Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Fatah Leader: Don't Tell the World We Want to Wipe out Israel

From the DailyAlert, via MEMRI

Abbas Zaki, a member of the Fatah Central Committee, told Al-Jazeera on September 23, 2011:
 "The settlement [with Israel] should be based upon the borders of June 4, 1967. When we say that the settlement should be based upon these borders, President [Abbas] understands, we understand, and everybody knows that the greater goal cannot be accomplished in one go. If Israel withdraws from Jerusalem, evacuates the 650,000 settlers, and dismantles the wall - what will become of Israel? It will come to an end."
"If we say that we want to wipe Israel out....C'mon, it's too difficult. It's not [acceptable] policy to say so. Don't say these things to the world. Keep it to yourself."

Monday, September 26, 2011

Adding Up The Death Toll

Over at Popular Resistance, Professor Mazin Qumsiyeh of Bethlehem and Birzeit Universities is supporting Mahmoud Abbas as he speaks in front of the UN to ask for a Palestinian state to be recognized. The professor is not as pleased with Netanyahu's speech, commenting that he was "just amazed at how many lies can be packed in one speech".

He then posts an extensive chart, meant to show the imbalance of power between Israel and the Palestinians. I don't plan to cover all of this, or go into it too extensively (for example, under the precise term "Nature" we get Colonizer/Occuper vs. Occupied People, a lie too big to be unpacked in a blog post. This section, however, caught my eye:

All values show for Israel first, then the Palestinians
Casualties (63 years), 6000 killed/75,000 killed, 20,000 injured/300,000 injured
Homes demolished 0/50,000
Refugees created 0/>6 million people

And it occurs to me, looking at this, that it represents a number of the things that are wrong and false with the way that the conflict is discussed by those who hate Israel. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a professor at Birzeit University, but I was a history major, and I like to think, something of a critical thinker, and my alarm bells are going off as I look at this.

I think I'm going to need to break this down into three separate posts, so let's start today with the casualties. This chart does not indicate a divide between military, civilian, and paramilitary, but the Israeli numbers are rather interesting. Clearly that 6,000 cannot include military deaths, in which case we run well over that before getting to 1973, so presumably this covers civilian deaths. Assuming that this is an honest chart, we are then to presume that the appalling 75,000 figure applies to Palestinian civilians? It seems we have to presume that.

I spent a while trying to make this work. Now, admittedly, I did not use any sophisticated source material, this is all from popular sites on the Internet. However, I believe that the only way to make the numbers add up is to sit down and enter in all Palestinian loss of life in any conflict, since 1948, using both combatant and non-combatant deaths, and using the top numbers in any given conflict where it is disputed. So, for example, Black September is included in the count, and the number used must be the high one of 20,000, not the low count of 3,400.

Now, is this fair reckoning? By my estimation, there are two problems with it, one being that Israeli military deaths are being excluded, and Palestinian combatant deaths counted in, also that the Palestinian count include people killed by non-Israelis who were not acting for Israel in any way. Conceivably, those who died in Black September could be considered victims of the overall conflict, but that line of reasoning is going to get us into trouble down the road, when we start looking at that refugee claim more closely.

But by any reckoning, leaving Palestinian combatants in and Israeli combatants (and diplomatic personnel, and various others) out, which is the only way I can make sense of these numbers, is deeply dishonest, and serves an obvious agenda.

Next time: 0 Homes Destroyed? Or, "But What About Kfar Etzion?"

Censoring Childrens Art from Gaza: MECA does it to themselves

Thanks, Younger Of Zion, for the photo.

Here it is, a bit closer

The Middle East Children's Alliance (MECA), sponsors of the "Children's" art from Gaza, have chosen to restrict access to their exhibit. Their signage states "We reserve the right to refuse entry to those who do not support the showing of Palestinian children's art and "A Child's view from Gaza". There is also documentation of people turned away at the door by the MECA thought police, though there are additional reports that a token Zionist was allowed entry.

There seems to be no limit to the hypocrisy of the Middle East Children's alliance. They've stated "For 23 years, MECA has been a witness to how organizations like the Jewish Community Relations Council and Jewish Federation can intimidate groups and individuals who try to present the reality and perspectives of Palestinians.", concealing their own involvement in the intimidation of the Jewish community- through the coordinated interruption of Jewish community events. Barbara Lubin, the director of MECA was arrested 3 years ago at the San Francisco Jewish Community Center, for terrorizing participants attending classes given in honor of Israel's 60the anniversary. Eleven years ago, Barbara Lubin accomplished her goal of shutting down alternative voices and physically prevented BenyaminNetanyahu from speaking to a capacity crowd in Berkeley.

