Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Gaza Flotilla Incident : Two versions

From the Jewish virtual Library

The Gaza Flotilla Incident

"Early morning on May 31, 2010, IDF naval forces intercepted six ships attempting to break the naval blockade of the Gaza Strip after numerous warnings from Israel and the Israel Navy that were issued prior to the action. The Israel Navy requested the ships to redirect toward Ashdod where they would be able to unload their aid material which would then be transferred over land after undergoing security inspections. During the boarding of the Mavi Marmara, the demonstrators onboard attacked the IDF naval personnel with live fire and light weaponry including knives and clubs. Additionally two of the weapons used were grabbed from an IDF soldier. As a result of the violence, seven soldiers were wounded and there were nine activist casualties."

Contrast that with Hatem Batzien's group, American Muslims for Palestine version

"One year ago today, Israeli commandos rappelled from helicopters onto the deck of the Mavi Marmara in international waters and murdered nine unarmed activists, who were taking tons of humanitarian aid to the besieged Palestinians of Gaza. Of the nine deceased, six – including Turkish-American Furkan Dogan – were killed “execution style” by being shot at “point blank range,” according to a September 2010 report by the United Nations Human Rights Council."

Lie #1 Hatem:

Lie #2
"Activists ?" More like "operatives".

Ibrahim Bilgen, 61, electronics engineer from Siirt, originally from Mosul, Iraq. A relative of his noted that he wanted to die as a shaheed. He joined the flotilla as an IHH volunteer.

Ali Haydar Bengi, 39, owner of a telephone repair store in Diyarbakir He graduated from Al-Azhar University in Cairo (Arabic literature). His wife said in an interview that he had wanted to reach Palestine for many years, and constantly prayed to Allah to grant him martyrdom. His friends said that he wanted to be a shaheed and that he “had an intense desire to die as a shaheed”

Cevdet Kiliçlar, 38, from Kayseri. A recorded statement by Kiliçlar was found aboard the Mavi Marmara: “While our friends were praying at the [Istanbul] Fatih Mosque in memory of the brothers killed in battle in Afghanistan, we boarded this ship [Mavi Marmara] and were therefore unable to take part in the prayer. May the souls [of those killed in Afghanistan] be in paradise. We, too, prayed on our way to our brothers in Gaza, and I pray that Allah will grant us a happy ending, just like those shaheeds”

Çetin Topçuoglu, 54, from Adana. Amateur soccer player and former Taekwondo champion. . Before departing, he left a letter hinting that he expected to die as a shaheed and called on others to aspire to a similar death.

Necdet Yildirim, 32, from Malatya

Fahri Yaldiz, 43, fireman from town of Adiyaman . Prior to his departure, he announced that he was going to be a shaheed and said goodbye to his wife and children.

Cengiz Songür, 47, from Konya.

Cengiz Akyüz, 41, from Iskenderun. Married and father of three. IHH operative.

Furkan Dogan, 19, senior high school student in Kayseri. The son of Dr. Ahmet Dogan from the University of Erciyes.

Lie #3
"Taking tons of humanitarian aid"
No, Hatem, There was NO humanitarian aid on the Mavi Marmara

Lie #4
"Killed execution style"

Flotilla Rioters Prepare Rods, Slingshots, Broken Bottles and Metal Objects to Attack IDF Soldiers

Video of the "activists" attacking the Israeli soldiers

Any actions the Israelis took to protect themselves were clearly in self defense

The Turkel commission determined:
A vessel that attempts to breach a blockade is subject to international law governing the conduct of hostilities: international humanitarian law, including the rules governing use of force.
The Israeli armed forces' interception and capture of the Gaza Flotilla vessels in international waters - seaward of the blockaded area - was in conformity with customary international humanitarian law.
The tactics chosen to intercept and capture the Flotilla vessels - including having Shayetet 13 naval commandoes board from Morena speedboats and fast-rope from helicopter onto the roof of the vessels - was consistent with established international naval practice.
The participants in the Flotilla were predominantly an international group of civilians whose main goal was to bring publicity to the humanitarian situation in Gaza by attempting to breach the blockade imposed by Israel.
On board the Mavi Marmara and the other flotilla vessels was a group of IHH and affiliated activists (the “IHH activists”) that violently opposed the Israeli boarding. The IHH activists who participated in that violence were civilians taking a direct part in hostilities.
The force used against civilians on board the flotilla was governed by the principles of "necessity" and use of "proportionate force" associated with human rights based law enforcement norms. However, the IHH activists lost the protection of their civilian status for such time as they directly participated in the hostilities. The use of force against these direct participants in hostilities is governed by the applicable rules of international humanitarian law.
The Rules of Engagement for the operation provided an authority to use force that reflected the nature of a law enforcement operation.
The IHH activists carried out the violence on board the Mavi Marmara by arming themselves with a wide array of weapons, including iron bars, axes, clubs, slingshots, knives, and metal objects. These were weapons capable of causing death or serious injury. Further, the hostilities were conducted in an organized manner with IHH activists, inter alia, operating in groups when violently assaulting the IDF soldiers.
The IHH activists used firearms against the IDF soldiers during the hostilities.
The Commission has examined 133 incidents in which force was used. The majority of the uses of force involved warning or deterring fire and less-lethal weapons.
Overall, the IDF personnel acted professionally in the face of extensive and unanticipated violence. This included continuing to switch back and forth between less-lethal and lethal weapons in order to address the nature of the violence directed at them.
The Commission has concluded that in 127 cases, the use of force appeared to be in conformity with international law.
In six cases, the Commission has concluded that it has insufficient information to be able to make a determination.
Three out of those six cases involved the use of live fire and three cases involved physical force; two incidents of kicking and one strike with the butt of a gun.
In five out of the 127 incidents that appeared to be in conformity with international law, there was insufficient evidence to conclude that the use of force was also in accordance with law enforcement norms. However, in these cases, force appeared to be used against persons taking a direct part in hostilities and, as a consequence, was in conformity with international law.
The planning and organization of the IDF mission to enforce the blockade did not include anticipation that there would be a violent opposition to the boarding, which had a direct impact on the operational tactics, Rules of Engagement, and training before the operation. However, the focus of the planning and organization of the operation on a lower level of resistance did not lead to a breach of international law.

Jerusalem Day June 1, 2011

Yom Yerushalayim, also known as Jerusalem Day, commemorates Jerusalem's liberation and reunification in 1967. It begins on 28th day of the month of Iyyar in the Hebrew calendar. We celebrate it on June 1 this year.

In honor of the reunification of our holy city:
Yerushalaim Shel Zahav was composed by Naomi Shemer in 1967. This version is sung by Ofra Haza in 1998, celebrating 50 years of statehood to Israel.

If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its cunning.
May my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth, if I do not set Jerusalem above my highest joy.
(Psalms 137:5-6)

Jerusalem: 4000 Years in 5 Minutes, by the Jerusalem center for public Affairs



[SOURCE: http://muqata.blogspot.com/2011/05/official-scotch-whisky-counter-boycott.html.]

Please help pass this on to Kiddush Clubs everywhere!

This is the official pro-Israel, counter-boycott page against Scotch Whisky, distilled in the anti-Israel region of West Dunbartonshire, Scotland. (letter to the distillers, appears below)

My good friend and fellow blogger, Aussie Dave from Israellycool has been following this story since it's inception.

- Scottish Council Launches Ban On Israeli Books
- Follow Up On The Dumbies of Dunbartonshire Council
- Jim McElhill of West Dunbartonshire Council Leaving Nasty Comments

The story also appeared on my blog, and in other news sources as well.


- Scottish areas ban Israeli products

I believe its best to contact the whisky distillers directly, since the West Dunbartonshire Council of Wise Men couldn't care less what a pro-Israel, pro-liberty, person might think...but they might listen to voices of their constituents; specifically the Scotch whisky distilleries in their council's region.

You can contact them directly at:

Morrison Bowmore Distillers Ltd.  info@morrisonbowmore.co.uk
Distillers of: Auchintoshan, Bowmore, Glen Garioch, McClelland’s

Loch Lomond Distillery Co. Ltd   mail@lochlomonddistillery.com
Distillers of Loch Lomond, Scots Earl, Distillery Select, Glen Scotia, Littlemill, Croftengea, Craigslodge, Inchmurrin, Glen Douglas, Inchfad

Chivas Brothers media.relations@pernod-ricard.com
Distillers of Ballantine’s, Chivas, Royal Salute, Clan Campbell, Something Special, Passport, 100 Pipers, Imperial, Long John Aberlour, The Glenlivet, Glendronach, Strathisla, Longmorn, Scapa, Tormore, Jameson, Paddy, Powers, Walker Special Old, Wisers

This is the most current and accurate list I could procure based on the addresses of distiller's in the West Dunbartonshire Council region.  Please contact me if I have omitted any whisky from this region, and I will gladly update the list.

