Eretz Israel is our unforgettable historic homeland...The Jews who will it shall achieve their State...And whatever we attempt there for our own benefit will redound mightily and beneficially to the good of all mankind. (Theodor Herzl, DerJudenstaat, 1896)

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)

With a liberal democratic political system operating under the rule of law, a flourishing market economy producing technological innovation to the benefit of the wider world, and a population as educated and cultured as anywhere in Europe or North America, Israel is a normal Western country with a right to be treated as such in the community of nations.... For the global jihad, Israel may be the first objective. But it will not be the last. (Friends of Israel Initiative)

Saturday 30 June 2012

Will Israeli Sovereignty Go Westward Ho (Eastwards)?

Tel Aviv seen from the West Bank
Sydney lawyer and international affairs analyst David Singer turns his attention to Israel's probable next move in the face of Mr Abbas's continuing intransigence. This, his latest article via the antipodean J-Wire service. is entitled 'Palestine – Israel Readies To Extend Its Sovereignty To The West Bank".

Writes David Singer:

'A confluence of events is increasingly pointing to Israel taking action in the very near future to extend its sovereignty over a substantial part – if not all – of the 61 per cent of the West Bank  it has totally controlled since 1967 – unless Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas ends his posturing and submits to considerable loss of face by announcing he is now prepared to resume negotiations with Israel without preconditions of any kind.

Abbas himself only last week declared the negotiating processes begun under the Oslo Accords in 1993 and the Bush Roadmap in 2003 to be "clinically dead" (whatever that means).  If he is not prepared to at least try to breathe life into those stalled processes by unconditionally returning to the negotiating table –  he will be presiding over the irreversible end of those negotiations. Israel is not going to continue to mark time waiting for Abbas to end his political filibuster.

Abbas’s attempts to procure international pressure to be brought to bear on Israel to freeze building activities in the West Bank as a condition of resuming such  negotiations have failed. He has literally been left to hang out to dry.

His meeting with Russian President Putin – during Putin’s visit to Israel, the West Bank and Jordan this week – clearly indicated his desperation and frustration – as revealed in the following press release:
"We assured the president that the way to peace is through negotiations with Israel, and we continue to call for him to hold an international peace conference in Moscow, as we previously agreed. We asked our friends to help us to release our prisoners who were arrested prior to 1994, who it was agreed with Israel would be released, but have not yet been freed, If it (Israel) frees these prisoners, there could be a meeting with Mr Netanyahu for a session of dialogue but that doesn’t mean negotiations"
Only one person – President Obama – can possibly resuscitate the negotiations by inducing Israel to impose a building freeze for a limited time in the West Bank or release more prisoners than the thousands it has already done so.

This would require Obama to grant a pardon to Jonathan Pollard who has been rotting away in American prisons for the last 26 years for spying for Israel.  Since Israeli President Shimon Peres tried and failed to secure Pollard’s release in the past two weeks, Abbas would need a miracle for Obama to change his mind and save Abbas from the hole which he has dug for himself.

Another indicator of Israel’s readiness to end the logjam [that has existed] in the West Bank for the last 19 years came with Israel’s response to the suggestion this week by the United Nations Human Rights Council President – Laura Dupuy Lasserre  – that a fact-finding mission on West Bank settlements might be despatched as early as July.  This news was met with a curt response from Eviatar Manor, deputy director-general for international organizations at Israel’s Foreign Ministry – who stated:
"It is important for us to remind everyone that we are not going to cooperate with this fact-finding mission. They will not be allowed to enter the country or go to the West Bank"
Any decision to extend Israeli sovereignty into the West Bank will not be harmed by the finalisation of a report this week by The Committee to Examine the State of Construction in the West Bank, chaired by Retired Supreme Court Justice Edmund Levy and including District Court Judge Techiya Shapira and former Ambassador and Foreign Ministry Legal Advisor Allan Baker, this Committee  has reportedly found that the West Bank is not under occupation rule,
The Committee is reported to have
"analyzed the historic and legal background of Judea and Samaria and concludes that the belligerent occupation approach must be discarded as reflecting Israel’s status in those areas. According to the committee’s approach, Judea and Samaria were in a judicial vacuum before the Six Day War. The reason was that the Kingdom of Jordan, which held those territories, did so against the rule of international law, and its sovereignty over them was recognized solely by Great Britain. Since Jordan was not the legal sovereign, the report argues, the territories cannot be defined as occupied in the legal sense of the word.
In addition, the committee offers a string of arguments showing that Israel itself has a legal connection to those territories, which is another reason why it is not an occupier."
The Report will be a smack in the eye to the international community and many Non-Governmental Organizations in Israel which have long held the view that Israeli settlements in the West Bank are illegal in international law. It will however bolster the resolve of one of the strongest National Unity Government’s in Israel’s history to act to end this game of diplomatic ping pong that has raged over the West Bank for the last 45 years by confirming the right of the Jewish people to live in and reconstitute the Jewish National Home in its biblical and ancient homeland as promulgated in the Mandate for Palestine and the United Nations Charter – and acknowledged in Security Council Resolution 242.

Add to this mix the deteriorating political situation and civil unrest in Israel’s immediate neighbours  – Syria, Egypt and Jordan – then the strategic position of the West Bank takes on an increasing significance for Israel’s security and national interests ensuring that the generous offers made by Israel to the Palestinian Authority in 2000 and 2008 to cede Israel’s claim to sovereignty in more than 90 per cent of the West Bank are not going to be repeated.

The inability of the international community to do anything to end the slaughter in Syria that has so far reportedly claimed 16,000 lives in the last 15 months indicates that any protests at Israel extending its sovereignty into a large part of the West Bank where very few Arabs presently live would be rhetoric at best and nothing more.

The racist demand, still repeated mantra fashion by the Palestinian Authority and its spokesmen, that 35,0000 Jews living in the West Bank be dispossessed and removed from their homes (supported by the silence of – and in some cases the active support of – a majority of a morally corrupt international community) could never and can never be acceded to by Israel.

The decision by UNESCO last October to recognize and admit Palestine as its 195th member State effectively ended the claim that the Palestinian Arabs are homeless and stateless. Whilst this decision was both illegal and unconstitutional – the failure by anyone in the international community to urge UNESCO to have its decision confirmed by the International Court of Justice amounts to de facto acceptance by all member states of the UNESCO decision.

Putting all these ingredients together, the issue of resolving sovereignty in a substantial part of the West Bank is set to undergo a dramatic change in a very short time.'

Crossposted from here

Friday 29 June 2012

Israel-Haters Rant Against The Queen's Steinmetz Diamond (videos)

Here are some of our familiar friends from the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign, demonstrating in Dublin this month against "Israeli Blood Diamonds"  – more specifically against the Steinmetz diamond De Beers presented to Queen Elizabeth II during this, her Diamond Jubilee Year.

 In the course of the demo a pro-Israel foursome passes by, and – as in this memorable incident involving Jewish tourists –  take issue with the demonisers, who are challenged regarding the selectivity/hypocrisy of BDSers in continuing to use Israeli computer chips.

We catch part of the action as the elderly pro-Israel man tells the demonisers "You don't know what you're talking about," before he and his wife continue their stroll.  Their departure prompts a short discussion between a trio of demonisers ...

