We offer peace and amity to all the neighbouring states and their peoples, and invite them to cooperate with the independent Jewish nation for the common good of all. The State of Israel is ready to contribute its full share to the peaceful progress and development of the Middle East. (From Proclamation of the State of Israel, 5 Iyar 5708; 14 May 1948)

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Scottish Boycott Latest!

Remember SNP Councillor Jonathan McColl, the West Dunbartonshire Council bigwig who, as I posted a few days ago, labelled anti-Boycott protesters "extremists"?
Well, he's digging his heels in.

The misguided laddie has a personal blog, on which he has posted a personal statement denying the Boycott is antisemitic.

He also states, inter alia:
"West Dunbartonshire Council remains committed to our boycott of Israeli goods and our resolve has been strenthened by the torrent of vile abuse [and] threats of violence to our families that has come from people who claim to be peace loving people."
And he's also made an appearance on video... [Update: You can view it on my final blog for May, along with another video about the SNP Boycott!]
See http://www.cllrjmccoll.info/israel
(Hat tip: Emet)

Someone really should make a video for the West Dunbartonshire Council along the lines of this one, made for Marrickville Council in Sydney:

The History Men: Truth versus Falsehood

Historical revisionism is becoming a lethal weapon of the Palestinian Authority.  You may recall that the map on the PA's London Embassy website shows the whole of Israel as "Palestine".   http://daphneanson.blogspot.com/2011/05/paint-it-black-and-green-and-red-that.html

Pro-Palestinian groups in the West enthusiastically aid and abet historical revisionism, and what was conceived as the national liberation movement of the Jewish People is routinely presented as an ugly and unacceptable manifestation of European colonialism.

As with this poster, Israel's ill-wishers even stoop to appropriating travel posters designed for the Yishuv by refugee from Hitlerism Franz Krausz, as if those posters were the work of Arabs and in order to advance the notion that "Palestine" (incorporating all of Eretz Israel) was, and should again be, an autonomous Arab land.

Earlier this year, Bibi Netanyahu gave a trademark impressive speech in Jerusalem to a visiting contingent of European Friends of Israel.

As proves so often the case, he manifested his obviously deep and genuine feel for history.

In the course of his address, he noted:
"Now people say, well, you don't really have an attachment to this land.  We are new interlopers.  We are neo-crusaders.... [F]rom the place next to the Temple wall, the Western Wall from around the time of the Jewish kings, they found a signet ring, a seal of a Jewish official from 2700 years ago, and it has a name on it in Hebrew.  You know what that name is? Netanyahu.  Now, that's my last name.
 My first name, Benjamin, goes back a thousand years earlier to Benjamin the son of Jacob who with his brothers roamed these very hills.  So we have some connection with this land but we recognize that others live in it too.  We want to make peace with them but we have this basic millenial connection to this land. 
 Part of the campaign against Israel is the attempt to distort not only modern history, but also ancient history.  There was no Jewish Temple - did you hear that one?
Well, I'd like to know where were those tables that
Jesus overturned? Were they in Tibet? There's an attempt to rewrite
history - ancient and modern and to deprive the Jewish people of their
connection to their ancestral homeland ..."
Mahmoud Abbas is not averse to distorting history - as witness that despicable doctoral dissertation of his, completed in the Soviet Union in 1982 and published in book form a couple of years later as The Other Side of the Secret Relationship Between Zionism and Nazism.  Not only does it allege that Zionists, eager for as many victims of genocide as possible in order to advance their aims, were in cahoots with the Nazis, it suggests that the actual number of Jews who perished in the Shoah was perhaps less than one million.

 Disturbingly, this dissertation, with its obscene tissue of lies, has enjoyed wide circulation in the Palestinian Authority, forming the basis of Holocaust studies there.  See http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/143752

In Gaza on "Nakba Day," a fiery representative of Abbas deliversed the latter's speech that stated, with forked tongue: 
"National reconciliation [between Hamas and Fatah] is required in order to face Israel and Netanyahu. We say to him [Netanyahu], when he claims - that they [Jews] have a historical right dating back to 3000 years BCE - we say that the nation of Palestine upon the land of Canaan had a 7000 year history BCE. This is the truth, which must be understood and we have to note it, in order to say: 'Netanyahu, you are incidental in history. We are the people of history. We are the owners of history.'"
Comments Elad Benari:
"The Palestinian Authority leadership, while telling the world it supports peace talks with Israel, continues to say otherwise when talking to its people through its own television channels....
The canard that Palestinians are Canaanites was claimed by Palestinian spokeswoman Hanan Ashrawi tens of years ago in National Geographic and received with amusement. The Canaanites, as well as the other peoples mentioned in the Bible as living in the parts of the land of Israel, disappeared as distinguishable nations thousands of years ago. Except for the Jewish people, they are untraceable today.
... Abbas’ so-called history is a brazen distortion of known facts. Judean and Israeli history in the Land of Israel, says the report, dates back thousands of years and is documented by ancient Jewish and non-Jewish sources.
"Palestinians", however, is a term that has only recently begun to be used to identify Arabs in the region ...
There is no reference to a Palestinian-Arab nation in antiquity as Abbas claims. ... Islamic sources as well do not refer to Palestinians. In fact, the holy Muslim book, the Quran, refers to the people of Israel and to the destruction of their Temple in Jerusalem.'
http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/144470

Read more: http://cifwatch.com/2011/05/29/the-myth-of-historically-arab-east-jerusalem/

Meanwhile, correspondents from that terrible twosome, The Guardian and Al Beeb, just happen to have been taking tours of the abandoned Arab village of Lifta [pictured], west of Jerusalem, with the same Arab guide, Yacoub Odeh, and - quelle surprise! - have slanted their reports accordingly.

As Simon Plosker observes:


'Both media outlets seem determined to bring the focus of the Arab-Israeli conflict back to the events of 1947/8 – a tactic employed by the Palestinians to present Israel as being “born in sin” and responsible for the “ethnic cleansing” of Palestinians and the creation of the refugee problem. [My emphasis]
The fact that one Yacoub Odeh is the former Lifta resident guiding the BBC’s Wyre Davies and the Guardian’s Harriet Sherwood separately would suggest that this “tour” was a well-organized effort offered to the international media and eagerly picked up by those outlets sympathetic to the Palestinian narrative from 1948.'
 Harriet Sherwood has made serious errors, points out Plosker:  She wrote:
"Out of sight of Lifta's ruins, but built on its former farmlands are the Knesset (Israel's parliament), the supreme court, the Hadassah hospital, the Hebrew University and [Jerusalem's] central bus station."
 In fact, the Knesset was built not on Arab farnland but on a plot leased from the Greek Orthodox Church, while the other institutions referred to are located some distance from Lifta.
Read more and view video:  http://honestreporting.com/backspin-blog/
See also:http://www.oyvagoy.com/2011/05/30/the-lifta-question/ 

Al Beeb's Yolande Knell, also milks the lachrymose Lifta angle:
'Its 3,000 residents were forced out or fled in fighting that erupted before the creation of Israel in 1948, which Palestinians view as the "nakba" or catastrophe. They were not allowed to move back....'
Her online article comes complete with a photo - a mutely accusatory piece of propaganda, by the seem of it - of Israelis enjoying a picnic in Lifta, where there are plans for "a luxury housing project".

