Wednesday, February 28, 2007

US Jews toughest foes of Iraq war

By Haviv Rettig, Jerusalem Post 2/27/07
Read the full article here.

Jews are more strongly opposed to the Iraq War - and have been since before it began - than any other American religious group, according to an analysis of Gallup polls conducted since 2005 that was released over the weekend by The Gallup Organization.

Asked if "the United States made a mistake in sending troops to Iraq," 77 percent of American Jews said it had, while only 21% believed the deployment was not a mistake.

This figure is in marked contrast to the American average, where only 52% indicated opposition to the war and 46% indicated support.

The Jewish opposition to the war, according to Gallup figures, is not new, and preceded most Americans turning against the war. In the first two years of the war (2003 and 2004), when 52% of Americans supported the war, 61% of Jews opposed it. Even before the beginning of hostilities in 2002 and early 2003, US Jews supported the war by just 49% to 48%. Americans generally supported it by 57% to 37%.

The Gallup figures also show that Jewish opposition to the war is not explainable by the high Democratic Party affiliation among Jews. Even within the Democratic Party, Jewish opposition to the war was greater than that expressed by non-Jewish Democrats. In polls taken from 2005 to 2007, 89% of Jewish Democrats opposed the war and just 8% supported it, while non-Jewish Democrats opposed the war by 78% to 20%.

The Gallup Organization itself noted that "these data show that the average American Jew - even those who are Republicans and may support the Bush administration on other matters - opposes the war."

The study also found that, though Protestants as a whole were evenly divided on the war (49% for and 48% against), African-American Protestants (who were grouped with other Protestants because the study divided according to religions) opposed the war in equal measure to the Jews, with 78% opposing the war and 18% supporting.

The Jews even outpaced Americans with "no religious affiliation," who took second-place with 66% opposed and 33% in favor. Catholics came in third with 53% opposed and 46% in favor. Mormons, meanwhile, were most supportive of the war, with 72% in favor and 27% against.

(©) The Jerusalem Post

-- Posted by Barnett Axelrad

Under martial law, every soldier is a king

"Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s recent promise to ease restrictions at West Bank checkpoints was honored for a day or two. And then it was business as usual," writes J. Zel Lurie.

Under martial law, which has prevailed on the West Bank since June 1967, every soldier is a king.

Some of them act like King Antiochus of Persia before he crowned Queen Esther. Take this incident at a checkpoint witnessed by the Jewish women of Machsom Watch.

A soldier examining a Palestinian driver noticed a daily paper sitting on the windshield. The soldier asked to look at the headlines. The Palestinian driver refused. He said he was in a hurry. The soldier ordered him to stand aside.

A little while later the commander appeared. He explained to the Palestinian: “Here the soldier is the law. If he asks you for your underwear you give it to him. Now go.”

The driver was lucky that the Machsom women were present. They witnessed the soldier’s action and called the commander.

Machsom Watch is a group of about 400 middle-class Jewish women who go out to about 40 permanent checkpoints in the West Bank twice a day in the early morning and the late afternoon. There are over 500 permanent and flying checkpoints in the West Bank,

Their reports are digested and edited and sent by email once a week to interested parties.

The latest report for February 11 to 17 shows that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s recent promise to ease restrictions at West Bank checkpoints was honored for a day or two. And then it was business as usual. The full reign of the Army replete with confused orders that changed from day to day was completely restored.

At the Huwwara checkpoint a few minutes from Nablus on Sunday February 11 at 3:30 p.m., the Machsom Watch women report that men and women age 15 to 35 from Nablus are not allowed to pass. Residents of the Tulkarim and Jenin districts are not allowed at the Huwwars and must go through Bait Ibo. “Great confusion among both soldiers and Palestinians,” the women report.

“A 33-year-old resident of Deir Balut with his 25-year-old wife were turned back to Nablus,” the report continues. Deir Balut is 20 minutes from Nablus through Huwwara. It is four hours away over bad roads through Beit Iba. The Arabs claimed they had a sick mother at home. No dice.

In the name of security the couple made the long ride home.

On the same day at the Beit Furiq checkpoint a Nablus doctor who spends one day a week at the Beit Furiq clinic was turned back to Nablus. He kept repeating in English. “I am a doctor. Doctors have an international status. That is the way it is all over the world.” But not in Beit Furiq on February 11. He was from Nablus and he was sent back. The sick in Beit Furiq will have to wait until next week for treatment.

