“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Thursday, June 27, 2013

AIPAC Illustrates Current Threats Facing Israel With Bombing Photo—From 1997

AIPAC Illustrates Current Threats Facing Israel With Bombing Photo—From 1997

Last week, friends forwarded me a mailing they had recently received from AIPAC. Included with the letter touting AIPAC’s accomplishments and the expected call for donations was a map-style fold-out insert, headlined with the ominous message: “Israel Faces Increasing Threats.” Under that headline, taking up more than half the page, is a photo of an Israeli policewoman shepherding to safety an Israeli woman who clearly has been the victim of a bombing attack.

For all of us who worry about people in Israel, this is one of those iconic, hit-you-in-the gut pictures. It brings to mind the awful attacks that Israel saw so many of in the 1990s and early years of the 2000s.

A little research confirms that this reaction is right on target, given that the photo is from a suicide bombing that took place in 1997. Yes, 1997. Which begs the question: why use a 16-year-old photo to illustrate a headline referring to current threats facing Israel?

This photo, from the AIPAC mailing, shows an Israeli policewoman escorting a shocked woman away from the site of an explosion in Jerusalem, Israel, in 1997. (Bryan Mcburney / AP)

Given that suicide bombings in Israel have, thankfully, been rare for some time now, with the last one taking place more than five years ago, the most innocent explanation is that someone in AIPAC’s design department reasoned, “suicide bombings happen in Israel all the time, so what’s the difference how old the photo is?” If that’s what happened, then AIPAC needs to do a better job educating its own staff. The less innocent explanation is that someone at AIPAC thought to themselves, “American Jews respond viscerally to images of innocent Israelis wounded in terrorist attacks, so we’re going to put this specific image front and center, even if doing so actively misleads American Jews about the situation inside Israel.”

The precipitous drop in terror attacks in Israel is a rare good-news story out of Israel that, regrettably, has largely been overlooked by the media. This in part no doubt reflects the fact that tragedy and bloodshed, not their absence, sell papers. It may also reflect the cynicism of those who want to exploit fear and sow hardline political sentiment inside the American Jewish community—whether in order to promote hawkish political positions or to raise funds.

None of which is to suggest that there have not been terror attacks against Israelis more recently than 1997, both in Israel and the West Bank. Suicide bombings in Israel were a horrific fact of life into the early 2000s, at which point Israel’s “separation barrier”—which for the most part prevents Palestinians in the West Bank from accessing Israel—turned the tide. Since then there have continued to beattacks against Israelis, including settlers in the West Bank and Israeli tourists in Europe. And of course, Israelis living near Gaza still live with the very real fear of rocket fire.

In truth, the title of AIPAC’s publication is absolutely correct—Israel indeed faces increasing threats. However, the photo on the cover and the material contained in the publication are misleading. AIPAC wants American Jews to believe that Palestinian suicide terror is a defining reality in Israel today—despite evidence to the contrary. Its broader message is that the region is in flux, the sky is falling, and the faceless, homogeneous Arab and Muslim hordes are at the gates, wanting only to kill Jews and destroy Israel. This message stands in stark contrast to the one offered only last week by Meir Dagan, the former head of Israel’s Mossad, who argued that the current regional flux presents a “unique opportunity for Israel to seek different alliances.

The AIPAC message stands in contrast, too, to the reality articulated by every living former leader of the Shin Bet in the recent movie, The Gatekeepers. All of these men—whose entire professional lives were devoted to Israel’s security—today sound nothing like AIPAC and a lot like Peace Now in describing the high costs to Israel of maintaining the occupation and the imperative of achieving peace and a two-state solution. For them, the greatest potential threat to Israel comes not from outside forces but from within, and stems from the failure of Israeli leaders to truly pursue peace. Anyone who doubts the validity of this outlook—despite its unimpeachable sources—need only note that even as the incidence of Palestinian terrorist attacks against Israelis is falling, attacks by Israeli extremists—often referred to as Price Tag attacks—is rising dramatically. These attacks have targeted Palestinians, the IDF, and Israeli peace activists. They have been aimed at Palestinian private property, mosques, and churches. Increasingly, they have spread across the Green Line to targets inside Israel proper.