Ms Knell concludes with the observation that "the most contentious points in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict" are "the right of return and the struggle to control the historical narrative".
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-13373719

Like the Palestine Solidarty Campaign and similar bodies, as well as Al Grauniad, Al Beeb appears to be doing its best to ensure that the latter is a struggle that Israel loses.

Monday, 30 May 2011

Jewish Student Allegedly Attacked On Australian Campus For Celebrating Israeli Independence Day

Melbourne, capital of the state of Victoria, Australia, was founded in 1835, and Jews, of English origin, were among its earliest inhabitants.  Immediately before, and following, the Second World War, the Melbourne Jewish community  - by that time highly assimilationist and eroded by apathy and intermarriage - was transformed by the arrival of large numbers of refugees and Holocaust survivors, who turned the community into the "shtetl by the [River] Yarra," ensuring the domination of communal affairs by Jews of Polish rather than Anglo- heritage, and orienting Melbourne Jewry into a decidedly Zionist stance.

The period immediately following the Second World War wrought other changes on Melbourne, the staid financial capital of Australia.  The immigration of large numbers of continental Europeans, predominantly Greeks and Italians, helped to turn the city into the diverse, cosmopolitan hub that it is today.  The process continued with the dismantling, from the 1960s onwards, of the "White Australia" policy that had been adopted by the newly federated Australia in 1901.

Designed principally to stop the arrival of "cheap labour" from South-East Asia, the "White Australia" policy had its origins in New South Wales and Queensland during the 1880s, when legislators bowed to pressure from working men worried about competition from Chinese "coolies" and Pacific Islanders, as well as merchants fearing economic competitors from Japan.

At Federation in 1901 a language test was instituted for intending immigrants, to be administered by immigration officers at the ports of entry.  Non-British immigrants had to satisfy officers that they spoke English or another approved European language (which until the intervention of communal leaders did not include Yiddish).

The language test proved to be a useful device to keep out political undesirables - as when the prominent Czech (Jewish) Communist Egon Kisch arrived in the 1934.  Since he spoke good English, he was given the test in Gaelic, of which he obviously knew not a word!  (This led to a celebrated test case, which Kisch, thanks to his barrister, Joan Rosanove, the first female barrister in the state, won.)

The end of the White Australia policy - which had also discriminated against Sephardim from the Levant and Middle East - led to the arrival of many non-Europeans, including Muslims.  Most of Melbourne's Muslims are Turks, but in recent years there have been Muslim arrivals of other origins, and a branch of the notorious Hizb-ut Tahrir organisation was recently set up.

During Operation Cast Lead, an anti-Israel rally in the city centre saw the manifestation of overt antisemitism, as in the accompanying photographs - one in particular staggeringly vile.  As well as as Muslim anti-Israel protesters, there's the usual crowd of leftwingers. One source of virulent antisemitic propaganda used to be a centrally located bookshop run by a nutty far-right group called the Australian League of Rights, founded in 1946, but most of its members would seem now to be settled in that land from which no traveller ever returns.

Now, as I've said, Melbourne's is a strongly Zionist Jewish community, and on Yom Ha-Atzmaut members of the Australasian Union of Jewish Students (AUJS) at the University of Melbourne - the oldest and most venerable institution of higher learning in the state of Victoria - were celebrating Israel's 63rd birthday.  It was not a political demonstration - it was a lunchtime event of singing and dancing on the campus lawn, and the Student Union, to which AUJS is affiliated, had given permission for it.

But a flyer, it appears, had gone out from two anti-Israel groups - Students for Palestine and the Federation of Australian Muslim  Students and Youth (FAMSY) - calling on members to "rally against Zionists' apartheid celebrations".

According to the current edition of the Australian Jewish News (Melbourne edition), someone from the "counter-rally," wielding wirecutters, apparently attempted to vandalise the stereo that was playing Israeli music, and then attacked one of the Jewish students with the wirecutters, causing him injury.  Two individuals were arrested by police, who were standing by with campus security guards.

A spokesman for the students is reported as saying that he doesn't understand why permission for the "counter-rally" was granted - the two groups involved are not affiliates of the university - and that the AUJS members had taken "all the right precautions".

John Searle, president of the Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV), is quoted by the newspaper as saying:
"What AUJS was doing was a quiet, peaceful celebration.  They ought not to be scared to express their passion for being Jewish and being Zionist."
Like the AUJS, he's called on police to lay charges against the attacker, for possession of a weapon, vandalism, and assault

Noting that this violent incident has been reported nowhere but the Melbourne Jewish press (and that tardily, it would seem), some Aussies have been muttering darkly about a deliberate cover-up.

I'm not going to link to one online source of that nature (where other related material can be found) since when I did earlier today the link turned my post headings and other labels ghastly  shades of violet and cobalt!  Just suffice it to say Australian Islamist Monitor ...

(Hat tip: reader Shirlee)

To reiterate: these photos, taken in Melbourne, do not relate to this incident.

Factors in Netanyahu's Warm Reception in America

This is a guest post by Wales-based historian Professor William Rubinstein:

Netanyahu's amazingly enthusiastic reception before the American Congress was one of the most remarkable demonstrations of support for anyone I have ever seen.  I doubt if George Washington, if he came back to life, would have received stormier applause or more standing ovations.

The question is why.

Surely no other foreign head of state would have received the same treatment.

Of course, one  might be cynical.  Congressmen court the Jewish vote.  But it seems unlikely that the Irish, Italian or Polish prime ministers would have received 25 or more standing ovations, although their communities' votes also count.

Netanyahu is obviously a charismatic speaker, and one who speaks English with an American accent.  Nevertheless, there appears to be something unique about contemporary Israel and today's United States.

Let me briefly suggest some factors.

First, the Holocaust sweeps everything before it, like some giant, irresistible tsunami.  For many Jews, this seems counter-intuitive, since they fear that the Holocaust will be forgotten.  During the past thirty years the exact opposite has happened.  The Holocaust has become universally internalised as the supreme example of evil in modern history, with the State of Israel widely seen as the pheonix which has risen on its ashes.  The loudest applause Netanyahu received, I believe, was when he emphasised that there would be no second Holocaust.  It is also important to realise that the Palestinians and Arabs have nothing to set against it, which is why they are so keen to depict the Palestinian nakba of 1948 as its equivalent, although this was simply a population transfer, similar to many others at the time, not an act of genocide.

Secondly, Americans, like Jews, often and regularly regard themselves as somehow chosen by God, with America seen by many of its citizens as "God's own country".  A kind of theology has arisen in recent decades among many conservative Protestants that God chose two peoples, the Jews in ancient times and the Americans in modern times, and (unlike conversionist Christianity) one built upon the other rather than displacing it.  The strength of Christian Zionism, explicit or implicit, in the United States should not be underestimated, and it is an important factor in the warmth of Netanyahu's Congressional reception.  It is probably particularly important, rightly or wrongly, in backing the Israeli claim to all of Jerusalem.

Thirdly, of course, there is militant Islam and the threat of terrorism.  There seems to be no doubt that many, perhaps most, Americans perceive Middle Eastern Muslims as primitive, violent, and above all very dangerous barbarians, and see Israel as America's proxy in the region, engaged in a common struggle.  The spontaneous demonstrations of American patriotism, in large part by young people and college students in many American cities when the announcement came through that Bin Laden had been killed, is evidence of this.

As things stand, then, Israel appears to have nothing to fear from the American government.  Whether this can last indefinitely is, of course, another matter.

Sunday, 29 May 2011

A Veteran American Jewish Leader On Obama And Israel ...

