A Tribute

Arlene from Israel

Howard Grief, z”l, passed away yesterday here in Jerusalem. To those of us who work closely on issues concerning Jewish rights in the land and Jewish sovereignty, he provided not only an enormous amount of historical and legal information, but a perspective. He served as an inspiration because of his tireless dedication, even in the face of severe illness.

I dedicate this posting to him, so that all who read this should know the debt we owe to him.


An international lawyer, born and educated in Montreal, Grief made aliyah in 1989 and served as a legal adviser in international law on matters pertaining to the Land of Israel for the ministry of Professor Yuval Ne’eman, during the administration of Yitzhak Shamir.

As he did his extensive research, Grief developed the thesis that de jure sovereignty over the entire Land of Israel was vested in the Jewish People as a result of the Resolution of the San Remo Conference, adopted in April 1920, which made reference to the Balfour declaration.

He lectured and wrote on this issue extensively, and in 2008 authored his comprehensive treatise, The Legal Foundation and Borders of Israel under International Law.

Here you can see a position paper on the subject he wrote for the Ariel Center for Policy Research:


And here an enlightening video in which he makes his thesis clear:



Baruch Dayan HaEmet. Receive our gratitude, Howard Grief, and rest in peace.


And here a personal note:

It’s been a hard lesson, but I’m learning it: there are only 24 hours in a day. Right now, as much as I am motivated to write these posts frequently, there are a host of other matters to which I must devote time: a significant project on behalf of Israel, conferences, etc. And the personal: a bat mitzvah of a granddaughter, visiting with relatives from abroad.

And, not to be forgotten, kaitana savta (Camp Grandma), coming soon, which means grandchildren sleeping here and going on outings with me. Not only a time I treasure and measure as a great priority, it is an experience that keeps me sane, provides perspective, and strengthens me for the work I do.

And so my friends, know that all is well, but that in the coming weeks my postings are likely to be less frequent than is my norm. I will post to the best of my ability.


The Middle East is on fire: It goes from awful to horrendous to catastrophic.

Inside of Syria, the fighting continues with enormous intensity, most notably in the two-week long battle for Qusayr, near the Lebanese border. Reports there are of 400 killed and 1,000 wounded since the beginning of the battle. The humanitarian situation is said to be horrendous, with doctors having run out of supplies.

See: http://imra.org.il/story.php3?id=61149 scroll down.

Recently Hezbollah’s leader Sheikh Nasrallah declared, with regard to battling on behalf of the Syrian troops, particularly in Qusayr:

“We will continue to the end of the road; we accept this responsibility and will accept all sacrifices and expected consequences of this position.”


This was hardly an altruistic position, as Assad’s Syria is Nasrallah’s lifeline and source of armaments. Qusayr is near the Lebanese border and provides the pathway for the transmission of those armaments.

Hezbollah reportedly has 11,000 fighters there now. Qusayr had been in rebel hands, but Assad’s troops are attempting to retake the city; there has been no decisive winner as the battle goes back and forth.


What is happening, however, is that the presence of Hezbollah in Qusayr has spurred rebel action in Lebanon, in retaliation.

According to the Lebanese National News Agency, on Friday night 16 mortars and rockets were fired from Syria into the Hezbollah Shiite stronghold of Baalbek, a major population center in the Bekaa Valley.

As a result, sectarian Sunni-Shiite tensions inside of Lebanon have also increased.


The other day, a spokeswoman for the US State Department said:

“We demand that Hezbollah withdraw its fighters from Syria immediately.”

An exercise in powerlessnes.

Obama is still speaking obliquely about arming rebel forces, which likely would have the effect of prolonging and intensifying the war, not ending it.


At the very same time (see the same imra source cited above), Iraq is seeing the worst violence since 2008. A UN envoy describes Iraq as “ready to explode.” During May there were somewhere between 600 and 1,000 deaths (depending on source cited) and well over 1,000 injuries.

While the political issues here are complex, in large measure the violence is the result of growing sectarian tensions — a seriously disgruntled Sunni minority (which had ruled the country under Saddam Hussein) responding to a Shiite majority and the government.


