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)

Saturday, 31 August 2013

"Every Time You Think He Cannot Sink Lower ...": The Sequel

 Low ...

Lower still ...

"[E]very time you think he cannot sink any lower he finds new ways to surprise you," Alex Massie observed last week in The Spectator (see my post here).

 Well, the Honourable Member for Bradford West has surely hit rock bottom this time, telling an easily disproven porky in the Commons' chamber:

 Read more here

Hat tip: readers Ian & Shirlee

Friday, 30 August 2013

"You Are Fighting For The Soul Of The Church" Pro-Israel British Christians Are Told By Jewish Leader

Remember my post regarding the disturbing Israel-bashing high jinks brought to the Greenbelt festival at Cheltenham Racecourse last weekend by former diplomat Jeremy Moodey's NGO Embrace the Middle East?

Well, pro-Israel Christians have not allowed the demonisers to have it all their own way.

In the course of a spirited challenge to Greenbelt's organisers, one made the following points:
'Israel can only be seen to be being unjust if it has violated historical land ownership rights in the region.
Land bought by Jewish settlers in the 1880’s and onwards was bought from the absentee Turkish landlords, who were eager for funds. The land that was initially settled was uncultivated, swampy, cheap and empty land. It was only later that cultivated land was bought. In his memoirs, King Abdullah of Jordan wrote, “…the Arabs are as prodigal in selling their land as they are in useless wailing and weeping”. Therefore, up until 1948, when the State of Israel was formed, no land was seized or acquired in any way other than through legal means.
....Did you know that there has never been a sovereign Palestinian state and a people group who regard themselves as Palestinians from the point of view of the Arab people groups! In fact, when the first congress of Muslim-Christian Associations met in Jerusalem in 1919 the agreement was that “we consider Palestine as part of Arab Syria.” The only people who considered themselves ‘Palestinians’ in the first half of the 20th century were the Jewish inhabitants. Even the Jewish national newspaper was called ‘The Palestinian Post’!
Further, prior to 1948, in the 1930s there was a huge rate of immigration by Arabs into the region mainly from Egypt, Trans-Jordan, Syria & Lebanon. In 1939, Winston Churchill said “Far from being persecuted, the Arabs have crowded into the country and multiplied until their population has increased more than even all world Jewry could lift up (increase) the Jewish population.” This is an important point because it dispels the myth that the Arab Palestinian people have lived there for generations. It raises a further point when we talk about Palestinian refugees displaced by the anti-Israeli war one day after the formation of Israel in 1948 (an idea sanctioned by the United Nations General assembly in 1947) that many of them would have been as recent to the land as the Jews themselves!
[W]ill you tell people at Greenbelt this aspect of the historical facts?
.... Did you know there are 2 historical refugee problems but they have been handled differently?
The 820,000 Jewish refugees who were forcibly ejected from Arab countries where they had often lived for thousands of years were all welcomed and integrated into Israel or the Jewish world elsewhere. There are no Jewish refugee camps.
The 750,000 Arab refugees who were displaced in 1948, were placed into squalid refugee camps by fellow Arabs who had just gone to war as the aggressors (and lost) on their behalf but were unwilling to pay for the consequences. Jesus said the following words in Luke 14:28-30 “For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, saying, this man began to build, and was not able to finish.” Incredibly, over 50 years later, over a million of these poor people are still in these camps, despite billions of dollars of relief paid by rich Arab states, the U.N.,the E.U. and others. Where on earth has all the money gone? Why on earth are they still in camps and not integrated into Arab society by the oil rich nations that aggressed Israel one day after it was inaugurated as a sovereign state, an act sanctioned by the United Nations? And yet, Israel is the nation left to carry the can!
[W]ill you tell people at Greenbelt this aspect of the historical facts?
....Is it reasonable for Israel to concede land by the so called “Palestinians”?
.... [I]s it really reasonable of us here in the U.K. to expect the Jews to re-assimilate a group of people who are driven by a mindset that can be summed up by the work of Yasser Arafat who was dubiously awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1994. I quote the following which is not an exhaustive account of his statements.
Yasser Arafat in 1970 said (Washington Post March 19, 1970)
The goal of our struggle is the end of Israel, and there can be no compromise.
El Mundo, of Caracas, Venzuela reports Arafat as saying (Feb 11, 1980)
 Peace for us means the destruction of Israel.  We are preparing for an all-out war, a war which will last for generations.  Since Jan. 1965, when Fatah was born, we have become the most dangerous enemy that Israel has...We shall not rest until the day when we return to our home, and until we destroy Israel.
On September 13, 1995 - the same day that the peace agreement ceremony was held in Washington D.C., Yasser Arafat spoke on Jordan Television:
Since we cannot defeat Israel in war we do this in stages. We take any and every territory that we can of Palestine, and establish sovereignty there,and we use it as a springboard to take more. When the time comes, we can get the Arab nations to join us for the final blow against Israel.
The late King Hussein was fond of describing Arafat as a man:
Who never comes to a bridge he can’t double cross.
U.S. News and World Report quoted Arafat as saying (May 1 1989 p78)
I am not seeking the peace of compromise, but the peace of Saladin.
With this mindset running the PLO, you would have to be a nutcase to concede land to a people grouping hell bent on destroying you! This is the same spirit that rose against Israel in 1948 which again was formally recognized and sanctioned by the United Nations.
 [W]ill you tell people at Greenbelt this aspect of the historical facts?
.... It is true that Israel ‘occupies’ the land since gaining it as a result of the Six Day War in 1967, but who did they occupy it from? Well believe it or not, the West bank was illegally seized by Jordan after 1948. After doing so, they made it an area forbidden to Jews. Can you imagine the fuss there would be if Israel adopted this same attitude with Arab settlers?
So who did Jordan take the West bank from? Before 1948, the West Bank was a parcel of land administered by the British as part of the British Mandate. It didn’t belong to them, they were just caretakers. Before that, the West Bank, called Judea & Samaria by the Jews was just the eastern part of Palestine, occupied by whoever happened to live there, Jew or Arab! In reality, the West Bank has not legally ever belonged to any State in modern history. So when Jewish settlers make their homes there, they are doing so on land that has been legally bought, not seized from anyone else, whether a State or individuals.'
"Occupation!" is the name of the game
A Christian blogger went so far as to compare  Embrace the Middle East's Israel-demonising board game "Occupation!" at the festival to the anti-Israel games played at their camp in Utoya by Anders Breivik's victims, adding:
'.... Nothing impresses a point on adolescent minds quite so readily as acting it out, something which Jeremy Mood[e]y, CEO of EmbraceME, will be well aware.
Greenbelt possibly have some way to go to ascend to the dizzy heights of Norwegian-style leftist anti-semitism.
But just imagine someone from Fatah sharing a stage next year with Peter Tatchell and calling for liberation for gay Palestinians.
Come on Greenbelt, how inclusive would that be?'
And another has issued a lengthy critique of the Kairos Document which is so dear to the heart of the Israel-demonisers working the Greenbelt crowd.

