Thursday, 08 January 2009


Ken Berwitz

I've been asked more than once, usually by fellow Jews, why I am so concerned about Barack Obama's stance on Israel.  After all, a vast majority of Jews voted for him, didn't they?  Do I think I'm smarter than they are?  Am I just a dense conservative/right winger/etc. who closes his mind to everything but what he wants to see.

None of this is an exaggeration either.  What you just saw is what I have heard.  For real.

I've answered a lot of this kind of crap in my blog over the the past year.  I could rehash it, but then again you can scroll back to see for yourself.  Maybe, later today, I'll write a blog which outlines my liberal/left wing positions, just to make the point that my views "cover the waterfront" from left to right.  But not now.

For now, I'd like to address the idea that if a majority of Jews/supporters of Israel vote for someone, that person inherently must be sympathetic towards their position.

For this, I will hand the ball to jimmy carter.

Today's Washington Post has a commentary by carter, in which he details his position on Gaza and Israel's actions there.  Please read it below.

The Israel/Jew hatred is carter's.  The bold print is mine:

An Unnecessary War

An Israeli artillery piece firing into the southern Gaza Strip on Tuesday.
An Israeli artillery piece firing into the southern Gaza Strip on Tuesday. (By Anja Niedringhaus -- Associated Press)
By Jimmy Carter
Thursday, January 8, 2009; Page A15

I know from personal involvement that the devastating invasion of Gaza by Israel could easily have been avoided.

After visiting Sderot last April and seeing the serious psychological damage caused by the rockets that had fallen in that area, my wife, Rosalynn, and I declared their launching from Gaza to be inexcusable and an act of terrorism. Although casualties were rare (three deaths in seven years), the town was traumatized by the unpredictable explosions. About 3,000 residents had moved to other communities, and the streets, playgrounds and shopping centers were almost empty. Mayor Eli Moyal assembled a group of citizens in his office to meet us and complained that the government of Israel was not stopping the rockets, either through diplomacy or military action.

Knowing that we would soon be seeing Hamas leaders from Gaza and also in Damascus, we promised to assess prospects for a cease-fire. From Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman, who was negotiating between the Israelis and Hamas, we learned that there was a fundamental difference between the two sides. Hamas wanted a comprehensive cease-fire in both the West Bank and Gaza, and the Israelis refused to discuss anything other than Gaza.

We knew that the 1.5 million inhabitants of Gaza were being starved, as the U.N. special rapporteur on the right to food had found that acute malnutrition in Gaza was on the same scale as in the poorest nations in the southern Sahara, with more than half of all Palestinian families eating only one meal a day.

Palestinian leaders from Gaza were noncommittal on all issues, claiming that rockets were the only way to respond to their imprisonment and to dramatize their humanitarian plight. The top Hamas leaders in Damascus, however, agreed to consider a cease-fire in Gaza only, provided Israel would not attack Gaza and would permit normal humanitarian supplies to be delivered to Palestinian citizens.

After extended discussions with those from Gaza, these Hamas leaders also agreed to accept any peace agreement that might be negotiated between the Israelis and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who also heads the PLO, provided it was approved by a majority vote of Palestinians in a referendum or by an elected unity government.

Since we were only observers, and not negotiators, we relayed this information to the Egyptians, and they pursued the cease-fire proposal. After about a month, the Egyptians and Hamas informed us that all military action by both sides and all rocket firing would stop on June 19, for a period of six months, and that humanitarian supplies would be restored to the normal level that had existed before Israel's withdrawal in 2005 (about 700 trucks daily).

We were unable to confirm this in Jerusalem because of Israel's unwillingness to admit to any negotiations with Hamas, but rocket firing was soon stopped and there was an increase in supplies of food, water, medicine and fuel. Yet the increase was to an average of about 20 percent of normal levels. And this fragile truce was partially broken on Nov. 4, when Israel launched an attack in Gaza to destroy a defensive tunnel being dug by Hamas inside the wall that encloses Gaza.

On another visit to Syria in mid-December, I made an effort for the impending six-month deadline to be extended. It was clear that the preeminent issue was opening the crossings into Gaza. Representatives from the Carter Center visited Jerusalem, met with Israeli officials and asked if this was possible in exchange for a cessation of rocket fire. The Israeli government informally proposed that 15 percent of normal supplies might be possible if Hamas first stopped all rocket fire for 48 hours. This was unacceptable to Hamas, and hostilities erupted.

