Thursday, June 10, 2010

Soccer Dad

Soccer Dad

Why Is Gaza's "Freely Elected Government" Trafficking In Drugs?

Posted: 10 Jun 2010 09:06 AM PDT

From, we learning about something else that Hezbollah and Hamas have in common:

Hezbollah, Hamas Raise Money for 'Terrorist Activities' From Drug Trade in South America, Congressional Research Service Says

Amid growing concern about the illicit drug trade across the U.S.-Mexico border, the terrorist groups Hezbollah and Hamas have been linked to South American drug trafficking organizations-and the money Hezbollah and Hamas make from narco-trafficking is used to finance their organizations, according to the non-partisan Congressional Research Service (CRS).

"International terrorist groups, including Hamas and Hezbollah, have also reportedly raised funding for their terrorist activities through linkages formed with DTOs in South America, particularly those operating in the tri-border area (TBA) of Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina," stated CRS in an April 30 report.

The April 30 report quoted is entitled -- Latin America and the Caribbean: Illicit Drug Trafficking and U.S. Counterdrug Programs:

International terrorist groups, including Hamas and Hezbollah, have also reportedly raised funding for their terrorist activities through linkages formed with DTOs [Drug Trafficking Organizations] in South America, particularly those operating in the tri-border area (TBA) of Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina.24

The footnote refers to a statement by Anthony P. Placido, Asst. Administrator for Intelligence Drug Enforcement Administration, who reported to Congress about "Threats To Global Stability and US Policy Responses":

DEA continues to assist its Latin American host nation counterparts through interagency coordination and bilateral agreements to combat money laundering and terrorist financing. Some DTOs based in the Tri-border Area have ties to radical Islamic terrorist groups such as Hezbollah. It is important to note that this is not an emerging threat per se, but one that has existed since the late 1980s or early 1990s. Investigations into these groups as part of DEA's Drug Flow Prevention Strategy reveal DTOs are exporting cocaine from South America to Europe and the Middle East.

There are numerous reports of cocaine proceeds entering the coffers of Islamic Radical Groups (IRG) such as Hezbollah and Hamas in Europe and the Middle East. The danger of DTO's and IRG's profiting from the lucrative cocaine trade can lead to an unlimited source of cheap and easy revenue to carry out potential terrorist acts.

Though Hamas ties to drugs has not made a big splash in the media, it has not been ignored completely. In 2008, CBS News reported:

While terror operations themselves are cheap, the maintenance of a terror organization on the whole is quite expensive. Recruiting, training, arms, fake documents, safe houses, and movement can cost hundreds of millions of dollars, and that's why many groups, including the leftist Colombian terror group, the FARC, and Mideast terror groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah have turned to drug trafficking to finance operations.

Considering the poor economic situation that Hamas rule has left Gaza in, it is no wonder that Hamas has entered the lucrative field illegal drugs--but as CBS notes, the reason has nothing to do with helping Gazans.

Neither is this a new charge against Hmaas--The DEA reported on its website in 2002:

The triborder area of Paraguay, Argentina, and Brazil continues to be a haven for Islamic extremists. The two major terrorist organizations in the triborder area are Hezbollah and the Islamic Resistance Movement known as HAMAS.

The claim of dedication to Islam are not an issue for Hamas--nor for Hezbollah, which has been involved in the drug trade for decades. In 2005, Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld testified before the House of Commons in Canada:

Since the mid 1980s, Hizballah has used illicit drugs as a major funding source and weapon against the West. An official Iranian fatwa ruled: "We are making these drugs for Satan America and the Jews. If we cannot kill them with guns, so we will kill them with drugs."

The fact that Iran would clear the way for Hezbollah to deal in the illicit drug market is not surprising, considering its strong ties and support it gives to Hezbollah and to Hamas.

Considering Hamas's involvement in the drug trade, and the Iranian fatwa announcing the desirability of dealing drugs to Jews, the question arises whether border closures and sea blockades are a good idea for another reason.

by Daled Amos

Pressure israel, ease up on hamas

Posted: 10 Jun 2010 05:34 AM PDT

So according to the Washington Post, yesterday's meeting between President Obama and President Abbas went swimmingly.

