Saturday, December 31, 2011

Ancient Jewish Scrolls discovered in Afghanistan cave

Ancient Jewish scrolls were discovered in a cave in Afghanistan’s Samangan province. This region is on the Silk Road, a trade route that connected Eastern Asia with the Middle East and Europe. The scrolls were part of a geniza, and may be up to 1,000 years old. A geniza, Hebrew for "hiding place," is a depository for sacred Hebrew books that are no longer usable. These depositories are often found in the attics and basements of synagogue.

from the Jpost:

Haggai Ben-Shammai, Professor Emeritus of Arabic Language and Literature at Hebrew University was quoted as saying. “In all, in my opinion, there are about 150 fragments. It may be the tip of the iceberg.”

One scroll, whose replica was shown to the cameras, is apparently a dirge written for an important person whose identity has not been determined.

“Where has he gone?” read the text. ”His family members are now alone.”

Besides the song of mourning other texts said to be found include an unknown history of the ancient kingdom of Judea, passages from the book of Isaiah and some of the works of Rabbi Saadia Gaon, a medieval sage.

This discovery may rival in significance, the discovery of the Cairo Geniza in 1896. The Cairo Geniza was located in the Ezra Synagogue built in 882 in Fostat

Cast Lead had the lowest ratio of civilian to combatant deaths in any asymmetric conflict in the history of warfare.

Very Important information from New Statesman

From an article by Jonathan Sacerdoti

Cast Lead- the Israeli incursion into Gaza following thousands of rocket attacks directed towards Israel's civilian population had the lowest ratio of civilian to combatant deaths in any asymmetric conflict in the history of warfare

"In 2006, following the Israeli disengagement and pullout from the Gaza Strip, there was an increase of 436 per cent in the number of Palestinian rockets launched towards Israel from that very territory. For some time, Israel resisted a large-scale military response to such acts deliberately aimed at civilians. As a result, the attacks got worse, and every country, including Israel, has the moral responsibility to defend its people from such actions.

Increased Palestinian terror attacks from Gaza were the cause of Operation Cast Lead. Yet Israel's is a conscript army. Indeed Israel goes to extraordinary lengths to protect its young soldiers (witness the efforts make to secure the release of the kidnap victim Gilad Shalit), and does not send them to war easily.

In the three years since the operation, there has been an unprecedented 72 per cent decline in the number of rockets launched from Hamas-controlled Gaza. No surprise, then, that Israel's Defence Forces Chief of Staff should call the operation "an excellent operation that achieved deterrence for Israel vis-a-vis Hamas". (However, that deterrence is still not enough to have prevented Palestinians from launching 1,571 rockets since the operation, including one attack with an anti-tank missile on a clearly identifiable Israeli school bus.)

Just as Israel's erection of a security fence to prevent homicide bombers from infiltrating Jerusalem saw a bigger than 90 per cent reduction in such attacks, Operation Cast Lead was undeniably effective in reducing terror attacks from the Gaza strip. The numbers speak for themselves.

Colonel Richard Kemp, former commander of British troops in Afghanistan, has repeatedly commented that, "during its operation in Gaza, the Israeli Defence Forces did more to safeguard the rights of civilians in a combat zone than any other army in the history of warfare." Furthermore, he points out that the steps taken in that conflict by the Israeli Defence Forces to avoid civilian deaths are shown by a study published by the United Nations to have resulted in, by far, the lowest ratio of civilian to combatant deaths in any asymmetric conflict in the history of warfare.

Kemp explains that by UN estimates, the average ratio of civilian to combatant deaths in such conflicts worldwide is 3:1 -- three civilians for every combatant killed. That is the estimated ratio in Afghanistan. But in Iraq, and in Kosovo, it was worse: the ratio is believed to have been 4:1. Anecdotal evidence suggests the ratios were very much higher in Chechnya and Serbia. In Gaza, it was less than one-to-one."

This policy of minimizing civilian casualties has continued, in the 3 years following Cast Lead.

Sacerdoti continues:

"Since the 22-day Gaza operation, Israel has also been demonstrably fastidious in its efforts to protect civilian lives while targeting combatants. The Israel correspondent for Jane's Defence Weekly sites Israel's record this year, saying "the IDF killed 100 Gazans in 2011. Nine were civilians. That is a civilian-combatant ratio of nearly 1:10."

Friday, December 30, 2011

On Poetic truths and Narratives: The Narrative of Perpetual Palestinian Victimhood

"The idea among Palestinians that they are victims means more to them than anything else. It is everything. It is the centerpiece of their very identity and it is the way they define themselves as human beings in the world. It is not an idle thing."

From an article by Shelby Steele, excerpted from a speech delivered September 22, 2011 in New York City at the conference "The Perils of Global Intolerance: The UN and Durban III," sponsored by the Touro Institute on Human Rights and the Holocaust and the Hudson Institute.

Read it here:

The following is The Arab-Israeli conflict, is not really a conflict, it is a war – a war of the Arabs against the Jews. In many ways, this conflict has been a conflict between narratives. We who strongly support Israel have done a poor job in formulating a narrative which will combat the story spun by the other side. We can do better.

The Durban conferences, the request for UN recognition of a unilateral declaration of Palestinian statehood, and the general animus in the Middle East and elsewhere toward Israel and toward the Jews, what are they really about? Is the Durban conference and the claim that Israel is a racist nation really about reforming the people of Israel and curing them of their racism?

I think their real interest is to situate the Palestinian people within a narrative of victimization. This is their ulterior goal: to see themselves and to have others see them as victims of colonialism, as victims of white supremacy.

Listen to their language; it is the language of colonial oppression. Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas claims that Palestinians have been occupied for 63 years. The word oppressed is constant, exploited. In this, there is a poetic truth; like poetic license, in a poetic truth a writer will bend the rules in order to be more effective.

I will give you one example of a poetic truth that comes from my group, black Americans. We make the following claims: America is a deeply, intractably racist society. It may not be as conspicuous today as it was before. Nevertheless, it is still there today structurally and systemically, and it still holds us back and keeps us from achieving the American dream.

To contradict this claim, one can come forward with evidence to suggest that racism in America today is about 25th on the list of problems facing black Americans. One can recount one of the great untold stories of America, namely, the moral growth and evolution away from that problem. This is not to say that racism is completely extinguished, but that it no longer prevents the forward progress of any black in the United States. There is no evidence to suggest that it does. Yet, this claim is still the centerpiece of black American identity – this idea that we are victimized by a fundamentally, incurably racist society.

Poetic truths like that are marvelous because no facts and no reason can ever penetrate. Supporters of Israel are up against a poetic truth. We keep hitting it with all the facts. We keep hitting it with obvious logic and reason. And we are so obvious and conspicuously right that we assume it is going to have an impact and it never does.

Why not? These narratives, these poetic truths, are the source of their power. Focusing on the case of the Palestinians, who would they be if they were not victims of white supremacy? They would just be poor people in the Middle East. They would be backwards. They would be behind Israel in every way. So this narrative is the source of their power. It is the source of their money. Money comes from around the world. It is the source of their self-esteem. Without it, would they be able to compete with Israeli society....?

The question is, how do they get away with a poetic truth, based on such an obvious series of falsehoods? One reason why they get away with it in the Middle East is that the Western world lacks the moral authority to call them on it. The Western world has not said "your real problem is inferiority. Your real problem is underdevelopment." That has not been said, nor will ever be said – because the Western world was once colonial, was once racist, did practice white supremacy, and is so ashamed of itself and so vulnerable to those charges, that they are not going to say a word. They are not going to say what they really think and feel about what is so obvious about the circumstances among the Palestinians. So the poetic truth that Palestinians live by carries on.

International media also do not feel that they have the moral authority to report what they see. On the contrary, they feed this poetic truth and give it a kind of gravitas that it would never otherwise have.

Consequently, we need to develop a narrative that is not poetic, but literal and that is based on the truth. What would such a narrative look like?

It would begin with the presumption that the problem in the Middle East is not white supremacy but the end of white supremacy. After World War II, the empires began to contract, Britain went home, France went home, and the Arab world was left almost abandoned, and in a state of much greater freedom than they had ever known before.

Freedom is, however, a dicey thing to experience. When you come into freedom, you see yourself more accurately in the world. This is not unique to the Middle East. It was also the black American experience, when the Civil Rights bill was passed in 1964 and we came into much greater freedom. If you were a janitor in 1963 and you are still a janitor in 1965, you have all these freedoms and they are supported by the rule of law, then your actual experience of freedom is one of humiliation and one of shame. You see how far you have to go, how far behind you are, how little social capital you have with which to struggle forward. Even in freedom you see you are likely to be behind for a long time. In light of your inability to compete and your underdevelopment, freedom becomes something that you are very likely going to hate – because it carries this humiliation.

At that point formerly oppressed groups develop what I call bad faith. Bad faith is when you come into freedom, you are humiliated and you say, "Well you know the real truth is I am not free. Racism still exists. Zionism is my problem. The State of Israel is my problem. That is why I am so far behind and that is why I cannot get ahead."

You develop a culture grounded in bad faith where you insist that you are less free than you really are. Islamic extremism is the stunning example of this phenomenon. "I have to go on jihad because I am fighting for my freedom." Well you already have your freedom. You could stay home and study. You could do something constructive. But "No, I cannot do that because that makes me feel bad about myself." So I live in a world of extremism and dictators.

