now would be premature.


I recently wrote about Salam Fayyad’s resignation as prime minister of the PA, citing several analysts who indicated quite clearly what a negative omen this was for Oslo, for “the peace process,” and all the rest. I wondered, as I wrote, how the Obama administration would respond to this.

Would there be sufficient comprehension of the implications of the situation so that attempts to push “peace” would be put on a back burner?

Well, I have my answer now. How foolish I was to even ponder such a question.

On Wednesday, Secretary of State Kerry spoke before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and told them that peace must be reached between Israel and the PA within the next two years — that’s the window of opportunity he sees before it’s too late. While he was in this region, he explained, he sensed a “seriousness of purpose” on the part of both Israeli and PA leaders with regard to negotiations.

As a friend of mine sometimes says: “What planet is he from?”


And then we’ve got the Obama approach to Syria.

The unease about jihadist rebels — most notably al-Qaeda — taking over is now being reflected in American policy. According to latest reports, the Obama administration is no longer eager for a rebel victory — something it had been working towards.

Citing a Wall Street Journal report, Algemeiner says (emphasis added):

“…[US] officials fear that the increasing Islamist influence means a victory would undercut hopes for finding a diplomatic solution. It would also shatter national institutions along with what remains of civil order, increasing the danger that Syrian chemical weapons will be used or transferred to terrorists.

The White House has drawn up elaborate plans for a post-Assad Syria that includes an orderly political transition that keeps the country together and preserves Western interests…”


It’s the bit about “elaborate plans” drawn up at the White House that caused me to do a double take. Precisely why do Obama’s people imagine that they have the sort of influence that would allow (the “right”) rebels, having defeated Assad, to proceed precisely according to an American vision of the situation?? It’s this sort of expectation that has gotten Obama into so much trouble on the international scene — he seems to have very little capacity to understand that other people don’t necessarily see it his way.

Unreal, indeed.


And there’s more from that great American diplomat, Kerry. On Thursday he spoke to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He admitted that there was frustration over the failure of recent talks with Iran. However he believes a diplomatic solution is still the best option, and counseled patience: “We don’t need to spin this up at this point in time.”



Then we have the paper — “Strategic options for Iran: Balancing pressure with diplomacy” — put out by a group of Americans who call themselves the Iran Project. Says the paper (emphasis added):

[US policies] “may have narrowed the options for dealing with Iran by hardening the regime’s resistance to pressure… it seems doubtful that pressure alone will change the decision of Iran’s leaders… A strengthened diplomatic track that includes the promise of sanctions relief in exchange for verifiable cooperation could help to end the standoff and produce a nuclear deal.”

By admitting that pressure alone will not change Iran’s leaders, they actually make the case for military action or at least a credible military threat, but then back off in the opposite direction: We haven’t been nice enough to Iran.

A group of former senior administration officials — including several recently resigned from the Obama government, who might reflect the administration view but don’t speak for Obama — have written a letter supporting this paper.



At this point I would be tempted to bang my head against the wall, except for the fact that I’m writing as an Israeli, and my own head of state has a very different view of matters.

Prime Minister Netanyahu gave an interview to BBC yesterday. Iran, he said, is 80 kg. short of the 250 kg. of 20% enriched uranium needed for making a nuclear bomb.

Without a direct military threat, Iran will not stop. (emphasis added)

“Israel’s right to defend its existence is not subject to a traffic light. We don’t need anyone to give us the right to prevent a new Holocaust.”



In addition, there is other significant news:

According to a NYTimes report, the US Department of Defense is close to finalizing a $10 billion arms deal with Israel, that would permit Israel to purchase from American contractors the KC-135 refueling tanker planes, “antiradiation” missiles that target air-defense radars, new advanced radars for jets and the cutting-edge V-22 Osprey aircraft. Israel’s would be the first foreign military to purchase this aircraft.