And tourists visiting the Tower of London on Sunday had their tranquility rudely interrupted by a  band of Israel-haters screeching about "Israeli genocide"and screaming demands that the Queen return the "Steinmetz blood diamond" on display at the Tower.

Most of the tourists amble past the demonisers, with scarcely a bemused glance in their direction.

The uploader of this video onto YouTube is a veteran of the anti-Ahava demos in London's Covent Garden.

Thursday 28 June 2012

Danny Ayalon on Peace, Hamas, Iran, and Ireland (video)

In this recently uploaded video of an interview by Michael FitzGerald (who has the disconcerting habit of calling Iran "Persia"), Israel's Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon covers a range of subjects, including Iran, Hamas, settlements, refugees, and Israel's relations with Ireland, whose people (see, for example, this report from a year ago) are widely perceived as hostile to Israel:

Wednesday 27 June 2012

"A Torrent Of Incitement Against [Israel]": Three-Day Paris UN Hate-Fest Protested

Dr Shimon Samuels,the Simon Wiesenthal Centres's Director for International Relations, has written to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon regarding a just-ended three-day hate-fest at UNESCO's headquarters in Paris, the UN International Meeting on the 'Question of Palestine' subtitled  "The Role of Youth and Women in the Peaceful Resolution of the Question of Palestine".

"We heard tributes to the 'Intifada' and 'the martyrs'. Calls for a 'Third Intifada mobilized electronically in the Facebook image of the Arab Spring', and appeals for global 'BDS' (boycott, divestment and sanctions) against Israel," wrotes Dr Samuels of the proceedings, in which Abdou Salam Diallo, Chairman of the UN Committee on the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (CEIRPP) made the menacing statement
 "one drop of water on a rock does nothing; continual dripping destroys the rock"
It was not lost on Dr Samuels that this phrase echoes Ayatollah Khomeiny:
"If every follower would drop one spoon of water on Israel, it would drown in the torrent" 
 "These three days were a torrent of incitement to hate against a sovereign member of the United Nations," notes Dr Samuels.
"We heard tributes to the 'Intifada' and 'the martyrs'. Calls for a 'Third Intifada mobilized electronically in the Facebook image of the Arab Spring', and appeals for global 'BDS' (boycott, divestment and sanctions) against Israel....
The Paris meeting begs a question intrinsic to the United Nations: Among the member-states of the organizing committee, among the UN officials involved, among the invited speakers and NGO's, are there those who - apart from targetting Israel - also devote equal time to condemning the terrorism of Hamas and Hizbollah, the violation of women and homophobia across the region, the massacres in Syria, the nuclear designs of Iran or the Turkish occupation of parts of Cyprus and Kurdistan?
If the answer is negative, their obsessive-compulsive fixation upon Israel exposes their vested interest in the perpetuation of the conflict."
Arguing that
"The United Nations Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (CEIRPP) - in empowering these peace rejectionists - is ipso facto a threat to world peace and should be disbanded"
Dr Samuels, on behalf of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre, has requested Ban Ki-Moon to
"Condemn the Paris meeting and launch an investigation into the CEIRPP's activities in violation of the UN Charter."
For the full report see here

Tuesday 26 June 2012

Yet More Bowen Arrows For Israel From Yet More BBC Quivers?

Middle East editor Bowen, at present on "book-writing leave"
Last week was quite a week for apologies by the BBC.  Having a complaints procedure that occurs entirely in-house, the arrogant "national broadcaster" with the "stand and deliver" method of funding rarely upholds complaints. The favoured method of dealing with allegations of bias from members of the public is for the flunkey responsible to issue to the hapless complainant the verbal equivalent of the two-fingered salute. 

But following a complaint by Conservative MP Louise Mensch, outgoing Director-General Mark Thompson has admitted that the Corporation erred in its lack of coverage of the Itamar massacre, blaming the concurrent big stories (the strife in Libya and the Japanese tsunami) for the deficiency:
"News editors were under a lot of pressure.  Having said that, it was certainly an atrocity which should have been covered across our news bulletins that day."
Meanwhile, a former BBC television news editor, Aziz Rashid, head of the BBC's Regional and Local Programmes in England's north-west, who axed Radio Manchester's Jewish show without bothering to consult Jewish communal leaders, has apologised to a delegation of the latter for the curt way in which he dealt with complaints from Jewish listeners, aghast at the disappearance of the radio slot.

But this is Al Beeb we're talking about.  And so, despite the sorries, the tsorres remains.

Now, the BBC Trust  has made public the findings of a generally favourable, indeed in some respects adulatory, report of the Corporation's coverage of the so-called Arab Spring, and the Al Beeb website is not slow to pass the news on.

(Funny that Al Beeb trumpets the findings of this, the Mortimer Report  –  Edward Mortimer is described as "Middle East expert and former UN Director of Communications"  – yet is so cagey about the contents of the Balen Report, huh?  Gee, that Balen Report must have harsh things to say about Al Beeb's attitude to Israel.)

Regarding the BBC's Middle East editor Jeremy Bowen (who, incidentally, tweeted last week that he's on "book-writing leave") the Mortimer Report makes recommendations that should concern all who have impartial reporting and the interests of Israel at heart.

To quote Ben Dowell in The Guardian:
'The BBC has promised to review the workload of its Middle East editor, Jeremy Bowen, following a BBC Trust report urging that he be encouraged to "travel a little less".
Bowen, who has been in the post for seven years, is taking too many foreign trips and needs to be centrally located where he can lend his expertise to the BBC's strategic thinking about its coverage of the region, a report by former UN director of communications Edward Mortimer concluded.
Mortimer's report into the accuracy and impartiality of the BBC's coverage of the Arab spring, published on Monday, urged executives to limit Bowen's travel "so that he would have more time to share his insight and provide them with overall strategic guidance"....
The report concluded: "There is clearly a tension here, or a gap not easily bridged between the role of an inspired leader on the ground who has a huge patch to cover and does it superlatively well, and the role of people running the news machine back at base who continually have to make choices in terms of people, resources and audience engagement, and who perhaps cannot always get the advice they need, at the moment when they need it, from an expert who is out in the field."....
In its written response BBC management said it will "review the balance " of Bowen's work and the "emphasis we place on his strategic guidance" and hinted that it may limit his work on documentary features.
"We also conclude that there are dangers in releasing key broadcasters, such as the Middle East editor, to work on current affairs documentaries in the middle of a major story," the BBC added.
"While this undoubtedly enriched the BBC's output of the Arab spring as a whole, it mean that for a period daily news editors had less contact with his expertise and guidance of the coverage than they would otherwise have had."....'
Read the rest by Dowell  here
The Mortimer Report is available here

Monday 25 June 2012

For The Muslim Brotherhood, "Islam Is The Solution" (Longterm)

Brotherhood supporters in Tahrir Square last year
It's reassuring that new Egyptian president Mohammed Mursi has pledged that he'll honour Egypt's existing treaties, and doubly reassuring that the Egyptian military remains in control of the country's foreign policy.

Despite (or perhaps because of) his membership of the Muslim Brotherhood, Mursi's victory speech yesterday had the hallmarks of a moderate and a pragmatist.

But should we now sleep easily in our beds?

