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)

Thursday, 31 January 2013

"European Governments Must Move Now To Stigmatise Hezbollah & Its Activities, Vision & Goals"

It sure gets around: the Hezbollah flag on display in Sydney
The Times of London's sister newspaper, the Sunday Times, bungled badly when it carried, on Holocaust Memorial Day of all days, an ill-conceived anti-Netanyahu cartoon by Gerald Scarfe that's been widely compared to a blood libel.  But the centre-right Murdoch press is at core soundly pro-Israel, and yesterday's Times carried a robust op-ed by two of Europe's most prominent political figures, José Maria Aznar and David (Lord) Trimble.

Both founders of the splendid Friends of Israel initiative, the Spanish former prime minister and the Northern Irish former first minister caution against the perception that Hezbollah's activities and influence are confined to Lebanon or that its political and military wings are separate from one another.

They deplore the unwillingness of some European Union member-governments to consider Hezbollah a terrorist organisation:
 'Jihadi terrorism is still alive and, as events in Mali and Algeria show us, poses a direct threat to us. The turmoil in North Africa reminds us that jihadism has no boundaries and that when confronting terrorism it is always better to prevent it rather than deal with its consequences....
[S]ome European governments are not willing to declare Hezbollah a security threat and put it on the EU terrorist list. This refusal is based on a misunderstanding of the nature of the group. Hezbollah is not just a Lebanese militia group and political party. It is the long arm of Iran. From its conception by Tehran in 1982, it has been committed to the revolutionary goals of the international expansion of Shia Islam, as dreamt of by the Ayatollah Khomeini....
[H]ezbollah has a global vision and reach. It has perpetrated attacks in places as distant as Argentina, Georgia, Israel, Thailand, Turkey and Saudi Arabia, as well as Lebanon....
Hezbollah is committed to violent revolution. It sees itself as being in total confrontation with our way of life. The idea that engaging Hezbollah through the Lebanese political process and institutions would moderate it has proved to be a dangerous illusion. And today it is actively intervening in Syria on behalf of Bashar Assad; we will know soon about the atrocities conducted by its militants there....
 According to Israeli intelligence, Hezbollah’s arsenal of 10,000 rockets was halved by the war [of 2006]; but today it has been expanded to five times the original figure despite the UN mission. 
As Iran gets more nervous about the impact of sanctions, the possibility that Tehran may counter-attack through its terrorist proxies has to be considered more serious by the day.... Putting Hezbollah on the terrorist list will diminish its ability to serve the sinister purposes of the ayatollahs in Tehran. ...
Hezbollah is already present and active on European soil; its illegal activities and networks cover the continent. It has shown that it is willing to strike in Europe. That is why European governments must move now to stigmatise Hezbollah and its activities, vision and goals...."
(The Times article is behind a pay wall, but the full text appears here)

Meanwhile, still on the subject of the European Union, the Palestinian Ma’an News Agency, which is funded by it, the British, Dutch, and Danish governments, and by UNESCO, has been hosting an antisemitic article authored by Sawsan Najib Abd Al-Halim, who says, inter alia:
".... Historically, it is known that the lives of Jews have always been war and fighting. The only reason for this is that they have been outcasts in every corner of the earth, and not one nation in the world respects them, for they cause strife, and scheme everywhere they settle. We know that they have been defeated in every war they have fought throughout history, and they have been dispersed in every direction, but Allah’s curse upon them and his fury at them cause them to continue with their transgression and tyranny....
Psychologically, they have been defeated through the ages and feel inferior to the nations and societies in which they live, because of the hostility and evil rising in their hearts towards others and for their plots and schemes against the nations who know with certainty that the Jews are the root of conflict in the world, wherever they reside....
Therefore, the only way we can deal with them, when we are weak militarily compared to Israel’s power, is to stick to the threat to annihilate Israel, not to submit to its [Israel's] desire for a cease fire, and keep the flame of resistance burning. Rather than [violently] resist and then back off somewhat, whereby we give them the impression that we are afraid of them. There is nothing wrong with our sitting with them to talk, but the resistance must always continue...."
For more on that, click here

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

From Al Beeb's Central Casting: Pushy Jews & Unlovable Israelis

A BBC radio journalist, one Paul Moss, has been indulging in some offensive mockery of Jews and Israelis, with a special barb reserved for the religiously observant.

The types he claims (in an article on the BBC website) to have encountered aboard an EasyJet flight from Luton to Tel Aviv come straight from central casting, and can only serve to reinforce existing stereotypes held by readers, as well as to prejudice others.

"It is not just the election results that show that Israelis have different views about who should be running the country: a flight to Tel Aviv can provide a glimpse into some of the simmering tensions in the Middle East," he tells us.

"The conflict was awfully familiar.
The Israelis were arguing with the non-Israelis, and indeed with each other - over who was entitled to what territory.
Some were polite, but others more hostile. It was an ugly scene. At one point, I thought people might well come to blows.
And still they could not sort it out. Who was supposed to be in what seat? The plane had not even taken off yet, but already Flight 2085 ... had become a microcosm of the Middle East....
Some argued from a point of legal entitlement. They held up their boarding passes, the seat number clearly visible
"I have a right to be here," they protested. But others simply pointed out that they had got there first. I felt I had heard this before somewhere.'
Fasten your seat-belts; here comes more turbulence:
'Meanwhile, bolder passengers were simply shoving their luggage - and themselves - into the places they wanted. You might call it "establishing facts on the ground".
They ignored the would-be occupants towering above them, now waving boarding cards in their faces, like title-deeds to a house....
Tensions rose and so did voices in English, in Hebrew and in Russian. I only speak one of those languages but I am quite sure I was being treated to a crash course in their finest insults and for the first time I found myself awfully glad that metal implements are no longer permitted in carry-on luggage....'
After several paragraphs of facetious nonsense the article continues:
"A group of Orthodox and ultra-Orthodox Jews had been given space at the back of the plane to hold a prayer meeting. They bowed, and recited, but in the process they attracted more worshippers and, who knows, perhaps new worshippers converted to the faith by this stirring display of mid-air religiosity.
Eventually there were so many offering their thanks to God that they were blocking the aisle, and the non-observant passengers found they could not reach the toilet.
One unfortunate lady found herself stuck inside the lavatory, pushing on the door but meeting resistance from the mini-congregation now gathered outside.
Soon the secular bladders were causing real problems to their owners, who began to complain that the religious people were getting things all their own way...."
Can you imagine the BBC, even in jest, promoting stereotypes of stingy Scots or inebriated Irish, to say nothing of Arabs or people of colour?

Can you imagine the BBC mocking devout Muslims at prayer? No, neither can I.

I've no idea whether Moss is himself Jewish, but whether he is or is not he should be thoroughly ashamed of himself, and the BBC should be thoroughly ashamed too.

Alas, he would appear to have form.

For the details see  BBCWatch here.

