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)

Sunday, 31 March 2013

"The Almond Rod": A Welcome New Christian Blog

British Methodist-turned-Anglican Ian G has been a reader of this blog since soon after it began.  His comments have always been welcome, and I've had reason to tip my hat to him on not a few occasions (he's not to be confused with another very welcome contributor, that resource extraordinary, Ian, whose latest links are in a comment on my previous post).

It was Ian G who enabled this post, which consists largely of his doughty protest to the British Museum regarding its inappropriate use of the P-word, and he also authored this guest post about a Christian NGO and its dangerous attitude to Israel.

Ian G must have the magic touch, because both posts received a lot of attention.

A retired teacher of religious studies, he has now launched a blog of his own, entitled "The Almond Rod," and while its main focus is irrelevant to our purposes, he intends to turn his attention to Israel and Zionism from time to time.

It being Easter, Ian has just put on a post called "Who Killed Jesus? Murder or Suicide?"  He tells me:
"It is an examination of the proper Christian understanding of what Jesus' death was all about. My argument, although lengthy as a blog post, is an outline of, what I believe to be, correct interpretation and theology. I make no concessions on what I believe, but I hope that I have shown that labelling the Jews as 'Christ-killers' is biblically illiterate, theologically unsound and illogical.  I hope it will be of interest to your readers ..."
Thanks, Ian G.  At a time when Israel is under constant and even increasing demonisation from so many in the Christian churches, who frankly ought to know better, your entry into the blogosphere is a welcome development!

Two Pictures That Say "Death To Israel"

First, on a banner in an Iranian mosque:

For more information see the Vlad Tepes Blog here (hat tip: reader Rita)

Second, on a poster to mark "Palestine Land Day" (which has been marked each 30 March since the mid-1970s); the tell-tale sentiment is, of course, contained in that graphic, which anticipates the eradication of the Zionist Entity root and branch.

And talking of pictures, there are at the time of writing some antisemitic ones on Facebook here (hat tip: reader Shirlee) although an especially shocking one, which showed a pile of bodies of victims of the Shoah, accompanied by a despicable "jocular"caption, appears to have vanished.

If enough people protest that page, it will surely be removed.

Friday, 29 March 2013

"Yet Again, British Justice Fails British Jews": Zionist Stalwart Hoffman On A Vile Verdict

This short and snappy indictment by the prominent Anglo-Jewish communal figure Jonathan Hoffman of the verdict of a British court in the case of maths lecturer Ronnie Fraser versus the University and College Union regarding its stance on Israel is cross-posted from the JCBlogs.

Writes Jonathan Hoffman:

'Ben Cohen has it right, here

Paragraph 156 of the Judgment:

    "When a rugby player takes the field, he must accept his fair share of minor injuries. Similarly a political activist accepts the risk of being offended or hurt on occasions by things said or done by his opponents (who themselves take on a corresponding risk)."

Jaw-dropping. The Tribunal sees fighting antisemitism as akin to participating in a sport with the 'teams' evenly balanced and the contest played according to some kind of rulebook!

What planet do they live on?

Would they dismiss black or Muslim victims of racism – or female victims of sex discrimination – as mere players in a game?

Paragraph 150:

    "Belief in the Zionist project or an attachment to Israel ... is not intrinsically part of Jewishness ..."

Is it really possible that Judge A M Snelson, Mr A Grant and Lady Sedley could have sat through 20 days of the hearing, done their post-hearing due diligence and STILL failed to appreciate how Israel came into being and the centrality of Israel to the Jewish people?'

I would add that there is already plenty of evidence, on social media and elsewhere, that the heinous judgment is giving that aid and comfort to the enemy that Ben Cohen in his must-read article identifies as the inevitable outcome:
"The lesson of the Fraser debacle is simply this: a single employment tribunal in the United Kingdom has created a precedent which will be invoked by every Jew-baiter around the globe; namely, that when Jews raise the question of anti-Semitism in the context of visceral hostility toward Israel, they do so in bad faith. That such a bigoted principle can be established in a democracy famed for its enlightened judicial methods is, perhaps, the most shocking realization of all."
Read Ronnie Fraser's personal statement regarding the hearing and the judgment here

"The Oldest Hatred" Grips Muslim Teenagers in Belgium

In the little land of Belgium, Muslims and non-Muslims make common cause against the little land of Israel:

That was "The New Antisemitism" on display in Brussels.

Meanwhile, a major survey undertaken by three Flemish universities, published last month, of 3,867 teenagers in Antwerp and Ghent (1,068 of them Muslims) indicates that "The Oldest [aka Longest] Hatred" is seven times commoner among Muslim youths than among their non-Muslim counterparts.

Tellingly, 50.9 per cent of Muslim respondents agreed (and a further 24.5 per cent "partially agreed") with the statement "Jews foment war and blame others for it".  The comparable percentages for non-Muslims were 7.1 and 20.6 respectively.

45.1 per cent of Muslim respondents agreed (and a further 27.9 per cent "partially agreed") that  "Jews seek to control everything".  The comparable percentages among non-Muslims were 10.8 and 29.2 respectively.

35 percent of Muslim respondents agreed with that "Jews have too much clout in Belgium" compared to 11.8 percent of non-Muslim respondents.

Read more here 

(In Britain, Muslim peer Lord Ahmed, who was suspended from the Labour Party for alleged antisemitic remarks, has apologised ...)

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Anti-Israel Fanatics Petition Morgan Freeman
Celebrated African-American screen actor Morgan Freeman is due to be honoured by the Canadian Friends of the Hebrew University at a ceremony in Toronto on 6 May:

“The Canadian Friends of the Hebrew University’s (CFHU) Toronto Chapter will present the esteemed Key of Knowledge award to Morgan Freeman in recognition of his work in combating segregation and prejudice, and promoting knowledge, learning and education throughout the world.”
Predictably, Israel-haters including the usual BDSers are up in arms, and a furious campaign on social media has been launched in order to bring pressure on Mr Freeman to refuse the honour.
"A man of Morgan Freeman's stature would be a political victory for the Israeli's if he accepted the keys. Mr Freeman, please refuse, Israel is an apartheid regime far worse than South Africa ever was." 
So comments someone named Latifa, from France.
'There is an abundance of evidence which proof that Israel is an apartheid state, that its existence consistently infringe upon the rights of Palestinians to even exists. [sic] The Key of Knowledge award from the Canadian Friends of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem is Israel's effort to whitewash its continued oppression of the Palestinian people. Please, please do not aid them in maintaining the ghettos and banstustans in Palestine.'
So comments an apparently Chinese student at Princeton.

Those are among the latest of the many slurs against Israel on a petition to Mr Freeman that's been opened.

Let's hope that Morgan Freeman recognises ignorance and malevolence when he sees it and that the hatred and libel does not succeed.