In my previous post I mentioned the high levels of support among American Jews for Israel, and although I focused on the recent CAMERA poll conducted by Frank Luntz, I provided the link to an article posted last month by Jerusalem Post columnist Caroline Glick.

In that article, Ms Glick observes, inter alia:
'Over the past year or so, American Jewish opponents of Israel like writer and activist Peter Beinart have sought to intimidate and demoralize Israelis by telling us that American Jews either no longer support us or will stop supporting us if we don't give in to all the Arabs' demands.
But statistical evidence exposes these threats as utter lies. According to mountainous survey evidence, the American Jewish community writ large remains deeply supportive of Israel. Two surveys released last year by the American Jewish Committee and Brandeis University's Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies showed that three quarters of American Jews care deeply about Israel and that Israel is an important part of their Jewish identity. The Brandeis survey notably showed that young American Jews are no less likely to support Israel than they were in the past.
In fact, American Jews under 30 are more hawkish about the Palestinian conflict with Israel than Jews between the ages of 31-40 are.
According to the Brandeis survey, 51 percent of American Jews oppose a future division of Jerusalem, while a mere 29% would support it.
Younger Jews are more opposed to the capital's partition than older Jews are.
It is notable that the Brandeis survey found that political views do not impact American Jews' support for Israel. This is striking because among Americans at large, polls show Republicans are significantly stronger supporters of Israel than Democrats. But not among Jews.
"Liberals felt no less connected than conservatives and were no less likely to regard Israel as important to their Jewish identities. These observations hold true for both younger and older respondents," the Brandeis survey report explained.
Across the board, American Jews blame the Palestinians for the absence of peace and believe there is little chance that there will be peace between Israel and the Palestinians in the foreseeable future. Seventy-five percent agreed with the statement, "The goal of the Arabs is not the return of occupied territories but rather the destruction of Israel"; 94% said the Palestinians should be required to accept the Jewish state's right to exist.'
She then goes on to deplore the fact that, despite these figures, across America  "Jewish communities are failing to prevent anti-Zionist Jews from hijacking communal funds and facilities to finance anti-Israel activities", and gives many examples of such lamentable occurrences.

For the two polls cited see:
http://www.brandeis.edu/cmjs/pdfs/still.connected.08.25.10.3.pdf
http://www.jta.org/news/article/2010/09/01/2740757/study-shows-american-jewish-attachment-to-israel-holds-steady

It remains to be seen, of course, whether the overwhelming majority of American Jews will persist in their love affair - to many dedicated Zionists their liaison dangereuse - with Barack Obama into next year's presidential election, but, for good or ill, it seems likely.

One man who fears so is veteran communal leader Harvey Schechter.

Before his retirement in 1993, following a career of over 40 years, Mr Schechter was the Anti-Defamation League's Southwest Region Director.  Below are extracts from his "Open Letter to My Fellow Jews and to All Americans" which he wrote on 27 May in his newsletter Schechter Sez. (Hat tip: DW)

Explaining that from President Obama he "never expected anything good, particularly with respect to ... Israel," he notes that about 78 per cent of American Jews voted for Obama in 2008, and predicts, with regret, that  "Obama will get the lion's share" of their votes in 2012, Schechter continues:

'.... This attachment to the Democratic Party traces back to the passionate love America's Jews developed for President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1932 because of the liberal things he said and did during the Great Depression and his vigorous opposition to Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, and Imperial Japan.  Before 1932, large numbers of Jews voted Socialist and even Republican, the party of Abraham Lincoln, because in New York where more than a million Jews lived, the Democrats were under the control of corrupt Tammany Hall.  That changed with Roosevelt's victory in 1932.

     Right now there is great turmoil in the American Jewish community and especially in Israel because of the speech President Obama delivered at the State Department a few days ago when he made reference to the 1967 borders as the starting point for land swaps between Israel and the Palestinians.   As Rabbi Shmuley Boteach just wrote,
". . . the president's claims to naiveté are ridiculous.  To his detractors Obama is many things, but he is no fool.  He knew full well that to publicly call for a return to the '67 lines was a bomb waiting to detonate.  Obama knew the demand to return to the pre-Six Day War borders spoke directly to the Palestinian narrative."
I agree completely with Rabbi Boteach.....

     When Obama did his 1967 shtick, Mort Zuckerman, publisher of U.S. News & World Report, angrily accused Obama of "betraying Israel." Former Democratic Congressman and famous New York City former Mayor Ed Koch said he will not vote for Obama in 2012.  Of course, November 2012 is almost eighteen months away and anything can happen.

     If you watched Obama's face and body language when Israel's Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu spoke at the White House when Obama had to listen to a lecture about the realities in the Middle East, he was obviously boiling mad as Netanyahu in essence told him he didn't know what he is talking about....

     Several liberal commentators and columnists were outraged and said that Netanyahu was ungracious and inappropriate for delivering those comments in a public setting.  [Al Beeb reporters and presenters, predictably, made barbed comments of that sort, from Jeremy Bowen and Mark Mardell down - D.A.] It must also have been very painful for Obama even though he was in England to hear about the brilliant, passionate, and informative speech Netanyahu delivered to a joint meeting of the Congress to genuine thunderous applause and getting about twenty-five standing ovations from Democrats and Republicans alike.

     And good old Hillary Clinton, our esteemed Secretary of State, looks like an absolute fool hav[ing] said a week or so ago that Bashar Assad, the murdering, brutal dictator of Syria is a "reformer."  Yes, she called Assad a "reformer."  How can anyone ever believe them?

     When Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid spoke to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), he was magnificent.  I never thought I would say this about Senator Reid, but he was outstanding in his understanding of what is at stake in the Middle East between Israel and her Arab neighbors, and he said it forcefully and convincingly.  Maybe the man in the White House ought to sit down with his Senate Majority Leader and have him explain the situation between Israel and the Arabs.

     Again and again, we Jews are asked to explain the devotion of so many Jews to the Democratic Party which has paid and still pays homage to the likes of Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton who in my opinion are enemies of the Jewish people and of Israel.  Would they be so tolerant of the equivalent of Jackson and Sharpton in the Republican party?  Of course not. Our Liberalism came to us with our mother's milk.  For most American Jews, their synagogue is the Democratic party;  their faith is Liberalism;  and their Moses is Obama.

     TO MY FELLOW AMERICANS:  Please know that the hatred of Israel in the Arab world is equaled only by their hatred of you and of America.  The Jews may be their first target, but all of us are on their hit list.  The 9/11 attack was an attack on America!

     For the record, Israel gave up land for peace.  It gave back the Sinai Peninsula.  Now there is the possibility of serious threats from the Sinai.  What did Egypt's President Anwar Sadat get for signing a peace treaty with Israel?  He got back the Sinai Peninsula, a Nobel Prize for Peace, and deadly bullets from members of his own army.

     Israel gave Gaza to the Palestinians.  What did it get in return?  Thousands of deadly rockets raining down on its citizens.  If President Abbas of the Palestinian Authority repudiates his alliance with Hamas, he knows he will suffer Sadat's fate - a hail of bullets.

     Israel also gave back territory in Southern Lebanon.  What did it get in return?  Thousands of deadly rockets fired by Hezbollah on Israel.

     Dear Friends:  How long would we sit quietly while thousands of rockets poured down on us from Mexico and from Canada? Now you know what Israel is living with.