This is not unique to the Middle East. In black America we had exactly the same thing. After we got the civil rights bill and this greater degree of freedom, then all of a sudden we hear the words "black power." Then all of a sudden we have the Black Panthers. Then we have this militancy, this picking up of the gun because we feel bad about ourselves. We feel uncompetitive and this becomes our compensation. It is a common pattern among groups that felt abandoned when they became free.

This is the real story of the Palestinians and of the Middle East. They will never be reached by reason until they are somehow able to get beyond bad faith, to get beyond this sort of poetic truth that they are the perennial victims of an aggressive and racist Israeli nation.

Challenging their narrative with this explanation will enable us to be more effective. Until now, we have constantly used facts and reason and have not progressed....

The irony and the tragedy of all this is that it keeps these groups in a bubble where they never encounter or deal with the truth. This becomes a second oppression for all these groups. They have been oppressed once, now they are free and yet they create a poetic truth that then oppresses them all over again.

Read it all:

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Bulldozing Jewish History


Cross-posted at Israel Thrives

Our friend Giulio Meotti has some words:

Threatened by Arab countries, Israeli authorities just closed the Mughabri Bridge, preventing Jews and Christians from entering Temple Mount. Historically it should be noted that only under Israeli rule was the site open for everyone, Muslims, Christians and Jews. The Waqf is now attempting to deliberately destroy all archaeological evidence of Jewish claims to this site, while using terror and intimidation to impose its exclusive claim to Temple Mount.

The Waqf has removed every sign of ancient Jewish presence at the site. At the entrance, a Waqf sign says “The Al-Aqsa Mosque courtyard and everything in it is Islamic property.” Today Jews are barred from praying on the Mount and are not even allowed to carry any holy articles with them. With Muslim observers supervising visits, Israeli police have frequently arrested Jews for various violations, such as singing or reciting a prayer even in a whisper.

This week, a Jewish woman was arrested following claims by police and Waqf officials that they noticed she was praying on Temple Mount. Why is it a crime for a Jew to mention God’s name on Temple Mount? And why is the State of Israel complicit in enforcing this anti-Semitic rule?

European autocrats and the global media are also trying to downplay the Jewish connection to the site. Jewish archeologist Gabi Barkai stated that “it’s a lie more terrible than the denial of the Holocaust, yet connected to it.” UN and EU funded textbooks in the Palestinian areas all repeat the canard denying any Jewish legitimacy in the “Noble Sanctuary.”

The World Council of Churches, the largest umbrella for the Protestant Churches, in its “Promised Land” conference in Switzerland denied any Jewish connection with the Mount. Recently, Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, head of the Vatican’s Council for Interreligious Dialogue, just asked to place some Israeli holy places around Temple Mount under Vatican or international authority...

Meanwhile, US President Barack Obama’s plan also designates the Old City as an “international zone.”

Is commentary even necessary?

Today we're off to Haifa.


Richard Silverstein exposed by Israellycool's Aussie Dave

Someone, buy this man a beer for me.

Israellycool's Aussie Dave lay a trap for Blogger Richard Silverstein, in an effort to expose him as the shoddy and unscrupulous person that he is. And Silverstein fell for it, big time.

From Israellycool:

"For years, I have been posting about his hatred for Israel and nastiness, which makes a mockery of his blog’s name Tikkun Olam (“Repairing/Healing the World”). Recently, he was cited by the mainstream media, due to his posts blaming Israel and the Mossad for explosions in Iran and Lebanon, as well as for leaking online some FBI surveillance transcripts of conversations caught on F.B.I. wiretaps of the Israeli Embassy in Washington. Although I have demonstrated on numerous occasions the inaccuracies in his posts, I knew I had to step things up a notch to really show how unreliable and careless with the facts he is.

So I set a trap."

Did he ever.

In one fell swoop, Dave exposed the truth about Richard Silverstein:

From Dave:
So to summarize what we have here:

Despite claiming to want to “repair the world”, Silverstein reveals what he thinks is my name and address, potentially placing my safety and the safety of my family at risk
Silverstein posts this on the basis of an anonymous source he knows nothing about, and a Facebook Profile with my URL and one friend!
Silverstein does not recognize the photo of someone heavily in the news in Israel, despite his claims about being knowledgable about goings on there
Silverstein invents facts based on nothing more than speculation, despite being presented with a more realistic alternative interpretation
Silverstein lies about me publishing his personal details

But please, read the whole sordid tale at Israellycool


Oh, Yitz. I really did read your blog post on the mitzvah of the rebuke.

"It is called tokhachah (תוכחה) and comes from the Torah in Vayikra (Leviticus) 19:17 as both an expression of mutual concern and responsibility. The mitzvah calls upon every Jew to assist one another with constructive criticism based on love. Specifically, it states:

לא-תִשְׂנָא אֶת-אָחִיךָ, בִּלְבָבֶךָ; הוֹכֵחַ תּוֹכִיחַ אֶת-עֲמִיתֶךָ, וְלא-תִשָּׂא עָלָיו חֵטְא
Hate not your brother (sister) in your heart; you shall surely rebuke your neighbor and not bear sin (because of him/her)."

I understand, and it really is a virtue to aspire to. Yet I can't help but think that an exception should be made for the likes of Richard Silverstein.

US: $500 Million in aid for the Palestinians in 2012

From the AP Newswire:

Members of Congress have made available $40 million in economic and humanitarian funding for the Palestinians, the State Department said Wednesday. The money is administered by the U.S. Agency for International Development and "has been vital to establishing and strengthening the foundations necessary for a future Palestinian state," the department said. It amounts to 20 percent of $187 million in U.S. assistance to the Palestinians that had been frozen over the Palestinian bid for U.N. membership.

The Obama administration had been urging lawmakers, with Israel's backing, to release the money as it contributes to Palestinian stability and Israeli security. "It is in the interest of the Palestinians, Israel and the United States, to ensure these efforts continue," State Department spokesman Mark Toner said. "They help to build a more democratic, stable, and secure region."

The administration is pressing Congress to release the remaining $147 million that comes from the last budget cycle in which aid to the Palestinians was to total 545.7 million. New funding for the Palestinians will be subject to additional scrutiny and can be blocked if they win full admission to the United Nations before a peace deal with Israel is agreed.

The administration has asked Congress for $513.4 million in aid for the Palestinians in fiscal year 2012.

New Flotillas promised

In spite of the lowest unemployment rate in a decade , and in spite of economic growth of 31 %, new flotillas are being planned for Gaza.

This time they aren't even pretending its about delivering aid, though.

Italian anti-Israel activist Germano Monti of "Freedom Flotilla - Italy," announced to Palestine Today the intention of resuming flotillas in an attempt to puncture the UN sanctioned maritime blockade of Gaza . Different ships will sail from different ports at irregular intervals, in an effort to stymie Israeli security precautions.

The planned launch, said Monti will include ten groups of passengers and cargo ships. The final plan will be developed in the meeting of the International Coalition for the Freedom Flotilla, which will soon be held in Stockholm, Sweden. The flotillas will be coordinated with other assaults on Israel's borders- including another Flytilla scheduled for the spring, and the Global March on Jerusalem

No, its not about humanitarian aid. It never was.

Gaza’s economy in the second quarter of 2011

*Gaza’s construction sector grew by 4,500 workers
*The GDP in Gaza reached 426 million dollars, an increase of 30.7% compared to the same time period the previous year

The latest developments in Gaza
*In the first nine months of 2011, 4,497 truckloads (on average) entered Gaza on a monthly basis; an increase of 96% compared to last year
*Gaza residents were permitted to export textiles, furniture and agricultural goods
*Approved permits for upgrading six hospitals and constructing seven new clinicals
*Approval of plans to rehabilitate and build 57 new schools and kindergartens
*One-hundred Gaza business men cross daily into Israel, as well as participants in conventions and conferences held outside of Gaza
*Thousands of Palestinians cross the border to receive Israeli medical care

And in spite of this, rockets and mortars continue to rain down on Israeli civilians. Over one million Israeli civilians remain at risk. According to The Israel Project’s count, terrorists fired 653 rockets at Israel this year as of December 29, compared with 238 in 2010.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Act locally. Think Globally. Third Anniversary of Operation Cast Lead

This week marks the third anniversary of Operation Cast Lead. In response to rocket fire directed at her civilian areas, the Israeli air force began wide-scale attacks against Hamas targets. Hamas headquarters, smuggling tunnels, rocket factories were destroyed. Over 700 Hamas fighters were killed. The ojectives of Cast Lead were:

* To stop the bombardment of Israeli civilians by destroying Hamas' mortar and rocket launching apparatus and infrastructure.

* To reduce the ability of Hamas and other terrorist organizations in Gaza to perpetrate future attacks against the civilian population in Israel.

All throughout Operation Cast Lead, humanitarian aid continued flowing to Gaza, from Israel.

In the San Francisco Bay area, the weeks were marked by protests, organized by the usual groups. This clip, originally broadcast on the KTVU website, shows an enraged crowd of hundreds of Palestinian "peace" activists attempting to crash through police barricades to attack a handful of pro-Israel activists. Yes, this near lynching took place in America.

