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)

Wednesday 31 October 2012

Crossing The Line: The Board of Deputies complains to the Church of England about Stephen Sizer

In what is thought to be an unprecedented move, the Board of Deputies of British Jews has formally complained to the Church of England about Rev Dr Stephen Sizer, vicar of Virginia Water.  The complaint has first to be considered by the Bishop of Guildford, under whose jurisdiction Sizer falls.

The Board notes, inter alia:
'Revd Stephen Sizer is the Vicar of Christ Church in Virginia Water, Surrey.  He is now the subject of a complaint by the Board of Deputies to the Church of England, for making statements that the Board and most of the Jewish community find utterly offensive, to the point of crossing the line into antisemitism, even if this is neither his motivation nor intention.  This is not all, as we also complain of Revd Sizer posting links from his website to articles on racist and antisemitic websites where scurrilous views against Jews and others are published.  When this happens, the Jewish community has to act....
 On the subject of Revd Sizer posting links to racist websites, the complaint says this:
 The matters complained of disclose a clear and consistent pattern of activity on the part of Rev Sizer. The evidence indicates that he spends time trawling dark and extreme corners of the internet for material to add to his website. Rev Sizer re-publishes such items to support the target of his polemical writing, while at the same introducing his readers to the racist and antisemitic websites from where he draws his material. As the evidence demonstrates, there are five instances of this over the 11 month period from July 2011 to June 2012. 
Thankfully for relations between British Jews and Christians, Revd Sizer is very much the exception.  He displays an obsession with Israel and opposes its identity as a Jewish state.  The Jewish people’s belief in national self-determination, or Zionism, is shared with most of the world’s nations – but Revd Sizer displays a deep hostility to Zionism, which he writes about as if it was a term of abuse.  It is not difficult to come across his views, as he is an enthusiastic self-publicist who proclaims his preoccupation with Israel on his website, blog, Facebook and flickr pages.
 Considering his position as a Church of England vicar, Revd Sizer keeps some strange company.  He has shared a platform with and quoted from Holocaust deniers, goes on trips to Iran as the guest of the NEDA Institute which contributes to global efforts to deny the Holocaust and gave an interview with Qods News Agency, a Holocaust denying website.  Sizer is also a speaker at the provocatively named Christ at the Checkpoint conference, which features a theology called supersessionism which has antisemitic overtones.  It seems that Revd Sizer has few qualms about keeping company with anyone who shares his hostility to Israel, however dubious.
.... We make no complaint about Rev Sizer’s anti-Israel views, nor of his trips to Iran or his supersessionist theology.  While we view all of these with concern and distaste, Revd Sizer is entitled to his views and may travel where he wants.  But we draw the line at making statements that we regard as antisemitic and advertising the content of racist and antisemitic websites.  It is a matter of great regret that we are driven to make this complaint, but the Jewish community should not have to stomach material that we see as crossing the line into antisemitism.
.... [W]e are not seeking to have him stopped from his ministry or dismissed from his job.  We only ask one thing, which is that effective measures are taken to prevent him from publishing or re-publishing material that we find to be not merely offensive, but antisemitic."
Explained Board president Mr Vivian Wineman:
"Making such a complaint about a Church of England minister is not a step the Board has taken lightly or without a great deal of consideration. This action sends a clear, strong message from our community that we will not remain quiet in the face of actions and remarks capable of being seen as antisemitic even where they are disguised as anti-Zionist attacks on Israel."
Vice-President Jonathan Arkush added:
"The evidence disclosed indicates that Rev Sizer spends time trawling dark and extreme corners of the internet. Revd Sizer re-publishes items to support the target of his polemical writing, while at the same time introducing his readers to the racist and antisemitic websites from where he draws his material."
Read more here

Tuesday 30 October 2012

"Birmingham Is A Pro-Palestinian City"

An outdoor mural in Birmingham by an award-winning Muslim artist
So declared controversial Respect Party former leader Salma Yaqoob, one of the panellists at a Palestine Solidarity Campaign meeting in Birmingham earlier this month. 

Cosmopolitan Birmingham, Britain's second city, and the largest local authority in Europe, has launched a major campaign against Veolia.  There are four videos on YouTube (uploaded by Sabiha Mahmoud) showing that meeting of Palestine Solidarity Campaign stalwarts at which this latest initiative in the BDS armoury ("Bin Veolia") was launched.

A cosmopolitan panel included controversial leftwing former Labour MP and Cabinet Minister Clare Short, who chaired proceedings, and at one stage commented that although American Jews tend to be liberals, the USA is the hardest country for the BDS movement to penetrate owing to the power of the (well-funded) Israel Lobby.

Needless to say, talk of "apartheid" and "persecution of Palestinians" with the inevitable obscene comparisons with South Africa escaped the lips of the BDS faithful (who included a female panellist representing Pax Christi).

During the discussion of the glories of the BDS movement at the end, one of the speakers from the floor, a Labour councillor called, I believe, Stewart Stacey, declared:
"... And most of all, brothers and sisters, I haven't bought any Jewi - er -  Israeli produce knowingly since Sabra and Shatila"
Whoops!  Tut, tut.

An Appeal From A Great Cartoonist (video)

In this video, Yaakov Kirschen,  the man behind those superb "Dry Bones" cartoons, speaks about his pet project, a Dry Bones Haggadah:

Go to and click on the Haggadah kickstarter link.

Monday 29 October 2012

Some Mistake, Surely? What The BBC Teaches Kids About Islam & War

Hat tip to David Vance of Biased BBC for reminding us of the seemingly tendentious information on the BBC's labyrinthine website that looks at Islam's attitude to war.  I think I alluded to this quite some time ago, but it's as well to note it again.

It's in a part of BBC online called GCSE Bitesize, which purports to helps teenage schoolchildren with revision for their exams (yes, thanks to the extortionate licence fee Britain's "national broadcaster" has money to burn on all sorts of projects that don't exactly fit its broadcasting remit).

Kids are told:
".... The idea of Jihad is often misunderstood by non-Muslims who then see Islam as not being a pacifist religion."
And surely somebody has overlooked the Arabs' attack on Israel in 1948 (for starters) in telling the kids:
"Muslims may fight in self-defence but are forbidden to begin a fight. The aim of fighting is to create a situation where Muslims are free to worship Allah and live in peace.
One aim of Holy War may be to create a democracy where people are free to live their lives without beliefs and politics being imposed on them. There must be no hatred or vengeance in the fighting. As soon as peace is offered, fighting must stop. Once peace has been restored the differences between people must be resolved."
There are sections on the attitudes to war of other religions as well.  The obfuscation appears to apply to one religion only...

Peace Calling; No Answer (video)

In the words of the uploader:
"Concerned that U.S. policies toward Israel and Palestinians are hampering, not helping the peace process, an organization of Rabbis and peace advocates turn to Hollywood for a new script...a trilogy of satirical videos of which this is the third. For more information, please visit Real Peace Middle East ("

Sunday 28 October 2012

"He's An Activist, Not A Journalist": Time For The BBC's Jon Donnison To Rein In His Bias

"Frankly as a young, relatively inexperienced reporter, and the only western correspondent based in Gaza after one of my colleagues [Alan Johnston, pictured left, on a placard, behind Jeremy Bowen] was kidnapped for 3 months, I find emails like yours utterly demoralising....