I urge you to write to these fine distillers of whisky, and express your outrage and support of the counter-boycott.  Pass this list on to your friends and neighbors.  It is simply immoral for the West Dunbartonshire Council to boycott Israel.

Following is the letter I sent them today...feel free to use it in expressing your sentiments to these distillers.

Regards from Israel,

Jameel Rashid

The Muqata Blog

Letter to the Fine Whisky Distillers of West Dunbartonshire

Tuesday, 31rst May, 2011

To The Fine Whisky Distillers of West Dunbartonshire;

Morrison Bowmore Distillers Ltd.
Auchentoshan Distillery, Dalmuir, Clydebank, Dunbartonshire G81 4SJ
Distillers of Auchintoshan, Bowmore, Glen Garioch, McClelland’s

Loch Lomond Distillery Co. Ltd
Lomond Industrial Estate, Alexandria, Dunbartonshire G83 0TL
Distillers of Loch Lomond, Scots Earl, Distillery Select, Glen Scotia,
Littlemill, Croftengea, Craigslodge, Inchmurrin, Glen Douglas, Inchfad

Chivas Brothers
Kilmalid, Stirling Road, Dumbarton, Lanarkshire, G82 2SS
Distillers of Ballantine’s, Chivas, Royal Salute, Clan Campbell,
Something Special, Passport, 100 Pipers, Imperial, Long John
Aberlour, The Glenlivet, Glendronach, Strathisla, Longmorn, Scapa
Tormore, Jameson, Paddy, Powers
Walker Special Old, Wisers


I would like to preface this letter, in that I have enjoyed your fine whisky products for many years, and believe they are truly world-class. Unfortunately, due to the actions of your esteemed West Dunbartonshire council members, I will not be able to enjoy your whisky in the foreseeable future.

It has come to my attention that the West Dunbartonshire Council claims to have voted unanimously to boycott Israeli products.

The West Dunbartonshire Council clearly states their point on their website, updated on the 30th of May, 2011.


The actual boycott resolution is as follows:

‘This Council deplores the loss of life in Palestine which now numbers well over 1,000. This Council also recognises the disproportionate force used by the IDF in Palestine and agrees to boycott all Israeli goods as a consequence. Officers should immediately cease the purchase of any goods we currently source, which were made or grown in Israel. Officers should also ensure we procure no new goods or produce from Israel until this boycott is formally lifted by WDC.’

I find it disturbing that the esteemed council found no reason to mention the reason for the IDF’s operation in Gaza. There was no mention of the intentional targeting of civilian infants, children, women and men by Gaza’s Hamas government, the thousands of rockets they launched at Israel’s civilian population, and the restraint that Israel employed over the previous years when attacked on a daily basis.

The IDF does not target civilians. The vast majority of Palestinians that Israel killed have been terrorists. Go check the facts. I have. Palestinians terrorists routinely use hospitals, mosques, and schools to launch their rocket attacks on Israel. Try defending your population from terrorists and see if you can guarantee zero collateral damage. Does your council not condemn the barbarism of the Arab terrorist because in the back of their minds they are concerned terrorists might hunt them down and terrorize THEIR families?

Why was there an IDF operation in Gaza in the first place? To oppress poor Palestinian Arabs? How would you deal with Gazas’ Arabs’ targeting Scotland’s babies, other children, and other civilians? Have you not seen the pictures of atrocities the Arabs have visited on innocent children, or does your council not care? We are not talking about isolated attacks on Israel, but about thousands of rockets they have launched at Israel’s civilian population.

The restraint of Israel under attack is astounding. Colonel Richard Kemp, previous Commander of British Armed Forces in Afghanistan said when presenting his report to the United Nations Human Rights Council in October 2009: “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.” (source)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said to the US Congress last week: "Of the 300 million Arabs in the Middle East and North Africa, only Israel's Arab citizens enjoy real democratic rights. I want you to stop for a second and think about that. Of those 300 million Arabs, less than one half of 1% are truly free, and they're all citizens of Israel! This startling fact reveals a basic truth: Israel is not what is wrong about the Middle East; Israel is what is right about the Middle East!" (source)

Lastly, the Palestinian Authority President, Mahmoud Abbas stated this past Saturday that the future state of Palestine will be “free of Jews.” (source)

The State of Israel offers equal freedom for all its citizens, Jew, Arab, and Christian alike, including full parliamentary and judiciary representation. The State of Israel is the unchallenged leader of democracy in the Middle East, and the West Dunbartonshire Council boycott unfortunately attempts to undermine the very success of Israel as a democracy.

Therefore, it saddens me to have to inform you that the global counter-boycott of Scottish whisky products, distilled in the West Durbanshire Council region, is beginning. I don’t know anyone who bears malice toward these fine distilleries. When, however, your local council representatives boycott my country, under the most unethical and immoral of pretext, you cannot expect your market to sit idly and pretend your are not perverting justice.

• The counter-boycott is on the purchase of Scottish Whisky, distilled in the West Durbanshire council region.
• The counter-boycott is not retroactive and applies only to purchases made from June 2011 onwards.
• The counter-boycott will not prevented global residents from purchasing whisky products, distilled outside of West Dunbartonshire.
• Attempts to depict this counter-boycott as racist are also entirely inaccurate. The counter-boycott is instigated in response to conduct and boycott initiated by the West Durbanshire Council and applies to no specific ethnic or religious group. This is in direct opposition to the West Durbanshire Council which refuses to condemn the actions of Palestinian terrorists targeting Israeli civilians and the anti-Semitic, racist declarations of the Palestinian Authority, which calls for a “Jew-free” apartheid, State of Palestine.

The counter-boycott is publicizing the list of West Durbanshire distilled whisky by internet and distributing press releases to news agencies and others around the globe.


Jameel Rashid
The Muqata Blog

Follow the Muqata on Twitter.

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael



I myself intend to boycott pretty much everything Scottish henceforward.
And I dare anyone to accuse me of racism - there are kilted heathen in my family background, and one of the things my mother happily told me about when I was young, was how her ancestors had slaughtered some other bunch of hairy Scots gits back in the twelfth or thirteenth century.
Besides, I know how haggis is made - that foul product qualifies as a crime against humanity on par with buggery Bobby Burns horrid doggerel.
No surprise that they are often paired.
Thank heavens the best marmalade comes from England.


Monday, May 30, 2011

Speak Out For Israel At The Frameline 35 International LGBT Film Festival

The BDS drums are beating again, this time demanding that the San Francisco LGBT Film Festival refuse the Israeli consulate's sponsorship and funding. Why? Because despite the fact that Israel is the only nation in the Middle East in which it's legal to be gay, these folks have decided that's not nearly as important as their campaign to delegitimize the State of Israel.

They refer to any reference to Israel's excellent record in regard to gay and lesbian rights as 'pinkwashing'. Don't confuse them with facts! Don't think for a moment that the safety, dignity and lives of gay Middle Easterners matter even for a moment when the really important thing is destroying Israel!

This is a perfectly vile attitude, one that not only embraces an unjustifiable venom toward Israel, but privileges that hate above any love for the actual wellbeing of LGBT people. These people suck. So let's let the Film Festival know they're going to lose our presence at the Festival if they stigmatize the representatives of the Israeli government in our community.

Mr. Bluejeans Sr. offered his own proposal for a good resolution to this little brouhaha, which was to request that the representatives of the PLO at the UN in New York put up an equal amount of money for the Film Festival, and get co-billing with the Israeli consulate on the programs. Failing this, call, e-mail, and fax Frameline;

You can e-mail kcprice@frameline.org and jennifer@frameline.org
The Frameline phone number is: 415-703-8650 .
The FAX number is: 415-861-1404.

Speak out!!