This edited version appeared on the Zombietime website

Arab Spring Drying up. Muslim Brotherhood "We'll ban alcohol"

"Democracy" in Egypt is looking a bit dry.

From the Egypt Independent

“We'll prohibit alcohol,” said Sobhi Saleh, a leading figure of the Muslim Brotherhood at a Tuesday rally in New Valley, an area west of Cairo.

“Tourism does not mean nudity and drunkenness,” he added. “We Egyptians are the greatest religious people, and we don’t need that.”

Saleh also said the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party will apply Islamic Sharia law. “It was planned since 1928,” he said. “But Islam is the solution.”

He accused Mubarak regime remnants of inciting violence on Mohamed Mahmoud Street and in front of the cabinet building.

His colleague, Khaled Ouda, said they want to damage the economy. “They want the people to blame us when we find no money to pay wages when we come to power,” he claimed.

Libyan Commando Mahdi al-Haratia : a Mavi Marmara "peace activist" ?

According to the Spanish daily ABC, Mahdi al-Haratia, a Libyan rebel commander who played a key role in overthrowing the rule of Muammar Qaddafi participated in the May 2010 Gaza flotilla aboard the Turkish-owned vessel the Mavi Marmara. "Peace activists" aboard the Mavi Maramara ambushed and attacked Israeli soldiers, beating them with clubs, and throwing them off overboard. The Mavi Marmara incident left 8 dead.

From John Rosenthal at the National Review

"The paper’s source for the story is the rebel leader himself: Mahdi al-Haratia, the commander of the so-called Tripoli Brigades, which are widely credited with having played a decisive role in the rebel conquest of the Libyan capital in August. After the seizure of Tripoli, al-Harati was named second-in-command to Abdul-Hakim Belhadj, the head of the newly formed Tripoli Military Council. Belhadj is the historical leader of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), the Libyan affiliate of al-Qaeda.

According to his December 17 article, ABC correspondent Daniel Iriarte unexpectedly ran into al-Harati and two other Libyan associates of Belhadj in Syria, where the Spanish journalist was working on a story on the “Free Syrian Army,” the recently formed rebel force that aims to overthrow Syrian president Bashar al-Assad. The Libyans made no attempt to hide their identities, Iriarte reports, explaining to him that that they were in Syria “in order to evaluate the needs of our Syrian revolutionary brothers.” Altogether “a few dozen” Libyans were in Syria to support the anti-Assad insurgents, they said.

Prior to the Libyan rebellion against Qaddafi, al-Harati was living in exile in Ireland. He is reported to have returned to Libya in February, at the very outset of the uprising. On his own account, barely eight months earlier he participated in the “Free Gaza” flotilla aboard the Mavi Marmara. “I was wounded on the Mavi Marmara and spent nine days in an Israeli prison,” he told Iriarte"

Israel Divestment Campaign: Another Epic fail

On December 12th, members of the Israel Divestment Campaign submitted a divestment petition to the California Public Employees Retirement System. Of the 1.6 million members of CalPers, only 837 signed the petition.

The numbers were equally bleak for CalStrs. Only 545 out of the 852,316 Californians with their pension funds invested in CalStrs signed the petion. Its yet another epic fail for the California Divestment Campaign, which earlier this year had failed to get the even minimum number of signitures to have their divestment initiative placed on the California ballot.

Israel Divestment Campaign- Kiss my BDS.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Ali Abunimah's Twitter Tirade following U of Penn's BDS rejection

Our story so far:
The University of Pennsylvannia has issued a formal statement distancing itself from the BDS conference scheduled to be held on its campus the first week in February.
In a press release, issued by StandWithUs, conference participant Ali Abunimah from the Electronic Intifada is quoted as saying “Ending the occupation does not solve the problem. The Jews do not view all human beings as equal. The 1948 borders were calculated to harm Christians, Arabs, Palestinians and Muslims.” (Chicago Sabeel Conference, October 7, 2005)."
In a very public Twitter tantrum, Ali takes offense at this quote. Is he retracting his lies? Its hard to tell.

From StandWithUs:
December 24, 2011

Ali Abunimah has denied he ever made the 2005 statement we attributed to him in our recent release about the extremism of speakers scheduled for the upcoming national BDS conference at the University of Pennsylvania in February, 2012. It is unclear which part of the statement he is retracting.

Members of a few organizations, including StandWithUs, the American Jewish Congress, the David Project and others attended the 2005 Sabeel event in Chicago, heard Abunimah’s talk and some took notes on the presentations. Three quarters of the time, the speakers told the audience stories about why they should despise Israel, and in the remaining time, encouraged them to initiate divestment campaigns in their churches. There was another speaker, George Rishmawi, who even told participants that the Israelis have a new gas that slows down the muscles of the Palestinians. These speakers did not support the Jewish and Palestinian national movements. Rather, they opposed the very existence of the Jewish state and wanted to contribute to its destruction through false accusations that lead to campaigns like BDS.

If Mr. Abunimah is retracting the statement attributed to him by those who attended the Sabeel conference in 2005, we welcome his recognition that his remarks are unacceptable and categorize him as an extremist. According to those who attended the Sabeel event, Abunimah is quoted as having said:

“Ending the occupation does not solve the problem. The Jews do not view all human beings as equal. The 1948 borders were calculated to harm Christians, Arabs, Palestinians and Muslims.” (Chicago Sabeel Conference, October 7, 2005).

We would like him to explain how the statement we quoted differs from what he actually said at the time, or why he no longer subscribes to these views.

We hope that Mr. Abunimah also retracts or distances himself from other, similar statements he has made, which are public record, such as:
“.....From its inception, the Zionist movement set out to turn a country where the vast majority of people were not Jewish into a country that gives special rights and privileges to Jews at the expense of non-Jews.....”(5/14/07)
“...In Palestine-Israel, this means abrogating all laws in Israel that systematically privilege Jews and harm non-Jewish citizens....” (10/16/07)
“Zionism’s hatred of diaspora Jews and its desire to see them removed from Europe and other places they live persists to this day.” (12/1/11)
“That is something Zionism shares with anti-Semitism, a disdain for actual Jewish culture and life as it existed.” (12/15/10)
“Supporting Zionism is not atonement for the Holocaust, but its continuation in spirit.” (10/25/10)
“It is precisely this basic insistence on equality that is perceived by Zionists as an existential threat to Israel, undermining its inherently discriminatory foundations which privilege its Jewish citizens over all others.” (12/30/07)

We hope that Mr. Abunimah confirms that he no longer subscribes to these views either.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Rolling Out

(Cross-Posted at Israel Thrives)

Well, I am outa here, folks.

As Laurie and I get ready to hit the road for Israel, I am pondering some writing ideas, both short term and longer term. In the short term, I think I may write about how the Obama administration's hositility toward Israel and general failure in foreign policy may lead to a significant split in the American Jewish community. On the longer project, I will probably write on the administration's failure in regards the Arab war against the Jews from the beginning of his administration until the present moment.

However, before I do any of that, let me leave you with a Barry Rubin quote from an article that he published at the Jerusalem Post, yesterday:

Perhaps the most incredible aspect of all this is the numerous attempts by the Obama administration and its apologists –including Jews – to pretend that its policy is really good for Israel. Over and over again such people and their writings always ignore the regional strategic aspect of the damage that it is doing.

So what if the US government gives Israel military aid, which mostly consists of maintaining old programs? The Obama administration is building up the threat Israel faces to unprecedented levels. “I love Israel” statements don’t solve this huge strategic problem.

Indeed, the "regional strategic aspect." It doesn't much matter to me how many high-ranking Israeli officials say nice things about Barack Obama. And the fact that Israel and the United States maintain a high level of military cooperation is not surprising. What is surprising, or at least disappointing, is that the administration, like the progressive-left more generally, is turning a blind eye to the rise of the Jihad throughout the Middle East. What the administration should be doing about this very serious development is open to question, discussion, and debate, but what is not open to much question is the fact that this administration is simply denying reality.

There is no recognition that the "Arab Spring" is really the "Islamist Spring" and the administration is apparently standing by its contention that the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood, and Islamist forces in the region, is something akin to the American Revolution and / or the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s.

I would like to suggest that Obama is probably just a tad mistaken on that question and that there is nothing to indicate that the he has even the slightest awareness of this mistake.

Well, the Jewish people have been around for over 3,500 years and I feel reasonably confident that we will survive this administration, as well.

And, with that, I am off.

Laurie and I head to Israel for a little while in our Quest for the World's Best Falafel. Some say Gina's in Tel Aviv while others insist upon Moshiko's in Jerusalem. We shall see, but I am still pulling for my friendly local food-truck guy at the Grand Lake farmer's market in Oakland.

We shall see.


Friday, December 23, 2011

University of Pennsylvania rejects BDS

From a StandWithUs Press Release
December 23, 2011

We are pleased to report that just a few hours ago, the University of Pennsylvania (Penn)  officially announced that the  Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) national conference, scheduled to be held on their campus in February, 2012, does not have the university`s imprimatur.  Penn also stated unequivocally that it "does not support boycotts or sanctions against Israel." (See the university`s official statement  below.)