Monday, 25 March 2013

David Singer: 'Obama Utters The Magic Word "Annapolis"'

To Jewish readers: Chag Pesach Sameach
While, in contravention of his obligation to report impartially, BBC correspondent Mark Mardell, for reasons best known to himself, finds President Obama's willingness to speak the Israelis' language "almost frightening" (see here), Sydney lawyer and international affairs analyst David Singer focuses on the significance of a single word in Obama's vocabulary. 

David Singer's  latest article is entitled 'Palestine – Obama utters the magic word "Annapolis"'.

He writes:

'President Obama's use of just one word –  "Annapolis" –  stands out among the thousands he uttered during his three day visit to Jerusalem, Ramallah and Amman.

His highly significant use of this keyword on 21 March at the Jerusalem International Convention Centre constituted a diplomatic milestone in America's quest to end the long running Jewish-Arab conflict. 
"I know Israel has taken risks for peace. Brave leaders – Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Rabin – reached treaties with two of your neighbors. You made credible proposals to the Palestinians at Annapolis. You withdrew from Gaza and Lebanon, and then faced terror and rockets."
What were the "credible proposals" made to the Palestinians at Annapolis?

Why was the mention of "Annapolis" thought far more important to include in President Obama' speech -– rather than "Camp David" and the attempts to broker a two-state solution between Ehud Barak and Yasser Arafat by President Clinton in 2000?

The answer is to be found in the following statement made by Israel's then Prime Minister – Ehud Olmert –  at the international conference convened by President Bush on 27 November 2007 in Annapolis in the presence of some 40 world leaders including many from the Arab world:
"The (resumption of) negotiations will be based on previous agreements between us, UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338, the Roadmap and the April 14th 2004 letter of President Bush to the Prime Minister of Israel.
On conclusion of the negotiations, I believe that we will be able to reach an agreement which will fulfill the vision of President Bush: two states for two peoples.
A peace-seeking, viable, strong, democratic and terror-free Palestinian state for the Palestinian people.A Jewish, democratic State of Israel, living in security and free from the threat of terror – the national home of the Jewish people."
President Obama's Jerusalem speech is the closest he has come to publicly acknowledging that the following commitments laid out in President Bush's letter to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon on 14 April 2004 constitute "credible proposals" to end the Jewish-Arab conflict:

1. As part of a final peace settlement, Israel must have secure and recognized borders, which should emerge from negotiations between the parties in accordance with UNSC Resolutions 242 and 338.

2. The United States is strongly committed to Israel’s security and well-being as a Jewish state.

3. It seems clear that an agreed, just, fair, and realistic framework for a solution to the Palestinian refugee issue as part of any final status agreement will need to be found through the establishment of a Palestinian state, and the settling of Palestinian refugees there, rather than in Israel.

4. In light of new realities on the ground, including already existing major Israeli populations centers, it is unrealistic to expect that the outcome of final status negotiations will be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949, and all previous efforts to negotiate a two-state solution have reached the same conclusion.

5. It is realistic to expect that any final status agreement will only be achieved on the basis of mutually agreed changes that reflect these realities.

Yet President Obama has appeared to have given up one fundamental requirement of President Bush' s Road Map –  that any Palestinian Arab state that emerges as part of the two-state solution must be "democratic".

In a carefully worded and crafted speech that spoke in glowing terms of Israel's vibrant democracy, President Obama was noticeably silent in failing to endorse the same outcome as being necessary for the successful implementation and conclusion of President Bush's two-state solution.

To this extent President Obama seems to have rejected as unnecessary the express Annapolis commitment made by Prime Minister Olmert to achieve one of President Bush's most cherished objectives.

The PLO will no doubt see this concession by President Obama as a plus –  since it appears to be the inevitable consequence of Hamas and the PLO being unable to end their six years long internecine struggle that has denied the Palestinian Arabs having any say in determining their own future.

America is apparently set on pressuring Israel to give us this demand as a condition of resolving the two-state solution.

Yet in another respect President Obama's following statement has come down firmly in favour of the commitment made by President Bush in his letter to Prime Minister Sharon –  endorsed in specific terms by Prime Minister Olmert at Annapolis –  that the Arab world –  and Jew-haters around the world –  recognize that the Jewish people are entitled to a Jewish state in their ancient, historic and biblically recognized homeland. 
"For the Jewish people, the journey to the promise of the State of Israel wound through countless generations. It involved centuries of suffering and exile, prejudice, pogroms and even genocide. Through it all, the Jewish people sustained their unique identity and traditions, as well as a longing to return home. And while Jews achieved extraordinary success in many parts. of the world, the dream of true freedom finally found its full expression in the Zionist idea – to be a free people in your homeland.
That is why I believe that Israel is rooted not just in history and tradition, but also in a simple and profound idea: the idea that people deserve to be free in a land of their own. And over the last 65 years, when Israel has been at its best, Israelis have demonstrated that responsibility does not end when you reach the promised land, it only begins."
President Obama reinforced that message with an unequivocal one liner: 
"Palestinians must recognize that Israel will be a Jewish state."
The steadfast refusal by the Palestinian Arabs and the Arab world at large to acknowledge this simple proposition has been the major impediment to peace ever since its possibility was first suggested in 1920 at the San Remo Conference and confirmed in the 1922 Mandate for Palestine - then actually proposed in 1937 by the Peel Commission and endorsed by the United Nations in 1947.

Are the Palestinian Arabs now seriously ready to take up President Obama's challenge to resolve their conflict with the Jews in accordance with the credible proposals made by Israel at Annapolis in 2007 - tempered with just one important concession by President Obama dispensing with the need for any agreement on the question of democracy?

That is the message President Obama has sent to President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Fayyad – persons whom President Obama personally identified as true partners for Israel in achieving the two-state solution during his Jerusalem speech.

I hope we will not have to wait too long for their answer.'

"The New Antisemitism" In Action In London (videos)

Recently, in London, examples of what the Chief Rabbi terms "The New Antisemitism." in inglorious action.

First (and this is surely relevant to the demonisers' absurd decision to send a petition to the BBC mentioned in my previous post), a demo last month outside the BBC's premises, with "Jews for Justice for Palestinians" giving aid and comfort to those who want Israel eliminated.  Note the despicable comparison of Gaza to Auschwitz ...

Also last month, a noisy protest outside the Wigmore Hall protesting the appearance of the Jerusalem Quartet.  Regular BDSer-watchers might note a not unfamiliar Irish voice raised against Israel ...

A few days ago, with anti-Zionist Jews abetting Israel's mortal foes, a demo outside the Charities Commission against the charitable status of the Jewish National Fund:

(All videos MrAlexSeymour's Channel)

Sunday, 24 March 2013

BBC Bias: Israel-Demonisers Seek Balen Mark Two!

