Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Of pipelines and pipedreams: Obama’s drilling deception

Michelle Malkin • March 31, 2010

Before he was for it:

The Obama administration is proposing to open vast expanses of water along the Atlantic coastline, the eastern Gulf of Mexico and the north coast of Alaska to oil and natural gas drilling, much of it for the first time, officials said Tuesday.

The proposal — a compromise that will please oil companies and domestic drilling advocates but anger some residents of affected states and many environmental organizations — would end a longstanding moratorium on oil exploration along the East Coast from the northern tip of Delaware to the central coast of Florida, covering 167 million acres of ocean. If this were a sincere change of heart and an honest, stand-alone effort to wean America off foreign oil, it would be worth heralding.

But as always with this administration, there’s a catch, via the American Energy Alliance:

“One major flashpoint in the negotiations has been whether to share drilling revenue with states and to allow states to opt in or out of drilling along their coastlines. It was unclear late Tuesday whether Obama endorses revenue-sharing for states. “It appears the Northern Atlantic and entire Pacific Coast will now be under a de facto ban” for drilling, said Patrick Creighton, a spokesman for the Institute for Energy Research. Even if drilling is ultimately allowed in part of the Atlantic, Creighton said, revenue sharing is an essential incentive for states. The administration’s plans could meet resistance from at least 10 Senate Democrats representing coastal and Great Lakes states who last week raised concerns about “unfettered access to oil and gas drilling” that could jeopardize fishing, tourism and military exercises. The Interior Department retooled the current schedule of offshore leases governing 2007 through 2012 after a federal appeals court last April ruled that the second Bush administration had not done a sufficient environmental review of expanded drilling off the Alaskan coast.

GOP Rep. Mike Pence adds:

“As usual the devil is in the details. Only in Washington, D.C., can you ban more areas to oil and gas exploration than you open up, delay the date of your new leases and claim you’re going to increase production.

“The President’s announcement today is a smokescreen. It will almost certainly delay any new offshore exploration until at least 2012 and include only a fraction of the offshore resources that the previous Administration included in its plan.

“Unfortunately, this is yet another feeble attempt to gain votes for the President’s national energy tax bill that is languishing in the Senate. At the end of the day this Administration’s energy plan is simple: increase the cost of energy on every family in America and trade American jobs oversees at a time when millions of Americans are looking for work.”

Go to:

This says it all about Palestinian media-you think the information you are getting is true?

31/03/2010 01:50

Journalists who met Israeli colleagues face expulsion from Fatah-run syndicate.

Palestinian journalists who last week met with their Israeli colleagues and an IDF spokesman in Tel Aviv have come under fire from both Hamas and Fatah.

The trip was arranged by the non-profit Israel advocacy group The Israel Project, whose Web site described the group as “an international non-profit organization devoted to educating the press and the public about Israel while promoting security, freedom and peace.” The journalists met with Maj. Avichai Edri, head of the Arabic-language branch of the IDF Spokesman’s Office.

Three of the journalists – Lana Shaheen, Mueen al-Hilu and Abdel Salam Abu Askar – are from the Gaza Strip, while another two are from the West Bank.

They now face expulsion from the Fatah-controlled Palestinian Journalists Syndicate on charges of promoting normalization with Israel.

The syndicate decided to establish a committee to question the journalists who went to Tel Aviv about their motives and the identity of the party behind the invitation.

The syndicate is also planning to hold an emergency meeting next week to discuss punitive measures against Palestinian journalists who defy a ban on normalization of relations with Israel.

Hamas has also condemned the Palestinian journalists as “collaborators.” Hamas officials claimed that some of the journalists were known as supporters of Mohammed Dahlan, a former Fatah security commander in the Gaza Strip.

Several Hamas-affiliated groups said that the journalists who visited Israel would be put on a “black list” – a sign that they would be boycotted by their colleagues and the government institutions.

One of the groups, the Democratic Press Association, called on the journalists to “repent” and express publicly apologize for visiting the “Zionist entity and meeting with Zionist reporters.”

It described the journalists’ visit to Tel Aviv as a “despicable and harmful” act, saying it came at a time when the “Zionist occupation army was killing Palestinians. This visit does not represent the positions and morals of Palestinian journalists.”

Wisam Afifeh, editor-in-chief of Hamas’s Al-Resalah newspaper, said that condemnations were not enough. He called on all Palestinian journalists to “disown” and “distance” themselves from the journalists who were invited to Tel Aviv.

Ahmed Daloul, a Palestinian journalist from the Gaza Strip, also launched a scathing attack on the same journalists, accusing them of embarking on an “adventure” aimed at normalizing ties with Israel.

“These journalists did not leave the besieged Gaza Strip to receive education or medical treatment or to defend their cause, but to tour Tel Aviv and meet with Zionist journalists,” he said. “The climax of their visit was a meeting with an Israeli army spokesman.”
Daloul added: “It’s really a tragedy that these people call themselves Palestinian journalists. By getting involved in normalization [with Israel], they dealt a blow to their people and colleagues, whose image has now been tarnished.”

Comment: This blog reported how the news leaves the Palestinian areas and ultimately gets to your living room-very few believed me and fewer took heed.If you do not question every story coming out of these areas now than you are agenda driven and anti-honesty and truth. I have little to no respect for certain CNN reporters and "analysts" any more. They know all about the system of corrupt news reporting and dissemination yet they never vet their stories and present them as though they were the truth. One such "lady" now has her own show on CNN, her biase is worn on her sleeves and her lack of integrity as a reporter is beyond the pale-yet, she now has her own show.

Just Say “No”: I Get Personally Invited to Help the Obama Administration Engage—and Thus Strengthen--Terrorists

Barry Rubin

Friedrich Nietzsche famously said, “That which does not kill me makes me stronger.” A good Middle East equivalent, at least among the anti-democratic forces, would be: That which does not scare me makes me bolder.

Can things get worse with the Obama Administration’s foreign—and especially Middle East--policy? Yes, it’s not inevitable but I have just seen personally a dangerous example of what could be happening next. In fact, I never expected that the administration would try to recruit me in this campaign, as you'll see starting with paragraph seven. First, a little background. One of the main concerns with the Obama Administration is that it would go beyond just engaging Syria and Iran, turning a blind eye to radical anti-American activities throughout the region.

To cite some examples, it has not supported Iraq in its protests about Syrian-backed terror, even though the group involved is al-Qaida, with which the United States is supposedly at war. Nor has it launched serious efforts to counter Iran’s help to terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan or even Tehran’s direct cooperation with al-Qaida. We know about many of these points because of General David Petraeus’s remarks, buried in his congressional testimony but not trumpeted by the mass media.

Beyond this, though, there has been the possibility of the U.S. government engaging Hizballah. It is inadequate to describe Hizballah as only a terrorist movement. But it is accurate to describe it as: a Lebanese Shia revolutionary Islamist movement that seeks to gain control over Lebanon, is deeply anti-American, is a loyal client of Iran and Syria, uses large amounts of terrorism, and is committed to Israel’s destruction. Hizballah engages in Lebanese politics, including elections, as one tactic in trying to fulfill these goals.

We have seen steps by the current British government toward engaging Hizballah. And the rationale for doing so is based partly on the fact that Hizballah is now part of the Lebanese governing coalition. Of course, in playing a role in that coalition, Hizballah tries to ensure Syria-Iranian hegemony, threatens the lives of American personnel, and other activities designed to destroy any U.S. influence in the region.

And let’s remember that Hizballah may well have been involved in the murder of courageous politicians and journalists in Lebanon who opposed Syria-Iran-Hizballah control over their country. True, direct involvement hasn’t been proven but they are accessories since they have done everything possible to kill the international investigation into the matter. And the trail certainly leads back to their Syrian patrons.

Here’s where I come in. I have received a letter asking me personally to help with a research project. I have spoken to well-informed people who tell me that the statements I am about to quote are accurate. It is highly possible that the link with the Obama Administration is exaggerated, but this indeed does come from the White House’s favorite think tank.

While not mentioning the names of those involved they are known for supporting the idea that Hizballah is really quite moderate. The letter says that this is a project for the Center for American Progress and that the results “will be presented to senior U.S. policymakers in the administration.”

I am asked to participate by giving my opinions on how the United States can deal with Hizballah “short of engagement” and “would Israeli leaders see benefit in the U.S. talking with Hizballah about issues which are of crucial importance to Israel?”

Answer to first question: Oppose it in every way possible.

Answer to second question: What the [insert obscene words I don’t use] do you think they would say!

The letter continues:

“As you've noted, some like John Brennan [advisor to the president on terrorism] is already thinking about a more flexible policy towards Hizballah and it would be extremely useful to get your views on this to ensure anything decided is done properly.”

I read this letter—and that impression is confirmed by those knowledgeable about this project and those involved—as saying that the Center for American Progress is going to issue a report calling for U.S. engagement with Hizballah, and that it has been encouraged to do so by important officials in the Obama Administration.

The phrase “to ensure anything decided is done properly,” I take as a give-away to the fact that they are going to push for direct dealing with Hizballah but want to be able to say that they had listened to alternative views.

They merely, I am told by those who know about this project, intend to talk to some who disagree for appearances’ sake and throw in a sentence or two to give the report the slightest tinge of balance.

The person heading this project has already endangered the lives of brave Lebanese. For example, he claimed without foundation that Christians were planning to launch a war on Hizballah, providing a splendid rationale for Hizballah to murder opponents on the excuse of doing so in self-defense. Accepting Hizballah rule is defined as the Christians recognizing they are a minority and trying to get along with their Muslim neighbors.