In short, the real threats to Israel’s security and its future—its very viability as a prosperous, democratic nation with a real Jewish character and at home in the community of nations—stem not from external enemies but from Israeli policies that are antithetical to peace and the two-state solution, including an unwillingness to confront Israel's home-grown extremists. AIPAC should stop the worn out fear-mongering tactics and start focusing on these very real, increasing threats, for Israel’s sake.



  1. A stone cold convicted murder will walk because he was held in solitary confinement for seven days

    The US military’s highest court has overturned a murder conviction against a marine in one of the most significant cases against American troops from the Iraq war.

    The court of appeals for the armed forces threw out the conviction of Sergeant Lawrence Hutchins, who has served about half of his 11-year sentence.

    According to the ruling posted on the court's website on Wednesday, the judges agreed with Hutchins, who said his constitutional rights were violated when he was held in solitary confinement without access to a lawyer for seven days during his interrogation in Iraq.

    Hutchins led an eight-man squad accused of kidnapping a retired Iraqi policeman from his home in April 2006, marching him to a ditch and shooting him dead in the village of Hamdania. None of the other squad members served more than 18 months.

    Hutchins's case had been overturned once before by a court that ruled his 2007 trial was unfair because his lead defence lawyer quit shortly before it began. The same court that accepted his new petition overruled that decision, saying the problem was not grave enough to throw out the conviction.

    Hutchins had not been due for release until July 2015 at the earliest.

    His lawyer, Babu Kaza, said he now expected him to be released within days.

    ”Sergeant Hutchins and his family have suffered enough with this case, and it’s time for this to be over," Kaza said. “Enough is enough.”

  2. Hold on there, didn’t I read that Bradley Manning was held in solitary confinement for two years?

    Three years after U.S. Army Private First Class Bradley Manning was arrested in Iraq and accused of providing WikiLeaks with 700,000 intelligence documents and videos, many of them classified, his court-martial has begun. Manning, 25, faces life in prison if he is convicted of aiding the enemy, along with 21 other charges related to what has been deemed the largest leak of classified information in American history. Looming over the testimonies and accusations that are sure to fly between prosecution and defense during Manning’s trial is the knowledge that whatever sentence he receives will be cut down by 112 days—not much against the potential time he faces—because back in January a military judge deemed Manning’s pretrial detention treatment “excessive.”

    So what, exactly, is excessive or extreme solitary confinement, and what does one do to deserve it? Experts say that while the technically undefined “extreme” versions of solitary confinement are rarely applied, prisoners across the country are often subjected to exaggerated isolation conditions. These are so severely harmful to their mental health, the experts say, that they may spark the violence they were created to prevent while also violating a prisoner’s Eighth Amendment right to be spared cruel and unusual punishment.

    After Manning’s arrest on May 29, 2010, he was transferred to a Marine brig in Quantico, Virginia, where, during his nine-month stay, he was reportedly held in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day, forced to sleep naked without pillows and sheets on his bed, and restricted from physical recreation or access to television or newspapers even during his one daily hour of freedom from his cell, all under the pretense that the private was a suicide risk. Manning’s treatment while in prison sparked as intense a public outcry as his arrest itself—drawing comparisons to the conditions of suspected terrorists at Guantánamo Bay.

  3. US military justice? Keep in mind , Bradley was motivated by the very type behavior of US forces in Iraq that Hutchins was convicted of. Hutchins walks because he was held in solitary confinement for seven days.

  4. Memo to Edward Snowden: Do not expect US justice.

  5. It is a bitch to be declared an “enemy of the state” by the statists.

  6. Notice how the Obama Administration and the always faithful US Media have deflected the NSA domestic spying scandal to be about “Traitor Snowden.”

  7. What I have noticed today is how a heat record is almost certainly going to be set in Vegas.

    OGF (old girl friend) writes me "Thank God for air conditioning". (Along with International Relations Advice given earlier to C. Deuce)

    This all reminded me somehow of the narrative in J. Campbell of how the abos in Australia would dance endlessly in the heat for a week or more, he claimed in heat up to 128 degrees until, exhausted, they would collapse with visions of the 'Dream Time'.

    Given the choice I think I would opt for a Vegas disco and dance for 7 hours in the arms of OGF in 78 degrees then hit the sack.

    What they were really doing was inducing a kind of NDE.

    OK, but having read about this, and deeply respect it, I think still I would rather 'die in her arms' in an air conditioned condo.



      Temps To Reach 128 in Death Valley...