A friend sent me a marvelous cartoon of Obama meeting with the Queen of England who says to him, "I believe the borders of Britain and the U.S. should be based on the pre-1776 lines with mutually agreed swaps."

One picture is sure worth a thousand words.'

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Support For Israel Is High Among American Jews, New Poll Finds

Despite their penchant for publicity, the ratbag Israel-bashing elements in  American Jewry are, happily, unrepresentative.

American Jews are highly supportive of Israel, a new survey indicates.

Commissioned by the 65,000-strong Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting (CAMERA), it was conducted on 16-17 May by Frank Luntz PhD, of Luntz Global.

To quote CAMERA:
"Results show strong belief in Israel's commitment to peace efforts and apprehension about its existential situation and its Palestinian adversaries with their "culture of hatred." Survey respondents also expressed strong support for Israel's right to self-defense and opposition to those who would pressure or sanction the Jewish State."
Knowing that some polls are of limited value, since the sample is too small to be valid or the methodology flawed, I showed the poll's detailed results to an expert in polling data.  He assures me that all's shipshape and Bristol-fashion, as the saying goes, and that in consequence the results of the poll are "very encouraging".

Some of the findings:

84% of respondents expressed strong belief in the Israeli government and people;

85% are committed to seeing genuine peace established between Israel and the Palestinian  Arabs;

78% of respondents consider it "very to 100% necessary" for Palestinians to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, with an additional 12% considering it "somewhat necessary";

77% are far more sceptical regarding the Palestinian commitment to peace and consider Palestinian incitement against Israel – its "culture of hatred" – to be a major obstacle to that goal, whereas only 12% sawsettlements or "occupation" as stumbling blocks.

78% of respondents consider it "very to 100% necessary" for Palestinians to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, with an additional 12% considering it "somewhat necessary";

Over two-thirds of respondents fear such a Palestinian state on the West Bank would shortly "attack Israel" and 72% fear Iran would back "more terror" by Palestinians against Israel;

In the wake of the recent Fatah-Hamas accord, 77% believe Israel should "refuse to negotiate with the Palestinian Authority until Hamas renounces terrorism and officially recognizes Israel's right to exist;

Given the fact that over a million Arabs live in Israel, 92% strongly support the contention that Jews should be allowed to live in any future Palestinian state;

On the domestic political front, 81% would be more likely to vote for a representative who publicly deplored Palestinian incitement;

71% oppose boycott, divestment and sanction campaigns against Israel, and 68% oppose such measures against settlements.

Enthuses CAMERA's Executive Director, Andrea Levin:
"The poll results dramatically contradict recent speculation about disaffection among American Jews toward the Jewish state.  Ninety-four percent of respondents said if Israel ‘no longer existed tomorrow' it would be a tragedy. Nearly one in four said they would consider such an event ‘the biggest tragedy of my lifetime.' The concern is reflected in emphatic sentiment (85%) that Israel ‘is right to take threats to its existence seriously,' that Israel's concerns are neither ‘irrational' nor ‘overstated.'
Some news media accounts have tended to amplify a vocal fringe in the American Jewish community that espouses extreme views and policies far out of the mainstream. This poll clarifies what American Jews actually feel and believe.
The overwhelming majority of American Jews are cognizant of threats to Israel, protective of the country, cautious about risks and strongly opposed to such measures as boycotts, including boycotts of settlements."
Source: http://www.camera.org/index.asp?x_context=2&x_outlet=118&x_article=2050

For the full results see: http://www.camera.org/images_user/pdf/luntz.camera%20poll.results.final.pdf

See also: http://www.carolineglick.com/e/2011/04/american-jewrys-fight.php
for the encouraging  results of other polls. 


Timeline of the Mavi Marmara Incident (video)

It will soon be the first anniversary of the Israelis' interception of the Mavi Marmara.  Here's a video that comprehensively traces the timeline of the incident, and shows the violence that met the Israeli commandos.

Friday, 27 May 2011

Good Graffiti ...


Hat tip: Yisrael Medad
For a picture of the artists, with another example of their handiwork, and a link to a relevant website, see: http://myrightword.blogspot.com/2011/05/who-knew-painting-was-so-beautiful.html

The View From Britain (video)

Obama: For Israel's Sake, Best Not Given A Second Term?

In the National Review Online, Stanley Kurtz (author of Radical-in-Chief, published in 2010) has a long and searching article examining President Obama's record regarding the Palestinians, and tellingly entitles it "Pro-Palestinian-in-Chief" - with the subtitle "Obama's hard-Left tilt is real".

Dr Kurtz begins:
'It’s time to revisit the issue of President Obama’s Palestinian ties. During his time in the Illinois state senate, Obama forged close alliances with the most prominent Palestinian political leaders in America. Substantial evidence also indicates that during his pre-Washington years, Obama was both supportive of the Palestinian cause and critical of America’s stance toward Israel. Although Obama began to voice undifferentiated support for Israel around 2004 (as he ran for U.S. Senate and his national visibility rose), critics and even some backers have long suspected that his pro-Palestinian inclinations survive.
The continuing influence of Obama’s pro-Palestinian sentiments is the best way to make sense of the president’s recent tilt away from Israel. This is why supporters of Israel should fear Obama’s reelection. In 2013, with his political vulnerability a thing of the past, Obama’s pro-Palestinian sympathies would be released from hibernation, leaving Israel without support from its indispensable American defender.
 To see this, we need to reconstruct Obama’s pro-Palestinian past and assess its influence on the present. Taken in context, and followed through the years, the evidence strongly suggests that Obama’s long-held pro-Palestinian sentiments were sincere, while his post-2004 pro-Israel stance has been dictated by political necessity.'
 And after taking us carefully through the evidence he concludes:
'The record is clear. Obama’s heritage, his largely hidden history of leftist radicalism, and his close friendship with Rashid Khalidi, all bespeak sincerity, as Obama’s other Palestinian associates agree. This is not to mention Reverend Wright — whose rabidly anti-Israel sentiments, I show in Radical-in-Chief, Obama had to know about — or Obama’s longtime foreign-policy adviser Samantha Power, who once apparently recommended  imposing a two-state solution on Israel through American military action. Decades of intimate alliances in a hard-Left world are a great deal harder to fake than a few years of speeches at AIPAC conferences.
 The real Obama is the first Obama, and depending on how the next presidential election turns out, we’re going to meet him again in 2013.'
 This is a hair-raising article.

Read it all here: http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/268159/pro-palestinian-chief-stanley-kurtz?page=4

Thursday, 26 May 2011

An Al Beeb Insider Dismisses Claims of - Wait For It! - Pro-Israel Bias

The guys at Biased BBC have Al Beeb sussed
The following, by leading British Zionist Federation figure Jonathan Hoffman, is entitled, with irony, "BBC Biased In Favour Of Israel???" and is crossposted, with his permission, from the Jewish Chronicle website
http://www.thejc.com/blogs/jonathan-hoffman/bbc-biased-in-favour-israel

It's a spinoff from his previous crossposted blog (http://daphneanson.blogspot.com/2011/05/in-london-amnesty-hosts-racist-garbage.html)

 Here's what he writes:

On Monday I blogged about a meeting at Amnesty in London where a new book was on sale by Professor Greg Philo called More Bad News About Israel. The theme of the book and the meeting was that the BBC is biased in favour of Israel. According to Philo, Israel has “a very sophisticated propaganda system”....“All their speakers are organised to give the same message …. BBC journalists “wait in fear for the phone call from the Israelis”.