Some of the stuff you write, week in week out, is almost as lacking in self awareness as the nonsense your Israeli counterparts bombard me with every day.

I am doing my best. But I guess you know better.

I can only hope you are not as patronising and condescending with your friends and loved ones. Perhaps you only reserve this pleasure for the likes of me...."

So wrote an obviously tetchy Jon Donnison, the BBC's Gaza correspondent, to a pro-Palestinian viewer who had found fault with an aspect of Donnison's reportage.

Donnison added:
"While you have been spending your time endlessly writing them, today I have been out meeting and interviewing Gazans about how Israel's illegal blockade is impacting on their lives. A car dealer, unable to import for more than three years who has lost millions. A shopkeeper whose prices are higher than london or new york because of the blockade. A 30 year old woman who is in agony every day because she can not get the medication for her arthritis. Children whose summer camp was set on fire this week by extremists."
That was in 2010, and since then Donnison appears to have gone native.

His bias against Israel is inescapable.

He has become as snide and tendentious in his reportage (and in his tweets) as is his boss Jeremy Bowen.  He frequently allows his own value judgments to intrude, thereby flouting his obligation to be impartial.

As recent posts (here and here and here) by Hadar Sela on BBC Watch demonstrate, what Donnison gets away with in the bias stakes is outrageous.
"....  I am a reporter and you are a campaigner. Our jobs are different. You know nothing of my personal views and this is the way it should be" [My emphasis]
Just one example of Donnison's propaganda
That's what he responded to his pro-Palestinian critic in 2010.

He needs to heed those words, and live up to them.

For his bias against Israel has become so blatant that the blogger and writer Chas Newkey-Burden, has tweeted (26 October) of Donnison:
"He's an activist, not a journalist"  [My emphasis]

Friday 26 October 2012

Obama's Befuddled Thinking Sends Peace Prospects Sinking

This is the latest article by Sydney lawyer and international affairs analyst David Singer.

He writes:

'President Obama has dramatically lowered his support for Israel over the past four years when one compares his latest response to a questionnaire from the American Jewish Committee to the answers he provided  before the 2008 elections.

President Obama's 2012 response is both vague and essentially directionless: 
"Last year, I stood before the United Nations General Assembly to address the Palestinian bid for U.N. recognition of statehood.I believe now, as I did then, that the Palestinian people deserve a state of their own.However, I continue to believe that lasting peace will only come from direct negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians themselves and not from unilateral Palestinian actions at the United Nations.That is why I made it clear that there can be no short-cuts to peace, and called on the world to recognize the legitimacy of Israel and its security concerns as a Jewish, democratic state.
We cannot impose peace or any final status details on the Israelis and Palestinians.Ultimately, it is up to the two parties to take action. Final status issues can only be resolved by the Israelis and Palestinians themselves.What we can do is state frankly what is widely known: that a lasting peace will involve two sovereign, independent states.And I am convinced that the majority of Israelis and Palestinians would rather look to the future than be trapped in the past.However, my Administration has made it clear that Israelis cannot be expected to negotiate with a partner that refuses to recognize its right to exist.That’s why it’s imperative that Hamas abides by the Quartet conditions to renounce violence, recognize Israel’s right to exist, and abide by past agreements."
His response was far more direct four years ago – indicating the parameters of the two-state solution he then envisaged should be the outcome of negotiations between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization through it's agreed negotiating entity, the Palestinian Authority (PA).
"The United States cannot dictate the terms of a final status agreement. We should support the parties as they negotiate these difficult issues, but they will have to reach agreements that they can live with. In general terms, Israel clearly must emerge in a final status agreement with secure borders. Jerusalem will remain Israel's capital, and no one should want or expect it to be re-divided. As for refugees, the Palestinians will need to reinterpret the notion of a right of return in such a way that will preserve Israel as a Jewish state, while Israel would likely contribute to international compensation for the refugees.
But these details are for the parties to decide. While negotiations are ongoing, both sides should take steps to improve conditions on the ground, so that people believe they have a stake in the process."
The following differences between Obama 2008 and Obama 2012 are starkly evident:
•    President Obama would find it virtually impossible to criticize the PA acquiring "a state of its own" by demanding as a necessary condition that all 500,000 Jews living in the West Bank and East Jerusalem be expelled from their homes and businesses.
•    The Palestinian Arabs' deserved right to a state is timeless - no matter how many offers made by Israel are rejected by the PA. With that kind of Presidential mind set – Arab rejectionism of such a state – first proposed in 1937 and rejected  on many occasions since then – is bound to continue without fear of any political consequences from America.
•    Whilst direct negotiations still remain the pathway to create any such  Palestinian State - the President is apparently prepared to allow those negotiations to continue to be stalled indefintely without any express policy being proposed by him as a possible circuit breaker. Such Presidential inertia can only encourage the PA to prolong the resumption of negotiations until its demands to return to the negotiating table are first agreed on by Israel.
•    Whilst President Obama states that he has called on the world to recognise the legitimacy of Israel and its security concerns as a Jewish democratic State, he makes no similar direct call on the Palestinian Arabs.
•    Gone are the 2008 pronouncements on secure borders, Jerusalem, and refugees - positions agreed on in an exchange of letters in 2004 between Israel's Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and President George W Bush. President Obama's abandonment of his predecessor's commitments will only embolden the PA to maintain its rejectionist stance on each of these issues.
Ironically, the President's stated policy positions will please many Jewish voters who want to see an end to the two-state solution and futher expansion of Jewish settlement in the West Bank – where sovereignty still remains unallocated.

It will equally please many Arab voters who are girding up to push the idea of just one state west of the Jordan River where they believe the Arabs living there would eventually become the majority population.

But most Jewish and Arab voters would sense that continuing to state what he says is "widely known" – that lasting peace will involve two sovereign independent states – is at best a pipe dream and far removed from the reality that has seen this objective still unachieved after nineteen years of fruitless negotiations.

President Obama's latest response to the American Jewish Committee certainly guarantees the two-state solution is not going to happen if he is re-elected for a second term.

It also ensures that Israel will be left to hang out to dry by America as calls to divide Jerusalem are increased, territorial adjustments to the 1967 armistice lines in the quest to ensure Israel's national security are ignored and calls for the unconditional right of return of millions of Palestinian Arabs and their descendants into Israel are stepped up.

As Israel continues to be delegitimised and denigrated as the national homeland of the Jewish people  in pursuit of these Arab objectives, a second term President Obama will maintain a studied silence.

If a week is a long time in politics the next four years will prove to be an eternity for any prospects for peace if President Obama makes it to the White House again and the present status quo is allowed to continue.'

Iran: Sacerdoti Slays In The War Of Jenkins' Smear (video)

Recently, at the University of Warwick Debating Union on the theme "This House Would Rather a Nuclear-Armed Iran than War" retired Foreign Office diplomat Peter Jenkins (former British representative on the International Atomic Energy Agency) and Dr Christian Emery (Fellow in International Relations at the London School of Economics) spoke in favour of the motion and Jonathan Sacerdoti (Director of the Institute for Middle Eastern Democracy) and David Lewin (Political Director at the Henry Jackson Society) against.