One of the generals leading the charge of the pro-Israel Christian soldiers against their Israel-demonising co-religionists has been Pastor Mike Fryer of Christians for Zion (I've mentioned this doughty fighter for Israel before on my blog, inter alia here and here).

This is the stuff he gave the troops: 
"During the years which preceded the Second World War Political and Religious meetings were being held throughout Europe during which Jews were condemned as a danger to society. Little was done by Christians to stop this teaching which incited the hatred which enabled the mass murder of men women and children to take place. Ordinary men who before the war were upright members of the community joined such units as Battalion 101 who were reservist Police officers and who became the most violent killers in history. Within five short years those men in that battalion, who numbered less than 500, originally defenders of communities, became the murderers of 83,000 Jews. They, who had families of their own, stripped and shot women and children at point blank range and the local Clergy watched. This happened for many reasons but one reason was that people were afraid to do anything to oppose such violence. If you were caught helping Jews you would be arrested and taken to the murder camps or executed on the spot, as were your family.
On Sunday the 25th of August the Greenbelt Christian Youth Summer Camp being held at Cheltenham Racecourse will host Reverend Lucy Winkett the Chair of the Amos Trust who will launch, on behalf of the trust, the Kairos Britain network of Churches. This network, which is also being launched in other countries around the world is targeting Israel as an oppressive unjust and racist nation who give no rights to the Palestinians. They condemn Israel and call out for Justice for Palestinians but they ignore the rights of Israel to defend herself and to live on land rightfully her own. They call for what they describe as an end to oppression and injustice by Israel but refuse to address the oppression of Christians in Gaza or the removal of Human rights of women and young men or the summary executions in HAMAS governed areas. They don’t condemn the firing of 29,000 rockets which have been fired at Israeli communities since 2000 or the suicide bombings which are now being prevented by the security fence. They don’t address the increasing teaching of hatred in Palestinian Arab schools. I could go on but I think I have made my point. [Emphasis added here and below]
Greenbelt are also hosting a number of other speakers who are anti-Israel, one of whom Mark Braverman who calls Zionism Racism. This conference attended by the big names in Christianity such as Graham Kendrick and Steve Chalk are inciting our youth to hate in the same way as European Church leaders did in the years preceding the Holocaust. This incitement is no less subtle and neither is it in any way less dangerous.
The difference between now and then is that we are not going to be rounded up and shot for standing with Israel and speaking out when the rest of the Church is condemning her. So why aren’t we? In every genocide there are victims, perpetrators, bystanders and rescuers. Many Christians in Holocaust were classified as bystanders because of the real threat of being murdered alongside Jews. So today why are many in the Christian community bystanders when there is no threat except that of words from those fuelled by antisemtism?
We are conditioned to believe that by attending a conference or a meeting held by a pro-Israel speaker and giving our money to support such ministries that we are doing all we can to help Israel. We are conditioned because this is how it has always been done and we go home satisfied that we have done the work that God has called us to do. We have actually become by-standers even by-sitters unless we put the knowledge we gain from such meetings into real action. Why aren’t we rallying at Greenbelt or New Wine or any anti-Israel meetings? Why aren’t we gathering together to pray at such events and show these groups that their teaching is heretical and inciting hatred.
The first part of the definition of Hate Speech is “Speech which generates fear on the part of an individual or group” I believe the Jewish community here in the UK are not as much fearful of the anti-Israel meetings as they are of the apathy within Christendom which allows these meetings to take place without a challenge.
I have written to the BBC who will hold their Radio 2 good morning Sunday programme at Greenbelt when this network is launched  to point out that we will be attending because there is another side to the story, but they have not replied. I know the Jewish community have asked Greenbelt to allow them a speaker but that has been denied.
As you know Fathers House/Christians for Zion is taking a bus from North Wales to the Greenbelt event on 25th but I am only aware of one other group who is joining us and that is a car full of passionate believers from Northamptonshire. I am however aware that if there is a Charismatic speaker at a conference in London or Manchester the meeting will be full. Why is this the case, it easier to sit in a conference and enjoy the meeting and do nothing except listen. Is it also because Greenbelt are launching this on a Sunday and all the Israel supporters will be in Church on a Sunday and unable to attend? Is it because it is too far? Is it because it takes us out of our comfort zone? If so then we have become bystanders/by-sitters.
The launch of the Kairos Britain Network a week on Sunday will, I am sure, see many Churches join but few if any in the conference will oppose it. Britain can only boast of 13 who are considered Righteous Amongst the Nations (those who rescued Jews during the War) compared with such as 4,767 in the Netherlands and we in Britain did little to help Jews escape the terrors. I know God wants us to help the Jewish people, in fact Yeshua encourages us to do so in Mathew 25 when He says, and you visited me in prison, clothed, fed and helped me because you did it for one of these my family.   
Ezekiel 36 makes it very clear that God is gathering the Jews back to the land He promised them, not for their sake, the scripture points out, but for His Holy name. Greenbelt and their speakers are denying Gods Holy name and the people within our Nation are being blinded by such organisations from seeing God in action and being faithful to all His promises.  
Please, please, whatever you are doing on Sunday 25th August, join us at the Greenbelt meeting, write to BBC radio 2 tell your friends pass on this plea and become rescuers not bysitters....'
On his rallying call, echoed by the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem and Christian Friends of Israel, over 100 practising Christians from various parts of the UK travelled to Cheltenham to demonstrate support for the Jewish State being so grotesquely maligned there.

Wrote Mike Fryer regarding his counter-attack on the Greenbelt shenanegans:
'I am so blessed by the response to the call for prayer and a show of support from the Christian community at the Greenbelt Festival on Sunday. There is a full coach travelling from Fathers House in North Wales and believers from all over the country are making their way to the main entrance of Cheltenham Racecourse for 11am on Sunday to meet together, pray and show our deep concern for the stance Greenbelt have taken. The call for a gathering at Greenbelt has been supported  by ICEJ, CFI and so many other ministries, such in the concern.
Your prayers have been answered because we are meeting with a senior representative of Greenbelt at 12 noon and I am sure he will be impacted by the numbers.
Many of us have written to the BBC who are broadcasting from Greenbelt on Sunday. Today I spoke to the producer of BBC 2 “Goodmorning Sunday” and she has assured me that none of the Greenbelt anti-Israel content will be addressed on the programme. They will be focusing on the music at the event. So praise God that He has heard your prayers.
I look forward to seeing you all at the main entrance of Cheltenham Racecourse the venue for the event at 11am on Sunday.'
Amanda Ruth Thomas takes up the story:
'Sheffield-born Business Administrator Marie Reaney, expressed the sentiment of the 50-strong group from Mike’s own ‘Father’s House Sabbath Congregation’:
 “If Israel is smashed up, we go down with her. We’re grafted in; we have no choice.”
Other supporters travelled independently, some making long journeys by car or by train.
“It’s exactly the same as it was in the 30s,” said Joanna MacDonald [pictured; h/t] from the Rhondda Valley in South Wales. “For the most part, Christians were silent, and anti-Semitism is rearing its ugly head again.
“We are here to support Israel, to support the Lord of Israel, Yeshua Ha Mashiach, and to help to open the hearts of others who have been deceived.”
Greenbelt Creative Director, Paul Northup, did not accept the need for Greenbelt to host a pro-Israel speaker next year, at Pastor Fryer’s request. However he said he was “impressed” with the co-ordination of the pro-Israel group, and the way in which they carried out their demonstration.
During the course of the day the group, holding Israeli flags and home-made banners, prayed together, read out scriptural promises for Israel, and spoke to some of the Greenbelt delegates and organisers.
Ms Reaney was exasperated but undeterred after one conversation with someone who said he had grown up in a Palestinian refugee camp. “He asked me, ‘How can Israel be a democracy?’” she said. “’Well it’s not Israel’s fault,’ I told him. ‘It’s the fault of the Palestinian leadership!’ It’s like us [Brits] blaming Spain!”
Len Grates, Director of Development at the ICEJ-UK, addressed the Israel supporters:
“Although we are here to stand with Israel and the Jewish people, more importantly we are here to stand with God, for His name, nature and His word” he said. “It’s in your hands and my hands how God will decide to judge our nation.”
Steven Jaffe who is consultant to the Board of Deputies of British Jews, called Pastor Fryer to express the gratitude of many members of the Jewish community for the stand made against demonisation and bias against Israel at the  festival. Steven echoed the sentiment of Mr Grates, saying:
“You are fighting for the soul of the Church.”'