After 12 days of "combat," the Israeli Defense Forces reported that more than 1,000 targets were shelled or bombed. During that time, Israel rejected international efforts to obtain a cease-fire, with full support from Washington. Seventeen mosques, the American International School, many private homes and much of the basic infrastructure of the small but heavily populated area have been destroyed. This includes the systems that provide water, electricity and sanitation. Heavy civilian casualties are being reported by courageous medical volunteers from many nations, as the fortunate ones operate on the wounded by light from diesel-powered generators.

The hope is that when further hostilities are no longer productive, Israel, Hamas and the United States will accept another cease-fire, at which time the rockets will again stop and an adequate level of humanitarian supplies will be permitted to the surviving Palestinians, with the publicized agreement monitored by the international community. The next possible step: a permanent and comprehensive peace.

As you can see (I hope), I could have put every word of this hamas propaganda piece in bold print.  But the blog would be too long if I went through everything carter either ignores, fantasizes, misunderstands or lies about.  So I'll limit my comments to the bold-print parts.

--  If the residents of Gaza are being starved, why is it happening?  Because Israel isn't feeding them? 

Israel isn't bombing their farms or food production facilities, it is bombing the places they are attacking Israel from. 

WHERE are the farms?  WHERE are the food production facilities?  Palestinian Arabs get more aid per capita than any country in the world, including Israel.  WHAT do they do with the money?  Do they create an agricultural sector?  Do they build food processing plants?  Or do they use it to arm, fortify, and then attack Israel?

But let's not stop there.  Let's also discuss why carter blames Israel excusively for Gaza's food situation.

Did you know that about half of Gaza is not bordered by Israel?  Did you know that it also borders Egypt and the Mediterranean sea? 

Location of Gaza Strip

Food supplies can flow to Gaza from those places.  No one is stopping FOOD supplies from coming to Gaza. 

But in the happy horsemanure world of jimmy carter, Israel is solely responsible for feeding its enemies.  Not Egypt, with its majority Arab muslim population.  Not the countries of the world which conduct shipping in the mediterranean and could easily supply Gaza.  It's only Israel.

--  hamas agreed to a peace deal negotiated by abbas? 

Wait just a minute.  Isn't abbas the elected President of the so-called Palestinian territories?  Didn't hamas forcibly, violently eject fatah from governing Gaza and take it over in mid-2007? 

Can carter be so full of hate that he can't comprehend how meaningless abbas' "negotiation" with Israel would be to these people?

And isn't hamas still committed, in writing, to the destruction of Israel through jihad?  Doesn't the hamas charter still say:

Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it" (The Martyr, Imam Hassan al-Banna, of blessed memory).


This Covenant of the Islamic Resistance Movement (HAMAS), clarifies its picture, reveals its identity, outlines its stand, explains its aims, speaks about its hopes, and calls for its support, adoption and joining its ranks. Our struggle against the Jews is very great and very serious. It needs all sincere efforts. It is a step that inevitably should be followed by other steps. The Movement is but one squadron that should be supported by more and more squadrons from this vast Arab and Islamic world, until the enemy is vanquished and Allah's victory is realised.


Allah is its target, the Prophet is its model, the Koran its constitution: Jihad is its path and death for the sake of Allah is the loftiest of its wishes.


The Islamic Resistance Movement believes that the land of Palestine is an Islamic Waqf consecrated for future Moslem generations until Judgement Day. It, or any part of it, should not be squandered: it, or any part of it, should not be given up. Neither a single Arab country nor all Arab countries, neither any king or president, nor all the kings and presidents, neither any organization nor all of them, be they Palestinian or Arab, possess the right to do that. Palestine is an Islamic Waqf land consecrated for Moslem generations until Judgement Day. This being so, who could claim to have the right to represent Moslem generations till Judgement Day?

Did carter somehow overlook this?  Can he possibly believe there is room for a negotiated peace with people who place these passages in their own charter?  Or is his hatred of Israel and of Jews so great that he just doesn't give a damn?  You decide.

--  A "defensive tunnel"?  If you believe that hamas' tunnels are for defensive purposes you're beyond my ability to reason with altogether.

--  The preeminent issue is border crossings to/from Israel?  As noted previously, there are Egyptian border crossings too.  What about them?   And the Mediterranean sea runs the entire length of Gaza.  What about that?  How can this be ignored and the entire onus be put upon Israel - the country hamas explicitly tells us it is trying to obliterate?  Well, if you hate Israel and hate Jews, it's easy.

--  That reference, towards the end, to "the surviving Palestinians" is arguably the most despicable of them all.  It implies that Israel is intentionally committing genocide upon Gazans. 