Jenkins, who is often consulted by the British media seeking statements about Iran, derided the stance towards Iran of neo-conservatives, think tankers, evangelical Christians,  "AIPAC, a pro-Israeli lobby group with deep pockets, " and "hysterical outbursts" from Bibi Netanyahu.  He declared: "It's an open secret in Washington that the Pentagon doesn't want a war"...

Not long into his opening speech he made the shocking assertion that
"... these days the Israelis don’t practise an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, they practise ten eyes for an eye and ten teeth for a tooth. [Sniggers from some in audience.] The idea that a just war requires a use of force to be proportionate seems to be a Christian notion and not a Jewish notion."  ["Shame!" from Jonathan Sacerdoti].
This seemingly antisemitic remark of Mr Jenkins, who allegedly also spoke elsewhere of the power of the "Jewish lobby, " is discussed here and here

The video is worth looking at all the way through, not only for Jenkins' smear on Israel and on Judaism, but for the justifiably combative, though courteous, way with which Jonathan Sacerdoti dealt with Jenkins' smear, and the brilliant arguments made against the motion by Sacerdoti.  (Lewin made some fine points, but I think, in his allusions to the Iranian regime's irrationality, he might have mentioned the Twelfth Imam ...)

"This is not a Jewish issue, this is not an Israeli issue, this is a worldwide issue," declared Sacerdoti inter alia.  referring later to the "unpalatable elephant in the room, which is that Israel doesn't have a right to defend itself".

Note, too, the way in which Jenkins accuses him of "personalising the debate" ...

Thursday 25 October 2012

Angling For An Apology: Britons Battling The Balfour Declaration

"With the Balfour Declaration of 2nd November 1917 Britain unleashed a series of events in Palestine that have not only caused enormous suffering and loss to the Palestinian people but also unleashed recurrent waves of terrorism affecting many parts of the world to this day. The British Government must accept its historic responsibility and issue an apology."

So runs a silly doomed-for-the-dustbin e-petition to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office concocted last year by an anti-Israel activist.  Tweeted at intervals by its framer, who also happens to head a small Palestine Solidarity Campaign branch somewhere in the British boondocks, the e-petition closed in August this year, having attracted just 155 signatures.

The idea behind the petition, however, has evidently stirred independently in other breasts.

Step forward the Steering Committee of an initiative calling itself The Balfour Project:

Dr Mary Embleton, Historian
Professor Mary Grey, Theologian, writer and activist.
Dr Imad Karam, Academic and film maker
Peter Riddell. Peace activist
Dr Monica Spooner, Medical Doctor
Professor Roger L Spooner OBE,  Scientist
Rev Dr Stephen Sizer Anglican vicar and author

Professor Grey helped to exonerate Sizer from the charge of antisemitism being considered against him by the Crown Prosecution Service last year, but I understand that a Jewish scholar and non-practising Liberal rabbi who did likewise declined to be involved with The Balfour Project, the stated aims of which are:
Marking the centenary of the Balfour Declaration in 2017 as a contribution to justice, peace and reconciliation in the Middle East.
Mindful of Britain’s responsibility, the Balfour Project will encourage understanding of what led to the Balfour Declaration, and what flowed from it.
The Balfour Project will facilitate a network of educational, political, religious and humanitarian groups who share this vision.
The Balfour Project network hopes to produce a wide range of multimedia resources suitable for children and adults, and promote a series of international conferences and cultural exchanges to enable participants to engage with empathy those who have been negatively impacted by the Balfour Declaration.
The Balfour Project seeks to contribute to justice and peace in the Middle East, and in particular the resolution of conflict between Israelis and Palestinians.
Not that the Project is utterly devoid of Jewish involvement, as the inclusion of a familiar Israel-demonising name among its Advisers shows:

John Bond OAM, Former Secretary, National Sorry Day Committee, Australia
Anne Clayton, Coordinator of Friends of Sabeel UK
Abe Hayeem, Architect, peace activist.
Simon Keyes, Director, St Ethelburga’s Centre
Professor Ilan Pappe
Massoud Shadjareh, Chair of the Islamic Human Rights Commission
Professor Nur Masalha  Professor of Religion and Politics
Dr Peter Shambrook, Historian and author.
Mariam Tadros, Trustee Biblelands

On 2 November this year (the 95th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration) the Quaker Meeting House in Edinburgh will host the Project's inaugural showcase event, a conference ntitled "Britain's historic responsibilities for the Israel-Palestine conflict: starting an honest conversation":
"The Balfour Project, in association with the Church of Scotland, is organising a one-day conference on the British involvement in Palestine in the first half of the last century. This is a first step in exploring how to mark the centenary of the Balfour Declaration in exactly five years on 2nd November 2017.
The Balfour Project has been created by a group of academics and activists who believe that this anniversary should not pass unremarked. Mindful of Britain’s responsibility for what has come to pass in the Middle East, the Balfour Project will encourage understanding of what led to the Balfour Declaration, and what flowed from it. Through our website, we plan to facilitate a network of educational, political, religious and humanitarian groups who share this conviction. We aim to stimulate conferences, cultural exchanges and the production of multimedia resources.  Above all, we believe that the search for the truth of what took place, and the acknowledgement of wrong-doing, can contribute to justice, peace and reconciliation in the Middle East.
In the morning Dr Mary Embleton, whose special interest is Britain’s involvement in the Middle East, will outline the contradictory promises Britain made to Arabs and Jews, and their consequences for all parties before and during the British Mandate in Palestine. This will be followed by keynote papers from Rev Dr Stephen Sizer, who will talk about the ideas that shaped this period, Professor Mary Grey will talk about the main players and Dr Imad Karam will talk about the consequences for Palestinians today. In the afternoon John Bond OAM, former Secretary of Australia’s Sorry Day campaign, will use the 2008 national apology to Aboriginal Australians to discuss the impact of acknowledgement and apology."
See the conference programme here

Lloyd George and Leo Amery
I shall resist suggesting that Jews should request an apology from the Church of Scotland and the Church of England for aggressive missionary activity undertaken among the Jews of the Holy Land and elsewhere during the nineteenth and into the twentieth centuries.

Instead, I shall remind the Church of Scotland, whose World Mission Council's Secretary, Rev. Ian Alexander, is scheduled to welcome conference-goers, that it was the son of a Hungarian Jewish woman whose family had been converted to Christianity by Church of Scotland missionaries, who was the true drafter of the Balfour Declaration.

Step forward the shade of Leopold Amery, who never forgot his Jewish roots.

Oh, the delicious irony!

Wednesday 24 October 2012

It’s All At The BDS-Compliant Co-Op … Unless It’s Truth About Israel You’re After

Earlier this year,  the Co-Op Group Board (which heads the British chain of Co-Op supermarkets and other consumer enterprises) bowed to a decade's worth of pressure from anti-Israel BDSers and decided to cut ties with suppliers of produce known to emanate from Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

This decision has impacted deleteriously on four suppliers (Agrexco, Arava Export Growers, AdaFresh and Mehadrin), and costing them about £350,000 of trade.