I had cited Dore Gold the other day, in an article about the impending break-down of the borders of Arab states that were arbitrarily drawn after WWI. And here we see the handwriting on the wall, folks: Increasing sectarian tensions, Sunni vs. Shiite. The old borders are, in the end, unlikely to hold them, as Arabs move across those borders to join with others of the same Muslim sect.

We see this tendency in the TV sermon last Friday of cleric Yusuf al-Qaradawi in Qatar, who advised Sunnis everywhere to go fight against Assad. Denouncing Assad’s Alawite sect (an offshoot of Shiite Islam) as “more infidel than Christians and Jews,” he said that, “Everyone who has the ability and has training to kill … is required to go.”

Declaring that there is no more common ground between Sunnis and Shiites, he charged Shiite Iran with trying to “devour” Sunnis.



And in Turkey (which is 80% Sunni Muslim but not Arab): Days of exceedingly serious riots, directed at the Islamist government of Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan. Protesters clashed with riot police and set fire to buildings belonging to the ruling AK (Justice and Development) party. Some of the worst violence took place in Istanbul, where demonstrators set up barricades, as well as in other major cities.

The rioting began when government plans were announced for the redevelopment of Istanbul’s Taksim Square, which has traditionally served as a rallying point for mass demonstrations, But it quickly morphed into something a great deal more serious.


Credit: Telegraph (UK)

Security is tight as Erdogan blames the riots on “foreign extremists” and calls Twitter a “menace.”

Protests are being voiced about the excessively tough methods employed by Turkish security forces. Other sources of discontent include limitations on alcohol, the massive Syrian refugee problem, which people believe has not been handled well, and the relationship with the Kurds.

Analysts are not in agreement as to whether this can be seen as the Turkish version of the “Arab Spring.”


Speculations about delivery of those Russian S-300 missiles to Syria have been enough to make one’s head spin: Some are in Syria already, they’re on the way, they are being used as a threat and aren’t coming…

What seemed to me most significant as those speculations circulated was a statement by Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, that, should the missiles arrive, “we’ll know what to do.” It seemed pretty clear to me that this man was not bluffing: Israel was not about to sit still while Syria took possession of equipment that would not only shift the balance of power with regard to Israel attacks inside of Syria, but would permit the Syrians to hit commercial planes over Ben Gurion Airport.

It was just a question of when in the process of Syria setting up those missile installations we would hit — the key factor being taking them out before they were operational.


Prime Minister Netanyahu delivered a similar message to Putin when visited Russia last month, saying that the delivery of those missiles “is likely to draw us into a response, and could send the region deteriorating into war.”

What seems obvious now is that the Russians also understand that Israeli leaders were not bluffing.

Now Ya’alon has told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that, if Russia does decide to deliver those missiles to Russia (something not yet clear), “it will happen only in 2014.” (Emphasis added)

According to the Russian daily Kommersant, the S-300 missiles would only be delivered in the second quarter of 2014. What is more, they would not become operational for another six months because of required testing and training.

While a Lebanese paper, al-Diyar, reported that Putin has offered Assad other “effective and powerful weapons,” but obviously not as effective as those S-300 missiles.

And Israeli sources have learned that Syria has only paid one-third of its contract with Russia. “It is not clear to me that the Russians are interested in transferring the weapons. Right now, it’s more of a threat,” said Channel 2′s Ehud Ya’ari,


OK, then, A signal lesson in being tough and resolute.


Ah that Obama and company would learn something from this.

See the comment by Avraham Ben-Zvi that “Obama is no Kennedy”:

“Unlike during the Cuban missile crisis, the [Russians have] identified a profound and basic leadership void in Obama’s Washington.”



I remain aghast that in the face of all this Mideastern violence and upheaval Sec. of State Kerry remains focused on the “peace process.”

But at least our Defense Minister, Moshe Yaalon, see straight. Yesterday in his briefing before the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, he said that:

“The crux of the matter is education in the Palestinian Authority, and if I open a PA textbook and see that Israel doesn’t appear on the map, or that Tel Aviv is designated as a settlement, and when a 3-year-old boy is brought up to admire suicide bombers — you can sign any agreement and in the end it will blow up in your face.”

