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)

Monday, 30 April 2012

In The Land Where Six Is Sex, Youngsters Recite Their Party Pieces Regarding "The Israeli Terrorist State" (video)

In case non-antipodean readers have ever wondered, it's the pronunciation of the vowel i that separates the Kiwi from the Aussie accent, so that in the former "six" sounds something like "sex".

Here's a bunch of Kiwi youngsters sounding off with sanctimonious bigotry about the (imagined) nature of "Apartheid Israel".


"There is no question that the trialling of these nineteen activists is a political statement, a statement that freedom of speech is only conditional, in so far as it does not question the legitimacy of the Israeli terrorist state," intones one.

"The state that's very existence is defined by segregation and discrimination, displacing entire communities and murdering innocent Palestinians since its conception, " declares another.

"Ethnic cleansing and genocide of Palestinians, the breaking of international law and plundering of Palestinian natural resources. That is what the state of Israel represents," says a third.

And so on until: "We support these nineteen activists in their struggle to bring the Intifada to our side of the world because the Intifada cannot only be in Palestine, it needs to begin right here, right now."

Ah, well, best not to be too hard on them. They're very young, and many of us make fools of ourselves when we're young and immature and impressionable...

For more leftist nonsense from Down Under, here's a feast of viewing, featuring such luminaries as John Pilger.

"London[istan]'s Better Off With Ken"

The London mayoral election's on 3rd May and the indications are that the present incumbent, buffoonish Conservative Boris Johnson, is set to finish well ahead of Labour rival "Red Ken" Livingstone.  Let's hope so.

Despite Red Ken's well-known antipathy to Israel, and eyebrow-raising comments regarding Jews, he's found a Man in Black to endorse him on this election video, labelled "London's better off with Ken":


Life peer Lord Winston succinctly appraises Ken:


This video (hat tip: Michelle) of Ken, who vowed recently to make London "a beacon of Islam", addressing an audience of Palestine Solidarity Campaign supporters in Tower Hamlets (a slice of Londonistan if ever there was one) is being hawked around Israel-demonising circles in the capital, and provides a further reminder as to why Ken (see George Galloway on him and the Muslim vote here) should be rejected at the ballot box.

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Has The ADL Lost Its Marbles?

Judeophobia in Chicago
A new article in American Thinker, by Charles Jacobs and Ilya Feoktistov of Americans for Peace and Tolerance, would suggest that it has:

'The Jewish community's largest "defense" organization, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), has adopted a policy, consistent with the progressive agenda, not to speak up much about the global tsunami of Muslim anti-Semitism, but instead to campaign against "Islamophobia."  This while FBI statistics show that hate crimes against Jews in America are five times the number of hate crimes against Muslims.  The rationale for this policy, as the ADL's chief, Abe Foxman, told the Boston Jewish Advocate, is that "[y]ou can't fight the fight against anti-Semitism without fighting against bigotry. ... You cannot ask people to stand with you unless you are ready to stand with them."

But in cities across America, Foxman's policy has led the ADL to stand with people and organizations whose mission it is to defame and harm Jews.  To defend its policy of "outreach," the Anti-Defamation League vigorously defames as "bigots" citizens who question radical Islamists' true aims.  This pattern of allying with Muslim anti-Semites to fight "Islamophobia" and then defaming legitimately concerned citizens can be clearly seen in three cases ...'


Read the entire article here

Friday, 27 April 2012

"I Am A Zionist And I'm Proud": A British Former Radical Islamist Stands With Israel

If you have not yet discovered British Muslim Kasim Hafeez's moving and illuminative article, in which he outlines his personal odyssey from radical Islamist, antisemite, and well-indoctrinated loather of "the Zionist Entity" to active supporter of Israel, you really must read what he has to say.

This is what, inter alia, this courageous man writes, of a visit he made to Israel:

"I did not encounter an apartheid racist state, but rather, quite the opposite. I was confronted by synagogues, mosques and churches, by Jews and Arabs living together, by minorities playing huge parts in all areas of Israeli life, from the military to the judiciary. It was shocking and eye-opening. This wasn't the evil Zionist Israel that I had been told about."

 He continues:

"After much soul searching, I knew what I had once believed was wrong. I had been confronted with the truth and had to accept it. But I had a bigger question to confront, what now? I’d for years campaigned against Israel, but now I knew the truth.
 

The choice was obvious: I had to stand with Israel, with this tiny nation, free, democratic, making huge strides in medicine, research and development, yet the victim of the same lies and hatred that nearly consumed me.  Doing this is not easy and that’s something that has become very obvious. I have faced hostility from my own community and even some within the Jewish community in the UK, but that’s the reality of standing up for Israel in Europe today. It is not easy, and that’s what makes it so necessary.  This isn’t about religion and politics; it’s about the truth.  When it comes to Israel, the truth is not being heard, the ranks of those filed with blind hatred continue to swell, yet many have not been exposed to the reality, away from the empty rhetoric and politically charged slogans they are so fond of.  We can change this situation but we need to be strong and united. Israel is not just a Jewish issue - it’s about freedom, human rights and democracy, all the values that Western nations cherish. It’s also about trying to be a light among nations.
 

Israel’s international humanitarian aid work speaks for itself, but if we don’t get the message out there, no one will. We don’t have to be head-bowed apologists leading with :Israel’s not perfect…  we should never be afraid to say: I am a Zionist and I’m proud. I stand with Israel. Now I ask, will you do that?...."


Read all of Kasim Hafeez's article here
He runs this pro-Israel site 

Thursday, 26 April 2012

"When Tolerance Becomes A One-Way Street It Leads To Cultural Suicide": Colonel Allen West On Islamist Influence In America (video)

Here's Lieutenant-Colonel Allen West (Republican, Florida) pulling no punches about an "environment of political correctness" in the United States that is impeding internal security agents from responding effectively to the threat posed by Islamic extremism.  He cites the removal, following complaints from Senator Dick Durbin (Democrat, Illinois) of 900 pages of the FBI traing manual deemed offensive to Arab-Americans and Muslim Americans, and observes that the fact that the perpetrator of the Fort Hood massacre had links to jihadism was downplayed, with the incident being classified as "workplace violence".

"We should not allow the Muslim Brotherhood or associated groups to be influencing our national strategy,"he declares, adding that he has no doubt that they are doing so. "If we continue to be recalcitrant in identifying who the enemy is and want to be less offensive to them, then we're going to put ourselves in a bad situation. Now you have an environment of political correctness which precludes these [FBI]agents from doing their proper job and due diligence to go after the perceived threat."

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

"Is Palestine Now A State – Or Is It Not?": David Singer on why this question must be answered without delay

Sydney lawyer and international affairs analyst David Singer has been continuing to focus on UNESCO and the issue of Palestinian statehood with an article, again via the antipodean J-Wire service, entitled "Palestine: Quartet and UNESCO  in Head-On Collision," in which, inter alia, he observes that "In going behind [the] Oslo [Accords] and the [Bush] Roadmap to unilaterally achieve statehood at UNESCO, Palestine has cut itself completely adrift from Oslo and the Roadmap."

Writes David Singer:

UNESCO’S  recognition that Palestine is a State has now been totally refuted by the Quartet – America, the Russian Federation, the European Union (EU) and  the United Nations (UN).