As some readers may recall, blogger Edgar Davidson, alive to the double standards inherent in the decision, posed a series of pertinent questions to the Co-op over this issue, and  received unsatisafactory repliies.  (See here and here)

Below (via Jonathan Hoffman) is an account of a backlash by Co-Op members in Sussex against the Co-op's BDS stance:

'The Co-operative Sussex Area members’ meeting held at the Brighthelm Centre, Brighton on Thursday 18 October descended into farce when Len Wardle, Chairman of the Board of Co-Operative Group Ltd, fielded questions from local Co-Op members unhappy about the Co-Op’s boycott of four Israeli companies.

The meeting didn't start well for the Co-Op hierarchy, with two questions on the topical subject of trade with Israel inadvertently omitted from the minutes of the previous meeting, held in Hove last year.

When the meeting was opened to the audience to ask questions, the topic of the organisation's trade with Israel was again raised.

One member of the audience questioned the reasons for the trade embargo – the producers in question employ both Palestinian and Israeli workers and the arbitrary trade embargo has damaged employment opportunities for Palestinian workers.

But rather than answering the question, Mr Wardle, from Worthing, chose to read from a prepared statement, referring to the supply chain and the Co-Op's view that trade with these companies was in contravention of international law, which is contradicted by the fact that the UK Government does not ban trade with the companies concerned.

A second question was aimed at the validity of the Co-Op embargo and the organisation’s decision to blindly follow the UN’s criticism of Israel, when that organisation’s Human Rights policies are dominated by countries that lack democracy, that are not free and that routinely violate human rights themselves.

Opting not to answer any further questions on the subject, and clearly agitated by the questions already posed, Mr Wardle tried to draw a line by explaining that the Co-Op's position was clearly defined in a set of questions and answers which would be made available after the meeting.

The questions and answers were duly circulated the following day. They revealed that the Co-Op’s partial boycott of Israeli produce relied heavily on the 2004 verdict of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on Israel’s Security Fence.

That verdict included an assertion that the settlements in Judea and Samaria are illegal. However 
(a) it was an advisory opinion only – it was not legally binding (the ICJ is a creature of the United Nations)
(b) the UN General Assembly’s reference to the court condemned Israel in advance
(c) the ICJ judges included appointees of several dictatorships or near-dictatorships, namely China, Madagascar, Sierra Leone, Russia, Venezuela, Jordan, and Egypt (c) the court did not hear Israel’s case
(d) the court invented a new rule of law applicable only to Israel, namely that she has no right of self-defence against terrorists (e) the court is a political tribunal and not a proper court of law.
But incredibly – despite the prominence of the ICJ’s Judgment in the Co-Op’s Q+A sheet - at the North London Area meeting of Co-Op members on 20 October, Mr Wardle denied all knowledge of the International Court of Justice, in response to another question about the Co-Op’s Israel policy.

Then when it was pointed out to him that there was no consensus over whether the settlements are illegal – e.g. the United States does not think this so – a visibly agitated Len Wardle argued that the US's view is worthless because the US ‘occupies’ Guantanamo Bay!

(The truth is that the Guantanamo Bay site is leased by the US from Cuba in a commercial arrangement).

Co-Operative member and Brighton resident Daniel Matthews said:
“The Co-Op’s boycott is out-of–step with the opinions of many of its members here in Brighton. A number of us attended the Area Meeting and let the leading figures in the Co-Op know that we are opposed to any boycott of Israeli companies.
 It was obvious from the weak answers to our questions that the boycott is ill-thought-through and founded on ignorance about the complexities of the Middle East conflict”.
If it’s truth about Israel you’re after, shop somewhere else….'

I would add that the Co-Op charges prices that are frankly extortionate.  They are very much steeper indeed than those of the chain's supermarket competitors for identical items those "dividends" paid to customers who are members come at a steep price.

For that reason alone, the Co-Op deserves boycotting!

BDSers in South Korea Get Three Minutes Of Fame (video)

In anticipation of a Free Trade Agreement expected to be signed between Israel and South Korea next year, Press TV's man in Seoul has been meeting BDSers there, where (as this shows) demonisers from Utrecht have helped to put propagandists against the Zionist Entity through their paces.

Tuesday 23 October 2012

Through A Vicar's Lens Obliquely: Stephen Sizer On "The Reasons Behind Insulting Islamic Sanctities"

An oblique comment on a comment? ... h/t reader P.
Stephen Sizer, the Anglican vicar of Virginia Water in Surrey, who seemingly spends an inordinate amount of time denouncing Israel and Zionism, was recently interviewed by Fatemeh Nazari of  the International Quran News Agency (IQNA), regarding the crude and regrettable film Innocence of Muslims that was made not by an Israeli as rumour first had it but by a Coptic Christian.

"It is clear that the producer of the film intended to incite Muslims and to cause controversy," he told his interviewer inter alia (see here).
"The motive of the producer was malicious, and reprehensible, and his actions have been repudiated by political and religious leaders, Christian and Muslim leaders in the United States and Europe. So we oppose what he has done totally....
Most secular people and most Christians I have met and spoken to about it are embarrassed by the film and they realized its purpose was destructive and they don’t agree with it. The film doesn't bear any resemblance to what we know of the Prophet’s life and therefore any sensible person will recognize that this film was malicious...."
Asked "Would you please elaborate on reason or reasons behind insulting Islamic sanctities?" he made this  rather oblique reply:
"It is a complex question and there are number of factors. The reality is that the Western powers especially America have interests in the Middle East, and it’s related to the oil, and raw materials. Oil and its presence in the Middle East, is a significant factor. The creation of the state of Israel, and the power of Zionist lobby is clearly an important influence in American politics. Even today, Benjamin Netanyahu is campaigning through advertisement in America on behalf of Mitt Romney. He is clearly worried that Obama would be re-elected, and will institute measures that negatively will impact Israel. So we have a Zionist lobby, we have oil, and we have competing empires at work in the Middle East, and those must be taken into account."
American Muslims should campaign to have insults to their religion outlawed in the United States, he suggested.
"The problem with the law in America, and Europe to some extent, is that it does give people freedom of speech. If people are offended by the film, they have the right to bring a complaint to the police. For example Zionists were offended by some of the things I said about Israel and they complained to the police. If I had offended people’s religious opinions, then I could have been charged in Britain with a criminal act....
If I were a US citizen, I would seek to use my freedom , vote, and my ability to campaign, to ensure that these kinds of events do not take place. I would lobby and encourage Muslim groups in America to have these kinds of actions outlawed."
Incidentally, if you're wondering who Michèle Renouf mentioned in the screenshot above (which features a comment preparatory to this link made by reader Ian) is, here and here she is in action.

Monday 22 October 2012

Protesting Desecration Of Jewish Graves In Auckland (video)

In response to the desecration of a score of Jewish graves in Auckland, New Zealand (read more here) a small rally took place by persons keen to demonstrate their anti-racist credentials:

"I Fell For The Charm": Gene Simmons On Why Obama Is Not The President For Him Any More (video)

The eloquent Israel-born Kiss lead singer, who regrets voting for Barack Obama in 2008, explains why he became disillusioned with Obama, and (towards the end of the video) when.  That "when" was when Obama advocated Israel's return to the 1967 borders.