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Canaries In The Coalmine

"Egypt’s newly elected president, Mohamed Morsi, was caught on tape about three years ago urging his followers to “nurse our children and our grandchildren on hatred” for Jews and Zionists. Not long after, the then-leader of the Muslim Brotherhood described Zionists as “bloodsuckers who attack the Palestinians,” “warmongers,” and “descendants of apes and pigs.”
 These remarks are disgusting, but they are neither shocking nor new. As a child growing up in a Muslim family, I constantly heard my mother, other relatives, and neighbors wish for the death of Jews, who were considered our darkest enemy. Our religious tutors and the preachers in our mosques set aside extra time to pray for the destruction of Jews.
 For far too long the pervasive Middle Eastern qualification of Jews as murderers and bloodsuckers was dismissed in the West as an extreme view expressed by radical fringe groups. But it is not....
 For far too long the pervasive Middle Eastern qualification of Jews as murderers and bloodsuckers was dismissed in the West as an extreme view expressed by radical fringe groups. But it is not...."
So writes the Somali-born Dutch former politician Ayaan Hirsi Ali in the Christian Science Monitor (hat tip: reader Shirlee)She continues: 

Courtesy: Edgar Davidson blog
 "....  Millions of Muslims have been conditioned to regard Jews not only as the enemies of Palestine but as the enemies of all Muslims, of God, and of all humanity. Arab leaders far more prominent and influential than Morsi have been tireless in “educating” or “nursing” generations to believe that Jews are “the scum of the human race, the rats of the world, the violators of pacts and agreements, the murderers of the prophets, and the offspring of apes and pigs.” (These are the words of the Saudi sheik Abdul Rahman al-Sudais, imam at the Masjid al-Haram mosque in Mecca.)
In 2011, a Pew survey found that in Turkey, just 4 percent of those surveyed held a “very favorable” or “somewhat favorable” view of Jews; in Indonesia, 10 percent; in Pakistan, 2 percent. In addition, 95 percent of Jordanians, 94 percent of Egyptians, and 95 percent of Lebanese hold a “very unfavorable” view of Jews.
In recent decades Israeli and American administrations negotiated with unelected Arab despots, who played a double game. They honored the formal peace treaties by not conducting military attacks against Israel. But they condoned the Islamists’ dissemination of hatred against Israel, Zionism, and Jews....
 For too many of those who [in the recent revolutions] fought for their own liberation, one of those ideals is the end of peace with Israel. The United States must make clear to Morsi that this is not an option.
This is also a crucial opportunity for the region’s secular movements, which must speak out against the clergy’s incitement of young minds to hatred. It is time for these secular movements to start a counter-education in tolerance."
A counter-education in tolerance is also required elsewhere, as this notorious photo from Australia and this report and numerous similar ones regarding the plight of some Jewish communities in Europe indicate:

"On the third floor of the Belgian capital’s oldest Jewish school, Jacquy Wajc pauses to listen to the eerie silence that hangs in the hallways.
Established in 1947 as a testament to Belgian Jewry’s post-Holocaust revival, the Athenee Maimonides Bruxelles school once accommodated 600 students in its spacious building in downtown Brussels but now has only 150....
As anti-Semitic attacks spiked during the second Palestinian intifada in the early 2000s, parents who themselves were proud Maimonides alumni enrolled their children elsewhere, citing security concerns. With fewer students, the school went massively into debt; Maimonides now owes various government bodies a total of $8 million....
It’s not only Brussels. Across Europe, Jews have quietly abandoned long-inhabited neighborhoods in central urban areas for remote suburbs.
[I]n a number of cities, neighborhoods once teeming with Jewish life have become no-go zones for Jews -- especially if they wear a yarmulke.
The Jewish population of 80,000 in Marseille, France, has almost completely cleared out of the heavily Muslim city center it inhabited until the 1980s. Similar migrations have taken place in another French city, Lyon, as well as in Amsterdam and even Antwerp -- home to one of the last European Jewish communities to live and work almost exclusively in an urban center....
Since the second intifada began, attacks against Jews have more or less doubled in France, Spain and the Benelux, where a total of 600,000 Jews live. Between 2009 and 2011, the Belgian government agency that monitors anti-Semitism recorded an average of 82 incidents a year, double the level recorded in 2002-04. Most of the incidents occurred in Brussels....
 Such intensive measures weren’t necessary in 1945 when Seligman Bamberger, an educator who survived the Holocaust, first laid the groundwork for what would become Maimonides.
“He placed a table and a chair on the platform of the Gare du Midi train station and asked random children if they were Jewish,” Wajc recounts.
Within two years, Bamberger had attracted 100 children whom he taught in a local community center. The school was established formally in 1947 at its current address near the train station.
The area used to be “the ideal location” for a Jewish school, Wajc says, because of the approximately 100 Jewish families who lived nearby and sold produce in the commercial area. Dozens hung on until the early 1990s, but now only three Jewish families remain, he says....
Meanwhile, Arab immigrants gradually took the place of the departed Jews. Today, the area around Gare du Midi is considered unsafe, especially after dark.
“The area has an immigrant population that doesn’t have a very favorable attitude to Jews,” said Agnes Bensimon, an employee of the Israeli Embassy in Brussels and a former member of the Maimonides parents association. “On top of that, it’s just like any other poor urban area.”
During the second intifada, assailants attacked Bensimon’s son, Nethanel, in the metro station. Similar attacks were carried out against a number of other Maimonides students. The school responded by instructing students to disembark at a more distant station and walk the distance to school.
Location and language are not the only differences between Maimonides and Brussels’ other Jewish schools. Maimonides does not accept pupils who are not Jewish according to halachah, Jewish law. With Belgian Jewry’s estimated 40 percent intermarriage rate, this further diminishes the population of potential students.
“The assimilation makes me very uncertain about the future 35 years from now,” Wajc said. “But here and now it means we’re not competing with the other schools as we appeal to parents with different sensibilities. Only a few years ago there were enough of them.
"They will once again send their kids to us -- if we get out of here in time."'

Monday, 28 January 2013

Who's Afraid Of A Bradford Bruising?

Bradford,Yorkshire, traditionally one of the great woollen centres in England, became home to a large number of German Jews in the wake of the Industrial Revolution. These immigrants contributed to Bradford's growth and prosperity, and played a not insignificant part in the civic and cultural life of Bradford.

Textile merchant and philanthropist Sir Jacob Behrens (1806-89), for example, knighted in 1882, was a long-serving president of the local Chamber of Commerce, and was instrumental in the establishment of the commercial department of the Foreign Office. Merchant Charles Semon (1814-77) was similarly involved in local civic life, and also philanthropic on a grand scale. A Bradford hospital and a nurses' training institution, and  model lodging houses and a day nursery founded on his initiative, benefited in particular from his largesse.  Like Behrens, he served as mayor of Bradford.

Even more outstanding as a philanthropist was yet another textle merchant from Germany,  Jacob Moser (1839-1922), who, some years after Bradford's acquisition of city status, served as lord mayor.  At a time when  old age pensions did not yet exist he donated £10,000 (about £1million in today's money) in order that elderly inhabitants of Bradford irrespective of creed would have a weekly income.  His wife also played a prominent tole in local affairs.  Moser was a Reform Jew who nevertheless aided the local Orthodox congregation, and it's interesting to note that he gave what was, before the First World War, the most generous contribution by a single individual to the Zionist Organisation (in order to build the Herzlia Gymnasium in Jaffa).

Another notable Jew with Bradford connections was the artist and art school administrator Sir William Rothenstein, who was born there in 1872, the son of an immigrant woollen merchant, and died in 1945 after a distinguished career.  His paintings include Jews mourning in a synagogue (which can be seen here).

Today, the Jewish presence in Bradford has been all but eclipsed, and the town to which those and other nineteenth-century immigrants flocked and in which they so eagerly integrated is home to a large Muslim community of mainly Pakistani origin who comprise about one quarter of the population. 

It is against that backdrop that the outrageous remarks of Liberal Democrat MP David Ward, who represents the Bradford East, must be viewed.