The next day, some people from Nablus with medical problems or permits to work in East Jerusalem found a way to get through to Qalandia, the main entrance to Jerusalem from the North. On Monday, February 12, Machsom Watch women tried in vain to help men from Nablus with permits to work in East Jerusalem. They were turned away.

Four women with sick children who held one-day permits to East Jerusalem hospitals were held up because they came from Nablus. Here the Machsom women were able to help. “Our intervention succeeded,” the women reported. “The soldiers had misunderstood the orders.” the women were told.

What exactly were the orders? Why the discrimination against Nablus residents? No one knows. No ordinary Israeli, certainly no Palestinian is allowed to question Army security. The soldier is king and he has been king for almost 40 years.

What is true for the soldiers is true for the Border Patrol. Machsom Watch reports that the BP has been carrying on a feud with village of Huwwara.

For weeks BP jeeps hung out in the courtyard of the girls high school. This stopped when three of the older girls filed a complaint. But then harassment of the whole village began. The residents say that the BP’s objective is to pressure them to withdraw the complaint.

On Sunday February 11, the women report on the testimony of the girls who made the complaint and on a conversation with the BP commander as to why his men on the roof of a residential building were keeping fearful women and children awake all night.

“They are there for road surveillance,” said the commander. To the women’s query why can’t they survey from the roofs of commercial buildings where no one sleeps he answered: “We mustn’t interfere with security considerations. It is our right to climb on any roof we choose.”

At 4 p.m. that day a curfew was enforced by the BP. All shops in Huwarra village were shut. The excuse was that some kids through stones at a BP jeep.

Two days later at 4:40 p.m. Machsom Watch women in Huwwara village observed about 10 men standing in the rain. They had been ordered out of their workshop by the BP while their papers were examined.

The feud continues. The power is with the army. The villagers are steadfast.

J. Zel Lurie, a veteran journalist, was editor of Hadassah Magazine.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

War Watch

Seymour Hersh reports on planning to bomb Iran

Reuters (2/25/07) reports that “Despite the Bush administration's insistence it has no plans to go to war with Iran, a Pentagon panel has been created to plan a bombing attack that could be implemented within 24 hours of getting the go-ahead from President George W. Bush, The New Yorker magazine reported in its latest issue.”

Click here to read Hersh’s article.

Dissension in the (Highest) Ranks?

The Sunday Times of London (2/25/07) reports that “Some of America’s most senior military commanders are prepared to resign if the White House orders a military strike against Iran, according to highly placed defence and intelligence sources.

“Tension in the Gulf region has raised fears that an attack on Iran is becoming increasingly likely before President George Bush leaves office. The Sunday Times has learnt that up to five generals and admirals are willing to resign rather than approve what they consider would be a reckless attack.”

Click here to read the full story.

How Good Is US Intelligence on Iran? Not Very.

The San Francisco Chronicle (2/25/07) reports from Vienna that “Despite growing international concern about Iran's nuclear program and its regional ambitions, most U.S. intelligence shared with the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency has proved inaccurate, and none has led to significant discoveries inside Iran, diplomats here said.

“The officials said the CIA and other Western spy services have provided sensitive information to the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency at least since 2002, when Iran's long-secret nuclear program was exposed. But none of the tips about supposed secret weapons sites provided clear evidence that the Islamic republic is developing illicit weapons.”

Read the Chronicle’s full report here.

Hans Blix: Will the US Attack Iraq?

“In the case of North Korea the US seems able to sit down for talks without demanding that the production of plutonium be stopped prior to the talks and even to indicate that an agreement could comprise the opening of diplomatic relations and guarantees against attacks in return for denuclearization … Why not in Iran, too?”

Hans Blix is the former Foreign Minister of Sweden and former head of the UN’s weapons inspection team in Iraq. Click here to read his essay of Feb. 19 at

-- Posted by Barnett Axelrad

Sunday, February 25, 2007

News Caravan - Stories You Might Have Missed


Nuclear Watch

Eric Hundman of the Center for Defense Information, writing on the Wire Blog Network’s Danger Room – What’s Next in National Security blog, reported 2/23/07 that the International Atomic Energy Association reported the previous day that despite a UN Security Council resolution, Iran continues its uranium enrichment program.