In other words, those opposing Hizballah are presented as aggressors while Hizballah is just the reasonable party that wants to get along. Moreover all this leaves out the community, about the same size as the Christians and Shia Muslims, that has been leading the resistance to Syria, Iran, and Hizballah: the Sunni Muslims.

In short, the person directing the project talks like a virtual agent of Hizballah and its allies, basically repeating what they tell him.

Aside from the fact that Hizballah is not and will not be moderate there are two other problems that these silly people don’t comprehend.

The first is the signal that such statements send to Arabs and especially Lebanese. Concluding that the United States is selling them out and jumping onto the side of the Islamist revolutionaries (an idea that sounds implausible in Washington but very easily accepted as true in Riyadh, Beirut, Amman, and Cairo), Arab moderates will be demoralized, rush to become appeasers, and seek to cut their own deals with what they perceive as the winning side.

The second is the signal that such statements send to the radicals themselves. Concluding that the United States fears them and acknowledges their moral superiority and strategic success, they will be more arrogant and aggressive.

Friedrich Nietzsche famously said, “That which does not kill me makes me stronger.” A good Middle East equivalent would be: That which does not scare me makes me bolder.

The last time I was in this situation, it involved a government-funded report about Islamist movements. What I didn't know is that the word had been passed to the project director from the government agency that he was supposed to urge engagement with Islamists. The intention was to keep out anything critical of the idea. At first, then, I was told to my surprise that my paper would be responded to by another paper written by a supporter of engaging Islamists.

When my paper was submitted, however, it was apparently too strong, it was quickly rejected in an insulting way, and I wasn't paid for my work. The fix was in and those involved were richly rewarded for saying what was wanted, though the actual implementation of such a policy would be disastrous for U.S. interests, as well as for millions of Arabs as well as Israelis.

Friends of mine have had similar experiences recently regarding papers arguing, for example, that engaging Syria is a great idea and that Damascus can be made moderate and split away from Iran. This is all nonsense, but honors and money are to be gained by saying such things.

So I’m not going to help provide a fig leaf for something masquerading as a serious study but set up to advocate a dreadful policy. It would be the equivalent of participating in a mid-1930s’ project designed to show that Germany had no more ambitions in Europe, a mid-1940s’ project that the USSR wanted to be friends, or a late 1970s’ project that Ayatollah Khomeini was a moderate and that an Islamist Iran would pose no threats.

It’s bad enough to live through an era of dangerous and terrible policy decisions, it’s much worse to be complicit in them.

Optional note: I didn't put in links but you can find extensive materials on British moves toward engaging Hizballah; Brennan's views; Hizballah threats against U.S. officials; close connections with Iran and Syria, Iranian and Syrian involvement in anti-American terrorism; and other such matters in my previous articles.

Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. His latest books are The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition), The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley), and The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan). His new edited books include Lebanon: Liberation, Conflict and Crisis; Guide to Islamist Movements; Conflict and Insurgency in the Middle East; and The Muslim Brotherhood.

Israel's Crisis and Opportunity

Steven M. Goldberg
Rahm Emanuel famously proclaimed, "You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that is it's an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before." Ironically, although the President's Chief of Staff has proven to be a false friend of Israel, the leadership of the Jewish State would do well to heed his advice. That Israel is in peril is obvious. Israel's enemies sense the opportunity to destroy it through a perfect storm, a confluence of events that seem to leave Israel reeling and vulnerable. First and foremost is the unmistakable betrayal by the President of the United States, who has loudly broadcast his eagerness to sacrifice the security of the Jewish State to appease the Muslim world. Israel is under enormous duress to surrender vital territory to allow for the creation of a Palestinian state within its borders. That such a development would be catastrophic for Israel is apparent to anyone who knows history. As former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin stated, "The Palestinian state can only emerge on the ruins of Israel."

In addition, Iran is hell-bent on developing nuclear weapons, and it is clear that the international community will do nothing to stop it. President Obama appears to be pressuring Israel to refrain from military action to stop the Iranian threat. Hezb'allah and Hamas have restocked their arsenals of rockets and missiles, which now threaten to reach the center of Israel, including Tel Aviv. The European Union is championing the Fayed Plan, pursuant to which the Palestinian Authority would unilaterally announce the establishment of the Palestinian state, which would shortly thereafter be recognized by the United Nations Security Council. In view of President Obama's indifference and even antipathy to Israel, the United States cannot be counted on to exercise its veto.

Ominous as all this seems, Israel has the opportunity to seize the moment and secure its future. The actions required are not for the faint of heart.

With regard to Iran, Israel can let the United States know in no uncertain terms that it will take military action against Iran, with or without American assistance. If the Obama administration balks, and perhaps even threatens to withhold military hardware to Israel that might be necessary for a successful conventional strike, Israel can advise the United States, discreetly yet firmly, that it has non-conventional options, i.e., tactical nuclear weapons.

Such an admonition is not unprecedented. It has been reported that in 1973, during the first desperate hours of the Yom Kippur War, Prime Minister Golda Meir warned the Nixon administration that Israel would have no choice but to resort to the nuclear option if conventional military resupplies were not forthcoming. Shortly after this communication by the Israeli Prime Minister, the Americans provided the assistance the Israelis needed to turn the tide in the war.

The situation is equally dire now. The possibility that Israel will resort to tactical nuclear weapons against Iran should be sufficient to convince the Obama administration to support Israel's attack with conventional weapons. If not, however, Israel must be prepared to carry out its threat. Failure against Iran is not an option.

With regard to the Palestinians, Israel need not sit idly by as the Palestinians carry out their threat to have the United Nations impose the creation of a Palestinian state, which would run afoul of the Oslo Accords and the Roadmap, which require a negotiated agreement by the parties, not an imposed solution.

A cardinal legal principle is that the violation of a contract by one party entitles the other party to rescind the contract. The Palestinians have repeatedly flouted both the Oslo Accords and the Roadmap. Israel can and should declare that those agreements have been abrogated. In their place, Israel can announce its annexation of Judea and Samaria. The Arabs residing in Palestinian cities will receive full civil and religious rights, but not political rights, which would be consistent with the Balfour Declaration of 1917 as well as the Mandate for Palestine that was adopted by the League of Nations in 1922 and ratified by the United States in 1924.

As for a Palestinian state, Israel would declare that issue to be dead as a doornail. Any such entity, if it is to be created, will be carved out of neighboring Arab lands, not out of the tiny piece of land afforded the Jewish State.

The international condemnation that will follow will be great, but history teaches that it will be short-lived. The world will be a different place after an attack on Iran, and much of the international community will be silently grateful to Israel for ridding the Middle East of the Iranian menace. Anti-Semitism will never be eradicated, and thus Israel will always have enemies, but those enemies can be kept at bay if, and only if, they are convinced that Israel has demonstrated the will to do whatever is necessary to prevail.

Converting Israel's crisis into an opportunity will require extraordinary leadership. Israel's leaders will need strategic vision, decisiveness, steady nerves, unflinching determination, and absolute confidence in the justice of the cause. American Jewry will also have a critical role to play. We will need to dig deep, find our inner strength, coalesce, and defend the Jewish nation. There is, however, no choice. It is a matter of life or death.

Steven M. Goldberg is a trial lawyer in Los Angeles who is involved in a number of Jewish organizations, including the Children of Jewish Holocaust Survivors.

Page Printed from: at March 31, 2010 - 11:16:52 AM CDT

Leading Islamic Organization in Indonesia Sanctions Pedophilia

Paul Williams, PhD

One of the world’s largest Islamic organizations has issued a religious ruling stating that Muslims should feel free to marry prepubescent girls as young as six or seven. Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) further ruled that Muslim men may have intimate relationships, including intercourse, with such young children “as long as they are able.” The organization boasts a membership of 30 million throughout Indonesia, including Java, where President Barack Obama lived with his mother and stepfather, Lolo Soetoro. Mr. Soetoro, who served as an army geologist and government relations consultant in Jakarta, reportedly remained a member of NU until his death of liver cancer in 1981.

Cholil Nafis, NU’s secretary of the committee for religious issues, made the announcement sanctioning pedophilia at the conclusion of the organization’s 32nd Congress. Sacred Islamic verses, Mr. Nafis said, do not stipulate a minimum age for a young girl to marry or a certain age for connubial sexual activity. “They can get married at any age, even girls who haven’t started menstruating,” he announced. “And they can have intimate relationships and intercourse, as long as they are able.”

Nafis also said Islamic law suggested only that marriages would be better after a woman had her first period. “As long as the objectives of the marriage are positive, it is allowed,” Mr. Cholil continued. “Mind you, we don’t encourage people just to get married to fulfill their desires, no.”

The edict drew immediate criticism from Komnas Perempuan (KP), the National Commission on Violence Against Women in Jakarta. KP Vice Chairwoman Masruchah said the edict violates the Law on Child Protection, which defines children as being younger than 18 years old. Girls can begin to have their periods as early as the age of 9, but their reproductive system is still fragile and they are “not ready to be a sexually active person,” Ms. Masruchah told the press. Contributing Editor Paul L. Williams is the author of The Day of Islam: The Annihilation of America and the Western World, The Al Qaeda Connection, and other best-selling books. He is a frequent guest on such national news networks as ABC News, CBS News, Fox News, MSNBC, and NPR. Visit his website at

Comment: I await to hear from those Muslims who stand against this ruling-please respond to this post.

