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)

Monday 31 December 2012

Some Good End-of-Year Reading

Earlier this month the Washington Post carried a review by Jennifer Rubin of Lela Gilbert's new book, Saturday People, Sunday People: Israel Through the Eyes of a Christian Sojourner.

Writes the reviewer, inter alia:
'The meat of Gilbert’s book and its uniqueness among hundreds on the Middle East published every year, however, documents the virtually ignored Jewish "nakba," a world used mostly by Arabs to described the "tragedy" of Israel’s birth....
The media of course have virtually forgotten (or hidden) this expulsion, preferring to fixate on the Palestinian refugee problem and the so-called “right of return.” That imbalance in the historical record and journalism of the 20th century goes hand in hand with coverage of the Gaza wars that focuses on the Israeli strikes on terrorist leaders and ignores the thousands of rockets fired at Israeli civilians.
But in this nakba the Jews now, tragically have company. The title of the book on one hand describes the intertwined history and tradition of Jews and Christians, but it also has become a description of the deadly agenda of Islamic fundamentalists: First, the Saturday people, second the Sunday people. In other words, first rid these countries of Jews and next go after the Christians. This they do with near international impunity. In Gilbert’s vivid and at time (appropriately) gruesome account of murders, church bombings and other anti-Christian atrocities she paints a portrait of a human rights catastrophe playing out before our eyes and a world gone mad, indifferent to and largely unaware of the plight of Christians. She meticulously documents the atrocities against the Egyptian Copts and other Christians from Nigeria to Iran to Indonesia and Afghanistan.
Her message is poignant, namely that Jews and Christian share a common tradition and faith, founded on ” biblical principles, founded on the sanctity of life, affirming that humans are made in the image of God . . . Our roots are firmly planted in common ground. … We have chosen life and we deplore the Islamist culture of death. We needn’t fight our battles alone.” That’s an optimistic note for a tragic story in which Christians and Jews, who certainly have at times not been on the same side, have a new brotherhood of faith, forged in the fire of Islamic fundamentalism. It is a timely reminder of the nature of our shared enemy and the obligation for shared defense in the cultural, ideological and military war against the jihadist culture of death.'
Read all of Jennifer Rubin's article here

From Nick Gray of recently established site Christian Middle East Watch comes an insightful article entitled "Christian NGOs and Israel" that begins:
'A few days ago, the Commentator published an article by me ... on the reasons why so many Christian organisations working in the Middle East are hostile towards Israel. There are a good number of excellent pro-Israel organisations, who seek to serve both sides of the divide in Israel and who successfully keep an apolitical stance. Why can so many others not do the same. If the organisations working in Palestinian areas insist on being so poisonously anti-Israel, why do the pro-Israel groups not behave in the same way? Who is showing a more Christian face to the world; the ones serving Palestinians while pouring vitriol on Israel, or the ones quietly serving both communities and hating neither?
Dexter Van Zile ("Why are Christian charities bashing Israel?" 15th December) admirably exposed a major problem in the Christian development agency universe; a problem that too often seems to focus on only one geographical area in the whole world. Embrace the Middle East (an evolution of a long-standing agency with a history of excellent work on behalf of the poor of the Middle East), Christian Aid, World Vision, The Amos Trust and many others do provide aid to the poor and they do engage in commendable development projects in the cultural and religious turmoil we call the Middle East. Sadly, however, the majority of such charities seem to have an unacceptable political bias where this one geographical area is concerned - that narrow strip of land popularly known as "Israel-Palestine" or "Palestine-Israel" depending on your worldview! As someone who has worked in the Christian charity sector for over 25 years and with a special concern in the Middle East, I would like to offer a four point rationale for this anomaly in the mindsets of otherwise thoroughly admirable, caring organisations.'  Read the rest here
And from Hadar Sela the indispensable new site BBC Watch comes a characteristically masterly exposé of the BBC's persistent failure to appreciate that the 1949 Armistice lines do not constitute borders.  See that excellent post here

Richard Falk Fired From Human Rights Watch (video)

Another notch in the belt of UN Watch's superb Hillel Neuer.  The hope is that the Israel-demonising Falk will ultimately be dismisssed from his UN post too.

Saturday 29 December 2012

Violating Vatican Vows: David Singer On The Pontiff, the Patriarch, & Palestine

Sydney lawyer and international affairs analyst David Singer's latest post is entitled "Palestine: Violating Vatican Vows".

He writes:

'Diplomatic relations between Israel and the Vatican are set to considerably cool following the Pope granting a private audience to Mahmoud Abbas on 17 December.

Their meeting came at a time of growing political crisis engendered by the passage of the UN General Assembly resolution on 29 November that reaffirmed
"the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and to independence in their State of Palestine on the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967"
The Pope seemingly overlooked any discussion of the implications of this integral part of the resolution that also recognised the State of Palestine as a non-member observer state in the General Assembly –  a view confirmed by the following communique issued by the Vatican:
"The cordial discussions made reference to the recent Resolution approved by the General Assembly of the United Nations by which Palestine was recognised as a Non-member Observer State of the aforementioned Organisation. It is hoped that this initiative will encourage the commitment of the international community to finding a fair and lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which may be reached only by resuming the negotiations between the Parties, in good faith and according due respect to the rights of both."
The Pope was apparently unaware that the only matter left  to be negotiated between the parties as a result of "this initiative " was the timing of the eviction of 600,000 Jews currently living in this " State of Palestine" as defined by the General Assembly.

Abbas had made this racist view very clear on 28 July 2010 when Wafa – the official Palestinian news agency –  reported the following remark by Abbas in Cairo:
"I'm willing to agree to a third party that would supervise the agreement, such as NATO forces, but I would not agree to having Jews among the NATO forces, or that there will live among us even a single Israeli on Palestinian land."
Could the Pope have failed to understand that the Resolution also left no room for negotiating the boundaries of this  "State of Palestine" –  that the General Assembly had preemptively  determined that it should comprise 100per cent of the territory won from Jordan by Israel in the 1967 Six Day War?

Would cordial discussions have occurred had the Pope taken the opportunity to urge Abbas to recognise Israel as the Jewish National Home and offer Palestinian citizenship to those Jews who did not want to leave their current homes?

Resumption of negotiations by "the Parties in good faith and according due respect to the rights of both" in such circumstances is a pure pipe dream.

The Abbas audience was a papal faux pas for several reasons.

First – the Pope should not have blessed the audience with overt political significance by accepting from Abbas the gift of a mosaic of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem bearing the inscription that it was presented to him by "the President of the State of Palestine" - a farcical nomenclature that had only been sanctioned that very day by the Chief of Protocol at the UN - Yeocheol Yoon.

Secondly –  the Pope was clearly violating clause 11(2)  of the 1993 Fundamental Agreement Between The Holy See And The State Of Israel which provides:
"The Holy See, while maintaining in every case the right to exercise its moral and spiritual teaching-office, deems it opportune to recall that owing to its own character, it is solemnly committed to remaining a stranger to all merely temporal conflicts, which principle applies specifically to disputed territories and unsettled borders."
Remaining a stranger to this temporal conflict would have allowed the Pope to escape any criticism as a result of this inappropriate audience.

Thirdly – Article 2.2 of the Fundamental Agreement further avers:
"The Holy See takes this occasion to reiterate its condemnation of hatred, persecution and all other manifestations of antisemitism directed against the Jewish people and individual Jews anywhere, at any time and by anyone"
Failing to condemn the "President of the State of Palestine" during the audience for his known manifestations of antisemitism makes a mockery of the Fundamental Agreement.