Pictured here, it is a multi-mission, military, tiltrotor troop transport aircraft: it takes off and lands like a helicopter, but once airborne, its engine can be rotated to convert it to a turboprop airplane capable of high-speed, high-altitude flight. Its bellygun rotates 360 degrees and can fire 3,000 rounds/minute.

Credit: Military-today


The report speaks of providing Israel with armaments to bolster defense against Iranian threats. What it sure looks like is that the US administration officials are playing a two-pronged game. One the one hand letting Iran know that they intend only benign interaction with Iran (translation: See, we’re not threatening you), while simultaneously increasing Israel’s capability to respond to Iran more realistically and effectively.

This seems an unofficial nod to what our prime minister is saying with regard to our right to defend ourselves as necessary. Letting us take care of matters.

The armaments described would be very useful in an attack on Iran — refueling planes, ability to target radar effectively, etc. What I do not see, however, is any mention of the sale or provision to Israel of those 30,000 pound bunker-busters that can really do the job on nuclear facilities hidden deep in the ground — unless this will be done quietly. I regret that this does not seem to be part of the package.

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel is due here next week and is expected to finalize arrangements. Whatever the vast unease about him prior to his assuming his post, this is good news. I am not suggesting that he is in any way the promoter of this deal — this, undoubtedly, comes from the Pentagon, which is solidly pro-Israel. But he doesn’t seem to be blocking it.


There is yet more to the story, however:

United Arab Emirates are going to be permitted to purchase 26 F-16 warplanes, along with precision missiles to be launched from these planes. And Saudi Arabia would purchase the same precision missiles.

Whenever Arab states acquire advanced armaments there is room for unease. Reportedly, the US has “assured” Israel that the use of these missiles will be “monitored.” I consider this worthless, as assurance. But the dynamic has changed. UAE and Saudi Arabia are genuinely frightened, and actually eager for Israel action against Iran. Over time there have even been several reports about very quiet assistance the Saudis might provide to Israel during an attack on Iran. Attacking Israel simply is not the focus of Saudi or UAE concerns.

Their leaders have been more than a little angry at the US for not taking a stronger position against Iran. Here it seems that they’re been appeased. Says a US official: [The armaments are being provided are] “also to boost the capabilities of our Persian Gulf partners so they, too, would be able to address the Iranian threat.”



The Media Want Arabs Exonerated

By: Cliff Kincaid
Accuracy in Media

In discussing the letters reportedly laced with the poison ricin, which followed the Boston bombings, correspondent Andrea Mitchell claimed on the NBC Nightly News on Wednesday night that there was an “eerie coincidence” to the anthrax letters that followed the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and killed five people. However, she quickly added that the anthrax letters were “unrelated” to the 9/11 attacks, a claim that remains completely unsubstantiated. She is covering for FBI incompetence.

It is still not known, officially and by adjudication in a court of law, who sent the post-9/11 anthrax letters because the FBI completely mishandled the case. They ended up paying $6 million in damages to an American scientist, Steven Hatfill, who was falsely termed a “person of interest” and hounded by federal agents. The FBI later argued that another U.S. Government scientist, Bruce Ivins, was the lone culprit, and “closed” the case. But Ivins was also hounded by federal agents, and took his own life. His attorney, Paul Kemp, has strongly argued that the FBI falsely blamed Ivins and never proved its case against him. No charges were filed in what the FBI called the “Amerithrax” case.

In fact, the evidence suggests the letters were linked to the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the al-Qaeda operatives behind them.

As we reported at the time, “Al Qaeda was interested in anthrax as a weapon, had labs designed to make it, and reportedly had purchased it. CNN has al-Qaeda videotapes showing their access to chemical and biological agents. CNN also reported that an al-Qaeda terrorism manual includes instructions on how to send a ‘poisonous letter.’”

President Bush later talked publicly about al Qaeda’s interest in anthrax, even referring to an al-Qaeda cell that was “developing anthrax for attacks against the United States.”

In addition to this evidence, the envelopes themselves carrying the anthrax letters said, “Take Penacilin (sic) Now. Death to America. Death to Israel. Allah is great.”