The Quartet – in its latest statement - has now endorsed the view of the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (OTP) just a few days earlier – that Palestine is not a State. 
“The Quartet reaffirmed its commitment, as expressed in its 23 September 2011 statement, to examine possible mechanisms it can actively support going forward, individually and together, to advance peace efforts and strengthen the Palestinian Authority’s ability to meet the full range of civil and security needs of the Palestinian people both now and in a future state.”
The Quartet’s use of the words – “both now and in a future state” – was clear and unambiguous .
If the Quartet and the OTP are correct – then Palestine’s admission to UNESCO as a State is indeed unlawful – since only States can be members of UNESCO under Article II paragraph 2 of UNESCO’S Constitution.

Yet the Russian Federation and many other member states of the UN and the EU – 107 to be precise – voted to recognize Palestine’s claim to be a State – thereby qualifying it to be granted admission to UNESCO.

How then can their representatives in the Quartet be now saying Palestine is not a State?

The remaining 87 UNESCO member states – including America and Israel – did not vote for Palestine‘s admission. Yet none of these States has done anything in the last six months to protest the illegality of Palestine’s admission to UNESCO – although several courses of action were open to them.

Read on for articl'UNESCO’S  recognition that Palestine is a State has now been totally refuted by the Quartet – America, the Russian Federation, the European Union (EU) and  the United Nations (UN)..'The Quartet – in its latest statement - has now endorsed the view of the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (OTP) just a few days earlier – that Palestine is not a State."The Quartet reaffirmed its commitment, as expressed in its 23 September 2011 statement, to examine possible mechanisms it can actively support going forward, individually and together, to advance peace efforts and strengthen the Palestinian Authority’s ability to meet the full range of civil and security needs of the Palestinian people both now and in a future state.The Quartet’s use of the words – "both now and in a future state" – was clear and unambiguous .If the Quartet and the OTP are correct – then Palestine’s admission to UNESCO as a State is indeed unlawful – since only States can be members of UNESCO under Article II paragraph 2 of UNESCO’S ConstitutionYet the Russian Federation and many other member states of the UN and the EU – 107 to be precise – voted to recognize Palestine’s claim to be a State – thereby qualifying it to be granted admission to UNESCO.How then can their representatives in the Quartet be now saying Palestine is not a State?The remaining 87 UNESCO member states – including America and Israel – did not vote for Palestine‘s admission. Yet none of these States has done anything in the last six months to protest the illegality of Palestine’s admission to UNESCO – although several courses of action were open to them.

Firstly – they could have attempted to have the decision reviewed by lobbying UNESCO to seek an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice on the constitutional propriety of its decision to recognize Palestine as a State – under Article XIV Paragraph 2 of UNESCO’s Constitution which states:
"Any question or dispute concerning the interpretation of this Constitution shall be referred for determination to the International Court of Justice or to an arbitral tribunal, as the General Conference may determine under its Rules of Procedure."
Secondly – they could have suspended their membership or the payment of their membership dues or refused to attend meetings when Palestine was represented by its accredited spokespersons.
America and Israel suspended their dues –  not to protest UNESCO’S recognition of Palestine as a State – but to protest that this recognition was achieved unilaterally outside the negotiations prescribed by the Oslo Accords and the Bush Roadmap.

So having by their conduct over the last six months done nothing to voice their opposition to UNESCO recognizing that Palestine is a State  -  how can their Quartet representatives now be claiming to do just that by claiming there is no existing State of Palestine?

The Quartet’s statement sounds an even more discordant tone when it asserts:
"The Quartet encouraged the parties, in this context, to cooperate to facilitate the social and economic development of Area C, which is of critical importance for the viability of a future Palestinian state as well as for its Palestinian inhabitants to be enabled to lead a normal life. The Quartet asked Quartet Representative Blair to continue his intensive work with the parties toward this end."
Again the words "a future Palestinian State" are carefully chosen – a clear negation of the UNESCO vote recognizing Palestine is a State.

But even stranger – "Area C" is a specific creation of the Oslo Accords and the Bush Roadmap negotiating processes – instituted in 1993 and 2002 between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization through its then newly constituted negotiating entity – the Palestinian Authority.

"Area C" comprises 61% in area of the West Bank and is home to only 4% of the Palestinian Arabs living in the West Bank. It also happens to be the location where pre-existing Jewish settlements were destroyed in the 1948 Arab-Israel War – and were subsequently re-established after the 1967 War.

"Area C" also contains most of the new Jewish settlements built since 1967 – where close settlement by Jews was to be encouraged under article 6 of the Mandate for Palestine and article 80 of the United Nations Charter.

Israel currently holds full security and administrative control in "Area C". Sovereignty has remained unallocated between Jews and Arabs since Great Britain handed back its Mandate to the United Nations in 1948.

In going behind Oslo and the Roadmap to unilaterally achieve statehood at UNESCO, Palestine has cut itself completely adrift from Oslo and the Roadmap.

It surely is wishful thinking for the Quartet to have any expectations that further negotiations on the future of "Area C" can be conducted within the framework of Oslo and the Roadmap – once the two-state solution contemplated by Oslo and the Road Map had been achieved at UNESCO.

If there are to be any negotiations over Area C – where Palestine does not have and never has had effective control – a new Roadmap – agreed to by Israel and the Palestinian Authority – will first be needed to replace both Oslo and the Bush Roadmap.

That no doubt is what the Quartet wants to avoid – and provides a good reason for the Quartet to continually claim that there is no state of Palestine existing at the present time.

Perhaps the Quartet is preparing us to get ready to listen to a new composition – the Obama Roadmap,

For that to happen however – the Quartet must encourage UNESCO to high tail it to the International Court – to clarify whether its decision to recognize Palestine as a State is lawful or not.

The current disharmony caused by UNESCO and the Quartet playing from different scores needs to be resolved without delay.

Is Palestine now a state – or it is not?

The UNESCO decision has not only created a growing global humanitarian crisis caused by the loss of 22% of its budget in suspended American dues.

That decision has now also become crucial in determining whether :
  1. Oslo and the Bush Roadmap have any further relevance at all and
  2. The Quartet disappears ignominiously off the international stage into permanent retirement as the most powerful diplomatic negotiating team ever assembled in history that failed to achieve anything after eight years of trying.
Until the International Court gives its advisory opinion – the Quartet is going to look decidedly foolish claiming  there is no such State yet in existence – when UNESCO says there is.

This head-on collision is certain to claim a lot of casualties.'

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Muslims Are Oppressed In Europe, Claims Amnesty International


Amnesty International, which is of course one of those prominent leftist NGOs that spend an inordinate amount of time castigating Israel, has issued a report castigating Europe's attitude to Muslims.  Says the blurb:
'Muslims across Europe belong to many different ethnic groups and follow diverse cultural, religious or traditional practices. They are discriminated against for different reasons, including their religion or belief, ethnicity and gender. This report highlights discrimination on the grounds of religion or belief and illustrates some of its consequences. Restrictive dress-code policies and legislation are enforced in several states. Muslims, and especially Muslim women, who express their cultural or religious background by wearing specific forms of dress or symbols have been denied employment or excluded from classrooms.'
Says an official press release embargoed until this morning: 
'European governments must do more to challenge the negative stereotypes and prejudices against Muslims fuelling discrimination especially in education and employment, a new report by Amnesty International reveals today....
.... Marco Perolini, Amnesty International’s expert on discrimination [observes]
“Rather than countering these prejudices, political parties and public officials are all too often pandering to them in their quest for votes.”....'
That Amnesty has produced this report will no doubt fuel allegations that it is, albeit unwittingly, helping to advance the propagandistic, political, and demographic agenda of those Arab regimes who aim to bring Europe closer to the Arabist viewpoint, if not to the Islamist one of suborning Europe under a Caliphate.