Recently, the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, convinced that the BBC is biased in favour of Israel (!!!), recommended a little ploy:
"Great suggestion from one of our members: Please 'like' the BBC facebook pages then post news items from Palestine in the comments - let them see that others report on Palestine even if they don't - they'll delete the comments but keep them busy!"
As someone observed to me at the time:
"I think the M[odus] O[perandi] is that anyone that is not willing to swallow, whole, 100% of the most vicious Pallywood propaganda, without so much as a burp of question, must be a Zionist shill.
Why shouldn't they think like that?  Look how long it's worked for them."
Now, the Israel-demonisers are circulating the following petition:
"Many people believe that the BBC is biased in favour of Israel in its reporting; it is time for a Public Inquiry into this.
The BBC is a world respected media organisation, widely respected for its news and editorial coverage. However, whilst it is generally regarded as an serious, unbiased and authoritative source of news and comment, many feel that its coverage of events in the Middle East, specifically in relation Arab Israeli matters, and those relating to the Palestinian people in particular, shows continued bias in favour of Israel, in which the BBC fails to relate a complete and objective view and seems to portray a view that favours Israel and its government over that of other parties.
This bias appears to be endemic through the BBC's various news and editorial programmes and media. Whilst bias is something that might be expected of a privately owned media organisation, it is unacceptable in an organisation like the BBC, which has a unique status in being accountable to the British public.
Numerous individual complaints have been raised with the BBC regarding this over time. However, these by their nature generally relate to specific programmes and events, and would not address a much bigger problem of systematic bias.
This petition calls upon the Trustees of the BBC Trust to initiate a full, impartial and public inquiry into the way that the BBC reports on matters relating to Israel in relation to events in the Middle East, with the objective of establishing whether such bias exists and if so how this should be remedied on an enduring basis in the short and long term." 
Read all about it here

And don't miss BBC Watch's superb post regarding the BBC's propaganda-laden current reportage of the Mavi Mamara incident ...

Ten Misconceptions About The Middle East Conflict (video)

This fine, jauntily informative video, from the Jerusalem Institute of Justice, should be mandatory viewing! 

Hat tip: reader Ian

Saturday, 23 March 2013

"The Virus Of Anti-Semitism Has Infected Members Of The British Muslim Community, Both Young & Old"

Bravo to the young and articulate Mehdi Hasan, a contributing writer for Britain's leftwing New Statesman (pictured is the cover of a notorious issue of that periodical dating to 2002), political editor of Huffington Post UK, and a not infrequent guest on BBC current affairs programmes, for admitting, à propos of Lord Ahmed's alleged antisemitic remarks:
'.... I can’t keep count of the number of Muslims I have come across – from close friends and relatives to perfect strangers – for whom weird and wacky anti-Semitic conspiracy theories are the default explanation for a range of national and international events.... 
The truth is that the virus of anti-Semitism has infected members of the British Muslim community, both young and old. No, the ongoing Israel-Palestine conflict hasn’t helped matters. But this goes beyond the Middle East. How else to explain why British Pakistanis are so often the most ardent advocates of anti-Semitic conspiracies, even though there are so few Jews living in Pakistan?
It is sheer hypocrisy for Muslims to complain of Islamophobia in every nook and cranny of British public life, to denounce the newspapers for running Muslim-baiting headlines, and yet ignore the rampant anti-Semitism in our own backyard. We cannot credibly fight Islamophobia while making excuses for Judaeophobia....
...[W]e’re not all anti-Semites. But, as a community, we do have a “Jewish problem”. There is no point pretending otherwise.... '
 Read the entire article here

"Yesterday, Mr President, You Promised Us We Are Not Alone; Don't Be Too Late": The Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv To Barack Obama (video)

Here's Israel National TV footage of President Obama at Yad Vashem, being addressed by its chairman, Yisrael Meir Lau, Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv:

Friday, 22 March 2013

BDS: “A Thinly-veiled, Anti-Israel and Antisemitic ‘Poison Pill,’ Whose Goal Is The Demonization, Delegitimization, and Ultimate Demise Of The Jewish State”

Israel-haters in the City of Brotherly Love this week
“Those truly committed to a ‘Two State Solution’ will never serve the cause of peace by embracing the anti-Semitic BDS. Honest people have a choice between two options only: a return to currently unfashionable, always difficult, peacemaking to forge two viable, peaceful states or the grim alternative, stripped bare of pretenses, of a deadly specter astride a Pale Horse.”

Thus concludes Dr Harold Brackman, who has  produced a major study for the Simon Wiesenthal Center in which he concludes that the BDS movement's ultimate goal is the eradication of Israel, as voiced by an Arab American academic who declared last year:
“The real aim of BDS is to bring down the State of Israel . . . That should be stated as an unambiguous goal. There should not be any equivocation on the subject. Justice and freedom for the Palestinians are incompatible with the existence of the state of Israel.”
Dr Brackman alsohighlights the hypocrisy rife in the BDS movement, and argues that beyond propaganda victories the movement's impact on Israeli businesses has been minimal.

Read more here

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Australian Islamist Glorifies Jihad (video)

The soft tone at the beginning (with a reference to "the sons of pigs and monkeys" thrown in for good measure) suddenly rises to a bellow.  Yes, here's a bloke for whom the late British film director Michael Winner's catchphrase "Calm down dear!" would seem to be applicable: ex-Roman Catholic Aussie Islamist Musa Cerantonio getting all excited over the prospect of Jihad:

"'Anti-Zionism Is The New Antisemitism ... Israel Is The Greatest Collective Affirmation Of Life In The Whole Of Jewish History": Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks

Lord Sacks, Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of Britain and the Commonwealth, who was born three years after the end of the Second World War and like most British Jews of his generation assumed antisemitism had been all but eradicated, made an impressive, impassioned speech to the recent AIPAC Policy Conference in New York:
'.... [I]n all my life I never experienced a single incident of antisemitism until 11 years ago.
Eleven years ago, our youngest daughter, who was studying at a British university, came home in tears. She had been at an anti-globalization rally which quickly turned into a tirade first against America, then against Israel, then against Jews. And with tears in her eyes she said, Dad, they hate us. That is a terrible situation, but it’s reality in Europe today.
In the last two weeks there have been stories about the rise of anti-Semitic incidents in France by 58 percent in a single year; in Belgium, 30 percent; in Denmark, doubled in the space of three years. In England—in France and Italy, English football supporters were attacked not because they were Jews but because they were supporting a football team many of whose supporters happened to be Jews. And I don’t know whether you read this—I’m sure you did—last Wednesday the Turkish president, Mr. Erdogan, called Zionism a “crime against humanity.”
I have to tell you that what we grew up with, “Never Again,” is beginning to sound like “Ever Again.” And at the heart of it is hostility to Israel. Of course, not all criticism of Israel is antisemitic. But make no mistake what has happened.
 In the Middle Ages Jews were hated because of their religion. In the 19th century and the 20th, they were hated because of their race. Today, when it’s no longer done to hate people for their religion or their race, today they are hated because of their state. The reason changes, but the hate stays the same. Anti-Zionism is the new antisemitism. [Emphasis added here and below]
 .... I’ve come here to tell you that I believe the example of AIPAC must now inform Jewish communities around Europe, because we have to stand up and fight and we have to stand up and win. Friends, anti-Zionism is today rife throughout the world. All our students on campuses know about it. And what is our crime? What is Israel’s crime? It’s that we have chutzpah.
 Let me tell you the chutzpah we have. After all, there are 56 Islamic states, there are 125 nations whose majority is Christian, and now Jews want a state of their own. How dare they? And it’s so big. Friends, you know how big Israel is?
.... Israel is the same size as Kruger National Park. How dare they want something that big? Don’t Jews by now know that their role in history is to be scattered, dispersed, homeless, and defenceless? And now they want a space where they can defend themselves. How dare they? Friends, we dare because we are human. We dare because to be denied the right to self-defense is to be treated as less than human. Mr. Erdogan, it is anti-Zionism that is a crime against humanity.
.... [How] much longer must the Jewish people have to fight for the right to be? Let me tell you, friends, what is Israel. Elaine and I have just come back; just 10 days ago we were on a series of missions in Israel. And let us remind you what we saw, what you saw, what everyone sees but the world does not see.
We saw school after school and youth village after youth village where children at-risk or children from dysfunctional or abusive families are taken and given the care that will give them hope and a future in life. We saw youth villages where Ethiopian children are given the means suddenly to make that leap across centuries and cultures and find their own excellence. We saw the power of love to transform lives.
We saw hospitals. I don’t know if you’ve been recently to the Rambam Hospital in Haifa. In Haifa, the Rambam Hospital is building the world’s largest underground hospital, proof against bombs, missiles, chemical and biological weapons, so that when Israel’s enemies decide to destroy lives, they will continue saving them.
We saw the new Bar-Ilan Medical Center in Safed, set up to bring the finest possible medical treatment. Who to? Only to Jews? No. To Muslims, to Christians, to Druze villages throughout the Galil, because to be a Jew in Israel means you care for every life; every life is sacred.
 We saw the Laniado Hospital in the Netanya, a place I always visit because it moves me almost beyond words. Many of you know the Laniado Hospital was built by the Klausenburger Rebbe, a survivor of Auschwitz who during the Holocaust lost his wife and all 11 children. And there in the camps of death made an oath that if he should ever survive he would dedicate the rest of his life to saving life.
That is what I see in Israel. Every time I visit Israel I find among Israelis, secular or religious, an absolute unswerving dedication to Moshe Rabbenu’s great command Uvacharta Bachayim, “Choose life.” Israel is the sustained defiance of hatred and power in the name of life because we are the people who sanctify life.
 ....Today the struggle against Israel is no longer just against Israel. Today what is at stake in Israel’s survival is the future of freedom itself. Because make no mistake, this will be the defining battle of the 21st century which will prevail: the will to power with its violence, terror, missiles, and bombs; or the will to life with its hospitals, schools, freedoms, and rights. Believe you me, I have the privilege of knowing.
See, Christians, Hindus, Sheiks, moderate Muslims, and I tell you from my experience Israel is a source of inspiration not just to us but to them as well, because it tells every single person on the face of the earth that you don’t have—a nation doesn’t have to be large to be great. A nation doesn’t have to be rich in natural resources to prosper.
 Israel has been surrounded by enemies and yet it has shown that even so you can still be a democracy, still have a free press, still have an independent judiciary. Israel is the only country in the Middle East where a Palestinian can stand up on national television and criticize the government and the next day still be a free human being.
Israel is an inspiration to the world....
 .... How probable is it that this tiny people, the Jewish people, numbering less than one-fifth of 1 percent of the population of the world, should have outlived—as you just heard—the world’s greatest empires—the Egyptians, the Syrians, the Babylonians, the Greeks, the Romans—every empire that ever stood up to destroy us, they are being consigned to history and still we stand and sing “Am Yisrael Chai”?
How likely is it that after 2,000 years of exile our people should have come back to our land and there in—having stood eyeball to eyeball in Auschwitz a mere three years earlier, eyeball to eyeball with the Angel of Death, in 1948 said, despite the worst crime of man against man, lo amut kiechyeh—I will not die but I will live? Israel is the greatest collective affirmation of life in the whole of Jewish history.
Friends, Judaism is the defeat of probability by the power of possibility. And nowhere will you see the power of possibility more than in the state of Israel today. Israel has taken a barren land and made it bloom again. Israel has taken an ancient language, the language of the Bible, and make it speak again. Israel has taken the West’s oldest faith and made it young again. Israel has taken a shattered nation and make it live again...'
 Watch Lord Sacks deliver the speech, and read the full transcript, here

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

"I'm A Muslim, Zionist Arab ... Proud To Be Arab & Israeli"

"My name is Abdol and I’m a Muslim, Zionist Arab.
Israel is my home. Israel is where my friends – Arabs & Jews – live. Israel is where I have rights and Israel is where my family lives. I joined the IDF to give back to a country that keeps giving to me. I had a tough time in the army because in my village it was difficult for others to understand why I joined the IDF and on the other hand my unit in the IDF didn’t know how to accept an Arab. But I love my country and I overcome any difficulties. I also learned to understand the Jewish nation. I went to Poland as a student in high school and learned about the Holocaust. One of my main projects was a movie I made about the Holocaust. Its purpose was to ensure this never happens again anywhere in the world. We must not go the way of terror. We must find a way to peace and pluralism. I’m proud to be Arab & Israeli."

That's just one of a number of testimonies from a diverse cross-section of Israeli society that have been  gathered by the Australasian Union of Jewish Students (AUJS) to demonstrate the strength of Israel's pluralism, democracy, and enlightenment, and to give the lie to the grotesque, despicable, canard that Israel is an "apartheid state".

Congratulations to AUJS for this wonderful antidote to the malicious falsehoods from Israel's enemies that characterise so-called "Israel Apartheid Week".

See more here

(Hat tip: reader Shirlee)

"So Let Me Hear You Say That I'm A Criminal Of War, Come On Little Punk, That's What You Came Here For" (video)

With customary humour and panache, the guys at LATMA stick it to the Israel-haters in this song for Pesach that pays tribute to the IDF (hat tip: reader Ian):

If today's media told the Passover story, a great video by (hat tip: Ian and Shirlee):

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Usurped Palestinian Sovereignty: "The Li[n]e Of Division"

"Palestine was the cradle of the most ancient cultures and civilisations.  Its Arab people were engaged in farming and building, spreading culture throughout the land for thousands of years," Yasser Arafat, applying several layers of gilding to the lily, told the UN General Assembly in his major address on 13 November 1974 denouncing Zionism and the Zionist Entity.

Subsequently, by themselves abandoning the term "Palestinian Arabs" in favour of "The Palestinians," Israelis handed Arafat a major public relations victory.  For they appear to concede that there was indeed a sovereign people by the latter name and accordingly reinforce a brilliant propagandistic makeover on the PLO's part that is a tool for Israel's delegitimisation.

Of course, despite the impression created by Arafat and his successors, there was never a sovereign people called "the Palestinians" and there was never a sovereign state called Palestine.

But try telling that to the myriad youths who, too ignorant of history to recognise the lie for what it is, have been conditioned to believe that there was, and add themselves to the ranks of the Palestine Solitary Campaign and comparable organisations.

