Archive for January 18th, 2007

“Discover the Arab Lobby ‘Network'” By John Perazzo

Thursday, January 18th, 2007

As Western civilization faces the threat of a radical Islamic foe that seeks to annihilate it, the collective self-assurance of the Western psyche continues to wither under the relentless, low-grade assault of the political Left. This assault presents itself in the form of constant criticism aimed at
America’s allegedly vast array of societal defects — with the intent of expunging every last shred of self-respect from the Western mind and heart, and of thereby convincing Western man that his irredeemably sinful culture is unworthy of his defense. The key operatives in this assault are leftwing organizations describing themselves as defenders of such righteous-sounding ideals as “civil liberties,” “human rights,” “peace,” and “social justice.” Allied with them is a growing cabal of pro-Arab, anti-Israel groups that, both jointly and independently, characterize the U.S. and Israel in particular as nations that routinely inflict immense suffering on Arab populations all over the world. By portraying Arabs as victims of American and Israeli transgressions, these groups aim — through their press releases, official statements, publications, and direct actions — to shape public opinion regarding such issues as the war on terror and the Arab-Israeli conflict.

While focusing on Arab concerns, by no means is this lobby composed exclusively of Arabs. The lobby is defined by its ideology, not the ethnicity of its active constituents. And that ideology tends to be, as noted above, pro-Arab on the one hand, anti-Israel on the other.

To be sure, the Arab lobby does not speak for all Arab Americans. According to the Arab American Institute, there are approximately 3.5 million people of Arab heritage in the U.S. today, about half of them concentrated in five states — California, Florida, Michigan, New Jersey, and New York. Nearly 40 percent of these Arab Americans are Lebanese, mostly Christians, who are largely unsympathetic to the Arab lobby’s anti-Israel perspectives. By contrast, only about 70,000 Palestinian Americans reside in the United States — a small percentage of the Arab American population. But because of their high level of political activism, their views and concerns have received hugely disproportionate attention from political leaders and the media alike. Indeed, the Palestinian cause heads the Arab lobby’s list of concerns.

In an effort to expose the agendas and tactics of the Arab lobby, DiscoverTheNetworks.org has added a new “Arab Lobby” section to its ever-expanding database. This section profiles not only those pro-Arab organizations and individuals (both in the U.S. and abroad) that lobby to affect specific legislation, but also those that engage in what might be defined, more precisely, as advocacy on behalf of Arab interests anywhere in the world. (There is technically a distinction between advocacy and lobbying. Advocacy is a broader term, connoting efforts to influence some aspect of society, be it individual behavior, public opinion, public policy, or legislation passed by elected government officials. Lobbying can be described as a subset of advocacy, referring specifically to efforts to convince legislators to vote in a certain way.)

The roots of the Arab lobby in America can be traced back to 1951, when King Saud of Saudi Arabia asked U.S. diplomats to finance a pro-Arab lobby to serve as a counterweight to the American Zionist Committee for Public Affairs (later renamed the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC).

While the pace of the Arab lobby’s growth was initially slow, there were nonetheless signs of increased assertiveness. After the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, for example, the Arabian American Oil Company (ARAMCO) set up a fund to present the Arab perspective on the conflict. In May 1970, ARAMCO representatives warned Assistant Secretary of State Joseph Sisco that American military sales to Israel would harm U.S.-Arab relations and jeopardize American oil supplies.

Driven by oil revenues, the Arab lobby’s leverage in affecting American policy was demonstrated in early 1973 when Mobil published a pro-Arab advertorial in The New York Times. In July of that year, the chairman of Standard Oil of California (now called Chevron) distributed a letter asking the company’s 40,000 employees and 262,000 stockholders to pressure their elected representatives to support “the aspirations of the Arab people.” In a similar spirit, the chairman of Texaco urged the U.S. to reassess its Middle East policy.

When another Arab-Israeli war broke out in October 1973, the chairmen of the ARAMCO partners issued a memorandum warning the White House against increasing its military aid to Israel. Shortly thereafter, the OPEC oil embargo (enacted in retribution for Western support of Israel) ushered in an era where the Arab lobby became much more prominent and visible than ever before. “The day of the Arab-American is here,” declared National Association of Arab Americans founder Richard Shadyac. “The reason is oil.” Prior to October 1973 the price of oil had stood at $2.60 per barrel; within three months the price quadrupled to about $12 per barrel. Since then, it has risen to more than $60 — for a commodity whose production costs are, at present, only $1.50 per barrel.

