Blogs

Obama's Intelligence Choice By Gabriel Schoenfeld

Obama's Intelligence Choice
The president picks a China apologist and Israel basher to write his intelligence summaries.

By GABRIEL SCHOENFELD

During the presidential campaign, a constant refrain of Barack Obama and other Democratic candidates was that the Bush administration had severely politicized intelligence, resulting in such disasters as the war in Iraq.

The irony of course is that, if anything, President Bush badly failed at depoliticizing a CIA that was often hostile to his agenda. Witness the repeated leaks of classified information that undercut his policies. It now appears Mr. Obama has appointed a highly controversial figure to head the National Intelligence Council, which is responsible for producing National Intelligence Estimates. The news Web site Politico.com yesterday reported that it could confirm rumors that a former Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Charles "Chas" Freeman Jr., has been appointed chairman. (My calls to the White House and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence produced neither confirmation nor denial.)

Obama Naïveté at the U.N. By Anne Bayefsky


Obama Naïveté at the U.N.
By Anne Bayefsky

In a major foreign-policy decision taken over the weekend, President Obama has decided to legitimize the United Nations’s “anti-racism” forum known as Durban II. State Department officials announced in a press release buried on Saturday, that starting today the United States will attend for the first time the preparatory meetings of this controversial U.N. conference. The “Durban Review Conference,” scheduled for April in Geneva, is the progenitor of the anti-semitic hatefest that took place in South Africa in early September 2001.

The searing images of the demonization of America and Jews on the U.N.’s global stage, and the terrorism in New York 72 hours later, should have made joining this revived forum for U.N.-driven hate inconceivable. But President Obama seems intent on learning the lessons of history — and the relationship between hatemongering and violence — the hard way.

Benedict's tragedy, and Israel's by Spengler

Benedict's tragedy, and Israel's
By Spengler

World history is the history of Israel, argued the great German-Jewish theologian Franz Rosenzweig - not the tiny Jewish nation as such, but the Jewish idea, embraced by billions in the form of Christianity, or parodied and rejected by additional billions in Islam. The trouble is that no one wants to actually be Israel, least of all the Jews, who recite with fervor the prayer of Sholom Aleichem's Tevye: "God of mercy, choose a different people!" Jealousy at Israel's Election has provoked the persecution of the Jews for millennia, and it is not surprising that many Jews look for safety in insignificance.

Like many Jewish prayers, Tevye's prayer to be un-chosen also has become popular among some Catholics. The Catholic Church holds itself to be Israel, the People of God descended from Abraham in the Spirit. But many Catholics, including some in leading positions in the Roman Curia, think it an affront to the sensibilities of other cultures to insist on the unique role of the Church. At the other extreme , misnamed traditionalists do not think that the mustard-seed of faith is sufficient, and that the Church cannot fulfill its function without returning to the bygone days of state religion. Pope Benedict XVI, like his predecessor John Paul II, has fought manfully against these prospective deserters within his ranks. The tawdry burlesque over the case of the paranoid Jew-hater and Holocaust denier Richard Williamson is a sad gauge of his degree of success.

Obama has begun discreet talks with Iran, Syria


Obama has begun discreet talks with Iran, Syria

AFP Jan 31 10:59 PM US/Eastern

US President Barack Obama has already used experts within the last few months to hold high-level but discreet talks with both Iran and Syria, organizers of the meetings told AFP.

Officially, Obama's overtures toward both Tehran and Damascus have remained limited.

In an interview broadcast Monday, Obama said the United States would offer arch-foe Iran an extended hand of diplomacy if the Islamic Republic's leaders "unclenched their fist."

Eradicating the 'Little Satan' By Ze'ev Maghen


Eradicating the 'Little Satan'
The West should take Iran's threats to Israel seriously.

By ZE'EV MAGHEN

The accession of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to the presidency of the Islamic Republic of Iran has been accompanied by a sharp transformation in the Iranian attitude to, and depiction of, the state of Israel. This change includes not only an amplification of the traditional hostility toward the Jewish polity, but also—most ominously—a new conception of that polity as weak and unstable, an easy target for a united Muslim (or united Shiite) offensive.