As Professor Barry Rubin observes in an article here:
'But what should we make specifically of this most recent event, the certification of al-Mursi’s victory? Certainly, it is another step forward for the Brotherhood toward capturing the most important Arab country.  A confident Hamas (which has now officially  joined the Muslim Brotherhood’s international network) has launched a war against Israel by firing dozens of cross-border rockets from the Gaza Strip and other means which the "international community" and democratic West are ignoring, to set one more terrible precedent in the war—one-sided as far as they’re concerned—with revolutionary Islamism.
Even now the "chimps" refuse to acknowledge the extremism of the Brotherhood, the most significant anti-American, antisemitic group in the entire world today. They ignore the fully documented fact that al-Mursi campaigned on a basis of hatred for America, fundamentally transforming Egypt into a Sharia state, going to war with Israel, and spreading revolution throughout the region. At this very moment, for example, the U.S. government is supporting a Brotherhood-led puppet group as the leadership of the Syrian uprising and arming its forces.
Yet within Egypt itself the outcome is not clear at all. There are as many options as there are rumors in Cairo. Remember that there is no Egyptian constitution, no parliament, and no timetable for electing a new parliament. The powers of the president are not defined....'
Regarding the Muslim Brotherhood itself, thirty years ago it outlined a twelve-point strategy ("The Project", which came to western attention in 2001) to "establish an Islamic government on earth".  To quote from an article by counter-terrorism expert Patrick Poole:

"Islam is the solution"
'What makes The Project so different from the standard "Death of America! Death to Israel!" and "Establish the global caliphate!" Islamist rhetoric is that it represents a flexible, multi-phased, long-term approach to the "cultural invasion" of the West. Calling for the utilization of various tactics, ranging from immigration, infiltration, surveillance, propaganda, protest, deception, political legitimacy and terrorism, The Project has served for more than two decades as the Muslim Brotherhood "master plan". As can be seen in a number of examples throughout Europe ... the plan outlined in The Project has been overwhelmingly successful.
Rather than focusing on terrorism as the sole method of group action, as is the case with Al-Qaeda, in perfect postmodern fashion the use of terror falls into a multiplicity of options available to progressively infiltrate, confront, and eventually establish Islamic domination over the West. The following tactics and techniques are among the many recommendations made in The Project:
Networking and coordinating actions between likeminded Islamist organizations;
    Avoiding open alliances with known terrorist organizations and individuals to maintain the appearance of “moderation”;
    Infiltrating and taking over existing Muslim organizations to realign them towards the Muslim Brotherhood’s collective goals;
    Using deception to mask the intended goals of Islamist actions, as long as it doesn’t conflict with shari’a law;
    Avoiding social conflicts with Westerners locally, nationally or globally, that might damage the long-term ability to expand the Islamist powerbase in the West or provoke a lash back against Muslims;
    Establishing financial networks to fund the work of conversion of the West, including the support of full-time administrators and workers;
    Conducting surveillance, obtaining data, and establishing collection and data storage capabilities;
    Putting into place a watchdog system for monitoring Western media to warn Muslims of “international plots fomented against them”;
    Cultivating an Islamist intellectual community, including the establishment of think-tanks and advocacy groups, and publishing “academic” studies, to legitimize Islamist positions and to chronicle the history of Islamist movements;
    Developing a comprehensive 100-year plan to advance Islamist ideology throughout the world;
    Balancing international objectives with local flexibility;
    Building extensive social networks of schools, hospitals and charitable organizations dedicated to Islamist ideals so that contact with the movement for Muslims in the West is constant;
    Involving ideologically committed Muslims in democratically-elected institutions on all levels in the West, including government, NGOs, private organizations and labor unions;
    Instrumentally using existing Western institutions until they can be converted and put into service of Islam;
    Drafting Islamic constitutions, laws and policies for eventual implementation;
    Avoiding conflict within the Islamist movements on all levels, including the development of processes for conflict resolution;
    Instituting alliances with Western “progressive” organizations that share similar goals;
    Creating autonomous "security forces" to protect Muslims in the West;
    Inflaming violence and keeping Muslims living in the West "in a jihad frame of mind";
    Supporting jihad movements across the Muslim world through preaching, propaganda, personnel, funding, and technical and operational support;
    Making the Palestinian cause a global wedge issue for Muslims;
    Adopting the total liberation of Palestine from Israel and the creation of an Islamic state as a keystone in the plan for global Islamic domination;
    Instigating a constant campaign to incite hatred by Muslims against Jews and rejecting any discussions of conciliation or coexistence with them;
    Actively creating jihad terror cells within Palestine;
    Linking the terrorist activities in Palestine with the global terror movement; [My emphasis]
    Collecting sufficient funds to indefinitely perpetuate and support jihad around the world'
Sleeping comfortably?  I'm not.

Sunday 24 June 2012

The Kotel: For UNESCO, just a separation wall

This is how UNESCO in its World Wonders Project describes Jerusalem, the holiest of Judaism's four holy cities, and the Western Wall, Judaism's sacred site there, to which throughout the centuries (except when put out of bounds to them) Jews have flocked to pray:
"As a holy city for Judaism, Christianity and Islam, Jerusalem has always been of great symbolic importance. Among its 220 historic monuments, the Dome of the Rock stands out: built in the 7th century, it is decorated with beautiful geometric and floral motifs. It is recognized by all three religions as the site of Abraham's sacrifice. The Wailing Wall delimits the quarters of the different religious communities, while the Resurrection rotunda in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre houses Christ's tomb."
Notice the silence regarding the biblical significance of Jerusalem, the City of David.

Notice the use of the old term "Wailing Wall", which is usually avoided nowadays.  No doubt mention of the "Western Wall" would have had to have been followed  by something like "which is all that remains of the Second Temple, built about 19 BCE on the site of the very much earlier one built by King Solomon."

That would have been a reminder of its antiquity, and of the ancient Jewish presence in the Land, and that would never do.

For, needless to say, this terse, inadequate description is hardly an accident, hardly an innocent error by some bumbling, ignorant clerical assistant on UNESCO's staff.

The entire passage constitutes an exercise in politically motivated historical revisionism, an ignoble and deliberate censorship regarding Jerusalem: its pivotal importance in Jewish history, in Judaism, and in the Jewish psyche.

(There's an excellent video which succinctly sums uo the importance of Jerusalem to the Zionist movement itself, its centrality to Israel, something of which Palestinian rejectionists are only too aware aware; originally in Hebrew only, the video with English subtitles by Elder of Ziyon, is available here, and another excellent video, longer and more detailed, which argues that, in the interests of Muslims and Christians as well as of Jews, Jerusalem should not be divided can be seen on the Israel Thrives blog here)

When Bibi Netanyahu declared recently that "Israel without Jerusalem is like a body without a heart" he was articulating what Jews have felt down the ages; indeed, the celebrated Australian rabbi Jacob Danglow (notoriously, being a British super-patriot, a Johnny-come-lately to the concept of political Zionism, but from 1948 a proud supporter of Israel, used the same phrase almost word for word).

UNESCO's  obfuscation of the core connection between Jerusalem, Judaism, and the Jewish People is yet another instance of the Arabs' war against Israel by non-military means.  Wreaking of the influence of the  Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, the World Wonders Project passage promotes a deliberate agenda of Muslim supremacy.