Israel's Surroundings At A Glance ...

Hat tip to the current post on The Almond Rod blog for this find (it's in bigger format over there).

What do Israel's leftist Islamophile critics, of whom there are legion in the UK alone, make of this barbaric statement, I wonder. Just imagine how they'd react if a rabbi said a similar thing:

And what do they make of this?

Thursday, 29 August 2013

"Not Bona Fide Israeli Cinema": Much Ado About A Movie

There's been quite a bit of controversy regarding the cancellation of the final three screenings (due to take place in Melbourne) of the Canadian film Inch'Allah ("God Willing") at the Australia Israel Cultural Exchange (AICE) Israeli Film Festival.

As J-Wire reported a week ago,  AICE chairman Albert Dadon, a Moroccan-born businessman and philanthropist, received a letter of protest from an outraged member of the public, David Schulberg, who had attended a screening of the film, and was outraged by its depiction of Israel (which is glimpsed in the film's official trailer, video below):
'With reference to the film Inch’allah that is being shown at this year’s ‘Israeli Film Festival’, we should note that Inch’Allah’s writer and director, Anais Barbeau-Lavalette, in 2009, was one of 500 Quebec artists (including many filmmakers) “joining the international movement against Israeli apartheid” and publicly signing a petition calling for BDS: boycott, divestment and sanctions.  This explains why Inch’allah is essentially a propaganda film;  it was shot in Jordan probably because of her boycott of Israel....
 During the Q&A session that followed the screening I attended in Melbourne on Saturday night August 18, there was a widespread view that this film should not have been part of the program as it was not an Israeli film in any sense. So much for suggestions of “well-meaning” film-making that the partisan presenter of the Q&A session put forward in his overly enthusiastic support for the film.
This is not bona fide Israeli cinema. The film was shot in Jordan by a French-Canadian consortium with a very tenuous association with an international production company July–August productions that has some Israeli backers. The director herself, because of her BDS affiliation, would be boycotting genuine Israeli cinema and as such would not want to be associated with Israeli product that she would in principle be boycotting. Ironically any Israeli Film Festival would be boycotted by her!
The audience witnessed a film that gravely misrepresents the situation that exists in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, highlighting the alleged suffering of Palestinians at the hand of the Israelis by distorting and distending the facts on the ground, using stereotypical symbols of Israeli brutality e.g. a jeep deliberately running over a stone-throwing youth (reminiscent of the story of Rachel Corrie), and a woman giving birth at an Israeli checkpoint and being refused emergency entry to a hospital. [Emphasis added]
I am thinking that we should now be calling this film festival the ‘Anti-Israel Film Festival’. Please provide an explanation for the inclusion of this film created by a self-declared BDS supporter.”
 Replied Dadon:
“Well received. I completely agree with you. The artistic direction for this film was in contradiction with our objectives. As a result I have asked Palace to pull off the film. I usually prefer not to get involved in artistic matters concerning the festival but in this instance (I had not seen every movie) the message of that film is completely at odds with what we are about.
All ads etc have been cancelled and the film has been cancelled from tomorrow for the rest of the festival next week.

Rest assured that such mistake isn’t about to reoccur.”

The Melbourne Age (not known for its love of Israel and long dubbed "The Spencer Street Soviet") reported:
'Tom Ryan, former Sunday Age film critic, moderated the Melbourne Q & A last Saturday. He said he had been impressed by the audience's "robust responses", "the diverse views on offer", and the "sharp intelligence" of Levy, but added he was "truly dismayed" to learn the film had been pulled. "I had been mistaken about what I'd perceived to be a genuinely democratic openness to ideas," he said.
 Another festival patron, Sol Salbe [a well-known Jewish leftist and critic of Israel], who attended a Melbourne screening of Inch'allah, said he felt the removal of the film was wrong, and made for the wrong reasons.
 Film critic and broadcaster Peter Krausz labelled the decision to withdraw the film from the program "appalling", claiming it "makes us a laughing stock around the world"....'
 Observed a former CEO of the Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce, Elizabeth Venzin:
".... For a decade, the diversity of values, views and opinions through screening extraordinary films, showing all aspects of Israeli life and society, has been its strength. But it appears Schulberg (and Dadon) do not accept this and now prefer to see a Zionist rose-tinted perspective....
What message has this given to the general population of Australia?  Is to acquiesce to a few protests with such an undemocratic decision effectively not an insult to those who have already purchased tickets?  Is it not anathema to any film festival? As thinking adults they had made a decision for themselves to watch the film. Instead, a censorial decision has patronisingly been made on their behalf and the film withdrawn. No thinking for ourselves allowed...."
 Wrote a communal personality in reply:
'.... Would you write the same letter of complaint if the Jewish film festival organizers (or any other denominational/nationalistic Film festival) ‘pulled’ a film by Goebbels promoting Nazism and murder of Jews, or is there no limits on the notion of ‘ absolute free speech’? (If so, then English and European law is in default by prosecuting anyone who yells ‘Fire!” falsely in a theatre, and Australian law immoral for legislating against racism). By the way, I have seen the film, and I think Goebels can indeed learn some subtle tricks from this film in honing skills of falsehood, defamation, slur, and demonization of Israel. Oh, I forgot, but it’s all about free speech. Personally I applaud Mr. Dadon for having the courage to defend the deservedly good name of my people.'
Dadon himself noted:
'If this was an Italian film festival that was promoting a Korean film because actor were eating pasta in Italy would it qualify to be in the festival.
Why would it be any different here? It’s a Canadian movie with French money filmed in Jordan.
Our Israeli Film Festival is here to promote Israeli Films. Anything else is pure fantasy..
And, as one robust Israel-supporter reflected:
"That tired old excuse about freedom of expression when it comes to demonizing Israeli/Jews just won’t wash....
It 's about time all Jews starting pulling together in the same direction, it's called self preservation....
 Unlikely any Film even mildly depicting Palestinians, Arabs or Muslims in a bad light would ever see the light of day at any Arab Film festival.. perhaps that is why the Palestinians have the monopoly on Australian sympathy and winning hands down the PR war here ...."
 (Actually, not quite the monopoly, although a perusual of Green and leftist opinion certainly misleads to that conclusion: see this report in The Australian on the Liberals' plans to upgrade relations with Israel and ban more terrorist groups ...)