However, Hundman noted, the IAEA also reported:

First, Iran has only enriched uranium up to 4.2% U-235, just about the level required to fuel a proliferation-resistant light-water reactor. This is still far below the threshold required to make nuclear weapons (20% U-235 is the minimum required to make a weapon, but most use about 90%). Unfortunately, just because Iran hasn’t enriched further doesn’t mean they can’t; the report says nothing about possible technical problems.

Second, the IAEA’s inventory of nuclear material at the Natanz pilot plant is “consistent with” the inventory supplied by the Iranians themselves. This gives some assurance that nuclear material is not being diverted to secret facilities. However, the main (underground) enrichment facility is not mentioned.

Third, while Iran has “declined to agree at this stage” to the use of remote monitoring, in the interim it has allowed “frequent inspector access” to the main underground enrichment plant at Natanz – the IAEA has eyes there, occasionally at least. This agreement will satisfy the IAEA only until the number of centrifuges reaches 500.

Fourth, there seem to be only about 500 fully installed centrifuges at Natanz – if all of them were running at full speed it would take about six years to produce enough highly enriched uranium for a bomb. However, Iran claims it has roughly 350 more “in final stages of installation;” this seems to be happening sooner than many experts expected.

Fifth, the IAEA has found no indications that spent fuel is being reprocessed for plutonium, at any of Iran’s declared nuclear facilities. However, construction continues at Iran’s planned heavy-water reactor, which could produce fuel for nuclear weapons. These are some pretty dim glimmers of hope, but they do indicate that some time remains before Iran will even have enough material to build a nuclear weapon. Given some hints that sanctions and financial pressure might be starting to work, who knows -- there might even be enough time to reach some sort of agreement.

War Watch

Haaretz 2/24/07 quoted Britain’s Daily Telegraph's report that “Israel is negotiating with the United States over permission for an ‘air corridor’ over Iraq should an attack on that country's nuclear facilities become necessary.”

Israel’s Deputy Defense Minister Ephraim Sneh denied Saturday that Israel was conducting such negotiations.

Meanwhile, The Times of London 2/24/07 reported that Britain’s Prime Minister Tony Blair said “publicly for the first time that it would be wrong to take military action against Iran.” Blair was quoted in a BBC interview on Thursday as saying: “I can’t think that it would be right to take military action against Iran . . . What is important is to pursue the political, diplomatic channel. I think it is the only way that we are going to get a sensible solution to the Iranian issue.”

The Times also reported that U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates “who has previously called for direct talks with Tehran, is said to be totally opposed to military action.” In addition, it reported that “Condoleeza Rice, the Secretary of State, is also opposed to using force, while Steve Hadley, the President’s National Security Adviser, is said to be deeply sceptical."


US Casualties Watch

The Huffington Post reported via Associated Press correspondent Michelle Roberts’ story of 2/23/07 that:

...nearly 800 civilians working under contract to the Pentagon have been killed and more than 3,300 hurt doing jobs normally handled by the U.S. military, according to figures gathered by The Associated Press.

Exactly how many of these employees doing the Pentagon's work are Americans is uncertain. But the casualty figures make it clear that the Defense Department's count of more than 3,100 U.S. military dead does not tell the whole story.

. . .

Employees of defense contractors such as Halliburton, Blackwater and Wackenhut cook meals, do laundry, repair infrastructure, translate documents, analyze intelligence, guard prisoners, protect military convoys, deliver water in the heavily fortified Green Zone and stand sentry at buildings -- often highly dangerous duties almost identical to those performed by many U.S. troops.

Speak-Up Watch

JTA reported 2/20/07:

The Union of Reform Judaism’s executive committee, due to meet March 12, is considering a resolution to oppose Bush’s troop surge in blunt terms. Reform leaders will raise the issue during the Jewish Council for Public Affairs plenum that begins Feb. 25.

The URJ draft resolves to “oppose an escalation in troop strength.” “Escalation” is a word the White House has said is loaded and has urged others to avoid in describing the additional 21,000 troops Bush has assigned to the region.

. . .

A resolution opposing the war, passed overwhelmingly at the Reform movement´s biennial general assembly in late 2005 was less confrontational, calling for the United States to begin considering a withdrawal.


Settlement Watch

Peace Now in Israel (Shalom Achshav) 2/21/07 reported that the number of settlements did not grow during 2006. However, Interior Ministry figures put the number of settlers at 268,000, a growth of 5% during the last year. Peace Now noted that growth in the settler population remains steady.