One Nation Under Arrest

Heritage Foundation

Before President Barack Obama took over the White House, no United States citizen had ever been forced by the federal government to buy a product against their will. But now, thanks to the passage of Obamacare, Americans, by dint of their mere existence, are now required to purchase Obama administration approved health insurance or face a penalty assessed through the Internal Revenue Code. This is simply unprecedented. The income tax doesn't kick in until an American earns income. Auto liability insurance doesn't become mandated until an American chooses to drive (and even then it's only by the state). And farmers must first grow food before they are subject to the regulations of the Department of Agriculture. But facing federal government sanction for simply breathing? That is a troubling assault on American liberty.

Unfortunately, Obamacare is just the latest example of the growing reach of the federal government into all aspects of our lives.
While the final bill passed by Congress specifically made the noncompliance with an IRS individual mandate penalty not a crime, far too often when the spotlight of American attention is not focused on an issue, Congress has gone ahead and criminalized what was once before perfectly normal behavior. Consider, for example, small-time inventor and entrepreneur Krister Evertson, whose story is recounted by Heritage fellows Brian Walsh and Hans von Spakovsky:

In May 2004, FBI agents driving a black Suburban and wearing SWAT gear ran Evertson off the road near his mother's home in Wasilla, Alaska. When Evertson was face down on the pavement with automatic weapons trained on him, an FBI agent told him he was being arrested because he hadn't put a federally mandated sticker on a UPS package.

A jury in federal court in Alaska acquitted Evertson, but the feds weren't finished. They reached into their bag of over 4,500 federal crimes and found another ridiculous crime they could use to prosecute him: supposedly "abandoning" hazardous waste (actually storing, in appropriate containers, valuable materials he was using for the clean-fuel technology he was developing). A second jury convicted him, and he spent 21 months in an Oregon federal prison.

Putting the wrong stamp on a package. Storing your own property own your own land. When did these actions become federal crimes? Why? How can we stop them? A new book launched yesterday and published by The Heritage Foundation answers these questions. One Nation Under Arrest: How Crazy Laws, Rogue Prosecutors, and Activist Judges Threaten Your Liberty documents how over the past 50 years the politicization of American criminal law and practice has created traps for millions of innocent and unwary Americans and threatens to make criminals out of those who are just doing their best to be respectable, law abiding citizens.

In 1998, an American Bar Association task force estimated that there were over 3,000 federal criminal offenses scattered throughout the 50 titles of the United States Code. Just six years later, that number is estimated to be over 4,000 and Columbia law professor John Coffee estimates that the federal government could use the criminal process to enforce as many as 300,000 federal regulations.

Lavrentiy Beria, the chief of the Soviet security and secret police under Stalin reputedly said, "Show me the man, and I'll find you the crime." Our country is by no means a Soviet police state yet, but a federal government empowered with a sprawling code that makes all of us potential criminals is more than just an existential threat to American Liberty. This overcriminalization trend must end. Become informed. Learn the issues. Buy the book. And fight back.

Inner Cabinet Chilly to Obama's Demand for Freeze in Jerusalem

Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu Building Freeze in Jerusalem?

U.S. President Barack Obama wants Israel to extend its temporary building freeze for Jews in Judea and Samaria to include parts of Jerusalem, according to the left-wing Haaretz newspaper. However, most Inner Cabinet ministers already have rejected the idea. Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, a member of the seven-member Inner Cabinet, said earlier this week, “I have not seen anyone among the seven who has consented to this [building freeze]. The past few days have taught me that there is no point to further concessions.”

He confirmed that President Obama asked for a building freeze in most areas in Jerusalem where the United States does not recognize Israeli sovereignty. The freeze proposal reportedly would be for four months, ending at about the same the 10-month building freeze in Judea and Samaria is supposed to expire.

In return, the Palestinian Authority would agree to direct talks, which has been PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’ condition for direct discussions with Israel. He also has presented the Jewish State with demands for recognizing the PA as a country, with Jerusalem as its capital as well as PA sovereignty over all areas of the city that were restored to Israel in the Six-Day War in 1967.

The report was also published in the Washington Post, which claimed the government may reach a “quiet understanding” without formally announcing a building freeze, although it is not known if that would be satisfactory to Abbas. The government has not commented on the report, but other Cabinet ministers have made it clear that stopping construction for Jews in the capital is out of the question.

Benny Begin, a member of the Inner Cabinet, said that even Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s concession to agree to discuss with Abbas the final status of Jerusalem will bring about a hardening in the policy of the Arabs and of the Palestinian Authority.

Abbas Urged Israel to Topple Hamas in Cast Lead, Says Lieberman

Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
A7 News

Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas urged Israel to topple the Hamas government in Gaza during the Operation Cast Lead campaign last year, according to Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman.

A former close aide to former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert confirmed Lieberman’s claim, which was rejected by Abbas aide Nabil Abu Rdainah, who told Reuters, “This is not true. It is a continuation of the campaign of defamation ... to create an atmosphere that would destroy any chance of salvaging the peace process.” Although Lieberman was not a member of the Olmert government during Cast Lead, the former Olmert official confirmed to Reuters that his account was "essentially accurate."

Lieberman accused Abbas of duping Israel by asking the government to topple Hamas and then alleging that Israel was guilty of ”war crimes” in the three-week counterterrorist campaign. "A month after the operation ended, he filed a complaint against us with the International Court of Justice at The Hague for war crimes. Is that a partner?" Lieberman asked in an interview with a Hebrew-language newspaper.

Hamas previously has criticized Abbas for not being more vocal against Cast Lead and for not initially backing the Goldstone Report alleging Israel with committing war crimes. Lieberman’s comments “reaffirm the fact that Mahmoud Abbas is no longer fit to represent our people,” said Hamas spokesman Sami abu Zuhri. He charged that Abbas “conspired against his people during a war.”

The Go-Between

Chicago lawyer Alan Solow is the putative spokesman for American Jewry, but does he have what it takes to manage the community's increasingly complex relationship with the Obama Administration?

By Allison Hoffman

Alan Solow at a meeting of Jewish community leaders with President Obama at the White House, July 13, 2009.

On March 9, a few hours after Israel’s Shas-controlled Interior Ministry announced that it intended to build 1,600 new housing units in East Jerusalem, about 30 members of Chicago’s Jewish community relations council gathered for a lunchtime meeting on the sixth floor of the city’s Jewish Federation building, in the Loop. Over vegetable soup and grilled salmon, some of them discussed the smiling press appearance Vice-President Joe Biden, visiting Jerusalem, had given earlier in the day with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, at which the pair declared the bond between the United States and Israel to be “unbreakable.” After lunch, a lawyer named Alan Solow, a former leader of the council who was one of Obama’s most energetic campaign fundraisers, was invited to the podium to discuss his recent mission to Israel—a trip he made in his current capacity as the chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, the 56-year-old umbrella group that represents the interests of the organized American Jewish community to the Administration. “The political situation inside Israel is stable,” declared Solow, who spoke comfortably in his pronounced Chicago accent for about 15 minutes, from scribbled notes. “There is a better relationship between Obama and Netanyahu—it’s improved from the early days of both the Obama and the Netanyahu Administrations. What we’re seeing is the benefit of the passage of time.” As for Biden, with whom he had met the week before in Washington, Solow added, “I’m not surprised his visit to Israel has been a positive one.”

By the time Solow got back to his office, on the 19th floor of a tower up the street from City Hall, his blue-jacketed BlackBerry was buzzing with news to the contrary, provoking a cluck of exasperation. The vice president had just released a harshly worded statement: “I condemn the decision by the government of Israel to advance planning for new housing units in East Jerusalem,” Biden said. “The substance and timing of the announcement, particularly with the launching of proximity talks, is precisely the kind of step that undermines the trust we need right now and runs counter to the constructive discussions that I’ve had here in Israel.”

“The screw-up,” as it came to be known—in polite company, at least—threatened to undo a year’s worth of political work by Solow to bring the Obama team closer to the Israelis. Biden was the highest-ranking of the American officials who have traveled to Jerusalem this year in hopes of jump-starting the peace process; the incident virtually guaranteed that Obama would not soon follow. In the short term, it gave the Administration—not to mention the Palestinians—grounds to argue that the Israelis were being either childish, or politically unreliable, or both, in advance of the newly agreed upon “proximity talks,” a modern variant of shuttle diplomacy.

It might have remained one in a series of passing diplomatic contretemps between the Americans and the Israelis—except that, on Friday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called Netanyahu to deliver a further 45-minute scolding. On Sunday, White House senior adviser David Axelrod went on ABC’s This Week and said he thought the announcement had been calculated to undermine progress toward peace talks. People who had lived through the 1991 fight with the elder President Bush over loan guarantees to Israel started making the analogy. Although both Obama and Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren have since deflected talk of a “crisis,” the situation was widely seen as the thorniest interaction between the two allies in decades.

It was, as it happens, just the kind of incident the Conference specializes in addressing. The organization was established in 1954, at the request of Eisenhower’s Secretary of State, John Foster Dulles, whose office had been inundated with calls from various Jewish groups purporting to speak in the best interests of the fledgling Israeli state. The idea was that the Conference would act as a forum where the consensus view of American Jewish groups on issues relating to Israel could be worked out internally and then presented to the Administration; over time, it also came to act as an extra-diplomatic conduit between the American and the Israeli governments. It presently represents the spectrum of the American Jewish establishment “from A to Z”—a pun insiders like to wheel out in which “A” is the left-leaning Americans for Peace Now and “Z” is the firmly right-wing Zionist Organization of America. But its alphabet doesn’t include the new progressive lobbying group J Street—which drew ire from some Conference members by rushing to side with the Administration in issuing a stern condemnation.