Ward, as probably everyone reading this blogpost knows by now, declared ahead of Holocaust Memorial Day (27 January) that
“Having visited Auschwitz twice – once with my family and once with local schools – I am saddened that the Jews, who suffered unbelievable levels of persecution during the Holocaust, could within a few years of liberation from the death camps be inflicting atrocities on Palestinians in the new State of Israel and continue to do so on a daily basis in the West Bank and Gaza.”
He later made this appalling statement:
“The Holocaust was one of the worst examples in history man’s inhumanity to man. When faced with examples of atrocious behaviour, we must learn from them. It appears that the suffering by the Jews has not transformed their views on how others should be treated.”
And he subsequently told Sky News (video here)

”I’m accusing the Jews who did it,  [nervous laugh] so if you’re a Jew and you did not do it I’m not accusing you. I’m saying that those Jews who did that and continue to do it have not learned those lessons. If you are a Jew and you do not do those things and have never done those things then I am not criticising you.”
Faced with a furore, Ward declared:
"My criticisms of actions since 1948 in the Palestinian territories in the name of the State of Israel remain as strong as ever.
In my comments this week I was trying to make clear that everybody needs to learn the lessons of the Holocaust.
I never for a moment intended to criticise or offend the Jewish people as a whole, either as a race or as a people of faith, and apologise sincerely for the unintended offence which my words caused.
I recognise of course the deep sensitivities of these issues at all times, and particularly on occasions of commemoration such as this weekend.
I will continue to make criticisms of actions in Palestine in the strongest possible terms for as long as Israel continues to oppress the Palestinian people."
Ward must obviously be acutely aware that at the 2010 General Election he took the Bradford East constituency from Labour by the slimmest of margins,  polling 13,637 votes to Labour's 13,272.  The Conservatives managed to improve their electoral performance, polling 10,860 votes, by fielding a Muslim candidate, Mr Mohammed Riaz.  Clearly, the Muslim vote is perceived as crucial in the constituency, and one way of wooing it and attempting to avoid a bruising at the polls is to slam Israel, hard and often.  It can be no accident that Ward's initial disgusting statement was made to Asian News.

(Not that Ward is alone in comparing the situation of the Palestinians to that of the Jews under Nazism: such an obscenity has become a staple of many others on the political Left.)

There have been many blogs and articles denouncing Ward, and one of the most perceptive comes from Melanie Phillips who remarks, inter alia:

".... [T]he really terrible thing here is not the grotesque misuse of the Holocaust, nor the vicious suggestion that ‘the Jews’ are guilty of behaviour that is somehow analogous to the Nazi genocide inflicted upon them, nor even the sickening insult that they have to ‘learn the lessons’ of their own suffering.
No, the true venom of these remarks is the way they reverse the position of today’s Jewish victims – the Israeli survivors of the Holocaust and their children and grandchildren -- and their current would-be exterminators – the descendants of Hitler’s Nazi collaborators in Palestine during the Holocaust.
For the fact is that Israel is not trying to exterminate the Palestinians ....
Nor are the Israelis behaving inhumanely; it is the Palestinians who are committing crimes against humanity by targeting Israeli innocents for mass murder without remission, both from Gaza and from the West Bank. It is the Palestinians, in the West Bank as well as Gaza, who are brainwashed from the cradle to hate Jews and to believe that murdering Israelis is their highest glory. Which they have been doing in Israel and before that in Palestine for more than a century – despite the fact that, as the international community laid down in binding treaty in 1920, the Jews alone had the inalienable and historic right to settle throughout Palestine, including not just present-day Israel but also the West Bank and Gaza.
Moreover, while the Jews accepted proposals for a Palestinian state first made in the 1930s and then in 1947, and while the Israelis offered them more than 95 per cent of the possible land for a state in 2000 and 2008, the Palestinians responded merely by murdering more Jews...."
Since courting the Muslim vote is at the heart of this unpleasant incident involving the latest Lib Dem politician to smear Jews and Israel, let's give the final word to a British Muslim doctor of Pakistani heritage, Qanta Ahmed.  The following was written by her regarding the Mavi Marmara affair, but it complements Melanie Phillips' points nicely, and sends a message that should be heeded by demonisers of Israel everywhere (including Ward):
"As world media becomes ever more comfortable with the portrayal of Israel as monolithic villain devoid of conscience, anti-Israeli criticism begins to ascend in volume, and commentary further deteriorates. This is a frightening descent and should concern all of us, irrespective of one's politics, faith or relationships....
While we dehumanize and decry the immoral IDF officer, the cruel Israeli superpower, the heartless Jewish state, we, 'the other', maintain our own moral compass intact in assessing our own contributions to ongoing tropism. Hence, Hamas, and its violent and truly cannibalistic approaches (fueling a culture which literally consumes its own children in the service of its ideology) becomes a resistance of valor and indeed apparently one above moral question.
This is a bastardization of humanity and morality. Who are we to judge the Israelis and their policies, when the wider Muslim world tolerates a total departure of the most basic Islamic values: living a meaningful life in this world, sanctity of life above all other rights, subscription to ideologies meaningfully exchanged through suicide bombing into spiritual and material currency, fundamentally abandoning the protection and nurturing of society's weakest: the child. Conveniently, for our collective moral Muslim superiority, our moral compass is off line when considering ourselves. We do not reflect. We lack introspection. Indeed our own, increasingly grotesque reflection is too awful for ourselves to behold, because within it we recognize our complicity in immorality....
When will we understand that Israel's security problem is everyone's security problem, that a threatened Jew is a threatened Muslim, that suicide bombers can come to a neighborhood near you, that there is no morality in the destruction of life and that these problems are so big they require all of us to engage together and collaborate, not polarize around primal tropisms and alienate? When will that be? When?" 

Sunday, 27 January 2013

The British Foreign Office Identifies Israel As "A Country Of Concern"

The British government's attitude towards Israel is encapsulated in the letter that prime minister David Cameron sent this month to former mayor of New York Ed Koch:
"Let me reassure you that the UK, is and will remain a firm friend of Israel. I share your deep concern about the recent inflammatory statements made by Hamas leaders, including Khaled Mesha’al on 7 December, denying Israel’s right to exist. The UK also utterly and unreservedly condemns the recent call for a third intifada and a suicide campaign by a Hamas official. Incitements to violence and terror are unacceptable. We therefore welcome President Abbas’ public rejection of these statements and acceptance of the State of Israel within 1967 borders.
We firmly believe that the people of Israel have a right to live peacefully and free from terror. But we also believe that the only sustainable way to achieve this is through a negotiated two-state solution. As friends of Israel, it is important we do whatever we can tto reach that ultimate objective: two states, living side by side, in peace. We ask Israel to stop building settlements because they are illegal under international law, an obstacle to peace and make a two-state solution, with Jerusalem as a shared capital, harder to achieve. They are, ultimately, not in Israel’s long-term interests. Simply building a fortress without a negotiated agreement with the Palestinians cannot deliver lasting security for Israel.
I do not share your analysis regarding the recent Palestinian UN General Assembly resolution. The UK’s position on this resolution was determined by the guiding principle of ensuring a rapid return to negotiations. Given this, we had asked Palestinian President Abbas not to move a resolution at the UN General Assembly in November. In the period prior to the vote, we engaged intensively to seek a commitment from the Palestinian leadership to return immediately to negotiations without preconditions and that they would not pursue immediate action in UN agencies and the International Criminal Court. In the absence of these assurances, the UK abstained on the vote.
We must now look forward. This year is an important one for peace in the Middle East. The UK will work urgently with the United States, our other international partners and with the Israelis and Palestinians to drive the peace progress forward before the window for a two-state solution closes forever.'
 In a report published last week regarding the situation regarding human rights round the world for the period October to December 2012 inclusive, the British Foreign Office identifies Israel as "a country of concern" (along with 27 other nations including such persistent human rights violators as Iran):
'Israel’s inclusion [observes this account of the report] is likely to cause its incoming government  some concern, in light of its close British ally’s repeated cautions in recent months that Israel’s “illegal” pursuit of settlement expansion risks alienating its international allies....
The update of the climate between October and December 2012 concluded that despite Hamas receiving widespread condemnation from foreign leaders at the time of November’s escalation for instigating the exchange of hostilities, “the violence has resulted in a number of humanitarian needs, including a worsening of the already precarious humanitarian situation in Gaza”....'
This is what, inter alia, the FO report has to say:
'November saw a severe escalation of violence in Gaza and southern and central Israel....
The violence has resulted in a number of humanitarian needs, including a worsening of the already precarious humanitarian situation in Gaza.  Before the recent outbreak of hostilities, 80% of households in Gaza relied on humanitarian assistance and 44% of the population were food insecure.  Fuel, water and sanitation have been serious problems for some time and there are now critical shortages of essential drugs and medical disposables.    A UN Initial Rapid Assessment identified a number of additional emergency needs as a result of the conflict, including health, infrastructure and psycho-social care.  The psychological impact of the violence on both Israeli and Gazan citizens, particularly children, is a particular concern. In addition the European Commission Humanitarian Office (ECHO) assessed that 10,000 individuals living in north and north-east Gaza were displaced during the violence with an estimated 350-700 unable to return due to houses being destroyed or partially destroyed as of 26 November.