The Middle east Children's Alliance have become the Bay area thought police.

Photo from BayCitizen

Oh, yes. Here we have living proof that adults take advantage of children and falsify their art to further their political agenda.


Here's one for the screaming insanity file: The Middle East Children's Alliance (MECA), which is Barbara Lubin's pet project and sole evident means of support (given that a large percentage of collected funds are devoted to """overhead"""), screams bloody murder about "censorship" as they perceive it....

and then keeps people from actually viewing the stuff they say was censored.

No, you aren't allowed to see it.

Only the pure of heart are.

That being the usual bunch of retrogrades and Israel-haters that run with Barbara Lubin.

You know, I once met Ms. Lubin.
Can't say that she struck me as particularely human. More like the usual middle-aged sub-woofing troll that lurks around the edges of politically correct, while leering at nice little teenage girlies. But that's just an opinion. She might actually have a soul. Nothing is impossible.

Still, the fact that she and her cult would CENSOR the horrific fake children's art that they spent so much time busking is actually flabbergasting.
I, for one, am honestl horrified.

Bleh, bleagh, and ick poo.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Protesting a Childrens Museum: Meca vs. Mocha

Protesting a Childrens Museum: A tale of two protests.

The Friday Protest:

Protest MOCHA's Cave-In
Friday, Sept. 23 at 3 p.m. Outside MOCHA, 538 Ninth St. near Clay, Oakland
(a few blocks from the 12th St.-City Center BART).
For more information, go to
or call (415) 861-7444.
*For our Muslim brothers and sisters observing Friday Jum'ah, a lecture and prayer will be held at 1:45pm. It will led By Imam Suhaib Webb @ Lafayette square park (on 10th st between MLK and Jefferson st) (Off the 12 st bart station)

Sponsors: Afghans for Peace · Al Awda · American Muslims for Palestine · Arab Cultural and Community Center (ACCC) · Arab Film Festival · Arab Resource and Organizing Center · Asian Law Caucus · BAYAN USA · Bay Area Women in Black · Birthright Unplugged · Black Alliance for Just Immigration · Catalyst Project · CODEPINK Women for Peace · EastSide Arts Alliance · International Jewish
Anti-Zionist Network- Bay Area · International Socialist Organization · Israeli Committee Against House Demolition · Middle East Children's Alliance · Nor. Cal. Friends of Sabeel · Palestinian Youth Movement (PYM) ·Queers Undermining Israeli Terrorism (QUIT!) · San Francisco Women In Black · · US Palestinian Community Network · Zawaya

And Saturdays Protest.

This one is the Potemkin Protest, the one specifically orchestrated for the public:

“A Child’s View From Gaza,” an art exhibit by Palestinian children ages 8-14 that reflects their realities and their dreams for the future.
Saturday, September 24, 1:00pm - 3:00pm
Opening Reception will go on as planned!
September 24, 1-3pm 538 Ninth Street, downtown Oakland
Join us in the courtyard outside of MOCHA as we hold an opening celebration of the exhibit. In addition to the art, the opening includes:
Poetry by Deema Shehabi and Lorene Zouzounis
Edible art by The Great Tortilla Conspiracy
Special art activities for children
If you can volunteer, please contact -- we need folks to help us hold the artwork.
And due to the last minute cancellation of this exhibit, MECA is working on securing another location so communities will have an ongoing opportunity to see this censored artwork. Stay tuned for details!
Since this is a celebration of the art and the children in Gaza who created this work, we want to keep the focus there; we kindly ask you NOT to bring your own signs to this event. Thanks

Generally, the anti-Israel groups on the streets of San Francisco do not attempt to regulate the message of their protest, with hate speech and anti-Semitism overlooked and ignored.

But you can't have that in a well orchestrated publicity stunt, can you?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Soda stream grows 38%. BDS fail. Again.

Kiss my BDS.
A brief message to the BDS cru.
You've failed. Again.

After months of planning, and organizing and conspiring, this years object of hate for the Israel bashers is SodaStream, "a smarter way to enjoy soda". It seemed like a good choice. After all, with that $99 price tag, it would be hard to counter with a buycott. And how many seltzer machines would one family need anyway? And flash mob after flash mob after flash mob were planned, each goofier than the last. Older, flabbier, sadder. After all their efforts, what have they achieved?