We congratulate the student leaders at PENN who are resolutely standing up against BDS on their campus.  StandWithUs is a proud partner with Hillel, SPME and the ICC member team in supporting the pro-Israel community at Penn.
We applaud Penn for being one of the few universities to take a firm stand about  bigoted events  on campus.  Penn is upholding the right to free speech while making it clear that the university disapproves of the content of that speech. Penn took the opportunity to lead by example, just as Columbia University`s President Lee Bollinger did when he wrote an open letter in 2007, excoriating calls for an academic boycott of Israel . Over 300 university presidents signed the letter. We urge other schools to follow Penn`s example when they face similar predicaments about how to uphold free speech while condemning hate speech.
We were extremely concerned because the line-up of scheduled speakers indicated that this event would be filled with age-old bigotry and prejudice to incite hatred against Israel and foment bitter divisions on campus.  Our research has revealed that most of the scheduled speakers are extremists who oppose the existence of the Jewish state and irresponsibly spread propaganda, distort facts, whitewash or justify terrorism and the murder of Jews, and frequently lie about basic facts to demonize Israel and its supporters.
Some of the speakers also express blatantly racist views.  For example, one invited speaker, Columbia University professor Hamid Dashabi, wrote the following about Israeli Jews:

"A half century of systematic maiming and murdering of another people has left its deep marks on the faces of these people, the way they talk, the way they walk, the way they handle objects, the way they greet each other, the way they look at the world.` They have a `vulgarity of character that is bond-deep and structural to the skeletal vertebrae of its culture." (Al-Ahram, September, 2004)

Another invited speaker, Helena Cobban, has claimed that Israelis are "incapable of empathy and compassion for other people."  (January 2009, Georgetown University)  Keynote speaker Ali Abunimah has declared that "Ending the occupation does not solve the problem.  The Jews do not view all human beings as equal. The 1948 borders were calculated to harm Christians, Arabs, Palestinians and Muslims." (Chicago Sabeel Conference, October 5, 2005) Speaker Susan Abulhawa resurrects blood libels, claiming that: "Palestinians are killed as if insects not because of Hamas or Yasser Arafat before them...Palestinians burn and bleed because they are the non-Jewish natives of that land. There is no other reason."  (Jan. 6, 2009 at
We trust that if a white supremacist, Islamophobic or homophobic group held a conference on campus, university administrations would condemn the prejudice and bigotry of the messages.  The same principle should apply when Israel and Jews are targeted.
BDS activities on campuses across America have caused bitter divisiveness.  The hate mongering degrades discourse and creates a hostile, even threatening, environment for students and faculty who feel a connection to the state of Israel. It does not further understanding, promote reasonable, informed debate, or help the campus community consider what might bring peace to the troubled region.
Again, we applaud Penn`s public position.


Penn Statement on Planned BDS Conference
A campus student group, Penn BDS, is planning a national conference in February that will encourage boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Israel.

This is not an event sponsored by the University. The event is being sponsored by a registered student group, as is permitted of any student group on campus.

The University of Pennsylvania has clearly stated on numerous occasions that it does not support sanctions or boycotts against Israel. Indeed, Penn has important and successful scholarly collaborations with Israeli institutions that touch on many areas of our academic enterprise.

Penn has always supported free expression and the free exchange of ideas. These are essential elements of a great university. These principles apply to this event, as they would any other student event, whether or not we agree with or condone the message BDS seeks to communicate.

University of Pennsylvania
1 College Hall, Room 100
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6380

President Amy Gutmann

Thursday, December 22, 2011

A Chanukah Blessing

Last year, and for too many years before that, we were lighting Chanukah candles in his name, praying that somehow he might come home alive.

This year he can light for himself.

Welcome home, Gilad.

Equivalence, and Lack Thereof

So, Israel has objected to Mahmoud Abbas meeting with Amna Muna. This woman was released this week, as part of the exchange of prisoners for Gilad Shalit. She had been serving a life sentence for luring a sixteen-year-old boy named Ofir Rahum to meet her in Jerusalem, with a fake Internet identity and promises of romance. She took him to Ramallah, where he was murdered by her co-conspirators.

And now she's out, to be greeted by a warm reception from Abbas. Israelis are, understandably, a little agitated at yet another reminder that people who've committed horrific crimes against civilians are, in fact, considered heroes and freedom fighters by Palestinian leaders.

Palestinian leaders, meanwhile, feel that it's entirely unreasonable for Israelis to be upset about a little business of a continential breakfast or two between a president and a terrorist. Jibril Rajub, who the AP describes as a 'Palestinian official', but the liberal-left Ha'aretz more bluntly describes as a 'Fatah strongman', was quite iffy about the whole thing. "If she doesn't deserve to live, why did you let her go?" he demanded. "We can't he talk to her?" he went on, addressing Israel Radio. "There are Israeli parliamentarians and army generals who are worse than her."

That's the sort of insane, unaccountable logic that anti-Israel nuts on the Internet tend to favor. Warfare, terrorism,'s all the same thing, more or less, right? There are members of the Knesset who are just as bad as this woman who lured a sixteen-year-old civilian to his death in cold blood, and we know this because...well, because Mr. Rajub says so, and he ought to know.

A Facebook friend provided a 'what-if' that I think casts some light on this whole situation: what if Netanyahu had sat down with some of the recent 'price tag' vandals, for coffee and a photo op? Bear in mind that as little as I approve of these people, they have done nothing that even begins to approach what Ms. Muna was convicted of. What if his excuse was the same as Abbas', that he should 'be with his people', wherever they were? What would the people say who are going to look at this and shrug, because it's not important, and there are people worse than Amna Muna? I think we all know.

(Ha'aretz also notes that Muna was supposed to go to Gaza after her release, but refused, because she's a secular Muslim. There's a sort of sad fitness to learning that even terrorists don't want to set foot in what Fortress Hamas has become. Amna Muna may be evil, but she's apparently not stupid.)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Price Tag attacks. A Tale of Two Cities.

In Israel, they are called "price tag" attacks.

From Patrick Martin of the Globe and mail:

Amidst a series of audacious attacks carried out apparently by young Israeli settlers this week, one of the extremists’ targets stood out. It was a site I’d never heard of right in the centre of the city: The Nebi Akasha mosque, built more than 800 years ago.
It’s situated, I would learn, where three ultra-Orthodox Jewish neighbourhoods converge, on a small one-way street named Prague.
The mosque itself is a simple single-storey stone building, with most of its barred windows bricked up – no longer active as a place of worship since 1948. Attached is a modest, attractive stone minaret that stands about two and a half storeys high.
Across a courtyard dominated by a playground filled with children on swings and climbers sits an equally old domed mausoleum. Inside this stone structure are three graves, believed to be those of some of Saladin’s commanders who perished in the taking of Jerusalem in 1187.
The mosque is named for Akasha Bin Mohsin, a 10th century Muslim, whose tomb was on the site when the stone buildings were constructed.
It was to this unused historic structure that the young extremists came before dawn on Wednesday. They threw a gas bomb through a small opening of one of the bricked up windows, scorching the stone all around the window and doing minimal damage inside.
They spray-painted on the outside stone walls and on the green metal doors things written in Hebrew such as “Mohamed is dead,” “Mohamed is a pig,” and “price tag,” a reference to the costs that Muslim and other Arab institutions will pay if Israel moves to dismantle any Jewish settlements or outposts in the West Bank.

Reports of the vandalism attack spread throughout the country and the act was widely condemned. But words are one thing. Actions are another. Two young men, Avi Mayer and Arie Hasit showed up. They painted over the graffiti and scrubbed smoke off the exterior walls.

“What happened here is unconscionable, and I don’t think it is representative of Israeli society, this neighborhood or Jerusalem,” said Avi Mayer, a Jerusalemite who works for the Jewish Agency. I found the entire incident deplorable and felt I had to try and right this wrong..."

Thank you, Avi and Arie. May you go from strength to strength, and continue to be a source of light to all.

In Berkeley, there appears to have been a local version of a price tag attack. The fence surrounding Michael Lerner's home in the Berkeley Hills has been vandalized again.

From JTA:

The northern California home of Rabbi Michael Lerner, editor of the progressive Tikkun magazine, was vandalized for the fourth time in the last year.
In an e-mail sent to Tikkun supporters, Lerner said that on Tuesday evening, two black-hooded men pasted signs on the outside of his house and garage saying that "Palestine is an Arab fantasy." ...
"It seems obvious to me that the attack, while responding to the NPR interview with me this morning, is part of the same attempt to terrorize me and my family as the past three assaults," Lerner wrote in his e-mail. "As the police made clear to us the last time, the goal is not to destroy property as much as to remind us that they know where we live, and that we are not safe."

People. This type of childish hate-driven vandalism is wrong in Israel. And its also wrong in Berkeley. Your actions do nothing to help our people or to further our cause. Remember the words of our sage Hillel "That which is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor. That is the whole Torah; the rest is commentary".

Occupy Hannukah Tonight in Berkeley

Nothing like Chabad and Hannukah for showing us the power of light and faith to illuminate the darkness and to triumph over evil. Hannukah commemorates the victory of the few over the many- of right vs might. Jewish farmers with no military training defeated the massive armies of the Greek empire, in the first war ever fought for religious freedom.

I hope to see all you neo-Maccabees there tonight. These too are days of miracle and wonder.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Reclaiming the Zionist Label

I think that this is very well written. I'm especially pleased that Bernstein covers the history of how 'Zionism' was used historically by the Soviets, and connects that with the history of the U.N. on the movement.

