Thursday, November 26, 2015

Breaking the Silence.Confessions of an IDF soldier

"For the last year, I have served with the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories. A military unit within the Ministry of Defense, COGAT is responsible for driving Israel’s civil policy in Judea and Samaria and towards the Gaza Strip. Our mission was simple, yet complicated: help Israel by helping the Palestinians. Improve the quality of civilian life as much as possible to create a positive dynamic of hope and progress. "

Eylon Aslan-Levy, a British-Israeli political commentator writes about his stint in COGAT for the Times of Israel

We worked with international partners to promote four new industrial estates in Judea and Samaria. We connected Rawabi to water. We signed a deal with the very generous Dutch to install a new cargo scanner at Kerem Shalom. We enabled the transfer of more than 2.5 million tons of construction materials to Gaza, virtually tripling the number of trucks entering the Strip. Just last week, we signed a deal with the PA for Palestinian cellular operators to develop 3G services. I wish I could discuss more, but alas, national security and secrecy prevent me.

Sometimes I felt like I was working for the Israeli branch of an international aid organization. But this is a real unit in the Israeli army, acting in clear accordance with the political directives of the democratically elected government. Israel knows that whatever the fire holds, it needs foundations; we worked with the PA and international community to build them.

Read it all here

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

JVP has suggestions to make family Thanksgiving just a little more awkward

The "proud to be ashamed to be Jewish" activists at Jewish Voice for Peace have published some suggestions for making your family Thanksgiving dinner just a little more uncomfortable.

Try throwing some international politics into the mix.

Bring up the conflict in the Middle east, but "don't make it a history lesson", JVP admonishes its readers.  If you do, you'll lose.

JVP, sounding even more cult-like than ever,  suggests you "validate their fears", and  "model vulnerability."

And most of all, reframe, reframe , reframe!

Fred Maroun at the Times of Israel summarizes the JVP argument with this handy flowchart

Just can't beat JVP for talking points as dry as mom's turkey, and as indigestible as Aunt Muriel's stuffing.

Black Friday False Claim "BDS is Working"

On Black Friday, local anti-Israel groups Jewish Voice for Peace and Berkeley Women in Black are organizing a vigil in the San Francisco Union Square Shopping center. Their theme "BDS is working".

Its wishful thinking, on their part.

The Israel economy continues to show exceptional growth.

Israel's Gross National Product

Israels Gross National Income
Tourism to Israel is equally unaffected by the BDS movement

Out of 3.3 million visitors in 2014, 2.5 million arrived by air (78%) About 400,000 came through the land borders (12%)  Tourism from the USA continued to represent the largest country of origin for incoming tourism to Israel, with 626,000 visitors arriving in 2014, (representing 19% of all incoming tourism), 1% more than 2013. In second place is tourism from Russia with 567,000 visitors, a decrease of 6%. Tourism from France takes third place, with about 301,000 visitors, followed by Germany (196,000) and the United Kingdom (179,000).

58% of tourists were first time visitors, and 42% returning visitors.

Since the  Boycott, Divestment and sanctions movement was introduced in Durban in 2001, the Israeli economy has grown dramatically.  Moodys continues to rate Israeli bonds A1.  In spite of  a variety of toothless student resolutions directed against Israel, not a single university has divested a penny from Israel- with many reaffirming and strengthening their relationships instead.

After nearly 15 years of BDS, Israel's reputation as the start-up nation remains unassailable. Senior representatives from leading multinational companies including AVG, Ford, GE, Tyco, GM, ProSieben,, Bloomberg, Yahoo are set to come to Tel Aviv on December 16 for the Axis Tel Aviv Corporate Edition 2015, aimed at connecting companies looking to invest in Israeli Big Data, Cloud, CyberSecurity, ICT, IOT, Mobile, and e-Commerce startups. Israeli startups had their best year ever in 2014, with exit deals totaling $15 billion, a dramatic increase from $7.6 million in 2013.  2014, 18 Israeli companies going public raised nearly $10 billion.