Some Information on LGBT Rights in Israel

-Gays have full rights to serve in the military
-Sodomy laws were struck down in 1988
-Full civil rights for LGBT people established in 1992
-There are partner benefits for all governmental employees, including the national airline, El Al
-Partner adoption rights.
-In 2007 the State agreed to recognize same gender marriages performed abroad, similar to its recognition of other civil marriages from other countries

LGBT Pride in Israel

--Pride parades take place annually in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Eilat and Haifa. Attempts by Muslim, Christian and Jewish religious groups to stop the parades, mostly in Jerusalem have consistently been blocked by the Israeli Supreme Court.
-The first transgender person to win the Eurovision contest was Israeli Dana International in 1998 with her song, "Diva". Eurovision is watched by hundreds of millions of people through Europe, Asia and Africa.
-Openly gay singer Ivri Lidder is amongst Israel's most popular entertainers
-Openly gay movie producer Eytan Fox has become one of Israel's most important film exporters to the world, with his movies "Yossi and Jagger", Walk on Water" and "The Bubble".
-Openly gay politicians have served in the Israeli Knneset and on the city councils of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Neturei Karta do AIPAC

See the Neturei Karta.
See them stand and hold signs at AIPAC.
See how crestfallen they look when they are told they spelled "Palestine" wrong.
Silly, Silly Neturei Karta

See the Neturei Karta.
See them stand and hold signs at AIPAC.
They are "authentic rabbis" and are made with all natural ingredients
Silly, Silly Neturei Karta

See the Neturei Karta.
See them kiss and embrace the man who called for the genocide of the Jewish people
Silly, Silly Neturei Karta

Note To JVP's Cecilie Surasky: Time to take a refresher course in English

Those of us unfortunate enough to be on the email list of Cecilie Surasky, Deputy Director Jewish Voice for Peace received this whiny missive today. (My comments in bold)

I was stunned to see that our entire U.S. Congress gave Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu 29 standing ovations on Tuesday. Twenty-nine. Unbelievable, given what his speech contained.
Cecilie- how does it feel to be irrelevant? After 15 years of providing cover for anti-Semites, look how little impact you 've had. America still loves Israel and supports Israel, our only true ally in the Middle east.

The speech that Netanyahu gave that day will go down in history as an extraordinary embarrassment to Americans and Israelis alike. Read on to find out what he said and why we cannot let it go unanswered.
It will go down in history as the day America's elected representatives stood for peace, and stood with Israel. On both sides of the aisle.

To put it simply, Netanyahu proved yet again that he prefers settlement expansion and Jewish domination of Palestinians to any kind of true peace agreement that would benefit both peoples. He claimed that Israel isn’t occupying anyone—ignoring nearly 44 years of increasingly brutal Israeli control over the lives of millions of Palestinians.
No, Cecilie. He said: "Two years ago, I publicly committed to a solution of two states for two peoples -- a Palestinian state alongside a Jewish state. I'm willing to make painful compromises to achieve this historic peace. As the leader of Israel, it's my responsibility to lead my people to peace". He also said "The Palestinians share this small land with us. We seek a peace in which they'll be neither Israel's subjects nor its citizens. They should enjoy a national life of dignity as a free, viable and independent people living in their own state. They should enjoy a prosperous economy, where their creativity and initiative can flourish." He said " Israel will not be the last country to welcome a Palestinian state as a new member of the United Nations; it will be the first to do so." If you could put aside your hate for just a moment Cecilie, you would have heard it too.

He stated that Israel had no need for American military assistance—ignoring the $3 billion in military equipment and aid the U.S. provides Israel each year.
No, Cecilie, he said "You've been very generous in giving us tools to do the job of defending Israel on our own. Thank you all, and thank you, President Obama, for your steadfast commitment to Israel's security. I know economic times are tough. I deeply appreciate this."

He said Israel supports the desire of Arab peoples to live free—saying nothing about the ongoing Israeli shootings and arrests of Palestinians who nonviolently protest for their right to be free.
These non-violent protesters?

Is targeting a yellow school Israeli school bus "non-violent resistance"?

Is firing thousands of rockets at civilians in Israel "non-violent resistance"?

What makes this so outrageous is that Netanyahu’s speech found a shockingly sympathetic audience in the U.S. Congress while people like you and me could only watch in disbelief.
No, Cecilie. I've never been prouder to be an American, or to be a Zionist. Cecilie- Jewish Voice for Peace(JVP) has repeatedly aligned itself with some of the most viciously anti-Israel groups in the world. Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) has provided political, legal and physical cover for anti-Semitism. Jewish Voice for Peace represents hypocrisy, and nothing more. Netanyahu said " I stood before my people -- and I told you, it wasn't easy for me -- I stood before my people and I said, "I will accept a Palestinian state." Cecilie- will you, will Jewish Voice for Peace ever say , "I will accept a Jewish state." ?

Until the moment comes that you can, Cecilie, JVP will always be a fringe group of haters and extremists.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Hezbollah may have biological and chemical weapons


In a speech to the American Enterprise Institute, Outgoing US Defense Secretary Robert Gates warned against the Shiite group's arming methods and the possibility that it owns chemical and biological weapons, CNN reported Wednesday.

The US official made similar statements last year, but did not back them up with proof. "Hezbollah cruise missiles could threaten US ships with anti-ship missiles with a range of 65 miles," he added.

Two months ago, an Israeli security official provided the Washington Post with a map detailing no less than 550 bunkers, 300 surveillance sites and 100 other facilities the Jewish state believes belong to Hezbollah terrorists in Lebanon.

Most of the sites marked on the map, which appeared in the American newspaper on Wednesday, are located south of the Litani River.

Anti-Semitism in an NGO? Who'd ever guess?

Theophil Pfister, a member of the Swiss People’s Party in the National parliament, submitted a legislative query about the Swiss funds being used to fund BADIL, calling the work of BADIL the “worst anti- Semitic propaganda.”

From an article in the J POST

The Swiss government froze its funding stream for a pro-Palestinian NGO because an anti-Semitic cartoon appeared on its website, according to a report in the Swiss daily Tages-Anzeiger on Wednesday.

Switzerland, Holland, Sweden and Denmark, which together fund the NGO Development Center (NDC), have contributed $270,000 since 2008 to BADIL: Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights.

“By stopping funding to BADIL, NDC is acknowledging that NGOs sometimes misuse foreign government funding to pursue radical political agendas,” wrote Gerald Steinberg, the head of the Jerusalem-based watchdog organization NGO Monitor, in an e-mail on Saturday to The Jerusalem Post.

The cartoon, which was posted in Fall 2010, shows a caricature of a Jewish man holding a blood-soaked pitchfork and keys while standing over a dead Arab child.

BADIL, founded in 1998, advocates a boycott, sanctions and divestment (BDS) strategy against the Jewish state.

Amjad Audeh, a BADIL spokesman, told Tages- Anzeiger that the publication of the cartoon was a “slip up.”

The Swiss government has not ruled out future monies for BADIL. The four EU countries are seeking new conditions from the Bethlehembased organization in order to continue their financial support.

According to Steinberg, BADIL is in the middle of a three year, $575,000 grant from the NDC.

“They are a leader in the BDS movement, they published an anti-Semitic cartoon on their website and they reject multiple peace initiatives.

These actions are clearly out of step with their European funders, and the funding has rightfully been frozen,” Steinberg said.

He said an independent public analysis of the “antipeace and anti-human rights NGOs” that are funded by European governments is needed.

“The damage done by irresponsible funding under the NDC has been very costly,” Steinberg said.

BADIL said a posted text from the Australian Holocaust denier Frederick Töben on its website in 2008 was also an oversight.

According to an extensive 2006 Eye on the UN report, titled, “The UN-NGO Connection: Spreading the Message of Hate and Terrorism,” BADIL is listed as “advocating the end of the Jewish state” and equating “Zionism with racism.”

According to NGO Monitor, BADIL advocates the end of Israel as a Jewish State, and glorifies violence, martyrdom, and intifada.

Thank you Switzerland, for freezing funding. Its about time.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Gene Simmons Slams President Obama's Israel Policy.

Gene Simmons: "Pres Obama has no ***&^& idea what the world is like"
Normally I don't expect aging rock stars to deliver coherent foreign policy advice, but this is pretty entertaining.

Israeli Books Banned In Scotland

Dort wo man Bücher verbrennt, verbrennt man auch am Ende Menschen.
--Heinrich Heine

You don't have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.
--Ray Bradbury

Via Virtual Jerusalem: A Scottish municipality has banned from its libraries books by Israeli authors and that were printed or published in Israel.

The West Dunbartonshire Council, consisting of towns and villages west of Glasgow, ordered new books by Israeli authors to be banned from the council's libraries, according to reports.