Fourthly – The Pope's political foray no doubt inspired his own appointed nominee as the top Roman Catholic cleric in the Holy Land, the Latin Patriarch Fouad Twal, also to make a political statement in his annual pre-Christmas homily.

Archbishop Twal told his followers at his headquarters in Jerusalem's Old City that this year's festivities were doubly joyful, celebrating:
"the birth of Christ our Lord and the birth of the state of Palestine. The path (to statehood) remains long, and will require a united effort,"
Archbishop Twal –  who was born in Jordan – had told Vatican Radio on 21 June 2008:
"The majority of our priests, nuns, schools families are in Jordan. We need a link to Jordan…"
That link will certainly not come from the State of Palestine designated by the UN General Assembly – since its realisation is simply not going to eventuate.

Archbishop Twal also told in an interview on 22 June 2008:
"If you want to touch Jews, Muslims, Christians, Jordanians, Palestinians, Cypriots, Europeans all together ... then you have to consider every comma"
The Archbishop would have done well to have remembered this sage advice before uttering his Christmas Eve message - understanding that what he said would not touch at least 600,000 Jews – but cause them immeasurable hurt.

Indeed those who are playing charades with the newly crowned President of the State of Palestine are engaging in a world of make believe – where the words and commas in the Mandate for Palestine, the Montevideo Convention, Article 80 of the United Nations Charter, Security Council Resolution 242, the Oslo Accords and the Bush Roadmap – are apparently no longer worth the paper they are written on.

One can now add the Fundamental Agreement between the Holy See and the State of Israel to these discarded international agreements.

This does not bode well for any possible peaceful resolution of the long running conflict between Jews and Arabs.

The last Pope to bear Pope Benedict’s name –  Benedict XV – enthusiastically endorsed the Jews’ right to reconstitute their national home in what was then Palestine when he told Zionist leader Nahum Sokolov at an audience in 1917 :
"Nineteen hundred years ago Rome destroyed your homeland and when you seek to rebuild it, you seek a path which leads via Rome… Yes this is the will of Divine Providence, this is what the Almighty desires."
Violating Vatican vows this time round is certainly not going to entice Israel to beat a path to Rome as it continues to reconstitute the Jewish National Home in its ancient, biblical and internationally sanctioned homeland.'

Friday 28 December 2012

"We Came Here In Order To Learn From Gaza": Australian Mufti & Colleagues Visit Hamas (video)

And as the sheikh from Down Under (Dr Ibrahim Salem) says in this clip from Hamas's Al-Aqsa TV (26 December), they came to learn, and felt like they were "on top of the world".  In return, their genial host tells them that their visit demonstrates the unity of the worldwide umma in "the battle for the liberation of Jerusalem and Palestine" ...

(MEMRI video; hat tip: reader Ian)

British Diplomat: "Helping America Break The Stranglehold That An Ill-informed Israel Lobby Has Over American Politics Is The Biggest Single Contribution That We Can Make"

On 9 February 2011 the BBC radio's Today programme broadcast an interview with career diplomat Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles, British ambassador to Israel from 2001-3, and subsequently ambassador, successively, to Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan.

All that was contentious about his remarks is best described in a critique written that same day by Melanie Phillips:
"....Sir Sherard appeared to be inhabiting a looking-glass world. Every single thing he said was, frankly, a monstrous inversion of history, justice and rationality.
Anyone who really loves Israel and wants it to survive, he said, wants it to make the peace that has been on offer since 1937, when the British proposed the division of Palestine between the Jews and the Arabs.
But it was not the Jews who turned down that offer – but the Arabs. The Jews accepted it. It was not the Jews who resisted the two-state solution proposed by the UN partition of 1947, but the Arabs who tried to exterminate Israel at birth. The Jews had accepted it. It was not the Jews who resisted the formation of a Palestine state between 1948 and 1967, when Jordan and Egypt illegally occupied the West Bank and Gaza – it never occurred to the Arabs to suggest it. It was not Israel which resisted the two state solution in 2000, or under Ehud Olmert’s premiership: it was Israel which actually offered the Arabs most of the disputed land to establish a state of their own. It was the Arabs who rejected it and made war instead on the Jews. What on earth is Sir Sherard talking about?
Next, he told us that no-one is calling into question Israel’s right to exist. Nice of him. But – there was a ‘but’. If it wanted to exist in a reasonable form, he said, it would do so not by keeping the Arabs down but by making a deal with them to live in peace. But all Israel wants to do is live in peace with them; it’s the Arabs who reject that proposition. Nor does Israel ‘keep them down’, as Sir Sherard so offensively claimed: all its military or repressive measures are in place solely to prevent more Israelis from being murdered, because the Arabs refuse to make the peace and make war instead. How can Sir Sherard so grotesquely misrepresent this?
Next, he intoned that it is not in Israel’s interests for there to be a single bi-national state. You don’t say. ‘If they want a Jewish state in the Middle East’, he said,’ there has to be a peace deal and they have to do it soon’. What? ‘If they want a Jewish state in the Middle East?’ Since when was this a questionable proposition? Presumably he means it won't stay Jewish if it rules the Arabs in the territories. But Israel doesn't want to rule the Arabs in the territories. It has repeatedly offered to give away most of the territories. Sir Sherard seems not to have noticed but the Arabs keep refusing to take them. And if Israel gives them up and Iran promptly moves in -- the most likely scenario -- what price Sir Sherard's Jewish state then?
And has no-one told Sir Sherard that it is Abbas and co who are refusing to negotiate with Israel, not the other way round? And that Abbas and co are refusing to accept Israel’s existence as a Jewish state – ever? Might that not, in the mind of even Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles, be a pretty good reason why ‘the door is closing on the two-state solution’?
But no – Sir Sherard went on to identify the real source of the problem, which apparently lay in Washington as much as in Jerusalem or Tel Aviv. Ah yes – those Zionist fanatics in the Obama administration. And he concluded ‘We will all suffer if Israel persists in this present course of trying to survive by force of arms’.
Let’s unpack that poisonous little sentence. He is suggesting that Israel is wilfully and perversely choosing to wage war rather than live in peace. Israel, the one country which cannot afford to sacrifice a single young person but has had to sacrifice so many in the endless war that has been forced upon it purely in order to stave off annihilation, is thus being represented as choosing not to live in peace – and putting the rest of the world at risk as a result...."
Earlier this month, in a lecture to the Conservative Middle East Forum, Sir Sherard was at it again,saying, inter alia:
'The first and greatest thing we can do in the West is to right the wrong that has been done to the Palestinians. We can never right it completely, but in Israel’s own interest, we should be helping the only the country that can solve this problem, not on its own but without it nothing can be done. And following the recommendations which Lord Peel made in 1937, he called it then, “partition,” so did the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine in 1947, later Presidents Carter, Clinton, even George W. Bush, whom we should never forget was the first American President to promise a Palestinian state, he did so in 2002 and assured his listeners that it would be established by 2005, but delivering that which only America can do.
 Helping America break the stranglehold that an ill-informed Israel lobby has over American politics is the biggest single contribution that we can make, and it’s a debt that we as Conservatives, we as Britons, still have, in my view, sitting on our account. It does, in my view, mean that sometimes we have to be more conditional in our support of America and perhaps a little bit more French and a little less British, if you get my drift. Sometimes for the Americans, and those in the American system, who know what needs to be done, a little bit of pressure from London would, I think, help them in their task, and a little bit of short term turbulence would be a small price to pay for discharging the debt.
I say this as a Hebrew-speaking, former Ambassador to Israel, someone who has deep affection for the Jewish people. I believe passionately that Israel on its present course is embarked on a pathway to assisted suicide: suicide assisted by the Congress of the United States. The idea that this problem can be solved by walling up the Palestinians in the Middle Eastern equivalent of the Bantustans, which the South African Government embarked on in the 1940s, is not only offensive morally, it is deeply out of keeping with everything we know of human history. It will not work, it cannot work, it should not work. And anyone who has a real affection for the Jewish people will want to help them avoid this looming disaster, further disaster in their history.
And one of the collateral benefits of peace with Israel, a just settlement in Palestine, will be, if I may put it crudely, to put the Jews back in the Middle East. Because, one of the many examples of collateral damage from the creation of a national home for the Jewish people in Palestine, has been to remove the cultural and commercial yeast which the Jewish communities provided in Baghdad, in Damascus, in Aleppo, in Cairo, in Alexandria, right across the Middle East.... 
Imagine London, imagine New York, without the cultural and commercial yeast provided by Jewish communities... It was a dawn which broke, but a false dawn, with the Camp David accords, where it was possible to go by bus from Cairo to Tel Aviv and back again, and one saw the beginnings of engagement, but it was all abandoned with good reason starting with the attack on the Osirak reactor.....'
In his lecture Sir Sherard made some thought-provoking points.  However, as Melanie Phillips observed in 2011:
"Let’s be clear. There is one overwhelming reason for the continuation of the Middle East impasse, the deaths of so many Israeli innocents, the hardships of the Arabs in the territories and the escalating danger to both Israel and the world. From the very start of this terrible conflict in the 1920s, when the Arabs in Palestine started to murder Jews in order to stop their return to their ancestral homeland, the British response was to reward that terror by offering the Arabs part of the Jews’ legally binding entitlement.
That pernicious and amoral response has continued to this day – led by the British but echoed down the decades by America and Europe. The more terrorism perpetrated by the Arabs, the more Britain, America and Europe treated them as statesmen fighting for a just cause and tried to force Israel to sacrifice its security to realise that cause.  But if terrorism is rewarded and its victims punished, those perpetrating such aggression will merely step it up. That is precisely what has happened.
It is attitudes such as those displayed this morningby Sir Sherard ... which exculpate the Arab aggressors and punish their Israeli victim, which is the main reason why there is no peace in the Middle East.... "
 Read Jonathan Hoffman's take on the speech here