In 1977 President Jimmy Carter noted, in his diary, that the Arab lobby had pressured him mightily while he was involved in the peace negotiations between Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin. “They [Arab Americans] have given all the staff, Brzezinski, Warren Christopher, and others, a hard time,” wrote Carter.

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According to terrorism expert Steven Emerson, “Assessing the influence and breadth of the Arab/Muslim lobby would be a difficult thing to do, since the metrics for assessing such things are not easily available. The lobby’s real strength is felt on the local level, where its members receive community awards, participate in human relations councils, change the local educational curricula, persuade school districts to give them holidays off, and get local police and statewide officials to attend their events. Nationally, their influence is felt at the State Department in terms of their being invited to briefings, sponsored on road trips abroad, etc. The one recent time where they actually exacted an influence on President Bush was in persuading him to drop the use of the term ‘Islamo-fascism.’”

While the Arab lobby has a few friends in Congress today, its effect is felt mainly as a result of its joint efforts with organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union to dilute anti-terror measures. The lobby, says Emerson, “is mainly in the process of building up a grassroots network around the United States, with the anticipation that, abetted by growing demographics, it will be in a position of political influence in the future.”

Following are brief summaries of a number of U.S.-based organizations that lobby on behalf of Arab interests. Each of these groups is profiled, in greater depth, by DiscoverTheNetworks.org:

Read the rest here.

President’s Spokesman Says Fatah Leader Gave Assurances About U.S. Supplied Weapons Use

Thursday, January 18th, 2007

I fell out of my chair laughing at this one.
As you all know, I have supported the president on almost every issue, but if he thinks for one moment that slimy pali terrorist, are actually going to keep their word, then he has totally flipped out.
Remember, these are the same terrorist who can’t even keep cease-fires between themselves for more than an hour. As if they won’t take the first opportunity to fire on Israeli’s with whatever weapon is in their hands. Yeah Right!!

The president believes assurances from the leader of the Fatah party that aid and weapons being supplied by the United States to create a Middle East security force will not be turned against Israel, according to a spokesman.

The response came to a question submitted by a WND reader, “paulpucket,” on the website’s WND’s MR. PRESIDENT! forum, which allows readers to submit questions for the daily White House press briefings with spokesman Tony Snow.

The question from “paulpucket” referred to a WND report that a unified Palestinian security force financed, armed and trained by the United States is set to include members of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, one of the most active, anti-Israel terror organizations.

The story said a spokesman for the Popular Resistance Committees – a major Palestinian terror group – also pledged in a WND interview to infiltrate U.S. training programs for Palestinians and to obtain American weapons provided to Palestinian forces.

On her visit to the Middle East last week, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told reporters the U.S. will ensure weapons and aid reportedly being provided to militias affiliated with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah party will not be used to attack Israel.

The reader’s question was: “Why do we continue to give aid to un-civilized people? When will we discern these people do not want peace but to wipe the State of Israel off the map and continually fire their rockets into Israel and smuggle arms from Eygpt thru tunnels often as they can get away with it…”

The question was asked at the press briefing by Les Kinsolving, WND’s correspondent at the White House, who added some background information:

“WorldNetDaily’s Jerusalem correspondent reports Secretary of State Rice telling reporters that the United States will ensure that weapons and the $86 million provided to militias affiliated with Fatah will not be used to attack Israel. My first question, how does the president believe this is possible when the military wing of Fatah is al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, which together with Islamic Jihad has taken responsibility for every suicide bombing in Israel in the past two years, including the killing of U.S. teenager Daniel Wultz?”

Snow said that he believes that Hamas, another faction in the Palestianian dispute, “has been fairly actively engaged … in acts of terror.”

“I agree. So has Fatah,” said Kinsolving.

“Prime Minister Abbas has made it clear and guarantees what we think are sufficient and clear that it is his desire to try to be able to negotiate with Israel effectively toward a two-state solution. And as you know, the United Nations right now is providing humanitarian aid that is supposed to be used, and is guaranteed to be used by audits and other follow-ups strictly for humanitarian purposes. That’s how we would expect this aid to be spent,” Snow continued.

