Archive for December, 2012

Surreal UN over the top today

Tuesday, December 18th, 2012

I get frequent press releases from Eye on the UN and UN Watch, describing the surreal doings of our United Nations and its agencies. I am used to it by now, and don’t spit out my coffee so much when I read them. But today’s UN Watch release was just too much.

Here it is in toto. Ask yourself this: How long are we in the US going to continue to tolerate, pay for, and host this herd of swine?

U.N. Adopts 9 Resolutions on Israel, 0 on Syria

 Resolutions on Palestinians omit mention of Syria’s massacre of Palestinians

Tel: +41 22 734 1472

GENEVA, Dec. 18 – The U.N. General Assembly today adopted nine resolutions on Palestinian rights and the Golan, sharply criticizing Israel yet making no mention of Sunday’s massacre of Palestinians by Syrian warplanes firing missiles into a mosque in a Palestinian refugee camp near Damascus. Nor did the texts mention the tens of thousands of Palestinians who continue to flee the camp.

By the end of this week, the current 2012 UNGA session will have adopted 22 country-specific resolutions on Israel – and only four on the rest of the world combined, one each for Syria, Iran, North Korea and Burma, noted UN Watch.

Today’s resolutions criticized Israel for “the continuing systematic violation of the human rights of the Palestinian people,” and focused on “the extremely difficult socioeconomic conditions being faced by the Palestine refugees in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem.”

One resolution condemned Israel for holding on to the Golan Heights, demanding Israel hand the land and its people to Syria.

“It’s astonishing,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch. “At a time when the Syrian regime is massacring its own people, how can the U.N. call for more people to be subject to Assad’s rule? The timing of today’s text is morally galling and logically absurd.”

“What is also outrageous is that these resolutions claim to care about Palestinians, yet the U.N. proves itself completely oblivious to the actual suffering on the ground, happening right now: Palestinians slaughtered, maimed and expelled by Assad’s forces.”

“Today’s farce at the General Assembly underscores a simple fact: the U.N.’s automatic majority has no interest in truly helping Palestinians, nor in protecting anyone’s human rights; the goal of these ritual, one-sided condemnations remains the scapegoating of Israel,” said Neuer.

“The U.N.’s disproportionate assault against the Jewish state undermines the credibility of what is supposed to be an impartial and respected international body, and exposes the sores of politicisation and selectivity that eat away at its founding mission, eroding the U.N. Charter promise of equal treatment to all nations large and small,” Neuer added.

“With more than 40,000 killed in Syria, and millions of Syrian refugees suffering now in the cold of winter, it ought to shock the conscience of mankind that the U.N. will devoting more than 80 percent of this session’s resolutions to Israel, and just one, on Thursday, to Syria.”

UN Watch is a Geneva-based human rights organization founded in 1993 to monitor UN compliance with the principles of its Charter. It is accredited as a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) in Special Consultative Status to the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and as an Associate NGO to the UN Department of Public Information (DPI).

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Fool me twice…

Tuesday, December 18th, 2012
Sen. Chuck Hagel

Sen. Chuck Hagel

One of the Democratic talking points presented as reasons for pro-Israel voters to reelect President Obama was the degree of US/Israel cooperation on matters of defense. For example, former New York Mayor Ed Koch said this:

The statement of Israel’s Defense Minister Ehud Barak on the cooperation between Israel and the U.S. on intelligence gathering and military supplies provided by the U.S. to Israel was the best ever in the long relationship between the two countries. That again was clear evidence of President Obama’s commitment to Israel.

And David Golder of the Chicago Jewish News wrote,

What’s at stake is Israel’s security. President Obama has directed more security aid to Israel than ever before and funded the Iron Dome system to save Israeli lives from rocket attacks. He has defended Israel at the UN. He personally intervened to save the lives of Israelis surrounded by a mob at their embassy in Cairo, and he directed American personnel to help Israel douse the flames of the Carmel fire.

Just recently, the Administration extended loan guarantees to Israel through 2016, while engaging in the largest-ever joint military exercise between our countries.

On the greatest threat to Israel’s security, President Obama has left no doubt: Iran will not obtain a nuclear weapon. He will not take any option off the table to counter this threat.