Discrimination against a person because of his or her religious beliefs is, of course, unsconscionable.  But so long as Islam is associated in the public mind with the subjugation of the female sex and of non-Muslims, with a barbaric penal code, with proselytisation of and contempt for "infidels", and, dare I say it, with acts of terror worldwide, so-called Islamophobia is likely to continue.

Meanwhile, I look forward to the day when an agency of the Jeddah-based OIC produces a report highlighting the oppression of Christians and other religious minorities in far too much of the Islamic world.

Update: See this important article on the OIC, Europe, and antisemitism

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Female Israel-Bashers Unite, You Have Nothing To Lose But Your Hypocrisy (video)

Once upon a time, at a Zionist conference in Melbourne, Australia attended by a lot of university students, I heard a young man (bless him!) during the break remark to one of the madrichim present that hasbara should make much more of the fact that women's status in Israel compares so favourably to that of women in nearby countries.

To my disgust, the slightly older man merely shrugged and walked away.  But there's no doubt the student was right.

I've been spring-cleaning, and in my desk drawer I found a cutting from the London Daily Telegraph that someone had sent me, dated 9 September 2002.  The small News-in-Brief item bears the eye-catching heading "Man Beheads His Daughter".

The report reads:
'An Iranian cut off his seven-year-ol daughter's head after suspecting she had been raped by her uncle, the Jomhuri-ye Eslami newspaper said yesterday,  But a post-mortem examination showed she was a virgin.
"The motive behind the killing was to defend my honour, fame, and dignity," the father said.'  Reuters, Teheran.
I can sense the leftwing feminist yawns right now, as the wimmin for Palestine concentrate their ire and fire on the one nation in the Middle East that protects women's rights.

In a region of the globe and among cultures that so often treat girls and women as trash, Israel, as Bibi Netanyahu so eloquently pointed out last year (see my sidebar) "Israel is different".

The following video encapsulates that difference in a nutshell.  It shows the types of horror that too often confronts the female sex elsewhere in the Middle East, reminds us of the vile treatment that certain of Israel's Muslim enemies advocate for Jewish women, and demonstrates how rights for Israeli women, irrespective of background, are enshrined in Israeli law.


Hat tip: reader Shirlee

Lee Kaplan On The ISM & On The Iran Regime's Influence In America (videos)

In the first video, articulate investigative journalist Lee Kaplan (whose eye-opening revelations regarding the machinations of the International Solidarity Movement and the plight of Lieutenant-Colonel Shalom Eisner, was the subject of my last blog) warns eloquently and persuasively about the International Solidarity Movement's dire threat to Israel.  The interview took place in Israel in 2010, and Kaplan lamented the Israeli government's apathetic response to the threat.



As one commenter remarked after viewing the original download on YouTube:
"The ISM has engaged in acts of terror throughout Israel and often engage in blacks ops specifically to blame local Jews. They have killed lifestock, destroyed trees and burnt crops. The ISM is a provocation and obstacle to peace , A friend of mine volunteering from Italy was told to dress like an Orthodox Jewish girl - then they filmed her harrassing palestinian children. Evil. Just evil "
Lee Kaplan takes an in-depth here at infiltrative activities in the United States linked to Iran and its proxy, Hezbollah.

Here's a taste in two parts, consisting of an interview Kaplan gave to Zia Atabay of NITV. 


For the second part, which won't load on here, see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qOtxQu_47sM
Or go straight to the link in the paragraph above.

Hat tip: Hezbollah Watch

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Setting Up Shalom Eisner: Undercover With The International Solidarity Movement

An ISM activist alerts terrorists to an IDF position
The story of IDF officer Lieutenant-Colonel Shalom Eisner, who struck a flytilla activist with his rifle, has received widespread publicity, and Bibi Netanyahu, through spokesman Mark Regev, has been swift to condemn the incident.

The BBC predictably basks in the incident, Yolande Knell (no stranger to readers of the splendid Biased BBC website) not bothering to reveal that the officer appears to have been assaulted first. (As the Biased BBC website has sometimes observed of the BBC: "Half the story, all of the time".)

According to investigative journalist Lee Kaplan, who has spent years undercover with the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) to learn its machinations, Eisner was set up.

In an absolutely rivetting, must-read article, Kaplan writes, inter alia:

'At their orientation sessions in the US and UK in which I posed as an ISM volunteer, we were  instructed that our purpose was to harass the IDF in any way possible in order to frustrate their anti-terror operations. We were informed that the ISM coordinates with Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and the PFLP, which were constantly apprised of our locations in the villages. If we encountered armed terrorists while in the West Bank or Gaza, we were told, simply say hello to them and move on, as they were keenly aware that we were there to assist them.

In a recorded interview at the Ohio State national conference, Adam Shapiro, a co-founder of the ISM, personally told me there are plain-clothed Palestinian handlers at every ISM demonstration that direct the activities. I was also told about how ISM activists serve to draw sniper fire down on IDF soldiers when desired. Lisa Nessan, one of those ISM trainers, told me at an ISM Georgetown conference that standing as a human shield in front of an armed terrorist as he threw rocks or shot at an Israeli soldier was indeed considered “nonviolent.” Joseph Carr, a.k.a. Joseph Smith, another ISM trainer, told me in a recorded phone interview how he and Rachel Corrie retrieved the dead body of a Hamas terrorist in Gaza from a combat zone only weeks before she was killed by an IDF bulldozer. When asked whether he feared arrest by the IDF back then he blithely replied ‘no’ because he knew that Arab snipers would be there to fire at them. Rachel Corrie, who was trained by the ISM and had read their manual, also knew that Arab snipers would shoot at the IDF soldiers driving that bulldozer had they exited it to remove her.

The ISM uses a motto coined by the late Malcolm X – “By any means necessary” – in implementing what they consider to be revolutionary tactics in bringing down the Jewish state, which they see as a first step in bringing down Western democracy. Lying and media manipulation are encouraged and elevated to an art form. Talk of ‘nonviolent resistance’ is solely for media consumption, since the ISM promotes armed revolutionary ‘resistance’ against Israel by serving as human shields for terrorists.

And so, it is in this context that for two hours leading up to the two minute video of Colonel Shalom Eisner striking Danish ISM activist Andreas Ayas, the ISM used their bicycles, bodies, and even physical assaults to obstruct the IDF in a closed military zone and prevent anti-terror operations.  Earlier in the day, Colonel Eisner was struck by a stick-wielding ISM activist, leaving him with a couple of broken fingers....'


Read Kaplan's remarkable article here
(Hat tip: reader Shirlee)

In Europe, Media Demonisation Of Israel Proves Its Baleful Influence

A beach in Gaza
"The Palestinian population of the West Bank and Gaza Strip has long had some of the highest growth rates in the world, due to a combination of high fertility and low mortality. Although fertility has recently declined, the age structure of the population implies that the brisk population growth will continue over the coming years."

No, that's not a partisan of the Zionist Entity talking.  The words (which convey the truth) are those of the authors of a report produced under the auspices of Fafo, an anti-Israel NGO in Norway, the country whose political elite is arguably the most antisemitic in Europe.  Given those circumstances, I guess there's no better confirmation of the facts than that.

Yet. despite that thriving demographic situation, a belief has taken hold among a significant percentage of Europeans that Israel is engaged in a "war of extermination" against the Palestinian Arabs.

A newly issued survey of 1000 Europeans in each of eight countries (8000 persons in toto), undertaken by the German-based Friedrich Ebert Foundation and entitled Intolerance, Prejudice and Discrimination, shows that about 40 per cent of respondents believe the extermination myth.  The breakdown by country ranges from 63 per cent of respondents in Poland to 38 per cent in Italy.  Other percentages are: Portugal 49, Germany 48, Britain 42, Hungary 41, Holland 39.

