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)

Friday, 29 May 2015

David Singer: Netanyahu Goes For Gold In Shoot-Off With Obama

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

He writes:

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu's appointment of former United Nations ambassador Dore Gold [pictured] to head up Israel's Foreign Ministry ensures that Israel will be confronting President Obama as he continues attempting to deviate from the commitments made to Israel by his predecessor President Bush in a letter dated 14 April 2004 to former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon (Bush Commitments).

The Bush Commitments acknowledged the risks involved in Israel unilaterally disengaging from Gaza and evacuating the 8000 Jews who had established twenty-one settlements there over the preceding 35 years whilst additionally agreeing to remove another four settlements in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank).

President Bush assured Israel of the following:

1. the United States remained committed to President Bush's vision and to its implementation as described in the Roadmap.
2. The United States would do its utmost to prevent any attempt by anyone to impose any other plan.
3. Palestinians would have to undertake a comprehensive and fundamental political reform that included a strong parliamentary democracy and an empowered prime minister.
4. The United States reiterated its steadfast commitment to Israel's security, including secure, defensible borders, and to preserve and strengthen Israel's capability to deter and defend itself, by itself, against any threat or possible combination of threats.
5. The United States was strongly committed to Israel's security and well-being as a Jewish state.
6. It seemed clear that an agreed, just, fair, and realistic framework for a solution to the Palestinian refugee issue as part of any final status agreement would need to be found through the establishment of a Palestinian state, and the settling of Palestinian refugees there, rather than in Israel.
7. As part of a final peace settlement, Israel must have secure and recognized borders, which should emerge from negotiations between the parties in accordance with UNSC Resolutions 242 and 338.
8. In light of new realities on the ground, including already existing major Israeli populations centers, it would be unrealistic to expect that the outcome of final status negotiations would be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949, and all previous efforts to negotiate a two-state solution have reached the same conclusion. It was realistic to expect that any final status agreement would only be achieved on the basis of mutually agreed changes that reflect these realities.

President Obama has attempted to subvert the Bush Commitments by proposing Israel withdraw from part of the West Bank and cede part of its own sovereign territory to the Palestine Liberation Organisation in exchange for the area of the West Bank to be retained by Israel as announced by President Obama in May 2011:

"... the United States believes that negotiations should result in two states, with permanent Palestinian borders with Israel, Jordan, and Egypt, and permanent Israeli borders with Palestine. The borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps - so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states."

President Obama seems to have given up on the strong parliamentary democracy demanded by President Bush being established in the West Bank and Gaza - having failed to back up a recent
call by another former American President - Jimmy Carter - for such elections to be held in the West Bank and Gaza - which would be the first held there since 2005.

Until such a democracy is established America should not expect any negotiations with the Palestine Liberation Organisation to lead to anywhere but the dustbin of history.

Dore Gold well appreciates the significance of these Bush Commitments and the obligation of Obama to remain bound by them - stating in debriefing.org on 9 June 2009 -

"For example, it still needs to be clarified whether the Obama administration feels bound by the April 14, 2004, Bush letter to Sharon on defensible borders and settlement blocs, which was subsequently ratified by large bipartisan majorities in both the U.S. Senate (95:3) and the House of Representatives (407:9) on June 23-24, 2004. Disturbingly, on June 1, 2009, the State Department spokesman, Robert Wood, refused to answer repeated questions about whether the Obama administration viewed itself as legally bound by the Bush letter. It would be better to obtain earlier clarification of that point, rather than having both countries expend their energies over an issue that may not be the real underlying source of their dispute."

Writing in Jewish Current Issues on 3 June 2009 Rick Richman noted that the State Department had refused to confirm the Bush Commitments on twenty-one occasions during the previous week.

Richman then asserted:

"Since Israel met its obligations under the disengagement deal, the U.S. can no more rescind its agreement and commitment than it can restore the lost world of Gush Katif, or the lost security of southern Israel, or the lives that thousands of rockets traumatized, or the property that was destroyed.