Thursday 27 December 2012

Saudi Arabia Shills For Israel (Well, Sort Of ...)

Now, here's an intriguing article, by Evelyn Gordon of the US-based Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA).

It begins:

'If there were a prize for the Arab country that has done most to promote Arab-Israeli peace recently, I'd seriously consider nominating Saudi Arabia. Admittedly, that's a counterintuitive choice: Riyadh doesn't even recognize Israel and shows no signs of doing so anytime soon; moreover, it finances the spread of extremist Islamic ideology. But Saudi-funded papers have been doing something that may be far more important than another handshake on the White House lawn: providing a platform for Arab journalists and public figures to challenge the dominant Middle Eastern narrative of Israel as the root of all evil.

Consider, for instance, a column published last month in Asharq Al-Awsat, a paper owned by a member of the Saudi royal family and known for its support of the Saudi monarchy. Written by the paper's then-deputy editor-in-chief, Adel Al Toraifi, and titled "Who holds Hamas' terrorism to account?" the column blamed not Israel, but Hamas, for Palestinian casualties during both the second intifada and the recent fighting in Gaza.

During the intifada, wrote Al Toraifi, "Only a small number of Palestinians died in the first weeks." But then, "Hamas and other factions decided to militarize the intifada through the use of suicide attacks, costing the Palestinians nearly 2,000 lives in less than two years."

Similarly, when smaller factions began "sabotaging the truce in Gaza," Hamas "did not condemn their attacks, rather its leaders talked about the victory that was achieved through the missile fire." Consequently, "a hundred Palestinians have died and what remains of the dilapidated infrastructure there has been destroyed."....'

Read all of Evelyn Gordon's article here

(Hat tip: Love of the Land where as always many interesting articles are to be found)

The Naftali Bennett Plan (video)

Ex-Likud member Naftali Bennett, leader of Israel's Jewish Home party, vigorously opposes the creation of a Palestinian State.

Based on his conviction of what is absolutely crucial for Israel's security requirements, his plan for peace entails the annexation by Israel of the approximately 60 per cent of the West Bank designated under the Oslo Accords as Area C (see map at left)..

 In return,  the Palestinian Authority would be given enhanced jurisdiction over the parts designated Areas A and B, in which Ramallah and other major Palestinian population centres lie.

(See here for clear, concise details of Area A, B, and C)

In the following video Bennett's controversial plan is explained in graphic, simple terms.

Wednesday 26 December 2012

It's "Honour Killings" As Usual In President Abbas's Palestine

Do they know or care about honour killings of Arab women?
Here's a cause for the "pro-Palestinian" sisterhood to embrace  an aspect of life in President Mahmoud Abbas's Palestinian Authority that is rarely reported by the West's Israel-bashing media outlets: the so-called "honour killings" of Palestinian women, and the leniency with which the perpetrators are treated.

Under the existing penal code, drawn up in 1960 during Jordan's jurisdiction (1948-67) over the West Bank, the maximum custodial sentence for "honour killings" is six months.

Wrote Harriet Sherwood in the Guardian last year following the brutal killing in 2010 of Hebron University student Aya Baradiya,
"Reliable statistics are hard to come by, but it is thought there are around 20 such crimes in the West Bank and Gaza each year. Women who have been raped or molested, or are victims of incest, are considered to have stained a family's reputation. Such acts of violation are rarely admitted by the victim's family."
But such was the outcry over Aya Baradiya's gruesome fate that in 2010 Mr Abbas (who had earlier  received an unrelated petition signed by 8000 Palestinian women for a get-tough policy on "honour killings") promised to amend the penal code in order to guarantee the stiffest punishment for such a crime.

What he actually did was to suspend an article in the penal code of 1960 that stipulated pardon for any wife murderer who had committed his crime on finding the wife in bed with another man.

This was in effect an empty gesture, since the article had never been  had never once been acted upon.

In 2009 Abbas had ratified the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, but sharia prevents its full implementation.

To quote from Harriet Sherwood's article again:
'In Surif, Yasmine Alheeh, 29, minding a clothes shop, says she approves of the legal change [to the article in the penal code]. "There are a lot of things that are hard for a woman to do [in Palestinian society]. A woman has no personal freedom. It's OK to work, but you can't make personal choices."
Nearby, in a vegetable shop, Jalal Danah, 25, says women's actions are limited by Islam. "Our religion does not allow a woman to go out and practise her life without restriction. This would lead to corruption," he says.'
And a current report, by Soraya al-Ghussein and Hannah Patchett for the Ma'an News Agency, quotes Abbas's legal advisersa Hassan al-Ouri as explaining that the UN Convention will only be implemented "so long as it doesn’t contravene Islamic code".

There are no plans to outlaw "honour killings," al-Ouri told Ma'an:.
"Why change it [the law]? This would cause serious problems.... What we need is a new culture.
.... Look, we are for total equality but if there is a basic tenet of Islamic code that we would be forced to change under [the UN Convention], then people would revolt and brand us as non-believers."
Says Interior Ministry official Haitham Arrar (who heads the PA Interior Ministry's democracy and human rights unit) of existing legislation:
"It encourages some people to commit crimes against women, which will go [as far as] killing them."
 Laments Palestinian feminist Soraida Hussein, who believes that Abbas is fearful of confronting "conservative forces":

"[O]ur lives –  in law and in practice – are seen as less than men's....
[The president should issue a decree that] "anybody killing anyone else will be sentenced to the highest sentence possible, whether it is a woman or a boy.
The minute the law is changed and applied, the minute people will think twice.  It's simple and it's not done."
This is a cause that the "pro-Palestinian" western sisterhood should be embracing with gusto.