President Obama called Wednesday for a "new conceptual framework" to replace Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip, saying he thinks the effort should be narrowed to focus only on arms shipments.

Obama said a new blockade could target the weapons that Israel says are being used against its citizens, "rather than focusing in a blanket way on stopping everything and then, in a piecemeal way, allowing things into Gaza."

The comments, made Wednesday after a White House meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, reflect the administration's willingness to pressure Israel since commandos stormed an aid flotilla headed for Gaza on May 31, killing nine people. The commandos had come under attack by passengers wielding pipes.

(emphasis mine)

Nice to know that after Israeli soldiers were attacked and defended themselves, that the administration sees fit to pressure Israel.

Barry Rubin points out:

And so Obama said:

"We agree that Israelis have the right to prevent arms from entering into Gaza that can be used to launch attacks into Israeli territory. But we also think that it is important for us to explore new mechanisms so that we can have goods and services, and economic development, and the ability of people to start their own businesses, and to grow the economy and provide opportunity within Gaza."

He and his advisors have no comprehension of what makes Hamas and its leaders tick. So he wants a prosperous Gaza Strip under Hamas leadership? Money will be pouring in, jobs will be created. Of course, only until Hamas decides to start the next war. What does he envision is going to happen under his strategy? That the lean and hungry leaders of Hamas will sell out to the infidels and open a chain of fast-food restaurants?

Nor does he have the slightest clue about Palestinian politics. Just as he misstates Israeli thinking, Obama has no conception that Fatah is full of radicals and is in competition with Hamas to prove itself more militant. He keeps repeating the idea that the Palestinians are suffering so much that they are eager for a deal, the same error made--with more justification to be sure--by the Clinton Administration in 2000. And as long as the Palestinian Authority has no control over almost half the people it purports to rule, and Hamas uses its power to sabotage any agreement or stability, how could there possibly be progress on peace?

Or put more crudely (via memeorandum):

'Obama announces Terrorist Stimulus Plan'

Not to mention counterproductive and absurd:

Here's a thought: Every dollar sent to the Gaza strip means it's one less dollar the people there have to spend to take care of themselves. That is, they have zero incentive to stop being death-cult beasts. All their earthly gain can be funneled to the tools for war.

When America sends this savage bunch money, she participates in the arming aiding of our own enemy--of Israel's enemy. It's absurd.

Finally Israel Matzav notes an irony:

Abu Mazen will have dinner Wednesday evening with some 30 'American Jewish leaders.' The dinner is being organized by former Congressman Robert Wexler (D-Fla). Isn't it ironic that Abu Mazen is willing to meet directly with unelected 'American Jewish leaders' but not with the elected Prime Minister of Israel (who has far more legitimacy than Abu Mazen - whose term expired long ago)?

What's so funny about peace, love and support for terror?

Posted: 10 Jun 2010 05:19 AM PDT

Isabel Kershner reports Artists' Boycott Strikes a Dissonant Note Inside Israel. In typical Times fashion she lays out the problem of the cancellation of the Pixies and Elvis Costello in a non-judgemental voice.

Some Israelis took the cancellation as an indication of the growing isolation they believe their government's policies are leading to. For others, it served as proof of how deeply Israel is misunderstood.

Either way, the cancellation mobilized the Israeli pop world and its supporters against the threat of a widening cultural boycott, which many here view as a misguided policy and unfair punishment that the Israeli public does not deserve.

At least, though, she quotes someone, who articulates the issue very well.

Shuki Weiss, one of Israel's premier promoters and production managers, said he had been working to bring the Pixies to Israel for more than 10 years.

Music is a force that usually combats violence and hatred, he said. He calls the boycott movement "cultural terrorism."

Like many here, Mr. Weiss argued that music and politics should not mix. "But if we do want to get into politics, I have a long list of countries that could be boycotted," he said.

The people who are advocating for the boycott are not "peace activists" but rather anti-Israel extremists and terror supporters. So too are the artists who heed them.

Alphabet soup

Posted: 10 Jun 2010 02:46 AM PDT

When Gatorade and Tootsie Rolls became Kosher, some people wondered if there were any other major products that were still not Kosher.