Meanwhile, The One's campaign has trotted out some Israeli fans in an attempt to present him as Israel's benefactor:

Sunday 21 October 2012

Activists' Ship Estelle Intercepted Off Gaza (videos)

This from Euronews:

This from "Anonymous":

We are Anonymous,
We are legion,
We do not forget,
We do not forgive,
Expect us."

For a report on the Estelle's interception see here 

"With me, you have a Prime Minister Whose Belief In Israel Is Unbreakable ..."

During his recent visit to the United States David Cameron famously made a fool of himself by suggesting to television interviewer David Letterman that Rule Britannia was written by Edward Elgar.  He can be forgiven for not knowing the name of its composer, but he should have been aware that Rule Britannia was an eighteenth-century compostion and that it was one of the staple tunes that accompanied British men of war into action in those long-surrendered days when Britain really did rule the waves, so that it could not possibly have been written by Elgar!

Worse, Cameron did not know what every schoolboy and girl once knew (before traditional history lessons were banished from the British state school curriculum), that Magna Carta means "Great Charter".  An Old Etonian and Oxford First who could not translate that simple Latin?  Incredible!

But that was not the only television interview which Cameron gave, and in this one he was asked why Iran should not be allowed nuclear weapons when Israel has them:

Cameron, who in 2010 controversially described Gaza as a "prison camp" and who infamously resigned in 2011 as patron of the Jewish National Fund (allegedly owing to pressure from anti-Israel activists) avowed staunch support for Israel in a speech delivered last Monday.

He  told United Jewish Israel Appeal (UJIA) bigwigs and fundraisers at a gala dinner in London:
"With me, you have a Prime Minister whose belief in Israel is unbreakable and whose commitment to Israel’s security is non-negotiable.
 I will always stand by the Jewish people. And it is humbling to be here tonight and to be called a friend.
Here in this room, we have many of the people who are determined to build the strongest possible relationship between Britain and Israel.
The business leaders who have taken our trade to well over $8 billion a year and made Britain the second biggest export market for Israel in the world.
The scientists who are taking forward an ambitious programme of joint research as part of the UK-Israel Life Sciences Council, which includes no less than four Nobel Prize winners.
The leading academics who are helping to forge new partnerships between Manchester and the Weizmann Institute, Oxford and Ben Gurion, Cambridge and Tel Aviv.
The hi-tech specialists who are making a reality of the UK/Israel Tech Hub – the first of its kind in the world....
I am a big admirer of what the UJIA does both here in Britain and in Israel. Let me explain why.
First, the Jewish community in Britain is a role model for successful integration because you understand that as well as being part of a community with a common faith you are also part of a wider community – that of our country....
Yes, you can love this country, take pride in its history, celebrate its Olympics, even cry with its football fans every other year. There is no contradiction between being a proud Jew, a committed Zionist and a loyal British citizen."
He continued:

"In the past, governments allowed a flawed state multiculturalism that said we should encourage different cultures to live separate lives, apart from each other and the mainstream.
I don’t subscribe to that. And neither do you. I believe we have to end the passive tolerance of segregated communities behaving in ways that run completely counter to our values.
Let’s be clear what that means. It means getting preachers of hate out of our country.
It means proscribing organisations that incite terrorism. And it means zero tolerance for any form of antisemitism, especially on our campuses.
And to those in Britain’s universities and trades unions who want to boycott Israel and consign it to an international ghetto, I say not only will this Government never allow you to shut down 60 years worth of vibrant exchange and partnership that does so much to make both our countries stronger but I also say this: we know what you are doing – trying to delegitimise the State of Israel - and we will not have it...."
Regarding Iran, Cameron said:
".... Let’s be clear about the facts. Iran is flouting six United Nations resolutions. The Regime’s claim that its nuclear programme is intended purely for civilian purposes is not remotely credible.
And it has shown its violent agenda by exporting terror and violence to Iraq, to Syria, to Gaza, to Lebanon and to many peace-loving countries across the world.
Iran is not just a threat to Israel. It is a threat to the world. Now there are some who say nothing will work – and that we have to learn to live with a nuclear armed Iran.
I say we don’t and we shouldn’t.
But at the same time I also refuse to give in to those who say that the current policy is fatally flawed, and that we have no choice but military action. A negotiated settlement remains within Iran’s grasp.
But until they change course, we have a strategy of ever tougher sanctions. Just today, Britain has secured a further round of new sanctions through the EU Foreign Affairs Council. And these relentless sanctions are having an impact no-one expected a year ago....
The Iranian regime is under unprecedented pressure and faces an acute dilemma. They are leading their people to global isolation and an economic collapse. And they know it.
They know too that there is a simple way to bring sanctions to an end. By giving the international community the confidence we need that they are not and will not develop a nuclear weapon.
I have said to Prime Minister Netanyahu that now is not the time for Israel to resort to military action. Beyond the unpredictable dangers inherent in any conflict, the other reason is this:
At the very moment when the Regime faces unprecedented pressure and the people are on the streets and when Iran’s only real ally in Syria is losing his grip on power a foreign military strike is exactly the chance the Regime would look for to unite his people against a foreign enemy.
We shouldn’t give them that chance. We need the courage to give these sanctions time to work.  But let me also say this. In the long term, if Iran makes the wrong choice, nothing is off the table. A nuclear armed Iran is a threat to Israel. And a threat to the world. And this country will work unwaveringly to prevent that from happening."
Before alluding to the issue of peace between Israel and the Palestinians he observed:
"... I understand how dark things were for Israel when surrounded by enemies on every border. And I understand how Israelis feel when gas masks are handed out to families; and car parks are converted into bomb shelters.
But I passionately believe that what we are seeing through the Arab Spring need not be a new threat to Israel’s security. Democracy and open societies are not the problem – they can be a big part of the solution.
Yes, there are those who believe that in a volatile region only an authoritarian strong man can maintain stability and security. But when brutal dictators suppress their people in the name of stability, the end result is a region is that more dangerous – not less....
But if the Islamists attempt to undermine the stability of other countries or encourage terrorism instead of peace and conflict instead of partnership then we must and will oppose them. And that is why we will not waver from our insistence that Hamas gives up violence and that the rockets from Gaza must stop. Hamas must not be allowed to dictate the way forwards for Israelis and Palestinians...."
And then he said:

"....We can’t advocate democracy and open societies in one breath and then cite the need for stability as an excuse for why the Palestinians shouldn’t renew their democracy too.
It’s now seven years since Palestinians voted for a President and six since parliamentary elections. The Palestinian leadership needs to refresh its mandate and show it has the consent of its people, starting with municipal elections later this month. And it needs to resolve the situation in Gaza and restore to Palestinians a unified, leadership able to deliver peaceful resolution of the conflict with Israel.
So Palestinian reconciliation and Palestinian elections are key points on the path to peace – because without consent there can never be credible negotiation.
It will require great strength and courage to take the hard choices needed to resolve the conflict with the Palestinians.
.... I know it takes two to negotiate. So let me tell President Abbas something very clearly there is no path to statehood except through talks with Israel.
So if the Palestinian plan is simply posturing with the UN rather than negotiating with Israel, Britain will never support it.
And let me say this to the Palestinians too. Britain will never support anyone who sponsors a football tournament named after a suicide bomber who killed 20 Israelis in a restaurant. We will not tolerate incitement to terrorism.
But in the search for peace both sides have to make hard choices. And just as President Abbas has followed through his commitment to non-violence with real progress on the West Bank so Israel needs a real drive to improve life for ordinary Palestinians.
That means more support for economic development in the West Bank, relaxing restrictions on Gaza, ending the demolition of Palestinian homes, and yes, it means meeting Israel’s obligations under the Roadmap and under international law to halt settlement building.
Britain’s position will not change. Settlements beyond the green line are illegal.
I know how hard the concessions needed for peace can be. But the truth is, time is running out for a two state solution – and with it Israel’s best chance to live in peace with its neighbours...."
Read the entire speech here

Friday 19 October 2012

Justifying The Jordanian Solution To 64 Years Of Conflict

"Palestine: Merging Banks Can Reap Huge Dividends" –  which argues that the solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict lies with Jordan to the advantage of all parties – is the latest article by Sydney lawyer and international affairs analyst David Singer.