From the famed investment advisers at Motley fool:

"SodaStream's growth has been undeniable. It grew revenue by 38% -- and adjusted earnings soared 161% -- in its most recent quarter. The product's popularity continues to grow, evidenced by its financial metrics and its broadening retail last year. Bed Bath & Beyond (Nasdaq: BBBY ) and Williams-Sonoma (NYSE: WSM ) began stocking SodaStream starter kits and flavor concentrates last year, and the product is growing beyond housewares retailers with this summer's rollout at Best Buy (NYSE: BBY ) . "  

BDS fail. BDS epic fail.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Protesting a Childrens Art Museum: MECA to MOCHA " Scorn us and Suffer"

In folklore, the vampire can not enter your home unless you invite him in. Now the Museum of Children's art in Oakland is experiencing just a taste of what happens once you let the vampire across your threshold. Lets hope other municipal institutions learn from their example, and never open their door, not even a crack, to the haters of Israel.

Our story continues:

Barbara Lubin of the Middle East Children's Alliance has called for a weekend of revenge against the Museum of Children Art in Oakland. Her compassion towards children doesn't extend to the children of Oakland, apparently. Her announcement follows:

The board of directors of Oakland’s Museum of Children’s Art cancelled “A Child’s View from Gaza,” a long-planned exhibit of Palestinian children’s drawings. The Jewish Community Relations Council and the Jewish Federation of the East Bay openly claim credit for forcing the MOCHA board to cancel the exhibit.
Protest MOCHA’s Cave-In
Friday, Sept. 23 at 3 p.m.
Outside MOCHA, 538 Ninth St. near Clay, Oakland
(a few blocks from the 12th St.-City Center BART)

The Bay Area and Oakland in particular are known for our diversity and commitment to free expression and social justice. We will not be censored. The show must go on!
Family-Friendly Grand Opening: “A Child’s View from Gaza”
Saturday, Sept. 24, 1-3 p.m.
Join us for art, music, poetry, and food to celebrate the
the opening of the exhibit outside MOCHA at 538 Ninth St.
near Clay, Oakland.

Note that the first protest is called for after Mocha is closed. Barbara knows that the displayed pictures will upset children - she know that video of upset children and parents will simply reinforce to Mocha that they made the right decision. You can't have that.

The second protest is "Family Friendly"- does that mean that the offending pictures wont be shown? Does that mean Barbara knows her original display was not "family friendly"?

Rev. Jack Shriver of the first Presbyterian Church in Oakland has offered to host the drawings. He is no stranger to controversy, having hosted the notorious "Never Again" tour several months back. So the "art" of the Children of Gaza has a venue, now. Barbara Lubins vendetta against the Museum is motivated simply by the need for revenge and her own personal intolerance.

The jury's still out on the influence of adults in the creation of this art. Its been suggested the children were told to model their drawings after Carlos Latuff.

What do you think?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Palestine: The next apartheid state? Maen Areikat calls for a Jew-Free Palestine

The Palestine Liberation Organization's ambassador, to the United States, Maen Areikat, wants a new state of Palestine to officially prohibit Jews. It would be the first country since Nazi Germany, which sought a country that was judenrein, or cleansed of Jews, said Elliott Abrams, a former U.S. National Security Council official.

From an article by Oren Dorell, in USA Today

WASHINGTON – The Palestine Liberation Organization's ambassador to the United States said Tuesday that any future Palestinian state it seeks with help from the United Nations and the United States should be free of Jews.
"After the experience of the last 44 years of military occupation and all the conflict and friction, I think it would be in the best interest of the two people to be separated," Maen Areikat, the PLO ambassador, said during a meeting with reporters sponsored by The Christian Science Monitor. He was responding to a question about the rights of minorities in a Palestine of the future.
Such a state would be the first to officially prohibit Jews or any other faith since Nazi Germany, which sought a country that was judenrein, or cleansed of Jews, said Elliott Abrams, a former U.S. National Security Council official.
Israel has 1.3 million Muslims who are Israeli citizens. Jews have lived in "Judea and Samaria," the biblical name for the West Bank, for thousands of years. Areikat said the PLO seeks a secular state, but that Palestinians need separation to work on their own national identity.
The Palestinian demand is unacceptable and "a despicable form of anti-Semitism," Abrams said. A small Jewish presence in a future Palestine, up to 1% of the population, would not hurt the Palestinian identity, he said.
"No civilized country would act this way," Abrams said.
In a stretch worthy of an circus contortionist, the Electronic intifada's Ali Abunimah claims "that Anti-Palestinian propagandists are trying to spin this comment as being anti-Jewish".