A petition, addressed to UNESCO, has been opened to protest this outrageous  anti-Zionist sleight of hand.. Originally in French, and perhaps a little dodgy in places, its translation is given as follows on its website:
'After having tried to erase the Jewish nature of Rachel’s and the Patriarchs’ graves, the latter being presented as a mere mosque, UNESCO aims now at the only [sic; "unique" in the French version] holy city of Judaism: Jerusalem.... [W]e find out that UNESCO presents the holiest place of Judaism, the "Kotel"... as a mere ‘separation’ between communities.
 Hiding the fact that:
The "Kotel" is the western wall of the second Jewish temple, only remnant of the masterpiece built 25 centuries ago, on the very site of the first temple, dated at least 30 centuries ago. By far the most ancient monument in town, much older than all its Christian and Muslim buildings.
The name "Wailing Wall" [sic; Mur des Lamentations in the French version] is due to the Jewish tradition during 2000 years to weep facing it, crying over the loss of their country and their temple.
On the other hand, UNESCO dares to rewrite history, transforming the "Dome of the Rock" into a sacred Islamic site; which it has never been in the past....'
See the petition here
(Hat tip: reader Rita)

Friday 22 June 2012

Outsmarting Israel In Semantic Warfare: David Singer's Guide To The New Palestinian Arab Dictionary

In his latest article via the antipodean J-Wire service (entitled "Palestine – Semantic Skullduggery Sinks Solutions") Sydney lawyer and international affairs analyst David Singer considers the meaning and impact of certain words and phrases.

Writes David Singer:

'The Palestinian Authority (PA) Ministry of Information has now issued a book instructing Palestinian Arabs on the words they should use to replace " the Israeli and American dissemination of poisoned terms".

Palestinian Arabs are encouraged to use terms that indicate that Israel is the result of "a racist, colonialist endeavor," and the book instructs Palestinians never to use the name "Israel" alone but instead to use the term "Israeli colonialism".

To use "Israel" by itself is damaging, according to the PA, because to do so "describes Israel as a natural state".

Whilst most of the misleading and deceptive terms to be employed are not new – the book highlights official PA approval and acceptance of the use of such terms in the semantic war that has been ongoing for the last 130 years – alongside the actual conflict that has been played out between Jews and Arabs during that period.

For example – the use of the term "West Bank" was introduced by Jordan in 1950 to replace the biblical names "Judea and Samaria" – names that had been used throughout the centuries and were still being used by the British Mandate authorities in 1948. This change of name has been an effective propaganda tool in trying to erase any Jewish connection with and entitlement to these areas after they were occupied by Jordan in the 1948 War of Independence and subsequently lost by Jordan to Israel in the 1967 Six Day War
Similarly the use of the term “freedom fighter” instead of the term “terrorist” has had an impact on the way the Jewish-Arab conflict has been perceived.

Describing the conflict as the "Arab-Israeli conflict" or the "Israeli-Palestinian conflict" also suggests that the conflict only begun in 1948 and completely ignores the important legal and historical milestones that had taken place in the previous 30 years.

Encouraging the use of the words "racist and apartheid" in the same breath as the word "Israel" or the words "land theft" where "State lands or waste lands" are involved conjure up poor and negative images of Israel that every day confounds the world with its scientific, agricultural, medical and intellectual discoveries.

These carefully chosen and continuously used terms have had remarkable success in aligning countries around the world to lend their support to the creation of a new exclusively Arab state between Israel and Jordan for the first time ever in recorded history. That is no mean feat.

Yet this kind of semantic war has been one of the major obstacles to resolving the conflict.

Whilst both sides are using different terms in talking about the conflict  – any attempt to come to meaningful decisions in resolving the conflict is bound to fail - until both sides start talking about the conflict using the same language.

It is fair to say that in this kind of semantic tug of war – the People of the Book have been linguistically outsmarted by the successors to the authors of the One Thousand and One Nights.

But this brand of semantic war pales into insignificance when one considers the semantic war being waged when the parties are using the same terms – but applying different meanings to those terms.

Both sides have been engaging for the last 19 years in a dialogue under the Oslo Accords and the Bush Roadmap that has not been based on terms that have first been defined and agreed upon between them

The deliberate ambiguities and vague generalisations in the Oslo Accords and the Roadmap have led to innumerable differences and disagreements.

Any lawyer worth his salt will insist on terms being fully defined in agreements so that the parties will be in no doubt as to what the use of that term in the agreement means.

The simplest and most basic of these misunderstandings relates to the meaning of the term "Palestine ".

Does Palestine only include Israel, the West Bank and Gaza? Or does it also include Jordan – 78% of the territory called Palestine covered by the Mandate for Palestine conferred on Great Britain by the League of Nations in 1922 following the San Remo Conference and the signing of the Treaty of Sevres in 1920?
According to Article 2  of the the Palestine Liberation Organization Charter, Jordan is included:
"Palestine,with the boundaries it had during the British Mandate, is an indivisible territorial unit."
So why is the PLO only demanding territorial concessions including land swaps by Israel – and not Jordan – in its push for statehood and independence?

Why should Jordan  – the Arab country that invaded and occupied the West Bank for 19 years between 1948-1967 when an independent Palestinian Arab State could have been created in a Jew-free West Bank – be quarantined from being part of the solution, now that 350000 Jews live there?

When the Hashemite rulers in Jordan proclaim that "Jordan is Jordan and Palestine is Palestine" – what do they mean? When these same rulers pronounce that "Jordan is Palestine and Palestine is Jordan" – what are they trying to convey?

Any territorial grant of land by Jordan to a putative Palestinian Arab state equal to the amount of territory retained by Israel in the West Bank would have no effect on Jordan’s security or territorial integrity. Yet it could have a real impact in bringing about a resolution to the long running conflict.

Jordan helped create the current problems in the West Bank. Why shouldn’t Jordan be part of the solution to ending those problems arising from its former occupation of the West Bank and the fact that it sits on 78% of "Palestine"?

All of these questions must now take on a new meaning following the declaration by PLO chairman – and Palestinian president – Mahmoud Abbas – that the negotiations between Israel and the PLO under the Oslo Accords and the Bush Roadmap are "clinically dead".

Here again is another new term introduced into the political lexicon – which now needs to be defined so that both Israel and the Palestinian Authority are in agreement as to its meaning as it inevitably becomes part of the international dialogue.

Anyone care to speculate that Israel and the Palestinian Authority will ever agree on what the terms "Palestine" and "clinically dead" mean?'

Crossposted from here

"One Day, Inshallah, There Will Be Free Palestine"

A bunch of usual suspects (the four-person Kia Ora Gaza convoy team 2012) arriving back in Auckland from a trip to Hamastan-on-Sea described the warm welcome they received there. (Well, they would have, wouldn't they?)

They also revealed their "mission" of building a "lifeline" from Cairo to Gaza.

As the video here shows, it seems that "team captain" Roger Fowler brought back a local phrase, in addition to a footie cup.

Kia Ora Gaza links to a video about the influence of "rightwing billionaires" (yeah, we geddit) on Obama ...

For the very nasty taste of anti-Israel propaganda from BBC World (this example from some years ago), see the (jubilant) Kia Ora Gaza post here

Does BBC World share the vow "One Day, Inshallah, There Will Be Free Palestine"?

From the river to the sea?

It certainly sometimes looks like it.