A few weeks ago, countering the anti-AIPAC protest, I listened with interest as they conducted an open 'people's microphone', a tactic borrowed from Occupy, where listeners repeat the speaker's words in unison, so that those farther away can hear. Originally adopted to substitute for a microphone, where none were available, it can also, of course, simply be a way of being annoying...sigh. What I realized that evening is that it can also serve as something of a gage of the crowd. One man was being faithfully repeated after as he declared that people don't like 'the occupation'. Not all Jews support 'the occupation'. Every phrase was repeated back. And then he said "Not even all Zionists support the occupation", and something odd happened. The microphone failed, as people couldn't bring themselves to repeat those words.

I don't know exactly what he meant by those words, but I do know why they faltered at that point--because "Zionist" has been effectively branded in the minds of anti-Israel activists to mean someone set in complete opposition to anything human, positive or progressive.

To lose pride in what Zionism is, and what it means, is to lose a great deal. In the coming year, I'd like to give some thought as to how to educate about the word and identity, and take it back from those who hate.

Hitler Admired in PLO Youth Magazine

Cross-Posted at Israel Thrives.

Hitler tells a Palestinian girl in her dream: "I killed them [the Jews] so you would all know that they are a nation which spreads destruction all over the world."

I would suggest that this kind of thing is literal, not rhetorical, not in jest, but real. And, needless to say, this is just one quick example. I could have come up with literally hundreds of other examples of Arab media bolstering the genocidal Jihadi ambition against Jews.

The Jews of the Middle East are about 5.5 million people strong. They are surrounded by an Arab population of between 300 and 400 million people that, for the most part, does not want them there and that has shown a willingness to incite violence against them. In the early stages of the Arab War Against the Jews of the Middle East they tended to riot and sometimes murder Jews with their bare hands as we saw in Hebron in 1929. In November of 1947 they launched a bloody civil war which the Jews, fresh from the Holocaust, needed to be put down before they could defend themselves from the larger Arab nations.

The '48 war, as Benny Morris would tell you, was motivated by Jihad. It was primarily a religious war because in Muslim theology (al-Sharia) non-Muslims must never hold sovereignty on any land that was at any time under Muslim sovereignty.

The biggest problem that Israel has going forward is obviously not pro-Israel American conservatives like Glenn Beck, nor pro-Israel Israeli conservatives like Avigdor Lieberman, nor even ultra-Orthodox Israeli Jews who think that men and women should mainly be segregated in public.


The main problem that Israel has is that there are millions of people around the world who think that it shouldn't exist and who are ready to use violence against it.

Noticing this little fact is neither fascist, nor rhetorical. It is called facing reality. Not reality as we might like it to be, nor reality as progressive ideology likes to suppose, but the cold fact of the genocidal nature of the Radical Jihad which is now rising up from the misnamed "Arab Spring."

Country after country in the Middle East is falling to Islamism as the west sticks its head in the ground, playing ostrich. Egypt, Turkey, Morocco, Tunisia, Libya, Iran, Lebanon, Darfur, and Gaza. Barack Obama literally told us to view the "Arab Spring" as we might have viewed the American Revolution or Rosa Parks and the Civil Rights Movement in the United States. The negligence and irresponsibility of such a statement is almost criminal. It is so wrong-headed and so unjust that I am frankly amazed that he was able to say it without his tongue falling out of his head entirely.

Here is the direct quote:

There are times in the course of history when the actions of ordinary citizens spark movements for change because they speak to a longing for freedom that has been building up for years. In America, think of the defiance of those patriots in Boston who refused to pay taxes to a King, or the dignity of Rosa Parks as she sat courageously in her seat. So it was in Tunisia...

Can you imagine if when Hitler was coming to power if FDR told Americans that this was the "German Spring" and that it represented the very best traditions within the progressive movement? Hard to imagine, isn't it?, but this is essentially what Obama has done.

We have an obligation as people who care about Israel, and about our fellow Jews, to acknowledge what should be obvious. And what is obvious here, what is obvious today, is that the Radical Jihad is rising and that can only mean violence directed at Jews.

I do not like it any more than do you, but it is they who represent the hardest challenge that Israel faces because the nature of this movement, the Islamist Spring, is genocidal. Obama was wrong and it is past time that we faced that fact.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Saying Hello

I want to thank Dusty for inviting me to participate with you guys here at Pro-Israel Bay Bloggers. I am a long-time pro-Israel blogger who usually goes under the name of "Karmafish," although I am becoming more and more inclined to use my real name, which is Michael Lumish. I am a PhD in American History who has taught at Penn State University, San Francisco State University, and City College of San Francisco.

I also have my own blog, Israel Thrives, which I invite you guys to come visit and participate in according to your will. My partners on that blog go by the names of "Doodad" and "oldschooltwentysix." Doodad, School and myself do not necessarily agree on everything, but my major focus is as a liberal critic of the progressive-left when it comes to the Arab-Israel conflict. I come out of that movement, and out of that party, and believe that we have every right to object to what is going on within it... even as we distance ourselves from it.

I generally have two themes. The first is that the progressive-left, as a movement, and the grassroots / netroots of the Democratic Party have, essentially, betrayed their Jewish constituency by welcoming anti-Semitic anti-Zionists as part of the larger coalition. Anyone who reads Daily Kos (which was at one time my home blog) or the Huffington Post or the UK Guardian, knows that when it comes to the Israel-Palestine conflict (I-P) not a day goes by wherein Israel is not demeaned, defamed, and dehumanized. Those on the progressive-left who speak the loudest as critics of Israel tend to not so much criticize that country as drag it through the mud at every possible opportunity.

This development, the rise of anti-Semitic anti-Zionism and the movement to boycott, divest from, and sanction the Jewish state (BDS) is exceedingly dangerous to the Jewish people for the obvious reason that they want Israel to be dissolved as a Jewish state and toward that end they are endeavoring to delegitimize that country to western audiences. It is our job, as people who care about the Jewish people and the Jewish state, to counter their efforts by any means necessary.

My other major theme is that the Palestinians do not want a country in peace next to the Jewish one, for if they did they would have accepted any one of the numerous offers for statehood which they have consistently rejected from 1937, with the British Peel Commission offer, to Olmert's 2008 offer a Palestinian state comprised of 100 percent of Gaza, well over 90 percent of Judea and Samaria (which the Jordanians dubbed "the West Bank") in a contiguous area, and the Arab sections of Jerusalem as a capital.

It should be obvious that if the Palestinians wanted a state for themselves in peace next to the Jewish one then perhaps they would have accepted precisely that at some point over the last seventy plus years.

In any case, I want to thank you guys for welcoming me into this community because reaching out to one another is our only option in this struggle.

You have my thanks.

Oh, and by the way, I would very much recommend not voting for the Democrats this cycle. Another theme that you will be hearing from me is concerned with the failure of the Obama administration's Middle East policy and the need to make certain that Democrats do not take their Jewish constituency for granted.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

And now for something completely different...

Word from the BBC has it that Kim Jong-Il is no more. A dead parrot indeed.

To commemorate this dictator's life without weeping for him, is this:

kim jong-il looking at things

Friday, December 16, 2011

Breitbart’s Big Journalism Blog Depicts Anti-Semitic Cartoon

It's true. Conservative scumbag Andrew Breitbart's own blog regularly features a vile anti-Semitic cartoon and instead of apologizing for it, the cartoon remains as is for all to see.

In at least three instances, Andrew Breitbart's Big Journalism website has used an image connected to a Nazi-era German magazine noted for anti-Semitic cartoons and pro-Hitler leanings.
All in an effort to unfairly demonize liberals.

I refuse to republish the cartoon here, but for further reading, see:

Cartoon Regularly Featured On Big Journalism Connected To Nazi-Era Magazine

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Its been a Day of BDS Failures

Its a heavy drinking day in Camp BDS. The BDS'ers are squirming restlessly. They are patting each other on the back and whispering to each other "Its ok. Even when we lose, we still win", while taking swigs of watermelon vodka and sobbing uncontrollably.

The day began with the news that Apple, yes, that super big, trendy company named after a fruit is opening a new research and development office in Israel. Thats in addition to its rumored purchase of Israel-based flash storage provider Anobit for nearly $500 million. Its almost as if Apple never even heard of the Palestinian civil society, and their call to Bully, Demonize and Scapegoat Israel. The new development center will reportedly be headed by Aharon Aharon, a veteran in Israel's technology industry.

The Israel facility will be Apple's first strategic development center located outside of the company's Cupertino California headquarters.

From Arutz Sheva:

"... Apple will finally be joining other global tech leaders who have, for years, had large development centers in Israel. Microsoft has nearly 1,000 people working on R&D in Israel – and its teams here have come up with some important innovations, such as the networking technology at the center of every version of Windows for the past decade. Google has not one, but two development centers in Israel – the only country in the world outside the U.S. so honored. Much of Intel's laptop technology was developed at its two R&D centers in Israel. And Motorola – which first set up shop in Israel in 1964 – Cisco, IBM, Oracle, and many others have been here for decades."

And if it were just that, we could say "Kiss my BDS" and call it a day. But wait. There's more.

The Cal State University system has joined the Ivy League and New York State University in rescinding a ban on its students studying in Israeli universities after 9 years. The CSU system has 23 campuses and over 420,000 students.