Israel ended up having to fight a war in Gaza because of the disengagement. The least the United States can do is meet its own obligations."

Michael Oren former Israeli Ambassador in Washington and now a newly elected member of Israel's governing coalition called for the resuscitation of these Bush Commitments during his election campaign in January.

The Obama administration needs to clear the air and remove any doubts or concerns that it is trying to surreptitiously vary the Bush Commitments.

Let the shoot-off with the reluctant and recalcitrant Obama administration begin.

Thursday, 28 May 2015

"The Israelis Are Far More Like The Sioux, Cheyenne, & Arapaho At Little Bighorn Than They Are Like Us"

In the current issue of Vanity Fair magazine, there's a long and searching article by Sebastian Junger on the high incidence of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) among returned American servicemen.  It's entitled "How PTSD became a problem far beyond the battlefield".

Writes Junger:
"The majority of traumatized vets are not faking their symptoms...  They return from wars that are safer than those their fathers and grandfathers fought, and yet far greater numbers of them wind up alienated and depressed. This is true even for people who didn’t experience combat. In other words, the problem doesn’t seem to be trauma on the battlefield so much as re-entry into society....
 If we weed out the malingerers on the one hand and the deeply traumatized on the other, we are still left with enormous numbers of veterans who had utterly ordinary wartime experiences and yet feel dangerously alienated back home. Clinically speaking, such alienation is not the same thing as PTSD, but both seem to result from military service abroad, so it’s understandable that vets and even clinicians are prone to conflating them. Either way, it makes one wonder exactly what it is about modern society that is so mortally dispiriting to come home to."
By contrast,
"Even the Israeli military – with mandatory national service and two generations of intermittent warfare as by some measures a PTSD rate as low as 1 percent....
Israel is arguably the only modern country that retains a sufficient sense of community to mitigate the effects of combat on a mass scale. Despite decades of intermittent war, the Israel Defense Forces have a PTSD rate as low as 1 percent. Two of the foremost reasons have to do with national military service and the proximity of the combat – the war is virtually on their doorstep. “Being in the military is something that most people have done,” I was told by Dr. Arieh Shalev, who has devoted the last 20 years to studying PTSD. “Those who come back from combat are re-integrated into a society where those experiences are very well understood. We did a study of 17-year-olds who had lost their father in the military, compared to those who had lost their fathers to accidents. The ones whose fathers died in combat did much better than those whose fathers hadn’t.”
According to Shalev, the closer the public is to the actual combat, the better the war will be understood and the less difficulty soldiers will have when they come home. The Israelis are benefiting from what could be called the shared public meaning of a war. Such public meaning—which would often occur in more communal, tribal societies—seems to help soldiers even in a fully modern society such as Israel. It is probably not generated by empty, reflexive phrases—such as “Thank you for your service”—that many Americans feel compelled to offer soldiers and vets. If anything, those comments only serve to underline the enormous chasm between military and civilian society in this country.
Another Israeli researcher, Reuven Gal, found that the perceived legitimacy of a war was more important to soldiers’ general morale than was the combat readiness of the unit they were in. And that legitimacy, in turn, was a function of the war’s physical distance from the homeland: “The Israeli soldiers who were abruptly mobilized and thrown into dreadful battles in the middle of Yom Kippur Day in 1973 had no doubts about the legitimacy of the war,” Gal wrote in the Journal of Applied Psychology in 1986. “Many of those soldiers who were fighting in the Golan Heights against the flood of Syrian tanks needed only to look behind their shoulders to see their homes and remind themselves that they were fighting for their very survival.”
In that sense, the Israelis are far more like the Sioux, Cheyenne, and Arapaho at Little Bighorn than they are like us. America’s distance from her enemies means that her wars have generally been fought far away from her population centers, and as a result those wars have been harder to explain and justify than Israel’s have been. The people who will bear the psychic cost of that ambiguity will, of course, be the soldiers....'
.Read the entire article here

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

When Rogues Fall Out: Weir's warfare with Jewish Voice for Peace

The lady and the tome she loves to plug
It seems that relations between Alison Weir, of the vicious US Israel-demonising campaign group If Americans Knew, and the vicious US Israel-demonising campaign group Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), have ruptured.