Thursday 21 June 2012

Unabashedly Plugging Pilger: The BBC flaunts its bias

"[E]xiled and despairing" is how the BBC website described the Palestinians in the caption to one of the cartoons in a slideshow in this set, and that value judgment informs most of the British national broadcaster's output relating to the Arab-Israeli dispute.

Indeed, despite a (rare) rap over the knuckles from the BBC Trust for bias on the part of its Middle East editor (who remained defiant) in 2009, the BBC, with honorable exceptions among its reporting team,  has carried on regardless.

After all, like the senior BBC figure (author of a book on the PLO) who wrote this article decrying the Trust's verdict, the present head of the Trust has a background of overt partisanship with the Palestinian cause.

Al Beeb's leftist anti-Western mindset (of the type identified by David Pryce-Jones, whom I've quoted in the preceding post), which informs its view of the Palestinians vis-à-vis Israel, and of the world in general, pervades the BBC's College of Journalism (CoJo), which is (to quote its website)
"part of the BBC Academy, oversees training for the BBC’s entire editorial staff.
This website focuses on best practice in core editorial skills, and offers an overview of specialist areas as well as legal and ethical issues.
It is a site about BBC journalism for BBC journalists, but is available to everyone."
On the CoJo website there are earnest, self-righteous, and self-indulgent sections on a number of themes, all for the edification of novice or intending journalists.  A sturdy leftist strand dominates, and is evident in the accordance of guest posts (guest posters are a privileged group indeed, for most of the posts appear to come in-house, and there appear to be none that reflect a rightwing perspective).

There's a curious spin on the subject of impartiality (which by the terms of its Charter and Producers' Guidelines the BBC is obligated to manifest but palpably does not).  In fact the section is risible, indeed seemingly delusional, since the BBC does not present all sides of all issues, and effectively censors developments that do not fit its leftist, politically correct agenda by omitting to report them (certain race hate crimes are a notable case in point):
'Impartiality is one of the hallmarks of the BBC’s journalism.... 
Impartiality is also a matter of trust.
Impartiality is not the same as objectivity or balance or neutrality, although it contains elements of all three. Nor is it the same as simply being fair – although it is unlikely you will be impartial without being fair-minded. At its simplest it means not taking sides.
Impartiality is about providing a breadth of view....
Impartiality is about enabling the national debate – assuring that people, over time or the course of a debate, will hear all significant opinions and have access to the information they need to make an informed choice....
Audiences turn to the BBC to help them to make sense of events through disinterested analysis and by hearing a range of relevant facts, views and opinions....
 Reporting around the world
Being an impartial witness to events does not mean being mealy mouthed about them. Due impartiality does not require absolute neutrality on every issue or detachment from fundamental democratic values....
Some stories, such as with wars or election campaigns, unfold over weeks or months. It’s the responsibility of the editor in charge of a particular section of output to ensure that over time all significant and relevant voices have been heard. '

The BBC's political bias is clearly discernible in  the cosy relationship it enjoys with the journalistic Frontline Club, which is well left of centre, a fact that shows in the topics it presents for discussion, and the discussants it selects.  See here for its past events concerning Israel: they are in content and personnel notably pro-Palestinian.  In fact, many appear to demonise Israel in the way that Amnesty International does.

As I've remarked before:
"BBC employees have been judges on journalistic awards given out by Amnesty International (a controversial organisation these days, and certainly one not particularly enamoured of Israel).  Even if the BBC employees concerned have the best of motives, in my view this involvement is not in keeping with impartiality."
And BBC employees, such as Middle East editor Jeremy Bowen, appear as guests of the Frontline Club.

Later this month, John Pilger will be addressing the Club on the topic "Reflections".  But the Club is not his sole host.  Its website reports of the fully-booked event:
"In association with BBC College of Journalism
Renowned investigative journalist, author and documentary film-maker John Pilger will be joining us in conversation with broadcaster, journalist and writer Charles Glass to look back on half a century of reporting from around the world....."
Pilger's longstanding hostility towards Israel is notorious.  This is the man who, for instance, declared in an execrable piece in the Daily Mirror a couple of years ago:
"Is Israel now a rogue state? ....
 Like so much of the language that journalists use about Israel, ever frightened of being called anti-Semitic, “rogue” is soft. Israel is a criminal state."

The Frontline Club can invite Pilger, or whoever else it pleases.

But that the BBC is sponsoring a talk by such a demoniser of Israel, so partisan an individual, is reprehensible.

That the BBC gets away with such conduct is more reprehensible still.

Wednesday 20 June 2012

"Why Is My Church Singling Out Israel?"

"Why is my church singling out Israel while Iran builds nuclear weapons, Syria is killing its citizens, Egypt is killing Coptic Christians, Saudi Arabia restricts the freedom of women and girls, Sudan continues the genocide of people in the South and Darfur etc. etc."

That's the pertinent comment of a Christian woman who has signed a newly-opened petition in Canada:
"We ask that the United Church reject boycotts of Israel in any form, refuse to hold the world’s only Jewish state as solely responsible for ending the Israeli-Arab conflict, and instead support positive initiatives to advance peace, reconciliation, and prosperity in the Holy Land – for the benefit of both Palestinians and Israelis."
As the British writer David Pryce-Jones put it last year:
A typical demo,this one in London
'Palestine is the most popular foreign cause of the moment. [See, for instance, this PressTV video from the heart of London, and hear the views expressed! D.A.] The world view is that small, Third-World nations are self-evidently victims of other powers, in this case Israel, the US, Britain, Hitler's Germany, even selfish Arab states....
[I]t was Gamal Abdul Nasser, the President of Egypt, who invented the Palestinian cause. He, and then other Arab rulers, intended to exploit the cause for nationalist purposes of their own. Skilful politicians, from Yasir Arafat to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the leaders of Hamas, have gone further, building Palestine into the challenge to Israel and the wider West that it has now become. Nationalism is no longer the issue.
Islamism has brought the cause of Palestine to be part of a general conflict of culture or civilisation. The Organisation of Islamic Countries and the United Nations, especially its Human Rights Council, now provide the international context for the delegitimisation of Israel and justification of the cause of Palestine. The Goldstone Report, Israeli Apartheid Week, the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement that has multiple ramifications, the NGOs that organise flotillas to Gaza or specialise in finding fault with Israel, are spin-offs from the cause as well as tributes to the inventiveness of those who dream up these incitements.
A media scrum seizes a well-crafted opportunity 
Why one particular issue and not another becomes a cause is also rather vague. Nobody seems to be agitating on behalf of the hundreds of thousands of Tamils or Darfuris murdered in Sri Lanka and Sudan respectively. The Chinese suppression of Tibetans passes almost unnoticed. For that matter, the murders by Palestinians of Israeli children ... are recorded, if at all, as humdrum facts that do not merit moral judgment.
 But the commitment of today's radicals to a cause with mass violence and war built into it, even the projection of another Holocaust, is an obvious moral dereliction. Also a refusal to learn from history: one of Hitler's first measures in power was a boycott of Jews, an ominous precedent for those pressing today for a boycott of Israel.
Murders by Palestinians are recorded without judgment....
Obscenity in Wales
....Some think this is simple anti-Jewish prejudice, but there is also something deeper: Israel's wish to survive sets it apart politically, intellectually and emotionally from much of the western world, where the instinct of self-preservation is failing. For true believers, whatever violence Palestinians do to each other or their neighbours, they are never in the wrong but always wronged by someone else.
 So Palestinians are relegated to live in a fantasy world in which their actions have no consequences, as though they did not qualify for responsible adulthood.This does no favours to them or to anyone. As is almost invariably the case with foreign causes of this kind, after the commitment and the incitement, come reality and the corpses."