The ban reportedly was ordered after last year's raid by Israeli commandoes on a ship attempting to break Israel's blockade on Gaza that led to the death of nine Turkish nationals. The ban followed a decision made 2 1/2 years ago following the Gaza war to boycott goods produced in Israel. According to that law, the council and all its public bodies are forbidden to sell goods that originated from Israel.

Read the rest.

Amos Oz, David Grossman, S.Y. Agnon, Batya Gur, Dorit Rabinyan, Sami Michael, Naomi Ragen, Yehuda Amichai, Tom Segev, Orly Castel-Bloom, Dan Pagis, Yoram Kaniuk, Emil Habibi, Michal Govrin...a language, a nation, an entire literature rejected. I'm sure these censors feel themselves quite smugly in the right. I can't begin to express my fury.

We are only just beginning to sound the vile depths to which the delegitimization campaign against Israel is sinking. This sounds fine, now. Books may only be bought from countries with a right to exist...which would be all of them, except for Israel.

I'm making no excuses for the West Dunbartonshire Council. I don't care if they're vicious or well-meaning, ignorant or knowledgeable, they have set out to be part of the mechanism of destroying a nation.

Hat tip to Vicious Babushka, both for being one of the first people to bring this story to my attention, and for the Bradbury quote, which I would have never remembered.

AIPAC Vampire Squid 1. Rae Abileah 0

Pity poor Rae Abileah. First her scheduled talk at a Berkeley Jewish Voice for Palestine (JVP) meeting was interrupted by Zionists, and now this. After boasting in a variety of sources about infiltrating AIPAC, the poor girls' shout downs were, well, shouted down. Her attempts to disrupt Netanyahu yet again were met instead by enthusiastic chants of "Bibi" from the thousands attending the AIPAC National policy Conference in Washington this weekend.


Fortunately Rae, known for her random appearances in pink bathrobes, isn't too concerned about matters of personal dignity. Theatrical until the end, she demanded to be taken to the hospital, where her rants continued.

Rae is affiliated with Code Pink, and JVP's stand-up comedy team "Young Jewish and Proud"

Another photo of Rae's "attack" by "AIPAC supporters". How does she know they are "AIPAC supporters", as she has alleged on dozens of sites? I see no identifcation. I see no T shirt imprinted "AIPAC supporter". Is it the yamulkes? Sorry Rae, those guys ain't touching you, and the yamulke generally signals "traditional Jew", not necessarily "AIPAC supporter". Enquiring minds are wondering, Rae. Do fill us in.

Transcript of Netanyahu's address to U.S. Congress on May 24, 2011

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu address to a joint session of U.S. Congress on May 24, 2011 (from the Globe and Mail)

Vice President Biden, Speaker Boehner, distinguished senators, members of the House, honored guests, I'm deeply moved by this warm welcome, and I'm deeply honored that you've given me the opportunity to address Congress a second time.

Mr. Vice President, do you remember the time that we were the new kids in town? (Laughter, applause.) And I do see a lot of old friends here, and I see a lot of new friends of Israel here as well -- Democrats and Republicans alike. (Applause.)

Israel has no better friend than America, and America has no better friend than Israel. (Applause.) We stand together to defend democracy. We stand together to advance peace. We stand together to fight terrorism. Congratulations, America. Congratulations, Mr. President: You got bin Laden. Good riddance! (Cheers, applause.)

In an unstable Middle East, Israel is the one anchor of stability. In a region of shifting alliances, Israel is America's unwavering ally. Israel has always been pro-American. Israel will always be pro-American. (Applause.)

My friends, you don't have to -- you don't need to do nation- building in Israel. We're already built. (Laughter, applause.) You don't need to export democracy to Israel. We've already got it. (Applause.) And you don't need to send American troops to Israel. We defend ourselves. (Cheers, applause.)

You've been very generous in giving us tools to do the job of defending Israel on our own. Thank you all, and thank you, President Obama, for your steadfast commitment to Israel's security. I know economic times are tough. I deeply appreciate this. (Applause.)

Some of you have been telling me that your belief has been reaffirmed in recent months that support for Israel's security is a wise investment in our common future, for an epic battle is now under way in the Middle East between tyranny and freedom. A great convulsion is shaking the earth from the Khyber Pass to the Straits of Gibraltar.

The tremors have shattered states. They've toppled governments. And we can all see that the ground is still shifting.

Now, this historic moment holds the promise of a new dawn of freedom and opportunity. There are millions of young people out there who are determined to change their future. We all look at them. They muster courage. They risk their lives. They demand dignity. They desire liberty. These extraordinary scenes in Tunis, in Cairo, evoke those of Berlin and Prague in 1989. Yet, as we share their hopes --

You know, I take it as a badge of honor, and so should you, that in our free societies you can now protest. You can't have these protests in the farcical parliaments in Tehran or in Tripoli. This is real democracy. (Cheers, applause.)

So as we share the hopes of these young people throughout the Middle East and Iran, that they'll be able to do what that young woman just did -- I think she's young; I couldn't see quite that far --(laughter) -- we must also remember that those hopes could be snuffed out, as they were in Tehran in 1979. You remember what happened then.

The brief democratic spring in Tehran was cut short by a ferocious and unforgiving tyranny. And it's this same tyranny that smothered Lebanon's democratic Cedar Revolution and inflicted on that long- suffering country the medieval rule of Hezbollah.

So today the Middle East stands at a fateful crossroads. And like all of you, I pray that the peoples of the region choose the path less traveled, the path of liberty. (Applause.)

No one knows what this path consists of better than you.

Nobody. This path of liberty is not paved by elections alone. It's paved when governments permit protests in town squares, when limits are placed on the powers of rulers, when judges are beholden to laws and not men, and when human rights cannot be crushed by tribal loyalties or mob rule. Israel has always embraced this path in a Middle East that has long rejected it. In a region where women are stoned, gays are hanged, Christians are persecuted, Israel stands out. It is different. And this was seen -- (applause) -- thank you.

There was a great English writer in the 19th century, George Eliot. It's a she; that was a pseudonym in those days. George Eliot predicted over a century ago that, once established, the Jewish state -- here's what she said: "The Jewish state will shine like a bright star of freedom amid the despotisms of the East." Well, she was right.

We have a free press, independent courts, an open economy, rambunctious parliamentary debates -- (laughter) -- now, don't laugh -- (laughter) -- ah, you see? You think you're tough on another -- on one another here in Congress? Come spend a day in the Knesset. Be my guest! (Laughter, applause.)

Courageous Arab protesters are now struggling to secure these very same rights for their peoples, for their societies. We're proud in Israel that over 1 million Arab citizens of Israel have been enjoying these rights for decades. (Applause.) Of the 300 million Arabs in the Middle East and North Africa, only Israel's Arab citizens enjoy real democratic rights. (Applause.) Now, I want you to stop for a second and think about that. Of those 300 million Arabs, less than one-half of 1 percent are truly free, and they're all citizens of Israel. (Applause.)

This startling fact reveals a basic truth: Israel is not what is wrong about the Middle East; Israel is what's right about the Middle East. (Applause.)

Israel fully supports the desire of Arab peoples in our region to live freely. We long for the day when Israel will be one of many real democracies in the -- in the Middle East.

Fifteen years ago, I stood at this very podium. By the way, it hasn't changed. (Laughter.) I stood here and I said that democracy must start to take root in the Arab world. Well, it's begun to take root, and this beginning holds the promise of a brilliant future of peace and prosperity, because I believe that a Middle East that is genuinely democratic will be a Middle East truly at peace.

But while we hope for the best and while we work for the best, we must also recognize that powerful forces oppose this future. They oppose modernity. They oppose democracy. They oppose peace.

Foremost among these forces is Iran. The tyranny in Tehran brutalizes its own people. It supports attacks against Americans troops in Afghanistan and in Iraq. It subjugates Lebanon and Gaza. It sponsors terror worldwide.

When I last stood here, I spoke of the consequences of Iran developing nuclear weapons. Now time is running out. The hinge of history may soon turn, for the greatest danger of all could soon be upon us: a militant Islamic regime armed with nuclear weapons.

Militant Islam threatens the world. It threatens Islam.

Now, I have no doubt -- I'm absolutely convinced -- that it will ultimately be defeated. I believe it will eventually succumb to the forces of freedom and progress. It depends on cloistering young minds for a given amount of years, and the process of opening up information will ultimately defeat this movement. But like other fanatacisms that were doomed to fail, militant Islam could exact an horrific price from all of us before its eventual demise.