But for reasons known only to themselves, bashing the Zionist Entity (where rights for women are guaranteed) is far more fun.

Monday 24 December 2012

"We Should Not Treat Israel As A Normal State; It Is Dysfunctional": Festive Bad Tidings In Full Swing Again

Yes, that time of the year is upon us when the Israel-demonisers intensify their Open Season on the Jewish State.

As usual there are the alternative Israel-demonising lyrics to familiar carols, and the Israel-demonising cards sold by a number of NGOs, some even depicting Jesus not as a Jew but as a Palestinian.  I wrote about this in detail a couple of years ago, and as NGO Monitor demonstrates here it's the same story this year.

In Ireland, the University College Cork Palestine Solidarity Campaign has issued such cards, one depicting
"Mary and baby Jesus surrounded by pictures of violence and suffering among which is a photo of what looks like an Israeli soldier aiming his rifle a Palestinian mother and child.
That particular postcard comes with a letter the publisher, the UCC Palestine Solidarity Campaign, the perpetuates the popular Irish myth that were Mary alive in our days, she would be unable to deliver Jesus as recorded in the New Testament because Israeli soldiers would have detained her at the Bethlehem checkpoint, because Mary was a Palestinian! As such, Mary would have been forced to give birth at the checkpoint, as all Palestinian women are apparently forced to do...
Another card shows the three wise men on the way to visit Jesus after his birth,but they are unable to reach Bethlehem because of the Israeli security wall."
In response to such provocation and ignorance, the Israeli Embassy in Dublin posted to its own Facebook page the following comment:
"A thought for Christmas... If Jesus and mother Mary were alive today, they would, as Jews without security, probably end up being lynched in Bethlehem by hostile Palestinians."
An immediate furore followed, and after half an hour or so the comment was removed and this one substituted:
"To whom it may concern, an image of Jesus and Mary with a derogatory comment about Palestinians was posted without the consent of the administrator of the Facebook page. We have removed the post in question immediately. Apologies to anyone who may have been offended. Merry Christmas!"
Concluded socialist parliamentarian and Irish Anti-War Movement chairman Richard Boyd Barrett regarding the incident:
"We should not treat Israel as a normal state.  It is dysfunctional."
(Boyd Barrett, who apparently once campaigned for Hezbollah bigwig Ibrahim Moussawi to be allowed to address a conference in Dublin, is on record as saying declaring that Israel is "a state built on violence, oppression and apartheid" and "has no right to exist as long as it denies rights to Palestinians".)

 Opined a spokeswoman for the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign:
"It is indicative of the racism that underpins the whole Zionist project."
 But as Nurit Tinari Modai, deputy chief of mission at the Israeli embassy, explained later:
"The use of the symbols of Christianity in a political context is considered acceptable as part of anti-Israel campaigns, Ireland! These symbols have been used in such a way many times in the past decade. Jesus and Mary have become a weapon in the hands of those who hate Israel in Ireland, and our post on Facebook should be seen in the context of this local discourse and as a response to the anti-Israel Christmas cards....
The identification of Mary and Jesus as Palestinians is clear, and is quite pervasive. Not a few of the Irish actually believe that Jesus was an Arab Palestinian! In a Christian country like Ireland, it shouldn't be a sin for us to occasionally point out the historical fact that Jesus was a Jew."
Read more here and  here

Still on the subject of Irish Israel-haters, these perpetual activists (complete with giant open letter to Her Majesty) against the presence of the Steinmetz diamond among temporary exhibits at the Tower of London (see my earlier post here) to mark the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, seemed positively perplexed to learn that they've been demonstrating in vain, the diamond being no longer on display:

To save face, they're claiming it as a BDS victory, despite the fact that the diamond was undoubtedly  returned to its owners in the normal course of winding down of celebrations to mark the Queen's diamond jubilee!
(Video uploaded by a veteran of the anti-Ahava campaign in London)

Sunday 23 December 2012

Jihadist Fear For "The (How Much Longer?) Lucky Country"

Readers of the current edition of the Weekend Australian newspaper have been treated to a little Yuletide cheer.

For according to that paper,  over 100 Australians, mostly of dual Aussie-Lebanese citizenship, have travelled to Syria via northern Lebanon to participate in the revolt against the Assad regime.

Thousands of Australian dollars are thought to be finding their way to the conflict arena,  with some of that money lining the pockets of jihadist rebels.

It's known that two Australian combatants have been killed in Syria in recent months: first (in August) Sydney sheik Mustapha al-Majzoub, described by Aussie counter-terrorism personnel as a known Islamic extremist, and (in October) Melbourne kickboxer Roger Abbas, an apparent admirer of al-Majzoub.

The newspaper quotes Peter Drennan, the Australian Federal Police force's deputy commissioner in charge of national security, as saying, inter alia, of this steady Australian presence in Syria:
"These individuals then return with training in the use of weapons and explosives and experience fighting in armed conflict.
The individuals could well use these skills and knowledge for terrorism in Australia."
Aussie experts believe, the newspaper adds, that 
"Australians have been drawn to the conflict mainly for two reasons: sectarian loyalty with their fellow Sunnis or the desire to wage jihad. The latter reason is of most concern to counter terrorism officials.
Mindful of the precedent set in Afghanistan during the 1980s, when the struggle against Soviet occupation produced a generation of well-trained, highly radical jihadists who would later wage war against the West, officials worry the Syrian cause could produce a crop of Islamists with combat skills and training.
They stress the problem is not yet on the same scale as the Soviet jihad nor are there indications any of the returned Australians have evinced a desire to attack targets in Australia...."
Read the entire article here 

And on anti-western, antisemitic, Islamist developments in Syria read Professor Barry Rubin's article here

Friday 21 December 2012

David Singer On An Alternative To Abbas's Confederation Proposal With Jordan

Sydney lawyer and international affairs analyst David Singer looks to the Hashemite Kingdom for a solution to the impasse, in his latest article (entitled "Palestine: Reunification Trumps Confederation").

Writes David Singer:

'Reunification of the Arab populated areas of the West Bank with Jordan – as existed between 1948 and 1967 – has again emerged as the most viable solution to the Jewish-Arab conflict.

This follows revelations in the London-based Al-Quds al-Arabi newspaper that the Palestinian Authority (PA) President and PLO Chairman, Mahmoud Abbas, has asked senior Fatah leaders to prepare for the formation of a confederation between a Palestinian State and Jordan.

Abbas has reportedly instructed his advisors to provide him with detailed strategic reports about the best way to conduct negotiations with Jordan to revive the confederation plan – first discussed in 1988 under very different political circumstances to those now existing.

Abbas’s spokesman, Nabil Abu Rudaineh, has told the Jerusalem Post ("Abbas mulls forming confederation with Jordan"; December 13) that the confederation idea would be discussed with Jordan – but only after the establishment of an independent Palestinian state.

PLO Executive Committee member Wasel Abu Yusef has also told the Jerusalem Post that any talk about the confederation plan now would hinder efforts to establish an independent Palestinian state within the pre-1967 lines "because Israel is hoping that a Palestinian state would be part of Jordan".

The creation of such a state will not occur.