And for you, David Klein, CSU Northridge: Nice try. Im sure Edie is patting you on the back and whispering in your ear "Even when we lose , we win".

Oh, and one more thing, Prof. Klein- "Kiss my BDS"

Emma Goldman on the Jewish right to the Holy land

For our anarcho-zionist friends out there:

"Perhaps my revolutionary education has been sadly neglected, but I have been taught that the land should belong to those who till the soil. With all of his deep-seated sympathies with the Arabs, our comrade cannot possibly deny that the Jews in Palestine have tilled the soil. Tens of thousands of them, young and deeply devout idealists, have flocked to Palestine, there to till the soil under the most trying pioneer conditions. They have reclaimed wastelands and have turned them into fertile fields and blooming gardens. Now I do not say that therefore Jews are entitled to more rights than the Arabs, but for an ardent socialist to say that the Jews have no business in Palestine seems to me rather a strange kind of socialism."

Emma Goldman
August 26 1938

reprinted in 'British Imperialism & The Palestine Crisis: Selections from the Anarchist Journal 'Freedom' 1938–1948' London: Freedom Press, 1989 pp 24–27]

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


America’s Voices in Israel program brings well known Americans to Israel- to relate what they've seen to their followers,

A group of stars recently returned from Israel:

Mary Lynn Rajskub who played Chloe O’Brian on 24.
Shaun Sipos,starred as David Breck on Melrose Place.
Greg Grunberg who played Matt Parkman on Heroes.
Justin Chatwin from The Invisible, Dragonball Evolution.
Austin Nichols from One Tree Hill.

And yes. They loved it. Effusively. They loved the history and they loved the people.

And they've been tweeting about it, too. Did you happen to notice this tweet from Greg Grunberg: SHALOM & Thank You to ALL the amazing PEOPLE of #Israel who made us feel SO at HOME. ISRAEL=LOVE+PEACE+HISTORY

Israel "History that will blow you away." Thanks, Greg!
And to JVP, Code Pink, PACBI, and all you other BDS'ers: Why yes, this counts as a great big juicy BDS Fail.

Gaza "under Siege" November 2011

From the IDF spokesperson's blog:

1,336 patients and accompanying individuals crossed into Israel and the West Bank.
33 truckloads of sport equipment, vehicles, washing machines and refrigerators.
1,340 businessmen exited the Gaza Strip.

And in turn, Gaza sent back:

November 1 In the evening, a rocket launched from Gaza fell in the Eshkol Regional Council.
November 4 Palestinian militants fired a rocket into southern Israel, causing no injuries or damage.
November 6 Two rockets fired from Gaza exploded in open areas in the Hof Ashkelon Regional Council. The first rocket didn't cause injuries or damage, while the second one caused shrapnel wounds to a Thai foreign worker
November 9 Palestinian militants fired two rockets which landed in the Sha'ar HaNegev Regional Council.
November 10 A rocket was fired at night against southern Israel, causing no injuries.
November 13
Gaza militants fired a Qassam rocket at the Sha'ar HaNegev Regional Council
November 15 Gaza terrorists launched two Qassam rockets at Israeli communities in the western Negev. One rocket badly damaged a local kindergarten.The other rocket exploded in an open area.
November 26 A rocket fired from Gaza hit the Eshkol Regional Council, causing no injuries or damage.

Another Iranian Work Accident

There's been a series of mysterious explosions and work accidents in Iran lately. There have been 3 this month alone. Are the Iranians just that cavalier about worker safety? Is this just a series of coincidences? Are theses the actions of dissident Iranian groups? Or is there a Zionist conspiracy afoot?
The most recent work accident, in an Iranian Steel plant in Yazd killed 7, and seriously wounded 12 others. A number of "foreign nationals" were reported amongst those killed
There is speculation that the explosion at steel factory was connected to Iran's nuclear program. Iranians need maraging steel to manufacture the ballistic missile engines they are constructing. Maraging steel's strength and malleability in allow it to be formed into thinner rocket and missile skins than other steels. It is also needed to produce new uranium enrichment centrifuges and exhaust systems for missile engines. Increasing evidence from foreign sources reveal that North Korea was providing Iran and Syria with this steel, as well as training them in its use and manufacture.

Iran is a quintessential rogue state, denying the Jewish Holocaust while plotting another one. The world is aware how destabilizing a nuclear Iran will be. Coincidences or not, this series of Iranian work accidents buys us more time in postphoning a nuclear Iran.

Monday, December 12, 2011

The International Solidarity movement: Gaza Media Manipulation

From an Article by Omri Ceren in Commentary

The International Solidarity Movement is one of those quirky peace-loving pro-Palestinian groups that also happens to support and provide succor to anti-Jewish mass murderers. The organization – which of course gets shady NGO funding – served as a cover for the UK terrorists who infiltrated Tel Aviv and committed mass murder at Mike’s Place. It attempted to assist Palestinian terrorists who hid in the Church of the Nativity. Its members help organize and proudly participate in efforts to break Israel’s blockade of the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.

None of that is an accident. In 2002 the group’s founders, Adam Shapiro and Huwaida Arraf, advocated “Palestinian resistance… both non-violent and violent.” They tsk tsk’d that “people will get killed and injured” but reassured their audience that at least the injured Palestinians “would be considered shaheed,” a word not coincidentally used in other contexts to celebrate suicide bombers. Arraf took pains two months ago to point out that she hasn’t changed her mind, and that she and the ISM “recognize the Palestinian right to use armed struggle.”

And now they’re seeking new human shields and propagandists for Hamas:

The International Solidarity Movement is appealing for activists to join our team in the besieged Gaza Strip. After being barred from Gaza in 2003 following the murders of Rachel Corrie and Tom Hurndall, ISM Gaza was reinstated in August 2008 when ISM and other volunteers traveled aboard the historic, siege-breaking voyage of the first Free Gaza Movement boat… ISM volunteers refused to leave when Israel began bombing Gaza in December 2008. During the devastating 23-day assault, activists accompanied ambulances and provided vital testimony to the international media.

That’s a strange boast to make, since you wouldn’t think that international media outlets would agree to turn the propaganda of pro-violence activists into news. Maybe the ISM is just mistaken.


There have also been reports in the past that ISM members have dressed as Jews in an effort to implicate "settlers" in atrocities against the Palestinians.

Note to volunteers: No one will believe you advocate non-violence if you are training with AK-47's

Interested in learning about BDS- Bullying, Demonization and Scapegoating Israel? Learn from the experts at JVP

Jewish Voice for Peace is growing increasing resentful of Jewish institutions that create guidelines, like the ones adopted by Hillel that recognize the right to of the Jewish people to self determination. Hillel views Israel as a core element of Jewish life and a gateway to Jewish identification for students. Hillel promotes a continuum of experiences to engage students with Israel, educate their campus communities about Israel, and advocate for Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish and democratic state in peace and security. This is too much for JVP, the "proud to be ashamed to be Jewish " folks, who insist not only that anti-Israel rhetoric be part of Jewish communal life, but that it be funded by communal sources as well.

JVP has begun a new campus initiative Go & Learn: BDS Education in Jewish communities. This initiative is being promoted by the youth-led wing of Jewish Voice for peace (Youth, apparently, by JVP standards is anyone under 40) to "create a space for education about the Palestinian call for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions. Go & Learn BDS Education events are a way for Jews to continue to (or begin to) develop their own opinion on BDS, in an informed, multifaceted way."

Will JVP mention that Palestinian society has largely rejected the BDS tactics?
From Elder of Ziyon:
The number of Palestinian Arabs working in Jewish settlements has increased by 20% since the PA announced they would ban such activity. According to the head of the Federation of Trade Unions of Palestine, Shaher Saad, some 31,000 Palestinian Arab workers are now employed in Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria. This is a significant increase compared to the number of such workers in April, 2010 - estimated at 25,000 - when Mahmoud Abbas signed a law banning Palestinian Arabs from working in settlements.

From Haaretz Private Palestinian investors now invest nearly twice as much in Israel as they do at , with homeprivate Palestinian investment in the West Bank at $1.5 billion in 2011, compared to at least $2.5 billion in Israel.

Will JVP mention that in our area, the best place to get Israeli products are the small Arab grocery stores?