Well, duh… Ali.

Ali, instead claims that Maen Areikat, instead has "espoused Israel’s brutal vision of apartheid and racial segregation."

Read the article and decide for yourself.

Kiss my BDS. S & P Upgrades Israel's Credit Rating to A+

After 10 years of manipulation, lies, vandalism and fraud, what does the BDS movement have to show for its self?


Kiss my BDS. Standard and Poors, a United States-based financial services company is a division of The McGraw-Hill Companies . This venerable company publishes financial research and analysis on stocks and bonds and countries reflecting their opinion on the general creditworthiness of an obligor with respect to a particular debt security and financial obligation. Over the years credit ratings have achieved wide investor acceptance for helping to determine the security of investments. Standard and Poors just raised Israel's credit rating to an A+ marking the first time Israel’s S&P credit rating has been at A+. It had been at A since November 2007.

From the J Post:
Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz called the increased credit rating “a badge of honor” and said it was a reward for the economic policies adopted during the global financial crisis.

“This achievement is particularly remarkable given the debt and employment crises that have hit the credit ratings of many other countries,” he said.


In the ten years since its inception, the BDS movement has failed to make any gains towards undermining Israel's economy. As a result, the panicked BDS cru are currently resorting to even more underhanded means to destroy Israel's economy.

h/t F.

This charming display is apparently one shot out of hundreds of tweets sent out by Free Palestine Movement Activist Deppen Webber to financial services providers, banks, and financial advisory firms in an effort to get them to "short sell" Bed Bath and Beyond stock. (Bed Bath & Beyond is the current object of the BDS'ers wrath, because they dare sell an israeli product, Sodastream. ) Deppen's "teaching moment" been posted on several anti-Israel sites , presumably in an effort to get others to follow suit. On at least one of the sites, a spirited discussion ensues on the legality of trying to manipulate stock prices.

To Deppen Webber, to Code Pink, to JVP, and to all the BDS'ers out there. How does it feel to be irrelevant? A+!!!!! Kiss My BDS.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

MECA: The Middle East Childrens Alliance. Fanning the Flames of Conflict

Middle East Children´s Alliance (MECA) and its founder Barbara Lubin have dedicated considerable time and energy since 1988 demonizing the only Jewish state in the world.

From NGO Monitor:

According to the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) website, “[t]he Middle East Children’s Alliance is the fiscal sponsor for ISM-USA.” Donations for ISM’s campaign to “interfere with the construction of the annexation barrier” can be made to “MECA (ISM-USA Fund).”
MECA organizes delegations to “Palestine/Israel” where participants can “witness the impact of the Israeli occupation and…learn about refugees, land confiscation, political prisoners…” Trip highlights include learning “about the origins of the Palestinian refugees and the Right of Return, and how it can be implemented” (emphasis added).
MECA founder and Executive Director Barbara Lubin wrote “I think that the Jewish State is racist to the core.” Lupin refers to the 1948 “ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian population” and wrote that “[t]he concept of ‘Jewish morality’ is truly dead. We can be fascists, terrorists, and Nazis just like everybody else.”
In an interview, MECA Director of Gaza Projects, Dr. Mona El-Farra, explained that MECA refused USAID funding because it came with the condition that they promise “not [to] give any help or any aid whatsoever for the families of the militiamen, or their relatives, or anyone related to ‘terrorist attacks’” because “we consider it resistance” (emphasis added).
MECA raised funds for British MP George Galloway’s “Viva Palestine” convoy “following the massacre in Gaza.”
Partners include pro-Palestinian groups such as Addameer, Badil, the Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign, Bat Shalom, and Gaza Community Mental Health Programme (GCMHP). Also partners with the Lajee Center, which refers to the “Israeli regime of Apartheid, colonization, and belligerent occupation.”

Its hard to ignore the hypocrisy of Barbara Lubin, currently whimpering "censorship" to anyone who will listen. The founder and executive director of MECA cut her activist teeth censoring others free speech. She was an organizer of a campaign to prevent Benyamin Netanyahu from speaking in Berkeley, nearly 11 years ago. Protesters, lead by Lubin forced the cancellation of a speech by Netanyahu, leading Berkeley Mayor Shirley Dean to declare "We must never, ever forget that Free Speech is for everyone, not just the politically correct."

