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)

Tuesday 30 June 2015

"A War By Other Means": Aussie Academic Philip Mendes Chats About BDS (video)

In this brief interview with Henry Greener, left-leaning Australian academic Dr Philip Mendes, co-author of the newly published book Boycotting Israel is Wrong (which as Mendes notes is aimed at "the moderate Left" and offers a "progressive" solution to the conflict) talks about BDS.  (The Peter Slezak mentioned in the video is an Israel-bashing Sydney academic, not to be confused with a Sydney medico of the identical name; Michael Danby, also mentioned, is a staunchly and famously pro-Israel Labor federal MP.)

Monday 29 June 2015

Bibi's Message To Marianne: "Welcome to Israel. You seem to have gotten lost ..."

With Israel's peaceful interception early on Monday about 100 nautical miles off Gaza of  the Marianne of Gothenburg, lead vessel of the anti-Israel stunt called Freedom Flotilla III, now expected to be taken into Ashdod, the skipper of the vessel, like several sailing mates, has issued a prerecorded SOS.  [Update: more on this here]

The burden of their message is reflected in this whinge from the flotillaristas.

 And then there's this:

The true state of affairs has been well articulated by Bibi Netanyahu:
“I would like to commend the sailors and commanders of the Israel Navy for their determined and efficient action in detaining the passengers on the ship that tried to reach the Gaza coast in contravention of the law. This flotilla is nothing but a demonstration of hypocrisy and lies that is only assisting the Hamas terrorist organization and ignores all of the horrors in our region. Preventing entry by sea was done in accordance with international law and even received backing from a committee of the UN Secretary General. [Emphasis added, here and below]
 Israel is the only democracy that defends itself in accordance with international law. We are not prepared to accept the entry of war materiel to the terrorist organizations in Gaza as has been done by sea in the past. Just last year we foiled an attempt to smuggle by sea hundreds of weapons that were destined for use in attacks against Israel’s citizens.
There is no siege on Gaza. Israel assists in transferring goods and humanitarian equipment to Gaza – approximately 800 trucks a day that have recently brought into Gaza more than 1.6 million tons of goods. Moreover, Israel assists in hundreds of humanitarian projects, through international organizations, including the building of clinics and hospitals.
Israel is a state that seeks peace and acts in accordance with international law so that the residents of Gaza might have safe lives and their children may grow up in peace and quiet.”
And as he informed the thwarted sailors in a written message: 
“Welcome to Israel,
You seem to have gotten lost. Perhaps you meant to sail to a place not far from here – Syria, where Assad’s army is slaughtering its people every day, and is supported by the murderous Iranian regime.
Here in Israel we face a reality in which terrorist organizations like Hamas try to kill innocent civilians. We defend our citizens against these attempts in accordance with international law.
 Despite this, Israel transports goods and humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip – up to 800 trucks a day. In the past year we enabled the entry of over 1.6 million tons of products, an average of one ton per person in the Gaza Strip. By the way, these supplies are equivalent to 500,000 boats like the one you came in on today.
Israel provides assistance to hundreds of humanitarian projects through international organizations, including the building of clinics and hospitals.
However, we will not allow the terrorist organisations to transfer weapons into the Gaza Strip by sea. Only one year ago, we thwarted an attempt to smuggle hundreds of weapons into the Gaza Strip by ship. These weapons were meant to target innocent Israeli civilians.
There is no siege on the Gaza Strip, and you are welcome to transfer any humanitarian supplies for the Gaza Strip through Israel.
Barring the entrance of boats and ships into the Gaza Strip is in accordance with international law, and was even backed by a committee commissioned by the United Nations Secretary General.
If you were truly concerned about human rights, you would not be sailing in support of a terrorist regime which summarily executes citizens in the Gaza Strip, and uses children as human shields.
If you were to travel around in Israel, you would see for yourself that the only stable democracy in the Middle East guarantees equality for all its citizens and freedom of worship for members of all religions; it is a country that upholds international law so that its people can live in safety and its children grow up in peace and quiet.”

Saturday 27 June 2015

Breaking Bread The Odd Couple Way

The road to Hell, the old adage goes, is paved with good intentions.

And so it was that, some years ago, a Reform ("Progressive") rabbi here in Australia held a model seder to which members of the Muslim community were invited.

The trouble was that, in order not to offend his Muslim guests, the rabbi omitted a crucial bit of the Haggadah: the bit that goes "Next year in Jerusalem!"


And so it was, too, more recently, that Australia's largest Reform  ("Progressive") congregation held an ecumenical concert which, as described here, included some very dodgy guests indeed.

Yes, that "little knowledge" which is "a dangerous thing" can be a trap for the naive and the unwary.

Reform Jews decry the lack of female equality in Halakhah and in Orthodox (never mind ultra-Orthodox) congregations and Batei Din (rabbinical courts).

Reform Jews support the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered community, perform same-sex marriages, and deride anybody who takes what might be termed a "traditional Torah-true" view of sexual relations between two men as homophobic.

So there's something I don't get about this.

I mean, it's all nice and cosy and commendable and all, but what I don't get is why Reform shuls, which profess to champion women's rights and have female rabbis (like Lord Janner's daughter herself) are swift to "break bread" with adherents of a religion which is manifestly not an equal opportunity employer when it comes to gender issues and which emphatically does not condone homosexuality.

And how (I fear the answer) do they approach the issue of Israel and Zionism?

Meanwhile, here in Oz, consternation in some quarters over this article by a Muslim captain in the Royal Australian Navy.