On 11 December, International Development Minister, Alan Duncan visited Gaza City to observe the impact of the airstrikes firsthand and announced an additional £1.25m in aid to be channelled through the Red Cross to address the humanitarian needs of people in Gaza affected by the conflict.'
 (Duncan it will be recalled, made the following outrageous statement a couple of years ago:
"The wall [Israel's security barrier] is a land grab. It hasn't just gone along the lines of the proper Israel boundary. It's taken in open land which actually belongs to Palestine.
Israeli settlers can build what they want and then immediately get the infrastructure so that takes the water deliberately away from Palestinians here." )
 Regarding settlements the report observes:
"The UK Government was concerned about developments relating to Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank over the reporting period. On 30 November, the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office announced that he would advance the next stage of the planning process for the area of West Bank land known as ‘E1’, thereby building illegally on the last remaining open space of land East of Jerusalem.  Announcements were also made to progress plans for the future construction of 3000 additional illegal settlement units in East Jerusalem and the West Bank.  Further settlement plans were advanced in East Jerusalem neighbourhoods including in Ramot Shlomo (17 December) and in Givat Hamatos (19 December).

In reaction to these announcements, the Foreign Secretary reaffirmed the UK’s position that “Israeli settlements are illegal under international law and undermine trust between the parties”. Commenting on the most recent announcements, the Foreign Secretary said that “this decision constitutes a serious provocation and an obstacle to peace.  If implemented, it would make a negotiated two-state solution, with Jerusalem as a shared capital, very difficult to achieve.”

The construction of a new settlement in ‘E1’ would, if implemented, have a severe impact on freedom of movement, limiting the ability of Palestinians to move easily along the length of the West Bank.  This would have an impact on the economic development, transport links and the ability of the Palestinian Authority to deliver services to its citizens.  Of particular concern is the impact settlement construction in E1 would have on the area’s 2300 Palestinian Bedouins, who would very likely be displaced if the plans were to be implemented."

Below, incidentally, is footage of the Jerusalem Post's Caroline Glick arguing the case for the settlements  recently (the entire debate, at a forum in London, where Ms Glick experienced hostility that shocked her, can be accessed here).

Saturday, 26 January 2013

"A Sad Day For British Jewry"

“By working together with Oxfam GB we will continue to express our deep commitment to social justice and share the Jewish belief that actively working towards a better world for all is at the core of Judaism.”

So declared a senior Board of Deputies figure following the Board's decision last Sunday (by 113 votes to 65 with 15 abstentions) to proceed with the initiative known as Grow-Tatzmiach, a partnership in which Oxfam will train Jewish activists to fight global hunger.

Explained Board president Vivian Wineman following the vote:
 “It’s a great project.  It doesn’t mean we agree with Oxfam – we’ve made it clear to them, and they are very aware of how the Board feels. They’ve had to explain to their own supporters why they are doing a project with an organization that is so anti-boycott. We are not giving a ‘hechsher’ [kosher certification] to Oxfam’s views on Israel or its actions, but showing that we can engage on things we do agree on.”
But deputy Jonathan Hoffman, the doughty high-profile Zionist Federation stalwart who spearheaded the campaign against cooperation with Oxfam, observed:
“This project sends entirely the wrong message. To Israel’s enemies, it says even the Board supports an organization hostile to Israel – look how isolated Israel is. To Israel’s friends, it says the Board’s not serious about fighting delegitimization. How can it be, when it rushes into a tie-up with one of the most hostile charities?
 It’s a sad day for British Jewry. I apologise to the people in southern Israel for the fact that deputies have endorsed as a partner an organisation that wants to put their lives in danger by completely opening the borders of Gaza. 
I have applied to be on the Project Oversight Committee and, given Oxfam’s record, I fully expect the Board’s ‘red lines’ to be crossed within a matter of weeks, if not days.
I pay tribute to those who spoke so eloquently on our side and to those who fronted the campaign in recent weeks... We could not have done more.”
Just how hostile Oxfam is was summarised, during the campaign, by StandforPeace.

As one deputy who spoke against the proposal said of Oxfam:
“It is tainted by its history of statements on Israel. The ramifications of this do not seem to have been thought through.” 
Added deputy and Middle East analyst Jonathan Sacerdoti:
“This is a PR attempt to make Oxfam look like they are working with Jews. We don’t need a PR stunt to prove we care about world hunger. We are being asked to do something quite cynical.” 
It seems that some deputies who wished to vote against the project were prevented by the wintry conditions of snow and ice from travelling, and accordingly missed out.

Lamented one deputy unable to attend:
"The Board and those Deputies who voted for the partnership are naïve if they think they can persuade Oxfam GB to change its views because of this partnership.
If anything, this partnership will energise those who seek to demonise and delegitimise Israel.
As the Board’s co-ordinator for the ‘Stop the Co-op boycott of settlement goods’ for the north-west, how am I going to convince the Co-op to end their boycott when the Board has just aligned itself with the organisation that was the main lobbyist for labelling settlement goods?”
As the report in the third of the links below indicates, the fall-out from the Board's decision is by no means  over.

Read more here, here, and here

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Morsi Minces Two-State Solution (includes video)

"Palestine: Morsi Minces Two-State Solution" is the latest article by Sydney lawyer and international affairs analyst David Singer.

(The illuminating and well-done video I've posted at the end isn't directly related to what David Singer writes, but it is not irrelevant either.)

He writes:

'Any hope of a negotiated two-state solution being achieved under the Oslo Accords and the Bush Road Map has been blown away following the publication of statements made by Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi in September 2010 – which have recently surfaced and come back to haunt him in January 2013.
President Obama must rue the day he made the following reported comment in the New York Times after the Gaza ceasefire on November 21:
“Mr. Obama told aides he was impressed with the Egyptian leader’s pragmatic confidence ... He sensed an engineer’s precision with surprisingly little ideology."
To the contrary – Morsi's 2010 statements reveal a great deal of ideology concerning the two-state solution and Jews.