He also spoke about the very real threat of terror coming from Judea and Samaria, which is prevented by the IDF, which has freedom to operate. The implications of pulling back, then, are glaringly obvious.



Mahmoud Abbas, who functions as PA president (but is NOT president because his term of office expired in January 2009, and new elections were never held) has now appointed a replacement for Salam Fayyad, who retired as PR prime minister:

Rami Hamdallah, the British-educated linguist professor and president of an-Najah University, and a man with no political experience or affiliations. Guess that’s one way to quell partisan fighting about which candidate would be best.


Mahmoud Abbas, who functions as PA president (but is NOT president because his term of office expired in January 2009, and new elections were never held) has now appointed a replacement for Salam Fayyad, who retired as PR prime minister:

Rami Hamdallah, the British-educated linguist professor and president of an-Najah University, and a man with no political experience or affiliations. Guess that’s one way to quell partisan fighting about which candidate would be best.

A man like this is going to appeal to Western governments, which is likely a key reason for his selection by Abbas, who did not consult the PLO before making his announcement.

One has to wonder what would prompt this man to take such a position and what was said to him behind closed doors.

Barak Ravid opines that “His chances of success are so low that some would say agreeing to take the post is akin to taking a suicide mission.”



A expression of outrage that must be shared:

President Shimon Peres is about to celebrate his 90th birthday with a huge bash. Outrageous enough, but that’s not what’s got me here.

Within the same time frame as this event, there will be other events sponsored by the Jewish National Fund (Keren-Kayemet LeYisrael). Former president Bill Clinton will celebrate with Peres and give a talk on sustainability at the Peres Academic Center in Rehovot, which is where the birthday will be celebrated. (The precise connection to this event and other JNF events is not clear.)

The Clinton fee for this — which will go to the Clinton Foundation — is $500,000. And JNF is paying it! Got that?


Are you incensed yet?

JNF, which takes Jewish money ostensibly so that trees can be planted and Israel can be developed, paying Clinton half a million dollars. JNF defense is that this will promote an increase in activities. And I say, garbage.

I ask, please, that you register your protest to JNF and let them know you’re not only angry, but finished donating to them.

Means of contact provided on the website: [email protected] and (888) JNF-0099.

Regional offices can be located here: http://www.jnf.org/about-jnf/in-your-area/.


Let’s end on a positive note.

“The official PA daily reported on a visit by the PA Minister of Health, Hani Abdeen, to Israel’s Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem. The daily noted that 30% of the child patients in Hadassah are Palestinians and that the Israeli hospital is training ’60 Palestinian medical interns and specialist physicians who will be returning to the [Palestinian] Authority areas to carry out their work.’ The hospital has a special program to train Palestinian doctors to treat cancer among children, reported the PA daily.”



Forum: What Quality Was Or Is Most Important To You When It Comes To Seeking A Partner, Lover Or Spouse?

The Watcher’s Council

Every week on Monday morning, the Council and our invited guests weigh in at the Watcher’s Forum with short takes on a major issue of the day. This week’s question: What Quality Was Or Is Most Important To You When It Comes To Seeking A Partner, Lover Or Spouse?

The Razor: You make it sound like it’s a rational decision, like choosing between dishwasher detergents. Maybe I’m still romantic at heart but I don’t think reason plays much role in selecting a partner. Smarter people than me have written at length about attraction, including Desmond Morris, one of my favorite scientists. Where it comes in is after a long stretch of time, of unconscious day-to-day experience.

But one quality that did attract me to her was her forthrightness. I had been emotionally weakened by a series of dramatic emotional vampires who all delighted in constructing elaborate tests and vicious psychological games that looking back on it was as abusive to me psychologically as anything they could have physically done to me. She appeared and there were no games, no drama, no loaded questions. What you saw with her was you got. This had scared others away, fearing that it was an act and that she would be like the others, but she wasn’t.