The 52 members of the Conference—some of whom had been aggressively, though privately, telegraphing their displeasure to Jerusalem all week for failing to prevent the situation in the first place—quickly sprang into action, now firmly on the side of defending Israel from diplomatic overreaction by the Obama team. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee—which opens its annual conference this weekend, and whose incoming president, Lee Rosenberg, is a personal friend of Solow’s who was also deeply involved in the Obama campaign—issued a statement criticizing the Administration for airing the dispute in public and reminding the White House that Biden had, after all, just reaffirmed that there was “no space” between the two countries on security. The American Jewish Committee, which engages in foreign affairs around the world, noted acidly that “it is not beneficial to pummel Israel with language that has rarely been used in U.S. foreign policy.”

As the nominal head of American Jewry, Solow found himself in the position of being responsible, on behalf of his members, for figuring out how and when to openly criticize the decisions of a president he sincerely believes has the best interests of Israel, and of Jews, at heart—and the apparently calculated strategy of Administration members to whom he is personally very close. During the campaign, Solow went on tandem road-shows with Dennis Ross, the National Security Council adviser who handles Iran policy; he is also close to Daniel Shapiro, the NSC’s Middle East expert. George Mitchell, Obama’s special envoy for peace talks, helped recruit Solow last year from the Chicago law firm where he worked for 25 years into the international powerhouse DLA Piper, where Mitchell was chairman of the board before joining the Administration.

On Tuesday, after three days of almost constant internal negotiations over what to say, Solow released a statement on behalf of the conference encouraging everyone to, essentially, get over it: “The interests of all concerned would best be served by a p commencement of the proximity talks that had been previously agreed to by all parties, and all parties should act in a manner that does not undercut such talks.” But the statement also criticized the Palestinian Authority for exploiting the spat and called attention to the Administration’s silence on the Fatah leadership’s decision to go ahead with the dedication of a square near Ramallah to a woman who led a 1978 bus hijacking that resulted in the deaths of 37 Israelis and an American photographer—a carefully calibrated effort to hit a sweet-spot of consensus by pointing out the responsibilities of many parties. “He banked on the fact that he could square Jeremiah Wright and AIPAC,” quipped David Twersky, the former editor of the New Jersey Jewish News. “That’s the nature of the dilemma.”


At 55, Solow is a generation younger than most of the other organization presidents he represents as Conference chair—a position that throughout its history has sometimes, and not entirely facetiously, been referred to as “King of the Jews.” Most of Solow’s putative subjects, of course, have no idea who he is, or what the Conference does. Indeed, Solow freely admits that, despite his elevation in status, he remains “this Jew no one’s ever heard of from Chicago.”

But they should, since, in many ways, it is often he who speaks for the Jews of America—though it takes a specific form. Like his former comrades who are now in the Administration, Solow has a constituency to which he is accountable: his colleagues on the Conference, who as a whole tend to be more conservative on Israel than most of the 78 percent of American Jews who supported Obama. That group includes the group’s longtime executive vice chair, Malcolm Hoenlein, with whom Solow says he’s developed a good working relationship, despite his being less conservative than Hoenlein. “The fair question is whether we are an effective team working on behalf of the major American Jewish organizations that we represent. I like to think that we are,” Solow said. Hoenlein returned the compliment: “He’s great—very unique and very articulate,” Hoenlein said. “His whole heart and his neshama [soul] are there.” The Conference rarely, if ever, takes votes or even straw polls on contentious issues; to do so would be to illuminate the fissures everyone knows are there. But the Conference can’t always look the other way; it exists in part to delineate the fault lines when ruptures do take place.

Some of his predecessors have been powerhouses in their own right: Mort Zuckerman, the billionaire publisher of U.S. News & World Report who recently floated running for New York’s Senate seat as a Republican, held the post a decade ago, as did cosmetics heir Ronald Lauder. Solow is neither old enough to retire, nor rich enough to stop working, but he is ambitious and canny enough to admit that his connections with the incoming Administration gave him an edge when he was approached about the Conference position in late 2008, during the transition period after Obama’s election. “My capacity to lead was not based on my relationship with the Administration, though that relationship was no secret,” Solow said when we met in Washington late one evening earlier this month.

Solow is universally praised as a quick study and a talented leader; as a bankruptcy attorney, he is practiced at finding common ground among people who sometimes bitterly disagree. He says he didn’t angle for the Conference appointment; in fact, it was only a fluke that he was even eligible. In 2005, he made a play for the chair of board of Chicago’s Jewish federation, one of the largest and most Israel-focused in the country. He didn’t get the job, but at the same time he was offered the presidency of the JCC Association, a group that represents Jewish community centers around the country but that is not one of the powerhouse political organizations that typically supplies chairmen to the Conference. “If I’d gotten the Federation job, everything would have turned out differently,” Solow told me. “I couldn’t have worked for the Obama campaign”—it would have been considered too partisan—“and I wouldn’t have been eligible for the Conference. So, who knew, right?”

We were sitting in the lobby of the Mandarin Oriental—a plush five-star hotel on the relatively out-of-the-way south side of the Mall that Solow began patronizing after paying Netanyahu a visit there in November, following the prime minister’s last terse summit with Obama at the White House. Solow, a meaty guy who wears angular gunmetal-rimmed glasses and keeps his graying curls brushed back, settled deep into a red-upholstered wing chair, wearing a pin-stripe suit with a French-cuffed shirt fastened with large silver links. He ordered a Coke and periodically leaned forward to stab at a tiny plate of olives with a knotted green bamboo toothpick as he talked over the din of a Chinese New Year celebration from the main bar area.

He was in the capital to attend a briefing with Biden in preparation for the upcoming trip to Israel, at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building next door to the White House. He was unsure about how long the vice president would spend with the group, which was to include representatives not just from the Conference but former Florida congressman Robert Wexler, heavyweight Democratic donors like entertainment mogul Haim Saban, and personal friends like Michael Adler, a former chair of the National Jewish Democratic Council. “They may want to test their message on us, because they know this trip will get heavy coverage,” Solow said. In his 15 months on the job, he said, he’s perfected his grueling travel routine: fly out from Chicago after work the night before, get up, stop into the DLA Piper office to get some work done, and then head to whatever meetings are scheduled in Washington, where he goes about once a month, or New York, where he visits every other week or so. “I get back home to Chicago before I’d usually go to bed, so it’s just like a long commute,” he said, laying it out like George Clooney in Up in the Air.

Solow is only the second chair from Chicago and one of only a handful not to come from New York, where most of the national Jewish organizations are headquartered. The other Chicagoan was Philip Klutznick, a developer who, as the president of B’nai B’rith, was the founding chairman of the Conference; his son, Jim Klutznick, said his father knew Truman from his days working for the Federal Housing Administration in Washington during the Depression and was also close to Abba Eban, the Israeli ambassador, who was deeply involved in bringing the group to life. As it happens, Solow grew up in Park Forest, a development in Chicago’s southern suburbs built by Klutznick. “I learned to play basketball on their driveway,” Solow told me. “They had a very large house with a very large driveway and a garage that was not attached, unlike most of the garages in the neighborhood, so you could go play basketball and no one would know.”

But Klutznick never enjoyed the close relationship with the president that Eddie Jacobson did. Jacobson was the Jewish businessman who, after befriending Truman in basic training at Fort Sill during World War I, later enjoyed open access to the Oval Office and helped convince Truman to welcome Chaim Weizmann, Israel’s first president, to the White House and to recognize Israel in 1948. (Indeed, it may have been the absence of a Jacobson figure in the Eisenhower Administration that necessitated the founding of the Conference in the first place.)

Solow is also no Eddie Jacobson. He first heard of Obama in the early 1990s, when the future president took over the Law Review at Harvard Law School, Solow’s alma mater. “He was the first person of color to edit the Law Review, and that was a big story for everyone who went there,” Solow explained. “So, I knew when he moved back to Chicago.” But Solow’s wife, Andrea, was the first of the two to meet the Obama family. She worked in the admissions office of the University of Chicago Laboratory School, where Craig Robinson, Michelle Obama’s older brother, sent his children. By the time the Obamas turned up with Malia and Sasha, “they were really just Craig’s sister and brother-in-law, not the state senator,” Solow explained. (Andrea Solow declined to be interviewed for this article.)

As a young lawyer, Solow decided to get involved in Chicago’s Jewish affairs—in part, he said, to satisfy his wife, an ardent Zionist who had planned on making aliyah until she met him. “But I was always a joiner,” he admits. One of his earliest mentors, he said, was Lee Rosenberg’s father, Lester, a pillar of the city’s Federation community. Solow, who served on the Jewish Council on Youth Services and in the city’s JCC, eventually worked his way back into politics via the Government Affairs committee at Federation—but the real link was through his older son, David, a political junkie who interned, as a college student, for the first campaign of Democratic Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky. In 2001, David Solow went to work for Lisa Madigan, the scion of a promient Illinois political family who was running for state attorney general; her seatmate in the Illinois state senate was Barack Obama. “My son came to me and said, ‘Dad, Barack Obama is thinking of running for the U.S. Senate, and I know he’s not registering in the polls, but you should go sit down with him,’ ” Solow recalled.