From Divest this:
A more intriguing take on these numbers has to do with the notion of civil society. After all, the BDS movement’s primary claim to legitimacy is that it represents the will of the Palestinian people, with the 2005 “Palestinian Civil Society Calls for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Against Israel” declaration held up as the reason why alleged “human rights activists” abroad focus on Israel to the exclusion of nearly every other human rights issue on the planet.
When BDS groups in the US and Europe approach a university, a church or even a food co-op insisting that everyone get on board the boycotter’s Israel=Apartheid bandwagon, they rarely if ever do so in their own name. Rather, they claim (again and again) that they are humbly following the will of the Palestinian people who have declared their commitment to BDS via documents like the aforementioned Civil Society declaration, and insisting that others do the same.
But as has already been noted, this alleged call by Civil Society was really a call by a group of civil organizations, with violent political groups such as Hamas and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine taking the lead and less influential groups like the Palestinian Dentists Association following behind. So does the 2005 BDS declaration truly represent the will of the Palestinian people or is it simply the will of a bunch of militant and/or coerced leaders of a hundred-odd organizations? Are we required to take Omar Barghouti’s word for it when he claims to speak for the Palestinian masses, or do we have other data to work form?
Well we do, in fact, have other data consider. For example, there are the Arab citizens of Israel terrified that the land they live on might be traded in a peace deal, requiring them to live under the benevolent dictatorship of the Palestinian Authority (or the not-so benevolent dictatorship of Hamas). We’ve got denizens of the Palestinian Authority doing whatever they can to get into Israel for healthcare, for jobs, even for citizenship (despite being told that the “Zionist entity” exists for the sole purpose of murdering them and swiping their kidneys).
And now we’ve got Palestinian workers and investors putting their money where the mouth isn’t and doubling down on Israeli investments and Israeli employers. And, as the BDS “movement” itself never tires of telling us, Investment = Political Support (which is why they advocate tirelessly, if unsuccessfully for Divestment which they claim equals an end to such political support).
So by the very math used by the BDSers themselves, Palestinian support for the Jewish state is on the increase. Keep this in mind the next time Omar Barghouti or Jewish Voice for Peace or this or that BDS organization shows up at your door insisting you do what they say because they and they alone speak for the Palestinian people.

No, JVP wont ever let facts get in the way of their increasingly shrill rhetoric. Look for "Go & learn" on a campus near you. Can't find it? Ask the students of SJP or the MSA. They'll be able to direct you


The first offer of "engagement" is in, and its....still...awaiting moderation.....

From Divest this:
It looks like the youth wing of JVP (named Young, Jewish and Proud) has decided to engage with critics (and supporters) of BDS in a new program they entitle Go and Learn. Now this program is scheduled to begin in March, but given the clear importance JVP/YJP put on this issue, I have invited them to begin the debate immediately on their new Web site and just posted the following invitation in this comments section:

Why Wait?

I’m thrilled to learn that you are interested in an open discussion and education project surrounding the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) project.

As some of you may know, I represent one of those people “actively opposed to [BDS]” your invitation above is asking to engage with you. As the creator of the web site, I have been eager to discuss and debate with people like yourselves who are supportive of BDS. Until now, however, there have been very few supporters of BDS ready to engage directly on this subject in a sustained and constructive manner.

I’m glad to discover that JVP is interested in remedying this situation and recommend that we begin this debate right now on the Internet (where the world has access to our exchanges), rather than wait until March to discuss what the Young, Jewish and Proud organization obviously considers to be such a pressing topic.

I will post information on your invitation and my own at Divest This (along with any follow ups), but I recommend we have this public discussion right here since, unlike the forums you claim to not have access to, your organization is in full control of this online space. And using it to provide a globally public forum for our conversation would not just provide everyone with the discussion you clearly crave, but would also demonstrate JVP’s openness (in contrast with those places you feel you have been excluded from).

I look forward to hearing back from you and let the conversation begin!

CSU Northridge President Jolene Koester on opposing anti-Semitism "Too Bad"

Our story so far:
David Klein, a Cal State University at Northridge math professor devotes as much time and energy to Israel-bashing as he does to mathematics. He originated a petition to pressure the CSU system not to re-instate the study abroad program in Israel, and apparently has used his CSU sponsored website to give his math students a heady dose of hate, every time they visit.

Tammi Benjamin of the Amcha foundation was contacted. Ms. Benjamin wrote an open letter to Jolene Koester, President of California State University, Northridge expressing her concern. In response, she received a two word email. "Too Bad".
From Presidents Koester biography:
"She earned a Bachelor's of Arts from the University of Minnesota in 1970, a Master's of Arts in communication arts from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1971, and a Ph.D. in speech communication from Minnesota in 1980." You'd think someone with a doctorate in "communications' could come up with a more coherent response to accusations of anti-Semitism on her campus, but no.... she didnt

From: Tammi Benjamin
Date: November 22, 2011 4:32:39 PM PST
Subject: serious concerns about anti-Semitic webpages on the CSUN website
Dr. Jolene Koester
President, California State University, Northridge
18111 Nordhoff St.
Northridge, CA 91330
Dear President Koester,
We are faculty members at the University of California, who have been investigating and documenting anti-Jewish bigotry on California public university campuses for the last several years.
In case you have not seen them, we wanted to bring to your attention two webpages of CSU Northridge Professor of Mathematics David Klein, which are hosted on the CSUN server:
Professor Klein's "Home Page," linked to the "Tenure-Track Faculty" webpage of the CSUN Department of Mathematics, contains a section entitled "CSU and Political Issues," that includes a link to another CSUN-hosted webpage entitled "Boycott Israel."
Professor Klein's "Boycott Israel" page contains a litany of false and inflammatory statements and photographs intended to incite hatred and promote political activism against the Jewish state.
There are several reasons why Professor Klein's webpages should be immediately removed from the CSUN server:
1) These webpages are in clear violation of the CSU policy prohibiting the misuse of the CSU name for inappropriate purposes, including for the promotion of political organizations and activities such as "boycott." As you have seen on Professor Klein's Home Page, he specifically links the University to several political action organizations and activities, including the boycott of Israel, in a section he telling calls "CSU and Political Issues."
2) Many of Professor Klein's statements on his "Boycott Israel" webpage meet the U.S. Department of State's Working Definition of Anti-Semitism, including the statement that "Israel is the most racist country in the world." In addition, the pictures of mutilated dead babies that appear on this page, with the clear implication that the babies have been brutally murdered by Israeli soldiers, are perfect examples of the classic anti-Semitic "blood libel", the false accusation that Jews kill non-Jewish children for evil purposes, an accusation that has been used throughout Jewish history for the purpose of inciting hatred and violence against Jews. Campaigns to boycott the Jewish state are also anti-Semitic according to the U.S. State Department, and in some cases are a violation of U.S. law.
3) The promotion of virulently anti-Israel and anti-Semitic statements and imagery on the departmental website of a CSUN faculty member cannot help but contribute to a hostile environment for Jewish students on your campus.
4) CSUN is a public university, whose facilities and resources, including the CSUN website, are supported by the tax dollars of California citizens, many of whom would find Professor Klein's webpages an egregious violation of public trust.
We do not believe that this is an issue of Professor Klein's freedom of speech. Indeed, CSUN's policy on internet use explicitly states that the University has the right to remove "any defamatory, offensive, infringing, or illegal materials" from its website. If you choose not to remove Professor Klein's anti-Semitic material from the CSUN website, we will presume that it is because the University finds nothing "defamatory, offensive, infringing, or illegal" about these webpages, and is unconcerned with the effects they may have on CSUN students, parents, community members, and taxpayers.
We know that you will soon be retiring as CSUN President, but we trust that you will have the opportunity to look into this matter and take appropriate action.
We look forward to hearing from you soon.
Tammi Rossman-Benjamin
Lecturer, University of California at Santa Cruz
Co-founder the AMCHA Initiative


Dear President Koester,
I am shocked and distressed by your recent reply to me in response to a letter I co-authored, urging you to address an egregious case of anti-Jewish bigotry on your campus. Our letter asked you to condemn and remove Professor David Klein's anti-Semitic and highly offensive webpages from the CSUN server. In your response, you callously wrote: "Too bad." (See below).
As you know, our letter was sent to you under the aegis of the AMCHA Initiative, an organization representing more than 5,000 members and supporters of the California Jewish community, who are deeply concerned for the safety and well-being of Jewish students on California campuses. In that regard, your response is not only dismissive and disrespectful of me, but of a large segment of the Jewish community as well.
Moreover, your lack of sensitivity to our serious concerns about anti-Semitism and the welfare of Jewish students on your campus is appalling.
I and many members of the Jewish community consider it highly inappropriate for the leader of a major public university to behave in this way.
It is indeed "too bad."
Tammi Rossman-Benjamin
Co-founder the AMCHA Initiative
Lecturer University of California, Santa Cruz


On Dec 9, 2011, at 3:29 PM, Koester, Jolene wrote:

Dear Ms. Benjamin:

I apologize that you received in error an email from me containing the message “too bad.” I am away from the office and dealing with email from afar. I had intended to forward your response letter to University staff, and instead of pressing “forward,” I inadvertently hit “reply.”

The comment “too bad” was meant to express to internal staff regret about the controversy and the distress it has caused. It was not a comment directed at you or others who have written to share their concerns, and was not intended to disrespect or dismiss either you or your point of view. I apologize and deeply regret the misunderstanding this error has caused.

Jolene Koester


And whats our friend, the math professor doing throughout this exchange? He's attempting to fan the flames,and exploit the bad feelings his web page has caused. Its all in the name of academic freedom, after all. Why is Jolene Koester so cavalier about anti-Semitism on campus, anyway? Apaprently, she is due to retire this month.

The behavior of professors such as David Klein, and the dismissive, enabling behavior of President Jolene Koester sends a chilling message to Jewish students at CSU Northridge. Remember this, when its time to apply for college.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Another BDS Epic Fail: Legend Barbra Streisand performs in FIDF fundraiser

Legendary performer Barbra Streisand performed Thursday night at a Friends of the Israel Defense Forces" Gala in Los Angeles.

From Barbra's website:
Barbra’s set included four songs.

•“The Windmills of your Mind”
•“The Way We Were”
•“Avinu Malkeinu” – which Barbra recorded originally in 1997 on her triple-platinum album, “Higher Ground.” Translated into English, “Our Father, Our King” is a Jewish prayer traditionally sung during the Jewish High Holidays.