Israel, Iran and the Bomb By John R. Bolton

The Wall Street Journal

OPINION

Israel, Iran and the Bomb
By JOHN R. BOLTON
July 15, 2008; Page A19

Iran's test salvo of ballistic missiles last week together with recent threatening rhetoric by commanders of the Islamic Republic's Revolutionary Guards emphasizes how close the Middle East is to a fundamental, in fact an irreversible, turning point.

Tehran's efforts to intimidate the United States and Israel from using military force against its nuclear program, combined with yet another diplomatic charm offensive with the Europeans, are two sides of the same policy coin. The regime is buying the short additional period of time it needs to produce deliverable nuclear weapons, the strategic objective it has been pursuing clandestinely for 20 years.

America's special grace By Spengler

Jul 8, 2008

America's special grace
By Spengler

To ascribe a special grace to America is outrageous, as outrageous
as the idea of special grace itself. Why shouldn't everyone be
saved? Why aren't all individuals, nations, peoples and cultures
equally deserving? History seems awfully unfair: half or more of
the world's 7,000 or so languages will be lost by 2100, linguists
warn, and at present fertility rates Italian, German, Ukrainian,
Hungarian and a dozen other major languages will die a century or
so later. The agony of dying nations rises in reproach to
America's unheeding prosperity.

Israel Is Paying For Its Defeat By Jeff Jacoby

ISRAEL IS PAYING FOR ITS DEFEAT

By Jeff Jacoby

The Boston Globe

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

It was two years ago this month that Israel and Hezbollah went to war.

On July 12, 2006, Hezbollah, an Iranian-sponsored and Syrian-backed political and terrorist organization, staged an unprovoked raid across the Lebanon-Israel border, killing three Israelis and kidnapping two others, Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser. The war that ensued -- a war for which Hezbollah had openly prepared for six years, constructing fortified bunkers and amassing thousands of Katyusha artillery rockets along the border -- was a disaster for Israel. The fighting lasted for 33 bloody days, during which Israel achieved none of its key objectives: It didn't destroy Hezbollah, it didn't stop the barrage of rockets slamming into its northern cities, and it didn't rescue its kidnapped soldiers.

The Shame Of It All by Daniel Gordis

The Shame Of It All
March 7, 2008

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

There were days, and they were not that long ago, when Zionism was about something
different. Days when Zionists could articulate what the purpose of Jewish Statehood
was, days when Israelis understood that having a state was about changing the existential
condition of the Jew. Not anymore.

Hayyim Nachman Bialik, writing in 1905 shortly after the slaughter in Kishinev,
understood that the very essence of Jewish existence had to change. What else could
he possibly have been saying in his epic poem, "The City of Slaughter" (scroll down to the two paragraphs that begin with the lines
"Descend then, to the cellars of the town"), when he describes the mass rape scene in
which Jewish women are helpless victims and Jewish men are powerless to intervene? In fact,
for Bialik, the villains of the scene are not the Cossacks; rape and murder are simply what
Cossacks do. The problem with what happened in Kishinev, Bialik intimates with his
bitter irony, rests with the Jewish men. It's bad enough that they were too weak
to intervene, to defend their wives, their sisters, their mothers and their daughters,
though that is clearly lamentable. But worse than that, they were too frightened
to even try. And even worse than that, Bialik says, is that when the slaughter
and the butchery were over, these men looked down at the broken bodies of the women
that they had supposedly once loved, and instead of holding them, instead of telling
them that they still loved them, instead of assuring them that they would take care
of them no matter what, they gazed at these violated, half-dead women, and saw a
halakhic question. "Is my wife," the Kohanim in Bialik's poem want to know, "still
permitted to me?"

Staying to Help in Iraq By Angelina Jolie

washingtonpost.com

Staying to Help in Iraq
We have finally reached a point where humanitarian assistance,
from us and others, can have an impact.

By Angelina Jolie
Thursday, February 28, 2008; 1:15 PM

The request is familiar to American ears: "Bring them home."

But in Iraq, where I've just met with American and Iraqi leaders,
the phrase carries a different meaning. It does not refer to the
departure of U.S. troops, but to the return of the millions of
innocent Iraqis who have been driven out of their homes and, in
many cases, out of the country.

In the six months since my previous visit to Iraq with the United

Syndicate content