Kinsolving persisted: “How can the Bush administration, which says it is opposed to terrorism, give $86 million, plus weapons, to any organization led by Abbas, who just told a rally in Ramallah that Palestinians should stop shooting each other and ‘direct our guns against Israeli occupation,’ who funded the 1972 Munich massacre of Israel’s Olympic Team and wrote a thesis denying the Holocaust?”

“Again, Les, if you’ll take a look at developments in recent days and conversations, the real key is to look for folks who are going to be committed to negotiating with the Israelis. And the Prime Minister has been – I’m sorry, the President, President Abbas, has been – well, I’m not going to get into the internal politics because that’s the sort of thing that can get misquoted.”

“Do you think he has changed in the last week, since he…,” Kinsolving continued.

“I think that it is important – we believe that President Abbas is somebody that is determined to try to work toward peace in the region, and we’re going to try to facilitate that.”

The report continued that the Bush administration reportedly will grant $86.4 million to strengthen the Fatah forces, including Force 17, Abbas’ security detail, which also serves as de facto police units in the Gaza Strip and West Bank.

The U.S. aid is meant to bolster Fatah, which the U.S. considers moderate, against Hamas. Fatah and Hamas have engaged in weeks of deadly factional clashes after Abbas’ call last month for new Palestinian elections in a move widely seen as an attempt to dismantle the Hamas-led PA.

Rice said the U.S. is working with Fatah to create a unified Palestinian security force, which she said would combine Fatah factions and afford more control over the distribution of aid and weapons.

Referring to the weapons previously supplied to Fatah with little control over distribution, Rice stated, “It was envisioned that the Palestinian Authority would have security forces. The problem is those security forces broke [up] into essentially personal militias under Arafat. They broke into too many that were often warring with each other.”

Rice announced U.S. military envoys in Israel created “a plan for security forces that can be part of the solution, not part of the problem. And this plan is not just to equip them and train them, [but] it is also to professionalize them, to unify them, to put them under a single command.”

“This is a train-and-equip program that is going to move over time,” Rice said, “so it is not as if you simply arm the Palestinians on Day One and then have no input or control over what happens from then on. I think as a result you can maintain some control on what is being done.”

But the report said according to Palestinian security sources, Fatah’s strongman in Gaza, Mahmoud Dahlan, has been tasked with leading the effort to create the unified Fatah security forces under the auspices of Keith Dayton, the U.S. security coordinator in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

WND has learned the new unified Fatah forces, currently being set up in the Gaza Strip and West Bank, are set to include leaders of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades terror organization from Nablus and Jenin in the northern West Bank and from the Brigade’s leadership in the Palestinian city of Ramallah.

The Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades is the declared “military wing” of Fatah. Together with Islamic Jihad, the Brigades has taken responsibility for every suicide bombing in Israel the past two years, including an attack in Tel Aviv in April that killed American teenager Daniel Wultz and nine Israelis. The Brigades also has carried out scores of deadly shooting and rocket attacks against Israeli civilians in recent months.

Original Link.

Bush Administration Puts Spy Program Under Court Supervision

Thursday, January 18th, 2007

Oh Great!! Now that was a brilliant idea…NOT!!
That’s all we need. Now the liberal courts can be in charge of telling us who we can spy on. What total, utter nonsense!!
I mean, why on earth would we want to know when and where our terrorist enemies are going to strike next? It’s so much more important that people “feel” good about not making our enemies feel uncomfortable.

President George W. Bush’s administration has put a controversial domestic spying program under supervision of a special court after months of sharp criticism over the eavesdropping.

Civil rights group had criticized the program, in which Bush authorized the National Security Agency (NSA) to eavesdrop on phone calls and emails between the US and abroad without a court warrant.

Despite legal challenges after the program was revealed in press reports in 2005, the government had insisted that the president could legally authorize the NSA to eavesdrop on international communications it believes involve terror suspects without seeking court approval.

But in a letter to the top Democrat and Republican of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said Wednesday Bush would not renew the Terrorist Surveillance Program as it had found an effective and quick system to gain approval through an ultra-secretive court.

A judge from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court issued orders on January 10 authorizing the government to target international communications when there is probable cause that one of the individuals is an Al-Qaeda operative or from an associated terror organization, Gonzales said.

“As a result of these orders, any electronic surveillance that was occurring as part of the Terrorist Surveillance Program will now be conducted subject to the approval of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court,” Gonzales wrote.