For further information about the results of the survey (which also shows attitudes to Muslims, by the way) see here and here.

Clearly, the results relating to Israel indicate that the constant demonisation of Israel in the mass media is having a baleful effect.

The authors note that "the data ... shows antisemitism often appearing in the guise of criticism of Israel" and that
"Antisemitic criticism of Israel comes close to majority support in all European countries.
In that context we also need to discuss whether secondary antisemitism – refusal to acknowledge the crimes of the Holocaust – has taken the place of traditional antisemitism."
The leftwing Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz is to be condemned for the putrid if unwitting part it plays in fuelling all of this, as glimpsed in this example.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Yes, Baroness, Body Parts Are Indeed Being Harvested

Not by the IDF, as rumours controversially referred to by Baroness Tonge in theaftermath of the Haiti earthquake alleged.

But by a gang in Gaza, reportedly including medical personnel.  Some of these bodysnatchers may belong to Hamas.

The gruesome details can be seen here

Pro-Israel Maxine Dovere Socks It To Ken O'Keefe & Co On Press TV (video)

Press TV, the satellite news and current affairs channel of that impeccable bastion of liberty, equality, fraternity and (of course) sorority, presents a so-called "analysis" of the Flytilla fiasco.  (That's the one in which a participant left a swastika on the wall of a holding cell at Tel Aviv airport.  Perhaps the Israeli authorities should release the culprit's name. After all, the participants sought publicity.)

There's also a studio discussion between talking heads in different locations: it seems that the two Israel-bashing men can't bring themselves to be polite to the pro-Israel Ms Dovero.

O'Keefe calls her "this delusional woman in New York" and Irish activist Derek Graham, ensconced in Gaza, "this woman".

Ms Dovere makes excellent points, which the bossy-voiced studio anchor, enveloped in voluminous robes, hastens to cut short.

O'Keefe is given the final say, and he invokes the influence of "powers ... bankers" ...

Monday, 16 April 2012

Grumpy Old Wimmin For Palestine

I've asked before, and I'll ask again: what is it about the anti-Israel cause that attracts so many women, particularly of a certain age?

I'd have thought that these veterans of the women's liberation era would be protesting outside the embassies of countries where such outrages as the routine abortion of female foetuses, female infanticide, female genital mutilation, "honour" killings, and "dowry" murders are everyday occurrences.

I'd have thought that if they wanted to demonstrate against further suffering in the world, the butchery in Syria, the slaughter of Christians in Nigeria, the treatment of women, minorities, and gays in Islamist countries would be obvious targets for their outrage.

But, of course, Israel is their selected focus for rage and obloquy.

I wonder why.
.
Here's the scene at Manchester Airport on Sunday, when a bevy of women, with some men including a voluble Scottish anti-Israel activist, descended on the check-in desk of their chosen airline.


Never mind.  They could always hop on a flight to Damascus ...

Palestine's Continuing Membership Of UNESCO In Jeopardy Following Legal Ruling

One of my favourite Middle East watchers, whose outlook will be not unfamiliar to regular readers of this blog, is Sydney lawyer and international affairs analyst David Singer.  He has written another important and thought-provoking article regarding UNESCO and Palestine.

This latest article concerns the implications of a decision made earlier this month by an arm of the International Criminal Court.

Coming as usual via the antipodean J-Wire service, the article is entitled "Palestine in UNESCO – Ending The State Of Confusion".

Writes David Singer:

'Palestine’s continuing membership of UNESCO has become far more tenuous and now faces increased scrutiny following a decision by the Office Of The Prosecutor (OTP) of the International Criminal Court (ICC) that Palestine is not a State.

Only States can be admitted as members of UNESCO under Clause II Paragraph 2 of UNESCO’s Constitution.

The OTP decision now casts grave doubt on Palestine legally continuing to remain a member of UNESCO.

Alarm bells should be ringing at UNESCO calling for it to urgently approach the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to determine whether:

   1. Palestine is a State and if so
   2. Whether the number of votes required to admit it as a member under UNESCO’s Constitution is 129 – not the 107 actually obtained

The OTP decision was announced on 3 April – more than three years after Palestine had first sought to become a State party to the Rome Statute of the ICC.

Sixteen legal opinions were submitted to the OTP – arguing both for and against the claim that Palestine was a State.

I am pleased the OPT has now confirmed my opinion that Palestine is not a State.  However I am fully cognisant of the fact that the ICJ  needs to confirm the correctness of that opinion for it to have any binding effect. Still it is comforting to be on the same wavelength as the OTP and many others who expressed the same opinion in their submissions to the OTP.

Hopefully UNESCO might at least now take the issues I have raised concerning Palestine’s admission to UNESCO more seriously – and not sit pat and smugly refuse to address my concerns.

I have sought in vain for the last five months to have UNESCO produce any documents which its Executive Board may have considered before concluding that Palestine was a State – qualifying to be admitted to UNESCO.

My requests to produce copies of  such documents have been ignored. UNESCO has made it clear the matter is closed and  is not to be the subject of any further discussion with me.
  [Emphasis added.]

In contrast to UNESCO’s lack of transparency – the sixteen legal opinions lodged with the OTP  can be viewed on the ICC website. The legal opinions or other documents UNESCO relied on (if any) are being withheld from public scrutiny.

Has UNESCO something to hide? I don’t really know at this stage – but its arrogant and high handed conduct needs to be exposed and justified.  [Emphasis added.]

Significantly some UNESCO documents have now come to light – from a source other than UNESCO – that make the decision of the 58 members of the Executive Board of UNESCO to recommend the admission of Palestine very intriguing

Palestine’s request for admission to UNESCO was first made in 1989 and has been reiterated at every General Conference since then.

At the time of Palestine’s initial application in 1989 – Israel had submitted an opinion arguing that Palestine was not a State. Given that the 1993 Oslo Accords were then only a twinkle in someone’s eye – Israel’s viewpoint could not be seriously challenged – notwithstanding Yassar Arafat‘s vacuous Palestinian Declaration of Independence made on 15 November 1988.

After 1993 and more particularly after the Bush Roadmap saw the light of day in 2002 – Palestine’s request for membership in UNESCO continued to be reiterated at every General Conference meeting without success.

The question that UNESCO now needs to answer is – what facts or circumstances changed in 2011 to enable the Executive Board of UNESCO to conclude that Palestine was a State and qualified to become a member of UNESCO?

There appears to be one document that may provide some assistance - the summary record of the sixth plenary meeting of the session of the Executive Board.

Perhaps a copy of this document will now fall off the back of a truck and end up in my hands.


Whether Palestine is a State must surely now be decided by the ICJ.

The legal uncertainty introduced by the OTP decision and the divergent opinions expressed in the submissions made to the OTP cannot possibly be ignored by UNESCO.

That kind of dismissive and contemptuous conduct might work against the expressed opinion of any individual like myself.


But it cannot and should not be tolerated when UNESCO is now faced with a formidable body of legal opinions that Palestine is not a State.  [Emphasis added.]

Whilst Palestine remains a member state of UNESCO – the following flow on effects are guaranteed
1. The loss of 22% of UNESCO’s funding to the end of 2013 – totalling $260 million in suspended American dues – that is unlikely to be fully replaced
2. The abandonment or curtailment of many UNESCO global humanitarian programs in areas such as literacy, water purification, gender equality, AIDS and HIV education and prevention – affecting the lives of scores of millions of people world wide
3. The end of negotiations for the two-state solution envisaged by the Oslo Accords and the Bush Roadmap – with manifold implications for resolving the long running conflict between Arabs and Jews.
UNESCO can of course continue to stick its head in the sand and ignore all calls for it to seek an advisory opinion from the ICJ on the legality of its decision to admit Palestine.