Here is the response of a well-placed BBC source:
 'It's just silly to suggest that corporately the BBC is "pro Israel". In the first place, reports vary from reporter to reporter. Some (in my view) tend to have a default position whose subtext is that only real obstacle to a Middle East settlement is Israel. Others are impeccably balanced.
 Secondly, while I think there is some truth in the notion of "fear" from the Israeli side, in practice I don't think it's anything like as vocal as the Palestinian side which tends to be much better organised and co-ordinated.
 That's not to say that there isn't a vocal Israeli side, but it's a broader spectrum than the Palestinian side. For example, there's a big difference between, say, "Just Journalism" which I think is admirably fair and measured, and the US organisation, "Camera" which does sometimes take a "my country right or wrong" approach.
Just because the Israelis may be "pleased" with the BBC's coverage of the Mavi Marmara incident, seems to carry an assumption by Greg Philo, that the coverage must therefore have been unfair, inaccurate, bias etc. I mean, the evidence that the MM organisers and especially those on the top deck saw the mission pre-eminently as an opportunity to confront the Israeli Navy on the high sea is very powerful indeed. Those are the facts, and they are now available from several published sources and frankly anyone who can't accept that isn't really in a position to pass any sort of credible judgement about the bias or otherwise of the BBC's coverage.'
Pretty damning of the theory of BBC pro-Israel bias, don't you think?

"Fighting Literally For His Country's Survival": Israel's "Warrior Statesman"


Bibi in combat gear, when in his 20s
Rae Abileah, the CodePink activist who heckled Netanyahu's speech before Congess yesterday, prompted this well-justified observation from the Israeli Prime Minister:
“You know, I take it as a badge of honour, and so should you, that in our free societies you can have protests. You can’t have these protests in the farcical parliaments in Tehran or Tripoli."
The reaction was more thunderous applause, of the kind that frequently punctuated his speech, along with many standing ovations from his listeners.

And no wonder.  Netanyahu is a superb speaker, an attractive presence, and his deep sense of history, and of purpose, is palpable.

He made numerous profoundly moving and inspiring statements. 

Such as:

"In an unstable Middle East, Israel is the one anchor of stability. In a region of shifting alliances, Israel is America’s unwavering ally. Israel has always been pro-American. Israel will always be pro-American.

You don’t need to export democracy to Israel. We’ve already got it. You don’t need to send American troops to defend Israel. We defend ourselves. You’ve been very generous in giving us tools to do the job of defending Israel on our own....


Support for Israel’s security is a wise investment in our common future. For an epic battle is now unfolding in the Middle East, between tyranny and freedom. A great convulsion is shaking the earth from the Khyber Pass to the Straits of Gibraltar. The tremors have shattered states and toppled governments. And we can all see that the ground is still shifting. Now this historic moment holds the promise of a new dawn of freedom and opportunity. Millions of young people are determined to change their future. We all look at them. They muster courage. They risk their lives. They demand dignity. They desire liberty....

 So today, the Middle East stands at a fateful crossroads. Like all of you, I pray that the peoples of the region choose the path less traveled, the path of liberty. No one knows what this path consists of better than you. This path is not paved by elections alone. It is paved when governments permit protests in town squares, when limits are placed on the powers of rulers, when judges are beholden to laws and not men, and when human rights cannot be crushed by tribal loyalties or mob rule.

Israel has always embraced this path, in the Middle East has long rejected it. In a region where women are stoned, gays are hanged, Christians are persecuted, Israel stands out. It is different.

.... We have a free press, independent courts, an open economy, rambunctious parliamentary debates....

 Courageous Arab protesters, are now struggling to secure these very same rights for their peoples, for their societies. We're proud that over one million Arab citizens of Israel have been enjoying these rights for decades. Of the 300 million Arabs in the Middle East and North Africa, only Israel’s Arab citizens enjoy real democratic rights. I want you to stop for a second and think about that. Of those 300 million Arabs, less than one-half of one-percent are truly free, and they're all citizens of Israel!

 This startling fact reveals a basic truth: Israel is not what is wrong about the Middle East. Israel is what is right about the Middle East....


Israel fully supports the desire of Arab peoples in our region to live freely. We long for the day when Israel will be one of many real democracies in the Middle East.

Fifteen years ago, I stood at this very podium, and said that democracy must start to take root in the Arab World. Well, it's begun to take root. This beginning holds the promise of a brilliant future of peace and prosperity. For I believe that a Middle East that is genuinely democratic will be a Middle East truly at peace.

But while we hope and work for the best, we must also recognize that powerful forces oppose this future. They oppose modernity. They oppose democracy. They oppose peace.

Foremost among these forces is Iran. The tyranny in Tehran brutalizes its own people. It supports attacks against American troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. It subjugates Lebanon and Gaza. It sponsors terror worldwide.

When I last stood here, I spoke of the dire consequences of Iran developing nuclear weapons. Now time is running out, and the hinge of history may soon turn. For the greatest danger facing humanity could soon be upon us: A militant Islamic regime armed with nuclear weapons.

Militant Islam threatens the world. It threatens Islam. I have no doubt that it will ultimately be defeated. It will eventually succumb to the forces of freedom and progress. But like other fanaticisms that were doomed to fail, militant Islam could exact a horrific price from all of us before its inevitable demise....

Now the threat to my country cannot be overstated. Those who dismiss it are sticking their heads in the sand. Less than seven decades after six million Jews were murdered, Iran’s leaders deny the Holocaust of the Jewish people, while calling for the annihilation of the Jewish state.

Leaders who spew such venom, should be banned from every respectable forum on the planet. But there is something that makes the outrage even greater: The lack of outrage. In much of the international community, the calls for our destruction are met with utter silence. It is even worse because there are many who rush to condemn Israel for defending itself against Iran’s terror proxies....

As for Israel, if history has taught the Jewish people anything, it is that we must take calls for our destruction seriously. We are a nation that rose from the ashes of the Holocaust. When we say never again, we mean never again. Israel always reserves the right to defend itself.

 My friends, while Israel will be ever vigilant in its defense, we will never give up on our quest for peace. I guess we’ll give it up when we achieve it. Israel wants peace. Israel needs peace. We've achieved historic peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan that have held up for decades.

 I remember what it was like before we had peace. I was nearly killed in a firefight inside the Suez Canal. I mean that literally. I battled terrorists along both banks of the Jordan River. Too many Israelis have lost loved ones. I know their grief. I lost my brother [Yonatan Netanyahu, pictured left, the hero of Entebbe, in 1976].

.... This is not easy for me. I recognize that in a genuine peace, we will be required to give up parts of the Jewish homeland. In Judea and Samaria, the Jewish people are not foreign occupiers. We are not the British in India. We are not the Belgians in the Congo.

This is the land of our forefathers, the Land of Israel, to which Abraham brought the idea of one God, where David set out to confront Goliath, and where Isaiah saw a vision of eternal peace. No distortion of history can deny the four thousand year old bond, between the Jewish people and the Jewish land....


We've helped the Palestinian economy by removing hundreds of barriers and roadblocks to the free flow of goods and people. The results have been nothing short of remarkable. The Palestinian economy is booming. It's growing by more than 10 per cent a year.

 Palestinian cities look very different today than they did just a few years ago. They have shopping malls, movie theaters, restaurants, banks. They even have e-businesses. This is all happening without peace. Imagine what could happen with peace. Peace would herald a new day for both peoples. It would make the dream of a broader Arab-Israeli peace a realistic possibility.