A nuclear-armed Iran would ignite a nuclear arms race in the Middle East. It would give terrorists a nuclear umbrella. It would make the nightmare of nuclear terrorism a clear and present danger throughout the world.

See, I want you to understand what this means, because if we don't stop it, it's coming. They could put a bomb anywhere. They could put it in a missile; they're working on missiles that could reach this city. They could put it on a -- on a ship inside a container; could reach every port. They could eventually put it in a suitcase or in a subway.

Now, the threat to my country cannot be overstated. Those who dismiss it are sticking their heads on the stand. Less than seven decades after 6 million Jews were murdered, Iran's leaders deny the Holocaust of the Jewish people while calling for the annihilation of the Jewish state. Leaders who spew such venom should be banned from every respectable forum on the planet. (Applause.)

But there's something that makes the outrage even greater. Do you know what that is? It's the lack of outrage, because in much of the international community, the call(s) for our destruction are met with utter silence. It's even worse because there are many who rush to condemn Israel for defending itself against Iran's terror proxies. Not you. Not America. (Applause.)

You've acted differently. You've condemned the Iranian regime for its genocidal aims. You've passed tough sanctions against Iran.

History will salute you, America. (Applause.)

President Obama has said that the United States is determined to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. The president successfully led the Security Council at the U.N. to adopt sanctions against Iran. You in Congress passed even tougher sanctions.

Now, these words and deeds are vitally important, yet the ayatollah regime briefly suspended its nuclear program only once, in 2003, when it feared the possibility of military action. In that same year, Moammar Gadhafi gave up his nuclear weapons program, and for the same reason. The more Iran believes that all options are on the table, the less the chance of confrontation. (Applause.) And this is why I ask you to continue to send an unequivocal message that America will never permit Iran to develop nuclear weapons. (Applause.)

Now, as for Israel, if history has taught the Jewish people anything, it is that we must take calls for our destruction seriously.

We are a nation that rose from the ashes of the Holocaust. When we say never again, we mean never again. (Applause.) Israel always reserves -- (applause) -- Israel always reserves the right to defend itself. (Applause.)

My friends, while Israel will be ever-vigilant in its defense, we'll never give up our quest for peace. I guess we'll give it up when we achieve it. (Applause.) Because we want peace. Because we need peace. Now, we've achieved historic peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan, and these have held up for decades.

I remember what it was like before we had peace. I was nearly killed in a firefight inside the Suez Canal -- I mean that literally -- inside the Suez Canal.

And I was going down to the bottom with a 40-pound pack -- ammunition pack -- on my back, and somebody reached out to grab me.

And they're still looking for the guy who did such a stupid thing. (Laughter.) I was nearly killed there. And I remember battling terrorists along both banks of the Jordan.

Too many Israelis have lost loved ones, and I know their grief. I lost my brother. So no one in Israel wants a return to those terrible days.

The peace with Egypt and Jordan has long served as an anchor of stability and peace in the heart of the Middle East. (Applause.) And this peace -- this peace should be bolstered by economic and political support to all those who remain committed to peace. (Applause.) The peace agreements between Israel and Egypt and Israel and Jordan are vital, but they're not enough. We must also find a way to forge a lasting peace with the Palestinians. (Applause.)

Two years ago, I publicly committed to a solution of two states for two peoples -- a Palestinian state alongside a Jewish state.

(Applause.) I'm willing to make painful compromises to achieve this historic peace. As the leader of Israel, it's my responsibility to lead my people to peace. (Applause.)

Now, this is not easy for me. It's not easy, because I recognize that in a genuine peace, we'll be required to give up parts of the ancestral Jewish homeland. And you have to understand this: In Judea and Samaria, the Jewish people are not foreign occupiers. (Cheers, applause.)

We're not the British in India. We're not the Belgians in the Congo. This is the land of our forefathers, the land of Israel, to which Abraham brought the idea of one god, where David set out to confront Goliath, and where Isaiah saw his vision of eternal peace. No distortion of history -- and boy am I reading a lot of distortions of history lately, old and new -- no distortion of history could deny the 4,000-year-old bond between the Jewish people and the Jewish land. (Sustained applause.)

But there is another truth. The Palestinians share this small land with us. (Applause.) We seek a peace in which they'll be neither Israel's subjects nor its citizens. They should enjoy a national life of dignity as a free, viable and independent people living in their own state. (Applause.) They should enjoy a prosperous economy, where their creativity and initiative can flourish.

Now, we've already seen the beginnings of what is possible. In the last two years, the Palestinians have begun to build a better life for themselves. By the way, Prime Minister Fayyad has led this effort on their part, and I -- I wish him a speedy recovery from his recent operation. (Applause.)

We've helped -- on our side, we've helped the Palestinian economic growth by removing hundreds of barriers and roadblocks to the free flow of goods and people, and the results have been nothing short of remarkable. The Palestinian economy is booming; it's growing by more than 10 percent a year. And Palestinian cities -- they look very different today than what they looked just a few years -- a few years ago. They have shopping malls, movie theaters, restaurants, banks.

They even have e-businesses, but you can't see that when you visit them. (Scattered laughter.)

That's what they have. It's a great change. And all of this is happening without peace. So imagine what could happen with peace. (Applause.)

Peace would herald a new day for both our peoples, and it could also make the dream of a broader Arab-Israeli peace a realistic possibility. So now, here's the question. You've got to ask it: If the benefits of peace with the Palestinians are so clear, why has peace eluded us? Because all six Israeli prime ministers since the signing of the Oslo Accords agreed to establish a Palestinian state, myself included; so why has peace not been achieved?

Because so far, the Palestinians have been unwilling to accept a Palestinian state if it meant accepting a Jewish state alongside it.

You see, our conflict has never been about the establishment of a Palestinian state; it's always been about the existence of the Jewish state. (Applause.) This is what this conflict is about. (Extended applause.)

In 1947, the U.N. voted to partition the land into a Jewish state and an Arab state. The Jews said yes; the Palestinians said no.

In recent years, the Palestinians twice refused generous offers by Israeli prime ministers to establish a Palestinian state on virtually all the territory won by Israel in the Six Day War. They were simply unwilling to end the conflict. And I regret to say this: They continue to educate their children to hate. They continue to name public squares after terrorists. And worst of all, they continue to perpetuate the fantasy that Israel will one day be flooded by the descendants of Palestinian refugees. My friends, this must come to an end. (Applause.)

President Abbas must do what I have done. I stood before my people -- and I told you, it wasn't easy for me -- I stood before my people and I said, "I will accept a Palestinian state." It's time for President Abbas to stand before his people and say, "I will accept a Jewish state." (Cheers, applause.)

Those six words will change history. They'll make it clear to the Palestinians that this conflict must come to an end; that they're not building a Palestinian state to continue the conflict with Israel, but to end it.

And those six words will convince the people of Israel that they have a true partner for peace.

With such a partner, the Palestinian -- or rather the Israeli people will be prepared to make a far-reaching compromise. I will be prepared to make a far-reaching compromise. (Applause.)

This compromise must reflect the dramatic demographic changes that have occurred since 1967. The vast majority of the 650,000 Israelis who live beyond the 1967 lines reside in neighborhoods and suburbs of Jerusalem and Greater Tel Aviv.

Now these areas are densely populated, but they're geographically quite small. And under any realistic peace agreement, these areas, as well as other places of critical strategic and national importance, we'd -- be incorporated into the final borders of Israel. (Applause.)

The status of the settlements will be decided only in negotiations, but we must also be honest. So I'm saying today something that should be said publicly by all those who are serious about peace. In any real peace agreement, in any peace agreement that ends the conflict, some settlements will end up beyond Israel's borders. Now the precise delineation of those borders must be negotiated. We'll be generous about the size of the future Palestinian state. But as President Obama said, the border will be different than the one that existed on June 4th, 1967. (Applause.) Israel will not return to the indefensible boundaries of 1967. (Cheers, applause.)

So I want to be very clear on this point. Israel will be generous on the size of a Palestinian state but will be very firm on where we put the border with it. This is an important principle, shouldn't be lost.

We recognize that a Palestinian state must be big enough to be viable, to be independent, to be prosperous. All of you -- and the president too -- have referred to Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people, just as you've been talking about a future Palestinian state as the homeland of the Palestinian people. Well, Jews from around the world have a right to immigrate to the one and only Jewish state, and Palestinians from around the world should have a right to immigrate, if they so choose, to a Palestinian state.