He writes:

'Prince Hassan Bin Talal, Jordan's former Crown Prince and the uncle of Jordan's current ruler –  King Abdullah –  has floated a possible new diplomatic initiative by reminding the world that the West Bank was once part of Jordan.

Prince Hassan pointed out this very important historic and geographic fact whilst addressing a meeting of the Ebal charity organization in Nablus on 9 October.

That meeting had been organised by Jordanian Senate President Taher Al-Masri - indicating that the King in all likelihood would have been given advance notice and approved what Prince Hassan intended saying.

The Jordanian website reported that Prince Hassan told the meeting:
"the West Bank is part of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, which included both banks of the [Jordan] River"
The report added:
"The attendees understood that Prince [Hassan] is working to reunite both banks of the [Jordan] River, and commended him for it."
The West Bank and Transjordan had existed as one territorial entity between 1950-67  following Transjordan's occupation of  the West Bank in 1948 after the newly declared State of Israel had been attacked by six invading Arab armies.

Transjordan  –  as a result – changed its name to "Jordan" and named the territory west of the Jordan River as the "West Bank". Until then,  the West Bank had been known for thousands of years as "Judea and Samaria" –  the biblical and ancestral homeland of the Jewish people.

These decisions were not taken in isolation by a victorious occupier against the wishes of a defeated and dispirited population –  but at the request and urging  of the exclusively Arab population living in Judea and Samaria. All the Jews who had been living there prior to the 1948 War had been dispossessed and forcefully driven from the area conquered by Transjordan.

A conference was held in Jericho on 1 December 1948  –  attended by several thousand people including the  mayors of the towns of Hebron, Bethlehem, Ramallah, the Arab Legion Military Governor-General and military governors from districts in Judea and Samaria, and other notables.

The meeting resolved:
 "Palestine Arabs desire unity between Transjordan and Arab Palestine and therefore make known their wish that Arab Palestine be annexed immediately to Transjordan. They also recognize Abdullah as their King and request him proclaim himself King of the new territory."
Wells Stabler, America's charge d'affaires in Transjordan,  reported to the Acting Secretary for State in a confidential cable dated 4 December 1948  that following the meeting  a large delegation proceeded to the King's winter quarters at Shuneh to present the resolution to the King and request his acceptance. The King had replied that  the matter must be referred to his government and that he must also ascertain the views of  other Arab states. Although usual jealousies and frictions had been apparent during the meeting, the King believed it to be of significance and might be regarded by him as his mandate from Palestine Arabs.

On 6 December Stabler sent a secret cable to the Acting Secretary for State in which he reported that UN Acting Mediator Ralph Bunche had met with the King - when the following matters had been discussed:

1.    The King believed that annexation of Arab Palestine to Transjordan would be an "actual help" in reaching a final settlement.
2.    Arab Palestine was then in a vacuum which needed to be filled and Transjordan was in best position to do it.
3.    Basically any Palestine settlement rested with Egypt, Transjordan and Israel. Egypt and Transjordan could overcome any opposition from other Arab states.
4.    Emir Abdel Majid Haidar, Transjordan observer at the United Nations General Assembly had held talks with Egyptians in Paris but without result.
5.    Bunche had hinted to His Majesty that the annexation of Arab Palestine by Transjordan would probably be accepted as fait accompli in view of Transjordan's present position in Arab Palestine.

The subsequent annexation of the West Bank by Transjordan two years later was only recognised by Great Britain and Pakistan. The failure of other members of the United Nations to recognise such annexation has prolonged a conflict that with a little bit of give and take could have been resolved  more than 60 years ago by negotiations between Israel, Egypt and Jordan.

Jordan lost the West Bank to Israel in the 1967 Six Day War and renounced any claims to the West Bank in 1988. After 19 years of fruitless negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Liberation Organization since 1993 the settlement of competing claims by Jews and Arabs to sovereignty in the West Bank still remains undetermined.

Prince Hassan's statement on 9 October clearly attempts to resuscitate Jordan's  territorial claim to the West Bank.

Writing in the 1982 Spring issue of the quarterly publication Foreign Affairs, Prince Hassan had asserted:
"We Jordanians must add that practically speaking a settlement must also take into account our perceptions. Small as Jordan is, our country is politically, socially, economically, militarily and historically inseparable from the Palestinian issue"
Indeed the fate of Jordan and the West Bank has been tied together ever since both these areas of the former Ottoman Empire were included in the territory covered by the 1922 Mandate for Palestine within which the Jewish National Home was to be reconstituted.

The attempt over the last 19 years ito divide Jordan and the West Bank into two independent Arab states for the first time ever in recorded history has proved an abject failure, leading Prince Hassan to observe that whilst he did not personally oppose the two state solution - that solution was irrelevant at this stage since:

    "both sides, Arab and Israeli, no longer speak of a political solution to the Palestinian problem".

The vacuum existing in 1948 has returned –  and once again Jordan is the party that can fill it by opening negotiations with Israel to end the the Jewish-Arab conflict by reunifying the two banks of the Jordan River –  taking into account the vastly changed circumstances to those existing 64 years ago.

The dividends could be immense, including:

1.    The return to Jordan of  a very substantial part of the West Bank lost by   it in the Six Day War
2.    No residents of the West Bank –  either Jew or Arab –  having to move  from his present home
3.    The restoration of Jordanian citizenship to the West Bank Arab population
4.    The resolution of the competing claims by both Jews and Arabs to  sovereignty in the West Bank
5.    Placing a political solution to the Palestinian problem in the hands of the Arabs

Seizing this rare opportunity should not be missed.'

Thursday 18 October 2012

Echo Of A Blood Libel

A Good Jew In France

French antisemitism, 1898 vintage
From the land that gave us La Libre Parole, the Dreyfus Case, Vichy and Drancy, an ultra-popular Twitter hashtag, #unbonJuif.

And what are the characteristics of the good Jew?

Alors, par exemple:

#UnBonJuif est un juif mort  ("A good Jew is a dead Jew.")

#UnBonJuif ne voit pas plus loin qu'le bout de son nez ("A good Jew sees no further than his nose.")

#UnBonJuif peut fumer sous la douche. ("A good Jew can smoke in the shower.")