So now here is the question. You have to ask it. If the benefits of peace with the Palestinians are so clear, why has peace eluded us? Because all six Israeli Prime Ministers since the signing of Oslo accords agreed to establish a Palestinian state. Myself included. So why has peace not been achieved? Because so far, the Palestinians have been unwilling to accept a Palestinian state, if it meant accepting a Jewish state alongside it.

You see, our conflict has never been about the establishment of a Palestinian state. It has always been about the existence of the Jewish state. This is what this conflict is about. In 1947, the United Nations voted to partition the land into a Jewish state and an Arab state. The Jews said yes. The Palestinians said no. In recent years, the Palestinians twice refused generous offers by Israeli Prime Ministers, to establish a Palestinian state on virtually all the territory won by Israel in the Six Day War.

.... They were simply unwilling to end the conflict. And I regret to say this: They continue to educate their children to hate. They continue to name public squares after terrorists. And worst of all, they continue to perpetuate the fantasy that Israel will one day be flooded by the descendants of Palestinian refugees.

So it is therefore absolutely vital for Israel’s security that a Palestinian state be fully demilitarized. And it is vital that Israel maintain a long-term military presence along the Jordan River. Solid security arrangements on the ground are necessary not only to protect the peace, they are necessary to protect Israel in case the peace unravels. For in our unstable region, no one can guarantee that our peace partners today will be there tomorrow.

.... Peace cannot be imposed. It must be negotiated. But it can only be negotiated with partners committed to peace.

And Hamas is not a partner for peace. Hamas remains committed to Israel's destruction and to terrorism. They have a charter. That charter not only calls for the obliteration of Israel, but says ‘kill the Jews wherever you find them’. Hamas’ leader condemned the killing of Osama bin Laden and praised him as a holy warrior. Now again I want to make this clear. Israel is prepared to sit down today and negotiate peace with the Palestinian Authority. I believe we can fashion a brilliant future of peace for our children. But Israel will not negotiate with a Palestinian government backed by the Palestinian version of Al Qaeda.

 So I say to President Abbas: Tear up your pact with Hamas! Sit down and negotiate! Make peace with the Jewish state! And if you do, I promise you this. Israel will not be the last country to welcome a Palestinian state as a new member of the United Nations. It will be the first to do so."

(See the entire speech and read the entire transcript here: http://elderofziyon.blogspot.com/2011/05/full-text-of-bibs-speech-before.html)

 In contrast to the predictably negative reaction of Al Beeb, a terrific op-ed in the London Daily Telegraph by Nile Gardiner paid fulsome tribute to the "barnstorming ... magnificent address" by "a warrior statesman fighting literally for his nation's survival" and observed:
"Israel deserves our full support as a greatly valued friend and partner – it is a tremendous force for freedom and liberty amidst a sea of tyranny and despotism, and a vital bulwark in the face of Islamist terrorism."
As for Obama's prescribed formula, there are trenchant critiques in The Wall Street Journal  ("Obama’s Peace ‘a War Formula’"  by Bret Stephens, that paper's foreign affairs editor and deputy editorial page editor: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/144480) and by Professor Barry Rubin.

Barry Rubin summarises the danger inherent in the situation thus:
"1. Israel gives up all West Bank first and then negotiates on borders.
2. Israel loses leverage for getting something in exchange for basically accepting 1967 borders.
3. Encourages the PA--as has now happened--to demand Israel accepts 1967 borders before negotiating.
4. Would rule out the Jordan Valley security zone he wants.
5. Palestinians don't have to accept an end of conflict, no right of return, or Israel as a Jewish state in exchange for getting a big thing they want. In short, Israel is being pressed toward a concession. What is the PA pressed to do? To talk with Israel and thus get a big concession!
6. In discussing swaps, Obama didn't mention settlement blocs so he has dropped assurances to Israel that it would get specific pieces of land it wants.
7. And of course he cannot be depended upon to back Israel on its needs but he can be depended on to demand more Israeli concessions.
8. The regional situation is very dangerous and it is not a time to be turning over territory to an unstable, hostile entity."
Read his entire piece: http://pajamasmedia.com/barryrubin/2011/05/25/why-the-issue-of-land-landed-president-obama-in-trouble-with-israel/

Beware "The Anniversary of the Theft of Jerusalem"

Palestinian acitivists, gung-ho after their Facebook-planned "Third Intifada" earlier this month, are anticipating a mass violation of Israel's borders in early June, with - it seems - a date of 5 June being widely given.

However, the date of the great rush at Israel's borders is to be 7 June, what's being dubbed "the anniversary of the theft of Jerusalem," Palestine Media Watch  reports, citing the official Palestinian Authority daily newpaper Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, 19 May.

The call to action states, apparently on Facebook:
 "Out of loyalty to the Shahids (Martyrs), and in order to continue the path and to base ourselves upon the achievements of the revolutionaries and those who rose up [on 15 May], we announce forcefully and loudly that June 7th - the anniversary of the theft of Jerusalem, the 'flower of cities', by the Zionists - is the day for swearing loyalty to Jerusalem in every country of the world.'"
See: http://palwatch.org/main.aspx?fi=157&doc_id=5048

Also, a Fatah official, Issam al-Halabi, has said that plans are afoot for a major rally on that day to demand the "right of return".  The rally will occur on both "land and water".

See: http://old.naharnet.com/domino/tn/NewsDesk.nsf/getstory?openform&0390114CC01FD564C225789600572810
(hat tip: Y and C)

Meanwhile, a new hate page has sprung up on Facebook.

It's called "No Israel" and to date has over 13,000 fans.

It's logo is reproduced above.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Pro-Boycott SNP Councillor Calls Anti-Boycott Protesters "Extremists"

Well, the Boycott Derangement Syndromers who've got their iron grip in West Dunbartonshire Council (see
http://daphneanson.blogspot.com/2011/05/swastika-underthe-snps-sporran-snp-led.html) may or may not have a swastika under their sporran, but whatever they wear under their kilts is evidently in a twist.

As a result of all the adverse publicity in the press at the weekend and in blogs over the last few days, which has provoked indignant e-mails to council officials, the Council has posted a clarification on its website:
"West Dunbartonshire Council utterly refutes recent media claims that it has ‘launched a boycott on Israeli books’.
The Council’s boycott only relates to goods ‘made or grown’ in Israel. The vast majority of mainstream books by Israeli authors are published in the UK and are therefore not affected by this boycott. Only books that were printed in Israel and transported to the UK for distribution would be potentially boycotted...."
And the Council has reproduced the motion concerned, which, it turns out, was passed in 2009 following a proposal by Councillor Jim Bollan, who appears to be a dyed-in-the-wool Socialist:
"This Council deplores the loss of life in Palestine which now numbers well over 1,000. This Council also recognises the disproportionate force used by the IDF in Palestine and agrees to boycott all Israeli goods as a consequence. Officers should immediately cease the purchase of any goods we currently source, which were made or grown in Israel. Officers should also ensure we procure no new goods or produce from Israel until this boycott is formally lifted by WDC."
They've been frightfully earnest about that "made or grown" clause, it transpires: hence the decision to interpret it to the very letter (no pun intended) by including Israeli printed matter - and thus intellectual property.

On Modernity Blog, there's a rather delicious, perceptive post concerning this issue.  It points out that since there are in practice likely to be few if any such books in West Dunbartonshire libraries, the boycott is mere "posturing" ... "political posing".