      Drudge Headlines

      The old abo technique, now mostly given up to the cooling arms of a British Imperial cooled condo or trailer house, lives on in Islam among the dervish, who are mostly too tired by the experience to fight.


    2. Mean while here in racist Worley I am in eighty degrees, hoping for a call cell phone international from my Hindu niece, and resisting the urge to go to the Indian Casino and waste money in air conditioned comfort courtesy of General Electric, who is somehow related to General Bunker.



    The Pentagon unveiled plans Tuesday for fully integrating women into front-line and special combat roles, including elite forces such as Army Rangers and Navy SEALs.”

    So ran the lead on the CNN story. And why are we doing this?

    Did the young officers leading troops in battle in Afghanistan and Iraq, returning with casualties, say they needed women to enhance the fighting efficiency of their combat units and the survival rate of their soldiers?

    Did men from the 101st and 82nd airborne, the Marines, the SEALs and Delta Force petition the Joint Chiefs to put women alongside them in future engagements to make them an even superior force?

    No. This decision to put women in combat represents a capitulation of the military brass, a surrender to the spirit of our age, the Pentagon’s salute to feminist ideology.

    This is not a decision at which soldiers arrived when they studied after-action reports, but the product of an ideology that contradicts human nature, human experience and human history, and declares as dogma that women are just as good at soldiering as men.

    But if this were true, rather than merely asserted, would it have taken mankind the thousands of years from Thermopylae to discover it?

    In the history of civilization, men have fought the wars. In civilized societies, attacks on women have always been regarded as contemptible and cowardly. Even the Third Reich in its dying hours did not send women into battle, but old men and boys.

    “You don’t hit a girl!” was something every American boy had drilled into him from childhood. It was part of our culture, the way we were raised. A Marine friend told me he would have resigned from the Corps rather than fight women with the pugil sticks used for bayonet practice at Parris Island.

    Sending women into combat on equal terms seems also to violate common sense. When they reach maturity, men are bigger, stronger, more aggressive. Thus they commit many times the number of violent crimes and outnumber women in prisons 10 to 1.

    For every Bonnie Parker, there are 10 Clyde Barrows.

    Is it a coincidence that every massacre discussed in our gun debate — from the Texas Tower to the Long Island Railroad, from Columbine to Ft. Hood, from Virginia Tech to Tucson, from Aurora to Newtown — was the work of a crazed male?

    Nothing matches mortal combat where soldiers fight and kill, and are wounded, maimed and die for cause or country. Domestically, the closest approximations are combat training, ultimate fighting, boxing and that most physical of team sports, the NFL.

    Yet no women compete against men in individual or team sports. They are absent from boys’ and men’s teams in high school and college, be it football, basketball, baseball, hockey or lacrosse.

    Even in the non-contact sports of golf, tennis and volleyball, men compete with men, women against women. In the Olympics, to which nations send their best athletes, women and men compete separately in track and field, swimming and gymnastics.

    Consider our own history. Would any U.S. admiral say that in any of America’s great naval battles — Mobile Bay, Manila Bay, Midway, the Coral Sea — we would done better with some women manning the guns?



  9. {…}

    In the revolutionary and civil wars, World Wars I and II, Korea and Vietnam, women were not in combat. Was it invidious discrimination of which we should all be ashamed that women were not fighting alongside the men at Gettysburg, in the Argonne, at Normandy or with “Chesty” Puller’s Marines in the retreat from the Chosin Reservoir?

    Undeniably, some women might handle combat as well as some men. But that is true of some 13-, 14- and 15-year-old boys, and some 50- and 60-year old men. Yet we do not draft boys or men that age or send them into combat. Is this invidious discrimination based on age, or ageism?

    Carry this feminist-egalitarian ideology to its logical conclusion, and half of those storming the Omaha and Utah beaches should have been girls and women. Is this not an absurdity?

    We have had Navy ships become “love boats,” with female sailors returning pregnant. At the Naval Academy, three midshipmen, football players, allegedly raped an intoxicated classmate. For months, she was too ashamed and frightened to report it.

    An estimated 26,000 personnel of the armed forces were sexually assaulted in 2011, up from 19,000 in 2010. Obama and the Congress are understandably outraged. Such assaults are appalling. But is not the practice of forcing young men and women together in close quarters a contributory factor here?

    Among the primary reasons the Equal Rights Amendment, the ERA, went down to defeat three decades ago was the realization it could mean, in a future war, women could be drafted equally with men, and sent in equal numbers into combat.