By any objective standards, BDS is a failed enterprise  Any claim by the anti-Israel activists converging in Union Square that "BDS in winning" is just wishful thinking on their part.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Palestinians and Jesus: A Very Jewish Voice for Peace Hanukkah

Hanukkah is coming up. Its the first war fought for religious self-determination-a  celebration of light over darkness- of right  over might.  The tiny band of Maccabees fought to achieve religious self-determination from the Greeks, who had plundered and desecrated our holy Temple. Ultimately, the Maccabees triumphed over the strongest army in the world, and our Temple was rededicated.

At its core Hanukkah represents the struggle to remain Jewish in a non-Jewish world, a struggle we still face even today.

For 8 days we light candles, to celebrate the triumph of light over darkness.

This poses a quandary for  the "proud to be ashamed to be Jewish" folk at Jewish voice for Peace.  The Syrian-Greek ruler Antiochus  took control of our land in 170 C.E.  To celebrate Hanukkah would be to acknowledge an ancient Jewish  presence in the land.  Whats an anti-Zionist to do?  

This, apparently.

From Jewish Voice for Peace

Join your favorite rad Jewish friends to celebrate liberation and maybe learn a little?

We'll light Shabbat AND Hanukkah candles, eat latkes and sufganiyot, talk about how we could reclaim the Hanukkah story for justice in Israel-Palestine. Also maybe we could talk about Jesus, another rad Jew that gets celebrated this time of year.

There you have it.  Latkes and donuts and Jesus.  A very Jewish Voice for Peace Hanukkah.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Native American Zionist Activist Ryan Bellerose will be in the SF Bay Area

For Immediate Release
Media Advisory / Interview Opportunity
Native American Zionist blogger Ryan Bellerose will be in the SF Bay Area
Available for events, meetings, interviews
Who: Ryan Bellerose, Native American Advocate for Israel
When: November-December 2015
Where: San Francisco Bay Area
Why: Ryan is an outspoken advocate for Israel, offering an indigenous perspective on the Jewish homeland and Jewish peoplehood. He confronts anti-semitism and anti-Israel bigotry with well-researched information. Ryan is working toward promoting Israel as the model for an indigenous people reclaiming their ancestral homeland and establishing a nation-state. Ryan is empowering both Jewish and North American indigenous peoples by explaining the commonality of indigenous struggles worldwide, and specifically Jewish struggles for self determination and how it applies to the global indigenous struggle.
Ryan Bellerose is a Métis from Northern Alberta. His father, Mervin Bellerose, co-authored the Métis Settlements Act of 1989, which was passed by the Alberta legislature in 1990 and cemented his land rights. Ryan founded Canadians For Accountability, a Native rights advocacy group, and he is an indigenous rights activist. He has been active in the Human rights community in Canada for several years as well as working with youth both as a volunteer and in paid positions. Some of the advocacy work he has done involved assisting to remove corrupt tribal governments and he has been heavily involved in several groups advocating for indigenous rights around the world. Ryan has worked as a drug and alcohol counsellor at a recovery centre in northern Alberta, a youth counsellor in his hometown, building ice bridges in the far north of Canada, a substitute teacher for elementary, junior and senior high schools, a heavy machine operator, pipeline worker, a Security contractor, a wildfire firefighter, a GPS/GIS consultant, and as a business analyst and account rep at a major telecom. He is an avid athlete who plays semi pro tackle football during the summer for a team that has won 9 provincial and 3 national championships in 12 years. Ryan believes that effective advocacy is the key to making tangible changes and that maintaining culture is imperative for indigenous people even while getting more education. He is also a founding member in the Calgary United with Israel (CUWI) organization. Ryan is a self-proclaimed Zionist. Ryan has had several articles published in newspapers around the world on the subject of indigenous rights and their importance and has been blogging on a wide array of websites including Indian Country Today Media Network,, Israel National News,, and has appeared in Jerusalem Post, Toronto Sun, and many more.

Some of Ryan's publications:

History Matters: 5 Myths About Israel

Israel Palestine: Who’s Indigenous?

Friday, November 20, 2015

Sheikh Raed Salah's Islamic Movement declared illegal

According to a press release issued Tuesday morning by the Israeli Prime Minister's Office, the northern branch of the Islamic Movement has been declared "an illegal organization."