Morsi's scathing and dismissive comments were made on 23 September 2010 (as reported by MEMRI – the Middle East Media Research Institute)
"These futile [Israeli-Palestinian] negotiations are a waste of time and opportunities. The Zionists buy time and gain more opportunities, as the Palestinians, the Arabs, and the Muslims lose time and opportunities, and they get nothing out of it. We can see how this dream has dissipated. This dream has always been an illusion... This [Palestinian] Authority was created by the Zionist and American enemies for the sole purpose of opposing the will of the Palestinian people and its interests.
He added for good measure
"No reasonable person can expect any progress on this track. Either [you accept] the Zionists and everything they want, or else it is war. This is what these occupiers of the land of Palestine know – these blood-suckers, who attack the Palestinians, these warmongers, the descendants of apes and pigs."
This tirade had been preceded by the following statements made by Morsi on Al-Quds TV (Lebanon) March 20, 2010:
"The Zionists have no right to the land of Palestine. There is no place for them on the land of Palestine. What they took before 1947-8 constitutes plundering, and what they are doing now is a continuation of this plundering. By no means do we recognize their Green Line. The land of Palestine belongs to the Palestinians, not to the Zionists
We must confront this Zionist entity. All ties of all kinds must be severed with this plundering criminal entity, which is supported by America and its weapons, as well as by its own nuclear weapons, the existence of which is well known...
We want a country for the Palestinians on the entire land of Palestine, on the basis of [Palestinian] citizenship. All the talk about a two-state solution and about peace is nothing but an illusion, which the Arabs have been chasing for a long time now. They will not get from the Zionists anything but this illusion."
The publication of these remarks elicited the following mealy mouthed response from the White House
“We strongly condemn the remark that then-Muslim Brotherhood leader Morsi made in 2010. The language that we have seen is deeply offensive. We completely reject these statements, as we do any language that espouses religious hatred. This discourse–this is a broader point–this kind of discourse has been acceptable in the region for far too long and it’s counter to the goal of peace. President Morsi should make clear that he respects people of all faiths, and that this type of rhetoric is not acceptable or productive in a democratic Egypt. Since taking office President Morsi has reaffirmed Egypt’s commitment to its peace treaty with Israel in both word and deed, and has proven willing to work with us towards shared objectives including a ceasefire during the crisis in Gaza last year. These commitments are essential to our bi-lateral relations with Egypt as well as for stability in the region.”
Morsi has so far not obliged the White House.

Why should he? The negotiations have failed – despite offers by Israel in 2000/2001 and 2008.

Morsi's prescription for curing such failure is a recipe for disaster.

Pursuing a proposal so vigorously opposed by Egypt seems to be the height of stupidity. It cannot and will not eventuate in the face of such opposition.

Unfazed by this development – the following statement was made last week following a meeting in Perth of AUKMIN – the Australia-UK Ministerial Consultations attended by Australia's Foreign Minister Senator Bob Carr, the Australian Minister for Defence (Stephen Smith) and the UK Foreign and Defence Secretaries, William Hague and Philip Hammond.
"The Palestinian Authority and the new Israeli government must engage seriously in negotiations without preconditions. Actions by both sides must be in the interests of peace. Neither side should create obstacles to that objective"
The obstacle to engaging in such negotiations is pretty basic – the PA is dead and buried since it was decreed out of existence by Mahmoud Abbas on 3 January.

Compounding their gaffe, the ministers continued:
"We call on the Palestinian Authority to exercise restraint and avoid provocative actions at international forums."
The PA has vanished into thin air – no longer able to cause or avoid provocative actions and will no longer be seen at international forums.

This inescapable fact and the revelation of the Morsi statements seem to be of no consequence to these Ministers.

They are in good company with President Obama – whose spokesman Jay Carney had this to say on 23 January:
"We believe that what needs to take place is direct negotiations between the two parties that address the final-status issues and that result in a two-state solution that provides the sovereignty that the Palestinian people deserve and the security that the Israeli people and Israel deserves"
The expectation that Israel could give the Palestinian Arabs what they themselves were never prepared to accept between 1948-1967 – has proved impossible to achieve

The restoration of the status quo that existed at 5 June 1967 – so far as can now occur given the changed circumstances on the ground - remains the last hope.

This will involve negotiations between Israel, Jordan and Egypt to allocate sovereignty in the West Bank and Gaza between their respective States and the abandonment of the two-state solution.

Given Morsi's extreme views – the time for any negotiations involving Egypt might need to be put on hold – whilst negotiations with Jordan on the return of the major part of the West Bank to its last Arab occupier are attempted.

One thing is certain – a change of course is urgently required – or we will all suffer from the ensuing shipwreck that is staring us in the face.

Flogging a dead horse is not a good idea since the stench emanating from the decomposing body will soon become too overpowering.'

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

If The Facts Don' t Fit The Agenda, Hide 'Em: The BBC & The Israeli Election

Over at BBCWatch, the Sherlock Holmesian Hadar Sela has posted several must-read posts that analyse in illuminating and depressing detail how Britain's "national broadcaster" has been covering the Israeli election.

There is the trademark omission of facts that don't fit Al Beeb's agenda of emphasisng a supposedly inexorable lurch to the right and the power of rightwing bogeymen, there are errors, there is jejune analysis, there is outsourcing of reportage to a leftist Israeli activist with an axe to grind, and there is manipulative sleight of hand.

There was the doctoring of remarks by the Jerusalem Post's Gil Hoffman (who slayed the myth of a rightward shift here):
"Donnison’s report also included an interview with the Jerusalem Post’s chief political correspondent Gil Hoffman. Or at least, parts of an interview. For – as Hoffman later explained on Twitter – it seems that some things said in that interview just did not fit in with the BBC agenda.
Tweet Gil Hoffman
 Hadar Sela adds,
"But then, a very curious thing happened. Some hours later, Donnison’s report disappeared and – on the same URL and with the same title and synopsis  – a completely different one by Wyre Davies appeared...."
 As she remarks:
 "The BBC’s overall coverage of this election has presented a picture which disproportionately focuses on one side of the Israeli political map.  Audiences will not only have been unable to learn anything about the policies of Centrist and Leftist parties, but will also know nothing about the people leading them. Subjects such as the involvement of Arab women in the political process – which would likely interest readers and viewers in this ‘Arab Spring’ era – have been completely ignored. 
Overall, the BBC’s selective coverage of the elections has had one very specific agenda: to present Israel as a country lurching rightwards and to depict that perceived shift as the exclusive reason for the predicted failure to make progress on the subject of the peace process.
 Neither of those assumptions is anchored in reality, but the BBC continues to selectively tailor the news in order to influence audience perceptions."
(Regarding the election outcome and what it indicates, here's an interesting interview with Dr Colin Rubenstein, of the  Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council [AIJAC]; he stresses, among other points, that the widespread perception that the settlements are the major obstacle to peace is "a furphy that should be laid to rest".)