If this were true, Israel would, without any prior warning to Gazans, indiscriminately bomb population centers; apartment buildings, regardless of whether artillery is being fired from them; any place where there are large concentrations of civilians (which certainly aren't hard to find in Gaza City).  If Israel were doing that we wouldn't be counting the dead in hundreds, we'd be counting the dead in hundreds of thousands.

Yesterday I blogged about a school that Israel targeted and bombed, killing dozens of palestinian Arabs.  I put up video of THAT SAME SCHOOL being used to fire missiles, complete with video of the missiles taking off. 

When palestinian Arabs do this, they are intentionally using their own people - in this case their own children - as human shields.  They know that the only way Israel can take out this firing location is to attack the "school" they have located it in.   So who is really killing the civilians in Gaza?

Now that you've read this, I will tell you the percentage of Jewish votes that jimmy carter got the year he won the presidency.  In 1976, carter got 75% of the Jewish vote.  That is within 3% of what Barack Obama got this year. 

Let me finish by saying, again, that I don't think I'm smarter than other Jews.  But I do think that I'm one hell of a lot more receptive to reality than at least some of us.  Enough so that I didn't engage in the preposterous level of rationalizing necessary to avoid seeing through jimmy carter.

And Barack Obama.


UPDATE:  I just read several reports this evening that Barack Obama intends to open "low level" diplomacy with hamas.  If so, this will reverse 8 years of President Bush refusing to do so on the grounds that it is a terrorist organization.

What will Mr. Obama and his people discuss?  Since hamas is specifically, in writing, committed to Israel's "obliteration" and a war against Jews, will he try to negotiate a compromise?  Will he sign on to half of Israel being obliterated and 2 1/2 - 3 million of Israel's 5-6 million Jews killed?

The United States does not negotiate with terrorists.  But, evidently, President Obama will.  Hey, it's only hamas. 

To the 78% of US Jews who voted for him;  You got your man.  I hope you're happy.

KB Free - thank you. Very much appreciated. (01/08/09)

free` Excellent commentary!!!! I wish you could convince the media of the points you make in this post. Keep up the great work Ken. P.S. I miss your commentary in #politics, it isn't the same there without you. (01/08/09)


Ken Berwitz

I try to like Rachel Maddow.  She is very smart and very articulate.  Sometimes she is very funny (I mean that in a good way).  But it's not easy.

One problem with trying to like Ms. Maddow is that she tries so hard to emulate her mentor, keith olbermann.  Unfortunately, that removes the smart/articulate/funny components and replaces them with smirky, snarky and snotty.  Not good.

Another problem is that Ms. Maddow's, views are so hard-left that they sometimes overtake and contort her perception of reality.  When this happens, unless you are just as hard left as Maddow is, it makes her sound ridiculous.

Here, from Mark Finkelstein of, is the latest example of what I'm talking about:

Wrong, Rachel: Maddow Claims Clinton Inherited 'Economic Downturn' From H.W.

Maybe Rachel Maddow watched one too many clips of Bill Clinton during the '92 campaign claiming George H.W. had "driven the economy into a ditch" and that things were as bad as they'd been since the Depression.  In the course of trying to lower expectations for Obama to the max on her show tonight, and tracing the history of the economies previous presidents inherited, Maddow claimed that "Clinton took the oath during an economic downturn."

Uh, no.  He took office in the midst of an economy that was growing at a fast pace. Don't take my word for it.  "Fast pace" was the way economic growth was characterized at the time by the . . . New York Times.

View video

Maddow was riffing off today's Oval Office coffee klatsch among all the living presidents.  Her point was that however bad the economies that Barack Obama's predecessors might have found on their plate when they moved into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, it pales in comparison to the mess in the incoming president's inbox.

No argument there.  But in the course of her walk down Economy Lane, Maddow attempted some historical revisionism at the expense of H.W.  Let's call her on it.  Here's what she said when it came to Bill Clinton.

RACHEL MADDOW: Clinton took the oath during an economic downturn, but that was a romper room compared to today's down-crash.

Wrong. So what's the truth about the economy Bill Clinton inherited?  Here's the headline and opening paragraph of the New York Times story of January 29, 1993, reporting on the state of the economy in the last quarter of 1992.  That would be the last quarter of H.W.'s presidency and the one immediately preceding Bill Clinton's entry into office.


January 29, 1993

The economy grew at a faster-than-expected annual rate of 3.8 percent in the final quarter of 1992, the strongest performance in four years, the Commerce Department reported today.

We'll look for Rachel's retraction tomorrow.