Elder of Ziyon seems to have found a substitute for the Pop Tarts of his youth, but there's another product that's been increasingly hard to find.

A few years ago Campbells made its Vegetarian Vegetable soup Kosher. But that was only for a short time. Now, I've discovered that the store brands of vegetarian vegetable soup no longer have Kosher certification. We might be able to eat Tootsie Rolls, drink Gatorade and enjoy Pop Tart taste alikes, but good old vegetarian vegetable alphabet soup is becoming increasingly rare.

We have apparently not reached the end of history in the world of Kosher foods.

Judt introduces new cliches

Posted: 10 Jun 2010 02:45 AM PDT

If Michael Chabon's reflections on Jewish and Israeli stupidity weren't offensive enough, now the New York Times gives another Jewish anti-Zionist, Tony Judt a few hundred more words of op-ed space to express his contempt for Israel. In Talking about Israel without Cliches, Judt takes on 6 supposed cliches about the Middle East. We get such brilliance as:

Along with the oil sheikdoms, Israel is now America's greatest strategic liability in the Middle East and Central Asia. Thanks to Israel, we are in serious danger of "losing" Turkey: a Muslim democracy, offended at its treatment by the European Union, that is the pivotal actor in Near-Eastern and Central Asian affairs. Without Turkey, the United States will achieve few of its regional objectives -- whether in Iran, Afghanistan or the Arab world. The time has come to cut through the clichés surrounding it, treat Israel like a "normal" state and sever the umbilical cord.

Turkey moved away from the United States, but it had nothing to do with Israel. Barry Rubin explains:

At first, this outcome was not so obvious. The AK Party won its first election by only a narrow margin. To keep the United States and EU happy, to keep the Turkish army happy, and to cover up its Islamist sympathies, the new regime was cautious over relations with Israel. Keeping them going served as "proof" of Turkey's moderation.

Yet as the AK majorities in election rose, the government became more confident. No longer did it stress that it was just a center-right party with family values. The regime steadily weakened the army, using EU demands for civilian power. As it repressed opposition and arrested hundreds of critics, bought up 40 percent of the media, and installed its people in the bureaucracy, the AK's arrogance, and thus its willingness to go further and throw off its mask, grew steadily.

And then, on top of that, the regime saw that the United States would not criticize it, not press it, not even notice what the Turkish government was doing. President Barack Obama came to Turkey and praised the regime as a model of moderate Muslim democracy. Former President Bill Clinton appeared in Istanbul and, in response to questions asked by an AK party supporter, was manipulated into virtually endorsing the regime's program without realizing it.

Earlier this year, the situation became even more absurd as Turkey moved ever closer to becoming the third state to join the Iran-Syria bloc. Syria's state-controlled newspaper and Iranian President Ahmadinejad openly referred to Turkey's membership in their alliance. And no one in Washington even noticed what was happening. Even when, in May, Turkish policy stabbed the United States in the back by helping Iran launch a sanctions-avoiding plan, the Obama Administration barely stirred in its sleep.

Aside from Judt's ignorance about Turkey there are two related thoughts that he dismisses that are important. Judt's first "cliche" about Israel:

No. 1: Israel is being/should be delegitimized

Israel is a state like any other, long-established and internationally recognized. The bad behavior of its governments does not "delegitimize" it, any more than the bad behavior of the rulers of North Korea, Sudan -- or, indeed, the United States -- "delegitimizes" them. When Israel breaks international law, it should be pressed to desist; but it is precisely because it is a state under international law that we have that leverage.

and his sixth:

No. 6: Criticism of Israel is/is not linked to anti-Semitism

Anti-Semitism is hatred of Jews, and Israel is a Jewish state, so of course some criticism of it is malevolently motivated. There have been occasions in the recent past (notably in the Soviet Union and its satellites) when "anti-Zionism" was a convenient surrogate for official anti-Semitism. Understandably, many Jews and Israelis have not forgotten this.