“Although, as we have previously explained, the Terrorist Surveillance Program fully complies with the law, the orders the government has obtained will allow the necessary speed and agility while providing substantial advantages,” he wrote.

“Accordingly, under these circumstances, the president has determined not to reauthorize the Terrorist Surveillance Program when the current authorization expires,” Gonzales wrote to Democrat Patrick Leahy, the committee’s chairman, and the ranking Republican, Arlen Specter.

Original Link.

Peace Between Israel and Palestinians Within Two Years?

Thursday, January 18th, 2007

1 Thessalonians 5:3
While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.

Israel and the Palestinians can wrap up a final peace deal within two years, Deputy Defense Minister Ephraim Sneh said Thursday, becoming the first senior Israeli official to propose a timeline for long-stalled peace talks.

Earlier in the week, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice announced she would soon meet with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to explore ways to accelerate peacemaking and establish a Palestinian state. Date and venue were not announced.

“Two years are enough to conclude a detailed agreement,” Sneh told a conference at the Netanya Academic College.

“We should discuss, maybe for six months, the principles, and move forward about the details of final status agreement,” Sneh said.

Olmert and Abbas held their first substantive meeting on Dec. 23 in an effort to get long-stalled peace talks moving again. Olmert pledged, in a confidence-building gesture, to ease travel restrictions on Palestinians, and to transfer $100 million (€77.47 million) in frozen funds to the Palestinians, whose finances have deteriorated sharply over the past year because of an international boycott of the militantly anti-Israel Hamas government.

But travel restrictions remain onerous, and nearly a month later, less than $10 million (€7.7 million) in frozen funds have been released.

Abbas, whose Fatah faction is locked in a bloody power struggle with Hamas, needs the concessions to prove to the Palestinian people that there are benefits to engaging Israel in dialogue designed to lead to the establishment of a Palestinian state.

Nearly four years ago, Israel and the Palestinians accepted the internationally backed “road map” peace plan that was to have led to Palestinian statehood by 2005. But the plan foundered soon after it was presented. Both sides have failed to carry out obligations that were to be fulfilled before negotiations on a final deal could be launched.

Also in Netanya, the head of the European mission monitoring operations at the Egypt-Gaza border urged Israel to stop restricting operations there, saying disruptions only promote “extremism and terror.”

Israel, citing security alerts, has kept the Rafah terminal _ Gaza’s main gateway to the outside world _ closed for about 80 percent of the time since Palestinian militants from Gaza kidnapped an Israeli soldier in June.

Original Link

Religious Persecution Growing Worldwide, Group Says

Thursday, January 18th, 2007

Please continue to pray for these Saints of God who undergo persecution, in a very real and most often physical sense, almost daily.

(CNSNews.com) – At a time when religious persecution prompts growing international concern, Christian advocates in the U.S. marked Religious Freedom Day Tuesday by drawing attention to those who do not have the freedoms enjoyed by Americans.

However, some voiced concern that a bill currently before Congress may dilute religious freedom at home too, by threatening free speech under the guise of outlawing “hate crimes.”

Last week, President Bush declared Jan. 16 to be Religious Freedom Day, urging Americans to “continue to promote the importance of religious freedom at home and abroad.”

Jan. 16 is the day in 1786 when Thomas Jefferson’s Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom became law.

In a statement marking the day, the Institute on Religion and Democracy (IRD) called on Americans Tuesday to be vigilant.

“Too often in this post-9/11 world, human rights and religious freedom, are sacrificed on the altar of political correctness, diplomacy, and oversensitivity masquerading as tolerance,” said IRD’s Religious Liberty Director Faith McDonnell.

“In a world where darkness is increasingly being called light and evil called good, we must insure that this injustice is revealed,” she said.

McDonnell said every day brought new reports of religious persecution from around the world.

“Millions are discriminated against, beaten and tortured, imprisoned, and killed because they follow Jesus Christ or are members of other minority religions,” she said.

As Americans celebrate their own freedoms, McDonnell said, “we must ask God for mercy – and justice – for those who are persecuted for their faith.”

According to a recent report by persecution watchdog Release International, 250 million Christians will be persecuted over the course of 2007.

The U.K.-based group said most persecution takes place in parts of the world under Islam, Communism, Hinduism and Buddhism, but that “persecution is growing fastest of all in the Islamic world.”