In early 2003, they met for an hourlong discussion about domestic and foreign policy, particularly about Israel, which was in the midst of the Second Intifada, or, as Solow refers to it, using the term popular in the Israeli press, the matzav, Hebrew for situation; Solow said he asked Obama to consider what it would be like to wonder whether his own girls would make it back home from school safely each day. “I said, ‘Parents in Israel don’t have that kind of luxury, and if this is what it takes to make parents in Israel feel safe, so be it,’ and he got that,” Solow recalled. Solow said he didn’t have a messianic moment with Obama, the way others describe meeting him and knowing he would one day be the nation’s first black president; he just liked the guy and thought he was serious about running a real campaign. “I’m a person who is center-left, and so was he,” Solow said. They were on opposite sides of the Iraq war—Solow supported the American invasion—but he liked the fact that Obama could sit and have a reasonable discussion. “I said, ‘You’ve thought this through, and that’s important,’ ” Solow explained. “ ‘I can support you, because of the fact that we could not see eye-to-eye on some things and still have a dialogue on other subjects.’ ”

During the campaigns, Solow began writing memos to Obama explaining why he felt so strongly about Israel and Zionism. “I believe that without a strong Israel, the Diaspora will fade away,” explained Solow, who grew up in a Reform household (“but a serious one,” he added). His father, he said, stopped at services on his way home from his Dodge dealership every Friday. As an adult, Solow joined a Conservative synagogue but is now a member of an independent, traditional-egalitarian synagogue in Highland Park called Aitz Hayim, which he joined in 2001 after meeting members through a Wexner Foundation heritage seminar—a program devoted to preparing participants for participation in public life. The synagogue, he said, offered the sense of joy and community he experienced in Israel but felt was too often missing in America.

It was through his work on Obama’s campaigns—first the 2005 Senate campaign and then the presidential run—that Solow first intersected with members of Chicago’s powerful Jewish Democratic circles, many of whom, like Rahm Emanuel and David Axelrod, are not actively involved in the relatively insular politics of the city’s Jewish Federation. Penny Pritzker, who chaired Obama’s finance committee, recalled in an e-mail message that she first met Solow in 2006, at the beginning of the presidential campaign. “He attended every meeting and event,” Pritzker, who chairs TransUnion, the credit rating company, wrote.

Solow first traveled with Obama in Israel on a visit the then-senator made in January 2006, after a congressional trip to Iraq, but he really lights up talking about his time campaigning domestically, remembering every time the candidate cast his special light on him, whether at the Super Tuesday returns party or on Election Night. “We were in Grant Park, and there were these three tents, one for family, one for donors, and one for campaign staff,” recalled Solow, who stayed, at his son’s encouragement, until well after the victory speech was over. “Well, finally Obama comes back, and he’s dog tired, but there’s a rope line, and I’m a few people back, and I’m thinking, ‘He’s not going to see me.’ I’m five-nine, not the tallest guy. But I raised my hand”—Solow lifted his hands in a thumbs-up—“and he saw me, and shouted, ‘Hey, Alan, how am I doing tonight?’ I thought, ‘This is great—this is the president of the United States talking to me!’ ”

Solow has an enormous amount of respect for offices. When Obama finally got to the White House—where Solow has only visited him privately a handful of times, including before the president’s July meeting with Jewish community leaders—the effect was the same. “I’m sitting in the Oval Office, and there’s the picture Dolly Madison saved from the War of 1812, and I’m thinking, ‘I can’t believe I’m talking to the president of the United States, but, well, there’s Reggie Love, and I can’t believe he’s the guy who says the president’s ready to see me,’ ” Solow recounted. The same is true when he speaks of Israeli officials; when he traveled to Israel during the Gaza war, shortly before assuming his role as Conference chair, he said he went back to his hotel room every night and sent his wife e-mails saying, “Hey, you’re not going to believe this, but we just went to the Defense Ministry and Ehud Barak gave us an hour, during a war!” “It’s just an out-of-body experience,” Solow said. “I’m thinking, how am I going to convey this to my wife and kids? Did this just happen to me?”

In Washington and in Jerusalem, Solow is widely seen as one of Obama’s confidantes. Jan Schakowsky, the Illinois congresswoman, described the relationship in glowing terms, telling me, “It’s not just a professional relationship, it’s a personal relationship”—though she acknowledged that Solow is not part of the tight group of friends who visit the Obamas on weekends. Solow, who is personally close with members of Obama’s inner circle, particularly Dennis Ross and Daniel Shapiro, is careful not to overplay his closeness to the president. “Obama has a wide circle of acquaintances, and not a wide circle of friends,” Solow said. “So, there’s the inner circle—the Nesbitts, the Whitakers, Valerie Jarrett—and then there’s the outer circle. How close is my relationship? When I wanted to speak to him during the campaign, I could. But I didn’t want to abuse it. I didn’t want to waste his time.”

Nonetheless, when he was approached about the Conference job in November 2008, the first thing Solow did was e-mail the president-elect. “I don’t have his e-mail now, but I had it then,” Solow noted. He had been encouraged by several people to apply for Administration posts but hadn’t been urged to hope for anything specific. The Conference post—which typically lasts for two consecutive one-year terms—was the perfect way to marry his political work with his Jewish involvement. Plus, he added, “I’m a competitive person, and it’s a little like the Academy Awards. You want to say it’s an honor just to be nominated, but you know, they ask you for a résumé and the supporting material, and by the time they interviewed me, I really wanted it.”

He wrote Obama that he was being considered for the job, which would require him to be a spokesman for the American Jewish community to the Administration—a reversal of his role in the campaign as a spokesman for candidate Obama to the Jewish electorate. “So, I said, ‘If you’re uncomfortable with that, I won’t take the job,’ ” Solow explained. “The Conference needs access to the White House, and I didn’t want the Conference to lose access because of a circumstance when I’d been critical of the White House, because they expected some kind of loyalty.” And, he added, the reverse was also true. “The other part of it is that I wanted the president, and the other members of the Administration, to understand that my loyalty would be to the Conference,” Solow said. “I didn’t want them to think they’d get a pass from the Conference.”

Ten days went by, and then Solow’s son David called to say he’d seen Obama at a thank-you event for campaign workers, and the president-elect had told him to relay a simple message to his father: Go for it. A week or two later, Obama himself called to give his blessing. “I’m sitting in my office, and my BlackBerry starts buzzing, and it took me a minute to realize it was a phone call and not e-mail, and I missed this call,” Solow said. “So, I had this voicemail—‘Hi, Alan! It’s Barack!’ And of course I played it for everyone in the office.”


At the Mandarin, Solow stayed up until after 1 a.m. talking; he doesn’t sleep much, he said. The next morning, I got an e-mail from him at 6:45 elaborating on some of the points he’d made the night before. “So much for sleep!” he added. That afternoon, after stopping into his law office, he went over to the Eisenhower building, where Biden spent an hour listening to the 20 invitees present their top priorities for his trip.

Solow did not speak to Biden while the vice president was in Israel, or after he returned. In Chicago, before the “screw-up” had metastasized into a genuine incident, he told me he had not been in touch with either Ross or Shapiro; he acknowledged that he reaches out to them more than they reach out to him. He would not specify who in the Administration he’d spoken with in the days since but said he has not talked to either the president, who has publicly kept aloof from the diplomatic dust-up, or to George Mitchell, who on Tuesday decided to postpone his next trip to the Middle East. “Look, my impression, having known Barack Obama for a long time, is that is that he solicits opinions from a lot of people. He likes to hear ideas, and I think he’s pretty good at sorting them out,” Solow told me after that March 9 luncheon in his Chicago office, where he sat facing me in an armchair beneath a Leroy Neiman portrait of Lincoln. “And I personally don’t lose sleep over the fact that his Administration solicits opinion from lots of different sources, and I do not worry about whether the door is open to the Conference. I know that when I have something important to communicate on behalf of the Conference that I will be able to communicate it to the appropriate person and that it will be taken seriously. I have absolute 100 percent confidence in that.”

Behind his desk, Solow keeps a 6-inch-tall action figure of Obama standing next to a wooden tzedaka box. “An action figure we can believe in,” Solow explains, quoting the marketing line on the doll’s packaging. He says the current crisis has actually not been the most uncomfortable of his tenure. That distinction goes to his decision, in December, to publicly castigate Hannah Rosenthal, Obama’s special envoy on anti-Semitism and a personal friend of both Solow and his wife, who supported the Chicago Foundation for Women, the organization Rosenthal headed before joining the Administration. On a trip to Israel, Rosenthal—a former executive director of the Jewish Council on Public Affairs, which is in the Conference—made comments to the Israeli press critical of Michael Oren for his own comments about J Street. “As an official of the United States government, it is inappropriate for the anti-Semitism envoy to be expressing her personal views on the positions Ambassador Oren has taken as well as on the subject of who needs to be heard from in the Jewish community,” Solow said in a statement.

In his Chicago office, Solow told me that these kinds of difficult moments came with the job. “I wasn’t going to shy away from it because she was my friend,” Solow said. “So, that gave me a little heartburn—that was unpleasant.” But, he argued, his criticism was motivated by a desire to help the Administration. “I did not think her taking a position on that issue was helpful to her being successful,” he said. “I thought it was bad for her, and for the Jewish community, and for the Administration.”