Well, Mark's "tomorrow" is now today.  And Rachel Maddow will be on (where else?) MSNBC tonight. 

Mark can look for that retraction if he wants.  But I don't at all believe he's going to find it.  Ms. Maddow is a hard-left hunter who is very successfully providing red meat to her audience.  She's not going to take back even one serving of it just for the sake of being historically honest. 

Hey, maybe keith olbermann will correct her, attack her as an ignoramus and call her one of the worst people in the world.  

Of course, Russia and China might jointly request permission to become part of the USA too.  I figure the odds are about the same.

free` I can't understand how people in the media constantly get away with outright lying. It just amazes me that they not only do it but get away with it. Other than not watch them their is nothing anybody can do about. No wonder the majority of people don't know the reality of the world we are living in. Wasn't there a time when the media reported facts and told the truth? It is shameful. (01/08/09)


Ken Berwitz

Here, from, is a classic example of what Israel has to deal with propaganda-wise.  And how willing major media are to accept the word of Gazans without checking for accuracy -- not even for whether its source is rooting for one side over the other.:

A Staged Scene in a Gaza Hospital? - Update: CNN Yanks Video

Middle East | Thu, Jan 8, 2009 at 10:46:05 am PST

Norwegian doctor Mads Gilbert, a radical Marxist who openly supports Hamas and the 9/11 hijackers, is seen once again in this CNN video about the death of a freelance cameramans brother in Gaza and the footage in the hospital room was very likely staged for propaganda effect.

A closer view of the scene in the hospital room is here at CNN: Toll of conflict strikes home as cameraman finds brother dead -

LGF reader Last Mohican, a doctor, makes a strong case that this is an obvious fake.

Im no military expert, but I am a doctor, and this video is bullsh-t. The chest compressions that were being performed at the beginning of this video were absolutely, positively fake. The large man in the white coat was NOT performing CPR on that child. He was just sort of tapping on the childs sternum a little bit with his fingers. You cant make blood flow like that. Furthermore, theres no point in doing chest compressions if youre not also ventilating the patient somehow. In this video, I cant tell for sure if the patient has an endotracheal tube in place, but you can see that there is nobody bag-ventilating him (a bag is actually hanging by the head of the bed), and there is no ventilator attached to the patient. In a hospital, during a code on a ventilated patient, somebody would probably be bagging the patient during the chest compressions. And they also would have moved the bed away from the wall, so that somebody could get back there to intubate the patient and/or bag him. In short, the resuscitation scene at the beginning is fake, and its a pretty lame fake at that.

So the question is, were they re-enacting the resuscitation scene by repeating their actions on a corpse, because the child had died earlier? Its likely that the answer is no, that child is still alive, and is just an actor pretending to be a child who was killed. Why do I say that? Because the big guy in the white coat, if hes really a doctor, nurse, nurses aid, EMT, or any sort of health care provider at all would be entirely aware that tickling the boys sternum doesnt really look like actual chest compressions. If the boy was dead, the man would have done a more convincing job in compressing the chest. The taps on the chest that hes doing are the sort of thing you see in bad TV dramas, when you dont want to make the poor actor playing the victim uncomfortable by really pushing on his chest. I think the man in the white coat knows this child is actually alive, and is making the simulated chest compressions gentle so as not to hurt the child. My guess is that he assumed the videographer, like those on better TV shows, would have been smart enough not to film as far down as the mans hands on the chest.

UPDATE at 1/8/09 12:43:55 pm:

Well, well. CNN has removed the video from the page linked above, with no explanation or retraction.

UPDATE at 1/8/09 1:09:14 pm:

Heres another version of the suspect footage at the UKs Channel 4. (Whose coverage is horrifically biased against Israel.)

The scene in question starts at about 1:40.

And meanwhile, LGF reader Killgore Trout has discovered that the freelance photographer, Ashraf Mashharawi, also runs a business in Gaza called Nepras For Media & IT, which hosts websites. And according to Internet Haganah, in 2004 they were listed as the operator of at least two websites for ... Hamas.

I know youre as shocked as I am.

If this were Israeli video, do you doubt that media would have checked the source?  And upon finding out it was someone who provided internet services to the IDF, do you think they just might have mentioned it? 

But listen to them squeal like stuck pigs if you call them biased.


Ken Berwitz

If you support Israel, do you want Dennis Ross anywhere near a position of power or influence in the Middle East?

Ok, let's expand that question:  if you support Israel and voted for Barack Obama, do you have any reason to believe someone like Ross would be kept from that position?