87 of the 194 countries in UNESCO did not vote to admit Palestine into UNESCO. They have remained silent for the last five months and by their conduct have accepted the legal right of Palestine to sit alongside them as an equal and  member State. They can hardly claim that Palestine is not a State whilst they accept that Palestine remains a member of UNESCO.

The OTP decision should make all 194 member states think again.

The fact that Palestine might not legally be a State should surely see some of those 87 naysayer states proposing that UNESCO submits a brief to the ICJ seeking its advisory opinion on whether Palestine’s admission to UNESCO does comply with UNESCO’s Constitution – or does not.

Failure to do so can only result in foreseeable and possibly unforeseeable consequences – not only for the hopes and aspirations of Jews and Arabs in the Middle East – but for UNESCO’s global community.

The OTP decision serves as a clarion call for UNESCO to open its records and approach the ICJ without further delay.'

Sunday, 15 April 2012

As A Flytilla (Floptilla?) Prepares For Take-Off, Al Beeb Airs Anti-Israel Propaganda (videos, with updates)

It looks like tomorrow's Flytilla might well be what has already been dubbed a Floptilla (Hat tip for the latter link: reader Shirlee).

Press TV's London-based Amina Taylor reports on the situation:


Oh, and I wonder whether it is pure coincidence that in this lead-up to the latest Flytilla stunt Al Beeb chose as the guest on Meet The Author former Middle East hostage John McCarthy (author of You Can't Hide The Sun) to talk to a mainly compliant Nick Higham about how bad Arabs have had it in Israel ever since 1948, an interview that first aired on Thursday, I think, and has been repeated both days this weekend, before news bulletins.  Unadulterated,  unchallenged anti-Israel propaganda, for the most part.

Update: As for the flytilla, see the Israeli Government's wonderfully pertinent letter of welcome to participants here (Hat tip: reader Rita)

This rabble at Brussels airport need to read and heed it:


Hat tip: Shirlee again

And see this

Also this


More video clips (the first shows a Swansea-based anti-Israel activist who's been seen on this blog before carrying out publicity stunts of various sorts; the second shows the scene at Tel Aviv):


Friday, 13 April 2012

"Do They Know What They're Fighting For? The Star Of David & Its Lies" (video)

Here's a grubby little Israel-delegitimising video from Ireland featuring a so-called "Song For Palestine".

A sentiment closely resembling antisemitism permeates the chorus:

"But Do they know who they're fighting for?
The Star of David and its lies.
They fell for the Devil's lies
When the crosshairs hit their eyes
And put up walls to divide
While claiming God is on their side."


As for this coming Sunday's flytilla, get the lowdown, the true facts, here and here
Early indications suggest a Floptilla (hat tip for link: reader Shirlee)

Australian Statement On Settlements Ignores The Full Story

A few days ago, the Australian Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a press release concerning Israeli settlements, and quoting Foreign Minister Bob Carr, who's on record as opposing an Israeli strike on Iran:
'The Australian Government today expressed concern that Israel's latest announcement on settlements could further complicate prospects for resumed direct negotiations on an Israel-Palestinian peace.
The announcements from the Israeli Government included tenders for new housing construction in East Jerusalem and the West Bank; and retrospectively legalising the status, rather than evacuating, several outposts in the West Bank. This was contrary to previous commitments from the Government.
The Australian Government has consistently called on both sides to show restraint and comply with their obligations under the Quartet's Roadmap for Peace and other previous agreements. This includes settlements because it is counter-productive to the peace process.
Australia believes in a negotiated two state solution to the conflict, and urges Israel and the Palestinian Authority to resume direct negotiations without preconditions.
Foreign Minister Bob Carr said the announcement was an unhelpful development at a time when both sides need to take action to build trust and confidence.
"These announcements will not help efforts to bring both parties back to direct negotiations, which is the only path forward to achieving a two-state solution," Senator Carr said.'
Via the antipodean news service J-Wire, Emily Gian, of the Zionist Council of Victoria, observes:

'[Senator Carr's statement] seems to be in response to a bid by Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to find a way to stop the demolition of several buildings in unauthorised outposts within the West Bank and to find a legal solution to this issue.


While reiterating the Australian Government’s call for both sides to "show restraint and comply with their obligations under the Quartet’s Roadmap for Peace", FM Carr chose to specifically single out the settlements as a "counterproductive to the peace process". He continued that the Israeli Government’s announcement was "an unhelpful development at a time when both sides need to take action to build trust and confidence" and that "these announcements will not help efforts to bring both parties back to direct negotiations".


FM Carr is correct in that the issue of the settlements has been a sticking point in negotiations for many years.


The Quartet’s Roadmap, which was laid out back in 2003, stated that the Government of Israel should immediately dismantle settlement outposts erected since March 2001, and consistent with the Mitchell Report, also froze all settlement activity including "natural growth of settlements". This was required to follow the implementation of Phase One of the Road Map which laid out certain requirements on the part of the Palestinians, namely that the "Palestinian leadership issues unequivocal statement reiterating Israel’s right to exist in peace and security and calling for an immediate and unconditional ceasefire to end armed activity and all acts of violence against Israelis anywhere. All official Palestinian institutions end incitement against Israel".


We are now nine years down the track and, given the conduct of the Palestinian leadership in both Gaza and the West Bank, it should be obvious that we are no closer to an implementation of Phase One than we were back then.


There are many issues that are holding back the peace talks and that have stood in the way of this elusive peace negotiation that is in the best interest of all parties, but by focussing solely on the settlements, FM Carr and others are only looking at one part of the problem.


For example, last month PA Minister of Social Affairs Majida Al-Masri, urged for Palestinian unity between rivals Fatah and Hamas "so that we will be able to stand against the occupation, to halt its activities against our prisoners, and to turn to the struggle for the liberation of Palestine – all of Palestine".


In case some are in need of a geography lesson, the liberation of all of Palestine does not mean the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, but all of Israel. If that is the stated position of a Minister of the Palestine Authority (Israel’s peace partner), then how important is resolving the issue of the settlements to the Palestinians, if at all?


The same attitude is reflected throughout Palestinian popular culture, with four songs currently being played PA-controlled television listing Israeli cities such as Haifa, Lod, Be’er Sheva, Tiberias, Sfat and Ashkelon as parts of Palestine (see more). I find the inclusion of Be’er Sheva and Ashkelon on this list particularly interesting considering Palestinian rockets are constantly aimed at these cities. But I digress. The point here is that this happens on a daily basis on Palestinian television, in mosques and in the media, and but yet Israel is consistently singled out for being the obstacle to peace.


There is also the continued issue of the glorification of Palestinian terrorists who have carried out some of the most heinous attacks against Israelis, such as the recent celebration of Dalal Mughrabi, who was responsible for the murder of 12 children and 25 adults. The Political and National Orientation Authority, an educational structure under the PA, referred to her a "person who fulfilled her obligation towards her land and homeland".


The Quartet, which met in Washington [this week] issued a statement and at least seemed to have more balance on the issues. It called on the PA to "continue to make every effort to improve law and order, to fight violent extremism, and to end incitement". Turning to Israel it "expressed its concern over ongoing settler violence and incitement in the West Bank and calls on Israel to take effective measures, including bringing perpetrators of such acts to justice". This is a more balanced approach than that which our FM here in Australia is taking.