And try telling that to their anti-Israel elders who should certainly know that when the First World War broke out, and for several centuries beforehand, Palestine was a backwater province of the Ottoman Empire ...

George Galloway, for example, in ranting and raving last month about British foreign policy in the Middle East, began with an attack on Foreign Office minister Alistair Burt and proceeded with the charge that Britain committed "the original sin" of "wiping their [the Palestinians'] country off the map," the only "country" in the Middle East to suffer such a fate.

And so it is that a rather nasty little video, featuring some well-known names among others, and recently translated into French for the benefit of gallic and francophone Israel-haters, was recently made by BDSers in Australia regarding what one participant contemptuously dubs "the so-called state of Israel" towards the  "indigenous people" of Palestine.  (It ends with references to "the line of division": hence my post title.)

The uploader of the video on YouTube notes:
"This video was made on the land of the Gadigal people of the Eora nation, whose sovereignty never ceded."
A way of emphasising (the lie of) usurped Palestinian sovereignty, presumably.

The video's dramatis personae (in order of appearance):

Mutulu "M1" Olugbala (of American rap duo Dead Prez);
Peter Manning (a former executive producer of the ABC current affairs programme Four Corners); Milan Ring;
Kareem Denis (British rapper Lowkey);
Tuva El-Shaikh;
Kerrie McGrath;
Fatima Mawas;
Awate Suleiman;
Antony Loewenstein (well, what a surprise!);
Anika Moeen;
Aamer Rahman

A perusal of the comments beneath the video on YouTube reveals more woeful mischievous ignorance, and the presence of this video will do little to halt the spread of such misconceptions among the young and impressionable.

Monday, 18 March 2013

Facilitating & Thwarting Hamas's "Dead Baby Strategy"

"I'm not pro-Israel, I'm not pro-Palestinian, and I'm not pro-American.  But as a journalist I'm pro the facts and pro the truth."

Little wonder that the Jerusalem Post's West Bank and Gaza correspondent, Khaled Abu Toameh, the man whose journalistic integrity bears out that assertion of his, is being recognised for his fair and courageous reporting about Israel at a gala function in New York next month under the auspices of CAMERA, the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting, (at which Douglas Murray will be the keynote speaker).

It's safe to say that the BBC's West Bank and Gaza correspondent, Jon Donnison, who is bound not only by moral and professional but by his employer's obligation to report in a neutral, objective manner, will not be so honoured any time soon.

One of the most egregious of Donnison's outrages upon facts and truth concerned, of course, the tragic death during Operation Pillar of Cloud [aka Defence] in November of infant Omar Masharawi, the son of their BBC colleague Jihad (or, as they soon decided to style him, Jehad) Masharawi.  And Donnison wasn't the sole BBC journalist who hastened, despite the likelihood that a misfired Hamas rocket was in fact culpable (as is now known to have been the case), to lay the blame for the baby's death squarely at Israel's door.

As BBC Watch observes:
"The BBC used the story of Omar Masharawi to advance the narrative of Israel as a ruthless killer of innocent children. It did so in unusually gory detail which etched the story in audiences’ minds, but without checking the facts, and with no regard whatsoever for its obligations to accuracy and impartiality. BBC reporters and editors  – including Jon Donnison, Paul Danahar and the many others who distributed the story via Twitter – rushed to spread as far and wide as possible a story they could not validate, but which fit in with their own narrative.
It is impossible to undo the extensive damage done by the BBC with this story. No apology or correction can now erase it from the internet or from the memories of the countless people who read it or heard it. Nevertheless, the people responsible for the fact that the unverified story was allowed to run – and that it was deliberately given such exceptionally extensive coverage – must be held accountable for their failure to even try to uphold the standards to which the BBC professes to adhere." (Read the rest here, as well as Adam Levick's piece here)
And as Alan Dershowitz observes in a must-read article:
"....The errant rocket that killed Omar Misharawi was fired by Hamas terrorists from a densely populated civilian area adjacent to the home of the BBC reporter Jihad Misharawi. Hamas selects such locations for firing its rockets precisely so that Israel will respond by firing into civilian areas and killing Palestinian civilians. They regard such dead civilians as “shahids”, or martyrs for the cause. It is better for Hamas’ publicity campaign if the rocket that kills the Palestinian baby was fired by the Israeli Defense Forces, but even if the rocket was fired by Hamas terrorists, Hamas will claim, as they do regarding this death, that the lethal rocket was fired by Israel. Often the evidence is inconclusive, though the forensic evidence in this case points clearly to a Hamas rocket.
The important point is that it doesn’t really matter who actually fired the rocket that killed the baby. The baby was killed by Hamas as part of a calculated strategy designed to point the emotional finger of moral blame at the IDF for doing what every democracy would do: namely, defend its civilians from rocket attacks by targeting those who are firing the rockets, even if they are firing them from civilian areas....
Babies like Omar Misharawi will continue to die in Gaza and in Israel so long as the world media continues to serve as facilitators of Hamas’ dead baby strategy. [Emphasis added] Every time a picture of a dead Palestinian baby being held by his grieving parents appears on television or on the front pages of newspapers around the world, Hamas wins. And when Hamas wins, they continue with their deadly strategy. The media, therefore, is complicit in the death of Omar Misharawi as it is in the deaths of other civilians who are victims of Hamas’ dead baby strategy. Pictures of dead babies in the arms of their grieving fathers are irresistible to the media. That won’t change. What should change is the caption. Every time a dead Palestinian baby is shown, the caption should explain the strategy that led to his or her death: namely that Hamas deliberately fires its rockets from areas in which babies live and into which Israel must fire if it is to stop its own babies from being killed...."
Read all of Dershowitz's article here 

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Tartan Tiger: "Clackmannanshire Council Resolves To Resist ... Any Action That Gives Political Or Economic Support To The State Of Israel"

Following the ludicrous, shameful examples of its counterparts in West Dunbartonshire and Stirling, Clackmannanshire ("The Wee County"; its population is less than the seating capacity of Yankee Stadium) Council, lobbied by members of the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign, has voted (14 March) to boycott Israel.
In the hyperbolic words attributed to the SPSC member who initiated the lobbying (and will no doubt now press for similar motions against Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and the Congo):
"We have a right to global peace, and the journey there will only be achieved by supporting human rights and the rule of law. If we continue to profit from those who perpetually flaunt these, then the future for all of us, and our children, is grim indeed."
The motion, introduced by Councillor Archie Drummond, a socialist elected as an Independent, was passed without opposition by a meeting of the full Council, with only three abstentions (one Labour, one SNP, and the sole Conservative).
"Clackmannanshire Council condemns the Government of Israel for its continuing illegal occupation of Palestine's East Jerusalem and the West Bank and for its continuing illegal blockade of Gaza.
Clackmannanshire Council welcomes the decision of the United Nations on 29 November 2012 to grant "non-member observer State" to Palestine.
However, for the people of Palestine, the suffering of the last 64 years continues as the Government of Israel continues to ignore and breach international law.
Just as individual sanctions against apartheid in South Africa led ultimately to its demise there, so individual and collection sanctions against the state of Israel will end apartheid and suffering in Palestine.
Clackmannanshire Council therefore resolves to resist, insofar as legislative considerations permit, any action that gives political or economic support to the State of Israel."  [Emphasis added]
Read more here

The mindset of many who seek to demonise the Zionist Entity and bring about its destruction can be seen in this foul ignorant comment on the website of the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign (to which I link above):
"In Israel we have echoes of the post Weimar Republic in Germany.There the nazis declared that Germany needed Liebensraum ie room to expand and this could be achieved by getting rid of the Untermensch and occupying stolen land."
The mindset of many who seek to demonise the Zionist Entity and bring about its destruction can also be seen in the following incident miles from old Caledonia.