Jordan appears to have been positioning itself to replace the Palestinian Authority as Israel's negotiating partner  – as indicated by the following recent events:
1. King Abdullah's uncle – Prince Hassan – stated in October that the West Bank was part of Jordan.
2. PLO heavyweight Farouk Kaddumi followed by pointing to the advantages that could follow Jordan's return to the West Bank.
3. The Jordanian Education Department produced a map in a text book not showing the West Bank as a separate territorial entity.
4. Prince Hassan gave a public address to the Board of Deputies of British Jews at a gala black tie affair in London seven days before Abbas took to the podium at the United Nations on 29 November.
Jordan's return to centre stage has been further strengthened by Abbas's decision to proceed with  unilateral action to have the "State of Palestine" admitted as a non-observer State at the United Nations with its claim to sovereignty in 100% of the West Bank being recognised at the same time.

Abbas has already paid dearly for his precipitate action in abandoning negotiations with Israel and going it alone to the United Nations - unleashing the following consequences:
1. Hamas leader Khalid Meshaal defiantly opposing a Palestinian State being created  anywhere but on the ashes of Israel.
2. Four hundred million dollars in taxation revenues collected by Israel for the Palestinian Authority being withheld over the next four months to  meet unpaid water and electricity bills owed by the PA to Israeli utility companies.
3. Israel announcing plans to revive building another 3000 housing units – kept on hold since 2004 to placate and induce the PA to continue negotiations with Israel
4. Abbas being forced  to go cap in hand to Arab countries, begging to be helped out to the tune of one hundred million dollars a month to stay afloat
Many of those 138 Nations that voted to admit the State of Palestine as a non-observer state must now be shaking their heads in amazement at the latest announcement by Abbas of a possible confederation of that state with Jordan once statehood has been achieved.

It makes a mockery of their decision to grant non-observer status to a state whose chief proponent has now admitted still does not exist. 

Even worse, Abbas is now flagging that this State – when it achieves its independence – will immediately be prepared to surrender that independence and enter into a confederation with Jordan.

The two-state solution to the Jewish-Arab conflict proposed under the Oslo Accords and the Bush Roadmap is rapidly turning out to be nothing but a chimera

Abbas's confederation proposal is unlikely to resonate with Jordan – which is well aware of the provision in the PLO Charter proclaiming that Israel, the West Bank, Gaza and Jordan is "an indivisible territorial unit".

Confederation would give the PLO a foothold and possible opportunity to repeat its 1970 attempt to overthrow the Hashemite monarchy in pursuit of this stated objective.

The King would also be cognisant of the following resolution supporting reunification of the West Bank and Jordan  passed at the 8th meeting of the Palestinian National Council in February-March 1971:
"Jordan is linked to Palestine by a national relationship and a national unity forged by history and culture from the earliest times. The creation of one political entity in Transjordan and another in Palestine would have no basis either in legality or as to the elements universally accepted as fundamental to a political entity.... In raising the slogan of the liberation of Palestine and presenting the problem of the Palestine revolution, it was not the intention of the Palestine revolution to separate the east of the River from the west, nor did it believe the struggle of the Palestinian people can be separated from the struggle of the masses in Jordan…"
This resolution – unlike the November 29 General Assembly resolution – still has relevance and meaning 41 years later for both Jordan and the PLO.

King Abdullah could do worse than reaffirm his agreement with this resolution and rebuff any attempts at confederation - making it clear at the same time that he is prepared to enter into negotiations with Israel to reunify the West Bank with Jordan and restore the status quo so far as is now possible since Jordan occupied the West Bank 45 years ago.

The Hashemites by their astute and diplomatic rule in Jordan for the last 93 years have preserved 78 per cent of former Palestine as an exclusive Arab State in an area originally proposed by the League of Nations for the reconstitution of the Jewish National Home.

The peace treaty signed between Jordan and Israel in 1994 has survived intact despite, many occasions when Jordan may have been tempted to end it. This peace treaty already contains negotiating parameters for dealing with such thorny issues in the West Bank as water, refugees and Jerusalem.

Hopefully Israel and Jordan could successfully conclude negotiations where no one – Jew or Arab – would have to leave his present home or business in the West Bank.

Abbas's provocation of both Israel and Hamas in approaching the United Nations has clearly backfired and his proposal to confederate with Jordan can only have further embarrassed and disaffected many countries that supported him.

In the upcoming diplomatic manoeuvring that is now being undertaken regarding the future of the West Bank there is no doubt that reunification with Jordan certainly trumps confederation.'

Thursday 20 December 2012

Enough Already: A Letter To Lurie

Ah, the New Israel Fund!  As if Israel does not have libellers and slanderers enough (and here's a meshugge claim if ever there was one).

The following speaks for itself:

There is more here

Palestine: A Score Of Foreign Ministers With Egg On Their Faces?

The Jerusalem Post reported yesterday:
"A new poll shows growing support for the Islamist Hamas movement in both the West Bank and Gaza. If the elections were held today, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh would beat Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas.The poll, by veteran pollster Khalil Shikaki of the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, found that 48 percent of the electorate in both the West Bank and Gaza would vote for Haniyeh, and 45 percent for Abbas. Just three months ago, a similar poll predicted a victory for Abbas, with 51 percent support over Haniyeh’s 40 percent. The poll showed Haniyeh as the most popular he has been since 2008."
 And here's a video of the newly-formed so-called National Unity Brigade made up of youths from various Palestinian factions who aim at a third intifada; read all about it here

Meanwhile Sydney lawyer and international affairs analyst David Singer, in his most recent article ("Palestine: Democracies in Diplomatic Disarray"), written at the end of last week, observes:

'It has only taken 10 days for 22 of the top 25 leading democratic nations listed in the Democracy Index 2011 to fall into abject diplomatic disarray.

Their acute discomfort follows the rush by 17 of them to vote to admit Palestine as a non-observer state at the UN General Assembly on November 29 – whilst the other five abstained.

Norway, Iceland, Denmark, Sweden, New Zealand, Australia, Switzerland, Finland, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Ireland, Austria, Germany, Malta, United Kingdom, Costa Rica, Japan, South Korea, Belgium, Mauritius and Spain – should have all joined the remaining three – Canada, United States and the Czech Republic – who cast a "NO" vote.

Instead they swallowed the following assuring statement by PLO Chairman and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas prior to the vote:
"We did not come here seeking to delegitimize a State established years ago, and that is Israel; rather we came to affirm the legitimacy of the State that must now achieve its independence, and that is Palestine."
It mattered not to their democratic sensitivities that President Abbas was a lapsed president whose term of office had expired in January 2009 – a situation that would never be tolerated in their countries.

It mattered even less that Abbas was purporting to speak on behalf of a territorial entity he did not control – even as a tyrannical despot.

It was of no consequence that Abbas claimed to represent a population that was hopelessly split in its allegiances between the PLO and its arch rival Hamas.

It was irrelevant that no elections had been held for the last six years to give the people any say on which one of these protagonists – or anyone else who might want to throw his hat into the ring – should represent them.

Foolishly they gave Abbas their vote, supporting
"the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and to independence in their State of Palestine on the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967"
Their votes were cast in the full knowledge that they were adding their voices to those who saw nothing dishonourable in jettisoning the Oslo Accords and the Bush Roadmap to the political scrap heap by endorsing the PLO’s unilateral approach to the United Nations in breach of those internationally negotiated agreements.

These democracies were happy to undermine any need for further negotiations to determine the future sovereignty of the territory in dispute between Israel and the Palestinian Authority – effectively limiting any negotiations to when and on what terms 600000 Jews would leave their homes in which they had lived for the last 40 years.

Indignation and shock horror greeted the news that Israel should have the temerity – just three days after their vote – to announce its intention to revive its stalled plans to build 3000 housing units in part of the disputed territory bearing the amorphous title E1 – which these democracies had just determined should be vested in the Palestinian Authority.

This was the catalyst for all diplomatic hell to burst forth.