That was a case where Solow was clearly speaking on his own behalf, and the situation did not require, as the aftermath of the housing announcement did, navigating the tangle of egos and agendas required to reach consensus within the Conference. When I asked, Solow refused to articulate what he, personally, thinks of how both the American and the Israeli governments have handled themselves. “I won’t tell you,” he said on the phone from Chicago earlier this week, just after the Conference statement was released. “It’s not useful for me to be evaluative of the Administration because the result is either that I would get defensive or that it would influence the positions I take at the Conference,” he went on. “And either of those is not useful.” When it came to the president, Solow said, his primary value to the Conference was less as a go-between than as a translator. “The way that I hear the president is the product of my experience with him—I am more of a student of how this president communicates than lots of other people,” Solow said. “What you don’t want is to have an argument that’s driven by a misunderstanding.”

In other words, this King of the Jews is simply doing what he knows best: being a negotiator. “Look, I’m a lawyer,” he said. “My job in life is to represent the positions of people other than myself and to be as persuasive and effective as I can at doing that.”

Last Friday—not long before the start of Shabbat, when Conference business typically winds down—news broke of Clinton’s angry phone call with Netanyahu. Solow found himself under pressure from the more conservative members of the Conference to look for a consensus in favor of getting the Administration to lay off. According to people who were on this week’s calls, some members pushed hard for a statement that would not only chide the Obama Administration for blowing the diplomatic snub out of proportion, but for choosing to come down so hard on the Netanyahu government on the issue of where Jews could and could not build in Jerusalem.

Solow told me he walked into the job knowing there would be flashpoints of disagreement and hasn’t been surprised he can’t predict them. “Look, I just thought they would be inevitable, because there are always some,” he told me. “It’s been no great surprise to me because I didn’t have any set of expectations except that I just knew that there would be moments there would be different points of view.” What isn’t clear is what happens if the differences of opinion on how to respond to these little tremors continues or if the tremors become an earthquake.

“I think our statement has been received,” Solow said, with characteristic lawyerly caution this week. “Whether it’s accepted will only be told over time.”

EMP: Answer to a Jewish prayer
By Chet Nagle

If the king of Saudi Arabia were to be invited to the White House, President Obama would make the usual deep bow, have a long conversation with lots of photo ops, and then give the king a grand halal dinner. But it was not a Muslim king who was the honored guest last week. It was the Jewish Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, here to provide the president with another opportunity to embarrass himself and the United States.

There were no handshakes in the White House last week, no negotiations, no photographs, no joint statements, and definitely no kosher dinner. Just the presentation of a list of demands, take it or leave it. When the stunned Netanyahu hesitated, the president left the room, saying, “Let me know if there are any changes. I’ll be around.” Then mainstream media obliged their White House masters, as usual, with a complete news blackout. It was as if the leader of the only democracy in the Middle East had never been in town. What was the prime minister thinking as he ate his dinner on the plane taking him home? Did his thoughts go back to the days of atmospheric tests of nuclear weapons, and what they might mean to Israel today?

In 1962, at Johnson Island in the Pacific, the United States conducted a test code-named Starfish Prime. A nuclear device was to be detonated in near space, 260 miles above the island, and instruments were ready to monitor effects on the ionosphere. When the 1-megaton explosion flared there was no radiation or blast felt on the island below. Instead, a man-made aurora borealis appeared and an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) knocked out streetlights and a communications microwave link in Hawaii—930 miles away! The age of EMP weapons had begun.

The Soviet Union’s spies told Moscow about Starfish Prime and the effects of the EMP pulse. The Soviets, worried about underground bunkers built to house the government and command centers in the event of a nuclear war, conducted their own tests. They were horrified. The EMP pulse could fry computers, communications, and all kinds of electrical equipment on the surface and hidden far underground. Our own concern was heightened when Russia shared that data with us during the happy days of Perestroika. The Pentagon began to take steps to harden key military equipment against EMP, like ICBM silos and Air Force One.

The next shoe dropped in 1998, when Iran tested missiles fired from a barge in the Caspian that exploded a hundred miles above the surface. The Iranians knew about EMP too, and were making plans to menace any nation they could reach from a cargo ship as soon as they had the necessary nuclear warheads. Concerned at last, Congress established a commission in 2001 to examine the potential damage to the United States from an EMP attack. The final report was published in 2008, and the news was not good. Attacked by EMP weapons, the United States infrastructure would suffer catastrophic and irreversible damage—unless defensive preparations were made. The cost for hardening vulnerable things such as electrical power transmission lines, communications, and computer-controlled systems like refineries and water supplies would cost billions of dollars. Speeches were made, but expensive action was left to disappear from congressional agendas.

EMP, however, did not disappear. It is a hot topic these days, and getting hotter. The signs were evident over 20 years ago:

* Iran tried to buy nuclear warheads from Pakistan as early as 1987.
* Ten years later, Iran tested a sea-launched ICBM capable of delivering an EMP attack.
* Contemplating Israel’s potential use of tactical nuclear weapons, the Center for Strategic and International Studies recently said, “…some believe that nuclear weapons are the only weapons that can destroy targets deep underground…”
* The Heritage Foundation is calling for an EMP Recognition Day to bolster adoption of defensive measures and a national recovery plan.
* US Navy EMP team of engineers, inactive for ten years, has been resurrected and is finding ways to protect the fleet from EMP attacks.

Now, let us go back to Prime Minister Netanyahu, drinking an after-dinner coffee in his plane, deep in thought. He never got to ask the American president for bunker-busters, refueling tanker planes, and other critical support needed for an attack on Iran’s nuclear weapons factories. He knew that if he tried it without that help, it would be almost impossible to inflict enough damage to completely stop the weapons program. Casualties in men and material would be very high. And if an attack was made without prior notice to Washington, the American president would surely refuse to resupply Israel with aircraft. Nevertheless, an Iran with nuclear weapons is out of the question—they already said that tiny Israel is a “one bomb target.” So Israel is alone, as always. What to do?

The prime minister knows the calculus well. First, he thinks, will be the salvo of Jericho III missiles. EMP from their nuclear warheads will destroy Iran’s electrical power grid, communications, television, radio, air defenses, and most of the industrial infrastructure. At noon the flashes will not even be noticed, so high there is no blast or radiation on the ground. Then cruise missiles from submarines for high value targets. They should save one for Ahmadinejad’s presidential palace. With chaos in the dark streets, maybe our commandos have time to open that Evin prison hellhole and let out the political prisoners. Those kids, that ‘Green’ opposition—they can deal with the mullahs if they like. And the best part, with the radar and air defenses inoperative, our air force can overfly Iran. They will finish the job with none of my boys lost, God willing. And when no parts for American aircraft come, there are always Russian aircraft. Avigdor will love it—like he loves being Foreign Minister. If the Russians tell him to get lost like last time, I’ll send him to China. They sell anything to anyone, especially if it annoys Washington.

Netanyahu smiled for the first time in days. Afterwards, he thought, to show no hard feelings I invite President Obama to make a visit to Jerusalem. If he comes I will make him a present. Perhaps a little framed photo from our satellite that shows such a peaceful Iran. And he can go home after Sarah gives him a nice kosher dinner.

Chet Nagle is the author of IRAN COVENANT.

Confronting Obama’s Messiah complex

Isi Leibler
March 31, 2010

In the midst of celebrating Pesach we watch the storm clouds gathering against Israel. On this festival when we commemorate the liberation of the Jewish people from bondage we must remind ourselves that with the help of the Almighty, for over 3000 years we prevailed over all those who sought to destroy us whilst our enemies were destroyed..
Since the birth of Israel we have overcome greater challenges than those confronting us today and emerged stronger every time.

Chag sameach v'kasher.
We send our Christian friends and supporters best wishes for a happy Easter.
Isi Leibler

Seemingly intoxicated by Congress's endorsement of his health care legislation, President Barack Obama appears to have been overcome by a Messiah complex. His actions relating to the Middle East during recent weeks oblige us to face realities about our "unshakable" alliance with the United States. Over the past year, Israel has made major concessions to the Palestinians with zero reciprocity. Yet the US president, who seeks to engage and appease tyrants like Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Syrian President Bashar Assad, exploited a bureaucratic bungle over a building zoning permit (for which Israel immediately apologized) as a pretext to ignite a massive crisis. He publicly and repeatedly humiliated the head of the only democratic state in the Middle East.

Obama demonstrated that, far from being an honest broker, he is forsaking Israel and adopting the most extreme Palestinian demands. Obama not only demanded that Israelis be denied building in their capital, but tried to impose a prohibition on construction in the exclusively Jewish suburbs of east Jerusalem which former US administrations had unequivocally agreed would remain in Israel. Obama was effectively demanding that Netanyahu agree to a division of Jerusalem even before final status talks with the Palestinians were initiated.

Beyond that, Obama sought to intimidate Netanyahu into signing additional undertakings instantly without even consulting his cabinet. These included: indefinite extension of the settlement freeze; release of thousands of Palestinian terrorists; transfer of additional territory to Palestinian control; commitment to withdraw to the 1967 "Auschwitz borders"; undertaking to discuss all core issues in the indirect negotiations; and easing the blockade against Hamas.

Obama's objective was to demonstrate to the Arab League meeting this week in Libya that the US could bludgeon Israel into acquiescing to whatever it demanded. If Israel acceded to these demands, that would represent the opening benchmark for further concessions which Israel would be expected to grant to the Palestinians in the course of the proximity talks. In such circumstances, the Palestinians have every incentive to reject direct negotiations while the US extracts more concessions from Israel on their behalf.