As far back as August 2002, we noted, “The anthrax letters praised Allah, and [lead 9/11 hijacker] Atta was spotted a few days before the assault in a Palm Beach, Florida, pharmacy getting medication for his hands, which had become red and swollen. Another hijacker, Ahmed Alhaznawi, who lived and trained as a pilot in Florida where the anthrax attacks began, went to the Holy Cross hospital in Fort Lauderdale complaining of a nasty leg lesion that could have been caused by anthrax. Yet FBI officials have dismissed this evidence.”

The FBI claimed the writing was a diversion and a distraction, and refused to seriously investigate an al-Qaeda link to the letters. They had figured the perpetrators were domestic right-wing extremists, perhaps with military or scientific backgrounds. Hence, their focus on Hatfill and Ivins.

We wrote over the years of the evidence that another al-Qaeda cell staged the post-9/11 anthrax attacks, but that because the FBI went on a media-generated wild goose chase, the case was never solved. We said, “The real perpetrators either fled the country, were deported for immigration law violations, or are still here.”

All of this is important to remember because of the questions that are now emerging surrounding the FBI’s handling of the Boston bombing case. The FBI has taken charge of the investigation, which opens the door to political pressure from the Obama Administration.

The facts clearly show that an al-Qaeda magazine had recommended the use of the same kind of bomb used in the Boston massacre. Again, CNN had reported this evidence back in 2010, noting that an article, “Make a Bomb in the Kitchen of Your Mom,” recommended, “The pressurized cooker should be placed in crowded areas and left to blow up. More than one of these could be planted to explode at the same time. However, keep in mind that the range of the shrapnel in this operation is short range so the pressurized cooker or pipe should be placed close to the intended targets and should not be concealed from them by barriers such as walls.”

Equally important, terrorism expert Steve Emerson said on Sean Hannity’s Fox News program on Wednesday night that the Saudi national with a student visa apprehended after the bombing is being deported on “national security grounds” in what may be shaping up as a high-level cover-up of Saudi, or other foreign involvement, in the Boston massacre.

“This is the way things are done with Saudi Arabia,” Emerson said. “You don’t arrest their citizens. You deport them. Because they don’t want to be embarrassed…”

Before the bombings, Emerson’s Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT) had drawn critical attention in a report to Obama’s recent decision to allow some Saudis to “bypass normal passport controls at major U.S. airports.”

Walid Shoebat reports that the Saudi national who was being detained belongs to a clan that consists of several al Qaeda members and that high-level Saudi government officials have intervened on his behalf.

There are powerful political and foreign interests who do not want such reports to be highlighted or pursued by U.S. authorities. That is why the liberal media will now begin attacking Emerson, Shoebat, and others questioning the official handling of the case.

“The knots in my stomach tightened with preliminary reports from the New York Post that Boston Police had seized a ‘Saudi National,’” wrote Khaled A Beydoun, a UCLA professor on the Al Jazeera website. His piece was titled, “Boston explosions: ‘Please don’t be Arabs or Muslims.’”

CNN seems ready to promote this narrative, as the channel has turned increasingly for comment and analysis to Juliette Kayyem, a CNN contributor, former U.S. assistant secretary for Homeland Security, and lecturer in public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School. She “cautioned against putting too much stock in the early reports of Arab involvement,” as one CNN story put it.

Demonstrating her own blindness to the nature of the threat, Kayyem had written a 2011 article for the Boston Globe, “Let US see Al Jazeera,” praising the terror television channel linked to al Qaeda and considered a voice of the Muslim Brotherhood as “a news heavyweight in most of the world.”

Writing at the American Thinker, Ed Lasky noted, “…what is of interest is the background of Juliette Kayyem: President Obama appointed her to serve as the Assistant Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. One would think that a key official at the Department of Homeland Security would see the danger of Al Jazeera being broadcast all over America.”

Yet, her official bio describes her as expert on al Qaeda.