The number of outposts stands at 102. No new outposts were established during the previous year, and 1 was dismantled. Approximately 2,000 settlers currently live in outposts. Peace Now stated that despite the government's commitment to delimitate six outposts, they did not stop growing in 2006 and they are now building permanent housing units. In May 2006, in response to a petition filed by Peace Now with the Supreme Court, the government promised to present an overall outpost evacuation plan. The court is scheduled to discuss the petition again in March.

Click here to read the full report.

-- Posted by Barnett Axelrad

Yesterday's News Tomorrow

A few years ago, Luke Ford self-published a series of interviews with a number of past and present fellow toilers in the vineyards of Jewish journalism. His tome is entitled Yesterday’s News Tomorrow. You get the idea.

Most Jewish newspapers are owned by local Jewish federations, which makes them bland. Investigative reporting is a no-no (heaven forefend, it might hurt the fund-raising campaign), and comment about Israel is by and large reflexive and unreflective (i.e., supportive of whatever the current government in Jerusalem wants).

Ford’s title was meant to be ironic and dismissive, but when I read Rob Eshman’s column in the Feb. 16 edition of the Los Angeles Jewish Journal (which, it is worth noting, is not owned or operated by the Los Angeles Jewish federation) entitled “Shutting Jewish Mouths,” the phrase took on a different, positive light.

Eshman, the Journal’s editor-in-chief, considered the heresy (at least so far as some of his ink-stained counterparts are concerned) that a Jewish community shorn of its left wing will, like a wounded bird, find itself flying in circles.

Eshman’s reflections were sparked by a peevish and sullen little pamphlet penned by Alvin H. Rosenfeld called “Progressive” Jewish Thought and the New Anti-Semitism, issued in December by the American Jewish Committee. Had The New York Times not given it major play at the end of January, the screed would probably have disappeared down the memory hole.

In Rosenfeld’s crabbed view, progressive Jews are fomenting a “new anti-Semitism,” which he defined as making statements which challenge Israel’s “legitimacy and right to an ongoing future.” Among his targets are Tony Judt, director of the Remarque Institute at New York University, and Angels in America playwright Tony Kushner.

Eshman opens his essay by recalling an Americans for Peace Now rally he organized 20 years ago in Beverly Hills, at which actor Richard Dreyfuss was confronted by an enraged mob of Jewish onlookers who drove him from the stage. His “crime”: calling for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

What was heresy 20 years ago, Eshman notes, is today Israeli government policy, and to forget that lesson is to deny a “crucial dynamics of Jewish history”:

From the biblical prophets down through modern times, we are a people who have canonized those who scold and chastise the established order, who envision a different world…

The tradition of sharp criticism turned on one's own people still lives -- in Hebrew. The Israeli press has always been far more contentious toward Israel than American Jewry. Nothing Judt or Kushner has proposed hasn't already been written in Israel…

By squashing left-wing criticism, the mainstream makes the world safe for opinions far to the right. Has the AJCommittee taken a stand against Avigdor Lieberman, the Israeli minister who has called for the forced expulsion of Israeli Arabs from their towns? No, it has not; though one could argue Lieberman's opinions endanger a democratic Jewish state at least as much as Kushner's.

But from where I sit, the most insidious effect of the AJCommittee is the message it sends to the majority of Jews, and non-Jews, who support Israel but don't always agree with its policies. That message is: there's only one way to show you care for the Jewish state -- our way.

Given that choice, the silent majority of Jews drift away, and the mainstream organizations then bemoan the fact that most Jews, especially Jewish youth, aren't involved on behalf of Israel.

It's very hard to sell smart people on the idea that the best way to support the strongest democracy in the Middle East is to shut up.

-- Posted by Adam Simms

Friday, February 23, 2007

Genocide and the Sound of Silence

Momentum is building in the U.S. House of Representatives for a resolution that officially recognizes as genocide the deaths of 1.5 million Armenians during the First World War.

And this time around, if and when the resolution comes to a vote, American Jewry’s mainline organizations may sit on their hands rather than – as they have done in the past – side with the Turkish government, which opposes such measures and obstinately denies that an episode viewed by many historians as a dress rehearsal for the Holocaust was, indeed, genocide.

Nathan Guttman, writing in today’s issue of The Forward, reports that representatives of eight Jewish organizations – the American Jewish Committee, the American Jewish Congress, the Anti-Defamation League, B’nai B’rith, the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, the Orthodox Union, Chabad, and United Jewish Communities – met two weeks ago with Turkey’s Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul.

Gul asked their support in lobbying against the resolution, introduced by California Democrat Adam Schiff and supported by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

When similar resolutions came up in the past, Jewish organizations generally supported Turkey’s opposition, citing a desire not to complicate Israel’s military and economic relationships with Turkey and/or concerns about the safety of Turkey’s Jewish community.

As Guttman tells it, the organizations’ response to Gul’s pitch was tepid – more out a desire not to buck the newly-elected House speaker, and out of a desire not to be held as responsible by the Turkish government should the organizations opposed and fail to stop a measure that appears to have a strong chance of passage.

It would be nice to be able to say that the organizations rejected Turkey’s blandisments with public statements that the Armenian genocide was just that: genocide.

But at least they don’t take the position that it’s debatable whether genocide occurred.

That role was left to Israel’s prime minister, Ehud Olmert.

Reports Guttman:

When asked at a press conference if Israel would convince Jewish organizations in the United States to take action against the resolution, Olmert said it was a matter for members of Congress to decide. But he added, “It will be better if independent experts come together and look into the matter.”

Olmert’s statement echoed Turkey’s assertion that what happed to the Armenians at the time of the Ottoman Empire is a matter for historians, not politicians.

Olmert’s statement is both astounding and appalling, given the historical record to be found in openly available diplomatic and church mission archives in the U.S., Great Britain and Germany.

If today a head of government in Germany, Austria or Poland were to make a similar declaration regarding the historicity of the Holocaust, American Jewish organizations would be denouncing him or her as a “denier.”

Wait! What’s that deafening sound we hear issuing from computer keyboards and fax machines at the Committee, Congress, ADL, JINSA et al.?




Ah, yes. It’s the sound of silence.

-- Posted by Adam Simms

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Taking Aim at Jr. ROTC

Parents, students and teachers in Los Angeles are putting a dent in recruiting high schoolers for the Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (JROTC), Sonia Nazario reported in the Feb. 19 edition of the Los Angeles Times.

JROTC, a program sponsored by the Department of Defense, functions like a school club, enlisting high school students and offering uniforms and special class activities, including phys. ed., map reading, target practice, marching drill, financial planning and how to make PowerPoint presentations.

Like ROTC, its college-level counterpart, JROTC’s attraction is that students who join the military after finishing the program can start off with higher pay and have a leg up in joining the armed forces’ officer corps.

Such perks are usually thought to be a powerful attraction to kids in the nation’s less advantaged areas, where a military career has long been seen as a route to social and economic mobility.

“Nationally,” Nazario noted, “59.9% of JROTC participants are students of color,” citing research conducted by California State University at Northridge. And, she continued, this is how JROTC’s numbers play out in Los Angeles. The program “is in nearly half of the city’s high schools, but none on the affluent Westside.”

Nonetheless, enrollment in JROTC has been dropping in Los Angeles –- despite increases elsewhere, and a massive infusion of funding from the DoD –- due to effective opposition by a grassroots group, the Coalition Against Militarism in Our Schools, that now operates in 50 of the Los Angeles Unified School District’s 61 high schools.

Bolstered by a 1986 decision rendered by the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which Nazario notes, “requires public schools that allow [military] recruiters on campus to give counter-recruiters a shot at addressing students,” the Coalition has been effective in getting students and parents to recognize that military life consists of not just guns and glory, but also coffins and educational budget cuts.

Among the points made by JROTC opponents at Roosevelt High School, in L.A.’s Boyle Heights, Nazario wrote, is that the program

drains resources from more important courses. Although the Defense Department pays half of JROTC instructors’ salaries, L.A. Unified pays the rest, as well as benefits, for a total of $3.1 million this school year. That money … should instead be spent adding more of the 15 academic courses students need to go to college.

That point was succinctly summed up on a T-shirt one teacher wore to class: “A War Budget Leaves Every Child Behind.”

There are other statistics in the L.A. Times account, however, that should make people stop and wonder about the extent to which JROTC –- like much of the rest of the U.S. military budget –- is simply a waste of money:

• Only “40% of students who graduated from high school with two or more years of JROTC ended up in the military,” according to a report by the Center for Strategic and International Studies in 1999, the last time a comprehensive study of the program was undertaken.