NO US ally has been treated in such a contemptible manner by an American president. Obama even responds to representatives of rogue states like Libya's Gaddafi and Venezuela's Chavez more courteously. US administration press leaks to Israeli media alleging that Netanyahu froze and "panicked" were a cynical ploy to undermine his government. Yet despite the blunders committed by their government, Israelis will rally behind their leaders as they internalize the humiliation to which their prime minister was subjected.

It now appears that the current crisis was a calculated strategy to orchestrate a public confrontation with Israel.

Obama recognized that Palestinian intransigence would lead to a breakdown in the proximity talks and that the US public would blame the Palestinians. However, by confronting Netanyahu with outrageous demands which no Israeli government would accept, Obama's ambition to become more popular in the Muslim world would be realized and Israel would be held responsible for the failure in negotiations.

This would be used to justify the US weakening support for Israel at the UN and other international bodies, thereby encouraging the Islamic Council and their acolytes, including the Europeans, to intensify their efforts to delegitimize and transform the Jewish state into a pariah.

Obama would then be in a position to intervene and demand that Israel accept a US-imposed settlement based on the so-called Saudi peace plan, which he has already enthusiastically endorsed.

Beneath the hypocritical facade of concern for Israel's security, Obama's brutal anti-Israel onslaught has unleashed dark forces which will embolden the jihadists and other enemies of Israel and fuel the growing waves of anti-Israel hysteria and global anti-Semitism.

Fortunately, the United States is a democracy whose leaders are expected to conduct foreign policies based on morality, and the majority of Americans remain overwhelmingly supportive of Israel. This was exemplified by the exceptionally warm bipartisan welcome extended to Netanyahu by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and House Republican leader John Boehner. It was reinforced by the letter urging the president to end the dispute signed by over three quarters of the members of Congress.

But the struggle for the hearts and minds of the American people is not over and this is a battle we must win because ultimately people power will determine US policy.

TO SUCCEED in communicating our position in this complex labyrinth requires more effective direction and better diplomacy than Israel has hitherto displayed. To start, the prime minister must stop equivocating and rally the nation. While seeking consensus, he must also lead and cease reciting false mantras suggesting that the alliance between Israel and the Obama administration remains in place. This only emboldens the White House to intensify its pressure on Israel.

Netanyahu must act decisively in the diplomatic arena. While avoiding direct or personal confrontations with the president, he must demonstrate that his government policies reflect the consensus of the nation and are morally justified; that the Palestinians are intransigent, refuse to accept a Jewish state in the framework of a two-state solution and continue to promote a culture of death, martyrdom and incitement; that Israel is a democracy and is entitled to some respect from its senior partner and not be treated as a vassal; that behaving shabbily to a long-standing friend like Israel will undermine the standing of the US with all its allies.

Netanyahu must call on mainstream opposition parties, in particular Kadima, to suspend internecine politics and establish a consensus over issues such as building in Jerusalem and defensible borders.

He must create a strategic planning committee to communicate the morality of our case and the reciprocal benefits of the alliance to friends of Israel - committed Jews, evangelicals and others.

The commitment to Israel by American Jews, Obama's greatest supporters, will now be tested. Disregard the marginal Jew. It was always committed Jews who determined policy and led the way. Now for the first time American Jews face a president who radiates hostility towards Israel. Will they have the courage to stand up?

Abe Foxman of the ADL responded immediately and courageously criticized the policy of the administration. The AIPAC meeting showed that activist mainstream Jews remain supportive of Israel irrespective of their political orientation. The standing ovation for Hillary Clinton was somewhat bizarre. Especially so in light of some of her remarks and the commitments extended by her and her president at the previous AIPAC meeting which have now been cynically repudiated.

The stand taken by the Presidents Conference, the umbrella body dealing with Israel affairs on behalf of the Jewish community which includes many who supported Obama at the elections, will be an important indicator. American Jews are a small but influential minority. If they speak up courageously and the American people retain their support for Israel, Obama may still be diverted from his present destructive path. There is every likelihood that they will do so if our government gets its act together.

Leftist Politics Destroyed ‘24’

Chris Yogerst

Since 2001, there haven’t been any shows that have excited me more than 24. In fact, I can’t think of the last show that kept me on the edge of my seat like 24 did during its first few seasons. Its ability to attack terrorism in a way that takes no prisoners was not only timed perfectly after 9/11 it also provided a captivating story. Each commercial break felt like an eternity and the weeks in-between episodes were true tests of patience. The 24 we see today is much different that the thrilling episodes of years past. This is mostly due to the changing political climate in the United States. During the first few seasons it felt like having a federal agent constantly sending terrorists to meet their maker was an excellent way to personify the post 9/11 feelings of the country. However, in the last four years the politics and attitude towards terrorism in America was reflected in the show, changing it for the worse.

Monday’s American Thinker featured a piece by Rick Moran that discusses the show’s eight season run and highlights why we all fell in love with 24 in the first place:

Bauer is the “Perfect Post 9/11 Hero.” In the first few seasons of the show’s incarnation, he possessed exactly the qualities we wanted in a protagonist who battled terrorism. He was loyal, patriotic, devoted to duty, solicitous of his friends, and a terror to his enemies. But what attracted us most to Bauer was the moral certitude he possessed that allowed him to fight the good fight with the absolute, unbending conviction that he was right. We were the good guys, they were the bad guys, and there was no in-between. If it sounds like Bauer echoed the Bush administration’s warning to the world that if you weren’t with us, you were against us, that’s because he did.

As the seasons progressed the show changed, but many of us stayed with it anyway. The show stuck with audiences because it usually reflected the current political climate of the time. During the most popular seasons, the focus was that of a “kick ass and take names” attitude towards terrorists. That worked great until the Left began to take hold of our country and push ideological and intellectually bankrupt ideas about the war on terror and President Bush.

24 began to fall apart when it reflected the “terrorists are people too” sides of things by having Jack Bauer get reprimanded for doing what it takes to protect our country. While the show was still exciting, it completely turned its back on the ideas that made it popular in the first place.

Moran notes the changes in the later years of 24:

America has changed over the past nine years and that this new Bauer reflects those changes in attitude. In 2008, we elected a man who, for good or ill, promised to fight the war on terror differently. No longer a war, we now rely on international police forces to carry much of the burden in counterterrorism. Even in hot spots like Pakistan and Yemen, there doesn’t seem to be any room for a Jack Bauer to ride in and kill the bad guys before they have a chance to kill us.

What truly killed 24 and Jack Bauer is our current political climate. When the show started, both the American people and politicians in Washington alike wanted to see terrorism squashed. The idea of fighting and defeating terrorism on a global scale was pushed and backed on all fronts. Jack Bauer was the perfect way to personify that.

While 24 may not be as good as it once was it still does a good job reflecting how many of us feel. America’s disappointment with the way 24 has changed accurately parallels our disappointment with the current political culture. Unfortunately, the leftist push against counter-terrorism began to take hold in Washington and manifested itself into the show.

Finding something like the early seasons of 24 that accurately incorporates our patriotism and desire to protect freedom will not be easy. If we want to see more shows about the importance of keeping the free world intact, we must first start with electing the right leaders to do so in the real world.

NY Times Defends Obama, Not U.S. Interests; Blames Israel, Not White House or Palestinians for All Problems

Barry Rubin*
March 31, 2010

The New York Times has now crossed the line from being a grossly slanted newspaper in its Middle East coverage to being one so partisan, blinkered, and defensive as to lose its value altogether. I do not write this lightly and have no wish to exaggerate. But the newspaper's editorial of March 26 is so mendacious, so made up to suit the political purposes of the Obama administration without any reference to the facts that it is a work of politically tailored fiction. Basically, the themes or omissions are as follows:

--Israeli policy is the result of extreme right-wing politicians.

--Most Israelis support Obama rather than their own government.

--The U.S.-Israel agreement of last October never existed.

--The Palestinians don't exist and one doesn't need to mention their actions or the administration's total catering to them.

--Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has done something so awful that it proves he doesn't want peace. What did he do? Precisely what he told the U.S. government he was going to do five months ago and which it then called a major step toward peace!

The Administration's and Times' goal is to portray the issue as not being one of Obama versus Israel but rather Obama plus the Israeli majority against a relatively small number of right-wing extremists who have hijacked the country.

If only such tactics were used against America's enemies.

Unfortunately, it is necessary to discuss this editorial in detail. It begins:

"After taking office last year, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel privately told many Americans and Europeans that he was committed to and capable of peacemaking, despite the hard-line positions that he had used to get elected for a second time. Trust me, he told them. We were skeptical when we first heard that, and we're even more skeptical now."

Netanyahu not only said this privately but also publicly, as is clear in the official Israeli government peace plan about which the Times has never even informed its readers. It offers a two-state solution and lists Israel's needs: end of conflict, resettlement of Palestinian refugees in a Palestinian state, recognition of Israel as a Jewish state, demilitarization. So Netanyhu hasn't "grudgingly" accepted this solution, he's offered it himself.

Of course, Israel has things it wants in exchange but neither the U.S. government nor the Times discusses these matters. As a result, the apparent position of the U.S. government is that Israel will have to accept a Palestinian state without conditions. No wonder Israel's public is suspicious.

Moreover, this government is not merely one of Netanyahu but also of Labour Party leader Ehud Barak and former Labour leader Shimon Peres who was also in Kadima, and is now president, as a supporter of its program. It is not a "right-wing" government but a national unity coalition including the biggest party of the left and of the right.