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Global Antisemitism "Does Not Always Seem To Receive The Attention It Deserves": Sydney's Cardinal Pell Stands Up To Be Counted

Last year Cardinal George Pell, Catholic Archbishop of Sydney, found himself in hot water regarding remarks he made on Q&A regarding the Jewish People vis-à-vis the Egyptians, Babylonians – and, er, Germans.

Certainly, he readily apologised for the hurt caused, and claimed that he had been misunderstood:
'In his statement Cardinal Pell said that ''historically'' or ''culturally'' unequal might have been a better term than ''intellectually''....
 ''My esteem for the Jewish faith is a matter of public record, and the last thing I would want to do is give offence.''
[Australian Jewish News editor] Zeddy Lawrence said many people had contacted the paper, upset and offended.
''It doesn't seem he was thinking clearly, but many people also said he is a good friend to the community,'' Mr Lawrence said.'
This week, there was no mistaking Cardinal Pell's goodwill. Delivering the annual Lecture on Religious Freedom at the University of Notre Dame Australia School of Law, he declared inter alia:
“As the Second Vatican Council declared, the Catholic Church rejects every form of persecution.Mindful of the great patrimony we share with the Jewish people, we also condemn hatred, persecution and displays of antisemitism directed against  them at any time.
In the Middle East and Iran there are sometimes antisemitic statements from government leaders, including Holocaust denial and calling for the destruction of Israel. Antisemitism also continues to be a problem in some European countries, where there have been some isolated but nonetheless shocking antisemitic crimes, including murder.
This problem does not always seem to receive the attention it deserves. I am not sure whether this is simply a specific instance of a more general lack of interest  in religious freedom issues on the  part of politicians, opinion leaders and human rights groups, or an indication of something more worrying at the bottom of the garden of political and religious life.”
If only more men of the cloth would follow his example.

If only the media, notably the "Islamophobia"-fixated BBC, would give the plight of Jews in Eurabia half the attention it gives to the plight, real and supposed, of Muslims, and report candidly on the antisemitism that bedevils Islamic organisations at home and abroad instead of glossing over the facts (for instance, like this and this, to use two very recent examples in an endless procession of dishonest reporting).

When, for instance, has the BBC (so zealous in reporting incidents like this) ever told us fully and frankly about the vicious antisemitism that Jews face in Sweden?:

Bibi: "If We Detect Any Attempt To Hurt Us, We Will React, And React Fiercely" (video)

Bibi Netanyahu regarding the consequences of any Western military intervention in Syria:

 For more see here

(Incidentally, regarding Syria, more BBC bungling, as reported here)

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Falk Down Under: A Stern Warning

The Israel-bashing crowd Down Under are evidently delighted at the prospect of having the notorious Israel-demonising Richard Falk among them.

As this page shows, Professor Falk is coming to Canberra as a keynote speaker at the "Human Rights in Palestine" conference scheduled for 11-12 September, which is sponsored by the Australian National University and the British Academy.

Also set to address the conference are Professors Hanan Ashrawi and Jeff Halper, and Dr Sara Roy.  Master of ceremoniies will be Sydney Morning Herald journalist Paul McGeogh, foe whose anti-Israel credentials see here and here.

