Bibi and Barak battle for Israeli public opinion over Iran
All four of Israel's major newspapers featured Iran in their headlines in their weekend editions. In Ha'aretz, Ari Shavit, who has been pro-strike, wrote: "Top Israeli Official: the Iranian Nuclear Threat is bigger than the threat faced by Israel before the Six Day War"
That "top Israeli official" (no extra points for guessing who he may be), told Shavit: "If Iran gets nuclear weapons, no one will be able to stop her when she provokes her neighbours," adding, "what happened in the Rhineland in 1936 will be child's play compared to happens with Iran." The official continued: "If we don't act, Iran will almost certainly go nuclear. If we do act, there is a chance Iran won't go nuclear in the years to come, or might never go nuclear. Assessing the risks to the homeland, the source told Shavit that the number of casualties Israel would suffer in any war with Iran would be less than the number of casualties suffered by the "Harel Brigade"(part of Palmach) in the 1948 war of Independence.
The description in the article left almost no doubt that the "official" in question is Defense Minister Ehud Bark. Wrote Shavit: "This decision maker is a controversial figure. At times, he was seen as a savior, then dismissed as a leper (מצורע), and again a savior, then a leper again. Even his opponents, however, agree that he is very intelligent. Even those who disagree with him point to his unique strategic experience, his half-century spent at the very center of Israeli decision making processes. Not just once or twice has he been at the absolute center. One very late night he opened the door to me…with a grand piano at his back he told me his point of view for two and a half hours."
It is well known around Israel that Ehud Barak plays the piano. Chief of staff in the nineties, then the great white of hope of the left for peace as prime minister in the late nineties, later come back kid as head again of the labor party. Recently, he presided over the splitting of the labor party and the formation of his new 'Independence' party and a bedrock member of Netanyahu's coalition.
In Ma'ariv, meanwhile, the headline read: "37% of Israelis say Iranian possession of nuclear weapons could lead to a second Holocaust." They then produced a series of polls attempting to gauge the public mood before a strike. 41% of Israelis say only military action will stop Iran, "only" (according to Ma'ariv) 22% believe in sanctions, 35% prefer a US strike to an Israeli one, 40% trust Netanyahu and Barak while 27% don't.
Unsurprisingly, Israel Ha'yom has also promoted a pro-strike approach. "Iran intensifies weapon development," screamed the headline, accompanied by a picture of Ahmadinejad flashing his fingers in a victory sign to the Israeli public. The paper quotes the Israeli chief of staff: "we are preparing ourselves for a multi-front confrontation".
This weekend, the only newspaper that has adopted an anti-strike approach is Yediot-Ha'aronot: "Netanyahu and Barak are determined to attack Iran in the fall", ran the headline. "Barak," the story proceeded, "sat top generals down for a meeting in his office, but came across fierce resistance. Later, he again tried to persuade them in a conversation at a Mossad-run location. This didn't help either. All the army professionals expressed opposition to a strike without the backing of the United States, and asked the same question: what happens on the Israeli home front the day after?"
When four of out four newspapers in Israel deal with any single subject one can count on the fact that there is a deliberate effort by some personnel to set the headlines on fire. Netanyahu and Barak are now fighting hard to win over the hearts and minds of the Israeli public to a strike on Iran – and the media blitz is a tool they are using to persuade recalcitrant generals.
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by Soeren Kern
"There is no territory more occupied than the body of a Palestinian woman, or a strip... severed by the violent imposition of the superstitions of Allah and the followers of Mohammed. We had better not even mention the situation of Palestinian homosexuals. This selective outrage by top progressives when it involves Israel is indeed anti-Semitism." — Alberto Moyano, Spanish newspaper editor.
"It is possible legitimately to criticize Israel. But it smells fishy when all of the blame is attributed to Israel, without even mentioning the small detail that a terrorist and jihadist group that rules Gaza has infringed on every conceivable humanitarian principle, by using civilians as human shields, and launching missiles from apartment blocks, while their leaders are living comfortable in Qatar, guests of a sheik." — Ángel Mas, Spanish analyst.
There has been virtually no public outcry whatsoever in Spain over the deaths of more than 160,000 people during three years of fighting in Syria; the decimation of ancient Christian communities at the hands of Islamists in Iraq; the kidnapping of 300 girls by Islamists in Nigeria; or the downing of a civilian passenger plane in Ukraine.
"The most anti-Semitic people are supposedly the most educated and well-informed." — Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs report on anti-Semitism in Spain.
by Alan M. Dershowitz
by Khaled Abu Toameh
There is growing concern in Ramallah, Cairo, Riyadh and Dubai that the U.S. Administration is working to prevent the collapse of Hamas.
"The Americans mistakenly think that moderate political Islam, which is represented by the Muslim Brotherhood, will be able to combat radical Islam. The Americans are trying to bring the Muslim Brotherhood back to the region." — Palestinian official, Ramallah.
The Iranians, with whom the U.S. is now negotiating on nuclear weapons -- amid fears in the Middle East that the U.S. will capitulate to Tehran's demands if it has not effectively capitulated to them already -- have now joined Qatar and Turkey in opposing any attempt to confiscate Hamas's weapons.
The Paris conference was actually a spit in the face to the anti-Hamas forces in the Arab world. By failing to invite the Palestinian Authority to the conference, Kerry indicated that he does not see any role for Abbas and his loyalists in a post-Hamas Gaza Strip.
by Amir Taheri
According to Küntzel, German leaders have at least two other reasons for helping Iran defy the United States. The first is German resentment of defeat in the Second World War followed by foreign occupation, led by the US. The second reason is that Iran is one of the few, if not the only country, where Germans have never been looked at as "war criminals" because of Hitler.
by Malcolm Lowe
Go to Nazareth and you can easily find the mini-mosque. It displays a large poster of Koran quotations denigrating Christianity and urging Christians to convert to Islam.
Overlooked is a fundamental difference between the two regimes. Israel is a state governed by the rule of law. The Palestinian Authority, like most other states in the region, is a personal dictatorship. Arafat started the fashion of simply disregarding the laws.
What is needed in Israel is a central policy unit with the brief of developing long-term policies both to integrate Israeli Christians and to engage with the great variety of Christians in foreign countries.