See more about this foul and fetid French trend here and here

Meanwhile (hat tip reader Jean) here's France through a Russian's eyes:

Wednesday 17 October 2012

Stephen Fry On "The Hysterical Believings Of A Group Of Desert Tribes" (video)

Well, I never!!!  This apparent antisemitism on the part of a supposed British "national treasure" escaped my purview until now.  Granted, it's very brief and we don't see the full context, but it looks decidedly dodgy.

Here's Anglican-raised halachically Jewish pro-Palestinian campaigner Stephen Fry getting hot under the collar as he loftily tells Ann Widdicombe, the former British Tory Cabinet minister well-known for her Christian beliefs (she's a notable convert to Catholicism) that a certain
 "group of desert tribes have stored up more misery for mankind than any other group of people in the history of the planet, and they're doing it to this day".

Although the seemingly ubiquitous Fry's a bit of a fixture on the BBC, I understand that this programme was on Channel 4.

Hat tip: a poster on BBC Watch who also links to this among other items - see the full post here

Tuesday 16 October 2012

Let's Get Quizzical: Why Is The BBC Not Describing Jerusalem As A City Holy To Jews? (Updated)

When it tells readers that it's the third holiest city in Islam, and, by the way, sacred to Christians as well?
 "In 2009, Pope Benedict XVI described Jerusalem as ‘a crossroads for peoples of many different origins’. It has been such for thousands of years, indeed even before the birth of Jesus the city had suffered battles between Babylonians, Israelites, Philistines, Assyrians, Persians, Greeks, Macedonians, Maccabees and Romans.
Today it is the third holiest city in Islam – in Arabic, Jerusalem is most commonly known as al-Quds meaning ‘The Holy’ – and of great importance to Jesus’s followers where more than a dozen Christian communities live side by side in (not always complete) harmony...."
This significant omission, contained in the website of a BBC quiz programme hosted by Stephen Fry, is another piece of excrescence uncovered by BBC Watch.  See here

Well done, BBC Watch!!! The page in question has now been amended to read: 
"Today, as well as being the spiritual centre of Judaism, it is the third holiest city in Islam. In Arabic, Jerusalem is most commonly known as al-Quds meaning ‘The Holy.’ Jerusalem is also of great importance to Jesus’s followers where more than a dozen Christian communities live side by side in (not always complete) harmony."
See here

Monday 15 October 2012

In Britain, Muslims Protest The "Age Of Mockery"

Here's brief footage of the demo outside Google's London HQ:

See here for details

('When asked where the women attending the protest were, one protester replied: "Right at the back".')

Too Antisemitic For The PSC, But Not For The BBC

New site BBC Watch is certainly flushing out some stinky stuff fom the nooks and crannies of the labyrinthine BBC.

There's a certain Israel-demoniser who's so antisemitic that he's persona non grata to the Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

But this notorious person is not, apparently, too antisemitic for Al Beeb.

The World Service's Julian Worricker  (who's also a newsreader on BBC News 24) interviewed him recently and was "intrigued".

Read all about it here

Sunday 14 October 2012

The BBC's Bowen Beats A Retweet, & The Daily Mail Beats Up On A Blood Libel

Let's raise a glass to a most welcome development last week,  the launch of CiF Watch's vitally important new sister site, BBC Watch.

There has long been an obvious nexus between the Guardian and Britain's "national broadcaster".  (I show some of it here and here)

But there's an essential difference between these two anti-Israel villains of the media world: the Guardian is not funded by the general public and has no obligation (save a moral one) to be fair and ethical in its coverage of Israel, whereas the BBC is bound by its (outrageously flouted) Charter to be impartial.

There's another difference, too: the odious Guardian is losing money hand over fist, whereas the BBC is exceedingly handsomely financed by a compusory poll-tax levied on every household in Britain with a television set.

So while CiF Watch is an important venture, its sister site is a crucial one, and I've little doubt that Middle East editor Jeremy Bowen and his team, as well as news website Middle East editor Tarik Kafala, already have it firmly bookmarked.

If they don't, they need to.

A most impressive site indeed, it has already got Bowen on the run, as his disclaimer regarding his retweets indicates.

Be sure to check the site out for that and other gems.

To change the subject:  from the very day that reports of the murder in the French Alps of the al-Hillis, a British family of Iraqi background, broke, antisemitic conspiracy theorists have salivatingly blamed the Jews, specifically the Israelis.   Without, of course, any evidence whatsoever.

These ranters left their blood libels in the form of comments on blogs and websites.

It was pointed out to them by people who could be bothered to engage with such types that "collateral damage," assassinating women and children, is totally uncharacteristic of Mossad.

And now those who can be bothered are repeating that reminder on comments below a report by a Daily Mail staffer called David Jones (hat tip: reader Ian G.) that is headlined "Was Mossad behind the Alps murders" and offers that theory as "a sinister explanation" of events in France.

Jones's source for this story is one of the Guardian's favourite pundits as a Middle East commentator is Roger Howard, no friend of Israel.

Reports Jones inter alia:

"‘[The victim, Saad al-Hilli] worked on Airbus, radiation equipment to kill cancer, and lately on satellite systems; but as far as I know he never worked on any top-secret projects,’ says Gary Aked, who spent four years at the Atomic Weapons Establishment in Aldermaston.
Several years ago, though, when visiting his friend for dinner, Mr Aked did see something that may prove to be of great significance.
Mr al-Hilli took him to the study, showed him a bank of four desk-top computers, plus a laptop, and told him how he used them to air his stridently anti-Israeli views in Arab chatrooms.
‘Saad was a very passionate guy and this was something that concerned him,’ he says. ‘He thought the Jews were taking over America and the world, and tried to get me interested in a book about the atrocities committed by the United States on Arabs.’
After 9/11, he recalls, his views became still more extreme. In one breath he would say it was ‘pay-back time’; in the next he would venture that Israel had blown up the Twin Towers to provoke the U.S. into waging war on the Arab world.
All of which brings us to the theory advanced by a respected Middle East security analyst, who declined to be named. He believes the al-Hillis and the French cyclist could have been conspirators in a plot to supply nuclear material to Iran — and been eliminated by state-sponsored Israeli assassins.
At first blush, this may sound the stuff of conspiracy theorists and spy thriller writers. But one commentator who thinks it is plausible is Roger Howard, author of several authoritative books on Middle Eastern affairs, the next of which will examine a chilling assassination programme carried out on European soil by the Israeli intelligence service, Mossad.
Howard says targeting women and children has never been Mossad’s style, and it strains belief they would risk repercussions were they proved to have wiped out an entire family.
But he contends: ‘It is possible something went badly wrong, forcing them to make a snap decision between abandoning the operation and killing innocent bystanders.’
The author also asks an interesting question: is this suggestion any more far-fetched than the notion that the paths of two men, of similar professional backgrounds — one capable of supplying high-level nuclear secrets, the other sympathetic to a regime keen to acquire them — should cross by sheer chance, at the precise moment when the assassin struck?
Whether or not the truth behind this terrible mystery is stranger than fiction, the fear is that the French and English investigators will never unlock the answer.
But the Annecy massacre cannot be left unsolved for ever ..."
Shame on David Jones and his headline writer for beating up a supposition that's entirely unsubstantiated and delighting the antisemitic conspiracy theorists among the article's commenters by appearing to lend journalistic respectability to their blood libel.