A French Intellectual On The War Against the Jews Of France

Staunchly pro-Israel French economist Guy Millière (pictured) has written an incisive commentary on anti-Jewish hate crime in France, where, as elsewhere, political correctness bedevils the narrative and politicians court the larger Muslim community:

'Almost no one dare associate the words "Muslim" and "anti-Semite" in France anymore, and those who still do are immediately accused of "Islamophobia" and charged. A law that bears the name of a communist politician the "Gayssot law" –  states that any criticism of a religion is a form of discrimination, and criticism of Islam is generally considered to be much worse than discrimination against anything else.

When Muslim anti-Semites, knowing the demonization of Israel that reigns in the country, say they hate Jews because of what Israeli Jews do to "Palestinians," many journalists and "intellectuals" consider that excuse a mitigating circumstance, without even bothering to consider what the Palestinian leadership does to Palestinians
–  such as stealing the funds sent to the Palestinian people by gullible Americans and Europeans, throwing Palestinian journalists and any other outspoken citizen in jail wholesale, teaching toddlers to be terrorists, and effectively rejecting all rule of law. And this is the leadership that would like its own state?

When Jewish schools had to be protected before the killings in Toulouse, those killings showed that security measures in place were not sufficient. Jewish shops and restaurants receive daily threats. Every week, windows are smashed or covered with insulting graffiti. Jewish radio stations dare not display their name on their studio doors. Jewish kids are spat upon in the streets.

French Jews feel very isolated and very vulnerable. They now know that simple things can be dangerous: wearing a skullcap in the street, going to the synagogue alone, placing a mezuzah on a door frame.

400,000 Jews live in France today, and the number is decreasing. Two thousand Jews leave the country every year; those who do not leave now know they have no future in France.

Six million Muslims live in France today, and their number is increasing. In addition to the risk of riots, the existence of no-go zones and the omnipresence of political correctness, politicians, left and right, know whom they must seduce, flatter, or appease to be elected.

Read the rest here

Tuesday 19 June 2012

Should Muslims Outside Jerusalem Visit? (video)

This is a video from the Iranian regime's English-language satellite channel. Press TV. It relates to the controversy prompted by Qatar-based Egyptian cleric ShaikhYousuf Al-Qaradawi, who issued  a fatwa in May forbidding Muslims from outside Jerusalem to visit that city, since to do so entails "dealing with Zionist embassies to obtain visas" and may therefore imply legitimacy of the status quo.

Sunday 17 June 2012

"The Zionist Project ... Is Going To Founder": rabble-rousing in Dundee (video)

Here's Mick Napier, of the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign, ranting and raving in ear-splitting tones during a recent "Justice for Palestine" festival in Dundee:

Coffins At The Kindergarten

Role-playing martyrdom: coffins in a Gaza kindergarten
Here's a taste of how little Palestinian children at a kindergarten in Gaza City are taught to hate Israel.

To quote a teacher:
"In every year’s kindergarten graduation ceremonies we focus on the children to represent the role of struggling and resistance in the way of Allah, in order to establish this path and grow up to love the resistance, and for it to have a prominent role in their lives to serve the cause of Palestine and Holy Jihad, as well as to make them leaders and fighters to defend the holy soil of Palestine."
To quote a boy brandishing a wooden weapon and attired in the uniform of the Al Quds Brigades of Islamic Jihad:
"I love the resistance and the martyrs and Palestine, and I want to blow up the most Zionists in a process of martyrdom and kill them."
For pictures of the infant jihadists practising, and a link to further ones, see here (from where I copied the photograph).  Alternatively, see this post of the remarkable blogger Challah Hu Akhbar – like Elder of Ziyon he never seems to sleep! –  who was, I believe, the first westerner to expose this school for small shahids)

David Singer On Rabbis For Human Rights & The Susya Case

In his latest article, Sydney lawyer and international affairs analyst David Singer (who used to blog here) has been casting a critical eye on the Israeli NGO Rabbis for Human Rights in relation to the village of Susya, in the South Hebron Hills.  Coming via the antipodean J-Wire service, the article is entitled  "Palestine – Rabbis For Human Rights Become Political Power Brokers".

Writes David Singer:

'Rabbis for Human Rights (RHR) – a leading non-government human rights organization (NGO) in Israel – has made an unprecedented attack on the integrity of Israel’s High Court, whilst simultaneously attempting to undermine what little is left of the stalled Peace Process between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

The Rabbis have opened themselves up to such criticism as a result of their involvement in a case before Israel’s High Court alleging illegal building activity in Susya – an Arab village located in Area C of the West Bank which is presently under Israel’s total administrative and security control.

RHR’s web site mandates the organization
"advocating for the rights of marginalized members of society, in defending the rights of minorities in Israel and of Palestinians in the Occupied Territories"
RHR has, however, chosen to go beyond this human rights agenda by engaging in partisan political activity on behalf of the Palestinian Authority – using the Susya case as the catalyst and its residents as political footballs in the process.

RHR made this political objective very clear when warning:
'At first blush, it may seem that this is "only" about the threat to demolish the entire village of Susya, the homes of these simple cave dwellers of the South Hebron Hills. However, the truth is that the results will affect the fate of hundreds of Palestinian homes throughout the Occupied Territories, perhaps thousands. The outcome may well have an effect on our major appeal to return planning authority for Palestinian communities in Area C to Palestinian hands.'
Since more than 95 per cent of the Palestinian Arabs already live in Areas A and B where (under the Oslo Accords) the Palestinian Authority, not Israel, has full administrative control over what is built and not built in those areas, this claim was both alarmist and unsustainable.

Stating that the Court decision could affect the fate of hundreds – if not perhaps thousands of houses – "throughout the Occupied Territories" was worthy of the best propaganda efforts of Israel’s most vehement denigrators and detractors.

RHR’s understandable concern for the residents of Susya was being used as a battering ram to pursue a wider political agenda to force Israel to relinquish administrative control – wholly or partially, to the Palestinian Authority – of Area C, where very few Palestinian Arabs presently live.

In pursuing this political objective RHR took deliberate aim at the High Court – urging it to adopt the position taken by RHR in the Susya case when arguing:
"We will do our best to insure that neither justice nor judges are mislead or subverted."
RHR’s vote of no confidence in the ability of the High Court judges to avoid being mislead or subverted without the help of RHR to guide and protect them was indeed a surprising display of hubris.

RHR was even more strident in the warning it sent to the Court and other state instrumentalities:
"It is extremely important that the High Court judges, the representatives of the army and the government internalize that we are not talking about a small matter that nobody cares about, and can therefore live and devour its prey in the darkness."
To suggest the High Court judges or those others also mentioned could even be contemplating acting in such a manner could arguably justify a finding of contempt by the Court.

The use of such wild, emotive and unsubstantiated language by rabbis is surely not to be expected or be part of any civilized discourse between them and a court charged with hearing a case in which the Rabbis have a deep concern.