He has backed this promise with action – the most far-reaching sanctions ever imposed on the Iranian regime; an international coalition acting to cripple Iran’s economy and isolate its leaders; overt and covert collaboration with our allies to sabotage Iran’s nuclear efforts.

Today, the sanctions are biting and our resolve is unwavering. As the President said, “Israel is a true friend; it is our greatest ally in the region. And if Israel is attacked, America will stand with Israel.”

Most Jews bought it. The President received some 70% of the Jewish vote (down only a bit since 2008, when he got 78%). Most American Jews do care about Israel’s security, even if they embrace mistaken policies such as the ‘peace process’, so it seems that they were reassured that Obama was, if not the most pro-Israel President ever, at least harmless.

They were wrong. Exhibit A, presented even before the inauguration, is his apparent plan to nominate Sen. Chuck Hagel for Secretary of Defense, the single official most relevant to continued cooperation between the US and Israel on security issues.

Hagel stands out in the US Senate as an opponent of Israel, and an opponent of sanctions on Iran.  Here are a few facts about him:


1.     In November 2001, Hagel was one of 11 Senators who refused to sign a letter requesting President Bush not meet with Yassir Arafat until forces linked to Arafat’s Fatah party ceased attacks on Israel.

2.     In December 2005, Hagel was one of 27 Senators who refused to sign a letter to President Bush requesting the U.S. pressure the Palestinians to ban terrorist groups from participating in legislative elections.

3.     In July 2006, Hagel called on President Bush to demand an immediate cease-fire when Israel retaliated against Hezbollah after the terrorist group attacked Israel, abducted two IDF soldiers, and fired rockets at Israeli civilians.

4.     In August 2006, Hagel was only of 12 senators who refused to sign a letter asking the EU to declare Hezbollah a terrorist organization.

5.     In 2007, Hagel voted against designating Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) a terrorist organization.

Israel and “the Jewish Lobby”

1.   In October 2000, Hagel was one of only four Senators who refused to sign a letter expressing support for Israel during the second Palestinian intifada.

2.    In July 2002, in a Washington Post op-ed, after several of the most deadly months of Palestinian suicide bombings, Hagel wrote that the U.S. was erroneously “making Yassir Arafat the issue,” that Palestinians could not be expected to make democratic reforms as long as “Israeli military occupation and settlement activity” continue, and that “Israel must take steps to show its commitment to peace.”

3.     In November 2003, Hagel failed to vote on the Syria Accountability Act authorizing sanctions on Syria for its support of terrorism and occupation of Lebanon. The Act passed by a vote of 89 to 4.

4.     In July 2006, Hagel called on the Bush Administration to take up the Beirut Declaration of 2002, also known as the “Saudi Peace Initiative,” saying it was “a starting point” that had been “squandered” by the United States. It calls on Israel to retreat from the Golan Heights, the West Bank, and much of Jerusalem, including the Jewish Quarter of the Old City and the Western Wall, as a precondition for peace.

5.    In calling upon President Bush to demand an immediate ceasefire after Israel responded to a Hezbollah attack in 2006, Hagel said: “This madness must stop,” and accused Israel of “the systematic destruction of an American friend — the country and people of Lebanon.”

6.     “The political reality is that … the Jewish [not ‘Israel’ — ed.] lobby intimidates a lot of people up here.” (Hagel interviewed in Aaron David Miller’s 2008 book The Too Much Promised Land) 

7.       In 2009, Hagel signed onto a letter urging President Obama to open direct negotiations with Hamas, a U.S.-designated terrorist organization dedicated to the violent destruction of Israel and which has perpetrated dozens of suicide bombings that have killed or injured hundreds of civilians in Israel, including many Americans.

8.       The National Jewish Democratic Council says Hagel has “a lot of questions to answer about his commitment to Israel.”

9.       When questioned about his pro-Israel record during a meeting in New York with supporters of Israel, Hagel is reported to have said, “Let me clear something up here if there’s any doubt in your mind. I’m a United States Senator. I’m not an Israeli senator. I’m a United States Senator. I support Israel. But my first interest is, I take an oath of office to the constitution of the United States. Not to a president, not to a party, not to Israel.”


1.     On July 24, 2001, Hagel was one of only two U.S. senators who voted against renewing the Iran-Libya Sanctions Act.