Cliff Kincaid is the Director of the AIM Center for Investigative Journalism and can be contacted at [email protected].


Media Excuse Themselves on Gosnell Trial Coverage

By: Bethany Stotts
Accuracy in Media

The mainstream media have become too comfortable following the legislative and policy agendas set by the White House and other liberals, so that when a truly newsworthy story comes to the fore, it is sidelined as “local news” instead of getting the front-page coverage it deserves. When the Newtown Massacre occurred, for example, the front pages were flooded with news about gun control which continues to this day. When a judge overturned the soda ban in New York City, many news outlets debated the merits of such a ban. But the alleged murder of seven infants and a patient by a homicidal doctor performing late-term abortions? That’s local news.

Perhaps the media outlets were scared that the story about Dr. Kermit Gosnell’s gruesome treatment of babies born alive during late-term abortions might lead to a call for additional protections for the rights of the unborn. This sets a new standard for what is meant by “pro-choice.” “Let’s just state the obvious: National political reporters are, by and large, socially liberal,” wrote David Weigel for Slate magazine. “There is a bubble. Horror stories of abortionists are less likely to permeate that bubble than, say, a story about a right-wing pundit attacking an abortionist who then claims to have gotten death threats.”

Weigel’s column aims straight at the unspoken fear that this news story might be used to benefit, of all horrors, the pro-life movement. “If you’re pro-choice, say, and you worry that the Gosnell story is being promoted only to weaken your cause, you really should read that grand jury report,” writes Weigel. Similarly, The New York Times, in its recent blog piece on the Gosnell story, states that “…the effort to use this case to ‘prove’ that abortion is wrong, is wrongheaded.” Let’s just make sure our readers understand that point: the media does not want any pro-life message to be taken from this story. “If anything,” Andrew Rosenthal writes for the Times, “the case highlights the need for safe, affordable and available women’s reproductive health care.” Heaven forbid a story in which the antagonist decapitates viable babies with scissors might benefit the pro-life lobby.

The New York Times, in its March and most recent reporting, insists on labeling viable babies born alive as “viable fetuses” when reporting about the Gosnell case.

Sarah Kliff, who writes for The Washington Post, was asked by blogger Mollie Hemingway why she hadn’t written about Dr. Gosnell’s horror show. Kliff responded via Twitter that “I cover policy for the Washington Post, not local crime, hence why I wrote about all the policy issues you mention.”

“Yes. She really, really, really said that,” writes Hemingway for Patheos.com. This week, on April 15—3 days after Hemingway published Kliff’s Twitter response—Kliff took the time to write a story on the Gosnell travesty.

It is interesting to note that as of April 14, Kliff had taken the time out to write a short piece on the New York City soda ban, which apparently has more to do with health policy than abortion abuses. Her angle? A recent peer-reviewed paper that shows that people consume more soda under a bundling program which might happen under soda restrictions. “This is obviously one small study and it also wasn’t able to look at how much people would actually drink of the sodas they ordered, another important factor in determining calorie intake,” writes Kliff (emphasis added). “It does provide some evidence though, that when it comes to soda, outlawing large sizes might not lead to the desired result.” What earth-shattering policy news!

Those who might think that the Gosnell case is a matter of local news might want to talk to Kirsten Powers, a Fox News political analyst and former Democratic strategist. “Well this is a policy issue. It’s a regulatory issue,” said Kirsten Powers on Fox News’ America Live, with Megyn Kelly. “I mean, read the grand jury report. It’s a horror show of how the government wasn’t doing what they were supposed to be doing, with enforcing the laws that were on the books.” Powers asserted in a USA Today article that “This should be front page news…The deafening silence of too much of the media, once a force for justice in America, is a disgrace.”

Kliff apologized for her comments on April 15, writing, “When I described the case of abortion provider Kermit Gosnell on Twitter last week as a local crime story, I was clearly wrong. The egregious and horrifying crimes committed in the physician’s West Philadelphia abortion clinic have become a matter of national attention.”