Appalled at the British Academy's association with a conference that includes Professor Falk, the executive director of the Geneva-based NGO UN Watch, Hillel Neuer, has written as follows to Lord Stern of Brentwood, the distinguished economist who's president of the British Academy:
'UN Watch is shocked that the British Academy, whose purpose is to support excellence in the humanities, is funding a September 11th platform for Mr. Richard Falk, a 9/11 conspiracy theorist who was just condemned by your own government for racism, and who was denounced by the Secretary-General of the United Nations and world leaders for his vile comments blaming the Boston terrorist attack on “the American global domination project” and “Tel Aviv.”
According to a website called Human Rights in Palestine, the Australian National University in Canberra will soon host a "groundbreaking conference" on Palestinian human rights, on September 11. Mr. Falk is listed as a keynote speaker at this event.
This highly problematic event prominently displays a large British Academy logo throughout the website.
Notwithstanding a barely legible footnote on one of the pages containing a disclaimer written in tiny, faded grey letters, the website clearly implies the endorsement and support of the British Academy on its "Home", "Program", "Speakers", "Exhibition" and other pages.
We understand that this British Academy endorsement may be related to your 2009 grant of £29,836 to Dr. Victoria Mason -- a convener of the Canberra conference whose avowed specialties include "Israeli State Terror" -- in order to study "Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in the West Bank."
In that regard, please note that while the conference program claims to address human rights, Mr. Falk is like a wolf in sheep’s clothing who uses the language of human rights to absolve terrorists of culpability. He is the only UN expert in history to have been condemned for racism by Britain, or any other member state of the European Union.
We are sending a copy of this complaint letter to the attention of UK Ambassador to the UN Mark Lyall Grant -- and to Ms. Philippa Thompson, Deputy Team Leader of the Equality and Non-Discrimination Team within the Human Rights & Democracy Department of the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, who recently examined and addressed Mr. Falk's racism.
The UK Non-Discrimination Team determined that Falk's recent writings are “resonant of the longstanding antisemitic practice of blaming Jews (through the State of Israel by proxy) for all that is wrong in the world.”
As the British Academy, you may also wish to take note that:
1. British Prime Minister David Cameron “strongly condemned” Falk's 2011 publication of an antisemitic cartoon, showing a dog wearing a Jewish head-covering urinating on a depiction of justice and devouring a bloody skeleton. Falk was also condemned by British MPs David Burrowes and Theresa Villiers.
2. The British Foreign Office last year condemned Falk for providing the cover endorsement of a book that asks whether "Hitler might have been right after all." The UK Mission in Geneva protested to the UN human rights office, expressing London's “serious concerns.” The book endorsed by Falk, “The Wandering Who,” also accuses "the Jews" of being "the only people who managed to maintain and sustain a racially orientated, expansionist and genocidal national identity that is not at all different from Nazi ethnic ideology."
3. The British Mission to the United Nations condemned Mr. Falk’s April 19, 2013 remarks on the Boston bombing as “anti-Semitic,” highlighting it was the third time the British Government had to do so.
In addition we note:
•  That Falk is so extreme in his support for the Hamas terrorist organization that even the Palestinian Authority—as revealed in a Wikleaks cable, and which Falk himself admits—has sought to remove him, on grounds that he is a "partisan of Hamas";
•  That Falk recently published an article attempting to downplay, reinterpret and justify the latest call by Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal to destroy Israel;
•  That Falk accused Israel of planning a "Palestinian Holocaust,"prompting a bloc of dictatorships, including Bashar al-Assad's Syria and Muammar Gaddafi's Libya, to sucessfully nominate him as the UN Human Rights Council's expert on Palestine;
•  That Falk is one of the world's most high-profile supporters of the leading 9/11 conspiracy theorists, lending his name to those who accuse the U.S. government of orchestrating the destruction of the Twin Towers as a pretext to launch wars in Iraq and Afghanistan;
•  That Falk actively promotes the writings of David Ray Griffin, a disciple and close friend of Falk who has produced 12 books describing the World Trade Center attack as "an inside job";
•  That Falk not only contributed the Foreword to Griffin's 2004 "The New Pearl Harbor"—praising the author's "patience," "fortitude," "courage," and "intelligence"—but Griffin credits Falk for getting the book published, and also specially thanks Falk's wife, Hilal Elver, someone who remains a member of Human Rights Watch's Santa Barbara Committee, and who is also speaking at the upcoming Canberra conference
•  That Falk has repeatedly appeared on the "" show of Kevin Barrett, a 9/11 conspiracy theorist and Holocaust skeptic who rails against the "ethnic Jews" who he says run Washington and the media, a show on which Falk has endorsed Barrett's "good work" while also praising Iranian tyrant Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
•  That in 2011 UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon took the floor of the Human Rights Council to issue an unprecedented condemnation of Falk's 9/11 remarks, saying they were "preposterous" and "an affront to the memory of the more than 3,000 people who died in that tragic terrorist attack";
•  That U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice in 2011 denounced Falk's comments as "despicable and deeply offensive," and condemned Falk's "one-sided and politicized approach," saying his words were "so noxious that it should finally be plain to all that he should no longer continue in his position," and that "the cause of human rights will be better advanced without Mr. Falk and the distasteful sideshow he has chosen to create";
•  That in reaction to Falk's April 19, 2013 justification of the Boston Marathon terrorist attacks UN chief Ban Ki-moon's spokesman said: “The Secretary-General rejects Mr. Falk’s comments" which “undermine the credibility and the work of the United Nations”
•  That U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice stated that “Someone who spews such vitriol has no place at the UN.” The U.S. Mission to the United Nations condemned Falk’s “provocative and offensive” remarks, and the “absurdity” of his service as a UN human rights expert;
•  That Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird slammed Falk’s “mean-spirited, anti-Semitic rhetoric” and called for him to be kicked out of the UN, saying “The United Nations should be ashamed to even be associated with such an individual”; and
•  That U.S. Senator Robert Menendez, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and numerous members of the U.S. Congress condemned Falk's remarks.
We urge you to act swiftly to remove the good name of the British Academy from any association with Mr. Falk, and to deny such a promoter of hatred and racism this undeserved honor and legitimacy. The cause of human rights requires no less.
Thank you for your urgent attention to this matter.'
Read and see more here

In Britain, Champions Of Israel Suffer "A Network Of Abuse"

One of the reasons I blog under an alias is because Britain, in which this blog originated, is a poisonous environment for champions of Israel.

I speak from experience (as I explain later in this post) and so the following report in the current issue of the London Jewish Chronicle has a particular resonance with me:
'Antisemitic abuse aimed at Israel advocates should receive the same level of public scrutiny as high-profile Twitter incidents, experts and victims have said.
The use of email and social media sites to propagate abuse has become so severe that pro-Israel campaigners have feared for their safety and been forced to call police.
One victim this week likened the campaign against pro-Israel voices to a “McCarthyite witch hunt” and said a “network of abusers” operated on social media.
A spokesman for the Community Security Trust, which monitors antisemitism, compared the abuse to the threats to rape and bomb women on Twitter last month. He confirmed that CST had provided a number of victims with specific protection measures and safety advice.
Lawyer and academic Baroness Deech is one of those who has received messages from so-called “trolls”. She was sent a number of antisemitic emails last week after complaining to the BBC about anti-Israel comments made by violinist Nigel Kennedy at the Proms.
Among the threats and abuse — sent mainly anonymously or from pseudonymous email accounts — were accusations that she was a “ZioNazi” spreading propaganda. One email called on the peer to show “remorse” for “the 250 British military personnel murdered during the mandate”.
“Can you bring yourself to show some loyalty to the British people over your nasty little racist murderer friends in Palestine?” the email asked.
Baroness Deech said: “Everyone who ever says anything favourable about Israel gets these four-letter words, ranting emails and tweets which prove the point that it is antisemitism that drives them, not concern for Palestine. It needs exposure.
“There needs to be an examination of the way the internet is used by anonymous antisemites — just as women have been targeted — and how it reveals that the anti-Israel campaign is a front for antisemitism to rage.”
Many of those who have received the most severe abuse and threats are too scared to be named publicly. One pro-Israel campaigner said authorities had not taken the threats against him seriously. “When I complained to Twitter I got no reply back. Twitter is a cesspit for abuse from anonymous cowards who you never know and can’t be sure whether they are real-life violent Islamists,” he said.
Twitter acknowledged this month that it had not done enough to tackle abuse, and announced plans to make it easier for users to report offensive messages.
Another Israel advocate, who was also too scared to be named, said he had previously called police because of “premeditated” and “forensic” abuse.
The anonymity afforded by modern technology had added to the problem, the CST spokesman said. “It used to be the case that if you wrote a letter to a newspaper supporting Israel, and your address was printed in the paper, you would get abusive letters. Think how much easier it is to abuse by email or on Twitter. Some people use the internet solely for abuse,” he said.'
Some years ago, on a social media site on which people used their real names, I began regularly to challenge posts, almost invariably made by leftists, that unfairly criticised Israel. It was not long before my zealous championship of the Zionist Entity brought me to the attention of a rabid anti-Israel leftist living in a big city in the north of England.

This man, who began to stalk me obsessively on the site, flung antisemitic abuse and derogatory, defamatory comments at me on a daily basis. I was "a rightwing Jewish bitch" ... a "ZioNazi" (there's that word again!) ... I habitually gloated (he alleged in his twisted fashion) over reports of Palestinian deaths ...

Complaining to the website in question (by me and others outraged on my behalf) proved continually futile, and accordingly this individual carried on his malevolent mischief with impunity, targeting me ever more remorselessly and, for good measure, posting despicable lies about the wife of an erudite non-Jew who, like me, enthusiastically supported Israel on the forum and, moreover, did so with display of knowledge about Israeli history and politics that would shame many a Jew.

Things went from bad to worse, with two or three other Israel-bashing leftists joining in the Zionist-baiting "fun" and either emulating the offender or egging him on.  Believe me, this late-middle-aged man in a white collar occupation was no mere common or garden troll, of the kind who infest many discussion sites.  In fact, since the man was so relentless and sadistic in his treatment of me some posters began to wonder whether he was someone from my past who had a long-standing grudge against me.