From the J Post
"The practical significance of this decision is that any entity or individual belonging to the group from hereon out and any individual who grants this organization services or operates under its auspices will have violated a criminal statute and is subject to imprisonment," the government statement read...

"For years, the Islamic Movement's northern branch has been waging a campaign of deceitful incitement under the banner of 'al-Aksa is in danger,' which blames Israel by falsely accusing it of intending to harm the al-Aksa mosque and to violate the status quo there," the government statement read."

"As part of these efforts, the northern branch formed groups of activists (Murabitun and Murabatat) whose job was to ignite provocations on Temple Mount," the government said. "These activities led to a significant rise in tensions on Temple Mount. A significant portion of the attacks that have been carried out recently were committed against the backdrop of this incitement and propaganda."

The northern branch of the Islamic Movement is led by Sheikh Raed Salah, who, according to UK Media Watch has

...endorsed classic anti-Semitic conspiracy theories about 9/11, reportedly advanced the Medieval blood libel against Jews, acknowledged providing funds to Hamas, has often used his authority as leader of the Islamic Movment’s Northern division to incite thousands of his followers to riot (and begin a Third Intifada) under the pretense that the Al-Aksa was in danger of being destroyed by Israeli authorities. 
And, as an interview in 2003 made clear, Salah’s views on the rights of women and gays (and the virtues of Jihad) represents a classic example of his religiously inspired extremism. 
More broadly, The Islamic Movement, which he leads, has clear goals of indoctrinating Israeli Arabs with his Islamist ideology (an effort the Movement calls da’wa).
In short, Raed Salah is an Islamic extremist  – and an unrepentant antisemite, misogynist and homophobe – who associates with terrorist movements and encourages his followers to engage in violence.
Elder of Ziyon has visited Raed Saleh's Facebook page and confirms these observations, noting that Saleh
...celebrated the murder of Jews praying a year ago with the Koranic quote "'How terrible will be the mourning of those who were warned'" - The heroic operation of Jerusalem 2014/11/18"
The smiley face is a nice touch
The Elder has more information on Saleh here
Although Sheikh Raed Salah celebrates and incites the murder of Jews, Bay Area member of Jewish Voice for Peace Hassan Fouda fawns all over him, proving again that JVP is neither Jewish, nor for peace
JVP member Hassan Fouda and Raed Saleh

Thursday, November 19, 2015

The 68 Congressional Representatives who refused to repudiate incitement

Palestinian incitement and glorification of violence is a huge obstacle to peaceful co-existence.
The Palestinian government, media and educational system are all complicit.

Recognizing this, earlier this month, 369 Members of Congress sent a letter to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, stating

“Now is the time for the Palestinian Authority to take concrete steps to avoid further violence.  This starts with a sustained effort to publicly and officially repudiate these attacks, ending the unacceptable incitement to violence emanating from Palestinian Authority officials and institutions, continuing important security cooperation with Israel and agreeing to unconditionally renew direct talks with the Israelis.”

The 68 Representatives (listed below), however, did not sign. If your Representative did not sign this letter,  please call the Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121, ask to be transferred to your Representative,and express your disappointment.