And here is what this means. It means that the Palestinian refugee problem will be resolved outside the borders of Israel. (Applause.)

You know, everybody knows this. It's time to say it. It's important.

And as for Jerusalem, only a democratic Israel has protected the freedom of worship for all faiths in the city. (Applause.) Throughout the millennial history of the Jewish capital, the only time that Jews, Christians and Moslems could worship freely, could have unfettered access to their holy sites has been during Israel's sovereignty over Jerusalem.

Jerusalem must never again be divided. (Applause.) Jerusalem must remain the united capital of Israel. (Applause.)

I know this is a difficult issue for Palestinians. But I believe that, with creativity and with good will, a solution can be found.

So this is the peace I plan to forge with a Palestinian partner committed to peace. But you know very well that in the Middle East, the only peace that will hold is the peace you can defend. So peace must be anchored in security. (Applause.)

In recent years, Israel withdrew from south Lebanon and from Gaza. We thought we'd get peace. That's not what we got. We got 12,000 rockets fired from those areas on our cities, on our children, by Hezbollah and Hamas. The U.N. peacekeepers in Lebanon, they failed to prevent the smuggling of this weaponry. The European observers in Gaza, they evaporated overnight. So if Israel simply walked out of the territories, the flow of weapons into a future Palestinian state would be unchecked, and missiles fired from it could reach virtually every home in Israel in less than a minute.

I want you to think about that, too. Imagine there's a siren going on now and we have less than 60 seconds to find shelter from an incoming rocket. Would you live that way? Do you think anybody can live that way? Well, we're not going to live that way either. (Cheers, applause.)

The truth is that Israel needs unique security arrangements because of its unique size. It's one of the smallest countries in the world. Mr. Vice President, I'll grant you this: It's bigger than Delaware. (Laughter.) It's even bigger than Rhode Island. But that's about it. (Laughter.) Israel under 1967 lines would be half the width of the Washington Beltway.

Now, here's a bit of nostalgia. I came to Washington 30 years ago as a young diplomat. It took me a while, but I finally figured it out: there is an America beyond the Beltway. (Laughter, applause.)

But Israel under 1967 lines would be only nine miles wide. So much for strategic depth. So it's therefore vital -- absolutely vital -- that a Palestinian state be fully demilitarized, and it's vital -- absolutely vital -- that Israel maintain a long-term military presence along the Jordan River. (Applause.)

Solid security arrangements on the ground are necessary not only to protect the peace; they're necessary to protect Israel in case the peace unravels, because in our unstable region, no one can guarantee that our peace partners today will be there tomorrow. And my friends, when I say tomorrow, I don't mean some distant time in the future; I mean tomorrow. (Applause.)

Peace can only be achieved around the negotiating table.

The Palestinian attempt to impose a settlement through the United Nations will not bring peace. (Applause.) It should be forcefully opposed by all those who want to see this conflict end. I appreciate the president's clear position on these -- on this issue.

Peace cannot be imposed. It must be negotiated. (Applause.)

But peace can only be negotiated with partners committed to peace, and Hamas is not a partner for peace. (Applause.) Hamas -- Hamas remains committed to Israel's destruction and to terrorism. They have a charter. That charter not only calls for the obliteration of Israel, it says: Kill the Jews everywhere you find them.

Hamas' leader condemned the killing of Osama bin Laden and praised him as a holy warrior. Now, again, I want to make this clear:

Israel is prepared to sit down today and negotiate peace with the Palestinian Authority. I believe we can fashion a brilliant future for our children. But Israel will not negotiate with a Palestinian government backed by the Palestinian version of al-Qaeda. That we will not do. (Applause.)

So I say to President Abbas: Tear up your pact with Hamas! Sit down and negotiate. Make peace with the Jewish state. (Applause.) And if you do, I promise you this: Israel will not be the last country to welcome a Palestinian state as a new member of the United Nations; it will be the first to do so. (Extended applause.)

My friends, the momentous trials over the last century and the unfolding events of this century attest to the decisive role of the United States in defending peace and advancing freedom. Providence entrusted the United States to be the guardian of liberty. All people who cherish freedom owe a profound debt of gratitude to your great nation. Among the most grateful nations is my nation, the people of Israel, who have fought for their liberty and survival against impossible odds in ancient and modern times alike. I speak on behalf of the Jewish people and the Jewish state when I say to you, representatives of America: Thank you. (Applause.) Thank you. Thank you for your unwavering support for Israel. Thank you for ensuring that the flame of freedom burns bright throughout the world.

May God bless all of you, and may God forever bless the United States of America. (Cheers, extended applause.)

Thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you.

(Extended applause.)

New Shopping Mall being built in Gaza

From an article by Khaled Abu Toameh in the Jerusalem Post

"The biggest Palestinian shopping mall is scheduled to open in the Gaza Strip in mid-June.

This will be the second shopping mall to open in the Gaza Strip in a year. Last July, Palestinians opened a two-story mall that includes a supermarket, international clothing stores, a food court, beauty products, a children’s playground and a restaurant..."

The modern three-story complex is the first of its kind in the Palestinian territories, said Ehab al-Issawi, executive director of the Al-Hayat Tureed Company that owns the mall.

Issawi explained that the first floor would house a huge supermarket that would consist of various departments offering food and household items as well as stationary.

The second floor would have many clothes and gift shops, while the third floor would become home to a large restaurant, a modern coffee shop, a cinema and entertainment sites for children."

Its become increasingly obvious that there is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza. The flotilla proponents have begun abandon their "starving Gazans" rhetoric and are focusing on "breaking the siege"- or rather, opening the waters to shipments of Iranian weapons.

Monday, May 23, 2011

LLoyds of London: We will not Insure Terror

From an article by Jessica Elgot and Anshel Pfeffer in the Jewish Chronicle online:

A human rights group has warned insurance companies that they could be aiding terrorism if they insure ships that break the blockade of Gaza.

Israeli organisation Shurut Hadin has written to almost all major insurance companies worldwide, including Lloyd's of London, the biggest in the world.

It warns them that they could be liable for massive damages if the ships they insure break Israel's blockade around Hamas-controlled Gaza.

Lawyer Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, the founder of the group, explained: "We sent these letters to the largest insurance companies in the world, including Turkish companies, which represent over 99 per cent of the maritime insurance business worldwide. We warned them that, if they insure these ships, they could be sued by victims of Hamas attacks."

The human rights group represents victims of terrorists in courts around the world. Ms Darshan-Leitner said: "It has been legally established by courts in the United States and Europe that there is no difference between the military and social frameworks of terror organisations. Any supplies sent to Gaza will probably fall into the hands of Hamas. Therefore, anyone helping the flotilla is abetting terror."

She said she believed that all the previous boats which had attempted to break the naval blockade had been insured, including the three boats in last May's Gaza Freedom Flotilla.

The Turkish Islamist movement IHH, which organised last year's flotilla, is planning another, larger flotilla next month, to deliver supplies to the Gaza Strip. In the violent clash at sea last year, nine Turkish activists were killed and 40 others wounded. Twelve Israeli naval commandos were also injured.

Lloyd's said it would refuse to insure a ship if the owners were attempting to help Hamas and said that if the local law was broken by a ship insured by them, the insurance would be invalid.

A Lloyd's representative said: "Hamas is subject to UK and EU terrorist financing sanctions. As such, any vessel identified as being owned or controlled by that organisation would not be permitted to be insured by Lloyd's, or any other EU insurer. Lloyd's has robust systems in place to ensure international sanctions are followed."

The firm said it had no knowledge of ever having insured a boat attempting to break the Gaza blockade.

And in other flotilla news,

Paul Larudee and friends just sent out a mass email pleading for money in support of their Ship of fools, asking for our "most generous support to enable this delegation to be aboard when it sails to Gaza in late June". Apparently they still need to raise $55,000 by the end of May, poor dears. Its tax deductible, they plead. WTF? Why is aid to aiders and abettors of terror tax-deductible?????

Saturday, May 21, 2011

De Paul Spreads the love. Sabra is there to stay

The latest battle in the hummus wars is over. DePaul University officials say a referendum that sought to have the Sabra hummus currently served on campus removed has failed to receive the 1500 votes needed to pass. Sabra is there to stay

The referendum was placed on the ballot by Students for Justice in Palestine.(Students for Just Us in Palestine) The organization contends the New York based Sabra, the Strauss Group, gives financial support to two Israeli military units accused of human rights abuses.