The story being set up portrays the problem as being Netanyahu neither committed nor capable of making peace. The Times is clearly never skeptical about the Palestinian Authority (PA) leadership. But what has Netanyahu done to demonstrate this claim? There was no problem before the recent crisis, set off by the announcement that a plan to build apartments in Jerusalem-still years off-had passed one more of seven stages toward approval.

It bears repeating over and over again that last October, Netanyahu reached a deal with the Obama Administration: No construction on the West Bank; construction to continue in Jerusalem.
In addition, the White House agreed that this ban would be limited to nine months. The obvious concept was that the U.S. government was wagering that it could produce either enough progress on talks, benefits to Israel, or both that it could persuade Israel's government to extend that freeze. Netanyahu never broke that agreement, which Secretary of State Hillary Clinton hailed as a great step toward peace.

So has Netanyahu done something horrible or is this a largely fabricated crisis?

"All this week, the Obama administration had hoped Mr. Netanyahu would give it something to work with, a way to resolve the poisonous contretemps over Jerusalem and to finally restart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. It would have been a relief if they had succeeded. Serious negotiations on a two-state solution are in all their interests. And the challenges the United States and Israel face - especially Iran's nuclear program - are too great for the leaders not to have a close working relationship."

The Times was not dismayed by the fact that the PA refused to negotiate between January 2009 and February 2010, and then only indirectly agreed to do so. Unless I missed it, there hasn't been one word of editorial criticism of the PA at all. In fact, the newspaper said not a single word regarding the PA's sabotage of Obama's call for negotiations last September.

What the second paragraph disguises is that the Obama Administration made a major new demand on Israel's government: all construction to stop permanently after it had already accepted a compromise on the issue. This is not just "something to work with," but rather a maximalist demand for something no Israeli government has ever given.

"But after a cabinet meeting on Friday, Mr. Netanyahu and his right-wing government still insisted that they would not change their policy of building homes in the city, including East Jerusalem, which Palestinians hope to make the capital of an independent state."

Again, there is no mention of the PA giving anything on any subject; this issue doesn't even exist according to the Times. As noted above this is not merely a "right-wing government," but the story is being set up to suggest that Obama is the true leader of Israel.

"President Obama made pursuing a peace deal a priority and has been understandably furious at Israel's response. He correctly sees the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a factor in wider regional instability."

In January, Obama announced that he felt it unlikely he could make serious progress on peace. Presumably this was a result of PA behavior as well. From that moment, it was clear that a peace deal was no longer a priority; again a point the Times does not even suggested.

"Mr. Netanyahu's government provoked the controversy two weeks ago when it disclosed plans for 1,600 new housing units in an ultra-orthodox neighborhood in East Jerusalem just as Vice President Joseph Biden Jr. was on a fence-mending visit and Israeli-Palestinian "proximity talks" were to begin."

It is interesting to note that the reason there were proximity talks only was that while Netanyahu called for direct negotiations (as had Obama last September), the PA rejected them. Moreover, Israelis know that it was not "Netanyahu's government" but a low-level commission that announced the plans without clearing it with the prime minister. Even Israeli journalists who are strongly opposed to Netanyahu have made this point, which the Times ignores.

"Last year, Mr. Netanyahu rejected Mr. Obama's call for a freeze on all settlement building. On Tuesday - just before Mr. Obama hosted Mr. Netanyahu at the White House - Israeli officials revealed plans to build 20 units in the Shepherd Hotel compound of East Jerusalem."

While it is technically true that Netanyahu did not accept the freeze on all building-"settlement building" makes it sound (and no doubt many Times' readers falsely believe-that new settlements are being constructed-it is also true that the Obama Administration accepted a compromise.

Let me give an analogy. You demand that I give you $100,000 to buy a property. I counter-offer $75,000. You accept it and publicly brag about what a great deal it is. A few months later you angrily announce that I rejected your proposal and it is now proven that I didn't want to buy the house.

That is very close to the current situation.

"Palestinians are justifiably worried that these projects nibble away at the land available for their future state. The disputes with Israel have made Mr. Obama look weak and have given Palestinians and Arab leaders an excuse to walk away from the proximity talks (in which Mr. Obama's Middle East envoy, George Mitchell, would shuttle between Jerusalem and Ramallah) that Washington nurtured."

Well, why should they worry if they can negotiate a deal? And if they are worried shouldn't this make them more eager to reach a deal before more is "nibbled" away. Remember, by the way, we are talking about a piece of land approximately four city blocks over the pre-1967 border in an uninhabited place.

But the best point of the paragraph is that the Times is shocked! Shocked! That this makes Obama look weak! How many things has Obama done in the Middle East to look weak? (To save space and because I know you can give a list, I won't spend a page outlining them.) Yet on what single occasion has the Times been upset about this?

"Mr. Obama was right to demand that Mr. Netanyahu repair the damage. Details of their deliberately low-key White House meeting (no photos, no press, not even a joint statement afterward) have not been revealed. We hope Israel is being pressed to at least temporarily halt building in East Jerusalem as a sign of good faith. Jerusalem's future must be decided in negotiations."

Yes on the last sentence. But the announcement that in a few years Israel might start building some apartment buildings doesn't decide Jerusalem's future. If the PA offers a good deal then why should the presence of plans to build apartments-or even existing apartments-stop it? But that's what this is mostly about: Trying to reach a deal which does not require the PA to give up anything it doesn't want to, which means giving up nothing at all

"The administration should also insist that proximity talks, once begun, grapple immediately with core issues like borders and security, not incidentals. And it must ensure that the talks evolve quickly to direct negotiations - the only realistic format for an enduring agreement."

This, too, is profoundly dishonest. Direct talks have been going along for most of the last 18 years. They were derailed first by the PA walk-out (over a war in Gaza begun by Hamas) and then by the Obama Administration's own demand-beyond the PA's demands-for the construction freeze.

There is no hint that the lack of talks doesn't rest on Israel, with the possible exception of the last week though even this could have been finessed. Suppose Obama had said to Netanyahu: Please announce that there are no imminent plans to build these apartments and denounce the announcement as unauthorized by you. Things could have been worked out and indirect talks restarted.

Now the Administration's explosion has put them off for months at least. After all, why should the PA, smiling as the U.S. government bashes Israel, relieve the pressure on Israel's government? Especially since they don't want to negotiate any way and they know the U.S. government won't make them do so?

"Many Israelis find Mr. Obama's willingness to challenge Israel unsettling. We find it refreshing that he has forced public debate on issues that must be debated publicly for a peace deal to happen. He must also press Palestinians and Arab leaders just as forcefully."

Notice how the one sentence comes in at the end about how Obama must press Palestinians and Arabs. But there is not a single specific, nor any discussion of how the lack of balance in itself is damaging. Yet even the premise is flatly wrong: must there be a public debate now on a permanent end for Israel construction as the main and sole condition for reaching a peace deal? I could name a dozen other issues, including the PA's failure to comply with its commitments on a daily basis.


"Questions from Israeli hard-liners and others about his commitment to Israel's security are misplaced. The question is whether Mr. Netanyahu is able or willing to lead his country to a peace deal. He grudgingly endorsed the two-state solution. Does he intend to get there?"

Notice that the editorial does not speak of questions from Israelis but from "hard-liners and others," implying-while still covering itself in language-that only some kind of extremist might question Obama's commitment. Again, a long list of reasons for questioning that commitment could be made.

But again what has happened to make the question Netanyahu's ability or willingness to make a peace deal. Here are the total charges against him: The announcement of building a set of apartments, for which he apologized, and another regarding 20 additional apartments.

It's not as if he and his colleagues daily broadcast incitement to murder people on the other side through schools, sermons, and speeches. It's not as if they refused to negotiate at all month after month. It's not as if they released or did not incarcerate extremists who murdered civilians on the other side. (Actually they did release prisoners who murdered civilians but they were Palestinian prisoners who murdered Israelis.) It's not as if they don't even control half the territory for which they purport to bargain.

Those are all characteristics of the PA, things the Times does not even mention. And if the administration or the Times wanted to take offense at anti-peace actions they could mention that at the time of Biden's visit the PA dedicated a major square to a terrorist who murdered a score of Israeli civilians and Gail Rubin, a U.S. citizen and niece of then Senator Abraham Ribicoff. Not only did the Administration not protest this action but Clinton mistakenly attributed it to Hamas in her AIPAC speech.

Consequently, this editorial is not merely slanted; it is so profoundly dishonest, distorting both the Palestinian and the Obama Administration role, as to be suitable to that published in a state-controlled newspaper in a dictatorship.

Once--and perhaps again in the not-distant future--the U.S.-Israel link was called a "special relationship" because it was so close. Now it is still distinctive in a special way: Israel is the only country in the world--a list that includes none of those countries sponsoring anti-American terror or trying to destroy U.S. interests--that this administration, perhaps only temporarily, wants to intimidate and defeat.

But is this all about Israel or is it about the desperation to defend an administration which has failed so badly and acted so erratically in foreign policy?

By so misrepresenting the facts and situation, some media can go on defending Obama's policies and actions. But that's no way to defend America and its interests, quite the contrary.

*Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. His latest books are The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition), with Walter Laqueur (Viking-Penguin); the paperback edition of The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan); A Chronological History of Terrorism, with Judy Colp Rubin, (Sharpe); and The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley).

Comment: Prof. Rubin nails this one-these must become your talking points-now stand up and pro-actively write,call MSM and all other media.