Perhaps it's not too hard to guess what this Australian scholar of Islam would make of it all.

 (Be sure to read this interview with the British-born American-based Muslim physician Dr Qanta Ahmed regarding Israel; it's a cracker!)

Thursday 25 June 2015

European Union Risks “Jew-hater” Label: David Singer
Here is the latest article by Sydney lawyer and international affairs analyst David Singer.

He writes:

The European Union (EU) runs the risk of being labelled “Jew-hater” – should it proceed with its plans requiring supermarkets and other retailers to label products made by Jews in Judea and Samaria (West Bank) differently from those made by Jews in Israel.

No matter what spin the EU uses to justify any such discriminatory labelling – the EU will be seen to be actively supporting the 2005 Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel – whose manifesto states:
“We, representatives of Palestinian civil society, call upon international civil society organizations and people of conscience all over the world to impose broad boycotts and implement divestment initiatives against Israel … We appeal to you to pressure your respective states to impose embargoes and sanctions against Israel …” 
“These non-violent punitive measures should be maintained until Israel meets its obligation to recognize the Palestinian people’s inalienable right to self-determination and fully complies with the precepts of international law by:
1. Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall 
2. Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and
3. Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194.”
The BDS campaign regards the ending of all trade and economic relations with Jews living in Judea and Samaria as just the “first step” in its campaign of racial vilification, denigration and delegitimisation designed to ultimately dismantle the Jewish State.

The EU appears to be readying itself to help the BDS campaign achieve this “first step” – as the foreign ministers of 16 of the EU’s 28 member states have urged EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini to introduce the labelling regulations – stating in a letter dated 16 April that they: 
“remain of the view that this is an important step in the full implementation of EU longstanding policy, in relation to the preservation of the two-state solution. The continued expansion of Israeli illegal settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, and other territories occupied by Israel since 1967 threatens the prospect of a just and final peace agreement.”
These foreign ministers conveniently ignore that:
1. The two-state solution – as contemplated by the Oslo Accords and the Bush Roadmap – is dead and buried after fruitless negotiations and rejected Israeli offers made during the past 20 years have all come to nought. Any hope of peacefully resolving the competing territorial claims of both Jews and Arabs to Judea and Samaria under these negotiating parameters is a figment of the EU’s imagination.
2. The Palestinian Authority – Israel’s negotiating partner under Oslo and the Roadmap – no longer exists, having been disbanded by decree of Mahmoud Abbas on 3 January 2013.
 3. Earlier two-state solutions were rejected by the Arabs:
(i) when that result could have been achieved with the stroke of an Arab League pen at any time between 1948-1967 or
(ii) when previously proposed by:
(a) Britain in 1923
(b) the Peel Commission in 1937
(c) the United Nations in 1947
4. Jews are residing legally in Judea and Samaria pursuant to the rights vested in the Jewish people under Article 6 of the Mandate for Palestine and Article 80 of the United Nations Charter.
The EU labelling diktat – if it proceeds – will have very little economic effect.

Such EU action will however align the EU squarely with those BDS racists and Jew-haters who continue to drool at the prospect of Israel being replaced by another Arab and Islamic State.

The EU will indeed merit the “Jew-hater” tag  – should its ill-considered and misconceived labelling action proceed.

Wednesday 24 June 2015

Wicked Way Won: BRISMES & BDS

In my previous post I wondered whether the Israel-haters demanding that BDS be placed on the agenda of the BRISMES conference this week at the London School of Economics would get their wicked way.

Guess what?  They have.

Here's the lowdown:

Panel 6e. BDS and Political Mobilization

Chair: Paul Kelemen

[For his take on the Left and Zionism, in a talk to the Modern History Group at the University of Sheffield, see the video here; the first few minutes of this 58 minute footage will probably suffice for most people]

 The BDS Movement and the Question of Radical Democracy
John Chalcraft, LSE

This paper focuses on the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement for Palestinian rights. The movement arose in Israel/Palestine in the wake of the failure of the Oslo Process in the early 2000s and has since attracted increasing support and publicity translocally. It has been characterized by its critics as an “anti-Semitic poison pill” (Brackman). By contrast, this inter-disciplinary paper, drawing on desk-based research, activist archives, and extensive participant observation, explores the radically democratic characteristics of the movement. Treating the movement as an instance of contentious mobilisation, the paper compares BDS activism with other networked, horizontalist, diverse, de-centralized and translocal movements that have emerged in and out of the region since the 1990s in a period of globalisation. The primary goal is ontological: how can we best characterise this mobilising project, with its identities, principles, and goals on the one hand, and its repertoires of contention (organization, strategies and tactics) on the other? The aim is to compare and contrast this mobilising project with both democratic-diverse and anti-democratic-essentialist forms of activism. The paper argues that the radically democratic characteristics of the BDS movement deserve recognition, while maintaining, against the conventional wisdom, that even in highly-networked and seemingly horizontal activism, leadership, strategic interventions, structure, coordination, mobilisation, and well-defined ends play important roles. The paper also draws out homologies between the BDS movement and other democratic movements of recent origin in the region. The paper contributes to debates about what it means to speak of anti-doctrinal and anti-hierarchical forms of contemporary organizing, while developing our understanding of a movement that is playing an increasingly important role on the regional and international scene.