And now, decades later I rely on that same no-nonsense quality that attracted me to her in the first place to keep me grounded. Whenever I begin to stray from who I am she’s there to call me on it. Sometimes it can be frustrating, when she says that a reaction I have to a particular event makes appear to be an “extremist.” But I trust her and question my reaction and when I do I find that I often respond in a knee-jerk way to a response that is easily misrepresented, misquoted or misguided on my part. She helps me to question my reaction, explore what underlies it and either come up with a better response or perhaps question the underlying assumption that caused the reaction.

In order for this to work one needs trust, and after all this time together I trust her more than I trust myself, so whenever we hit bumpy spots in our relationship that trust makes it easier to address the problem, find solutions and make apologies, swallowing as much pride as necessary.

Simply Jews: Yes, it’s an excellent and important question, the only problem is that:

1. I wouldn’t dare to consider that now, since SWMBO might misunderstand the direction of my thoughts, which may result… oh well, it’s irrelevant to the question itself.
2. The question itself is largely irrelevant in my age bracket.
3. And the truth is that I hardly remember anything of value about the whole “seeking a partner” business.

Still, from what I do remember about these early days, which happened to be my university years as well: seeking a partner is a highly distracting occupation that tends to cause unimaginable harm to one’s university studies and grades. Being young and… er… restless, one tends to focus on two main qualities of the potential partner: appearance* and the degree of readiness to show a merest shadow of sympathy to the clumsy advances one is displaying in such pathetic abundance.

Anyone who went through the process in his/her youth and mentions other qualities, may be considered unfit to belong to the brotherhood/sisterhood of mere humans. And start growing wings asap.

(*) If you are unsure of the meaning of that term, please don’t bother to ask.

JoshuaPundit: OK, we’re talking Troo Luv here, not casual encounters. I would have to say character (or perhaps shared values would be a better term) and what I can only describe as a quality of sensuousness. Intelligence is also a very attractive trait for me…and by that I don’t necessarily mean intellectual gymnastics.

Sensuousness to me means something beyond appearance. It’s how a woman carries herself, how comfortable she seems to be with her femininity, the way she smiles, how she speaks, the warmth she exudes, even how she smells to me.

Shared values are how you and someone else look at the world when it comes to the essential issues – what truth and honesty mean, what giving means, what ethics you embrace, how to treat someone you’re in a relationship with. With shared values you have someone you can build a life with. Without it, you’re constantly paddling in different directions.

When I met my wife I was a pretty happy and independent bachelor and not particularly looking to get married, but I was open to it (as almost everyone says) if I found the ‘right person’. We were set up on a date by a mutual friend who used a pretty devious strategy to get me to agree to it, and without going into t the hilarious details, it was a disaster. We were superficially very different people at first meeting, she behaved quite differently than the sort of women I was used to hanging out with, I’m sure I was not what she expected at all and she fled like an antelope as soon as she could. I never expected to see her again.

But a couple of days later, I got a call from her inviting me out to dinner. I had paid a decent sized tab at a restaurant for her and our friend, and she told me she wanted to reciprocate by taking me out in exchange. My first thought was to make an excuse and beg off, but then the following thoughts flashed through my mind in no particular order (a) it took real courage and a sense of fairness for her to call me back and offer to take me out after she’d had such an obviously lousy time – that really impressed me (b) she was pretty cute and (c) it was, after all, a free meal.

So I went on that second date.

We were married eight months later…

The Colossus of Rhodey: Sense of humor. Or, if that is lacking a bit, at least the ability to laugh … to let things go, and also to laugh at ME (because *I* joke around a lot). This was probably the main sticking point in my marriage of 20 years; increasingly it came to a point where I constantly had to watch what I said for “fear” of angering (or “embarrassing”) my spouse. Four years ago the breaking point was reached.

I now am with someone who appreciates my sense of humor and always thanks me for making her laugh. I can never adequately express how good that makes me feel.

Bookworm Room: Bone-deep kindness, a basic sense of respect for people, and a good sense of humor.

Well, there you have it.

Make sure to tune in every Monday for the Watcher’s Forum. And remember, every Wednesday, the Council has its weekly contest with the members nominating two posts each, one written by themselves and one written by someone from outside the group for consideration by the whole Council. The votes are cast by the Council and the results are posted on Friday morning.