One morning I received a private message from another member of the forum (herself a leftist critical of Israel) which informed me that, overnight on another website to which I myself did not belong, my tormentor posted my name, address, and telephone number, and suggested that anyone who did not agree with my attitude to the Palestinians (needless to say, this wicked wretch falsely depicted me, and Zionists in general, as considering the Palestinians less than human) should contact me to tell me so.

The time had come, my informant declared, for me to complain to the police about this man's behaviour, which had now undeniably gone beyond all the bounds of decency and acceptability.

During the course of the day I received two more private messages.  One was from a woman who knew the offender's exact postal address (as well as his date of birth and occupation), and willingly gave it to me so that the police could be notified.  The other was from a young lawyer, who said he had watched the ever-escalating abuse against me with mounting horror, and that the time for police action had arrived.

Luckily for me, my tormentor had made a mistake regarding my phone number.  He had obviously seen that in the phone directory it appeared twice (in error, actually), and had posted one of those two alternatives.  It happened to be a number that was incorrect in the last digit.

Still, his posting my contact details plus the constant drip-drip-drip of derision had an unnerving effect, impacting on my physical and psychological well-being, and over the ensuing days and weeks he became more malicious than ever.  With manic fervour, he created on both websites threads naming and abusing me, claiming, inter alia, that my husband (who had never posted on any internet forum and did not deserve to be dragged into this, yet who was mentioned by name by this sick man together with his work address and contact details) and I "salivate" every time a Palestinian is killed, that I write histories and historical biographies because, since the subjects are dead, I don't have to be accurate as to my facts.

There were all sorts of such grotesque and loathsome rubbish, much of it highly defamatory to me.  (The truly reprehensible website on which he had posted my contact details and these latest falsehoods refused my polite request, and those of sympathisers, that the posts be removed; the website was experiencing a boost in traffic from the brouhaha and was not prepared to let ethics win over the number of views it was notching up!)

Having taken advice from the Community Security Trust (CST) and the young lawyer, I learned that if the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) was to take action against my tormentor (probably for "racially aggravated harassment") the CPS would need from the police an "evidential download" of the offending material within 90 days of the material appearing, I strode into my local police station, and I drew to the attention of a rather baffled-looking policewoman the print-outs I had provided, and after interviewing me she assured me the matter would be investigated.

Two days later I received a phone call from a young male officer: would I please collect those print-outs, he said, as this was not a matter with which the police could deal and I would have to take up the matter with the websites concerned (what part of been there, done that, did the police not understand, I wondered!).

I told the CST (of whom I cannot speak too highly) of this development and was informed that the officer was in the wrong, since once the police have received such a complaint as I made they are obligated to investigate it.

Tearfully, I confronted the young officer and told him so, and was interviewed by another officer who, like the policewoman before him,  appeared to take the matter seriously.   Out of curiosity, this officer, given the name and address of the offender by me, searched the man on the electronic England and Wales police files (data base) he had at his disposal and volunteered that the man was already on them, for some past offence. (What that was he, quite properly, did not say, and I knew better than to ask.)

Within days the policewoman who had initially received my complaint was sent around to my house to take a formal statement, for forwarding with the other material to the CPS.  Some weeks later later a detective from the station rang me to say that he had taken over the case from the policewoman, and that in the meantime it would be helpful if I did not participate on the forum on which the abuse occurred.

 After that I waited ... and waited ... and waited for the police to get back to me.  In the meantime, although I no longer participated on the forum, as the detective advised, the abusive and defamatory posts about me continued.

Months passed, and eventually I asked the police how things were proceeding, only to find that the police had done absolutely nothing! They had not lifted a finger to secure those crucial "evidential downloads" and consequntly the 90 days in which they had to be made was long past!  The print-outs of savage and sustained antisemitic harassment I'd given them were therefore wasted!  The CPS had been given no inkling whatsoever of the antisemitic abuse and harassment perpetrated.

When I expressed incredulity, the police offered the lame excuse that detemining the offender's identity and whereabouts had proved more difficult to do than they anticipated!

To that piece of bulldust I was able to retort that his precise identity and whereabouts were already common knowledge, and that I'd done their work for them by providing them with his full name, date of birth, occupation, and exact postal address!

Thus checkmated, they tried another tack: that they'd held off contacting the CPS because they'd assumed that, since I no longer participated on the website on which the original abuse had occurred, the abuse would stop.

Upset and furious, I wrote a letter of complaint to no less a personage that the Chief Constable of the county.  As a result, I was fed an apparent cock-and-bull story about how seriously the police take allegations of antisemitism, and that the reason the investigation had stalled was due to the fact that the policewoman who originally dealt with my complaint is not computer-literate and had been overwhelmed by the reams of evidence at hand!!!

The outcome was that a local detective phoned me.  He assured me that although the opportunity to make evidential downloads within the requisite time-frame mandated by law had passed, my tormentor would within the coming week be contacted in person by a member of the police force in the district where he lived, and told that he must never again post my contact details online or mention me by name in such a manner on internet forums.

And, added the detective, he (i.e. the detective himself) would  follow up that visit by phoning the offender to "fire an additional shot across his bows" by emphasising to him that a repeat of such abuse by him would not be tolerated.

Guess what? A local policeman did indeed call upon the offender, just as the detective told me he would.

How do I know?  Because, the day after the police officer's visit, the offender sent me a taunting message online to tell me so, and indicated by both word and deed that he would not be complying with the officer's request.

Oh, and guess what else?  The detective never did phone the offender to fire that promised shot across his bow.

And why didn't he keep that promise to me?

Well, this is how the detective explained it to me when, indignant and disappointed, I asked him that very question: when the policeman confronted the offender at home and asked for his phone number the offender refused to give it.

And the policeman (or so the detective said) had no power to force him to do so!


As for the tormentor, I have tried to put him out of my mind.  But I do know that he's on Twitter, tweeting or retweeting sentiments hostile to Israel, including assertions that European Jews have no ethnic or historical ties to that country...

Sunday, 25 August 2013

"Every Time You Think He Cannot Sink Lower ...": Syria, Israel, & British Brothers in Arms

From Uganda (he certainly gets around) crusading anti-Israel Anglican vicar Stephen Sizer, a fond fan of Kairos Britain (see my previous post for its iniquities), a ferocious foe of the Balfour Declaration (he and chums are fighting a curious, furious rearguard action against it via the "Balfour Project"), and a not infrequent voice on the Iranian regime's notorious propaganda satellite channel Press TV, has told his Facebook faithful (hat tip: reader P):

"George" is the vehemently anti-Israel politician George Galloway, who represents the heavily Muslim constituency Bradford West for the so-called Respect Party in the "Mother of Parliaments," and has suggested on Press TV that Israel provided the chemical weapons that killed so many innocents in Syria a few days ago:
"If there has been a use of chemical weapons it was al-Qaeda who used chemical weapons.
Who gave al-Qaeda chemical weapons?
 Here’s my theory: Israel gave them the chemical weapons so that they would use them so that they would bring the international community into the final destruction of Syria..."