BDS and the Politics of Academic Research
Lori Allen, SOAS, University of London

In her essay “Lying and Politics,” Hannah Arendt proclaimed that the truth-teller necessarily forfeits his position and the validity of what he has to say if he tries to interfere directly in political affairs. In this paper I will argue that such a balancing scale, in which any weight on the politics side lightens the gravitas on the truth side, must be questioned. Much of the world wants their scholarship courteous, their scholars impartial, independent, objective, and a-political. Many people tend to mistakenly equate those things. This is tantamount to asking scholars to renounce their citizenship at the door of the ivory tower. The expectation that scholars and scholarship should be free of politics as a pre-requisite for research validity is itself a political imposition. In this paper I reflect on the various ways in which these kinds of arguments about the necessarily a-political nature of “valid” scholarship are mobilized by those seeking to thwart the BDS campaign for Palestinian rights. Ultimately, this paper argues that research on Palestinian society and the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is political, can be political, and should be political. The challenge is to maintain the wider credibility and authority of our scholarship, which is really the only way of ensuring its political, public relevance.

Comparing the Academic Boycott of Israel in Britain and the United States
Suzanne Morrison, LSE [who won this prize]

The Palestinian call for an academic boycott of Israel asks academics and cultural workers around the world to boycott Israeli academic and cultural institutions in support of the Palestinian struggle. This paper critically investigates the conditions under which academic boycotts of Israel have taken shape in Britain and the United States. In particular, this paper compares how debates and motions passed in British academic unions have been instrumental to the development of an academic boycott in Britain, whereas in the US, academic associations have played a key role. This comparative case study seeks to illustrate two examples of organizing for academic boycotts against Israel to determine how the movement has developed across borders. This paper argues that context-specific political environments and activist organizational dynamics have required differing strategies for achieving campaign goals, thereby contributing to the broader movement’s capacity for organizational flexibility and hybridity. In considering academic boycotts of Israel in Britain and the United States, this paper sheds light on the movement’s organizational structure and processes, and supplements existing literature on the contemporary dynamics of border-crossing social movements.

The Meaning of BDS in the History of Palestinian Struggle
Gilbert Achcar, SOAS [who will need no introduction to readers of Richard Millett's blog]

This paper will explore the meaning of BDS in the history of Palestinian liberation strategies. The post-1948 period of reliance on Arab states for the recovery of Palestinian territory by war came to an abrupt end with the Arab defeat in June 1967. The changing strategic conditions of the Arab-Israeli conflict meant that the prospect of a victory over Israel in a military confrontation with Arab states became obsolete. Far from disproving this fact, the October 1973 war fully confirmed it. The 1967 Arab defeat was followed by an illusory strategy of Palestinian “people’s liberation war” that took Algeria as its model. In turn, this strategy was dealt a mortal blow with the defeat of the Palestinian armed movement in Jordan in 1970, only to open the door gradually to a strategy of diplomatic pressure on Israel led by Arab oil monarchies. The latter was no less illusory. The Palestinian Intifada of 1988 showed the possibility and efficiency of another much more realistic strategy, one in which the Palestinians would counter Israel’s crushing military superiority by appropriate means of popular struggle. However, it lacked then an accompaniment on the strategically indispensable level of international pressure. The Intifada was thus co-opted by the PLO for its diplomatic strategy, the failure of which is more blatant than ever nowadays. BDS is the accompaniment that was missing in 1988. It now needs to link up again with a popular Intifada on the model of that of 1988.

Source here
Hat tip: E.B.

Meanwhile, more mischief from the PSC:

Tuesday 23 June 2015

BRISMES & BDS: The desperate cry of the broken-hearted

Remember Frances Guy (pictured left, head covered dhimmi-style, with the extremist sheikh she admired)?  If not, my posts here and here and here and here should refresh your memory.

The former FCO diplomat is now head of  Middle East region at Christian Aid as well as president of BRISMES (the British Society for Middle Eastern Studies).  To quote the latter's self-description:
'Founded in 1973, BRISMES is the UK’s premier higher education umbrella organisation for MENA [Middle East and North Africa] studies, embracing all the top universities in the UK to promote the study of all aspects of the region.
Sponsorship and corporate and individual membership of BRISMES has long facilitated access and exposure to the best academics, emerging scholars and substantive research in the field.
This is, if anything, even more important in today’s world than it has been historically. The MENA region remains one of the most complex and volatile parts of the world – as well as being of major strategic and economic importance to the United Kingdom. A better understanding of the dynamics and tensions underlying its political and economic situation is essential not only in its own right but also to the analysis and understanding of wider global questions.'
This week (24-26 June), BRISMES is holding a conference at the London School of Economics on the theme "Liberation".  The Conference program and list of speakers is available here.

It would appear that BDS in the form of the Academic Boycott  is off the agenda at the conference, and certain individuals are distinctly unhappy, to judge from what anti-Israel activists (for instance here) have been posting on Facebook:

 I wonder whether the desperados will get their wicked way.

(Update next post)

Monday 22 June 2015

Will Shurat Sink Sweden's Ship To Gaza?

Marianne's farewell from a Gothenburg quay
It seems the fishing vessel Marianne of Gothenburg, leading this year's flotilla to Gaza stunt, may be heading for a scuppering.