It’s a weekly magazine of some of the best stuff written in the blogosphere and you won’t want to miss it.

And don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter… ’cause we’re cool like that, y’know?


Top Communist Compares Koch Bros., Republicans, to Nazis — Wants to Make All of U.S. Like California

By: Trevor Loudon
New Zeal

There’s a class war a-coming folks and a major part of setting the stage is demonizing the enemy.

Jarvis Tyner

Jarvis Tyner

In a recent speech to the party faithful, Communist Party USA number two man Jarvis Tyner compared Republicans and major donors to conservative and libertarian causes, the Koch Bros., to Nazis:

The extreme right Republicans have been the main obstacle to progressive change over the past 40 years. In alliance with the unreconstructed labor-hating Dixiecrats they have pushed war, racism, and austerity for working people while supporting the creation and cultivation of a whole new class of the super Billionaires who are at war with democracy. As I see it, the Koch Bros are today’s expression of German Industrialist like Alfred Krupp who was the big sponsor of Hitler and the Nazi Party.

Tyner also makes it clear that the party intends to mobilize the country’s poorest sectors to make sure the Republicans lose the House in 2014 and the Democrat/Communist Party agenda is allowed to roll on to completion:

2014 is approaching. Most of the 60 million SS recipients are barely making it and should get a subsidy or some kind of raise. Not cuts. And they vote…

Comrades, we must be among those organizers that are helping the millions to find there way to struggle.

The struggle continues. The battle ahead is clear. To move things forward, the labor and people’s multi-racial coalition that won the day last November needs to be in the streets in large numbers.

Politicians who align themselves with that coalition have to present a legislative and political program that is worth fighting for. In the style of the New Deal: We still have to make them do the right thing…we have to up the ante on mass struggle.

It’s already happening but it needs to be taken to a higher level.

People are ready to do big things to fight for their survival.

They seem to understand that united struggle, building movements is the answer. Struggle can win…

Tyner then went on to discuss the Republican’s demographics problem and how the Communists could exploit it:

Just last Sunday on the McLaughlin Report Pat Buchanan described their problem. He said, “non white voters are now 40% of the population and 30% of the electorate, but they vote 80% Democratic.””This country is becoming more like California,” he added, in California, “only 30% of the electorate votes Republican and there are No Republicans elected statewide.”

All I can say is California here we come. To reduce the most vociferous and well financed force on the right to only 30% of the vote nationally is something to work for. The democratic and independent progressive forces would have more space to put up more quality candidates that would fight harder for the people. We could win the fight to democratize the electoral system that would open the door to real electoral independence. A congressional majority that would fight for labor rights, peace, economic and social justice.

And if we build our party as part of this, comrades,

Big change is gonna come.

This isn’t a GOP versus Dems battle. This is a gradual communist takeover of the United States, very similar to that which is now unfolding in Venezuela. The party aims to use America’s poor, its Blacks and Latinos to forever marginalize and disenfranchise the country’s once all powerful conservative majority.

If the Communists and Democrats are allowed to consolidate their power much more, there will be no voting them out – ever.


AFDI free speech protest June 4 in Tennessee — where Obama’s DOJ says “anti-Muslim” speech can be punished

By: Nelson Abdullah
Conscience of a Conservative

Barack Obama addresses the 67th session of the United Nations General Assembly on Sept. 25, 2012.

AFDI free speech protest June 4 in Tennessee — where Obama’s DoJ says “anti-Muslim” speech can be punished

“Anti-Muslim” speech almost certainly includes truthful expositions of how jihadists use the texts and teachings of Islam to justify violence and supremacism. And so that means not only that this Justice Department initiative is an egregious violation of the First Amendment, but also that it is furthering the willful ignorance about the jihad threat that renders us all less safe.

AFDI and other pro-freedom organizations will be there. Join us for a demonstration for free speech on June 4th at 5:30pm Manchester-Coffee County Conference Center, 147 Hospitality Blvd, in Manchester, Tennessee. Then the DoJ event entitled “Public Disclosure in a Diverse Society” will be held from 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM at the Manchester-Coffee County Conference Center, 147 Hospitality Blvd, in Manchester, Tennessee. Speakers for the event will be Bill Killian, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Tennessee and the FBI special agent who runs the Knoxville office.