Apparently,  some of Weir's shenanegans have proved too hard to take, even for JVP.

What's upset them, exactly? Her constant harping on the USS Liberty conspiracy theory?  Her allegations of racism directed at the late Lubavitcher Rebbe?  Her promotion of that infamous set of mendacious maps? And how do her obsessions differ from theirs? Blowed if I can work it out, but there are clues below.

That they're broiges with her is no inevitable outcome, one would have thought, given the scumbags with which JVP is riddled, of the kind who deny all suggestions that anti-Israel activity and calls for BDS is antisemitic.  See here, ar right,for instance, how JVP so facilely links to propaganda by notorious British anti-Israel activist Ben White, who as I remarked in a very recent post is on record as saying that he can understand why antisemitism exists.

Oh, and here's the JVP trying to look all spick and span.  The carbolic soap's been cleared away here, and the warts are obvious.

On social media, Ms Weir has  issued a long screed, of which I quote part:
My Reply to JVP Leaders' McCarthy-like Attacks Against Me
I have long been hearing that some JVP leaders have initiated whispering campaigns against me. This began many years ago (and long before the latest accusations, which are in a letter from JVP, below). In fact, I first heard of the director of JVP accusing me of anti-Semitism, behind my back, during the first year of my public statements about Palestine. Such actions seemed related to my political positions on Palestine, which were different from JVP's:
I endorsed Palestinian refugees' right of return, favored ending US aid to Israel, was aware of pro-Israel neocons' role in pushing the US into the Iraq war, and did not deny the significance of the Israel lobby.
The whispered attacks against me were troubling, but I tried to ignore them and continue my work.
Then, with the publication of my book last year, "Against our Better Judgment: The hidden history of how the US was used to create Israel" the attacks seemed to escalate. It appeared that some JVP leaders were attempting to thwart my talks and prevent people from learning the facts that my book and my talks contain.
(It is very important to note this is not representative of all JVP members – many of whom are colleagues and supporters. Some have put on excellent speaking events for me.)
I finally decided to write an article about this situation – "Please help us overcome the accusations against If Americans Knew," but did not name JVP, in the hope of preventing damaging division and distraction in the movement for justice in Palestine.
Before publishing this piece, I tried to clarify the situation with JVP, and emailed the national leaders asking about their statements about me. I hoped that by communicating with JVP directly the situation could be resolved. In reply I received a letter from a law firm on JVP's behalf (a partner in the firm is the JVP board chair and was the signatory on the letter).
I was surprised at the McCarthyist, guilt-through-association attacks this letter contained, and I was amazed at the great effort someone had made to monitor my every move over the past 14 years of hundreds of speeches, articles, and interviews.
JVP sent their accusatory dossier on me to about 50 chapters around the country, and has been disseminating this and other accusations widely. I've just finished an extremely busy three-week speaking tour. In several locations I learned that JVP had tried to block my talks. Fortunately, they failed in almost all locations and my presentations were received extremely well; one audience even gave me a standing ovation.
By the way, although JVP is a membership organization, there is no indication that the general JVP membership was informed or involved in these actions.
Below is JVP leaders' dossier on me, with my rebuttals below each section.
It is interesting to note that despite what seems to be a long and surprisingly intent focus on ferreting out supposedly negative information about me or potential mistakes I may have made, none of their accusations include anything about my own articles or speeches.
Instead, all their charges are based on alleged "guilt by association." Even this McCarthyist tactic, however, is based on falsehoods, as I am not even associated with those they try to claim. Please see below:
--> JVP: "Jewish Voice for Peace has chosen not to work with you because our central tenet is opposition to racism in all its forms,"
This is not true. Among other things, JVP works with Zionists, an ideology that people throughout the world feel is profoundly racist. Many people find JVP's action objectionable and will not work with JVP for that reason. At If Americans Knew, however, we believe in a broad tent, and have published JVP articles on our website, posted a link to the organization from the very beginning, and have occasionally worked with JVP members and several JVP chapters.
--> JVP: "and you have chosen repeatedly to associate yourself with people who advocate for racism."
We have not done so.