According to a press release just issued in Tel Aviv:
'The Israeli civil rights group, Shurat HaDin-Israel Law Center, has sent a warning letter demanding that the Swedish bank Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken (SEB) cease in providing financial services to Free Gaza and Ships to Gaza, which are helping to arrange a flotilla to breach Israel's lawful naval blockade of the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.
In particular, SEB holds a maritime lien on the Marianne of Gothenburg, the lead ship in the planned Gaza flotilla. The bank issued a mortgage to the owner of the boat, Charles Bertel Andreasson, a veteran anti-Israel provocateur who has engaged in illegal efforts against the Jewish State in the past.
In a letter to SEB's president and group chief executive, Annika Falkengren, Shurat HaDin's president, Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, made clear that the flotilla ship might be destroyed or confiscated by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and that the Stockholm-based bank is at serious risk of losing its collateral: the boat.
"Additionally, SEB may itself face legal sanction if it continues to provide financial services to Mr. Andreasson and his associates because they provide material support to Hamas, a designated terrorist organization," Ms. Darshan-Leitner said in the letter.
In the coming days, the Marianne of Gothenburg and other ships have announced they plan to attempt to run the Israeli blockade of Gaza and enter into a battle on the seas with the IDF.
This is not [Andreasson's] first attempt to do so," Ms. Darshan-Leitner said in the letter. "On May 31, 2010, a naval flotilla sponsored by persons affiliated with [him] violated Israel’s coastal blockade of the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. The ensuing confrontation with the IDF resulted in the deaths of nine armed terrorists and serious injury to several Israeli soldiers."
"Violation of a lawful naval blockade subjects the violating vessel to forcible seizure. It may be lawfully attacked and potentially damaged or destroyed," Ms. Darshan-Leitner said, citing the San Remo Manual on International Law Applicable to Armed Conflicts at Sea, 12 June 1994, para. 67.
And "Israel’s naval blockade of the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip is lawful," she said, referencing Sir George Palmer, Report of the Secretary General’s Panel of Inquiry on the 31 May 2010 Flotilla Incident (September 2011).
"Please be therefore advised of the significant potential for SEB to lose its collateral in consequence of the mortgagor’s intended unlawful activity," she said.
In addition, Ms. Darshan-Leitner said in the letter, "as a bank also operating in the United States, SEB is subject to American criminal law." U.S. law prohibits U.S. entities from providing support to those who engage in hostile acts against friendly foreign nations.
"Any activity that assists or facilitates this hostile naval expedition, including the provision of financial services to it, could constitute a violation of United States criminal law," she said.
More broadly, she said, "numerous banking and financial institutions that provided financial services and wire transfers to front-charities affiliated with terrorist organizations have been successfully sued by terror victims and their families for aiding and abetting Palestinian terrorism."
And she pointed out in the letter that Swedish law prohibits Swedish citizens from undertaking hostile acts against one foreign power on behalf of another. "Since Sweden has recognized `the State of Palestine' as a foreign power, persons subject to the Swedish crown may not engage in hostile acts on behalf of the de facto government of a portion of this `state' in its conflict with Israel," she said in the letter.
"If SEB knowingly provides financial services to Mr. Andreasson in support of his effort to violate Swedish law, SEB may face criminal and civil liability in consequence of that assistance," she said.'
(Hat tip: Y.M., J.H.)

While we're on the subject of Sweden, check out this punch-packing politically incorrect video below.

"Sweden belongs to the immigrants and not the native population".  That's just one of the whacko quotes from politicians in "Absurdistan" noted by this young, funny, and articulate Swedish vlogger, who arrived in Sweden from Bosnia when he was five, and deplores the lack of integration of most immigrants, the encouragement of cultural diversity and the denigration of indigenous Swedes and Swedish culture by leftist politicians including female ones.

"Sweden is what Tumblr would look like if it was a country" he notes.

Sweden has the largest number of rapes per capita than any other European nation, but nobody is allowed to suggest that this is due to immigrants from misogynistic cultures because to do so is racist.

The plight of Swedish Jewry owing to Islamic hate crime is considered from 4:59

Could it be that Sweden, neutral during the Second World War, is over-compensating for its failure materially to fight the Nazis by its present self-destroying attitude?

For a recent article by unblinkered politically incorrect Swedes on their culturally imperilled country as the rape capital of Europe and the ("pro-feminist") Left's despicable attitude see here

Saturday 20 June 2015

"Great Foreign Correspondents" (Cough, Splutter, Guffaw)

The impression given by his main photo on Twitter, which shows him in his old stomping ground, suggests strongly that the BBC's Jon Donnison has never reconciled himself to being sent from Gaza to this Land Down Under.

However, Australia's tough attitude towards illegal immigrants (whom the Green-Left and leftist media outlets including the ABC invariably term "asylum seekers") appears to have seized his imagination, to judge by the number of (left-leaning) tweets he's made about that topic recently.

Not for Donno an even-handed approach which explores the argument that most of these people being brought to Australia by people smugglers are not genuine asylum-seekers but economic migrants attempting to jump the queue of persons who have applied to settle here via legal channels.

Oh dear, no.

So it must have been with a great effort of will that when Donno finally got round to reporting the issue for his employer, he was relatively restrained: the two elderly ladies drinking their white wine spritzers in his local pub strike me as decidedly dodgy, though, the antipodean equivalents of those unnamed individuals whose opinions (neatly supporting the reporter's agenda) just happen to pepper many an Al Beeb report from Israel and the disputed territories.

Donno's apparent frustration at wanting to condemn the Australian government's policy towards the "asylum seekers" as he has on Twitter lurks between the lines.

 Like the rest of the Al Beeb crew, Donno seldom seems to venture outside the ABC/Guardian/Ha'aretz universe that reflects and bolsters his own notions, and when he does it's only to deride or deplore the opinions he finds expressed.

So notoriously biased and partisan were Donno's reports from Gaza that when I saw this brief video (admittedly not one of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs' most inspired) I wondered whether he recognised himself.