Writes Alex Massie in The Spectator:
"Say this for George Galloway: every time you think he cannot sink any lower he finds new ways to surprise you. His latest contribution to Press TV, Iran’s propaganda station, speaks for itself. Parody is pointless.Given his history and his paymasters, we would expect him to defend the Assad regime in Syria. Even so, under-estimating his ability to sniff out the true villains is never sensible...."
 See also, incidentally, this pro-Israel Christian blog

By the way, what might George and Stephen have been saying to each other in this photo from earlier this year?  Click here for suggestions!

Saturday, 24 August 2013

"An Anti-Semitic/Anti-Israel Misinformation & Propaganda Network": In Britain, A Pernicious Exercise In Christian Vilification Of Israel


'We're really looking forward to being part of Greenbelt [at Cheltenham Racecourse, Gloucestershire] over the [August] Bank Holiday weekend, because this year's festival is going to be very special," coos the website of Embrace the Middle East, the Israel-demonising NGO formerly known as BibleLands (CEO: our old mate, or, rather, Stephen Sizer's, Jeremy Moodey), which has introduced some spiffing holiday fun this August Bank Holiday for the indoctrination of persons of all ages, as well as hosting the official launch of a publication from "the new grass-roots network" Kairos Britain.

 'This year, Greenbelt celebrates 40 years as a Christian arts, faith and justice festival. The festival organizers have chosen the theme ‘Life begins’, and we will be using our presence there to remember those for whom life is permanently on hold,' it continues here [emphasis added]:
Our installation in the Centaur foyer aims to give a glimpse of the challenges faced by ordinary Palestinians living under Israeli occupation. There'll be a giant, interactive floor game - Occupation! - for all ages.
 Roll the dice and make your way through checkpoints and challenges, permit denials and poverty. On your journey, you’ll learn about the issues affecting the West Bank and Gaza and find out how you can help Embrace the Middle East to make a positive difference to the lives of marginalised people.
Occupation! is just a game, and you can walk freely away whenever you want, but the message behind it is a serious one. In the West Bank and Gaza, injustice continues to weave through the fabric of Palestinian life. Join us as we embrace the work of our Palestinian Christian brothers and sisters in their determination to be agents of change.
One of our Greenbelt highlights will be the official launch of Kairos Britain: A Time for Action, the new booklet from British Church leaders responding the 2009 Kairos Palestine Call, challenging British Churches and Christians to take action and stand with our Christian brothers and sisters in Palestine against Israel’s 46-year occupation of their land in East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza. The launch will be at 12.30pm on Sunday. We’re hosting a reception after the launch, so do stay and take the opportunity to talk some more.
We’ll also have a stand ... throughout Greenbelt weekend, giving people the chance to ask questions, take a look through our resources and find out more about our work. Our CEO, Jeremy Moodey, is speaking in the Jenin venue at 5pm on Sunday about his unlikely career change ‘From investment banker to activist’. Our wonderful volunteer team will also be out and about across the site - without them we wouldn't have half the impact.
Greenbelt may be celebrating 40 years, but we are celebrating 60 years of the Bethlehem Carol Sheet, so watch out for some unseasonable carol singing in the summer sunshine ...'
See Greenbelt's rather telling account of its own history since 1974 here (emphasis added):
'.... The Sun newspaper billed that first festival as ‘The Nice People’s Pop Festival’, but perhaps it was more subversive than it appeared. Back in the 1970s, Greenbelt’s holistic take – ‘Bible in one hand and newspaper in the other’ – had a transforming impact, believing that all artistic expression and endeavour was God-given.
And, while the initial draw of the Festival lay in this celebration of the arts, its appeal broadened as a growing internationalism emerged from the concerns of festival organisers. Among significant new voices heard at the festival in this period were Nicaraguan minister Gustavo Parajon, South African anti-apartheid activist Caesar Molebatsi and Elias Chacour, a Palestinian Melkite priest from Nazareth....
And, as Greenbelt has cemented its partnership with Christian Aid and other associate agencies,  Greenbelters have translated debate about political engagement and international injustice into vigorous campaigning, re-imagining the Christian community as an infectious global conspiracy....'

Observes the prominent Anglican blogger Archbishop Cranmer:
"It is insidious propaganda - quite outrageous indoctrination-by-play - which poisons the mind of young Christians and delegitimises the State of Israel."
He characterisese Kairos Britain (a pro-BDS outfit which, among other proposals for action, here suggests to the faithful that they join their local Palestine Solidarity Campaign branch, that's the same PSC whose logo, seen below, includes the entire land of Eretz Israel, of course) as 
"an anti-Semitic/anti-Israel mis-information and propaganda network which condemns Israel at every turn as oppressive and racist - with no mention of its right to self-defence against acts of terrorism and rocket bombardment, or even of its right to exist at all."
And he notes:
"According to reports, Greenbelt has refused to allow any speakers - Jewish or Christian - to challenge the premises of Kairos. Young Christians will leave the Festival believing that Israel is a pariah state. This appears to accord with policies and agendas of previous years, which have been variously described as 'Israel bashing', 'Israel-hating' and portraying 'an awful image of Israel'.
Thousands of UK Christians leave Bible Weeks and Christian festivals fired up with a resolution to campaign for justice and human rights. This is a good thing. Sadly, at Greenbelt, much of what they hear targets the Middle East’s only democracy and the world’s only Jewish homeland."
As as an antidote to the pernicious propaganda being spewed out at Greenbelt, he has hosted a guest post from Fran Waddams of Anglican Friends of Israel, who ends her remarks thus (emphasis added):
'So why isn’t there a State of Palestine? There’s been plenty of opportunity, beginning with the Peel plan of 1937, any time between 1949 and 1967, post 6 Day War, and again in 2000 and 2008. Palestinian leaders ‘never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity’ to have their own state. Why?
Maybe there was no will to create another Arab state for Palestinians prior to 1967? Or perhaps – as statements from Arab leaders suggest – the price – which would be to accept the existence of a Jewish state in the Middle East - is a step too far? Neither Kairos Palestine nor her UK supporters seem to want to address this question, particularly as it applies before 1967. One wonders why.
History shows that heaping blame on Israel alone for the failure of the Palestinians and their allies to create a viable state prior to 1967, with all the ensuing consequences, while ignoring Arab aggression and rejectionism is grossly unjust. Yet this is exactly what Kairos Palestine and its Christian UK supporters do.
Revision of Middle East history is leading to a gradual ‘creep’ of Christian thinking on Israel towards a position way beyond criticism of Israel’s actions towards undermining the very legitimacy of her existence - drawing ever nearer to the position of some of Israel’s and the Church’s most vicious enemies. This is deeply worrying.
This creep has the potential to go far beyond the much vaunted position of Christians being ‘critical friends’ of Israel into unjustly singling out Israel’s Jews as perpetrators of a unique sin against justice and human rights. Such Christians are part of the problem, not the solution.' 
Read the entire Archbishop Cranmer/Fran Waddams post here

Hat tip: The Almond Rod blog

Friday, 23 August 2013

"Go All The Way," The Blonde Tells The Rock Star

Israeli supermodel Bar Refaeli tweeted on Wednesday in Hebrew:
"Roger Waters, you should remove my picture from videos at your concerts. If you’re going to boycott, then go all the way."
Read all about it here 

Hat tip: reader Jean

For background see also my post here 

Update: For the ADL's  Open Letter to Waters see here

Thursday, 22 August 2013

"Compassion Is A Jewish Imperative. It Must Not Be Diluted To ... Flow Over The Undeserving": Jews & The Great Australian "Asylum Seeker" Debate

By cartoonist Ron Tandberg of The Age newspaper
The Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ) has been inviting Aussie Jews to comment on its draft changes to its position regarding of the nation's refugee and asylum policy, due to be discussed at the ECAJ's meeting next week.