2.     In June 2004, Hagel refused to sign a letter urging that President Bush highlight Iran’s nuclear program while at the G-8 summit.

In every case that Israel has had to defend herself in recent years — the Second Intifada, the second Lebanon War and the two operations in Gaza — Hagel has spoken out against Israel. As Secretary of Defense, how would we expect him to argue if Israel again finds itself at war and asks for ammunition or spare parts for American weapons?

Despite the talking points, Obama has been relatively weak on sanctions against Iran, tugged kicking and screaming by Congress and even the Europeans — and even then has granted exemptions to Iran’s largest trading partners. Hagel’s softness on Iran and its proxies Hizballah and Syria is not likely to strengthen the administration’s stance.

Ed Koch, who urged Jews to vote for Obama, is now opposed to Hagel’s nomination, calling it a “terrible appointment.” But others, like Iran’s Press TV as well as the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) have only good things to say about him (CAIR endorsed him for President in the 2008 election).

The usual suspects, of course, are talking about Hagel’s “hardline” critics who support Israel’s “right-wing government.” But Hagel’s positions on Hamas, Hizballah, Iran, etc., are far from the norm in the Senate — either among other Republicans or Democrats — and themselves could be called ‘extreme’.

Nevertheless, its hard to imagine Hagel’s fellow senators voting against confirming a member of their exclusive club. It is pretty much Obama’s call.

So much for pre-election promises.

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More about Pollard’s sentence

Monday, December 17th, 2012

Friday I wrote about new documents declassified in the Jonathan Pollard case, which might help us understand his disproportionate life sentence and why he is still imprisoned after 27 years.

Pollard’s lawyers negotiated a plea agreement with the government: he agreed to plead guilty and gave up his right to a jury trial; in return, the prosecution agreed not to seek a life sentence. By the precedents set by other cases of espionage on behalf of allies, Pollard expected a much lighter sentence.

Instead, the Secretary of Defense, Caspar Weinberger, presented a memo to the court at the last minute accusing Pollard of doing massive damage to the US. The prosecution then reneged on its agreement, and the judge sentenced Pollard to life imprisonment. Pollard’s lawyers were able to see the document for a few minutes, but were not given the opportunity to respond. The document has been released in a highly redacted form, so it is still not possible to know precisely what was in it.

Part of the content was probably assertions that information from Pollard found its way to the Soviet Union, exposing several American agents who were then murdered by the KGB. As I explained Friday, it appears that the agents were actually betrayed either by double agent Aldrich Ames, or another ‘mole’ in the CIA who was being protected by Ames. Hershel Shanks explains,

In 1983 Ames was made chief of the CIA’s Soviet counterintelligence branch in the Soviet-East European Division. Ames was recruited by the Russians in 1984. Ames would, of course, have every reason to deflect suspicion from himself and blame someone else for what was happening in the Moscow bureau – and Ames was in a position to do so.

The information Pollard passed to Israel about Russian weaponry in Arab states was obtained, at least in part, from American agents in Russia.

In the intelligence community it was well known that in the past KGB moles had penetrated Israeli intelligence. Perhaps a still-undiscovered Soviet mole inside Israeli intelligence passed the secrets to the Soviets that Pollard had passed to Israel.

Pollard was not sentenced until March 1987. Ames was still in charge of Soviet counter-intelligence within the CIA. Based on what Ames told him, Weinberger drafted his affidavit to the court. [my emphasis]

But the government apparently provided additional ‘facts’ to the judge. When Pollard attempted (unsuccessfully) to withdraw his guilty plea in 1990, attorney Alan Dershowitz presented the following affidavit to the court:

  1. My name is ALAN M. DERSHOWITZ. I am a Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. I serve as one of the lawyers for Jonathan J. Pollard. During the 1963 – 1964 Supreme Court term, I was a law clerk to Mr. Justice Arthur Goldberg. Between that time and his death, I remained a close friend and associate of Mr. Justice Goldberg. We worked together on many projects, spoke and met frequently, and jointly authored articles and proposals.
  2. Following the publication of the a letter to the Jerusalem Post, on September 12, 1989, I spoke to Justice Goldberg an the telephone about the sentence imposed on Jonathan Pollard. I promised to send him some comparative sentencing data. Justice Goldberg promised to make some inquiries on his own regarding the sentence.
  3. Subsequent to this conversation, Justice Goldberg called me to tell me that he had personally met with Judge Aubrey Robinson and discussed the Pollard sentence with him. Justice Goldberg told me that Judge Robinson had told him that he (Judge Robinson) had been provided by the government with evidence that Jonathan Pollard had given Israel American satellite photographs proving that Israel had tested Jericho missiles in South Africa and had provided South Africa with missile and nuclear technology. Justice Goldberg told me further that Judge Robinson was particularly outraged by the Israel-South Africa connection and Pollard’s role in providing Israel with evidence that the United States had satellite evidence of it. Justice Goldberg told me that he understood why Judge Robinson, as a Black man, would be particularly sensitive to this evidence.Justice Goldberg told me that Judge Robinson had told him that Pollard-South African connection had weighed heavily in his (Judge Robinson’s) decision to impose a life sentence. I told Justice Goldberg that I did not believe that Jonathan Pollard had provided Israel with any such satellite information, but that I would check.
  4. I immediately called Hamilton Fox and Nathan Dershowitz [Pollard’s lawyers] and told them of my conversation with Justice Goldberg. Fox said he would check with Jonathan Pollard and his earlier attorney, Richard A. Hibey concerning the truth or falsity of the evidence provided to Judge Robinson.
  5. After being assured by Fox that there was no truth whatsoever in the claim that Jonathan Pollard had provided satellite photographs or information to Israel about South Africa, Jericho missiles or nuclear technology, I wrote Justice Goldberg the attached letter (Attachment A).
  6. On January 15, 1990 I spoke with Justice Goldberg on the phone. He was quite upset at the content of my letter and promised to get to the bottom of it. He told me that he would phone Attorney General Thornburgh for a meeting to discuss this issue and the sentence. He told me that if my facts were correct, then the Justice Department had improperly “pandered” [that was his precise word) to Judge Robinson’s racial sensitivities as a Black judge by providing him with false, inflammatory, ex parte information.
  7. On Friday morning January 19, 1990, I learned from Robert Goldberg that his father, Justice Arthur Goldberg, had died in his sleep during the night.

Was there a “South African connection?” It seems unlikely, considering the kind of information Israel sought from Pollard — information about its Arab enemies and their Soviet supporters.

But more important, even if there were such a connection, Judge Robinson’s outrage that Israel may have aided the hated South African regime is hardly a legitimate reason to doom Pollard to life in prison! After all, even if true, this wasn’t Pollard’s doing.

If indeed a combination of false accusations and an inappropriate emotional reaction by the judge resulted in Pollard’s life sentence, then a miscarriage of justice occurred.

The administration should either release Pollard, or explain convincingly why he should remain in prison.

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Pollard still in prison after 27 years — an object lesson for Jews?

Friday, December 14th, 2012

By Vic Rosenthal

Highly redacted CIA document about Jonathan Pollard case. Click for larger version.

Highly redacted CIA document about Jonathan Pollard case. Click for larger version.

I haven’t written about Jonathan Pollard in a while. I’m prompted to do so again by two things: a recent news report that Pollard was taken to the hospital after collapsing in his cell (he is now back in jail), and the release today of formerly classified documents about his case.

Pollard, a Navy intelligence analyst, was arrested for passing classified information to Israel in 1985 and sentenced in 1987 to life imprisonment, when the government reneged on a plea deal. The judge in the case ruled after receiving confidential information about the damage that Pollard’s spying allegedly caused from former Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger.

Weinberger’s memo to the court has now been declassified, but unfortunately the content that persuaded the judge to send Pollard to prison for life has been redacted, so we still don’t know exactly what Pollard is supposed to have done that justified his hugely disproportionate sentence. You can read more about the case here.

Some commentators think that Pollard was accused of being the source of information which led to the deaths of American agents at the hands of the Soviet KGB, when in fact this was provided by traitors Aldrich Ames and Robert Hanssen. But this can’t be determined from what’s left of Weinberger’s memo.