What the council really needs to do, to display its commitment to the cause, suggests Modernity wryly, is to throw out all the useful equipment in its offices originating in Israel.

(In short, to put its money where its mouth is, like Marrickville, the BDS Council in inner Sydney, meant to do, until its humiliating climbdown when it found how much jettisoning Israeli products would actually cost it!)

Writes Modernity, inter alia:
"If they were truly serious then they would stop using all of that sophisticated Israeli medical equipment, computer technology and finally Google, which uses a search algorithm developed by an Israeli.

The Council could stop using all of that computer technology from Intel and Microsoft, all developed with Israeli know-how, but they won’t, because it would be a hindrance to them. West Dunbartonshire Council’s supposed boycott is just a pose, a piece of political theatre as they won’t inconvenience themselves, really, for the sake of their alleged principles."

Modernity's post has flushed out a retort in the Comments section from Councillor Jonathan McColl (SNP, pictured) who's Deputy Leader of the Council, Spokesperson for Educational Services, Chair of Education & Lifelong Learning, andChair/Vice Chair of Local Negotiating Committee for Teachers.

Says he:
"You do realise this is really REALLY old news?
We’ve had this boycott in place since January 2009!"
To which Modernity bluntly replies:

"The fact in two years that you’ve manage to do nothing, really, concerning Israeli products shows what a pile of political trite it is.
If you weren’t such a bunch of hypocrites, then you’d stop using your PC, never use Google, and probably buy a different processor for your computer.
Then when you went to hospital you could deliberately ask to avoid all of those sophisticated medical techniques that the Israelis have developed recently.
But you and the Council won’t.
You won’t inconvenience yourself, you will posture, play petty politics, but not inconvenience youself.
Will the Council have a motion on boycotting products from the rest of the Middle East? All of unsavoury dictatorships which are shooting their own populations (Yemen, Syria, Mauritius, etc) or helping to put down legitimate protests (Saudi Arabia and Bahrain)? Unlikely.
...."


Councillor McColl responds:
"You think we should replace all of our computers and stop using medical services?
You clearly have a screw loose somewhere. [My emphasis]
....
To cease to use medicine and kill ourselves to make a point is also a ridiculous suggestion. I’m getting flashbacks from ‘Monty Python’s The Life of Brian’ and the ‘Judean People’s Front crack suicide squad! Suicide squad’.
As a Local Authority, our primary responsibility is to our own citizens and I could not vote to spend tens of millions of pounds replacing computer systems.
This was a private member’s motion from an Independent Councillor who wanted support to express his feelings on Israel’s military policy.
As a small Council, we are well aware that a boycott will have little actual impact in the Israeli economy, but it’s about taking a position on the issue.
You call it “posturing”, I call it standing up and saying, “We think what you are doing is wrong.”
If you really believe that’s such a terrible thing to do then we’re going to have to agree to disagree.
I supported Jim’s motion two years ago and I’d support it again were the vote today".
It seems to yours truly that the councillor really had no idea of all the essential and everyday items that originate in Israel, or he would not have responded as he did, so I decide to help him learn by recommending to him this post of mine: http://daphneanson.blogspot.com/2011/01/boycotting-israel-your-essential-bds.html

Another commenter takes aim:

".... Gaza elected the overt homophobes and anti-semites of Hamas – people who do not hide the facts and rather seem to proud of them. Why not boycott them too?"
As does Modernity:
".... It is purely a gesture....
But like many politicians you are oblivious to history and obviously won’t know of the historical resonance of boycotts and Jews, because if you did you probably wouldn’t go there, assuming you had an ounce of common sense.
I’m pointing out as well that Israelis do many wonderful things (and yes, their government does make major mistakes), they contribute to the wealth of human knowledge, whereas you and your council come across as small-minded and unaware of the issues.
Could you ask Cllr Jim Bollan if he is so aggrieved at the conduct of China in Tibet? Been going on for 60+ years.
Or perhaps Cllr Bollan feels the conduct of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain deserves a boycott too?
.... Please ask Cllr Bollan if he has any motions on Syria forthcoming or do you and him judge their rulers by a lower standard?"
Adds somebody else:
'Perhaps you should read your own resolution - the one you voted for. It says: “This Council also recognises the disproportionate force used by the IDF in Palestine and agrees to boycott all Israeli goods as a consequence.” ....
So according to that plain text of your resolution, you have to boycott all (ALL) Israeli goods – and that includes microchips. You voted for this piece of nonsense so it appears you are the one with a screw loose. Or did you not understand the implications of what you were voting for?
With so much evil in the world today (from Zimbabwe to Tibet to Syria to Libya), you single out the Jewish state of Israel for a boycott. That is not anti-Zionism; it is anti-semitism."
This proves all too much for the worthy Councillor McColl:
"I'm not going to comment on here any more.
It’s occurred to me that by responding to these ridiculous posts from people who are clearly extremists and don’t care, let alone understand how Council’s operate, is futile and only spawns more mince from your keyboards. [My emphasis]
....
From now on you can waffle amongst yourselves."

Oy!

As Corporal Jones used to say in Dad's Army, "They don't like it up 'em!"

Read the entire thing here: http://modernityblog.wordpress.com/2011/05/23/west-dunbartonshire-council-israel-and-political-posturing/

In London, Amnesty Hosts Racist Garbage

This is a crosspost by well-known British pro-Israel activist Jonathan Hoffman, a leading figure in the UK's Zionist Federation.  It first appeared at http://www.thejc.com/blogs/jonathan-hoffman/amnesty-hosts-racist-garbage:

Despite representations from the Board of Deputies, Amnesty went ahead with this Israel hate event: http://www.thejc.com/blogs/jonathan-hoffman/no-hate-amnesty-next-monday-...

This was no surprise, since Amnesty has been taken over by a person or persons with a malevolent agenda towards Israel – see all my previous blogs [on the Jewish Chronicle website] on meetings there. Notably I have offered Ruvi Ziegler as a speaker but this offer has been ignored by Amnesty’s Campaigns Director Kristyan Benedict (he who told Richard Millett that he would “smack me [Millett] in my little bald head”).
https://richardmillett.wordpress.com/tag/kristyan-benedict/

About 15 of us demonstrated before the meeting. Well done to Campaign4Truth for organising this.
http://campaign4truth.org/

I guess that in one respect the meeting (which was largely about the BBC) was music to our ears. The pro-Israel lobby was incessantly said to have cowed the BBC into parroting its own output.... (If only!)

[Professor] Greg Philo, for example, said (in so many words) that the advocacy manual published by The Israel Project has become the BBC’s Style Guide on Israel. Would that it were so …. The question I wanted to ask was just why was the BBC so much in thrall to the few of us who actively support Israel.

But I never got the chance because Victoria Brittain (of the Guardian) who was chairing didn't call me despite having my hand up throughout the Q&A.

She never called the other pro-Israel person in the audience (of about 250) either. That's how powerful we are …

Reality check: The BBC will never refer to Hamas as “terrorists” – always “militants”. BBC journalists are instructed to say “regarded as illegal under international law" whenever the settlements are mentioned. And Jeremy Bowen, the BBC’s Middle East Editor, was ruled by the BBC Trust’s Editorial standards Board to be in breach of the organisation’s guidelines on impartiality and accuracy. The notion that the BBC is biased in Israel’s favour is about as absurd as saying that Harold Shipman [the mass murdering physician] was kind to old people

The first speaker was Greg Philo [pictured left], author of Bad News from Israel, a book which in short claimed the media was biased in favour of Israel because it did not reflect his extreme pro-Palestinian view of history. (Philo has a new update out called More Bad News from Israel, inevitably published by Pluto Press who specialise in this drivel (they published Ben White's book - Israeli Apartheid - too)).