It seems the slogan Am Yisrael Chai ("The People of Israel/Jewish People Live") is like a red rag to a bull for at least one of the BDSers at a demo in Oakland, California.

Here is footage of the demo (worth watching for the presence of the pro-Hamas International Solidarity Movement and for the very apt comments of the video maker on the sheer double standards and hypocrisy of those who accuse Israel of "apartheid" – such selectivity is also evident, of course, in the decisions of the Scottish councils referred to above).

And here's footage of a violent expletive-riddled assault by one of the Israel-haters on a young Jewish woman who had the temerity to chalk the Israel-affirming slogan on the ground.

Read more here
(Hat tip: reader Rita)

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Censored! Egypt Bans Documentary About Jewish Community

Here's the English language trailer for a documentary about the pre-1950s Jewish community in Egypt, which was some 65,000 strong, and thriving.  As reported here the Egyptian authorities have at the eleventh hour withdrawn permission for the film's release.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

British Muslim Peer Allegedly Blames A Jewish Conspiracy

It's reported in the Times and Daily Telegraph (and now elsewhere) that, in an Urdu-language broadcast in his native Pakistan, British Muslim life peer Lord Ahmed has blamed his 12-week prison sentence (he was freed after serving 16 days) in 2008 for a fatal driving offence in 2007 on da Joos:
“My case became more critical because I went to Gaza to support Palestinians. My Jewish friends who own newspapers and TV channels opposed this.”
As a result of this alleged statement he's been suspended from the Labour Party:
"The Labour Party deplores and does not tolerate any sort of racism or anti-Semitism...we are suspending Lord Ahmed pending an investigation." 
Read the Telegraph report here

"You, My Elder Brothers": Pope Francis & Jewry

It seems that the affable new pontiff, Pope Francis, had a warm relationship with the Latin American Jewish Congress when, as Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, he was Archbishop of Buenos Aires, and there are high hopes that his cordiality towards Jews will continue now that he's installed in the Vatican.

What his papal attitude towards Israel will be is, of course, an uncharted matter.

Reports the Jewish Telegraphic Agency:

'After the bombing of the AMIA Jewish community center in 1994, he "showed solidarity with the Jewish community," [American Jewish Committee's interfaith affairs director Rabbi David] Rosen said.
In 2005, Bergoglio was the first public personality to sign a petition for justice in the AMIA bombing case. He also was one of the signatories on a document called "85 victims, 85 signatures" as part of the bombing's 11th anniversary. In June 2010, he visited the rebuilt AMIA building to talk with Jewish leaders.
"Those who said Benedict was the last pope who would be a pope that lived through the Shoah, or that said there would not be another pope who had a personal connection to the Jewish people, they were wrong," Rosen said....
Israel Singer, the former head of the World Jewish Congress, said he spent time working with Bergoglio when the two were distributing aid to the poor in Buenos Aires in the early 2000s, part of a joint Jewish-Catholic program called Tzedaka....
Bergoglio also wrote the foreward of a book by Rabbi Sergio Bergman, a Buenos Aires legislator, and referred to him as “one of my teachers.”....
Bergoglio attended Rosh Hashanah services at the Benei Tikva Slijot synagogue in September 2007....
Last November, Bergoglio hosted a Kristallnacht memorial event at the Buenos Aires Metropolitan Cathedral with Rabbi Alejandro Avruj from the NCI-Emanuel World Masorti congregation.
He also has worked with the Latin American Jewish Congress and held meetings with Jewish youth who participate in its New Generations program....
In his visit to the Buenos Aires synagogue, according to the Catholic Zenit news agency, Bergoglio told the congregation that he was there to examine his heart "like a pilgrim, together with you, my elder brothers."....'
Read the entire JTA report here

Major British Publisher Promotes "Israel Apartheid Week"

Readers might wish to protest this disturbing anti-Israel initiative by a famous British publisher.
Update: it seems they have been chastened already (well done, Daniel Pipes!)
Further update: And it seems they have disabled the link (above) to the mischievous promotional e-mail, which took the form of an elaborate flyer for IAW and for a number of anti-Israel works published by Pluto Press, I.B.Taurus and Zed Books.

"Glory To A Liberated & An Arab Palestine" (video)

Here's how the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) brainwashes schoolchildren into believing in the centrality of the "Refugees' Right of Return" ...

(Hat tip: reader Shirlee)

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

"The Greatest Threat To Peace In The World Today Is The Iranian Regime": Shimon Peres (video)

Addressing the European Parliament, the Israeli president implores the European Union, and indeed the international community generally, to treat Hezbollah as the Iranian proxy terrorist threat that it is, and reaffirms his support for a Two State Solution:

(JewishNewsOne video)

"A Disreputable Intellectual Gloss On A Policy Based In Hatred"

This odious op-ed by University of Massachusetts philosophy professor Joseph Levine in the New York Times last week which denies Jewish Peoplehood and Israel's right to exist, and maintains that anti-Zionism is not antisemitism, is manna from hell to Israel's adversaries, and predictably it has been received with whoops of gargantuan delight by anti-Israel propagandists and their followers on social media.

Levine's article is, as the always interesting Jonathan S. Tobin now writes, is "a disreputable intellectual gloss on a policy based in hatred."