"Asylum seeker" is, of course, a loaded term.  It implies that all those who come to Australia's shores seeking "asylum" are indeed bona fide refugees with reasonable fear of persecution or maltreatment if returned to their countries of origin.  It takes it as a given (as, evidently, does this cartoonist on Melbourne's The Age newspaper, which, incidentally, is like others in the Fairfax group no great Israel).

Under the 1951 Geneva Convention on Refugees (amended by the 1967 Protocol) the definition of a refugee is a person who 
"… owing to well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country; or who, not having a nationality and being outside the country of his former habitual residence … is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to return to it."
And the expectation has been that asylum would be sought in the "first safe country" to which the would-be applicant for refugee status and consequent granting of settlement rights came.

Australia, with its generous welfare system, is facing similar challenges to another welfare state, Britain, where economic migrants claiming to be asylum seekers are trafficked into the country by ruthless "people smugglers" in the backs of lorries, and where hordes of young men, a great many of them from the more benighted, misogynistic parts of the Islamic world, wait in France (itself a "safe country") trying to sneak aboard such vehicles, or aboard the Eurostar train to London.

Although Jews arrived in Australia with the First Fleet in 1788, and although the organised Australian Jewish community began to put down its roots with the advent of the "free [i.e. non-convict] migration" during the 1820s, the Australian Jewish community today is composed largely of the progeny of twentieth-century immigrants and refugees, including a large contingent of Holocaust survivors and their descendants.

This remembrance of plights and flights past has led to the hearts of many in the community ruling their heads, as the widespread and self-righteous condemnation of the reasoned and reasonable views of Australian Jewish News publisher Robert Magid (the subject of two posts on by me this blog) shows.

Observes a Melbourne correspondent in the letters column of this week's  brand-new (23 August) issue of the Australian Jewish News, such Jews
"are unable, in spite of copious evidence, to philosophically accept the notion of an illegal immigrant"
while a Sydneysider writes of the
'kind-hearted folk who champion the rights of those rescued from leaky boats, many still in Indonesian territorial waters.... A fair number admit (!) to just wanting a better life ... and, meanwhile, those patiently waiting on refugee processing lists (just like my postwar family) are left to whistle Dixie.  One contributor [to the newspaper's columns] mentions the Torah's edicts about treatment of strangers, but conveniently omits the bit about the strangers being fellow Jews, not our cousins from countries where no one leaves school without an A+ in anti-Semitism.'
Over at News and Views from Jews Down Under, a commenter observed some days ago:
"As Jews we are commanded to not stand idle while our neighbour bleeds. But going to bat for people who make our society bleed, is a bit too much. Showing compassion for people on the basis of Jewish suffering to those who play the system is an affront to those who were refugees.
I have been a refugee, and my parents didn’t have money to buy food, much less pay a smuggler. That is not to say that the rich should not be given asylum, but it is morally wrong to give them preferrence over poor refugees who have waited for decades for resettlement.
The Jews in my DP camp in Germany didn’t know when or where they could go. They organised schools, a synagogue and a local police force. They did not burn down buildings because processing was too slow. My sister and I, as children, could walk around without fear of being raped by people who emerged from the camps, the ghettoes and the forests. The Jews the Brits put behind barbed wire on Cyprus didn’t rape or riot. When Jews were resettled they rebuilt their lives without asking for special help or privileges.
The economic invaders of our country are not nice people. The Hazara seem to be the best of the lot, but why don’t they seek asylum in Iran which champions Sunni “Palestinians” over co-religionists reject them. They could also go to Shi’i Azerbaijan. And as a member of the Northern Alliance which overthrew the Talibaan [sic], they are not helpless as were the European Jews. And why don’t the Tamils seek refuge in Tamil Nadu, the Indian state from which they and the funds for their revolt came?
Compassion is a Jewish imperative. It must not be diluted to let it flow over the undeserving. A Talmudic observation that to be kind to the cruel is to be cruel to the kind can be extended to this crop of pretend refugees."
I reckon no one could express the nub of the matter more eloquently than that.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

A Former Muslim On Intolerance Of Israel: "The Problem With Arab Culture Is It Is The Most Ethnocentric Culture On Earth ... " (video)

The following studio discussion involving a Jew and a Muslim-turned-Christian concentrates on Jew-hatred in Egypt past and present but broadens into a discussion of Islamic and Arab intolerance of Israel.

It's  interesting in the light of the fact that, during the current strife in Cairo, both sides have been calling the other puppets of Israel and Zionists (see this video report) and that, as a certain legendary blogger declares in the excerpt below, "arguably in recent years anti-Zionism and antisemitism" there has worsened.

En passant, in this StandWithUs video, the former Muslim also talks of the Sharia-mandated death penalty facing apostates from Islam such as she, as well as the misogynistic violence that bedevils the Islamic world.

"Peace will not bring friendship. Anyone who believes that only has to look at how Egypt and Jordan regard their peace treaties with Israel. They have been respecting the treaties but they have not stopped their incitement; arguably in recent years anti-Zionism and antisemitism in those two countries has gotten worse.
Unless you are wedded to the idea of an impossible peace where Israel and the PLO are allied, you should realize that today, we have real peace.
After any agreement is signed, we will see more deaths on both sides, guaranteed.
Efforts should not be put into a fantasy peace plan. Instead, we need a dose of realism. The factors that can destabilize the current peace are the ones that need to be neutralized.
This means doing real work to integrate Palestinian Arabs into Arab countries as full citizens. This means working towards a Syria that is neither Assad nor Al Qaeda, but one that gives its people hope and weakens both Hizballah and Iran. This means a policy that truly supports liberal, democratic forces in Egypt and Tunisia and elsewhere. It means working towards a Middle East that resembles more closely the de facto peace currently enjoyed by Israel and Palestinian Arabs, where the cost of war is much higher than the status quo."
That's the conclusion of a thought-provoking essay here by that maestro of all pro-Israel bloggers, that legend in his own lifetime, Elder of Ziyon (hat tip: reader Ian)