The Rabbis, of course, are perfectly entitled to engage in any activity they choose and say what they like – but must be prepared to face any criticism that is subsequently leveled at their conduct.

When such conduct also involves the possible use of funds donated to RHR to pursue human rights objectives – not political objectives  – the actions of RHR are thrown more sharply under the public spotlight.

RHR is well-funded, and received substantial donations in excess of $5000 each during 2011 from many external donors world wide including

    §  Caritas Belgium
    §  Church of Scotland
    §  Church of Sweden
    §  European Commission
    §  Evangelical Church – Starkenburg West
    §  Ford Foundation
    §  New Israel Fund
    §  Norwegian Church
    §  Swedish Church

Using those funds to undermine the impartiality of the legal system in Israel and the political processes laid down as a result of the Oslo Accords seriously damages the credibility of RHR and compromises  the humanitarian work it undertakes.

To be fair, RHR is not the only NGO in Israel undertaking a mix of political and humanitarian activities under the description of being a human rights organization.

If the Rabbis – or those other organizations – want to also be power brokers – then they should add this new job description to those listed on their websites – so that donors will be left in no doubt as to where their money is being spent.'

Crossposted from here

Friday 15 June 2012

Islamic Loudmouths On The "Israelification of Britain" (video)

Turn the sound down before you watch this fanatical deluded pair, folks.

Hijacking "Palestinian" History For Western Dupes

One of the Yishuv posters (far left) at a demo in Ireland
Ever looked at some of the Israel-demonising sites on Facebook, to see what Western kids are saying about the Zionist Entity? I had a quck perusal at some yesterday, including this page of Palestine Action Group Sydney, a page set up to alert members to the fact that a demo was being planned against the visit to town of retired IDF major-general Elazar Stern.

As well as intemperate remarks about "Zionists" (the latter page refers to "Zionist dogs"and "baby-killers" and there's a suggestion from one hothead that a swastika be displayed at the demo) one of the defining characteristics of such comments is the sheer ignorance displayed about the biblical and later history of Eretz Israel.  Palestinian Arabs are assumed to be the "indigenous people" and a sovereign one at that. Commenters upload photos of Arab refugees but are unaware that Jerusalemite Jews were displaced as well.  They seem to think that until 1948 Palestine was a paradise in which Arabs and Jews lived in harmony; disbelief and insults greet anyone who strays into the page to tell them about the Arab Riots.

Little wonder, given such ignorance, such willful obliviousness to the truth, that the iconic travel posters of Palestine produced during the Mandate by an artist from the Yishuv are used at demos demonising Israel.

As I've said before, the hijacking of history by those unable to defeat valiant Israel by force of arms is one of the propagandistic success stories of the post-1967 era.

New York-based Alex Joffe, in a newly-published, footnoted  article (hat tip: reader Shirlee) observes:
'For nearly two decades the Palestinian Authority (PA) has been denying Israel's right to exist, and a recent "Nakba Day" was no exception. In a Gaza speech on behalf of Mahmoud Abbas, his personal representative made the following statement:
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 B.C.E.—we say that the nation of Palestine upon the land of Canaan had a 7,000-year history B.C.E. 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."
This remarkable assertion has been almost completely ignored by the Western media. Yet it bears a thorough examination: not only as an indication of unwavering Palestinian rejection of Israel's right to exist but as an insightful glimpse into the psyche of their willfully duped Western champions....'
Read the entire article here

Thursday 14 June 2012

Aussie Expert Mendes On The Israel-Bashing Jewish Left

A trio of "Ashamed Jews" in the United States
Philip Mendes is a senior Australian academic who has published widely on the Jewish Left in his own country.  At a Limmud-Oz panel discussion in Melbourne on 11 June he made remarks that succinctly capture the essence of what British novelist Howard Jacobson, in The Finkler Question,  dubs "Ashamed Jews".

Mendes's remarks focused on Australia, yet the issues he raises are relevant to the situation outside Australia, and certainly to Britain.

His insights are enhanced by the fact that he's no rightwinger himself.

I reproduce the remarks below (hat tip: reader Shirlee), cross-posting them from J-Wire.

Says Philip Mendes:

'The great strength of The Finkler Question is that its depiction of what are called "ashamed Jews" so closely matches the reality we all know: There are in Australia and elsewhere a small group of anti-Zionist Jews, who hate Israel, who hate the vast majority of Jews who support Israel, and who often reserve a special venom for the many other Jews on the Left who are not ashamed of Israel.

Personally, I have experienced defamatory letters sent to my university and numerous other public misrepresentations of my views and opinions – nearly all emanating from anti-Zionist Jews (sometimes backed up by "useful idiots" in local non-Zionist organizations such as AJDS [Australian Jewish Democratic Society]) who wish to censor and silence left-wing Jews who think Israel has a right to exist.

This group of anti-Zionist Jews seem to have increased in numbers in the last decade. The question is why?

Some of the obvious factors include the advent of the Internet, which has made it far easier for minority groups to promote their views independent of mainstream media, the increased acceptability on the Left of expressions of ethnic and other forms of minority group identity, and the massive shift within mainstream Jewish organizations to support for a two-state perspective which has opened up major new spaces for Jews of diverse opinions to articulate a range of strategies to promote that outcome.

But most significantly it seems to me that everyone wants to be part of a community. Anti-Zionist Jews are generally excluded from the mainstream Jewish community because the views they hold are considered offensive by the majority who mostly regard them as Uncle Toms. It is, however, perhaps a grey question as to whether they are overtly excluded because the majority are intolerant of their views, or rather they exclude themselves because they are intolerant of any views on Israel other than anti-Zionism.

Many find an alternative home in the Left community. Some are happy with this because their political views have little or nothing to do with their Jewish background. But others still feel a need to express their Jewish identity even if only on political issues. Hence the formation of alternative groups or communities with titles such as Independent Jewish Voices or Jews for Justice for Palestinians. These communities appear to give them a sense of belonging and mutual support that was denied to them in the mainstream Jewish community.

None of this means that a degree of opportunism or expediency is not involved. Some as noted in The Finkler Question only claim a Jewish identity as a convenient means of bashing Israel, and deflecting allegations of antisemitism. The most offensive use of a pseudo-Jewish identity arguably occurs when Jewish anti-Zionists (including some of the most extreme BDS advocates) highlight and exploit the Holocaust survivor background of their parents or family in order to justify their attacks on Israel (see, for example, the flier promoting Avigail Abarbanel’s book). Yet any serious survey of Holocaust survivors and their families would almost certainly find that the vast majority furiously reject these statements, and offer strong support for the State of Israel.

But others to varying degrees genuinely seem to believe that Jewish values or teachings underpin their political beliefs as is evident from the two recent sympathetic (and mostly uncritical) books on Jewish anti-Zionism from Avigail Abarbanel and David Landy.

This attempt to develop a Jewish (as opposed to solely political) anti-Zionist identity poses a number of questions which remain largely unanswered:

1)     What if anything distinguishes their anti-Zionist beliefs from the views of anti-Zionists who aren’t Jewish?
2)     What it is about their Jewish experiences that has lead them to express views diametrically opposed to most Jews on Israel?
3)     How can they apply Jewish social justice teachings exclusively to the Palestinians, and completely ignore the national and human rights of the approximately six million Jews who live in Israel?
4)     Did their anti-Zionism only develop after they joined far Left groups? This is an important question as we know that many Left groups today and historically have compelled Jewish members to conform to an anti-Zionist position.
5)     Can anti-Zionist Jews be viewed in any way whatsoever as promoting Jewish concerns and interests? Do they campaign against forms of antisemitism that are not related to the Middle East conflict? What events if any would lead them to show their solidarity with other Jews.'