    But what appalled the Reaganites is social progress in the age of Obama. This is another country from the one we grew up in.

  10. This is indeed another country from the one we grew up in.

    1. The air conditioning might be slightly better.

      And the phones.


  11. Snowden said he was neither a traitor, nor a hero.

    He said he was an American.

    Those are good words.


  12. Who do you trust, Eric Holder, George Bush, John Kerry, Dick Cheney or Edward Snowden?

  13. Or a Philadelphia cop?

    With technology evolving, the Philadelphia Police Department is testing equipment that allows officers to know if they are approaching a car of a wanted criminal, violent gang member or even of a citizen with parking violations just with a license plate scan.

    ELSAG’s Mobile Plate Hunter-900, which has been installed on a 3rd District auto, scans tags with its front left, front right and rear cameras and compares them to various databases such as the FBI’s Criminal Crime Information Center, terror watch list and local warrant records.

    Officers Edward Buzniak and Robert Veasey freely moved among their Mobile Data Terminal screens that included available patrol cars, active jobs and the automated license plate reader program that quickly collected plate numbers as they drove through the district Monday.

    “We’re still required to do our job – just another responsibility,” Buzniak, a native of the 300 block of Jackson Street, who now resides in Northeast Philly, said.

    The program, which signals a match with a red cue and an alarm, captures about 5,000 to 7,000 plates of autos parked or travelling on either side of the patrol car up to about 120 mph — day or night in any type of weather — in an eight-hour shift, according to its manufacturer.

    However, Monday, the duo reached 7,430 scans by 1:15 p.m. — more than an hour shy of their shift’s conclusion.

    About every 1,000 scans yields a stolen car whereas approximately every 6,000 scans produces an arrest, according to its manufacturer, but within minutes on their first day using the program last month, the duo yielded a hit, but it turned out the woman had purchased a repossessed vehicle and had not yet filed the necessary paperwork.

    “She had to go through the inconvenience of us stopping her, having her confirm,” Veasey a 18th Street and West Moyamensing Avenue native, who now calls Roxborough home, said.

    Since then, the local test subject has garnered only false hits.

  14. Or the IRS?

    A second IRS employee summoned to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee invoked the Fifth Amendment on Wednesday and refused to answer questions — a flashback to Lois Lerner, who did the same during a hearing on the agency’s scandal last month.
    Gregory Roseman, who worked as a deputy director of acquisitions at the IRS, exercised his constitutional rights when Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) started interrogating him about panel findings that he helped a friend procure potentially $500 million worth of IRS contracts.

    Read more:

  15. Or John McCain

    Sen. John McCain predicted on Wednesday that the sweeping immigration legislation making its way through the U.S. Senate was going to "overwhelmingly" pass with "good, solid" GOP support.

    "Oh, it's going to, overwhelmingly," the Arizona Republican told Neil Cavuto on Fox News. "We'd like to see more Republican senators, frankly, than we're probably going to see, but we are going to see a significant number of both Republican and Democratic votes."

  16. Or our great ally Saudi Arabia?

    Wajeha al-Huwaider and Fawzia al-Oyouni got an urgent call for help one afternoon two years ago from Natalie Morin, a Canadian citizen who lives in Saudi Arabia. Morin’s message said her husband had locked her and her children in their house without enough food. The two Saudi women’s rights activists tried to go to her aid.

    None of the women knew that the scenario was a trap set by Morin’s husband and the police. Morin had previously alleged that her husband was abusing her, including to Human Rights Watch. As soon as al-Huwaider and al-Oyouni arrived at Morin’s home that day, police detained them on suspicion of attempting to help her to leave the country with her children. In Saudi Arabia, that’s a crime.

    On June 15, a court sentenced the two activists to prison. The criminal charge: “inciting a woman against her husband.” The activists will serve their 10-month sentences and be banned from travelling abroad for two years if they lose their appeal.

    While Saudi authorities punished al-Huwaider and al-Oyouni for trying to help Morin, they ignored Morin’s troubling allegations of abuse. She continues to live with her husband with little option to seek either redress or escape with her children.

    As the verdict affirmed, in Saudi Arabia, a husband’s “right” to control his wife trumps her right to obtain protection from abuse. The case exposed the authorities’ intolerance for women who publicly denounce abuses against women.

  17. There are so many to choose from.