For your reference, the names in red were endorsed by J street

Rep.Justin Amash MI03
Rep. Joe Barton TX06
Rep. Xavier Becerra CA34
Rep. Earl Blumenauer OR03
Rep. Madeleine Z. Bordallo GU00
Rep. Michael C.Burgess TX26
Rep. G. K.Butterfield NC01
Rep. Lois Capps CA24
Rep. Michael E.Capuano MA07
Rep. André Carson IN07
Rep. James E. Clyburn SC06
Rep. John Conyers Jr. MI13
Rep. Danny K. Davis IL07
Rep. Peter A. DeFazio OR04
Rep. Mark DeSaulnier CA11
Rep. Debbie Dingell MI12
Rep. Lloyd Doggett TX35
Rep. John J. Duncan Jr. TN02
Rep.  Donna F. Edwards MD04
Rep. Keith Ellison MN05
Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva AZ03
Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez IL04
Rep. Cresent Hardy NV04
Rep. Joseph J. Heck NV03
Rep. Rubén Hinojosa TX15
Rep. Michael M. Honda CA17
Rep. Tim Huelskamp KS01
Rep. Jared Huffman CA02
Rep. Will Hurd TX23
Rep. Henry C. “Hank”Johnson Jr. GA04
Rep  Eddie Bernice Johnson TX30
Rep. Walter B. Jones NC03
Rep. Steve King IA04
Rep. Barbara Lee CA13
Rep. John Lewis GA05
Rep. Frank D. Lucas OK03
Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer MO03
Rep. Stephen  F. Lynch MA08
Rep. Thomas Massie KY04
Rep. Betty McCollum MN04
Rep. Jim McDermott WA07
Rep.  Luke Messer IN06
Rep.  Gwen Moore WI04
Rep.  Richard M. Nolan MN08
Rep.  Richard B. Nugent FL11
Rep.  Beto O'Rourke TX16
Rep.  Donald M. Payne Jr. NJ10
Rep.  Pedro R. Pierluisi PR00
Rep.  Chellie Pingree ME01
Rep.  Stacey E. Plaskett VI00
Rep.  Mark Pocan WI02
Rep.  David E. Price NC04
Rep.  Amata Coleman Radewagen AS00
Rep.  Bobby L. Rush IL01
Rep. Gregorio Sablan MP-At Large
Rep.  F. James Sensenbrenner Jr. WI05
Rep.  John Shimkus IL15
Rep.  Louise McIntosh Slaughter NY25
Rep.  Jackie Speier CA14
Rep.  MikeThompson CA05
Rep.  Bennie G.Thompson MS02
Rep.  Peter J.Visclosky IN01
Rep.  Timothy J. Walz MN01
Rep.  MaxineWaters CA43
Rep.  Peter Welch VT00
Rep.  Ed Whitfield KY01
Rep.  John A.Yarmuth KY03
Rep.  David Young IA03

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Restaurants on the Rise in Gaza

More dispatches from Ghetto Gaza, the world's largest open air concentration camp. In spite of the homeless, poverty and despair we keep hearing about, since the beginning of 2015, 195 new restaurants have been licensed in Gaza. There are 73 additional restaurants still in the pipeline.

From Al-Monitor "Restaurants on the Rise in Gaza"

Al-Monitor noticed, during a tour of various restaurants in Gaza City, how they have reached a professional level of customer service. Rizk al-Helou, the director of the Department of Tourism at the Palestinian Ministry of Tourism, told Al-Monitor in this regard, “When foreigners visit the Gaza Strip, they are surprised by the modern and sophisticated entertainment venues, restaurants and cafes, and by the service provided to customers. There are many success stories and it is considered a great breakthrough in this industry.”

 Here's a glimpse at culinary Gaza.

The restaurant at Gaza's Blue Beach Resort, opened in the summer of 2015 has an extensive menu.
The Almat'haf Hotel & Cultural House in Gaza is known for its lavish buffets.  Where are these critical shortages  Chris Gunness keeps mentioning?

Nothing says "humanitarian crisis" like an "all you can eat buffet"

Gaza's Italian Crust restaurant features a wood burning pizza oven.  Tastes like...oppression

Date night in Gaza? Consider desert at the Bellini Gelato Lounge

How do they keep all that ice cream  from melting without electricity? Must be...magic.

"Modern and sophisticated entertainment venues, restaurants and cafes": Thats the Gaza you'll never see on the mainstream media


Vile antisemitism at UC Santa Cruz

For all JVP's rhetoric about not conflating Judaism with Zionism, I don't see them running to defend this student.