Yep.  I reckon there's at least the smidgeon of a suggestion that he does.

Here's the tweet from Dalia Hatuqa, regarding the Foreign Press Association's jaundiced view of the video:

As for Al Beeb's incorrigible bias, many readers will have seen that Tzipi Livni kept her cool last week during a hectoring interview by the BBC's Evan Davis.

With honourable exceptions, the Beeboids (as one site that monitors BBC bias terms the BBC's employees) seem to think that they have an obligation and a right to behave in the mould described by one of their number, Andrew Marr, infamous among those of us who deplore the BBC's disgraceful disregard for the objectivity incumbent upon it by its Charter for breezily observing
"The BBC is not impartial or neutral. It's a publicly funded, urban organisation with an abnormally large number of young people, ethnic minorities, and gay people. It has a liberal bias, not so much a party-political bias. It is better expressed as a cultural liberal bias"
 (On his youthful far left background see here.)

 In his book My Trade (2004) which characterises the grotesquely partisan Orla Guerin and John Pilger as
 "great foreign correspondents" 
and suggests approvingly that  
"Perhaps it is because the anti-establishment instinct of the outsider is more useful than the sense of security enjoyed by a middle-class Briton"
Marr cheerily calls The Guardian's egregious Michael Adams (who became executive director of CAABU, the vociferously anti-Israel pressure group Council for the Advancement of Arab-British Understanding)
"Another pioneer of the politically engaged foreign correspondent"
and dwells enthusiastically on Adams's anti-Israel reportage and on his criticism of the "pro-Israel lobby".

See the extract here

However, the scandal whereby the BBC Trust is empowered to decide allegations of bias in-house may soon be a thing of the past.  Read all about this breaking development here

Thursday 18 June 2015

"The BDS Hoax is set to Swallow Many More Well-intended People into its Jew-hating Vortex" warns David Singer

I've blogged quite a bit this week about BDS, and have been recommending to anyone who will listen Douglas Murray's characteristically superb article here

In this, his latest article, and a must-read piece, Sydney lawyer and international affairs analyst David Singer continues the theme of BDS, and as his title shows ("BDS – Sinister Hoax With Genocidal Objective") he's pulling no punches.

He writes:

The Boycott Divestment and Sanctions campaign (BDS) instituted in 2005 by “Palestinian civil Society” against Israel and its civil society continues to attract people from all around the world – including Jews and Israeli Arabs – who support the campaign without realising its genocidal objective.

The BDS manifesto makes clear that its punitive measures are to be pursued until Israel ends
“its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands”

These are code words effectively calling for Israel’s destruction since:
1. According to the PLO: Israel is the homeland of the Arab Palestinian people; it is an indivisible part of the Arab home land, and the Palestinian people are an integral part of the Arab nation. 
2. According to Hamas: Israel is an Islamic Waqf throughout the generations and until the Day of Resurrection, no one can renounce it or part of it, or abandon it or part of it.
Those who have:
(i) boycotted theatre performances by Israeli groups in Barcelona,
(ii) stripped supermarket shelves of Israeli food products in London,
(iii) marched in South Africa to protest Woolworths stocking Israeli made goods or
(iv) protested outside Max Brenner outlets in Sydney
are actually supporting a racist campaign that calls for the total elimination of the Jewish State.

However the European Union (EU)  – mindful of the Jew-hatred endemic in the BDS campaign  – yet anxious to appease its Arab trading partners and burgeoning Arab populations within its member countries – has targeted only the West Bank – presently working to enact measures requiring Israel to label products coming from Jewish settlements there (following guidelines established on 18 July 2013). These EU policy initiatives are ostensibly based on the 1980 Venice Declaration – which stressed that:
(i) Israel needed to end its territorial occupation of the West Bank
(ii) Israeli settlements constituted a serious obstacle to the peace process in the Middle East.
(iii) Jewish settlements established there - as well as modifications in population and property – were illegal under international law.
The EU position on the illegality of those Jewish settlements has now been totally discredited following the recent decision by Norway’s largest pension fund – KPL – to sell its shareholdings in Heidelberg Cement AG and Cemex SAB de SV – whose two Israeli subsidiaries are currently operating quarries established after 1967 in Area C of the West Bank.

Under the 1995 Oslo Accords Israel has sole civil and security control in Area C – comprising 60 per cent of the West Bank where no more than 4 per cent of the West Bank’s Arab population currently lives.

KPL first sought advice on the legal situation pertaining in the West Bank from the Oslo-based International Law and Policy Institute (ILPI)  – an independent institute focusing on good governance, peace and conflict, and international law.

The advice completely refutes the EU’s long held position. Senior ILPI Partner Gro Nyusten – former Norwegian Foreign Affairs staffer, former Associate Professor of International Humanitarian Law/the Law on Armed Conflict at the University of Oslo, from 2008 Associate Professor at the Defence Staff University College in Oslo and former chair of the Council on Ethics of the Norwegian Government Pension Fund Global – advised KPL that:
(i) international law does not provide “unambiguous answers”
(ii) it was “highly probable” that the operation under Israeli licence of the subject quarries was inconsistent with the requirements of the law of belligerent occupation
(iii) a case on quarrying activities in Area C went all the way to the Israeli Supreme Court -but was rejected because the court concluded that it raised issues that could only be resolved through political channels and not through the court
(iv) Occupation law did not prohibit Israel from making use of real property – but Israel’s role was restricted to that of a caretaker that must restore such property to the “occupied power” once the conflict has ended. Significantly Ms Nyusten failed to identify that the “occupied power” was Jordan – whose annexation of the West Bank in 1950 was declared illegal by every country except Great Britain and Pakistan.
(v) The issue of whether Israel was entitled to open new quarries which did not exist before 1967 – was “controversial”.
(vi) The 1995 Oslo Accords (Oslo II) “presume” the ultimate transfer of Area C from Israeli to Palestinian control through so-called final status negotiations. Ms Nyusten however did not point to any provision in the Oslo Accords that supports this “presumption”.
Ms Nyusten’s legal opinion also failed to consider two territory-specific provisions in international law sanctioning the right of Jews to live in the West Bank for the purposes of reconstituting the Jewish National Home there – article 6 of the Mandate for Palestine and article 80 of the United Nations Charter. In the end KPL – faced with no definitive international law to justify its decision to disinvest - concluded:
“that the ethical arguments carry the heaviest weight in this case”.
Ethics are not law.

EU decisions supposedly based on judicially determined principles of international law were exposed as myths that can no longer be legally or politically sustained.

The BDS hoax is set to swallow many more well-intended people into its Jew-hating vortex.

The EU could suffer a similar fate with the introduction of its labelling policies – no longer being able to rely on non-existent international law to camouflage that decision – whilst opening itself to the charge it is supporting a genocidal campaign designed to dismantle the Jewish State.

Common sense will hopefully prevail.

Wednesday 17 June 2015

Bringing BDS To Book

From left: Danby, Dyrenfurth, Mendes, Feeney
It's a pleasure to be able to report a just-published book by two left-leaning pro-Israel Aussie academics that, as a counter to the poison spewed by so many leftwingers these days, powerfully presents the case against BDS.

Written by Philip Mendes and Nick Dyrenfurth, Boycotting Israel is Wrong was launched to much acclaim from moderate  voices on the political left in Australia.

The photograph shows its authors at Thursday's launch in Melbourne, flanked by two federal MPs from the Australian Labor Party (ALP) benches in Canberra: Michael Danby (who's Jewish, and has been a pro-Israel stalwart throughout his career) and David Feeney, an influential figure in certain Labor circles who's at present Shadow Justice Minister.

A typical reaction from the Israel-hating  Green-Left, in this case Melbourne socialist councillor Sue Bolton.

Her post refers to the  Melbourne launch.  (There was also a successful Sydney launch the previous day.)

I won't say more about the book here because I've made it, its launch by David Feeney, and its thrust (it includes a "progressive"prescription for peace that won't please every supporter of Israel) the focus of my column this week on the Elder of Ziyon site

Already, the book has caused much gnashing of teeth from left-wing Israel-demonising  pro-BDS elements in Australia, as I indicate in that column.  Please have a look at my column.

Exactly.  This point was made at the launch.

Monday 15 June 2015

An Aussie Academic Regarding BtS: "What is the Jewish value of vilifying one's own nation to the delight of its enemies? "

"There is a well-funded and powerful cottage industry of NGOs, journalists, academics and activists who are crystal clear about their unabashed anti-Israel ideology. The goal of their openly declared war is to damage Israel’s standing in the court of world opinion and to bring about its collapse."

That's the opening paragraph of a typically hard-hitting article written for his regular op-ed column in  Australian Jewish News last month by Dr Dvir Abramovich, a prominent Jewish Studies academic at the University of Melbourne, who's also chair of the local B'nai B'rith Anti-Defamation Commission.

Later in the article Abramovich justifiably declared:
'Billions of people are manipulated by a tsunami of malicious op-eds, dishonest news items, scurrilous caricatures and disparaging articles that are awash with crude fabrications. Too many adopt the skewed narrative, lock, stock and barrel.... 
Which brings us to Breaking The Silence (BtS) a radical Israeli NGO, with a budget of nearly four million shekels. Bankrolled mainly by European countries, and foreign entities, it is made up of former Israeli soldiers who are paid to collect anonymous testimonies and evidences of “crimes” so as to prove that Israel is guilty of “intimidation, instilling of fear, and indiscriminate punishment of the Palestinian population.”
In 2009, BtS accepted 75,000 shekels from Oxfam on the condition that it will interview as many soldiers as possible who will confirm the IDF’s “immoral actions”.
Last week, BtS published a new report relating to Operation Protective Edge which accuses the IDF of “indiscriminate fire on civilian targets” and “deliberate mass destruction”.
It has been reported that The Arab Human Rights Fund, which has links to Global jihad and the PFLP, provided BtS with US$300,000 to craft the report. Now Hamas is calling for Israeli “war criminals” to be brought to trial in the International Criminal Court.
Here are some BtS quotes, “Israeli self-defence measures are pretexts for ‘terrorising’ Palestinians”, and “We are the oppressors … we are creating the terror against us basically”. Got it? It’s the fault of terrorist Israel.
Unsurprisingly, reports from BtS (produced in English only for overseas consumption) which depict the IDF as dehumanising, unethical and as the worst serial violator around, are splashed across the international headlines, chipping away at Israel’s image.
BtS is a convenient pipeline, a weapon in the hands of Israel’s assorted haters. By its own admission, BtS is not a “normal human rights organisation”, or as Haaretz correspondent Amos Harel noted, “They have a clear political agenda, which is no longer really covered under the term ‘human rights organisation’.”
BtS deliberately withholds context, and uses misleading headlines and hearsay. There’s no description of the complex situation of fighting armed terrorists hiding in houses, or that the IDF sends leaflets to warn civilians, or that Hamas fired rockets from schools and hospitals, dug tunnels to launch mega-attacks, and used children as human shields.
The infamous Goldstone Report, referenced and thanked a BtS report 27 times, since it aided Goldstone to reach his discredited findings that the IDF “repeatedly opened fire on civilians who were not taking part in the hostilities and who posed no threat to them.”
The distorted accusations contained in BtS reports are impossible to verify because the group refuses to hand over their documents, or disclose the identity of those making the complaints, or provide the date or military unit detailed in their accounts, thereby preventing the IDF from investigating the “allegations”.
 As part of its propaganda warfare, BtS does global speaking tours, helping to fan the flames of rabid anti-Zionism, and denying Israel the legitimate right to protect its citizens from murder.
 For the real story, as told by Israeli soldiers, go to the Facebook page #my_truth.'
The following week, under the title "Breaking my Silence," a squalid defence of BtS appeared in the same paper.  It was written by a Tel Aviv-based former student of Dr Abramovich, a young woman named Kate Rosenberg who in Melbourne attended a Jewish day school and Habonim Dror.  Inter alia, she fumed:
"Dr Abramovich's words smack of a frightening growing trend in Israel which likens democratic values to being anti-Israel or to suggest that believing in the human rights of African refugees or Palestinians to [sic] being anti-Jewish."
In the current issue of the paper, a leftist in supporting her and BtS shows his naivety in the face of current reality in commending their work "in trying to bring Israel closer to the ideals of the 1948 Declaration of Independence."   But then, as another correspondent notes, BtS
"disqualifies itself from acting as an agent for change ... because its work is infested with an ideology that insists, in the face of overwhelming evidence, that only Israel and the occupation are blocking peace, not Palestinian extremism.
Hence, BtS is always quick to defend the rights of Palestinians, but never supports the right of Israel to defend itself from rocket and terror attack....
By highlighting and often inflating out of all proportion a few unfortunate incidents of the sort which are inevitable in any large-scale conflict, BtS sets out to delegitimise the entire IDF and its matters of fighting as inherently immoral in order to further its explicitly political ends...."
That the IDF behaved with commendable restraint in Gaza during Operation Protective Edge has been confirmed by such respected observers as Martin Dempsey (chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff), Michael Shmitt and John Merriam (US military law experts), Colonel Richard Kemp (former commander of the British forces in Afghanistan), and Australian general Jim Molan.  The fact that the ratio of civilians to combatants killed was 1:1 (compared to the norm of 3:1 in similar conflicts) underlines that.
 In a  splendid refutation of Kate Rosenberg's "grossly simplistic, Israel-bashing" piece, Dvir Abramovich writes inter alia:
"Rosenberg knows very well that BtS, which has close to zero electoral and public support in Israel, sends its "star recruits" to tour campuses around the world, unafraid unafraid to spread their animus-filled venom about the IDF.  There, they are free to brainwash impressionable students and to contribute to the chilling festival of demonisation....
Campuses have become hotbeds of anti-Semitism [I do wish the Aussie Jewish press would adopt the "antisemitism" spelling - D.A.] and anti-Zionism, and BtS adds dangerous fuel to the spreading fire of intimidation and hostility directed at Jewish students.
Irresponsibly, Rosenberg recycles the libellous Goldstone slander that the IDF indiscriminately fires on highly populated areas in Gaza....
The same soldiers who stand guard at night and risk their lives to ensure that Rosenberg can sleep comfortably, safe and sound, in her bed, are depicted as part of a vicious, murderous military machine....
BtS hurts Israel, empowers the BDS gang, and gives credence to those who want to put Israel on a list, as a recent UN draft report recommended, alongside ISIS, al-Quaeda, the Taliban, Syria and Sudan as an entity that systematically harms children....
Rosenberg speaks of the value of Achvat Amim.  Perhaps it's time to show a little solidarity towards her own country.  After all, what is the Jewish value of vilifying one's own nation to the delight of its enemies? ...."

Update: Excellent video here

Sunday 14 June 2015

In London, Pro-Israel Voices Talk Back To The Demonisers (video)

Please don't miss David Singer's latest article (the post before this), regarding BDS and a Harvard student who went to Israel with the intention of hating that country but instead, once there, had the scales fall from his eyes.

And don't miss Professor Denis MacEoin's marvellous indictment of student BDS and the topsy turvy outlook and breath-taking hypocrisy that surrounds it, as exemplified by the attitude of the National Union of Students in Britain.
To quote the professor, inter alia:
'The world you live in us upside down: you claim to act in defense of human rights, but your motions do not reflect this. You give free passage to the worst abusers of human rights -- countries that persecute religious minorities, suppress and kill women, throw homosexuals from high roofs, execute hundreds of dissidents every year, and imprison, torture and slaughter -- without rebuke. Yet you fulminate against Israel, which does none of these things. It does not use torture; it does not execute anyone -- not even Palestinian terrorists who have committed mass murder against innocent civilians and children.
Neither the great many supporters of Israel whom I know personally nor I want anything but the best possible future for the Palestinians.
 No one I know hates the Palestinians. What we do hate are the organizations that exploit and dominate the Palestinian people, that deny them the right to vote for new governments, the culture of hatred in Palestinian mosques, schools, and political speeches, and the acts of terror and war that have been directed at Jewish, Muslim and Christian Arab Israelis for many decades.,7340,L-4666914,00.html
 It is the hatred and the violence we deplore, knowing as we do that this hurts not only Israelis, but that, since 1948, it has been blocking Palestinians from achieving their true potential.
We believe sincerely that boycotting, sanctioning and divesting from Israel will not bring peace so long as the Palestinian leaderships in Gaza and the West Bank insist that they intend to destroy Israel and take control of its entire territory.....'
Meanwhile, in London, here's the ubiquitous Sandra at the mike.

Great to see that she and the other anti-Israel demonstrators in London on Thursday outside the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA), protesting against BAFTA's  decision to host the Israeli-funded Seret film festival, encountered some backtalk from a number of, er, Zionists:

More videos of the anti-Israel protesters here and here

Friday 12 June 2015

"I Came To You, Israel, Wanting To Hate You": David Singer recites a poem (plus video)

In this, his latest article, Sydney lawyer and international affairs analyst David Singer, finding inspiration in a poem, considers the topic "Beating the BDS Jew-Haters".

He writes:

Recently, a group of 52 Harvard students – of all backgrounds and faiths – visited Israel for 10 days during the Harvard Israel Trek 2015

Sometimes the impact of such a trip cannot be expressed in prose – but can only be captured in poetry.

What follows is a poem – posted on the Harvard trek blog by Oliver Marjot – a British PhD candidate studying Medieval Latin at Harvard – that reflects his transformative experience.

Oliver expected that the Trek would confirm his reasonable European certainty of Israel’s arrogant oppression. That’s not quite the way things turned out.

Oliver's Poem eloquently answers those who continue their vicious attempts to denigrate and delegitimize Israel by exhorting the boycott and isolation of Israel, its people, products, commercial enterprises, medical breakthroughs, academics and artists:
 “To my newfound Love,
I came to you, Israel, wanting to hate you. To be confirmed in my reasonable European certainty of your arrogant oppression, lounging along the Mediterranean coast, facing West in your vast carelessness and American wealth. I wanted to appreciate your history, but tut over the arrogant folly of your present. I wanted to cross my arms smugly, and shake my head over you, and then leave you to fight your unjust wars.
I wanted to take from you. To steal away some spiritual satisfaction, and sigh and pray, and shake my head over your spiritual folly as well. To see the sad spectacle of the Western wall, and bitterly laugh at your backward-looking notion that God sits high on Moriah Mount, distant and approachable. I wanted to smirk in my Protestant confidence, knowing that God is with me, even if you refuse to turn to him, standing instead starting blankly at a wall of cold stone, pushing scribbled slips of paper into the Holy mountain, not daring to raise your face, and ask with words.
I wanted to see your sights, to bask in your sun, to tramp my feet over your soil, to swim in your seas, to eat the fruit of your fields. I wanted to be amazed, to be interested, to be engaged. I wanted.
I didn’t realise you were broken as well as wealthy, fragile as well as strong. I didn’t realise that you suffer from a thousand voices clamouring in your head, and that some of those voices care about justice and democracy, and that some of them love their neighbours. I didn’t realise that a thousand enemies press on your borders, hoarding instruments of death, as chaos and darkness and madness consume the world every way you look. I didn’t realise that you care about your past - that some of those voices of yours treasure the stories of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob every bit as much as I do. I didn’t realise. Nobody told me. Or maybe they did, and I refused to listen
I didn’t expect to fall in love with you. Your beauty caught me like a hook. Seeing you, I see what Solomon saw when he wrote about his Beloved. I see that homeland that Jesus loved. The lush green of your Galilee, the stark strength of your desert, the bare whiteness of your Judean hills. I love the Hebrew you speak, the churches your wear like flowers in your hair, the proud golden dome that crowns your head. I love the strength of your soldiers, the warmth of your sun, the joy of your songs, the peace of your kibbutzim.
This cold Boston air is a mockery of your spring warmth, and in this vast sprawl of concrete and red brick it’s no exaggeration to say that I yearn for your troubled horizons, your ancient hills. I’m not ashamed to say it. I love you.
I’m sorry I had to leave you. I know I have no right to love you. What’s ten days compared to a year, a childhood, a lifetime? Or the five-thousand year lifetime of a people? I know that you won’t remember me, that you probably barely even registered my short time with you. I’m sure my love means nothing to you amid the whispers of a million other lovers, and you’re so very far away.
But I will come back to you. I will. I’ll leave these busy, harried, Western shores, and come to you, to the East. I’ll learn your Hebrew, I’ll share your troubles, I’ll breath your air, I’ll walk in your fields again.
I will. I will.
Until then, Israel, mon amour, my love. Until then, shalom.” 
The Boycott Divestment and Sanctions Movement (BDS) started in 2005 by “Palestinian Civil Society” falsely claims that Israel is persistently violating international law – whilst that Society’s Government – the Palestine Liberation Organisation – continues to reject substantive segments of international law formulated over the last 95 years legalizing Jewish self-determination:
The Balfour Declaration, the Mandate for Palestine, and everything that has been based upon them, are deemed null and void.
Claims of historical or religious ties of Jews with Palestine are incompatible with the facts of history and the true conception of what constitutes statehood. Judaism, being a religion, is not an independent nationality. Nor do Jews constitute a single nation with an identity of its own; they are citizens of the states to which they belong.”
The European Union – threatening to join these racist-inspired, Jew-hating BDS campaigners – is being well and truly conned.

Think again Europe. A Harvard student has – so should you.

Adds Daphne:

Meanwhile, here are those familiar fanatical BDSers of London again, this time ranting against the Gala opening at BAFTA of the Seret festival, which took a number of film makers to Britain's capital fromTel Aviv.