• First Sgt. Otto Harrington, senior teacher for Roosevelt High’s JROTC program, told Nazario that few of his students join the military. Moreover, “Only 5% of his cadets would even qualify to enlist … because the rest are in the country illegally, couldn’t pass the military aptitude test, are in trouble with the law or are overweight.”

As it turns out, Sgt. Harrington doesn’t need a map reading course to decipher the lay of the land at Roosevelt High, Nazario writes at the end of her account. During the past three years, only three of the sergeant’s JROTC cadets have enlisted in the military. And he plans to leave both the high school and JROTC when the school year ends.

You can read the complete text of Sonia Nazario’s article in the Los Angeles Times, entitled “Junior ROTC takes a hit in L.A.,” at the Los Angeles Times' Web site:

-- Posted by Adam Simms

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Daniel Pipes, Armchair Warrior

M.J. Rosenberg
, director of the Israel Policy Forum's Washington office, distributes a weekly opinion column via e-mail called "IPF Friday." IPF is one of a handful of peace-oriented pro-Israel organizations active on Capitol Hill, and Rosenberg's pieces are thoughtful, insightful and worth reading.

His Feb. 16 entry, "Kangaroo Congressional Hearing," is noteworthy for its portrait of the difficulties the American Jewish peace camp faces in moving the U.S. foreign-policy apparatus -- Congress and the Executive branch -- to resume the role of honest broker between Israelis and Palestinians.

IPF's board was in Washington during the week of Feb. 12-16 to meet with Senators and House members, and Rosenberg notes that the sessions generally went well from IPF's perspective.

The downer, however occurred when Rosenberg learned that IPF's peace-camp views were not the only ones being circulated on the Hill that week. On the 14th -- Valentine Day, ironically -- the House Committee on Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Middle East held a hearing on "Next Steps in the Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process."

Only witnesses identified with Israel were invited to provide testimony. No Arab American institutions or individuals were invited. "This was a hearing," Rosenberg observes,

about two sides of a conflict where only one side was allowed to speak. It was a throwback to the bad old days when Congress held hearings on racism with only whites invited to testify.
Rosenberg's analogy is apt, given excerpts he provides of testimony offered by Daniel Pipes, director of an outfit called the Middle East Forum.

"Pipes," Rosenberg writes, essentially a crank. He is a prolific writer who repeatedly sounds one note: that the Palestinians are bad people with whom negotiations are impossible. As for Muslims in general, "Western European societies are unprepared for the massive immigration of brown-skinned peoples cooking strange foods and maintaining different standards of hygiene...All immigrants bring exotic customs and attitudes, but Muslim customs are more troublesome than most.
Rosenberg continues:

He [Pipes] doesnt have much use for the Israelis either. In his testimony he trashed the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and current Prime Minister Ehud Olmert for "their ennui with fighting." He called Israelis "an exhausted people, confused and without direction."

Let's stop for a moment and consider the armchair warrior Pipes' use of the word "ennui" to describe Israelis eager for peace rather than more are. According to the dictionary, ennui means "listlessness and dissatisfaction resulting from lack of interest, boredom." In other words, Israelis are tired of fighting the way a teenager might be bored by another Saturday at the mall.

Rabin, the greatest military hero in Israel's history, gave up on war because he was feeling listless. What should he have done? What should Olmert do now?

Echoing General MacArthur (but with no military background, of course), Pipes argues for total victory. "Victory consists of imposing one's will on the enemy by compelling him to give up his war goals. Wars usually end when one side gives up its hope of winning, when its will to fight has been crushed."

In other words, Israelis should fight Palestinians until the end of time.

Imagine. This guy spouted this loathsome nonsense at an official hearing of the United States Congress. (He's just lucky that two of the Senators we met with were not in the room. James Webb and Chuck Hagel, two military heroes who hate war as only those who have experienced it can, would have torn him to shreds.)

Still, Rosenberg concludes that Pipes and this particular House committee session look to be an anomaly:

...there is a real sense in Washington that things are changing on Capitol Hill. Senators and House members -- especially the up-and-comers and freshmen -- are determined that America resume its role of leadership in seeking an end to a conflict that does so much damage both to us, to the Palestinians, and to Israel. And they understand that America cannot do any good for anyone in the Middle East if we are seen as hostile to 99% of the people who live in that region.

You can read M.J. Rosenberg's weekly columns at You can also obtain an e-mail subscription by sending an e-mail to:

-- Posted by Adam Simms