Via StandWithUs

Alarming antisemitism on campus as a UC Santa Cruz Stevenson College Elected Representative, Daniel, was asked to "abstain" from voting on a BDS resolution because he is President of the Jewish Student Union and was "elected with a Jewish agenda." The original message is in the photo.
We call on the UC system to immediately take action against the unacceptable antisemitism running rampant on California college campuses.
Here is Daniel's statement:
"About two days ago, I received a Facebook message from someone I won't name, instructing me to abstain from the vote about the divestment issue because I am the Vice President of the Jewish Student Union. Furthermore, I was told that members from the Stevenson College Council were concerned that I would be biased because I was elected with a "Jewish agenda," as if my involvement in and passion for the wellbeing of the Jewish community, MY COMMUNITY, is something that I should be ashamed of, and something that will hold me back from representing my constituents fairly in the greater student assembly.
The implication that I, as a Jewish student and leader in the Jewish community, should not be allowed to vote on an issue that so deeply impacts the Jewish community, and that I should abstain because I cannot be trusted due to an alleged, “Jewish agenda,” echoes the racism Jews have faced all over the world throughout our history. I wish that me being subjected to anti-Semitism was a shocking new occurrence. But the truth is that I’m not shocked. I’m not shocked because this hatred and ignorance has followed me everywhere. I'm not shocked because Jewish students have been targeted with this vile racism all over the UC system for years, and especially since BDS became a major issue of discussion. Anti-Semitism today may not be the same as it was in the 1930s. But it has clearly evolved to become an inseparable part of campus politics right here at UC Santa Cruz and across the UC system.
This was evident when Rachel Beyda, at UCLA, was denied a position on the Judicial board because of her identity as a Jew, it was evident when my fellow AEPi brothers had swastikas painted on their house in Davis, and now I have had a firsthand experience that this volatile bile of racism is evident at UCSC.
The only "Jewish Agenda" I care about is keeping my community safe and making it so we can coexist peacefully among the other 15,000 students on our campus. I want my community to have a normal learning environment, free from hate speech and harassment, where we can enjoy college without being discriminated against. If people here see that as a legitimate reason to distrust me, to stop me from voting my conscience on issues that matter to the Jewish community, or even to remove me from positions of leadership, then so be it. But they should know that they will never silence me, and they will never stop my community from fighting for the rights and protections that we deserve on this campus.
I am calling on the leadership at UC Santa Cruz, from the student level on up to start taking concrete action to get the anti-Semitism at this campus under control. Student governments at UCLA, UCSB, and Berkeley addressed this issue last year, and the UC Regents are addressing it now. If we stand idly by in the face of this racism, we are sending a clear message that Jewish students cannot expect to be treated with a basic level of fairness and respect at this university. It’s time for the student leadership and the administration here to make a decision: are we going to ensure the fair and equal treatment of all students on this campus, or not? For the sake of future generations of Jewish students here, for the sake of the Jewish community as a whole, and for the sake of everyone on this campus, I hope that we make the right decision."

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

What Islamophobia? Most Religious Hate crimes in America directed towards Jews

The FBI's latest report on Hate Crimes in America is out.  Of crimes associated with a religious bias, nearly 57% were directed towards Jews.  
Of the 1,140 victims of anti-religious hate crimes:
  • 56.8 percent were victims of crimes motivated by their offenders’ anti-Jewish bias.
  • 16.1 percent were victims of anti-Islamic (Muslim) bias.
  • 6.2 percent were victims of bias against groups of individuals of varying religions (anti-multiple religions, group).
  • 6.1 percent were victims of anti-Catholic bias.
  • 2.5 percent were victims of anti-Protestant bias.
  • 1.2 percent were victims of anti-Atheist/Agnostic bias.
  • 11.0 percent were victims of bias against other religions (anti-other religion). 
Read the entire report  for 2014 here

Monday, November 16, 2015

OMG! Jews in Montana

You might have heard about the El Al jet forced to make an emergency landing in Montana, but you may not have heard the whole story.

Engine trouble forced the Boeing 777,  El Al flight 5 on its way from Tel Aviv to Los Angeles to make an emergency stop in Billings Montana 6 a.m. on Sunday morning.

The 300 passengers were stranded for hours, awaiting a new plane, flying in from New Jersey.