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

"The People Of Gaza Are Oppressed By Hamas" (video)

Here's the latest video from StandWithUs (hat tip: reader Shirlee) telling the truth about Gaza in a way a four-year-old might be expected to comprehend:

British Muslim Qanta Ahmed, a doctor of Pakistani heritage, has also been showing up Hamas for the wicked force it is:
'To Hamas, a Palestinian life is worth more when “martyred,” a dead child more of a blessing than one living. “The children of the kindergarten are the shaheeds [martyrs] of tomorrow,” reads a sign displayed at a Hamas-run kindergarten. The martyrdom mantra is their anthem.
While observers speculate Hamas will shortly usurp the crumbling Fatah leadership and ideologically annex the West Bank, we must remember Hamas’ raison d’etre: Islamist nihilism, a totalitarian ideology, jet-fueled on the language and images stolen from mighty Islam. Israeli negotiators who must engage with this opponent are walking on the sharp-edged sword of Damocles and unlike Muslims, the Israelis certainly know it.
Coloring their fascism with Islam, Hamas claims religious legitimacy to openly seek destruction of the Jewish state and eradication of the Jewish people. By grafting themselves onto Into Islamic ideals – the vertebral column of that which is most sacred to Muslims – they render Islam itself heinous, representing their true ruthlessness: theirs is a willingness to sacrifice anything –including Islam – to portray Israel as evil.
This ethos was captured in a single unprecedented obscenity: Hamas’ morbid motorcade. Cocksure thugs, defiantly cruising on motorcycles trailed exposed cadavers of Palestinians – Muslim men – trousers pooled at dead ankles. To chants of ‘Allah-hu-Akbar’ as dozens of Palestinian onlookers silently watched, Hamas took its ghoulish victory lap explicitly to show Gazans how they execute ‘suspected informers to Israel’. This is the Islam of Hamas.'
Read her full article here

London Cries: "What Do We Want? Jihad! When Do We Want It? Now!" (video)

London cries, on 12 January.

A far cry indeed from  "Will you buy my sweet violets?"  and " Won't you buy my sweet blooming lavender?"

Stick out the entire video, if you can bear to.

Well might London cry.

Monday, 21 January 2013

Heavies In The 'Hood: Muslim vigilantes try to rule Britannia (video)

This mobile footage has appeared on so many websites over the past few days that I'd decided it would be a waste of time to post it here.

However, since a friend who's usually well-informed about such things told me today that he was unaware of these goings on in the London borough of Tower Hamlets (some reports say Waltham Forest, some Wathamstow), I've decided to post it after all:

Strangely (ahem!) the mainstream media has been silent about this attempt by Islamists to impose their cultural norms upon passers-by; the Daily Mail is an exception.

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Making The Ghosts Grin: The BBC Trust's White Decision

"There were ghosts haunting the Third Committee that day: the ghosts of Hitler and Goebbels and Julius Streicher, grinning with delight to hear, not only Israel, but Jews as such denounced in language which would have provoked hysterical applause at any Nuremberg rally and justify a special edition of Der Stürmer.

 And there were other ghosts also at the debate: the ghosts of the 6,000,000 dead in ... extermination camps, listening to the same voices which had cheered and jeered and abused them as they made their way to the gas chambers.
For the fundamental thesis advanced by the supporters of the resolution, and approved by the majority of the Third Committee, was that to be a Jew, and to be proud of it, and to preserve the right to be a Jew, is to be an enemy of the human race."
In the above words, the Oxford-educated Welsh journalist and author Goronwy Rees (1909-79) – no rightwinger, he, by the way – expressed his disgust for the adoption by the United Nations in 1975 of the notorious resolution equating Zionism with racism.

More obscenity from The Age's notorious Michael Leunig
Fast forward 37 years, and another British journalist, former Sun editor Kelvin MacKenzie, suggested following Operation Pillar of Cloud (Defence) that media hostility to Israel is "a form of proxy for antisemitism by journalists in the West".

He observed:
"It is a massive puzzle because journalists normally are on the side of the little guy, and there can’t be a smaller guy in the Middle East than Israel....
[Israel] is pro-gay, pro-democracy, pro-women. It’s the most liberal establishment probably for 1,000 miles in any direction. You would have thought every journalist would embrace that thought process – but for some reason they don’t.
The most interesting thing was the way the people from Gaza treated those guys they claimed were Israeli spies – they shot them in public and dragged around their bodies.
Compare that with the Israelis when they captured the guy who let off the bomb in Tel Aviv and then followed due process and the law. That is never portrayed in the British media. Never...."
There is, of course, no British media outlet more accomplished at misrepresenting Israel by sins of both commission and omission than the BBC.  The consequences inevitably impact to Israel's detriment upon the public mind:

Commented an apparent apologist for the Corporation on a November BBCWatch post.
"Israel should be starved of resources by an international blockade. Only allowed reduced medical and food supplies, given dirty water to drink, UN overwatch present at every place where the IDF are active, and no more military materiel provided by the west. Once you have run out of guns and ammo, all your bulldozers and tanks and iron dome lie by the roadside and your Israeli population is desperate and willing to kill themselves in protest at the conditions of their imprisonment and repression, only then will it be a fair fight.
But Iran will probably nuke you before that and save the world the trouble."
And now the potential for more incalculable harm has been unleashed by the BBC Trust's bizarre and unconscionable decision to uphold a complaint by anti-Israel zealot Ben White regarding the a BBC Radio 4 broadcast's coverage of the so-called Nakba.  To quote the Jewish Chronicle report by Marcus Dysch: 
'.... A “lack of clarity” had been evident in the coverage of West Bank protests last May which marked “Nakba Day”, when Palestinians mourn the creation of Israel, the BBC investigation found.
The report breached the Corporation’s accuracy guidelines by failing to note the “degree of force or coercion in the manner of the departure” of Palestinians, the Trust concluded....
Mr White complained to the BBC, claiming that the introduction to the news report was “deeply offensive” to Palestinians who had “lost everything as a result of ethnic cleansing”.
The introduction had stated that 60 Palestinians were injured in clashes with Israeli forces while marking Nakba Day, which the piece said was “the anniversary of Israel’s declaration of statehood which resulted in thousands of Palestinians leaving their homes”.
A Radio 4 editor who worked on the introduction told an initial BBC editorial standards committee that referring to Palestinians “leaving their homes” had not been “dynamic” enough.
The Trust concluded that the language used had “failed adequately to convey the reality of the departures”, and had “understated” the number of Palestinians affected by Israel’s creation....'
Dysch also notes:
'Ben White is a campaigner who accuses Israel of being an apartheid state and who wrote in 2002 that he could “understand” why people were antisemitic.
He encouraged his Twitter followers to protest against Israeli theatre company Habima last May by posting a picture of Jewish author Howard Jacobson, saying the Booker Prize winner’s face was “another reason to support the boycott”.'
As Robin Shepherd remarks at the end of his must-read piece on this unsavoury decision by the BBC Trust and and its implications, 
"Bear in mind that the (fairly) new chairman of the BBC trust is former European Commissioner Chris [Lord] Patten, a well known Israel basher. So, in this case, essentially, the complaints procedure broke down as follows:
Anti-Zionist fanatic makes complaint to watchdog organisation run by Israel basher that broadcaster already well-known for anti-Israel bias is not being biased enough. Watchdog organisation run by Israel basher upholds complaint made by anti-Zionist fanatic and warns broadcaster well known for anti-Israel bias that it should be careful to be more biased in the future."
Alan Aziz, executive director of the Zionist Federation, observes of the Trust's decision that  the BBC’s obligatory commitment to impartiality
“seems never to apply when it comes to Israel. The BBC, by recognising a false narrative that Israel committed a catastrophe against the Palestinians, is providing a biased picture demonising Israel.'
And, as Robin Shepherd says,
"The BBC Trust has now effectively sent a signal to reporters and editors that they have a duty to distort the historical record to suit the pro-Palestinian narrative"
The ghosts of Hitler, Goebbels and Streicher cannot be the only ones grinning.