Of course, the EU did not call on the PA to bring perpetrators of incitement to justice, but given that much of the incitement occurs in the PA media itself, such a call might have been somewhat embarrassing.


The Quartet did condemn "rocket attacks from Gaza and stressed the need for calm and security for both peoples". The Quartet knows that the rocket attacks are also extremely detrimental to the cause of peace. They should be condemned and the failure to do so should be of concern to all of us.


I have no doubt that our FM meant no harm with his statements, but I think it is vital that anyone who comments on the Middle East does so with a more nuanced approach. Blaming Israel is just going to give the Palestinians more reasons not to return to the negotiating table and renew their efforts to win UN recognition.'

For the full article, which includes links, see here

The Joe & Mel Show

Not for the first time is Mel Gibson under the spotlight for his attitude towards Jews.

It goes without saying that if he really made the heavy-duty antisemitic remarks attributed to him in lengthy open letter by screen writer Joe Esterhaz, published on a film industry website known as The Wrap, he is totally unfit to portray a Jewish hero such as Judas Maccabaeus.


The account given in the open letter makes unedifying, if irresistible, reading.

 The man accused of nefarious motives in wanting to make a movie about the "Jewish Braveheart", of shelving the movie because he "hates Jews", of using such delightful terms as "Hebes", "oven-dodgers" and "Jewboys" and making obscenity-packed rants, has responded on a rival website known as Deadline, caling Esterhaz's allegations "utter fabrications". (All except the obscenities, it seems, which are presumably what he describes as "colorful".)

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Here They Come, Here They Come Again

Yes, folks, the Flytilla activists are gearing up for this year's stunt.  They'll be flying into Ben Gurion Airport on Sunday. 


Seeing Hadar Sela's spotlight on a trio of participants, a sample which, as not infrequently in these campaigns, includes a person of Jewish extraction (there are two deracinated Jews among the incorrigible Israel-bashers living not far from me), I thought of an interesting remark attributed to Israel's ambassador to Britain, Daniel Taub, in the aftermath of the despicable disruption by a bunch of fanatics of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra's performance at the Royal Albert Hall (Jewish Chronicle, 23  September 2011):
 "I don't think it's helpful to define people who are anti-Israel as antisemites.  That places the bar too low.  I don't want to create a situation where the only thing a person has to do is to prove that they are not an antisemite, and that everything else they do is okay.  If somebody has double standards for Israel, we should hold them to account because of that."
 Later this month, an international convoy led by Viva Palestina Arabia leaves for Gaza, where it's due in May.  Two Antipodeans, one an Australian flytilla/flotilla alumna of Jewish descent, the other a New Zealander, are scheduled to join it in London.  More information here


Meanwhile, this chap snuck into Israel quietly (purpose unclear):


Wednesday, 11 April 2012

"Unless You're An Idiot Or A Western Liberal You Don't Take Orders From Your Enemies": Pat Condell Holds Forth On The United Nations & Israel (video)

Well, with many memorable colourful phrases thrown in, no one can accuse this champion of Israel and denouncer of "Arab apartheid" and UN hypocrisy of pulling his punches! 


Hat tip: reader Shirlee

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

"Extraordinarily Naive and Utopian": Colonel Oliver North On Obama's Middle East Policy

Check out the multifaceted Ben Stein's warning regarding Iran here.  And here's a clip from Fox News featuring Sean Hannity interviewing Colonel Oliver North regarding the Obama administration's attitude to Israel and the Iranian threat.


Hat tip: reader Shirlee

Monday, 9 April 2012

Dove Soap Promotes Female Self-Esteem With Keffiyehs

Is Dove soap surreptitiously doing a Lush?

It's launched a television ad which is also on YouTube with introduction as follows:
Watch our latest Dove TV advert which talks about our progress with the Dove Self-Esteem Programme and why we're investing a minimum of £250,000 this year (2012) to help bring self-esteem education to young people across the UK. Find out more on https://www.facebook.com/dove
 In this ad two of the young girls are wearing keffiyehs.

That's no way to win friends and influence people. at least those of us who know what  the keffiyeh, when worn by Westerners, symbolises: the campaign against Israel.

The question is: do the folk at Dove realise it too?

The person who alerted me to the ad says:
"I am shocked that they let two of their child actresses make a political statement wearing keffiyehs in the ad. What were they thinking of? "
Indeed.

Oppression: A Saudi Princess Speaks Out

Al Beeb on its website carries excerpts from a radio interview on the BBC World Service with a genuine Saudi princess, resident in London.  These excerpts focus on the institutionalised oppression and infantilisation of women in the desert kingdom.  In the course of these remarks relating to women she also touches on other aspects of Saudi society  –  the fossilised educational curriculum and the endemic poverty encompassing much of society –  which she emphasises must also be changed.

For example:
'The content of the syllabus is extremely dangerous. For one, our young are taught that a woman's position in society is inferior. Her role is strictly limited to serving her family and raising children. They are actually taught that if a woman has to worship anyone other than God it should be her husband; "that the angels will curse her if she is not submissive to her husband's needs". Girls are also strictly forbidden from taking part in any physical education. This is a result of a complete misinterpretation of the Koran. I consider these ideologies to be inherently abusive.
 Aside from that, the focus in most of our educational system is on religious subjects such as hadith (sayings attributed to the prophet), Fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence), tafssir (interpretation of the Koran) and of course the Koran. The attitude is that "learning itself, anything other than religion won't get you into heaven so don't waste your time". I would like to see religious teaching limited to the Koran and the Sunna (the way the prophet lived), where the true ethics of Islam lie. The rest is blind rote learning of the most dangerous kind. It has left our youth vulnerable to fundamentalist ideologies that have led to terrorism and abuse of the true meaning of the Koran....
The ministry of social affairs is tolerating cruelty towards women rather than protecting them. The only refuge homes that abused women can turn to are state ones. In these, women are continuously told that by seeking refuge they have brought shame on their families. 
If they come from powerful families then they will be sent straight back to their homes in fear of the wrath of a powerful patriarch. As a result we have seen many cases of suicide by educated women, doctors and scientists who were sent back to their abusers.
 We need independent women's refuges where the rights of women are upheld and backed up by powerful laws that can override family traditions and protect women.
The ministry of social affairs not only abuses women's rights but is also one of the reasons poverty is rife in the kingdom. A corrupt system that lacks transparency has meant that more than 50% of our population is poor and needy even though we are one of the wealthiest countries on earth....'
It may be that Al Beeb is not squeamish about freely publicising these comments since they refer to a country that is a key ally of the West.

But the formalised oppression of women is prevalent in other parts of the Islamic world as well, and given the de facto existence of numerous sharia courts in Britain, which aren't renowned for being run by New Age guys, we don't have to travel to Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan to find it.

Moreover, I suspect that so-called "Asian" gangs who in Britain and other parts of northern Europe groom vulnerable under-age white girls for sexual abuse are acting on an ingrained premise that females are inherently inferior (and in all likelihood on the further premise that by sexually possessing these girls they are getting revenge on their former colonial masters, symbolised by the white fathers who, being male, "own" the girls).

Yet with honourable exceptions (there must be some, surely?) the Israel-demonising lefties regardless of gender are wilfully blind to all this.

Or at least wilfully shtum about it.

They misdirect their spleen at Israel.

What a bunch of hypocrites (to put it no stronger) they are.

BDS Is BS (video)

Thanks, as so often, to Shirlee, who alerted me to this one, by a new fightback group:

Portuguese Man Of Phwoar: How A Young Man Fell Out Of Hate And In Love With Israel

Phwoar! That's what I think of an article a young non-Jewish Portuguese doctoral student has written about Israel. 