Cross-posted from here

Wednesday 13 June 2012

Force-Feeding British Schoolchildren Poison About Israel

The Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) has a paid secretariat and a network of some 40 branches in the UK plus affiliated groups.  Sinisterly, it includes the entire land of Israel on its logo.

Among its current links is the London Palestine Place fest (Palestine Place, incidentally, was the purpose-built and deliberately-named nineteenth century headquarters of a notorious London missionary society that existed for the sole purpose of converting Jews to Christianity!)

In its own words, which I take from its leaflet entitled "Palestine-Israel: The Basic Facts", the PSC
"produces publications for its members and the general public and disseminates information  through its website; lobbies the media, institutions, the British government and local MPS; organises public meetings, film shows, conferences, debates, boycott events. pickets and demonstrations at local, national and international levels; promotes relations between British and Palestinian oranisations and communities"
It's promoted BDS with gusto since 2001, not least by picketing supermarkets selling Israeli goods, button-holing passers-by,  and thrusting anti-Israel propaganda at them.  "This is an excellent way to start up a discussion with the general public," one member is quoted as saying.  "You start with imported avocados and end up with the Fourth Geneva Convention!"

In my experience, there's always a wad of Israel-demonising leaflets on hand at such demos.  But what is not as generally known as it might be (for it's not usually among the material distributed at pickets and rallies) is that in 2009 the PSC produced a particularly pernicious piece of propaganda aimed at poisoning impressionable teenage minds against Israel.

This pernicious piece of propaganda is called  "Teachers Pack on Palestine" and a leaflet describing it was given to me hot off the press when, at a PSC-sponsored Israel-demonising exhibition of children's drawings from Gaza, I was mistaken for a schoolteacher.

"Exploring Palestine through Citizenship" the leaflet (its punctuation leaving much to be desired) thus enthusiastically thrust at me begins. It continues (the non- italicised words in square brackets consist of my asides):

"PSC, the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and CAABU, the Council for Arab-British Understanding have put together an excellent online educational resource designed to introduce secondary school students to Palestine.  They are mainly geared towards the Citizenship Curriculum, but can be used in English, Media, History and Geography lessons.

1) Forced to leave home
After brainstorming what they would take from their homes if they had to flee at short notice, students will do short role-plays based on fleeing home.
[I guess these role models, Jews fleeing their homes in Jerusalem under the gaze of Arab troops, are kept under wraps]

2) Role-play - refugees
A role-play to explore some of the key questions around one of the most central issues regarding Israel-Palestine.  In character students will discuss the Right of Retun and who has responsibility for the Palestinian refugees.

3) Handala - a boy whose face we don't see
Students will look at 10 cartoons by Naji Al-Ali, a Palestinian political cartoonist and one of the most popular in the Arab world.  Students will explore the power of symbiosis and draw their own cartoons

4) The opinions of maps
[Yes, folks, they are the four maps

 that turn up repeatedly on PSC literature, but which as explained here are mendacious and misleading]

Students will look at a range of maps of Israel-Palestine representing different perspectives and identify the main themes of each map - thereby increasing their understanding of some of the main issues, improving their map literacy and addressing the question of whether any map presents only "bias-free" facts

5) Something to cheer about?
The class will prepare and conduct a press conference around the British government's refusal of visas to the Palestine under-22 football team

6) Why didn't Reem finish school?
Students will be given a series of information cards about Gaza and from these each group will construct a story to explain why a girl living in Gaza might not finish school
[I assume this has nothing to do with Hamas's sexism, right?]

7) A village and a wall - news story
Students will make a news bulletin about the weekly demonstrations in Bil'in, a Palestinian village cut through by the Wall

8) Bil'in - role plays
Students will look at photos of Bil'in, a Palestinian village cut through by the Wall, and work in groups to make role-plays based on the photos

9) Trading: different people, different chances
The class is split into several groups, and some of [sic] designated Palestinians and some settlers.  The teacher administers the occupation as the different groups produce goods to sell - giving students an insight into how the occupation and the settlement enterprise affects Palestinian livelihoods

10) What's in your shopping bag - is it illegal?
Students will learn about fair trade and the issue of products in British supermarkets as being labelled as Israeli when they are from illegal settlements.  In groups, students will produce a flyer, poster and letter to a supermarket

11) Difference and sameness in a democracy
Students will read a couple of articles and do online research in preparation for a formal debate that takes Israel-Palestine as a case study: This house believes it is easier to be democratic when people are the same"
[What is meant by this? That democracies should not be pluralistic? That only Islamic states are valid? That the Jews of Israel should become Muslims? If I can't make head or tail of this preposterous motion for debate, I pity those of tenderer age who are supposed to grapple with it.]

12) False advertising
Students will look at an advert from the Israeli tourist board that was taken down following several complaints and write their own letter of complaint.  They will learn about the advertising code
[Here's the ad, adorning a wall in the London Underground, as I explained here: ]

13) New news, old news, whose news
Students will look at events in a given week in the West Bank and Gaza and whether these events made it into the British press.  Students will reflect on why or why not, and on the nature of news
[Is there an implication here that Jews control the media?  It looks suspiciously as if something of that kind is being suggested]

14) Being neutral
Students will look at the controversy around the BBC's decision in 2009 not to show a humanitarian appeal for Gaza in order to explore notions of neutrality and fairness

15) Spray-painting the Wall
Students will analyse graffiti from the Wall in the West Bank and read an article on it, developing an understanding of the rolr that graffiti and art can play in such a context
[I assume this

fine example of the graffiti artist's skill won't be shown to the kids!]

16) More on Bil'in: there are two lessons based on Bil'in, a village in the west Bank that has been the site of weekly demonstrations for four years against the Wall - which cuts straight through the village.  Backgrounder on the Wall and Bil'in for teachers and for [sic] something for students
Download the lesson plans, handouts, worksheets, powerpoint and other resources from PSC ... website ...

There's a kindergarten in Palestine which teaches very young children to hate Israel and prepare for jihad.

This PSC pack teaches older children in Britain to hate Israel and see it as an illegal state.  Preparation for its removal from the map. we might say.

Much indignation has been expended in recent weeks on a question by a British examination board which asked students to explain (not "to justify" as some hotheads have charged) the causes of antisemitism.  In my view, the question, from a historical standpoint, is a reasonable one, provided no propaganda of the type we see above has infiltrated the classroom and infected children and their answers.

I find it extraordinary that poison of the PSC teachers' pack kind is permitted in state school classrooms.  Does Education Secretary Michael Gove tolerate this misuse of school time on school property?  Does he even know?  And if he does not, why has it not been brought to his attention?

I've no idea how successful the pack has been, or how widespread its use in schools is, or whether it's occasionally "updated", but given the poison against Israel found on so many British campuses, it seems fair to surmise that it has had at least some measure of success.

Shouldn't Anglo-Jewry, so quick to attack an examination board for perceived sinister motives, be doing more to counter this propaganda?