--> JVP: "You have been a repeat guest of white supremacist Clay Douglas on his hate radio show, the Free American. Clay Douglas is concerned primarily with the survival of the White race and sees malign Jewish influence everywhere. His racist, anti-Jewish, and anti-gay rhetoric can be found across the front pages of his multiple websites. In the course of your appearance with Clay Douglas on August 25, 2010, for example, you were silent when Douglas invoked the Protocols of the Elders of Zion and engaged in a racist diatribe against Jews. Your repeated appearance on this show (April 23 and August 25, 2010; February 9 and May 18, 2011) show that you knew his extremist views and chose to continue the association."
New York City, folks
Over the past 14 years I have given probably hundreds of interviews to diverse people of all ages and backgrounds from across the political spectrum, as do most writers and analysts. I try to focus on the information I feel audiences need to hear, speak as intentionally as possible, and stay on target – surprisingly difficult during interviews, as others have no doubt also experienced.
I do not vet who may or may not listen to my information and have even gone on Israeli right-wing radio. We wish our important facts to reach every possible person, and I endeavor to be polite to all my hosts, even when they are hard-core Zionists.
I always use this airtime to the best of my ability to give important facts about Palestine to listeners of all backgrounds and beliefs in an effort to counter the media misinformation about the region and about Muslims. [Emphasis added; and see here]
Some sectors of US society are specifically being targeted by misinformation that is causing an alarming growth of Islamophobia in this country, some of it taking violent turns.
I feel it is critical that our facts, which counter this Islamophobia campaign, reach every portion of our diverse population, particularly those that are most vulnerable to this anti-Muslim propaganda....
.... I believe that ending the long-standing injustice and horror in Palestine is the best way to protect human rights, security and peace for all parties and, indeed, the world. I believe the issue is too urgent to become distracted.
My goal is to try to reach everyone with the fundamental principle that all racism is wrong and to provide facts that will counter the falsehoods being given to them about Palestinians, Arabs, Muslims, Iranians, and others. [Emphasis added]
I don't pretend that I am perfect and that all my responses will be flawless; all I can do is try my hardest. I apologize if there were cases where I should have done better....
--> JVP: "Your troubling associations and choices further include giving interviews to a range of far-right outlets including The American Free Press, which the Southern Poverty Law Center has identified as a hate group"
See my answer above discussing the critical importance of giving facts on Palestine to all sectors of U.S. society.
Once again JVP is searching through my multitude of interviews for something negative to use against me and again must resort to alleged guilt through alleged (but false) association. JVP fails to mention that many diverse people have been interviewed by the American Free Press, including Cindy and Craig Corrie, Rachel Corrie's parents.....
--> JVP: "and the anti-gay, anti-Jewish pastor Mark Dankof. One of your articles appeared in an anthology that was promoted by the infamous Holocaust-denial organization, the Institute for Historical Review. We see no evidence that you have disavowed any of these outlets or institutions."
JVP's attempt to tar me by claiming that a group once promoted an anthology that contains a piece by me is a truly bizarre way to attack me! My articles have been included in at least four, perhaps more, anthologies, and every anthology has included highly respected authors, including Edward Said, Noam Chomsky, and many others.
It is revealing that JVP's accusation against me fails to mention that Rev. Dankof has also interviewed peace activists Ray McGovern and Jennifer Lowenstein, Israeli professor and author Ilan Pappe, and journalist and commentator Dilip Hiro, among many others....
--> JVP: "It should not and cannot win by fueling or endorsing any form of hate, whether against People of Color, gays, Jews, Muslims or anyone else."
I certainly agree. It also should not include hatred of Christians, conservatives, or people whose views or facts we, or one, may dislike. I truly hope JVP believes in this important principle, and that it is not like the ADL, whose definition of "hate" is often based on political stances it dislikes on Israel....
--> JVP: "At Jewish Voice for Peace, we are particularly sensitive to the long history of anti-Jewish oppression" ....
I have always opposed all forms of bigotry, and one of my very first essays was "Choosing to Act: Anti-Semitism Is Wrong."
--> JVP: "as well as the ways that Palestinian liberation work is frequently tarred with false charges of anti-Semitism."
Exactly like JVP's false charges against me.....'
Meanwhile, regarding that alleged distinction between antisemitism and anti-Zionism, British blogger Edgar Davidson has a great post here, along with the rest of this grand chart of his.