During the Second Intifada, he writes, 
'I began seeing Israel, a country which I knew almost nothing about, on the news constantly, for the worst reasons. I learned that the Jews had invaded Palestine after the Holocaust to get a country and were occupying and controlling the native Palestinians who lived in the remaining land.
The TV showed us these people blowing themselves up inside buses and cafes and I, like most people around me, thought: “How desperate must someone be to kill themselves like this? How could the Jews go from being oppressed to oppressors? Have they not learned the lessons of History?” I grew up loving the Jewish people but hating Israel.
In 2008, when I was 18 and in college, I found myself criticizing Israel and the Gaza Strip blockade in a YouTube video about the death of Rachel Corrie. I got an answer from an Israeli commenter about my age, who wrote that there was no blockade, as several trucks were crossing into the Strip daily.
This greatly confused me and I asked him to present me with his arguments in defense of Israel. I said I would change my mind if they were convincing. He wrote me a long message, telling me about the massacres of Jews in Palestine before Israel existed, the wars of extermination, and the indoctrination for hate of Jews and Israel in the Middle East, among other things, which he compared to several examples of the humanist character of Israel and its society.
I read it all and, after verifying the information, I was convinced...
My world shook. I became aware that I was making unfair judgments and spreading hate and false propaganda about Israel... I was sad with myself and I felt angry and betrayed that I had trusted so much in organizations I thought were fighting for peace, equality and against prejudice, like I saw them doing for gay rights.
I realized I was being fed ignorance and hate by people who were, at best, as ignorant and prejudiced as those they were "fighting" against while believing themselves to be enlightened individuals and making me believe it too...
 I read more and more about Israel, and I became fascinated with the amazing story of a people who, against all odds, had managed to survive and remain united through centuries of persecution, fight for their homeland, rebuild their country and revive their language - just like a phoenix rising from the ashes, striving for freedom and peace.
I realized Israel is a democratic, tolerant, multi-ethnic, multi-religious, rapidly developing nation. A place I could live in free and more accepted than in my home country, and the only place I [as a gay guy] could safely set foot at in the Middle East. I found myself in love with Israel....
In 2010, there was the flotilla incident. Suddenly, all media were reporting about Israel. The news reports were grossly distorted and I knew I had to do something. I found myself arguing about it with professors at the university and I started sharing videos of the IDF through my Facebook account.'
His ensuing remarks reflect the intimidating take-it-for-granted-that-Israel-is-wrong atmosphere that all too often confronts supporters of the Jewish State, and not only in Portugal:
I thought I would be risking much socially, but I knew it was a matter of justice, as someone had to tell the truth and not allow Israel to be demonized with no right to defense once again. After the flotilla I kept posting pro-Israel stuff, and had serious and even ugly discussions about this issue with several people.
Each discussion revealed more ignorance and double-standards and made me a stronger Zionist and supporter of Israel and its people. I thought I was the only one defending Israel but I gradually discovered other people doing it.
Once, a friend whispered in my ear: “I am also more on the side of Israel... but, please, don’t tell anyone!” She was scared to voice her opinion, and this reinforced my conviction that I had to be vocal about my defense of Israel; I was speaking for many people who were afraid to do it.
At the end it’s a matter of justice. If there’s a people that fights for its right to self-determination and to live in peace, I will be on their side. If there’s a group that is demonized by prejudice and ignorance, I will fight prejudice and ignorance with them. If there’s a culture whose main values include tolerance for different sexual orientations, races and religions - clashing with another one that educates for intolerance and hate - I know which side I'll support.
 I am a Zionist and I support the right of the Jewish people to self-rule and to life in peace, like I believe every thinking human being should.'
Read more here
Hat tip: reader Shirlee

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Brogues, Bradfordians And Booth In Gaza, & Other Snippets

Chag Sameach to Jewish readers.

A few stray crumbs over Pesach:

Youthful Sinn FĂ©inians, Muslim students from Bradford, Tony Blair's sister-in-law Lauren Booth, and former Labour MP Martin Linton have been making common cause in Gaza.

 For further details and a Press TV video see here

 Meanwhile, Conservative John Howell  MP, who recently received a number of intemperate emails, including death threats, over his pro-Israel stance, has thanked the numerous people who sent him messages of support.
  "I am eternally grateful for all the kind messages I have received. Receiving them has been a humbling experience and I have found the emails both highly moving and touching.
 My heartfelt thanks."
 And here's that cute little bear again:

Friday, 6 April 2012

Michelle Marks A Milestone: Justice For The Refugees

"Justice for Jewish refugees from Arab and Muslim countries has at long last become official Israeli government policy," writes Michelle  Huberman, Creative Director of Harif, the the UK Association of Jews from the Middle East and North Africa.
 'It has taken more than sixty years, but here at Harif ... we are celebrating this momentous event.
 No amount of grassroots campaigning could work without the official support of the Israeli government. And this week, that support came.
 On Tuesday, the deputy foreign minister Danny Ayalon held a conference in Jerusalem to launch his ministry's report and recommendations for highlighting the issue of 870,000 Jewish refugees driven out of Arab countries.
 Israel's Jewish population is made up of 52%  Sephardim/Mizrahim who were forced to leave their homes and possessions in Muslim lands. Not not only have they never received compensation, but their plight has never been internationally recognised.
 Hitherto, the Israeli government has been hesitant to raise the Jewish refugee issue, for fear that the Arabs would raise the Palestinian refugee issue. But the Arabs have never ceased raising the Palestinian refugee issue while the Israeli government has been silent.
 "I would call this conference Yemoth Ha-Mashiah (The Days of the Messiah Coming)," Levana Zamir, president of the Jews from Egypt in Israel, told me after attending the conference.  At this very emotional event, Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon announced a new state policy regarding Jews who were forced to flee from their homes in Arab countries.
 "We have to correct a historic injustice. But, in a very pragmatic way," Ayalon told the audience.... '
 Read the rest of Michelle Huberman's article here

Thursday, 5 April 2012

April Fool's Day The Rabbi Defended Ahmadinejad

Last Thursday evening I received a phone call from a rurally-located Jewish friend who told me that on Sunday evening, 1st April, he would be coming to town. He'd just read in the regional newspaper that a rabbi from Neturei Karta (see here for that group's latest despicable stunt) would be addressing the local Palestine Solidarity Campaign branch on the topic "Judaism vs. Zionism".  The talk was advertised as open to all and admission free.

My friend was curious to hear what the man had to say, but the venue of the talk was unfamiliar to him.  Could I give him directions?  Better than that, I announced rashly, though with some misgivings –  I'd accompany him.


And so it was that on Sunday evening I found myself in enemy territory.  Not for the first time, for I attended one of their Israel-demonising spectaculars some eighteen months ago, causng uproar and drawing howls of derision when during question time I threw the speaker on that occasion a couple of curly ones that revealed me as a cuckoo in the nest, a devotee of the Zionist Entity.


I informed my friend of this as we waited for the Neturei Karta representative's talk to begin. "I intend to ask this rabbi some questions, but I fear the chair will refuse to call on me."  Visions of that earlier meeting, and of the casual altercations I'd since had with some of the local PSC all-female leadership coven on their regular pickets of local supermarkets stocking Israeli peppers and potatoes flooded into my mind.

 I fingered the "Palestine Solidarity Campaign" badge I'd souvenired from the large tables at the entrance, which displayed all sorts of goodies of the Israel-demonising kind, and contemplated wearing it on my jacket.  "That way," I thought, "they might be fooled into thinking I'm someone else entirely, and will call on me when I raise my hand."