But criticism of Israel, increasingly from non-Israeli Jews, is not predominantly motivated by anti-Semitism. The same is true of contemporary anti-Zionism: Zionism itself has moved a long way from the ideology of its "founding fathers" -- today it presses territorial claims, religious exclusivity and political extremism. One can acknowledge Israel's right to exist and still be an anti-Zionist (or "post-Zionist"). Indeed, given the emphasis in Zionism on the need for the Jews to establish a "normal state" for themselves, today's insistence on Israel's right to act in "abnormal" ways because it is a Jewish state suggests that Zionism has failed.

Judt has it completely wrong. These two "cliches" are the heart of the problem. Israel's enemies and many of its critics don't just criticize Israel, they condemn it. They claim that Israel's mistakes aren't just mistakes but that they undermine Israel's legitimacy. That, in fact, is why Israel's critics often cross the threshhold of antisemitism. They would deny Jews what they allow any other group in the world: their own country.

Recently an anti-Zionist blogger wrote that the New York Times was not anti-Israel because it allowed Israel's ambassador, Michael Oren an op-ed. Oren's op-ed was an exception. As I've shown earlier this year, pro-Israel writers are far outnumbered by anti-Israel writers on the op-ed pages of the Times. Chabon and Judt continue tipping the Times's already unbalanced scales.

Crossposted on Yourish.

Chabon: israel is stupid for trying to survive

Posted: 09 Jun 2010 11:10 PM PDT

This past Sunday, novelist Michael Chabon took to the op-ed pages of the New York Times to argue that Jews were Chosen but not special. Toward the end he wrote:

This is the ambiguity that cites the dispensation of God and history, of covenant and Holocaust, to lay claim to a special relationship between Jews and the Land of Israel, then protests when the world -- cynically or sincerely -- holds Israel to a different, higher standard as beneficiaries of that dispensation.

The problem, of course, isn't that the world holds Israel to a higher standard, it's that the world holds Israel to a standard, but doesn't hold its enemies to one.

Why, for example, is there a blockade of Gaza? It's because that in 2005, Israel ended the "occupation" of Gaza. Presumably this gave the Palestinians of Gaza an opportunity to create a mini-state, a prototype of the state that would peacefully alongside Israel. Instead, within two years Hamas was in control of Gaza and instead of bringing prosperity to Gazans and peace to Israel, Gaza became the launching pad of Qassam missiles that threatened Israel's citizens in the south. The world issued no condemnations of the situation, until Israel fought back.

On one hand Israel is asked to make sacrifices for peace; on the other it is asked to ignore the threats that result when those sacrifices backfire and Israel's enemies rather than bring it peace.

Now Israel is intent on controlling what items enter Gaza so that Hamas can no longe re-arm itself. Israel's already seen that it cannot afford to leave its defense to others. The world has allowed Iran, Syria and Hezbollah to violate resolutions 1701, and now Hezbollah is re-armed leaving Israel's northern citizen under threat of attack.

The impetus for Chabon's column was the botched Israeli raid on the Mavi Marmara. Chabon called the raid an "unprecedented display of blockheadedness." From there Chabon muses about the whether there's anything special about Jews and Israel, never once considering whether Israel may have needed to defend itself. The op-ed is meandering and hard to follow, but one gets the impression that Chabon thinks Israel stupid for trying to survive.

Jonathan Tobin writes:

The "exceptionalism" of Jewish civilization rests in a religious and moral tradition that transcends politics or even the novels of a Michael Chabon. But Israel's right to defend itself against terror is rooted in the simple demands of justice that apply to all peoples and for which Jews -- be they smart or stupid -- need not apologize. For all of their reputation for brilliance, that's a lesson liberal Jews like Beinart and Chabon have yet to learn.

D. G. Myers concludes, similarly (h/t Yaacov Lozowick):

What does Chabon want? That Jews like me who love the State of Israel "shed our illusions." Israel, we must learn, is not uniquely smart or uniquely righteous or uniquely successful. But what Chabon fails to understand is that the illusions belong only to him and his natural allies on the anti-Israel Left. Only its enemies and detractors treat Israel as anything other than a legitimate state with a legitimate right of self-defense. Only they hold it to an impossible standard, including the standard of never disappointing or embarrassing Michael Chabon.

Crossposted on Yourish.

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