Just a taster of the full chart at http://edgar1981.blogspot.com.au/2015/05/the-anti-semitism-v-anti-zionism.html

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Still Laid Up On The Beam Ends

Well, here I am, still laid up on my beam ends, thanks to the flu (yes, it's that time of the year Down Under.)  I'm afraid that I couldn't manage a Tuesday column this week for Elder of Ziyon, though readers who are interested in the quite remarkable degree of goodwill towards Israel that pertained during the Yom Kippur War may enjoy my last week's column.

As the column notes, even Gerald Kauffman was on Israel's side.

But then, as a commenter noted wryly, MP Gerald wasn't confronted by the reality of a significant Muslim presence in his electorate back then.

Talking of Islam, here's (hat tip: Vlad Tepes blog)  an interview with the Christian scholar Raymond Ibrahim that deserves attention.

It certainly deserves the attention of the naive teachers at this Yorkshire state school.

Another lovable crusty old fella:

 Meanwhile, among the anti-Israel Christian and Muslim forces on social media, united by their antisemitism, a new set of cartographic crapology is doing the rounds:

Saturday, 23 May 2015

In Australia, BDSers Find It Ain't Easy Being Green

I've been down with flu, and have hardly felt like blogging or anything else, but now I've finally looked at the following video that Ian told me about a few days ago, I can only regret not having been able to do so before.  By now most readers will perhaps have seen this delicious take-down by a familiar pro-Israel young Londoner of Iraqi background of anti-Israel lefties' sheer hypocrisy in demonising the only true democracy in the Middle East.

The sourpuss look on the faces of the female anti-Israel UK Greens as he starts to speak is a tonic in itself, although the sound of female cackling is certainly not funny, given the point he's making.

These females should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves.

 And now, from the anti-Israel foot soldiers of the Australian Greens' Party, the sound of much fury on social media regarding the pro-Israel stance, reiterated in an  an interview with the Australian Jewish News, of the party's new leader, Richard Di Natale [pictured]:
'.... Di Natale reiterated his support for a two-state solution.
“That’s my view, it’s the party’s position, it’s a view I’ve always held,” he said.
“Most people who have followed this issue and care about it would acknowledge that there really isn’t any other alternative.”
Asked whether Abbas should recognise Israel’s existence as a Jewish state, Di Natale replied: “Of course. How can you have a two-state solution when you refuse to acknowledge the right of one state to exist? It’s patently nonsense.”
He also reaffirmed the Australian Greens’ rejection of the anti-Israel Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign, in spite of the fact that Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon supports it.
“It’s just not the party’s position,” he said. “Some time ago we made a very clear statement that we didn’t believe that this was a pathway to peace.” ....'
And that's not all that's put the haters' noses out of joint.  For example, there's this:
'Di Natale also expressed admiration for Israel’s advances in environmental technology, particularly in the field of water-saving.
“Israelis are at the forefront of innovative technologies around that. Why wouldn’t we be learning from some of the new technologies that the Israelis have developed?” he asked. “If only Australia took a leaf out of their book.” ....'
 As for anti-Israel Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon, during Britain's recent general election, she was willing the safe return at the polls in Brighton of Caroline Lucas, the former leader of the UK Greens and the party's first MP, with a similar record of fierce hostility to Israel, phoning Lucas's campaign office with encouraging messages.  She got her wish, but fellow Sydneysider, the singularly inept and uncharismatic present leader Natalie Bennett, was of course soundly trounced at the UK polls.