These democracies did what all good democracies do to show their displeasure at those who treat their decisions with contempt.

Britain, Spain, Sweden and Denmark called in Israel’s Ambassadors and gave them a diplomatic dressing down.

The British Foreign Office issued a statement that the E1 project was a  serious violation that threatened the two-state solution.

Speaking from Papua New Guinea, Australia’s Foreign Minister Senator Carr said the Australian Government had made clear its call to all sides not to exploit or overreact to the vote and called in Israel’s Ambassador to deliver the message.

Senator Carr had reportedly railroaded the wishes of Australia’s Prime Minister who had wanted to cast a "No" vote – forcing its replacement with an abstention after threatening the Cabinet might  demand  a "Yes" vote if his recommendation was not accepted.
"I am extremely disappointed with these reported Israeli decisions.
Australia has long opposed all settlement activity. Such activity threatens the viability of a two-state solution without which there will never be security in Israel. Israel’s reported decision to unfreeze planning of the area known as E1 is especially counter-productive. Australia has also conveyed these concerns to the Israeli authorities in Jerusalem. The Australian Government urges both sides to return urgently to the negotiation table in good faith"
Good faith? Surely the prospect of any such negotiations had already gone out the window when most of  the world’s 104 democracies had voted as they did.

Three days later these democracies received their come uppance when Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal made a triumphant first visit to Gaza.

Addressing a crowd estimated at hundreds of thousands who braved the rain to hear him – Meshaal declared:
"We will never recognize Israel’s occupation of legitimate Palestinian lands, and we will not recognize Israel… Palestine is our land from the Mediterranean Sea to the River Jordan, and we will never give away an inch of it… As long as Palestine is ours and Palestine is the land of Arabism and Islam, we can never recognise the legitimacy of Israel’s occupation of it ....There is no legitimacy for occupation. Hence, there is no legitimacy for Israel, however long time lasts."
The centrepiece of the rally was a huge replica of a type of rocket terrorists from Gaza fired indiscriminately into Israel’s civilian population reaching as far as  Jerusalem and Tel Aviv just a few weeks before the General Assembly vote.

The crowd responded enthusiastically:
“We swear by the name of almighty God and his great Prophet to renew our pledge of allegiance and loyalty to Hamas.”

Have any Palestinian diplomats been called into any foreign capitals and given a dressing down? There are plenty of them working in democratic states representing this Mickey Mouse United Nations “state”.

Has there been any revulsion expressed at the statements made during this rally or any indication that the the flow of billions of dollars into Gaza to assist its baying-for -blood population will cease?

Has Mahmoud Abbas been asked to express his disgust at the rejection by Meshall of the two-state solution laid out by Abbas at the General Assembly just eight days earlier?

These 22 democracies and the other democracies who joined them in voting as they did have done untold harm to resolving the Jewish-Arab conflict. Their subsequent inability to take concerted action following Meshaal’s visit to Gaza is appalling.

And that is just 10 days into the life of this infamous Resolution.

Foreign Minister Carr and the other 21 foreign ministers – where are you hiding, when will you wake up and wipe the egg off your collective faces?'

Tuesday 18 December 2012

Jihadist Declares Christians Must Convert To Islam Or Die (video)

My previous post tells of the British MP and junior minister of Muslim heritage who's warmly praised Israel as the one place in the Middle East that he would want to settle in, along with his Christian wife and young family, were he for some reason compelled to leave his beloved Britain.

Meanwhile, on Egyptian television, a prominent Syria-based  Iraqi jihadist, Ahmad Al Baghdadi Al Hassani, has been insulting Christians ("friends of the Zionists") as "polytheists" and outlining the doom in store for them (including the females of their species) in this world:

(Video: Jewish News One)

British MP Of Muslim Heritage Socks It To The Israel-Haters

"I am a proud, British-born Muslim, and I love my country more than any other place on earth. 

But, if for some reason, I had to leave, with my young family, and I was told that I must go and live in the Middle East, where would I decide to go? 

Would I choose Dubai, with its vibrant city life and soaring skyscrapers? 
Would I choose Saudi Arabia, a fabulously wealthy nation and the birthplace of the holy Prophet Mohammed?
There is only one place I could possibly go: Israel, the only nation in the Middle East that shares the same democratic values as Britain. 
And the only nation in the Middle East where my family would feel the warm embrace of freedom and liberty."
Thus spoke Sajid Javid, MP for Bromsgrove since 2010 and, since September this year, economic secretary to the Treasury, addressing the 700 attendees at a business lunch of Conservative Friends of Israel last week.

Mr Javid, who is married to a Christian, observed: 
"In Britain, we are rightly very proud of our long history as a nation. But we are mere beginners compared to Israel, a nation that is governing itself in the same territory, under the same name, with the same religion, and the same language as it did 3,000 years ago. Now that’s what I call sustainability!
Israel is a country about which almost everyone has a passionate opinion — an opinion which they’re not usually shy about sharing, especially when that opinion is based on total ignorance.
If you want to have any chance of understanding the complexities of the Middle East, you can’t just read about Israel, you have to experience it."
See here and also here

Monday 17 December 2012

Non-Jews Fly The Flag For Israel In South Australia

We see much of Aussie BDSers on videos of their Israel-demonising vigils targeting Max Brenner and Seacret, so it's refreshing to learn of antipodean initiatives on Israel's behalf.  The following guest post by reader Shirlee tells of such a welcome development in Adelaide, and points out that the non-Jews involved deserve support from the Australian Jewish community.

South Australians Supporting Israel
 Shirlee Finn

Here’s a truly inspirational story of a small, newly formed, non-denominational group supporting Israel, started by three people, Ben White, Virginia Snape and Tania Fenwick, who have known one another for a number of years in Adelaide. Virginia has an information blog informing readers about the real situation in Israel. Ben is very involved in informing people about the historical and political truth about the region.

Along with Tania, they often posted comments to one another about issues and happenings in Israel on their Facebook pages. They noted for weeks before Israel actually took action during Operation Pillar of Cloud, that the rocket attacks were increasing and nothing was being said in the media. When the media became obsessed with Israel again, Ben suggested that they started a group and rallied to get support.

Tania has been to Israel and has in her own words
"witnessed the inclusive and multi-cultural society of Israel. I have spent considerable time in Jordan and Israel, mostly in my archaeological pursuits. I am a field archaeologist who has worked with the University of Adelaide, Israeli Antiquities, Associates for Biblical Research and a private contractor. I have a great interest in the history of Israel and find that the archaeological proofs back up that the Jews have indigenous connections to the land.
I have Jewish Israeli and Arab Israeli friends and along with Ben and Virginia are proud supporters of Israel."
A good friend of Tania’s suggested they make contact with the Jewish community. People were interested and supportive. One especially so. Another attended their rally and is now "in touch" with the group.

Tania’s dream was to hold a rally in support of Israel.

She said 
"I ordered posters to be printed and tried to get numbers for a rally, but it was difficult to get solid numbers. I had a lot of maybes, and it took a while to understand the process as none of us had ever been part of a rally like this. I informed the Adelaide City Council and Parliament house and contacted the Police who were very supportive.
Christopher Pyne has indicated that he will attend a future rally, as he is a great supporter of Israel but was unable to attend on that day.
The rally went ahead on 9 December. 13 people attended. Although it was a small group, all were enthusiastic. I gave a speech."
Tania continues
"The rally took place on the steps of Parliament House which is quite busy. The great thing is that we had members of the public who waved and cheered from their cars and many who told us they supported Israel. We handed out flyers and the whole thing was non-confrontational but underpinned that Israel wants peace, but it is impossible when Hamas and others are full of hate and have declared that they will never make peace."
She told me:
"I think our peaceful rally with a clear message said so much and highlighted that Israel wants peace.
I notice a lot of other pro-Israel rallies have done the same and I hope the peaceful sentiments speak louder than the aggression shown on the other side!
It went well - and I think it is a great building base for the future."
Tania told me that she has had many comments about the BDS protestors in Rundle Mall who have spoken about how nasty they are and how they harass everyone. In saying this, she then decided to confront this pro-Palestinian group, who picket the Mall, outside the Seacret Spa shop every Friday.

