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Friday, August 18th

Lebanon war - an opportunity for peace?

The editors of the Forward compare the Lebanon war to the Yom Kippur war, and claim it has opened an opportunity for peace. They base their claim on remarks of Israel government leaders:

“We need a realignment in the region,” says veteran Labor Party lawmaker Ephraim Sneh, a reserve brigadier general and former deputy defense minister. “We need to create a new balance with the all the moderate countries on one side” — and the extremists on the other.

...Defense Minister Amir Peretz, the Labor Party leader, opened the debate this week with a speech urging Israel to “renew our dialogue with the Palestinians” and to “create the conditions for dialogue with Syria.” “Every war creates an opportunity for a new political process,” he said.

Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni of the Kadima party said much the same thing the same day. Last week’s unanimous United Nations Security Council resolution, with its clear blaming of Hezbollah and refusal to condemn Israel, creates “a window of opportunity,” she said.


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Ami Isseroff on 08.18.06 @ 03:13 PM CST [link]

Wednesday, August 16th

The power of the Media to rehabilitate

Not long ago Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was considered a bellicose, fly off the handle, shoot from the hip and a border line crazy demagogue; well not anymore, certainly not after Mike Wallace’s recent “60 Minutes” interview.

It is ironic that one of Mahmoud’s comments directed at Mike Wallace was: “… I thought you had already retired …” May be he should have been, before the interview took place; and now I say, he must. It is time Mike for you to hang your shark teeth, they are biting into pap; whether by design or by happenstance they are not sharp anymore.

In today’s Op-Ed Boston Globe column, by Jeff Jacoby: “When Mike met Mahmoud” , Jeff writes about the “60 Minutes” interview and draws more of his own conclusions.

" A pity, Wallace must think, that America's president isn't more like Iran's -- that ``rather attractive man," as he gushed about the world's leading Holocaust denier last week, ``very smart, savvy, self-assured, good looking in a strange way . . . infinitely more rational than I had expected him to be."

That is exactly how Mahmoud came across after his latest “softball” interview. A plastered smile on his face, exuding all the charm of the snake charmer he is, charismatic, smart and intellectual, well versed and in command of his replies, always ready to answer (whether to the questions asked or his own rhetoric, is unimportant), displaying fluidity and always gracious to his interviewer.

What else did we expect? I believe Mike Wallace must have viewed and replayed the tape of the interview to convince himself that Mahmoud is really that person he just interviewed, or why else would he summarize and caption his words in such effusive terms; market share? Hardly, he already knew how many millions will be watching the first American to interview this newly elected Iranian despot.

I asserted in several of my earlier articles and I stress it again now; main media interviewers truly believe that the interview is an “end in itself”. Beyond that, it’s only market share. In the process they drop their guard, and lob softballs, what does it matter it is a “lock” anyway; so let’s keep the door open to get more of such opportunities, to make … more money?

What a shame, and what a sad note to end one’s career on.

Israel Bonan


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Israel Bonan on 08.16.06 @ 04:16 PM CST [link]

Tuesday, August 15th

The gains and losses of the Lebanon war

Since a cease-fire went into effect Monday morning, people are making up their minds about who won and who lost the war. Both Israel and Hezbollah declared victory, and in several places in Lebanon there were victory celebrations with fireworks, organized by Hezbollah. A lot of people and media in the West say that the civilians on both sides are the greatest victims (if they are balanced) or that the Lebanese people are the victim (heard too often). Another candidate nominated for the position of the loser is the international community, as it failed to bring about an end to the fighting sooner.


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Ratna Pelle on 08.15.06 @ 11:07 PM CST [link]

Monday, August 14th

A Shi'ite Lebanese Muslim speaks out against Hezbollah

We have read about the Hezbollah denunciations of the Sunni Muslims (from Kuwaitis/Saudis, Libyans) in the past in a variety of articles, we have also pointed out to the Lebanese Christians and their positions towards the Hezbollah incursion into Israel and the subsequent hostilities that ensued, but until now the Shi’ites voices were not present or accounted for.

Mona Fayad a Lebanese intellectual has recently stirred up a debate on this issue in the Lebanese daily newspaper “An-Nahar” by speaking out with a clear voice of condemnation about this very issue. In this article, as reported by the Boston Globe in an article entitled: "Essay by intellectual spurs debate on Hezbollah leaders", she condemns Hezbollah for subjecting the Lebanese people to a fate akin to suicide without their consent, and for forcing them to entrust their fate to the wise and infallible leadership of Ayatollah Khamenei of Iran.

In a scathing essay titled "To be a Shi'ite now," Fayad attacked fellow Shi'ites who, she says, blindly follow the leadership of Hezbollah on a path she described as "no different from suicide."

"What does it mean to be a Shi'ite for the majority of Shi'ites now, at this critical period?" Fayad wrote. "It means entrusting your fate to the wise and infallible leadership without daring to ask any question."

To be a Shi'ite now "is to block your mind" and let Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's supreme leader, "command you, drive you, decide for you what he wants from the weapons of Hezbollah, and force on you a victory that is no different from suicide," Fayad wrote. "To be a Shi'ite and dare such writing and such thinking means that you are a collaborator and a traitor.

A healthy debate is still ongoing in the An-Nahar newspaper, and the article highlights a few pros and cons opinions that are worthy of disseminating.

Israel Bonan


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Israel Bonan on 08.14.06 @ 04:49 PM CST [link]


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