“It’s really easy to do a bad job covering abortion policy when everybody agrees to do it, implicitly or explicitly,” asserted Hemingway on Fox.

With all the recent attention this case has received for its lack of media coverage, most major news organizations are finally starting to cover the Gosnell case. As of this writing, CNN, CBS, The New York Times, The Atlantic, the Christian Science Monitor, Mother Jones, USA Today, and The Washington Post all had pieces covering the case. Fox News has been consistently reporting on the findings. Why do you think that this has not received front page coverage? asked Anderson Cooper on CNN. “Well, the people making those criticisms are by and large conservative,” responded analyst Jeffrey Toobin. “They are saying the liberal media is trying to protect the abortion rights by not showing this harsh show. I don’t buy that at all.” The story “didn’t get much coverage until conservatives decided they could make hay with charges that the story was being deliberately suppressed by the liberal media,” insists Kevin Drum for the liberal Mother Jones.

Another reason that media outlets might not be interested in carrying the story as one of policy is how it could reflect on the current President. After all, as Hemingway highlights, President Obama opposed restrictions on late term abortions when in the state legislature. “As an Illinois state senator, Obama opposed the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act,” reported John McCormack for The Weekly Standard. “Supporters of the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act wanted to require doctors to provide medical care to these infants, while Obama wanted to leave it up to the discretion of the abortionist to determine whether these infants had a reasonable chance of sustained life.”

“Part of the way [a local story] becomes a national issue is by asking national figures and asking people to respond to what’s going on,” said Hemingway on Megyn Kelly’s show. “And here we have a case where the President of the United States could be asked about this, since he fought against protections for these children that were born alive when he was in the Illinois Senate.”

Are the media no longer willing to ask the President to address issues about which he personally does not feel comfortable? Perhaps this is the largest elephant in the room.

The Washington Post reported that the White House had declined to comment on the trial because it is an ongoing legal proceeding. “Without commenting on the particulars of this case, the president should tell us whether he supports late-term abortions, opposes abortion regulations and now thinks his vote against ‘born-alive’ legislation in Illinois was wrong,” asserts Jennifer Rubin for the Post. The President reiterated the same points on NBC’s Today Show, citing the fact that the Gosnell trial is an active case. But, as Rubin points out for the Post, “Is that a post-Trayvon Martin rule? Hasn’t he been commenting morning, noon and night about mass shootings with ongoing legal proceedings?” Clearly, the President owes the public more of a response than that he believes abortions should be “safe, legal, and rare.”

Bethany Stotts is a freelance writer, and former staff writer for Accuracy in Academia. She blogs at http://bethanystotts.wordpress.com/.


Hindu Refugees Protest About Religious Persecution In Pakistan

By: Aeneas Lavinium

The problem of Pakistan’s persecution of religious minorities reached the doors of the United Nations headquarters in New Delhi on Wednesday. It came in the form of refugees who had needed to flee from Pakistan because they happened to be Hindu. They demonstrated to highlight this problem that is completely ignored by the international community.

Hindu’s, Christians, shi’ite Muslims and Ahmadiyya Muslims are treated unfavorably in Pakistan’s Sunni Muslim-dominated society. We have written previously about Christians who had also being persecuted in Pakistan.

Pakistan is a hellhole for religious minorities, yet is a member of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation which chooses to lecture the world about religious tolerance!

While the OIC is bullying the world at the United Nations, non-Muslims and non-Sunni Muslims are being driven from their homes in OIC member states. Rather than bow to OIC demands to curb freedom of expression, Western governments need to suspend their relations with the OIC until it gets its house in order.

More information about this story can be found at:

New Delhi: Pak Hindus reaches UN office, submitted Memorandum after a Demonstration (samvada.org) – 18 April

Hindu refugees in India protest Pakistani atrocities (People of Shambhala) -18 April


The Council Has Spoken!! This Week’s Watcher’s Council Results – 04/19/13

The Watcher’s Council

Alea iacta est… the Council has spoken, the votes have been cast and we have the results for this week’s Watcher’s Council match-up.