Word traveled fast among the 1300 member Jewish community of Montana, and they mobilized to help

From Chabad:
Hillel Fuld of Beit Shemesh, Israel, says that somehow, Rabbi Chaim and Chavie Bruk—co-directors of Chabad-Lubavitch of Montana in Bozeman—got news of the situation and set about immediately to offer assistance. With her three young children in tow, Chavie Bruk drove a car full of kosher food 150 miles to Billings Logan International Airport, where passengers had been waiting for nearly 10 hours.
“She showed up and instantly put a smile on hundreds of faces. She did it with utter grace and never stopped smiling for a second,” says Fuld, 37, who works in technology. “Based on the constant smile on her face, she is happier to be here than we are to have her here. It was a tremendous kiddush Hashem—amazing and inspiring!”
Fuld, who is traveling with his wife and 11-year-old son to Los Angeles, enjoyed kosher bagels, cold cuts, chips and cake. Heaps of hummus, fresh fruit and other goods were also available.
The well fed passengers finally made it to Los Angeles by 4:45.

Kol yisrael arevim zeh bazeh. All of Israel is responsible for one another. 

Thank you, Billings for the hamish welcome.

Israel thwarts attempt to Smuggle Rocket fuel into Gaza

Yesterday 740 trucks delivered 26,067 tons of goods to ‪‎Gaza‬.  Last week, 132,405 tons of goods in 3,870 trucks entered ‪‎Gaza‬.  Terrorists  have repeatedly attempted to take advantage of this flow of aid. Today terrorists have been intercepted smuggling rocket fuel into Gaza in containers labeled "soybean oil"

From the Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT)

Hamas makes another cynical attempt to exploit the entry of food for Gaza residents, trying to smuggle chemical materials for rocket fuel under the guise of “soybean oil”.
A joint operation between the David Unit of the Civil Administration and the Crossings Authority of the Ministry of Defense foiled an attempted smuggling of chemicals used for rocket manufacturing. Heading for Gaza, a Palestinian truck arrived at the Tarkumya crossing to transfer "soybean oil" from Hebron. The substance was sent for laboratory tests after arousing the suspicion of security guards and the David Unit inspectors. These further examinations revealed that the trucks contained a substance called TDI, which is a key component for rocket fuel used by Gaza-based terrorist organizations such as Hamas and the Islamic Jihad. The 450 liters of material were seized, and the individuals were brought in for questioning.
The David Unit of the Civil Administration works to prevent smuggling of all contrabands and pollutants, having confiscated around 280 trucks with life-threatening materials and substances since its 2014 foundation.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Luxury Alongside Poverty in the Palestinian Authority

A new  photographic essay from the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs  profiles life in the Palestinian authority. Photos of luxury as well as  poverty are juxtapositioned with facts about the new reality on the ground- facts that many Westerns are not aware of.

Since the establishment of Palestinian self-rule in the West Bank and Gaza in the mid-1990s, the U.S. government has committed approximately $5 billion in bilateral assistance to the Palestinians, who are among the world’s largest per capita recipients of international foreign aid.

Overall, Palestinians receive approximately $2 billion in aid each year.

Palestinian economic analysts estimate that the PA has received a total of $25 billion in financial aid during the past two decades

The CIA World Factbook reported the poverty rate in the West Bank as 18% in 2011,20 in contrast to Israel’s poverty rate in 2012 of 21%.

In 2015, life expectancy in the West Bank was 76 years.  This was notably higher than the life expectancy in Arab states of 71 years (in 2012), and the average life expectancy around the world of 70 years.

In 2015, the infant mortality rate in the West Bank and Gaza was 13 per 1,000 live births,24 compared with 27 per 1,000 live births in the Arab states in 2013 and 36.58 per 1,000 live births in the world in 2014.

According to the 2012 Happy Planet Index – a survey conducted by the New Economics Forum to measure happiness around the world – the Palestinian Authority was the third happiest Arab country and the 30th happiest in the world, making the PA happier than many developed countries like the U.S., UK, Sweden, Australia and Canada.

From the essay-  unexpected photos from the West bank

The Nablus Mall

The Tuqan Building in Nablus

Sky Land Park in Ramallah

The Caesar Hotel, Ramallah

                                                 Jawwal cell phone company in el-Bireh

Read it all here