Brave girl!

She told me the obvious after attempting to engage them in meaningful dialogue: that
"they are utterly clueless and when questioned they know nothing of the real situation. I think they are bullies. I told them they were racist as they would not picket an Israeli Arab company, but by singling out an Israeli Jewish company they are.
We are not political activists, but find the anti-Israel and antisemitic undertones intolerable and feel that voices are needed at this time to support Israel."
One other thing she thought was odd was when she was questioned about what she was doing in Israel. She said
"I told him about being a field archaeologist and then he asked me if I was Jewish or Israeli. When I told him I was neither, he was lost for words - this bloke was a real goose!"
To quote Ben 
"It was cool to see a dream that Tania had several weeks ago turn into reality! Plenty more to come yet from SASI !"
I have become quite involved with this group and feel they merit some support from the Jewish community in South Australia. I’ll make contact with the community there. I do know someone personally I can contact. I have also had the offer of support from someone here, who will go down to Adelaide in February to offer any assistance he can.

I have followed the pro-Palestinian group there who are very active, for a couple of years now and who run totally unchecked without opposition. Now we have a group of people prepared to stand up and be counted and should be able to count on us for some support.

My question now is there anyone out there that can help in any way please? The South Australian Jewish community is small, and I doubt they have the finances to fund speakers to go there. We have plenty of educational courses here but they have nothing. I am open to suggestion as to what way we can help.

Daphne [daphnedotansonatgmaildotcom] has my permission to pass on my contact details, for those who’d like to help somehow. Thanks

Sunday 16 December 2012

The BBC Not Biased Against Israel, Claims Jeremy Bowen

The BBC's "Middle East editor" Jeremy Bowen has been answering questions on Twitter again.

This time he was gracious enough to hold his hour-long Q&A session yesterday, not (as last time) on a day when observant Jews would be unable to participate.

Question from @24_Humza: Why is there lack of media coverage in regards to Israeli settlement buildings? seems to have disappeared now.
Jeremy answers: It comes in fits and starts. Issue doesn't change much and Middle East busy so settlements can't always be in spotlight. Israel Palestinian conflict still fundamental issue in Middle East and will make many more headlines, as Gaza crisis showed

Question from @cruachan8520: What and where has been your scariest moment?
Jeremy answers: Scariest place ever was Grozny winter of 1994/5. Worst day was when Israelis killed BBC fixer in Lebanon in 2000.

Question from @JackMendel4: Do you think a two-state solution is still a viable option?
Jeremy answers: Two-state solution viable if both sides want it. Hamas and Israeli government showing signs they don't.

And what of Fatah's attitude, given its new logo (seen above)?

Alas, Jezza doesn't tell us.

Here's a corker:

Question from @carolshorenye: BBC reports seem critical of Israel. Does the BBC recognise this bias and want to report more neutrally?
Jeremy answers: I don't think BBC is biased against Israel. Sometimes our reporting makes Israel's supporters uncomfortable

I've drawn the quoted comments above from the selection that the BBC has provided here

On his Twitter account itself we find this message:

Oliver Kamm ‏@OliverKamm@carolshorenye I agree with @BowenBBC. I am a columnist for the Jewish Chronicle. Don't recognise the complaint of anti-Israel bias at BBC.

Mr Kamm, it seems reasonable to point out, leans, like the prevailing ethos of the BBC, very much to the liberal left.  And according to his Wikipedia entry his mother is the sister of a famous former BBC journalist, none other than "the man in the white suit," Martin Bell.

Update: Here's Bowen reliving that "worst day" of his life; that incident introduces that video and there is a great deal about it later in the video:

Friday 14 December 2012

Antisemitic Cartoons Published In Canadian Arabic Newspaper (video)

The Toronto newspaper in question supports Hamas, as the following video demonstrates.

(Hat tip: reader Shirlee)

Arguing For Jerusalem Undivided

"Isn't it ironic that many in Europe who recently celebrated 25 years of the reunification of Berlin are at the same time calling for the division of another capital on another continent?....

Now more than ever, Israel and Jerusalem need real friends and real leaders. The threat we face now isn't from foreign invaders, but rather from international diplomats seeking to locate a simple but incorrect solution to the complex relationship between Israel and the Palestinians. As far as Jerusalem is concerned, we must recall that no divided city in history has ever succeeded."

Thus (having noted the Jewish People's three-millenia-long ties to the golden city)  writes Nir Barkat, the mayor of Jerusalem, in the Wall Street Journal this week.
'In 1967, Israel reunified its capital, Jerusalem, which had been divided between Israeli and Jordanian control since the Jewish state's founding in 1948. Since then the city has maintained freedom of access, movement and religion. Peace-seeking pilgrims of all faiths can again visit the holy places without limitation or restriction. Tourism to Jerusalem is thriving, as is the city's economy, and its per capita crime rate is among the world's lowest....
By 2030, the city's population will expand to one million residents from 800,000 today (33% Muslim, 2% Christian and 65% Jewish). Where does the world suggest we put these extra 200,000 residents? The expansion of Jerusalem's residential areas is essential for the natural growth of all segments of our population. It enables Jewish and Arab families alike to grow and remain in the city. The capital of a sovereign nation cannot be expected to freeze growth rather than provide housing to families of all faiths eager to make their lives there.
As for "E-1," this land has always been considered the natural site for the expansion of contiguous neighborhoods of metropolitan Jerusalem. "E-1" strengthens Jerusalem. It does not impede peace in our region. The international alarm about planned construction is based solely on the misplaced dreams of the Palestinians and their supporters for a divided Jerusalem.
Jerusalem has been and forever will be the heart and soul of the Jewish people. It is also the united and undivided capital of the state of Israel. The Jewish people and the Jewish state have a bumpy road ahead. We appreciate the support of our friends, and only through continued bold leadership at home—leadership willing to stand up to pressure from foreign capitals—will we get through this challenging time.'

Thursday 13 December 2012

"A Symptom Of A Nation That Is Becoming Unglued" (video)
Daniel Mayer (1909-96) was a French Jew of socialist principles who played a distinguished part in the Resistance and from 1958-75 headed the Ligue des droits de l'homme.

A fortnight ago (19th-20th November), evidently in revenge for Operation Pillar of Cloud (Defence) by Israel, pupils at a Jewish lycée named after him in the Paris suburb of Montreuil, and run by the education charity ORT, were viciously attacked or otherwise threatened in three separate incidents.

They are described, in French, here.

In the first incident, on the 19th, a group of pupils near the school were set upon by six assailants, who struck without warning, leaving one boy with a broken nose and smashed tooth and subjecting his three companions to lesser injuries.

In a sinister development that same day a man, identifying himself as a Muslim, was encountered on school premises by security guards, who gave chase but failed to catch him.

The following day, a 17-year-old girl who attends the school was waiting for a friend at a nearby Métro station when she was manhandled and verbally sexually harassed by five men (described as "nord-africains"), one of whom wore a keffiyeh.