A pretty full week news-wise and the varied entries this week reflect that!

This week’s winner, Joshuapundit’s Unmourned, Unloved and Politically Inconvenient, was my reaction to the Gosnell Trial, the Left’s reaction to it, the media’s attempt to bury it by ignoring it and what it says about our culture. I was frankly surprised at the response this got from my readers and my fellow Council members, given the difficult subject matter. Here’s a slice:

Dr. Kermit Gosnell – The Butcher of Philadelphia

Dr. Kermit Gosnell ran an abortion clinic in the city and is accused of a number of horrendous crimes, according to the Grand Jury report:

“This case is about a doctor who killed babies and endangered women. What we mean is that he regularly and illegally delivered live, viable babies in the third trimester of pregnancy – and then murdered these newborns by severing their spinal cords with scissors.”

“The medical practice by which he carried out this business was a filthy fraud in which he overdosed his patients with dangerous drugs, spread venereal disease among them with infected instruments, perforated their wombs and bowels – and, on at least two occasions, caused their deaths.”

He’s been charged with 7 counts of first degree murder.

The illegal part of what Dr. Gosnell did is worthy of reflecting on.

According to his former clinic staff, at least 100 living babies were murdered moments after Dr. Gosnell (or in some cases, his unlicensed assistants) ripped them out of the womb.Pennsylvania law forbids abortion in most cases after 24 weeks (the end of the second trimester). His standard method of killing the children was snipping the spinal cords, what one of his assistants described as ‘a virtual beheading.’ Dr. Gosnell frequently used drugs to induce labor so as to deliver the babies faster and make the killing process easier. One of his assistants in testimony described ‘fetuses and blood flying around everywhere.’

Dr. Gosnell has also been charged with the murder of a 41-year-old Virginia woman who died from an overdose of anesthetic drugs, possibly administered by another unlicensed ‘doctor’.

Several women patients were badly injured, according to the report. One was left simply lying there after her cervix and colon were torn in the process of trying to pull a baby out of her womb so it could be ‘dealt with’. Another, only 18 years old, was not given proper care after her uterus was punctured and had to undergo a hysterectomy. Others actually contracted venereal diseases, painful infections and other complications because of the unsanitary conditions, where rusty and outdated machines, dirty, unsterilized instruments and filthy surroundings.

When the police finally got around to investigating Dr. Gosnell’s clinic because of a tip he was illegally ‘proscribing’ drugs, they found fetal remains “stored throughout the clinic – in bags, milk jugs, orange juice cartons, and even in cat-food containers.”

So what Dr. Gosnell is being charged with, actually, is performing late term abortions (illegal in Pennsylvania but not in a number of states), keeping a sloppy and unsanitary shop, allowing unauthorized and unlicensed personnel to perform procedures and administer drugs and the injuries and at least one murder that resulted from that.

Had he worked for, say, Planned Parenthood in a clean, up-to-date environment with licensed assistants in a state like California that allows abortion on demand for any reason no matter how far along the pregnancy is, he would have been doing essentially the same thing without any problems.

What Dr. Gosnell was doing to babies is not that much different than other doctors when it comes to late term abortions. They are merely more skillful and using better equipment.

There’s a lot more here.

In our non-Council category, the winner by a nose was Caroline Glick with Moral Relativism and Jihad submitted by Joshuapundit. (With a hat tip to my pal Terresa at The Noisy Room for the suggestion). This seems to be a week for what I call the larger issues, as Ms. Glick writes about the increasing tolerance in our culture when it comes to anti-semitism and violence associated with jihad and Islam… especially when it comes to American Jews on the Left. Do read it.

Okay, here are this week’s full results:

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners

See you next week! Don’t forget to tune in on Monday AM for this week’s Watcher’s Forum, as the Council and their invited special guests take apart one of the provocative issues of the day with short takes and weigh in… don’t you dare miss it. And don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter… ’cause we’re cool like that!