It's been over ten years since students at DePaul University in Chicago have had a referendum on their student government ballot.

From the DePaul Hillel Blog

"While this issue relates to Israel-Palestine, we trust that DePaul's leaders do not think it is legitimate to boycott a company whose charitable donations, in addition to assisting premature infants in Serbia and providing scholarships for children with cancer, also support soldiers, just as American companies do, without taking a stance on the policies which have put those soldiers into harms way. Should Hershey, Target, Goodyear, Kellogg, Best Buy and other companies who support our troops abroad also be boycotted by DePaul? "

Personally, I love my Sabra hummus( the lemon hummus is lovely- clear bright flavors) on whole wheat bread with provolone cheese and crisp fresh sprouts.

When is a Loss a Win? When Ali Abunimah says it is. Here's his press release:

Students at DePaul University in Chicago voted by a large margin in a referendum asking if they support ending sales of Sabra brand hummus on their campus. Due to a technicality, however, the result will not be binding. A note received by The Electronic Intifada from campus activists with Students for Justice in Palestine at the university announced today the results of voting that took place earlier this week:

Results of the referendum: 1127 voted in favor; 332 voted against ; 8 extraneous write ins. To be valid a referendum must have a turnout of no less than 1500 students. Although we had an amazing win, the referendum is not valid as we were 36 votes short. But this isn’t over. SJP will make a statement about what’s next for the campaign...

Ok, Ali. De Paul's got over 25,000 students. Less than 2,000 voted. Of those, you still didn't scrap enough to pull off a win. Thats 04% of the students at DePaul, Ali. Think your headline: DePaul students vote by large margin to ban Sabra hummus might be a trifle misleading?

Friday, May 20, 2011

Netanyahu's Speech at the White House

"We all knew - that the boundaries of '67 were not drawn as permanent frontiers, they were a cease-fire line of a couple of decades earlier... We did not say that the '67 boundaries must be forever; it would be insanity."

British ambassador Lord Caradon, one of the drafters of UN resolution 242

Netanyahu's words:

Well, Mr. President -- and first, I want to thank you and the first lady for the gracious hospitality that you've shown me, my wife and our entire delegation. We have an enduring bond of friendship between our two countries. And I appreciate the opportunity to have this meeting with you after your important speech yesterday.

We share your hope and your vision for the spread of democracy in the Middle East. I appreciate the fact that you reaffirmed once again now and in our conversation, and in actual deed, the commitment to Israel's security. We value your efforts to advance the peace process.

This is something that we want to have accomplished. Israel wants peace. I want peace. What we all want is a peace that will be genuine, that will hold, that will endure. And I think that the -- we both agree that a peace based on illusions will crash eventually on the rocks of Middle Eastern reality, and that the only -- the only peace that will endure is one that is based on reality, on unshakable facts.

I think for there to be peace, the Palestinians will have to accept some basic realities. The first is that while Israel is prepared to make generous compromises for peace, it cannot go back to the 1967 lines, because these lines are indefensible, because they don't take into account certain changes that have taken place on the ground, demographic changes that have taken place over the last 44 years. Remember that before 1967, Israel was all of 9 miles wide -- half the width of the Washington Beltway. And these were not the boundaries of peace; they were the boundaries of repeated wars, because the attack on Israel was so attractive from them.

So we can't go back to those indefensible lines, and we're going to have to have a long-term military presence along the Jordan.

I discussed this with the president. I think that we understand that Israel has certain security requirements that will have to come into place in any deal that we make.

The second is -- echoes something the president just said, and that is that Israel cannot negotiate with a Palestinian government that is backed by Hamas. Hamas, as the president said, is a terrorist organization, committed to Israel's destruction. It's fired thousands of rockets on our cities, on our children. It's recently fired an anti-tank rocket at a -- at a yellow school bus, killing a 16-year-old boy.

And Hamas has just attacked you, Mr. President, and the United States for ridding the world of bin Laden. So Israel obviously cannot be asked to negotiate with a government that is backed by the Palestinian version of al-Qaida.

I think President Abbas has a simple choice. He has to decide if he negotiates or keeps his pact with Hamas, or makes peace with Israel. And I -- I can only express what I said to you just now: that I hope he makes the choice, the right choice, of choosing peace with Israel.

But a third reality is that the Palestinian refugee problem will have to be resolved in the context of a Palestinian state but certainly not in the borders of Israel. The Arab attack in 1948 on Israel resulted in two refugee problems, Palestinian refugee problem and Jewish refugees, roughly the same number, who were expelled from Arab lands. Now tiny Israel absorbed the Jewish refugees, but the vast Arab world refused to absorb the Palestinian refugees.

Now, 63 years later, the Palestinians come to us and they say to Israel: accept the grandchildren, really, and the great-grandchildren of these refugees, thereby wiping out Israel's future as a Jewish state.

So that's not going to happen. Everybody knows it's not going to happen. And I think it's time to tell the Palestinians forthrightly, it's not going to happen.

The Palestinian refugee problem has to be resolved. It can be resolved. And it will be resolved if the Palestinians choose to do so in Palestinian state. That's a real possibility. But it's not going to be resolved within the Jewish state.

The president and I discussed all of these issues, and I think we may have differences here and there, but I think there is an overall direction that we wish to work together to pursue a real, genuine peace between Israel and its Palestinian neighbors, a peace that is defensible.

Mr. President, you are the -- you are the leader of a great people, the American people. And I am the leader of a much smaller people. The --

PRESIDENT OBAMA: A great people.

PRIME MIN. NETANYAHU: It's a great people too. It's the ancient nation of Israel. And you know, we've been around for almost 4,000 years. We have experienced struggle and suffering like no other people. We've gone through expulsions and pogroms and massacres and the murder of millions.

But I can say that even at the dearth of -- even at the nadir of the valley of death, we never lost hope and we never lost our dream of reestablishing a sovereign state in our ancient homeland, the land of Israel. And now it falls on my shoulders as the prime minister of Israel at a time of extraordinary instability and uncertainty in the Middle East to work with you to fashion a peace that will ensure Israel's security and will not jeopardize its survival.

I take this responsibility with pride but with great humility, because, as I told you in our conversation, we don't have a lot of margin for error and because, Mr. President, history will not give the Jewish people another chance.

So, in the coming days and weeks and months, I intend to work with you to seek a peace that will address our security concerns, seek a genuine recognition that we wish from our Palestinian neighbors and give a better future for Israel and for the entire region. And I thank you for the opportunity to exchange our views and to work together for this common end.

Thank you, Mr. President.



Israel's Pre-1967 Borders from the Jewish virtual library

Rae Abileah slays AIPAC Vampire Squid with song and dance routine. Story at 11

From an article by Kiera Feldman

"Although AIPAC is also a favorite target of flash mobs, there is no chance that the hawkish pro-Israel lobby will close up shop. It is the Goldman Sachs of Washington’s Middle East policy. May 22-24, AIPAC will hold their annual policy summit in D.C., and nearby will be “Move Over, AIPAC,” a conference hosted by Code Pink, Jewish Voice for Peace, and about 100 other groups collectively challenging the great vampire squid wrapped around Congress’ face. With the Arab Spring sweeping through Palestine this week, and Israel now joining the ranks of Syria et al in killing scores of unarmed protestors—or rather, more unarmed protestors than usual--perhaps AIPAC’s stranglehold will prove untenable. Rae Abileah hinted a choreographed song-and-dance number will be performed within the bowels of AIPAC power, but naturally any details beyond that are secret. You’ll have to wait to see it on YouTube."

Well, Kiera, I'm sure the anti-Semitic imagery was no coincidence

Anti-Semitic cartoon, Nazi Germany 1938

And I'm sure the AIPAC participants will just love to see Rae Abilleah and Jim Harris and all their little friends shake their booties. In the absence of a clear or coherent message, what's left for Code Pink and comrades besides making a spectacle of themselves?

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Artists4Israel paint Hebron. Palestinians throw rocks

For the past two days 15 artists from the US and Europe have been hard at work painting large-scale graffiti art on bulletproof cement walls, homes, and IDF bases near Hebron. And in response, Palestinians threw rocks at them. But just once.

New York City's Craig Dershowitz, president of Artists4Israel worked with Chabad envoy Danny Cohen.