Friday, 18 January 2013

Fighting Terrorism: A Double Standard In A Nutshell

Kudos to the unknown person who made this comment, quoted in an email I received just now:
“France is going to war in Mali because it says ‘we cannot have a terrorist state at the door of Europe,’ but when Israel launches a defensive operation to protect its citizens from missile attacks from terrorists in Gaza, all the French newspapers and television commentators scream about Israeli aggression. The distance between Bamako and Paris: 6266 km. The distance between Gaza and Israel: 1km.”
The writer adds that it evokes one of Natan Sharansky's triple D definition of  antisemitism: "double standards" (for his famous definition see here)

And for more on France and Mali see here from which the photo below is taken (it's a demo outside the French Embassy in Old London Town)


Thursday, 17 January 2013

"The Soil Of Palestine Includes The Soil Of Israel And The Soil Of Jordan": The PLO's Fraudulent Intent

Sydney lawyer and international affairs analyst David Singer's latest article is entitled "Palestine: Trojan Horse Exposes Duplicitous Doublecross".

He writes:

'Any doubt that the Oslo Accords and the Bush Road Map are dead and buried has been put to final rest by John V Whitbeck – an international lawyer who has served as an advisor to the Palestinian negotiating team in negotiations with Israel.

Writing in the Cyprus Mail on 13 January Whitbeck reveals that the Palestinian Authority "has been absorbed and replaced by the State of Palestine" in a decree issued by Mahmoud Abbas on 3 January and signed by him acting in his capacities as president of the State of Palestine and chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).

Whitbeck's confirmation of the demise of the Palestinian Authority signals the definite end to any further negotiations under the Oslo Accords and the Road Map being conducted between Israel and the Palestinian Authority – the designated parties to both agreements.

To make sure the message was fully understood, Whitbeck states unequivocally:
"The Trojan horse called the “Palestinian Authority” in accordance with the Oslo interim agreements and the “Palestinian National Authority” by Palestinians, having served its purpose by introducing the institutions of the State of Palestine on the soil of Palestine, has now ceased to exist."
The sordid truth and fraudulent intentions of the PLO in this long running duplicitous doublecross over the last 20 years have now been well and truly exposed by Whitbeck for all to see.

The Palestinian Authority never intended to negotiate in good faith to bring about the two-state solution prescribed by the Oslo Accords and the Bush Road map. It was a Trojan horse fronting for the PLO whose objective was to procure recognition of a Palestinian State without giving up or compromising any of the PLO's claims and demands.

This latest loss of the opportunity offered by the Oslo Accords and the Bush Road Map to realise the two-state solution matches the two opportunities thrown away by the PLO in 2000/1 and 2008

Three strikes –  and the PLO has been definitely outed.

The reaction of the international community will be followed with interest.

Whitbeck continues:
"In his correspondence, Yasser Arafat used to list all three of his titles under his signature – president of the State of Palestine, chairman of the executive committee of the Palestine Liberation Organisation and president of the Palestinian National Authority (in that order of precedence). It is both legally and politically noteworthy that, in signing this decree, Mahmoud Abbas has listed only the first two titles... There is no further need for a Palestinian leader to be three-headed or three-hatted."
But two hatted and two-faced Abbas must remain – because as Whitbeck explains:
"While the Palestine Liberation Organisation will continue to represent all Palestinians everywhere, those Palestinians who live in the State of Palestine (whose territory is defined by the November 29 General Assembly Resolution as “the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967”) or who, living elsewhere, will be the proud holders of new State of Palestine passports will now also be represented by the State of Palestine."
The fact that Hamas is not a member of the PLO and that its constituency running into millions is engaged in an internecine struggle with the PLO seems to have escaped Whitbeck's notice.

Whitbeck must have been reading the wrong wire services to draw the following conclusions:
"Perhaps due, at least in part, to the low-key manner in which this change has been effected, it has attracted remarkably little attention from the international media or reaction from other governments, even the Israeli and American governments. This is not necessarily disappointing, since passive acceptance is clearly preferable to furious rejection. The relatively few and brief media reports of the change have tended to characterise it as “symbolic”.  It could – and should – be much more than that. If the Palestinian leadership plays its cards wisely, it could – and should – represent a turning point toward a better future."
He obviously has missed the many articles critical of Abbas being forced to tip toe through the minefield that his unilateral actions have created.

More repercussions are yet to come as a disappointed international community comes to appreciate how this Trojan horse has pulled the wool over their collective eyes.

Certainly passive acceptance – instead of furious rejection – of Israel's demands that any Palestinian Arab State be demilitarised and that Israel be recognised as the Jewish State – would have helped the two-state solution possibly come to fruition.

The reasons for such furious rejection by the Trojan horse have now been revealed.

The Trojan horse fooled everyone. The negotiations were only a cover to grab what the PLO could get on the way to claiming their ultimate prize - the elimination of the state of Israel.

Whitbeck repeats the mantra of self delusion expressed by the PLO leadership:
"The State of Palestine now exists on the soil of Palestine - albeit still, in varying degrees and circumstances, under belligerent occupation by the State of Israel."
The soil of Palestine includes the soil of Israel and the soil of Jordan.

Whitbeck was circumspect in not bringing up that darker side of the PLO Covenant which regards Israel, Jordan, the West Bank and Gaza as one indivisible territorial unit.

The Trojan horse is clearly biding its time to take over Jordan.

In what must amount to one of the greatest tongue in cheek pronouncements ever issued over the course of the 130 years old conflict between Arabs and Jews, Whitbeck concludes:
"The members of the international community must now show their determination not simply in words but also in deeds and actions. In a world which professes to take human rights and international law, including the UN Charter, seriously, the perpetual belligerent occupation of one state by another state is inconceivable. The fact that the Israeli occupation of Palestine has been permitted to endure, expand and entrench itself for more than 45 years represents an appalling black mark against mankind. This occupation must now end."
The democratic world does not like wiping egg off its collective face – and neither does Israel.

With the Palestinian Authority now defunct, the only two possibilities for negotiations now remaining are those between:
1. Israel, Jordan and Egypt –  to allocate sovereignty of the West Bank and Gaza between them in accordance with the Mandate for Palestine and article 80 of the UN Charter or
2. Israel and all the Arab states – to negotiate an end to the Arab-Jewish conflict in accordance with Security Council Resolution 242.
You can lead a Trojan horse to water but you can't make it drink – or think.'