Allen West Looks East To His "Spiritual Homeland" (video)

Here, talking in West Palm Beach, the admirable Florida Republican congressman describes Israel as his "spiritual homeland," which like his "physical homeland" is under threat from Iran and its proxies.  The deputy speaker of the Knesset, Danny Danon, has some words of warning too.

The interviewer is John D. Villarreal of Conservative New Media, who uploaded the video.

And here and here (hat tip reader Jean) is footage of the drone mentioned in the interview.

More West amd Israel here:

Saturday 13 October 2012

Stephen Sizer Records For Channel 4 On Topic Antisemitism

I hear that pro-Iranian anti-Israel crusader Stephen Sizer, Anglican vicar of Virginia Water, has this week recorded an interview for the 4thought programme on Britain's Channel 4 on the topic of antisemitism.

It's expected to be broadcast late next month as, I understand from my informant,  "a series of short epilogues".

Since Stephen Sizer has been widely seen as an antisemite himself this should be interesting, to say the least.
Meanwhile, as reported in the current Jewish Chronicle, the Methodist Friends of Judaism (MFJ) has been launched.  Co-ordinated by Reverends Colin Smith and Bruce Thompson, it aims, according to the report,
'to celebrate the contribution of Judaism to the worldwide community, to raise awareness of anti-Judaism within the Christian church, and to challenge antisemitism. Rev Smith is also a member of the Council of Christians and Jews.
The creation of the foundation represents a thawing of Methodist-Jewish relations. In 2010 the Methodist church conference voted to approve a report which [Borad of Deputies' president Vivian] Wineman called “unqualified Israel bashing”.'

Friday 12 October 2012

Facts, Not Fiction, In The Quest For Peace: David Singer Sets Writers Right

Here is the latest article by Sydney lawyer and international affairs analyst David Singer. Critiquing the misconceptions of two writers regarding a peaceful solution to the Middle East conflict, it's entitled "Palestine: Great Expectations That Founder On Fiction". 

Writes David Singer:

'Israeli novelist David Grossman is working with Algerian writer Boualem Sansal to launch a writers' drive for world peace at the World Forum For Democracy in Strasbourg this week.

Their initiative is reportedly supported by some of the most respected names in literature, including Claudio Magris, Antonio Lobo Antunes and Liao Yiwu.

The Forum brings together reformers and global leaders to identify democratic responses to the economic, social and political challenges which affect societies today.

The writers – in their quest to end conflict and bring peace to the world  – have naturally included the resolution of the "Israel-Palestine conflict" within their purview.

However, the views they express are indeed surprising, parroting Arab propaganda rather than relying on careful research – the indispensable tool normally used by writers of such distinction and undoubted repute.

They begin by stating : 
"Israel maintains the Palestinians under occupation for more than 45 years, and this inhuman and immoral situation must stop."
All the Palestinian Arabs residing in Gaza are under the total administrative and security control of a Hamas dominated Government following Israel's unilateral withdrawal from Gaza in 2005.

Our well intended authors are also apparently unaware that pursuant to arrangements mutually negotiated between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) under the 1993 Oslo Accords – 55 per cent  of the Palestinian Arabs residing in the West Bank are under the total administative and security control of the PA Government – whilst another 41 per cent are under the total administrative control of the PA Government and joint security control of the PA and Israel.

Elections in the West Bank and Gaza were last held in 2006.  Since then Hamas and the PA have been at each other's jugulars. President Abbas's use by date as PA president expired in 2009. Democracy is nowhere to be seen.

Suggesting Israel's occupation is "inhuman and immoral" in the light of these facts is pure fiction

The statement continues:
"Both sides are putting unrealistic conditions to resume negotiations ..."
Are they serious? Israel has been offering to return to negotiations with the PA without any preconditions. It is the PA that is refusing to negotiate unless Israel stops building in the West Bank.

Grossman and Sansal continue:
"It is urgent that the international community intervenes firmly to bring the Iranian nuclear programme under control and steadily commits to the resolution of the Israel-Palestine conflict, pushing the parties to immediately establish a true direct dialogue, leading as soon as possible to the creation of a Palestinian state next to the State of Israel, both with secure borders, on the basis of painful compromises for both parts though necessary for peace, as the abandonment of settlements or their exchange against land, the renouncement to the right of return of the 1948 refugees, the sharing of Jerusalem. This is still – but maybe not for long – a possible solution and there are men and women on both sides capable of achieving it. Let us help them do so."
Our well-meaning authors seem to be ignorant of the fact that Israel in 2001 and 2008 offered to cede its claims to more than 90 per cent of the West Bank and agreed to a part of Jerusalem becoming the capitol of a Palestinian Arab State – but such offers were rejected. Even land swaps were broached in the latter offer.

They seem oblivious to the fact that no one in the PA or Hamas has the power to renounce any right of return of the 1948 refugees and expect to be alive the next day.

They also seem to overlook that what the Palestinian Arabs demand today could have been theirs – plus more – at any time between 1948-67 with the single stroke of an Arab League pen – after all the Jews living there had been driven out.

Why the need for a state now when one was not demanded during those 19 years – and indeed rejected in 1937 when recommended by the Peel Commission or in 1947 when proposed by the United Nations?

Who are the men and women on both sides that are capable of doing what has not been able to be achieved for the last 19 years in trying to create a new Arab State between Jordan and Israel for the first time ever in recorded history? Naming them would have been great – even if it embarrassed those highly experienced negotiators from Israel the PA, and the Quartet – the United Nations, the European Union, Russia and America - who have tired endlessly for the last eight years to resolve the conflict but have got absolutely nowhere

Grossman and Sansal conclude: 
"Writers have their part in this fight and we hereby express our determination to take it firmly and objectively. We urge all writers in the world to join us. Together, we can influence decision makers and public opinion and thereby also the course of events, ensuring that the values of peace are strengthened throughout the world. Our methods in this fight are literature, debate and vigilance. Maybe it is not much, but it is our way of maintaining our dignity in a world of violence and cynism."
They have been less than objective and their ability to influence decision makers and public opinion with their planned initiative is fanciful.

Samir El-youssef – a Palestinian writer – has succinctly summed up the Grossman/Sansal proposal:
"Rather than maintaining hope for peace, I see here nothing but a further attempt to renew the old failed approach to deal with the Arabic and Islamic world."
The old failed approach has certainly been an unmitigated disaster.

It is indeed time for a new approach in dealing with the Arabic and Islamic world in trying to resolve the 130 years old Arab-Jewish conflict.

Might I suggest negotiations between Israel, Egypt and Jordan to allocate sovereignty in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem – to be held under the chairmanship of the Secretary General of the United Nations with the approval of the Quartet, the Arab League and the Organization for Islamic Co-Operation.

Writers of the world, are you prepared to sign up to such an initiative?

With your active support this proposal could become a best seller in a very short space of time. It is not fiction. It is based on history, geography, demography and international law – unlike the fairy tales that form the basis for the "two-state" solution.

Maintaining your dignity in a world of violence and cynicism will certainly be heightened by supporting this proposal.

If  you hesitate to get involved – exercise your undoubted writing skills to tell me why.

But please, this time round, facts not fiction.'