While you're thinking about it, please read Paul Mirengoff's piece about Ross from  I think it may help you to come to your conclusions.  I'll help too, by putting the key paragraph in bold print:

Dennis Ross and diplomacy-derangement syndrome

Marc Ambinder reports that Barack Obama will make Dennis Ross his "chief emissary" to Iran. This strikes me as bad, though hardly surprising, news.

Ross presents himself as reasonable and moderate in his writings and television appearances. But in social settings, when the cameras are off, he can come across quite differently. In such a setting, I heard him say of Hurricane Katrina that people already think we don't care about the rest of the world and now it turns out that we don't care about our own people either. This kind of vicious, stupid remark is the stuff of left-wing bloggers, not U.S. "emissaries."

But my main objection to Ross isn't Bush-derangement syndrome, but rather diplomacy-derangement syndrome. By this I mean boundless faith in diplomacy which, when possessed by a diplomat, probably reflects boundless faith in himself.

For roughly a decade, Ross persisted against all the evidence in believing that Yasser Arafat was a "peace partner" with whom Israel and the U.S. should negotiate and to whom Israel should make concessions. If Ross could believe this, the odds aren't terribly long that he believes, or will come to believe, that negotiations with, and concessions to, Ahmadinejad (as evil as Arafat and even more dangerous) and the Iranian regime are just what the doctor ordered.

At that point, for diplomats with diplomacy-derangement syndrome, "getting to yes" can easily become an imperative, without serious regard to the cost of getting there or what (if any) the actual benefits of "yes" may be. The resulting mischief is likely to be great, as was the case for Israel the last time Ross was an "emissary."

If you support Israel, or are indifferent to Israel but more generally support peace and democracy over arafat's career of hatred, murder, coercion and corruption, can this appointment possibly be ok with you?

According to the exit polls, about 78% of US Jews voted for Barack Obama - even as he stacked his campaign with people just like Ross.  Presumably, most of Mr. Obama's Jewish support also supports Israel.

Now, as Mr. Obama is perfectly happy to tell us his positions on Mumbai, the economy, etc. while refusing to say a word about Israel's action in Gaza, he busies himself by picking an emissary whose history suggests he will be unrealistically disposed toward Israel's enemies.

I hope they're happy with what they got.

free` I don't think most American Jews support Israel. (01/08/09)


Ken Berwitz

Earlier today I promised to put up a list of issues on which I am to the liberal/left side.  The reason is that I get tired of being told I'm a hardline right winger because some of my positions are to that side.

Here is a partial list, in no particular order:

-I am absolutely committed to equal rights and equal opportunities for everyone; Black no less than White, Muslim no less than Christian or Jewish;

-I am absolutely committed to equal rights and equal opportunities for gays, no less than straights;

-I support civil unions with 100% of the rights of conventional marriage.  I am indifferent to whether it is called marriage, and consider this an issue of semantics.  If calling it a civil union will facilitate legal passage, that's fine with me.  I don't consider a "civil union" to be a lesser version of "marriage", just different terminology distinguish between hetero and gay.  Come to think of it, why not call them hetero and gay marriages? 

-I support a woman's right to abort - until the fetus has a beating heart and brain activity, at which point it is a live child to me.  I have no problem with any contraception or with any "day after" pill;

-I strongly support unions, and consider them imperatives for individuals to have any kind of leverage with corporations.  Individuals cannot hope to bargain effectively with larger entities.  Unions can.  (Note:  This doesn't mean I'm unaware of how corrupt some unions are or that I think unions are good in all cases.)

-I despise the idea of the American flag being burned.  But I recognize it as a free speech issue and would never ban flag burning.

-God has no place on our coins.  "In God we trust" should not be there.

-God has no place in the pledge of allegiance.  "Under God" should not be there.

-I believe that all handguns should be registered and all ammunition of every kind should be ID'ed.  I believe in stringent, mandatory security checks before anyone is allowed to own a gun. (Note:  I also believe in mandatory multi-year prison time for anyone in possession of a gun while committing a crime - regardless of whether the gun is used in that crime);

-I believe that prostitution should be legal, and fully regulated, with mandatory health checks for the practitioners.  What do we own more than our bodies?  It's up to us how we use them;

Those are the examples I just thought of offhand.  I assure you there are more.

Am I telling you that I am a liberal/left winger?  No.  I assure you that I can provide a list of right wing/conservative positions as well. 

But since the assumption that I'm a right winger/conservative is what prompted this in the first place, I doubt that it would be necessary.

Ok.  Enough.  Back to politics.

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