According to Danny Cohen, interviewed in YNET

"...The graffiti painted in Hebron was unique and suited to the complicated atmosphere in the city. "We at Chabad Hebron decided that the visit will be devoid of any political persuasion and more spiritual and historical, without the argument between Left and Right – and this suited them," he said.

The artists paid for the flight to Israel while Chabad offered to pay for all of their needs. "We had to supply some 700 spray cans," Cohen said. "But the city certainly looks different. You cannot but notice the beautiful drawings everywhere."

The artists were confronted with violence just once, outside the city's Kasbah, where Palestinian youths threw stones at them.

"I was sure the incident would put an end to this beautiful project, but this unpleasant occurrence only increased their motivation and the guys just continued to paint. They have this message, 'Art and color will vanquish all stones',"

CalPERS divests from Iran

CalPERS, the country's largest public pension fund with $236 billion in market assets is selling all its stock in companies that operate in Iran and Sudan. CalPERS provides retirement benefits to more than 1.6 million State, public school, and local public agency employees, retirees, and their families, and health benefits to nearly 1.3 million members.

On May 16 , The California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) announced that it is fully complying with state divestment laws passed in 2006 and 2007. From their press release

"Responding to the impact of federal and international sanctions, the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) today adopted a plan to divest shares of the remaining public companies operating in specific segments of the Iran and Sudan economies. New investments in these companies would be blocked as well.

Strong sanctions adopted in 2010 by the federal government, the United Nations and European Union prompted the withdrawal of several large multi-national oil and energy companies from Iran and Sudan.

CalPERS once had up to $2 billion invested in 47 companies in the two countries, both targets of California State divestment laws enacted in 2006 and 2007. Today, CalPERS owns shares valued at approximately $160 million in only eight companies that fall within the parameters of the State’s Iran and Sudan divestment acts."

Iran and Sudan are subject to U.S. economic sanctions. Iran has been identified as a state sponsor of terrorism, and Sudan has been cited for genocidal acts against the inhabitants of Darfur.

"The cost of continuing to hold the stock of these eight companies is greater than the value of divesting them," CalPERS board President Rob Feckner said. "Consistent with our fiduciary duty as trustees, we're taking this step in the best interest of the fund."


Incidently, this is the same pension fund Team Hate is attempting to influence to divest from the only democracy in the Middle east. After over 6 weeks of effort, they have 650 signatories on their petition- the vast majority not even invested with CalPers.

Poll: Palestinian Support for Suicide Attacks Highest in Arab World

From Pew Global Attitudes:

A survey, conducted by the Pew Research Center's Global Attitudes Project March 21-April 26, indicates that 68% of Palestinian Muslims say suicide attacks in defense of Islam can often or sometimes be justified, a level of support essentially unchanged from 2007.

In Egypt, support for suicide bombing is actually on the rise - 28% believe it can be justified, up from 8% in 2007.

"Ideas about the role of Islam in society vary across Muslim nations. In Pakistan, Jordan and Egypt, solid majorities believe laws should be based strictly on the teachings of the Quran, while this is a minority viewpoint in Turkey, Lebanon, Indonesia and the Palestinian territories. Views about Islamic fundamentalism also vary widely -- in Pakistan for instance, Muslims tend to sympathize with fundamentalists, while Lebanese and Turkish Muslims favor those who disagree with fundamentalists"

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Persian Pastries are Much Cooler Than Hate and Vandalism

A friend e-mailed to let me know that Zand's on Solano Avenue had a BDS sign, saying "End Apartheid, Boycott Israeli Goods" in the window, and my first reaction was "Aw, heck, say it ain't so!"

Luckily, it wasn't so.

Zand's is on Solano Avenue in Albany. They sell delicious Persian baked goods, and for a little store, a stunning variety of Middle Eastern food products, including many Israeli goods. I cherish them as a local source of red lentils for soup, and also for introducing me to the amazing Mashti Malone ice cream. So when I heard that they were apparently signing on to the vicious, bigoted and irrational boycott of Israeli goods, I was rather alarmed. This might mean I never had any Mashti Malone ice cream again.

However, a quick investigation revealed that the sign was not inside the window, but a sticker OUTSIDE the window, where it had been slapped on over the remains of the last several stickers that had been removed by the proprietor. The owners, Persian Muslims, plan to continue to stock great Middle Eastern food from everywhere in the region, despite petty vandalism and petty hate.

Now, this is the best-tasting mitzvah you will ever do--if you're anywhere nearby, go to Zand's, tell them how much you appreciate their stocking Israeli goods, and buy some pistachio baklava and a pint of Mashti Malone's rosewater sorbet. There. Didn't that feel good?

92-Year-Old Palestinian Woman in a Right-of-Return Demonstration: Palestinians Should Massacre the Jews Like We Massacred Them in Hebron

The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) explores the Middle East through the region’s media. MEMRI bridges the language gap which exists between the West and the Middle East, providing timely translations of Arabic, Persian, Urdu-Pashtu, and Turkish media, as well as original analysis of political, ideological, intellectual, social, cultural, and religious trends in the Middle East.

The latest clip from MEMRI:

92-Year-Old Arab Gloats Over 1929 Hebron Rape-Massacre
Transcript follows:

Interviewer: Please tell us who you are.

Sara Jaber: I am from Hebron. The Jaber family.

Interviewer: What is your name?

Sara Jaber: Sara Muhammad ‘Awwadh Jaber.

Interviewer: How old are you?

Sara Jaber: I am 92.

Interviewer: So you remember May 15, 1948, the day of the Nakba.

Sara Jaber: Why wouldn’t I remember? May Allah support us. I hope we forget those days. Allah willing, you will bury [Israel], and massacre the Jews with your own hands. Allah willing, you will massacre them like we massacred them in Hebron.

Interviewer: What does this day mean to you? You have lived 63 years since the Nakba. You have experienced the entire Nakba…

Sara Jaber: 92 years. That’s 92. I lived through the British era, and I lived through the massacre of the Jews in Hebron. We, the people of Hebron, massacred the Jews. My father massacred them, and brought back some stuff…

Interviewer: Thank you very much.

Graves of Jews massacred in Hebron in 1929, from from Love Never fails.

Read more about the Hebron massacre here

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Children of War--Two Pictures

If you spend enough time reading and writing and speaking about Israel and her neighbors, shocking pictures of children become old hat. Children in mock suicide belts, children dressed in miniature martyr garb, children gaily playing with cartoon characters that praise terrorists--these are shockingly common. So are the wrenching pictures of dead children, wielded by both sides of the situation, the children killed in air strikes on Gaza, the children, like the Fogel family's, murdered in the night by teenage terrorists making their bones.

But this photograph still stood out to me.

This was taken by Reuters. Their caption reads: Palestinian boys dressed in uniforms of Palestinian security forces and holding plastic toy guns take part during a rally marking "Nakba" in the West Bank city of Nablus May 15, 2011. Palestinians on Sunday mark the "Nakba", or catastrophe, to commemorate the expulsion or fleeing of some 700, 000 Palestinians from their homes in the war that led to the founding of Israel in 1948.

Well-fed, chubby-cheeked little boys, wearing matching little costumes and holding toy guns, march in the streets of Nablus, ready to grow up and become real soldiers in a war their leaders fully expect to end only with the complete destruction of Israel. What catches my eye here is how abnormally normal they look to my American eye...fidgety, sleepy, playful. Photos of these children will go into albums at home, and be looked back at fondly, like the pictures of me in my Brownie uniform that probably still lurk in one of my mother's photo boxes.

It makes me think of pictures of little boys in scout uniforms, because it is, except for the big toys guns, so like them, and it makes me think of other pictures of young boys with guns--because it is so unlike them.


These boys are child soldiers in the hideously misnamed Democratic Republic of Congo. They're not well-fed, their uniforms were not ordered up for them by the neighborhood parade committee, and the guns they fire are real. Look at their watchful, controlled faces. Look at the thousand-yard stare on a child who should be worrying about his math homework in a sane world. These photographs will not be going into a photo album in a neatly swept apartment with food in the refrigerator and a television and computer in the living room. There is no home. There is no family.

If you run around accusing Israel of creating a humanitarian crisis 'beyond imagining', look at these photographs, and be ashamed. The Palestinians and their leadership have options beyond conflict, and have consistently rejected them. They have sent their children in harms' way, and justified the murder of Israeli children. Those little boys in Nablus could have a future of peace. Those little boys in the Congo could tell you that a chance like that is treasure you don't throw away.