Hagel Woos The Jews Who Matter

"Chuck Hagel does not publicly advocate Israel’s destruction, but there is more to the issue than this. To be pro-Israel one needn’t be a fan of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu or of his hapless political opponents.
But Americans who purport to care about Israel’s fate do need to respect its democratic process and understand that the idea that Americans have the right to override the judgment of the voters there is illegitimate. Israel, like any democracy, especially one that is still besieged by its enemies, has plenty of problems. But it does not need to be saved from itself, especially by those, like Hagel, who have long demonstrated little sympathy with its security dilemmas or alarm about the existential threats facing it.
People ... who claim that respect for the stands of Netanyahu’s coalition—which commands the support of a far larger share of Israel’s voters than President Obama won here in 2008 or 2012—is not consistent with supporting Israel are way out of line. So, too, are their attempts to brand the overwhelming majority of Americans who think Israel’s government deserves U.S. support as a conspiracy of neoconservatives and others who don’t speak for the best interest of this country or the Jewish community.
The failure of 20 years of peace processing and concessions to the Palestinians effectively destroyed the Israeli left. That is why Netanyahu is poised to be re-elected later this month with a coalition that is more right-wing than his last government. That may dismay many Americans, but they need to understand that it is the result of Israelis looking at the facts and drawing the inevitable conclusions from them. Unfortunately, many Americans prefer to ignore the reality of the Middle East. Such dreamers who insist on blaming Israel for the lack of peace can call themselves what they like, but that does not allow them to pose as the country’s ardent friends the way Hagel and his fans are trying to.
Hagel is a decorated veteran and a loyal supporter of President Obama. Those are both good reasons for him to sit in the president’s cabinet. But his views on Israel and Iran don’t mesh with the public positions of the president or most Americans. No amount of rhetorical overkill or disingenuous attacks on the pro-Israel community can disguise this fact. Nor can they transform him from the proud opponent of the “Jewish lobby” into the Jewish state’s friend.'
Thus inveighed Jonathan S. Tobin at the conclusion of a heartfelt screed a few days ago.  (See also Isi Leibler's powerful article lamenting Hagel's nomination as Secretary of Defense here)

Ben Stein wrote (see my last blogpost but one)
 "Jews in many cases have loyalties that trump their interest to Israel. Their support of Mr. Obama is a case in point.
You are going to see this in the immediate future, as Mr. Obama lines up his many Jewish friends and supporters to back Mr. Hagel."
And so it is that, as the JTA's Ron Kampeas reports from Washington, DC:
'In recent days, Hagel has secured endorsements from three of the most identifiably Jewish and pro-Israel Democratic lawmakers: U.S. Sens. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), as well as U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee.
The endorsements follow several discussions with lawmakers during which Hagel is said to have expressed regret for the “Jewish lobby” comment. In those discussions, he also assured lawmakers that he is committed to preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.
“In our conversation, Sen. Hagel made a crystal-clear promise that he would do 'whatever it takes' to stop Tehran from obtaining nuclear weapons, including the use of military force,” Schumer said in a statement regarding his Monday meeting with Hagel. “He said his 'top priority' as Secretary of Defense would be the planning of military contingencies related to Iran." ....
Calling the term “Jewish lobby” a “very poor choice of words,” Hagel said in a letter to Boxer that “I used that terminology only once, in an interview. I recognize that this kind of language can be construed as anti-Israel.”
He delivered a similar apology over the phone last week to Wasserman Schultz, a flag bearer for Jewish causes among Democrats ...
“He realized some of the things he had said previously were offensive and inappropriate,” Wasserman Schultz told JTA.
Hagel already had the backing of two leading Jewish senators, Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif,), but insiders considered Schumer’s endorsement critical. Schumer has noted repeatedly to Jewish audiences that his name derives from the Hebrew word “shomer,” or guardian, and that he sees Israel’s security as his calling.
Boxer also is a go-to Jewish lawmaker -- she was the lead on a bill last year that enhanced the U.S.-Israel security relationship.
“After speaking extensively with Sen. Hagel by phone last week and after receiving a detailed written response to my questions late today, I will support Sen. Hagel’s nomination as Secretary of Defense,” Boxer said in a release late Monday. “First and foremost, he has pledged without reservation to support President Obama’s polices -- policies that I believe have made our world safer and our alliances stronger.”
Beyond his remarks regarding a “Jewish lobby,” the issues that had exercised Boxer and Wasserman Schultz -- as well as some pro-Israel groups -- had to do with Hagel's past skepticism of the efficacy of unilateral sanctions as a means of keeping Iran from developing a nuclear weapon, as well as his wariness of a military option in the same case.
In his letter to Boxer, Hagel reiterated his preference for multilateral sanctions, noting his past support, but added that unilateral sanctions in some instances were “necessary.” He did not mention the possibility of a strike.
But Wasserman Schultz said that in her phone call with Hagel, “he said that all options should be on the table, including a military option.
In both interactions, Hagel also noted his solid Senate record voting to fund defense assistance to Israel.
Wasserman Schultz pressed Hagel to explain why he had not signed a number of letters organized by the pro-Israel and Jewish communities, particularly an American Jewish Committee-backed letter in 1999 asking Russian Jewish President Boris Yeltsin to address the rise of violent anti-Semitism. The letter drew 99 signatories out of 100 senators; Hagel was the only one to pass.
The Florida lawmaker told JTA that she was satisfied with his response -- that as a senator he preferred not to write foreign leaders, but over the years wrote Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush to express his concern about anti-Semitism overseas....'
Read Ron Kampeas's entire article here

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

The New Antisemitism & The Duty Of Hasbara (video)

This interesting interview with the articulate Dr Dvir Abramovich, director of the Centre for Jewish History and Culture at the University of Melbourne and chair of the Anti-Defamation Commission in Victoria (about which, with examples of its work countering antisemitism, he talks here), took place towards the end of last year against the background of Operation Pillar of Cloud (Defence).  His opinions are well worth heeding, not least by the kind of Jew alluded to (by the wonderful Ben Stein) in my previous post.  But not by Jews only, for as Dr Abramovich says, both Jews and non-Jews who value liberty should advocate for Israel, a beacon of liberty in the Middle East.  And though in some quarters Hasbara has become a pejorative term, interpreted (I suppose) as "spin," it should be remembered that it means "explaining," and that explaining the truth about Israel to counter misconceptions should be seen as a necessary obligation.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

"Poor Israel ... Abandoned By So Many People Who Call Themselves Jewish"

"Poor Israel, poor beleaguered Israel, abandoned by so many people who call themselves Jewish, so alone, so terribly alone."

The words are those of the multi-talented  Ben Stein.

Mr Stein, remembered by an entire generation of now 30-somethings as the soporific economics teacher in the 1980s teen flick Ferris Bueller's Day Off,  is so much more than the sum of the parts he's played in Hollywood.  A Yale-educated lawyer and an economist, he's a prominent Republican writer and speaker.

His latest column in the American Spectator, which concludes with the sentence quoted above, slates Barack  Obama's nomination of Chuck Hagel: "one of the most clearly anti-Israel, anti-Semitic members of the Senate (or ex-members in his case) to be Secretary of Defense".

Mr Stein finds "heartbreaking" the fact that
"Most American Jews clearly supported Mr. Obama in his bid for President against a GOP that has been an incomparably stronger supporter of Israel than the modern-day Democrat party.... Barack Obama’s most productive fund-raisers, especially at the “millionaires and billionaires” level that Mr. Obama supposedly hates so much, were almost unanimously Jews. How they are going to square this with Senator Hagel’s nomination to a post that is of life or death importance to Israel is anyone’s guess.... "
He goes on to observe:
"But here is a clue: the really committed left-wing Jew does not care much about Israel. Jews in many cases have loyalties that trump their interest to Israel. Their support of Mr. Obama is a case in point.
You are going to see this in the immediate future, as Mr. Obama lines up his many Jewish friends and supporters to back Mr. Hagel.
 I hope the people who are supporting Chuck Hagel know that by confirming him, they are cementing at 100 percent that odds that Iran will get a nuclear capability without U.S. interference....
As a student of anti-Semitism in Europe before, during, and after the Holocaust, no amount of hatred and loathing for Jews surprises me. Americans who do love Israel should be aware, though, that it is growing much more likely by the moment that there will be a second Holocaust. The only real friends that Israel has on this earth, evangelical Christians, will take note. Whether anyone else will is a big question."
Read all of Ben Stein's article here