One more item that surface during my flu-induced stupor, None too cogent comments regarding Western pro-Palestinian feeling by the egregious Jon Snow of Britain's Channel 4.   He claims that people in the West are anti-Israel because Israel because Israelis are seen as fellow white men behaving badly.

 But he of course too readily dismisses the antisemitic factor, fails to acknowledge the bad behaviour on the Palestinian side, forgets that at least half the Israel Jewish population are of non-Ashkenazi background, and does not take into consideration the fact that many Western supporters of Israel rest that support on the fact that the Israelis' values are European values.  What we should surely be asking is why so many Western Israel-haters (including the warped women in the above video) are dedicated to the weakening if not the destruction of a nation whose values are Western ones.

And, fresh off the smorgasbord, the latest piece of Israel-bashing by British anti-Israel campaigner (or should that be "anti-Israel professional?") Ben White:

 What's Ben's obsession with Israel about? it might be asked.

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Pope Francis Has Joined The Evil-Doers, Argues David Singer

Here, entitled "Palestine: Pope Forfeits Spiritual And Moral Authority," is the latest article by Sydney lawyer and international affairs analyst David Singer.

He writes:

Pope Francis has suffered a serious blow to his spiritual and moral authority following the Vatican's recognition of the "State of Palestine" in a new treaty announced on 13 May.

The Vatican's latest slippery slide into political and legal chaos represents a clear breach of 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."

Vatican officials openly admitted that this new treaty did not constitute the Holy See's first breach of the Fundamental Agreement Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi pointing out:

"We have recognized the State of Palestine ever since it was given recognition by the United Nations and it is already listed as the State of Palestine in our official yearbook"

This latest challenge to the Pope's spiritual and moral authority first transgressed by his predecessor Pope Benedict  arises from the fact that the United Nations recognition of the State of Palestine on 29 November 2012 affirmed:

...the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and to independence in their State of Palestine on the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967...

600000 Jews presently live in this designated territory. PLO Chairman Mahmoud Abbas warmly welcomed by Pope Francis this week as a potential "angel of peace" has insisted upon their total displacement and removal as a condition of any peace agreement.

Abbas made his racist views very clear in Cairo on 28 July 2010 when he told Wafa - the official Palestinian news agency:

"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."

Abbas Israel's putative "partner for peace" leads an Organisation that claims the entire territory of former Palestine as another exclusive Arab fiefdom denying the Jews any political rights in their biblical, ancestral and internationally sanctioned homeland.

Abbas's continuing refusal to recognise Israel as the nation State of the Jewish people has been a major roadblock to the successful conclusion of negotiations between Israel and the PLO.

Pope Francis like his predecessor Pope Benedict is apparently prepared to ignore that Abbas and the PLO remain sworn enemies of the Jewish people - pursuing the total elimination of the Jewish State by armed struggle as documented in the 1968 PLO Charter.

The Pope has strayed from the eternal message of the Psalms - the key to the spirituality of the Old Testament and an essential and permanent part of Christian prayer.

Psalm 28 in the New Jerusalem Bible declares:

Do not drag me away with the wicked, with evil-doers, who talk to their partners of peace with treachery in their hearts.

Repay them as their deeds deserve, as befits their treacherous actions; as befits their handiwork repay them, let their deserts fall back on themselves.

They do not comprehend the deeds of Yahweh, the work of his hands. May he pull them down and not rebuild them!

Pope Francis like Pope Benedict has joined the evil-doers to the chagrin of the Jewish people.

Pope Benedict's desert the birth of Islamic State in 2014 has seen the willful killing, forced conversion and wholesale destruction of ancient Christian communities in Iraq and Syria.

Pope Francis's desert remains unrevealed.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Two New Olde Tyme Pieces

 Feeling really crook today, to use an Aussie expression. and can only manage these.

An Egyptian cleric on Isis:

 A Turkish cleric on Jerusalem: