Monday, August 02, 2010

Soccer Dad

Soccer Dad

Would Either Susan Rice--Or The UN--Have A Job Without Israel?

Posted: 02 Aug 2010 02:37 PM PDT

Last week, The Daily Caller commented on Susan Rice's record as the US Ambassador to the UN. Actually, Rice is more noted for her lack of a record at the UN. The Daily Caller notes that

study released by the uber-serious non-profit group Security Council Report suggests that the past year has been the most inactive Security Council since 1991. Rice missed crucial negotiations on Iran's continued enrichment of uranium, she failed to speak out when Iran was elected to the Commission on the Status of Women and three other UN Committees, she failed to call-out Libya when they were elected to the UN's Human Rights Council, she recently delivered an Iran sanctions resolution with the least support Iran resolutions have ever had and she called her one and only press conference with the UN Secretary General on the issue of texting while driving. For an administration that promised to utilize the UN and improve our reputation around the world, its dinner party circuit strategy isn't making America more secure.

But all is not lost. As it turns out, Susan Rice did find an issue to take a stand on.

As Evelyn Gordon writes, Susan Rice Is Doing Something at the UN: Targeting Israel

But Haaretz reported yesterday that she has found time to do one crucial thing: lobby Barack Obama to put heavy pressure on Israel to agree to a UN probe of its May raid on a Turkish-sponsored flotilla. And today the Jerusalem Post reported that Israel has indeed capitulated: Defense Minister Ehud Barak informed UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon last week that "in principle," it's willing to participate in the probe he is organizing.

One would almost think that Rice sees her job at the UN limited to one single issue--an outlook that is apparently shared by many at the UN:

After all, I haven't noticed Ban suggesting UN probes of any other country's military operations -- say, Turkish operations against the Kurds, Iran's attacks on its own citizens, coalition operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, or African Union forces in Somalia, to name just a few of the dozens of armies engaged in combat worldwide every single day. Many of these operations result in far more civilian casualties than Israel's flotilla raid did -- even if you deny the evidence provided by video footage of the raid and assume these casualties actually were civilians rather than combatants.

Come to think of it, considering all of the countries and all of the hot spots in the world which the UN will not investigate and highlight because of the coalitions of countries that insure silence on embarrassing issues--if Israel was not around, just what would the UN do to justify its existence?

I guess the UN is one more thing to add to the list to blame Israel for.

UPDATE: It looks like the Secretary General of the UN, Ban ki-Moon, also sees Israel as an easy way to brush up his resume:

Ban's list of accomplishments is meager and the prevailing image among diplomats and analysts in New York is that Ban is an uninspiring bureaucrat, lacking leadership skills, who has not left a mark on the UN during his four years at its helm.

"The Secretary General had several goals in forming a UN probe of the flotilla incident," a senior diplomat told Haaretz on Monday. "He aspires to be recognized as an active player in the Middle East and sees the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a potential way to strengthen his position."

Above all, the diplomat said, Ban views the flotilla incident as a way to overshadow the recent accusations leveled against him.

I wonder how many in the media focus on Israel for the same reason...

by Daled Amos

Adl vs. islamic center

Posted: 02 Aug 2010 03:47 AM PDT

On Friday there was some controversy when the ADL came out against the building of an Islamic center including a mosque near ground-zero. Typical of the approach was The ADL comes out against Ground Zero center, which included the sub-head, "Anti-bigotry group sides with people it calls bigots."

That was a cheap shot. (The author of the article later defended the sub-head in the comments.

But the ADL statement gave specific reasons for opposing the mosque.

The controversy which has emerged regarding the building of an Islamic Center at this location is counterproductive to the healing process. Therefore, under these unique circumstances, we believe the City of New York would be better served if an alternative location could be found.

In recommending that a different location be found for the Islamic Center, we are mindful that some legitimate questions have been raised about who is providing the funding to build it, and what connections, if any, its leaders might have with groups whose ideologies stand in contradiction to our shared values. These questions deserve a response, and we hope those backing the project will be transparent and forthcoming. But regardless of how they respond, the issue at stake is a broader one.

First of all there's the tone. The ADL doesn't demand that the center not be built at Ground Zero. Then there's the issue of sensitivity. Whether or not those building the Islamic center subscribe to the religious ideology behind the attacks, the attacks of 9/11 were perpetrated in the name of Islam. An Islamic center at the site would be an affront to many whose family members and friends were murdered there.

OyVay blog captures this nicely:

I would hope that if Muslims had flown jets into the Eiffel Tower or into Buckingham Palace, The French and the British would be equally appalled at the thought of mosque on their hallowed ground. When will we ever be able to stop explaining the obvious?

Cliff May (h/t Powerline) wrote an open letter to Mayor Blumberg laying out the case against the center.

In the end, I think that Legal Insurrection summed things up well (via memeorandum):

I still reach the same conclusion, but I might say it a little differently. I think the ADL is struggling to balance religious liberty with the clear history of large Islamic centers in Europe and the U.S. being used for radical purposes, both by the people funding the operations and by radical Islamist elements abroad. The centers never start out with radicalism as a stated goal, but seem to turn in that direction with frightening frequency. To have such a center so close to Ground Zero raises such concerns even more so because there is no doubt that al-Qaeda and other radicals will try to use the location to their advantage. Given the highly charged nature of Ground Zero, the organizers should have picked a different location for such a large and high profile complex.

The thrill of being needed

Posted: 02 Aug 2010 03:47 AM PDT

In an op-ed today, Efraim Karsh writes about "The Palesitnians alone." The thrust of his article is that over the years the Palestinian cause has been adopted by those who don't have Palestinian interests in mind.

Not surprisingly, the Arab states have never hesitated to sacrifice Palestinians on a grand scale whenever it suited their needs. In 1970, when his throne came under threat from the Palestine Liberation Organization, the affable and thoroughly Westernized King Hussein of Jordan ordered the deaths of thousands of Palestinians, an event known as "Black September."

Six years later, Lebanese Christian militias, backed by the Syrian Army, massacred some 3,500 Palestinians, mostly civilians, in the Beirut refugee camp of Tel al-Zaatar. These militias again slaughtered hundreds of Palestinians in 1982 in the refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila, this time under Israel's watchful eye. None of the Arab states came to the Palestinians' rescue.

Worse, in the mid-'80s, when the P.L.O. -- officially designated by the Arab League as the "sole representative of the Palestinian people" -- tried to re-establish its military presence in Lebanon, it was unceremoniously expelled by President Hafez al-Assad of Syria.

I still recommend Daniel PIpes, How Important is the PLO? from 1983. The gist of his argument then was that the PLO does whatever its sponsors wanted. Karsh's specifics are different, but the conclusion is the same. (I also think that to some degree the effect of Karsh describes, was covered in the articles I blogged about yesterday.)

In the end, despite the apparent interest shown by Arab world in the Palestinians, Karsh concludes:

Against this backdrop, it is a positive sign that so many Arabs have apparently grown so apathetic about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. For if the Arab regimes' self-serving interventionism has denied Palestinians the right to determine their own fate, then the best, indeed only, hope of peace between Arabs and Israelis lies in rejecting the spurious link between this particular issue and other regional and global problems.

The sooner the Palestinians recognize that their cause is theirs alone, the sooner they are likely to make peace with the existence of the State of Israel and to understand the need for a negotiated settlement.

I don't see this happening any time soon.

Palestinians find themselves at the center of international attention, their leaders are feted in capitals around the world and they receive billions in aid. They have no incentive to look out for their own interests and make peace.

Crossposted on Yourish.

Council speak 08/01/10

Posted: 01 Aug 2010 09:29 PM PDT

The council has spoken!

Council Winners

Non - Council Winners

For a complete list of submissions, see here.

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