This is a serious challenge to our most fundamental freedom. Be there.

“Feds suggest anti-Muslim speech can be punished,” by Byron Tau in Politico, May 31 (thanks to all who sent this in):

A U.S. attorney in Tennessee is reportedly vowing to use federal civil rights statutes to clamp down on offensive and inflammatory speech about Islam.

Bill Killian, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Tennessee, was quoted by the Tullahoma News this week suggesting that some inflammatory material on Islam might run afoul of federal civil rights laws.

“We need to educate people about Muslims and their civil rights, and as long as we’re here, they’re going to be protected,” Killian told the newspaper.

Killian, along with the FBI special agent that runs the Knoxville office, are set to speak next week to a special meeting with the local Muslim community, informing them about their rights under federal law.

“This is an educational effort with civil rights laws as they play into freedom of religion and exercising freedom of religion,” Killian said about the meeting. “This is also to inform the public what federal laws are in effect and what the consequences are.”

Killian pointed to a recent controversy where a local Tennessee politician posted a photo of a man aiming a shotgun at the camera with the caption “How to wink at a Muslim.”

“If a Muslim had posted ‘How to Wink at a Christian,’ could you imagine what would have happened?” Killian asked, according to the newspaper.

The Department of Justice did not respond Friday to a question about what guidelines it draws concerning offensive speech and Islam, or whether the department believes that civil rights statutes could be used to stifle criticism of Islam.

While threats directed at individuals or small groups can lead to punishment, First Amendment experts expressed doubt that the government has any power to stop offensive material about Islam from circulating.

“He’s just wrong,” said Floyd Abrams, one of the country’s most respected First Amendment attorneys. “The government may, indeed, play a useful and entirely constitutional role in urging people not to engage in speech that amounts to religious discrimination. But it may not, under the First Amendment, prevent or punish speech even if it may be viewed as hostile to a religion.”

“And what it most clearly may not do is to stifle political or social debate, however rambunctious or offensive some may think it is,” Abrams said.

A conservative watchdog group, Judicial Watch, accused the Obama administration of using federal law to specifically protect Muslims from criticism.

“In its latest effort to protect followers of Islam in the U.S. the Obama Justice Department warns against using social media to spread information considered inflammatory against Muslims, threatening that it could constitute a violation of civil rights,” the group wrote in a blog post.

In recent years, the federal government has faced difficult questions about how to respond to material posted about Islam and the Prophet Muhammed — especially when the content causes riots or attacks abroad….

The questions really aren’t all that difficult. The U.S. government should protect the freedom of expression, and explain why it is important. Instead, this travesty in Tennessee.
Posted by Robert on June 2, 2013 5:13 PM


If you live in Tennessee, please join Pamela Geller in a major demonstration for free speech on June 4th at 5:30pm Manchester-Coffee County Conference Center, 147 Hospitality Blvd, in Manchester, Tennessee. fight-the-time-is-now-tennessee-is-the-battle-join-us.html


Washington Post 03:46 PM ET, 09/26/2012

Obama: ‘The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam’
By Georgetown / On Faith

“The impulse towards intolerance and violence may initially be focused on the West, but over time it cannot be contained. The same impulses toward extremism are used to justify war between Sunni and Shia, between tribes and clans. It leads not to strength and prosperity but to chaos. In less than two years, we have seen largely peaceful protests bring more change to Muslim-majority countries than a decade of violence. And extremists understand this. Because they have nothing to offer to improve the lives of people, violence is their only way to stay relevant. They don’t build; they only destroy. […] The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam. But to be credible, those who condemn that slander must also condemn the hate we see in the images of Jesus Christ that are desecrated, or churches that are destroyed, or the Holocaust that is denied.”

Addressing the U.N. General Assembly, President Obama calls for tolerance and speaks out against violence.

Read more in the Faith 2012 Quote Archives.

President Barack Obama addresses the 67th session of the United Nations General Assembly on Sept. 25, 2012. (AP)