When the anguished teenager, shoved, cried out, one of the attackers told her:
"Tais-toi ou bien on va te jeter sur les rails et te faire comme à Gaza ! [Shut up or we'll throw you on the track and make you like Gaza!]"
These incidents were only the latest in a number of such episodes at Jewish schools and other Jewish properties in France, but, as with such episodes elsewhere, we're unlikely to be told about them in the mainstream English-language press, and especially not in leftist outlets such as the BBC.

It is in response to Islamic antisemitism in France that aliya  to Israel by French Jews is on the rise.  (See, for example, here)

And it is in response to perceptions that France is becoming islamified that an organisation of young people, calling themselves Generation Identitaire, as this video indicates.

Also appearing in it is the writer Renaud Camus, very much their elder, whose book Le Grand Remplacement encapsulates how theiy feel (incidentally,it has been claimed in the past that Camus is an antisemite, but I am unable to assess the veracity or otherwise of that).

Read more here 

Wednesday 12 December 2012

"How Will I Explain This On The Steps Of The Mosque At Lakemba?": Australian Foreign Minister Carr's Stance On Israel Condemned

Today's Sydney Daily Telegraph (12 December, Aussie time) carries an exclusive column by the prominent Labor federal politician Michael Danby, chairperson of the Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence.

Danby, at one stage of his career the only Jew in federal Parliament, is (like Foreign Minister Bob Carr, once considered friendly towards Israel) a leading figure on the Right of his party (the ALP), and has been a pro-Israel advocate since his student days.

In his column he condemns what he sees as Carr's manipulative betrayal of Israel, which, he claims involved Carr ringing around keyparty  figures to ensure that pro-Israel Prime Minister Julia Gillard (pictured, with Bibi Netanyahu) was undermined.

Writes Danby, inter alia:
"As NSW premier he [Carr, in 2003] awarded the Sydney Peace Prize to Palestinian ideologue Hanan Ashrawi. As the only major figure in the Australian Jewish community to defend his actions, I used the Voltaire argument, namely his right to say things with which others disagreed.... 
Parliament last month saw a switch in Australia's stance at the UN creation of a Palestinian state after Julia Gillard's pro-Israel position was challenged and then overturned by Carr and others....
Some caucus members worry about every Palestinian - who is, by aid dollars per capita, the most highly subsidised minority in the world, including $350 million of Australian taxpayer funds.
By contrast, poor gentle Tibet gets little sympathy. More than 80 Tibetans have burned themselves to death in the past 18 months as a result of Chinese oppression.
Tibetans launch terrorist attacks on no one. They acquire no Iranian missiles to attack Chinese cities; they strap on no suicide vests to blow up no children on school buses.
Yet the Tibetans can't get a meeting with our Foreign Minister and they don't get a dollar from the UN.
We avert our eyes when a real power like China crushes under its boot an ancient people like the Tibetans. Yet our Foreign Minister asks of the Palestinian vote at the UN: "How will I explain this on the steps of the mosque at Lakemba?"
Nor are there any caucus resolutions over the 200,000 in the living death of North Korean concentration camps or the 300,000 African Muslims of Darfur butchered by their Islamist government in Sudan.
But the ostensible, domestic motivations for our changed vote are the most troubling aspect of the debate inside the Labor Party during the final week of parliament. It is self-defeating to suggest, as was widely claimed, that voters in western Sydney (who swung against the NSW Labor Party by 30-40 per cent at the last state election) will be influenced by votes at the UN.
Corruption at the heart of both the Left and Right of NSW Labor and the clear lack of infrastructure, particularly in western Sydney, are the real turn-off in Sydney seats. Phoning around, then speaking on the matter and ultimately threatening to speak against the Prime Minister is unforgivable behaviour for any minister in any cabinet government...."
Read the entire article here (hat tip: reader Shirlee)

In a recent column in the Jerusalem Post, the internationally-known and widely respected Jewish leader Isi Leibler, for a quarter of a century the dominant figure in the Australian Jewish community until he made aliya over a dozen years ago, also condemns Bob Carr's position, contrasting it with the demonstrated pro-Israel stance of almost all Australian federal administrations (regardless of party) down the years.

Explains Leibler, with justification:
"Much of this historical bipartisanship can be attributed to a vigorous Jewish community, renowned as being one of the most vibrant Zionist communities in the Diaspora. Its leadership has never failed, to speak upand take a principled stand on behalf of Israel when appropriate."
Of Carr, he writes in part:
"On a few recent occasions, votes by Australia at the UN appeared to deviate from the norm, but this was rationalized as temporary pandering to the Arabs to solicit votes for elections to the Security Council.
The dramatic tilt against Israel was spearheaded by Foreign Minister Bob Carr who exerted enormous pressure on the Labor caucus and compelled Prime Minister Gillard to backtrack from her decision to oppose the Palestinian initiative. Had she not complied, she would have been humiliatingly defeated and possibly toppled as Prime Minister. 
Carr was vigorously supported by former Labor Prime Minister Bob Hawke, at one time one of Israel’s greatest supporters, notorious (whilst inebriated) for having called on Israel to “nuke” the Palestinians if they failed to halt the terror. Hawke was intimately connected to Israel’s Labor leaders but after Menahem Begin was elected Prime Minister in 1977, he changed his views and today regards Israel as “intransigent”. He was supported by another veteran Labor politician, former Foreign Minister Gareth Evans, who since retiring from government has been consistently canvassing the Arab cause. Both fervently lobbied Labor ministers to repudiate Gillard’s policy....
Carr visited Israel in August this year meeting Israeli and Palestinian leaders including Ashrawi.
 On his return to Australia, he raised eyebrows when he dispatched a delegation to Iran to solicit votes for Australia’s UN Security Council candidature. There were also unconfirmed rumors circulating that undertakings were made to the Arabs in return for their support.
His backing of Israel during the Gaza campaign was lukewarm. In the Senate, he made the astonishing statement:  “Any response by Israel needs to be proportionate and not lead to civilian casualties. We have on more than a dozen occasions called on both sides to exercise restraint”.
Setting aside the moral equivalence inherent in this remark, he was effectively demanding that Israel – which more than any army in history goes out of its way to minimize civilian casualties – take no action to defend its citizens from missile attacks.
He was even more forthcoming after the UN vote when he proclaimed “I don’t apologize for the fact that Australia has interests in the Arab world. If we had voted no, that would have been a body blow to our interests in over 20 countries. The truth is they all see this as a bedrock issue.” He also dismissed suggestions that the Palestinians intended to exploit their new observer status to initiate charges of war crimes against Israel at the International Criminal Court.
Carr’s change of policy was confirmed when he joined the European bandwagon and hauled Israel’s Ambassador to Australia, Yuval Rotem over the coals following Israel’s decision to build homes in the Jerusalem suburbs and adjacent areas – which the Bush Administration had agreed should remain within Israel....
 [U]nless Gillard succeeds in persuading the Labor Party caucus to change its approach, in the short term Israel should not expect support from Australia under Foreign Minister Carr. Like many of our European “friends”, Carr may continue insisting that his motivations are based upon having the Jewish state’s security at heart and trying to save Israel from itself. But when the chips are down, he will abandon us as he did at the UN General Assembly.""
A recent scene in Sydney
Leibler also notes a salient demographic factor:
"With close to 500,000 Moslems now living in Australia, many concentrated in key Labor Party electorates, their influence has impacted on a number of Labor Ministers. Combined with the vehement anti-Israeli orientation of the far left Labor factions, this enabled Carr to persuade the Cabinet to tilt its policy against Israel."
(The number of Jews in Australia is around 100,000.)

Incidentally, the results of Britain's 2011 Census were announced today.

Of potential relevance to the way politicians react to issues affecting Israel, that Census shows that there are 263,000 declared Jews – and 2.7 million Muslims.