Observes Tobin inter alia: 
'His sole interest is in the one Jewish state, not the scores of other nations whose identity is based in other national identities or faiths. What he calls the “ethnic hegemony” of Jews in Israel is replicated in various ways in the vast majority of United Nations member states–though in almost all cases with far less concern for the rights of ethnic and religious minorities than is enshrined in Israeli law. Though he claims he is not judging Israel by a double standard, that is exactly what he has done.
Thus, any attempt to deny to the Jews what is not denied or even questioned when it comes to other groups is by definition a form of prejudice. Such prejudice against Jews is called anti-Semitism. That’s why the claim that to be anti-Zionist is not the same as being anti-Semitic is mere sophistry.
But the truly contemptible aspect of Levine’s treatise is the disingenuous attempt to treat the question of Israel’s right to exist as separate from the real world consequences of anti-Zionism.
While Jews deserve the same rights of self-determination that are accorded to others, the particular importance of Israel stems not just from the Jewish demand for equitable treatment but from the consequences of 2,000 years during which they were denied statehood....
 One need only listen or read the unceasing stream of anti-Semitic and anti-Israel propaganda emanating from Tehran, Cairo, Ramallah and half a hundred other centers of anti-Zionist agitation to understand what would happen to the Jews of Israel were they not protected by a sovereign Jewish state. In a majority Muslim state, Jews would revert to dhimmi status, and that means subjugation and persecution. Talk of the creation of a bi-national democratic state in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza (the traditional demand of Palestinian nationalism) is merely code for the expulsion and slaughter of the Jews, something that groups like Hamas and Hezbollah have no trouble affirming....'
 Read Tobin's entire demolition job here

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

The Shape Of Things To Come? Ban Jewry from this jury, urges lawyer

American lawyer Frederick Cohn has come up with a dodgy little scheme to deprive citizens who happen (like himself) to be Jewish of their constitutional rights: he wants a judge to bar Jews from membership of a Brooklyn jury set to hear the case of a Muslim New Yorker with links to Pakistan who's alleged to have made three false statements regarding terrorism offences.

Argues Cohn:
“Given that there’s going to be inflammatory testimony about Jews and Zionism, I think it would be hard for Jews to cast aside any innate antipathy.
The American Jewish community is heavily aligned with Israel and Zionism. Here is a guy who is a Muslim, who is opposed to those things.”
A prosecutor in the case retorted:
“I don’t think Judge [Robert] Levy will be ready to violate the Constitution and exclude people from the jury on the basis of their religious beliefs.”
The judge begins selecting jurors this week, and Cohn has admitted that his proposal is a "long shot".

Read more here

"Don't Let Israel's Detractors Politicize Art": Petition

The US-based Creative Community for Peace has drawn up the following petition to singer Alicia Keyes, who's being pressed by BDS forces to cancel her scheduled appearance in Tel Aviv on 4 July:

'We, the undersigned, wholeheartedly support your upcoming tour in Israel and your dedication to your fans across the globe.

We know you are hearing falsehoods about Israel being an apartheid state and unfair comparisons of Israel to apartheid South Africa. These messages are filled with distortions and untruths that seek to malign Israel and distort the discourse of those that seek peace.

Those who have actually been to Israel know that it is a democratic country with a diverse population, where women, Arabs, Muslims, Christians and all minorities have equal rights; a nation where art and freedom of expression flourish. In fact, Arab-Israeli citizens serve on Israel’s Supreme Court and in its Parliament. The recently crowned Miss Israel was born in Ethiopia and quoted Martin Luther King in her acceptance speech! "There are many different communities of many different colors in Israel, and it's important to show that to the world," said the new Miss Israel.

We too wish for a resolution to the complicated Palestinian/Israeli peace process, and we believe that the unique connection between artist and fan is part of the solution. Music is a great tool--one that can be used for building bridges, dialogue and understanding between people. Cultural boycotts drown out freedom and the voices of change. Your voice, your message will touch hearts and minds in a region desperately looking for peace.

We therefore urge you to keep your tour date in Israel, the land Madonna calls "the energy center of the world." Join the ranks of independent-minded artists who have performed in Israel recently, including Rihanna, Macy Gray, Elton John, Paul McCartney, Black Eyed Peas, Missy Elliot, Metallica, Linkin Park, Lady Gaga, Seal, Meshell Ngedecello, Erykah Badu and many others. Your fans in Israel are looking forward to seeing you and know that you will use the power of your music to help bring hope and peace to the region!

Thank you.'

To sign the petition click here
(Hat tip: reader Rita)

Monday, 11 March 2013

David Singer On Dennis Ross's Failed Formula For A Two-State Solution

"Palestine: Suspending Disbelief Is An Unbelievable Hoax," is the title of the latest article by Sydney lawyer and international affairs analyst David Singer.

He writes:

'Beware failed negotiators like Dennis Ross when they continue to pontificate on the possibility of the two-state solution. 

Formerly the United States chief negotiator for the Arab-Israeli conflict from 1993 to 2001 and a special assistant to the president for the Middle East and South Asia from 2009 to 2011, Dennis Ross is now a distinguished fellow and counselor to the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

In his recent article in the New York Times entitled "To Achieve Mideast Peace,Suspend Disbelief" Mr Ross concludes that neither side believes the other side is committed to the two-state solution but that cannot be an argument for doing nothing.

He further states that if the two-state solution is discredited as an outcome, something and someone will fill the void.

Ross speculates that the Islamists of Hamas, with their rejection of two-states, seem primed to fill the void, when he says the conflict will be transformed from a nationalist into a religious one and at that point it may not be possible to resolve.

One can only shake one's head in amazement that Mr Ross actually believes this is a nationalist conflict and not a religious conflict.

The continuing refusal by the PLO, Hamas and the Arab League to recognise Israel as the Jewish National Home first decreed with the unanimous consent of the League of Nations in 1922 and incorporated into the United Nations Charter under article 80 in 1945 indicates that Mr Ross learnt nothing after eight years in the hot seat as the United States chief negotiator.

Mr Ross asks: so what can  be done?

His proposal is one taken right out of fairyland:
"I propose a 14-point agenda for discussions. Twelve of the points — six on the Israeli side and six on the Palestinian side — would be coordinated unilateral moves that each party would be willing to discuss and implement provided that the other side would do its part. The final points would be mutual steps taken concurrently by both sides. The goal would be to chip away at the sources of each side’s disbelief about the other’s commitment to a genuine two-state solution."
In a remarkably contrived display of evenhandedness — 6 discussion points apiece — Mr Ross has gone back to the failed formula of pressing Israel to make concrete commitments in return for PLO commitments that — apart from one — amount to nothing more than sheer hot air.

Israel's [designated] six-point list is as follows:
Only build new housing in settlement blocks and in areas west of the security barrier.  This means that Israel would build only in about 8 percent of the West Bank and no longer in the remaining 92 percent.  
Offer compensation to any Jews to relocate to Israel or the designated blocks.
Consent to begin construction of housing within Israel or the designated blocks for all those settlers ready to relocate. 
In “Area C,” which represents 60.1 percent of the West Bank’s territory and in which Israel retains civil and security responsibility, Palestinians would be permitted economic access, activity and ownership. 
In “Area B,” which covers 21.7 percent of the West Bank and in which Palestinians have responsibility for civil affairs and for law and order — but not for dealing with terrorism — the presence of Palestinian police and security forces, and their duties, would be allowed to increase.
In “Area A,” which accounts for 18.2 percent of the West Bank’s territory and in which the Palestinians have civil and security responsibility, the I.D.F. could specify clear security criteria, which, if met by the Palestinian Authority, would end the incursions. 
Mr Ross lists the following six agenda items for the Palestinian side to commit to:
Be willing to speak of two states for two peoples and to acknowledge there are two national movements and two national identities.
Pledge to put Israel on Palestinian maps 
Make clear the commitment to building the state of Palestine, without encroaching on Israel, with a particular focus on the rule of law.
Commit to ending incitement; stop glorifying as martyrs those who kill Israelis; stop blaming Israel for every evil; stop denying the Jewish connection to Jerusalem.
Prepare the Palestinian public for peace. 
Build permanent housing in refugee camps and allow those families who wish to move out of the camps to be permitted to do so
Apart from the last item on the agenda  — and since the PLO has shown itself incapable of bringing about these changes of attitude during the last 20 years of failed negotiations — there is little point in including them.