Here is what Mike Brennan (Warwick University) had to say in his review of Philo’s book:
"Ultimately this is a rather tendentious and agenda-driven book in which the researchers set out to prove their own politically-inflected views. Its claims are based upon data generated by the selective use of historical material and flawed research methods. The net effect of the book will be to reinforce perceptions of Israel as monolithic, and will give succour to those who claim that the western media are controlled by ‘Zionists.’" http://www.dissentmagazine.org/democratiya/article_pdfs/d3Brennan-2.pdf
According to Philo, Israel has “a very sophisticated propaganda system” (I wish).
“All their speakers are organised to give the same message …. BBC journalists “wait in fear for the phone call from the Israelis”

The next speaker was Tim Llewellyn (ex-BBC; pictured right). Panorama’s Death on the Med was distorted but “it has become impossible to raise these issues with the BBC” (those pesky omnipotent Israel supporters hard at work again …)

The level of Llewellyn’s bias became clear when he said that the BBC should be supervised by an independent body, not by the Trust. The truth is that the BBC has a “dual key” regulatory structure involving both the Trust and OFCOM. Then Llewellyn – unbelievably – told the audience members they should complain that Labour, the Conservatives and the LibDems have no “Friends of Palestine” organisations (they all do of course).

Finally Abdel Bari Atwan spoke. The first thing he did – to prove that “the Israel Lobby“ was out to silence him – was to hold up the Jewish Chronicle’s front page: “How Was This Hatefest Allowed on Campus?” Atwan is convinced that the “Israel Lobby” is to blame for the fact that he is not invited as a guest on TV shows (he thinks he is treated "worse than Adolf Hitler").

Has he considered that it might just have something to do with the fact that he is an extremist who says that he will “dance in Trafalgar Square” if Iranian missiles hit Israel?
http://www.memritv.org/clip/en/1506.htm

This meeting was uncomfortably redolent of the thesis in the forgery The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, which claimed that Jews controlled the press. Shame on Amnesty for hosting it. It is about time that Amnesty members made their voice known against this racist garbage.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

"The President Is Talking Utter Nonsense": More Tough Talk On Obama's AIPAC Speech

Regular readers of this blog will know that I'm a fan of Sydney lawyer and international affairs analyst David Singer.  Here, via the antipodean J-Wire service, is his hard-hitting take on Obama's latest iniitiative. The article is entitled "Palestine - Obama Continues to Fudge on America's Commitment to Israel".

Writes David Singer:

President Obama in an address to the AIPAC Policy Conference on 22 May has failed to redress the enormous damage done by him to America’s integrity and reputation during his speech three days earlier at the State Department.  Addressing the State Department Obama then stated:
“We believe the borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states.. “
This statement amounted to the repudiation of an American written commitment given by President George Bush (the Bush Letter) to Israel‘s then Prime Minister Ariel Sharon on 14 April 2004 which stated:
“As part of a final peace settlement, Israel must have secure and recognized borders, which should emerge from negotiations between the parties in accordance with UNSC Resolutions 242 and 338. In light of new realities on the ground, including already existing major Israeli populations centers, it is unrealistic to expect that the outcome of final status negotiations will be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949, and all previous efforts to negotiate a two-state solution have reached the same conclusion. It is realistic to expect that any final status agreement will only be achieved on the basis of mutually agreed changes that reflect these realities.”
America’s commitment in the Bush Letter was clear and unambiguous.

America would support Israel’s refusal to withdraw from 100% of Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem – as the Arabs had been demanding since 1967.

The amount of such land to be retained by Israel would be determined by mutually agreed changes that reflected the realities existing at the time negotiations were completed

No mention was made that those mutually agreed changes would require Israel to make land swaps of Israeli sovereign territory in exchange for land retained by Israel in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem.

The importance of these American commitments to Israel was stressed in a speech given in the Knesset by Prime Minister Sharon on 22 April 2004 when he stated:
“The political support we received during my visit to the United States is an unprecedented accomplishment for Israel. Since the establishment of the State, we have not received such vast and staunch political support, as was expressed in the President’s letter.”
President Bush’s letter was subsequently approved by the US Senate and House of Representatives on 23 June and 24 June 2004.

Obama’s apparent attempt to abrogate this American commitment in his statement on 19 May resulted in trenchant criticism from Israel and many members of the American Congress forcing him to clarify his position on 22 May.

In doing so President Obama did not climb out of the diplomatic hole he had dug for himself and America three days earlier – but only managed to slide further down it taking America’s integrity and reputation even lower with him.

President Obama told the AIPAC delegates and many Congressmen present and keen to hear his explanation:
“And it was my reference to the 1967 lines — with mutually agreed swaps — that received the lion’s share of the attention, including just now. And since my position has been misrepresented several times, let me reaffirm what “1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps” means. By definition, it means that the parties themselves -– Israelis and Palestinians -– will negotiate a border that is different than the one that existed on June 4, 1967. That’s what mutually agreed- upon swaps means. It is a well-known formula to all who have worked on this issue for a generation. It allows the parties themselves to account for the changes that have taken place over the last 44 years. It allows the parties themselves to take account of those changes, including the new demographic realities on the ground, and the needs of both sides. The ultimate goal is two states for two people: Israel as a Jewish state and the homeland for the Jewish people and the State of Palestine as the homeland for the Palestinian people — each state in joined self-determination, mutual recognition, and peace”
With the greatest respect the President is talking utter nonsense.

“Agreed upon swaps” surely means an agreed exchange of something for something else.

President Obama clearly was breaching the Bush Letter in stating that his Government’s belief now was that Israeli sovereign territory would have to be swapped for territory retained by Israel in the West Bank or East Jerusalem.


By M. Langfan http://www.marklangfan.com/
 President Obama’s belief in 2011 is totally irrelevant. President Obama is committed in 2011 to supporting whatever decision Israel makes on how much of the West Bank and East Jerusalem it will ultimately withdraw from – nothing more nothing less.

To continue to support the concept of “mutually agreed swaps” only makes matters even worse so far as restoring America’s integrity and reputation is concerned.

It is clear President Obama does not like the terms of the Bush Letter. But he – and America – are bound by it if America‘s integrity and reputation is to be maintained .

Obama’s explanation smacks of a pathetic attempt to try and retrospectively substitute the words “mutually agreed changes” in the Bush Letter with the words “mutually agreed exchanges”.

Surely Congress will react with even greater fury at President Obama’s latest remarks to try and massage the meaning of the Bush Letter to give it a meaning that was never intended.

Israel made a historic – and highly controversial – political decision to unilaterally withdraw from Gaza as a condition of obtaining the Bush Letter. Israel paid dearly for that decision when tens of thousands of its civilian population were subsequently murdered, wounded or traumatized following that disengagement.

It is inconceivable that America should seek in any way to diminish or circumvent the commitments it made under the Bush Letter.

Words have meaning and in this case their meaning brooks only one interpretation.

Obama’s attempt to subvert their meaning must be resisted until he recants and states without qualification or ambiguity that he – as America’s President – and America still stands by what President Bush signed and its Congress ratified.