One interesting item that appears in the declassified documents are details about some of what Pollard provided:

The documents provided information on PLO headquarters in Tunisia; specific capabilities of Tunisian and Libyan air defense systems; Iraqi and Syrian chemical warfare productions capabilities (including detailed satellite imagery); Soviet arms shipments to Syria and other Arab states; naval forces, port facilities, and lines of communication of various Middle Eastern and North African countries; the MiG-29 fighter; and Pakistan’s nuclear program. Also included was a U.S. assessment of Israeli military capabilities.

The government has not provided any additional information that makes the reasons for keeping Pollard in prison clear. While he certainly is guilty of transmitting classified information to an ally, his is the only case of this kind that has resulted in a life sentence. I can’t believe, if the government actually has information to justify the sentence, that it could not be provided in a manner that would be convincing without revealing damaging secrets.

There are at least two other possible reasons for not releasing Pollard that come to mind: either

  1. he knows something which still, after 27 years, would embarrass the CIA or some other government entity or official; or,
  2. the administration believes that it is absolutely necessary to send a message that Jewish disloyalty will be treated with maximum harshness.

I’m going with number 2.

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The NY Times: dishonest, defamatory and deliberate

Thursday, December 13th, 2012


I have often criticized the New York Times for slanting ‘news’ stories as well as for its consistent anti-Israel bias in editorials, selection of op-eds, columnists, etc.

Now the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) has prepared a study of the Times’ content that they argue demonstrates that the newspaper is as bad or worse than I’ve said:

The dominant finding of the study is a disproportionate, continuous, embedded indictment that dominates both news and commentary sections. Israeli views are downplayed while Palestinian perspectives, especially criticism of Israel, are amplified and even promoted. The net effect is an overarching message, woven into the fabric of the coverage, of Israeli fault and responsibility for the conflict.

The summary (the full report, with detailed data will be available soon) lists several newsworthy  topics — the peace process, the Mavi Marmara affair, the ‘siege’ of Gaza, violence and incitement in Israel and the territories. It argues that the Times’ coverage of these has been biased to the extreme. It also notes that editorials and articles chosen for the op-ed pages have been almost entirely anti-Israel — some totally irrational, such as a remarkably ugly piece by an anti-Israel extremist that “characterized Israel’s tolerance toward homosexuals as a devious ploy to conceal abuses of Palestinian human rights.”

There is no doubt in my mind that the data will confirm rigorously what I noticed years ago and continue to notice: that the New York Times has chosen the path of dishonesty and even deliberate defamation, over responsible journalism. They are not disinterested observers of events; they are fighters in an information war.

I think we must draw a distinction here between the normal political ‘slant’ of an editorial policy — all media have them — and a sustained policy to abet the assassination of a nation. I am entirely serious when I say that the difference between the New York Times and Der Stürmer is one of style and degree. The intent is similar.

“Oh, come on,” you say. “Don’t be an extremist yourself. It’s just the usual liberal bias.” No, it isn’t. It is a sustained campaign to establish certain false propositions in the minds of the public — an educated, influential segment of the public. These beliefs are intended to influence policy, in a way which will directly damage Israel’s security. The New York Times is doing its best, in other words, to get people (Jews) killed.

Here are some of the false propositions that are repeated, over and over, in the pages of the Times:

  • The conflict continues because Israel is not prepared to make peace with the Palestinians.
  • Any defensive action in the face of terrorism is collective punishment of Palestinians.
  • Any defensive action that hurts Palestinians is disproportionate.
  • Israel’s government is an extremist right-wing regime.
  • Israelis in general are racially prejudiced against Arabs.
  • The security fence is a land grab.
  • Israeli Jews have no right to live beyond the Green Line.
  • Eastern Jerusalem is “Arab Jerusalem.”
  • ‘Settlers’ are terrorists, Palestinian Arabs are oppressed.

The objective of this propaganda is to make it harder for Israel to defend itself against terrorism and war, and to facilitate diplomatic pressure to reverse the outcome of 1967. Of course, once that is accomplished, it will be the results of 1948 that will be placed under pressure.

I could go on. I could speculate about the motivations of the editors and publishers. But wondering about the motivations of their enemies is a Jewish disease.

What we should do is to stop giving aid and comfort to them. To stop subscribing to this newspaper, even if we like the book reviews or sports articles. You wouldn’t make donations to Hizballah, right? Then don’t buy the Times.

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