The event was also attended by Jason Alexander – who was “Master of Ceremonies” – and “Gala Chairs” Cheryl & Haim Saban.

The FIDF proudly offers its support to Israel’s soldiers and their families through a variety of unique and innovative programs and projects. FIDF programs fund educational scholarships; provide social services and financial aid to distressed young soldiers to help their families stay afloat; and support special programs for the children and families of fallen soldiers. Additionally, FIDF constructs dozens of major capital projects that include sports centers, synagogues, auditoriums, recreational facilities, and swimming pools all of which provide for the well-being of Israel's soldiers.

From an article at Jewish Journal by Ilana Angel

"Barbra Streisand is not a regular human being. She is magic. She made Jewish girls beautiful, sings to me with the voice of an angel, and inspired me to study Torah through Yentl, which I think is cinematic genius. Barbra Streisand is iconic to many, but to me it’s personal as she touches so much of my Jewish identity."

Many people feel that way about Barbra Streisand. So heres to you, Barbra for standing up for your hertiage, and for standing with Israel.

A tour of Palestine 1695

Everyone is talking about Newt's comments. And those that arent talking about it are emailing. Thanks to everyone who send me this:

This appears to have orginiated with Avi Goldreich, and was posted on the Think Israel website

The book is Palaestina ex monumentis veteribus illustrata, in tres libros distributa, tabulis geographicis necessariis, iisque accuratis exornata, a multis insuper, quae in primam editionem irrepserunt, mendis purgata. The author Hadriani Relandi, was a scholar, geographer, cartographer and philologist. Relandi spoke Hebrew, Arabic and ancient Greek, as well as the European languages of the time.

" The book was written in Latin. In 1695 he was sent on a sightseeing tour to Israel, at that time known as Palestina. In his travels he surveyed approximately 2500 places where people lived that were mentioned in the bible or Mishnah. His research method was interesting.

He first mapped the Land of Israel.
Secondly, Relandi identifies each of the places mentioned in the Mishnah or Talmud along with their original source. If the source was Jewish, he listed it together with the appropriate sentence in the Holy Scriptures. If the source was Roman or Greek he presented the connection in Greek or Latin.

Thirdly, he also arranged a population survey and census of each community.

His most prominent conclusions
1. Not one settlement in the Land of Israel has a name that is of Arabic origin. Most of the settlement names originate in the Hebrew, Greek, Latin or Roman languages. In fact, till today, except to Ramlah, not one Arabic settlement has an original Arabic name. Till today, most of the settlements names are of Hebrew or Greek origin, the names distorted to senseless Arabic names. There is no meaning in Arabic to names such as Acco (Acre), Haifa, Jaffa, Nablus, Gaza, or Jenin and towns named Ramallah, El Halil and El-Kuds (Jerusalem) lack historical roots or Arabic philology. In 1696, the year Relandi toured the land, Ramallah, for instance, was called Bet'allah (From the Hebrew name Beit El) and Hebron was called Hebron (Hevron) and the Arabs called Mearat HaMachpelah El Chalil, their name for the Forefather Abraham.

2. Most of the land was empty, desolate, and the inhabitants few in number and mostly concentrate in the towns Jerusalem, Acco, Tzfat, Jaffa, Tiberius and Gaza. Most of the inhabitants were Jews and the rest Christians. There were few Muslims, mostly nomad Bedouins. Nablus, known as Shchem, was exceptional, where approximately 120 people, members of the Muslim Natsha family and approximately 70 Shomronites, lived.

In the Galilee capital, Nazareth, lived approximately 700 Christians and in Jerusalem approximately 5000 people, mostly Jews and some Christians.

The interesting part was that Relandi mentioned the Muslims as nomad Bedouins who arrived in the area as construction and agriculture labor reinforcement, seasonal workers.

In Gaza for example, lived approximately 550 people, fifty percent Jews and the rest mostly Christians. The Jews grew and worked in their flourishing vineyards, olive tree orchards and wheat fields (remember Gush Katif?) and the Christians worked in commerce and transportation of produce and goods. Tiberius and Tzfat were mostly Jewish and except of mentioning fishermen fishing in Lake Kinneret -- the Lake of Galilee -- a traditional Tiberius occupation, there is no mention of their occupations. A town like Um el-Phahem was a village where ten families, approximately fifty people in total, all Christian, lived and there was also a small Maronite church in the village (The Shehadah family).

3. The book totally contradicts any post-modern theory claiming a "Palestinian heritage," or Palestinian nation. The book strengthens the connection, relevance, pertinence, kinship of the Land of Israel to the Jews and the absolute lack of belonging to the Arabs, who robbed the Latin name Palestina and took it as their own.

Read Latin? This book is widely available in academic and theological libraries. Locally, its at the Graduate Theological Union Library in Berkeley. Room use only. Want one of your very own? Its available for sale, for a bit over $675- plus the costs of postage and handling from a bookseller in The Hague, Netherlands

Hamas sets up rocket production line in Sinai

From an article by Yaakov Katz, published in J Post

Hamas has established forward bases and rocket production facilities in the Sinai Peninsula in an effort to protect them from Israeli air strikes, The Jerusalem Post has learned.

By establishing the facilities in Egypt, Hamas aims to protect its assets since it believes Israel will not strike targets inside Egypt due to the affect it would have on bilateral relations.

Israel has called on Cairo to increase its efforts to restore order in Sinai and to prevent attacks, but the Egyptian military has held back from dismantling the Hamas infrastructure in the peninsula.

More than a dozen Egyptian army battalions allowed into Sinai with Israel’s permission (required because of limits placed on Egyptian forces there under the peace treaty) are still operating there, although with limited success in stopping terrorist activity and arms smuggling to the Gaza Strip.

Recent arms smuggled into Gaza have included advanced weaponry stolen from Libyan military storehouses such as Russian- made shoulder-to-air missiles.

Israel’s primary concern with Sinai is that it is being used by Palestinians to launch attacks into Israel while taking advantage of the open southern border.

Read the full article here

Friday, December 9, 2011

Fresno Zionism visits David Kleins' CSU Northridge webpage

"Freedom of speech implies that a government-funded institution may not deny someone the right to speak except in some narrowly-circumscribed cases. But it does not imply that the institution must be required to provide a megaphone, in the form of a university supported web server, to practice slander and defamation."
Fresno Zionism

From FresnoZionism

"A Mathematics professor at California State University, Northridge, David Klein, maintains one of the ugliest hate-Israel pages I’ve seen in some time. For example:

Israel is the most racist state in the world at this time

Zionism calls for a Jewish state. Israel defines Jewishness, in part, in genetic terms. A person is legally Jewish if his or her mother is Jewish, regardless of place of birth or religious belief. Israel is an apartheid state that systematically discriminates against the indigenous population, enforcing, for example, Jewish-only buses and Jewish-only roads. The result of Israeli state policies has been a 60 year program of ethnic cleansing, including expulsion of the Palestinian population, military occupation, and mass murder.

Everything in the above paragraph is false except “Zionism calls for a Jewish state,” and even then his understanding of ‘Jewish state’ is wrong. There are links (which I didn’t reproduce) to other anti-Zionist sites like, the “Campaign to end Israeli Apartheid,” “Electronic Intifada,” etc. which are supposed to support his statements.

This page and several others (including one defending former academic and “Holocaust Industry” author Norman Finkelstein) are linked to Klein’s main Mathematics Department page.

The AMCHA initiative complained to the University, calling Klein’s page antisemitic and demanding its removal. The University President, Jolene Koester, responded that a review showed that there were no violations of University web use policies and that “the conclusions are based on the important tenets of academic freedom and free speech, which are central to the values and traditions of academia and, indeed, a democratic society.”

They should be ashamed...."

Read the full post here

The Truth About the Refugees: Israel Palestinian Conflict

Israel's Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Danny Ayalon's latest youtube highlights the issue of the Jewish refugees, forced out of their homes in the Arab world and contrasts them with the Arab refugees perpetuated by UNRWA and the Arab nations.

In 1948, an estimated 500,000 Arabs left their homes in Israel- of those, 160,000 returned and resettled after agreeing to live in peace with their Jewish neighbors. These Arabs, and their descendants make up the 1,300,000 Israeli Arabs who are full citizens of Israel today.

The others? Their number has grown to nearly 5 million today as they languish in refugee camps throughout the Arab world, used as pawns in the perpetual war against Israel.

Incidently, Minister Ayalon, a descendent of Jewish refugees from Algeria gave a talk at the UN High commission for Refugees Ministerial Meeting in Geneva yesterday, saying:

"The State of Israel is a country that was established as a shelter for Jewish refugees from all over the world, including, survivors of the Holocaust and those forced from their homes in North Africa and the Middle East. Our society is a mosaic of people from around 100 countries who returned to their ancestral homeland escaping the horrors of persecutions and violence.

As a result of our experience, Israel was one of the initiators of the Refugees Convention and one of the first countries to join it. Israel is committed to all its articles.

In addition, we support the application of the general principles governing the treatment of refugees worldwide to apply universally, without exception, including those in the Palestinian context. While the UNHCR has found durable solutions for tens of millions of refugees, the agency created specifically for the Palestinian context has found durable solutions for no one."