“Governments in even moderate Muslim countries often fail to safeguard the rights of their Christian minorities,” Release International said. “Abuses suffered by Christians include kidnapping, forced conversion, imprisonment, church destruction, torture, rape and execution.”

The U.S. government does its part to fight religious persecution through the work of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. Set up under the 1998 International Religious Freedom Act, the independent panel compiles a list of the most flagrant offenders of religious freedom.

Violators designated as “Countries of Particular Concern” (CPCs) are eligible for U.S. government sanctions or other action aimed at changing their behavior.

Currently, the CPC list comprises Saudi Arabia, China, Iran, Burma, North Korea, Sudan, Eritrea and Uzbekistan. The State Department removed Vietnam from the list late last year.

‘Hate crimes’ concerns

Some Christian advocacy groups worry that religious freedoms may also be at risk in the U.S.

Earlier this month Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-Texas) reintroduced a hate crimes bill that has failed to pass several times in the past.

Focus on the Family Action in a statement Tuesday linked the controversial measure to Religious Freedom Day.

“America was founded on religious freedom, and our future greatness as a nation depends on it,” said Tom Minnery, the organization’s senior vice president of government and public policy.

Minnery said the hate crimes bill “threatens that future by not aggressively prosecuting criminal acts, but by giving Washington the power to decide what constitutes criminal thought.”

He said in some states similar legislation had been used “to punish peaceful demonstrators who have made politically incorrect statements.” Minnery cited a 2004 case in Pennsylvania, when 11 Christians were arrested and five charged under a state hate crimes law after protesting against a homosexual event.

A spokeswoman for Jackson-Lee said Tuesday the lawmaker had not issued any statement on her bill.

According to the text, “the incidence of violence motivated by the actual or perceived race, color, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender, or disability of the victim poses a serious national problem.”

It argues that violence of this type “disrupts the tranquility and safety of communities and is deeply divisive” and says “existing federal law is inadequate to address this problem.”

Original Link.

Corruption ‘Worst Existential Threat’ Facing Israel, Analyst Says

Thursday, January 18th, 2007

I don’t believe this is just in Israel. I believe that we in the U.S. are seeing more and more of this.
As a whole, the world has a “what’s in it for me” attitude. Morals are in the gutter and many people see nothing wrong with taking a little “here and there”. They look at as “well I deserve it, and it’s not my fault that I don’t have it”, so they turn to that “under the table” income.
This is what happens when people forget God and don’t believe in the sound teachings (the Bible) that He gave us.

Jerusalem (CNSNews.com) – Israel is facing an “existential threat” worse than Iran’s nuclear weapons, an analyst here said. That threat is corruption on the part of Israel’s leaders.

Government officials from Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to the head of Israel’s income tax authority and many others have come under police investigation for various charges ranging from corruption to sex scandals over the last year.

State Attorney Eran Shendar on Tuesday ordered police to open a criminal investigation into allegations that Olmert intervened on behalf of two friends (including an American businessman) in the privatization of Israel’s Bank Leumi (National Bank) while he served as acting finance minister.

Olmert’s office said he would cooperate with the investigation and would be exonerated.

Two weeks ago police began questioning members of the tax authority, including its director, and a senior staff member in the prime minister’s office following allegations of bribery, fraud, illegal appointments and breach of the public trust.

Michael Oren, senior fellow at the Shalem Center in Jerusalem, said the internal corruption is a “real problem” for Israel.

“The most serious existential threat in my mind – worse than Iran – is corruption,” Oren told Cybercast News Service prior to the most recent investigation against the prime minister.

Oren, who served as a reservist in southern Lebanon during last summer’s war between Israel and Hizballah, said the corruption has even penetrated the army.

Units arrived at the front without ammunition, said Oren. “I got a gun that fell apart in my hands.”

At one point he said he received a box of uniforms, but when he opened the carton it was full of rags full of axle grease. Someone is signing the papers saying that there are x-number of uniforms or rations at a certain place and then they are being sold elsewhere, he said.

As a country that heavily relies on its army for daily protection and defense, Israel can’t survive if the army is corrupt, said Oren.

“That’s what I mean by corruption being an existential threat. We will die from the corruption,” he said.

A recent opinion poll indicated that nearly 85 percent of Israelis think that Israel’s leadership is corrupt. Ninety-four percent said they believed that corruption weakens the state and 71 percent said corrupt leadership breeds a corrupt public.

Original Link.