Perhaps it is time for Mr Ross and others in the international community to consider the principle of reciprocity in negotiations.

To induce Israel to accept Mr Ross's six point agenda, he needs to propose something far more concrete on the Arab side something along the lines of the following:
The Arab League is to nominate two more of its members to recognise Israel and open embassies between their respective countries.
The Arab League and the PLO agree to recognise Israel in its final agreed-upon designated borders as the reconstituted Jewish National Home in accordance with international law
 Offer compensation to Arabs willing to relocate from Area C to Area A or Area B 
Consent to begin construction of housing in Area A and Area B to house those Arabs willing to relocate from Area C
Hold free and fair elections in the West Bank and Gaza within twelve months irrespective of the state of the negotiations
Build permanent housing in existing refugee camps
In the words of Mr Ross :

"These 12 points represent an agenda for discussion that could lead to coordinated actions and change the dynamic between Israelis and Palestinians — and maybe, by restoring hope, show that the government of Mr. Abbas still offers a pathway for Palestinian national aspirations.
These points could, for once, create a virtuous cycle. Such progress is vital if there is to be any hope that the two sides will actually address the core issues of the conflict.
We don’t need more dead ends. It is time to show Israelis and Palestinians that something is possible other than stalemate. Otherwise disbelief and failure will become a self-fulfilling prophecy."
 Mr Ross, despite your best efforts your proposal does nothing to reverse the generally held belief that the two-state solution is terminal and has been dead and buried for more than eighteen months.

To propose that your 12 point agenda can suspend that belief by proposing yet another talkfest based on vague intangible commitments by the Arabs is quite frankly unbelievable.'

Good Deeds Day At Jerusalem Hospital (video)

Here's something uplifting to start the week (though it acually took place earlier this month on international Good Deeds Day, an initiative that originated in Israel).

To quote the YouTube uploader:
'Forty students from the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance took a classical approach to the flashmob as they flashwaltzed Tchaikovsky's Waltz of the Flowers at the new Sarah Wetsman Davidson Hospital Tower in Jerusalem. Doctors, patients and passers-by joined in the fun.
The surprise concert was part of Good Deeds Day, an annual event that originated in Israel in 2007 and now takes place in over 50 countries worldwide. On this day volunteers reach out to the less fortunate and the vulnerable.
The Academy students enjoyed the day so much that they have decided to schedule regular concerts at the hospital. Hadassah Medical Organization treats over one million patients annually, without regard to race, religion or national origin.'

Sunday, 10 March 2013

"Joining In The Popular Kicking Of Israel Is Not a Sign Of Moral Courage"

" Israel is Australia's friend and ally. The Labor Party used to know this and care about it. Joining in the popular kicking of Israel is not a sign of moral courage, though it will win plaudits from the usual suspects at the UN and in conventional international relations think tanks.

But it is an immoral position that betrays fundamental political, moral and ethical values that Labor used to understand pretty well."

So writes Greg Sheridan, foreign editor of The Australian, who's long been a staunch supporter of Israel,  in his column of 9 March, which argues that the Zygier affair "brings to the fore the strange pathologies in Australian opinion concerning Israel. It also underlines how badly the Labor government has gone off course in its conception of Israel, and Israel's place in the world" and claims that former Minister for Foreign Affair Kevin Rudd and current incumbent of that post Bob Carr are responsible, along with the still baneful influence of an earlier holder of the office, Gareth Evans, and the mindset that believes,with ex-President Jimmy Carter, that
"The heart and mind of every Muslim is affected by whether or not the Israel-Palestine issue is dealt with."
Observes Sheridan:
'Last year in a cabinet revolt, Julia Gillard was overridden on a key UN vote. Australia was set to vote no to elevating the status of the Palestinian Authority to an observer state at the UN. Carr and Rudd opposed Gillard's position (though Rudd was not a player in this vote). Under the baleful influence of [then Minister for Foreign Affairs] Gareth Evans, a tremendously negative force on contemporary Labor foreign policy who offers only a bureaucratic version of conventional wisdom (and conventional wisdom is often wrong), Canberra changed its vote and abstained.
In its own terms, this was a very bad move. There will never be a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian dispute until both sides compromise over an agreement. This UN move, along with many tens of millions of dollars of increased Australian aid to the Palestinians, gives them something for nothing. It helps convince the Palestinian leadership that the way to success doesn't involve compromise and negotiation. Instead the international community will do their job for them. It is a destructive syndrome.
Then, in the Australia-UK Ministerial Meeting in January, Carr ratcheted up Australia's rhetoric on Israel. For the first time, his office briefed journalists, Canberra was describing all Israeli settlements in the West Bank as illegal. Also, we were calling on President Barack Obama to lead a new peace effort on the Israeli-Palestinian dispute.
To simply call all Israeli settlements illegal is simplistic, reductionist, almost childish. It jumbles together in one category Jewish suburbs of East Jerusalem, large settlement blocks envisaged under every serious negotiation as staying with Israel, and those settlements illegal under Israeli law. It fails to recognise that there has been no physical expansion of settlement territory since 2004, that settlements occupy less than 3 per cent of the West Bank, that any settlement territory kept by Israel will be matched by land given to a Palestinian state from Israel proper and that settlements have never before been an obstacle to negotiations. Australia's position is also wrong in international law. Jordan, which formerly controlled the territory, is not the sovereign power and UN Security Council resolutions require a negotiated outcome.
But why take this position at all, except to kick sand in the Israelis' eyes? China claims all of the South China Sea almost right up to the Philippines shore, yet Canberra maintains a strict neutrality. If Israel is a friend, why the gratuitous aggro?' [Emphasis added here and below]
Sheridan points to the current unrest in countries bordering Israel, and how that renders demands that Israel urgently seeks peae with the Palestinians unfair and unrealistic:
'At the moment, Syria does not exist as a nation ... its army has abandoned the border regions with Israel. Egypt is in terrible internal turmoil. Its army has effectively lost control of the vast Sinai area that borders Israel. No one can know what its future government will be like. And that's only the tip of the iceberg. The Palestinian leadership is murderously divided between the West Bank and Gaza. Surely it is intellectually fraudulent to imagine that any Israeli government could make a comprehensive peace in this context.
Underlying this is the cardinal doctrine of conventional wisdom among Guardian readers, UN habitues, European think tank staff and the like, and that is the implausible notion Israel is at the heart of Middle East disputes and the West's troubles with Islam....
Just because an idea is widely uttered at the UN doesn't mean it embodies any reality...."
The entire article is available here