After a few "shall-I-or-shan't-I?" moments I pinned the badge to my jacket, and made sure it faced the platform prominently.  But in a little while, feeling ashamed of myself and soiled by its presence, I unfastened the wretched thing and thrust it into my pocket.


The elderly, venerable-looking,white-bearded rabbi who addressed the meeting is a prominent and seasoned representative of Neturei Karta, aptly described as "the poster boys of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign". He spoke at the Teheran Holocaust conference in 2006, for instance, and appears in photographs of an "Al Quds Day" parade in London  here.  As he stepped to the microphone following a gushing introduction from the plummy-voiced PSC branch chairwoman, there was thunderous applause in which. to my horror, my friend courteously joined.  "How could you!" I hissed, giving him a couple of well-placed jabs of my elbow. "That's disgusting!" 

My friend looked slightly crestfallen but continued to clap. I assume he thought that by not doing likewise I was forgetting my manners.  Now, I'm all for being polite, but there are limits


Having invoked the Almighty and trusted to the fact that only the truth would be forthcoming that evening, the rabbi, in clear British tones, and cutting a dignified figure, embarked upon his predictable spiel.  Neturei Karta is not really a formal movement, he informed the gathered PSC faithful, but rather
"the name given to what we consider Orthodox Judaism in opposition to Zionism.... Basically any Orthodox Jew who expresses opposition to Zionism can be termed Neturei Karta."
By contrast, he explained, the founders of Zionism were "people of Jewish extraction": their forebears had been authentic Jews, living their lives according to age-old Judaic tenets, but they themselves were not because they did not.  The heads of the PSC faithful bobbed up and down as they eagerly gobbled this up.

When talking of the "authentic Jews" who, since the Exile from the Holy Land was "divinely decreed", consider Israel "an illegitimate State", "sympathise completely with the Palestinian cause". and "would not shed a tear if the Zionist State was dismantled", the rabbi smilingly used the phrase "Jews who look like me" several times.  The PSC faithful smiled back and cooed with delight. A genuine real live long-bearded Jew, in black hat and jacket, had come among them to confirm their antipathy towards Israel and to proclaim that anti-Zionism was not antisemitism; no, not at all.  (Needless to say, of Yehuda Alkalai and A. I. Kook they were told not a word.)


"Judaism and Zionism are two diametrically opposed concepts," he informed them.  "We wish to remove a stain on the image of the Jewish People which the Zionists have provoked" with their "horrible crimes and profanation of G-d's Name."  Zionism was a "pure colonial exercise" and "the root cause of strife in the Middle East".  Jewish communities had been "thriving" in Arab countries until this "recipe for disaster" emerged.


Zionists have "created a new form of identity for people of Jewish extraction" (there's that phrase again!).  Judaism entails "peace, compassion and consideration for one's fellow-man, ethics, morals."  Zionism is "devoid of all this".  Zionists have "demonstrated that they have no compassion".  Neturei Karta's "view is that the entity known as the State of Israel should be totally but peacefully dismantled".  (Here the rabbi cited as hopeful signs the disappearances from the world stage of such seemingly permanently entrenched regimes as Apartheid-era South Africa and the USSR.)  Again, heads bobbed up and down as all this was gobbled up.


(Midway through the talk a rather scruffy PSC hanger-on startled speaker and audience alike by jumping to his feet muttering "Apologist!"  He stormed from the hall shouting "When the last Palestinian dies, that's when it will end!"   Inebriated, he had somehow managed to interpret the rabbi's speech as supportive of Israel!)


During question time I was the first person called upon by the chairwoman (and most cordially to boot!).  Clearly, a new hairstyle and seldom-worn jacket had worked wonders; I was not recognised until I was on my feet and talking.  I informed the rabbi that I knew a thing or two about Jewish history, that I am proud to call myself a supporter of Israel, that he represented an extremist cult (the cue for a collective sharp intake of breath from PSC officials, clearly scandalised by such dissent and disrespect for their trophy Jew) and that there were many points I could raise with him but that I would restrict myself to just two questions.

The  first was whether he dissociated himself from an appalling leaflet issued under the auspices of Neturei Karta in 2008, justifying in abhorrent language the murders by Islamist terrorists of Gavriel Holtzberg, the young rabbi of the Chabad House in Mumbai, and his five-months-pregnant rebbetzin (parents of a toddler thereby orphaned) together with their guests.  (As I spoke I was aware of what I took to be rumblings of disapproval from people sitting in the same row as myself, but it turned out that they were gentile Zionists and they afterwards congratulated me on my question; there were, however, murmurings of displeasure from elsewhere in the room, and one middle-aged male later complained to the audience that my question showed that I was more concerned with what he clearly regarded as a trivial number of murders in Mumbai than the slaughter of thousands in Libya! Go figure.)

The second was whether Neturei Karta receives funding from the PSC and from Arab governments and/or the Iranian regime.


To the first he answered that the Mumbai killings were deplorable, as are killings that have taken place "in the other direction". He did not condone the language of the leaflet, but I had to understand that such killings were the inevitable consequence of the establishment of Israel.  He likened the situation to "a robber taking over a house and having his family killed". (The PSC faithful, heads bobbing knowingly and making murmurs of agreement, reacted to that analogy as if to the pearls of wisdom of a sage.)


To the second, he emphatically denied that Neturei Karta receives such funding, apart from (as is common practice) expenses paid when he or another Neturei Karta representative attends a conference, or gives a talk. 

Of about 40 people who attended the rabbi's talk, only a few asked questions, and the fact that, besides me, three spoke in support of the Zionist Entity, palpably flustered and irritated the hosts.  (On the previous occasion, I'd been the only pro-Israel attendee, so this was a welcome turn of events.)

"I have been to Israel" announced a woman in the row behind me as she rose to ask a question.  PSC jaws dropped as, instead of going on to lambast Israel as expected, she added "and I love them dearly."  She made the point that "if G-d can take away the Land [from the Jews] He can give it back again" which needless to say was ill-received. 

Another non-Jewish supporter of Israel referred to the existential threat Iran poses to Israel.  But the rabbi was instantly dismissive.  He had met Ahmadinejad on a number of occasions, he explained, and despite "Zionist propaganda", Ahmadinejad has no intention of having a nuclear bomb. It's said that Ahmadinejad wants "to wipe Israel off the map", the rabbi remarked, but that's not so. What Ahmadinejad actually said, he insisted to the mainly receptive room, was that Israel should "disappear from the pages of history".  What Ahmadinejad wants is what Neturei Karta wants: a One State Solution.


Ahmadinejad has been accused of denying the Holocaust, but "anyone who denies the Holocaust is not so much a criminal as a fool".  Ahmadinejad did so "to annoy the Zionists because the Zionists use the Holocaust to justify Zionism". (Again, those PSC heads bobbed up and down as their owners gobbled all this up.) 

I came away from the meeting with a feeling of cognitive dissonance.  I had expected the speaker to be disagreeable in personality, and perhaps overtly male chauvinistic.  In fact he was genuinely likeable and invariably civil.  I warmed to him on a personal level, while abhorring his views. No doubt his attractive personality makes him all the more effective as an anti-Israel spokesman, and all the more dangerous.

While the rabbi was talking my friend sketched him, and afterwards presented him with the result.  I don't know what its fate was, but could not help thinking that if reviving Jewish sovereignty by human agency transgresses "authentic" Judaism as Neturei Karta maintains, then so does any truck with "a graven image" ...