From Sf Gate:

"Never in America have I waited, and been turned away from a paid lecture that was unofficially canceled by a mob shouting accusations at me," wrote ticket-holder Judy Norris. "Harassed, hassled, with accusations shouted at me and my friend, as though we were Uzi-carrying slayers of children, we, two quiet ladies from Moraga . . . wanted to hear both sides of the issue."

Yep. Thats Barbara Lubin and MECA.

Barbara Lubin also organized a disruption of the San Francisco Jewish Community Center four years ago, terrorizing the seniors, children and others who came to use the JCC’s services. Her justification? There were classes being held at the community center to commemorate Israel's 60th anniversary. Barbara and over a dozen "activists" were subsequently arrested for their 2 1/2 hour rampage.

Given the reputation and history of Barbara Lubin and MECA, her statement "For 23 years, MECA has been a witness to how pro-Israel organizations can intimidate groups and individuals " rings hollow. In truth, for years, the pro-Israel community has been a witness to Barbara and her followers resorting to lies, bullying and veritable temper tantrums, in an effort to stifle their opposition. The situation at the Museum of Childrens Art is just a continuation .

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Museum of Childrens Art in Oakland: The Controversy Continues

The controversy has not ended.

Here's yet another one of the "controversial" pieces of children's art from Gaza, that was originally scheduled to be displayed at the Museum of Childrens Art in Oakland, sponsored by MECA, the Middle Eastern Childrens Alliance. Maybe I'm being cynical, but why would children in Gaza print in English, unless they were being specifically coached to create a display for western consumption? If the claim that this art was created as part of a "psychosocial program that uses the arts and creative expression to help children in Gaza recover from trauma", why would they have children write in a language they were unfamiliar with?

Additionally, its recently been disclosed that Khalil Bendib, a cartoonist with a history of using classic anti-Semitic imagery had been commissioned to entertain and educate children at the MOCHA exhibit. Short of Carlos Latuff, I couldn't imagine a worse choice. And yet, "Jewish" Voice for Peace, oblivious as usual to the overt anti-Semitism and Jew baiting of this exhibit, has signed on as a co-sponsor.

Cecilie Surasky of JVP at the oxymoronic "Muzzlewatch" blog printed several of the pictures, consciously cherry picking art that excluded anti-American, anti-Semitic imagery .

Interesting enough, a previous exhibit of Palestinian children's art was shown in Berkeley in 2002, at La Pena, as part of a nationwide anti-Israeli tour. The art contained such universal messages of peace and brotherhood as "Death for Israel," "From North to South it's only Palestine" and "Bloodshed is the language of Israel."

Further controversy emerges from our friends at Fresnozionism pointing out the remarkable sophistication of the drawings, and questioning MECA's claim that they were drawn by children 9-11

"I showed them to a professor of Art at a local university. Here is what she said about them:

The paintings (color drawings) are highly sophisticated especially in relationship to detail. Did you see the barbed wire? Also, there is a carefully drawn Star of David in each work. The authenticity of the painting is remarkable for a child’s hand. The drawing of the planes and helicopters, the man in the tower, the dynamic brushstrokes that are well conceived and controlled all seem to project a more mature approach to art. Could these “children” be in their late teens, college age, or young adults [MECA says they were 9 to 11 years old]? According to the the quote, “much of the artwork was produced by children.” I wonder how “much”? Also, it is possible that the “children” were directed by an adult who supervised and perhaps completed the initial drawing."

Cecilie, we are all sure that you and Barbara and the entire Al Awda/ AROC cru will be exploiting this for as long as you can. Its not over yet.

No, its not over. An ultimatum has been delivered to MOCHA by the "Israel is always wrong" folk. They are threatening a protest of MOCHA, and will show the "art" one way or another, either inside or out on Sept 24 from 1-3.

An Open Letter from MOCHA: The Museum of Childrens Art in Oakland

After much discussion and introspection the board of the Museum of Children's art cancelled the proposed exhibit of "art" from Gaza. Their explanation follows:

September 12, 2011

Open letter to the MOCHA community:

The Museum of Children’s Art (MOCHA) was founded as a place where children from all backgrounds could come together to make and celebrate art. MOCHA provides a safe place for children to express themselves through art, and produces programs that are intended to foster insight and understanding.
Our gallery is a multiuse space. Every week, hundreds of children utilize the space for drop-in art, school field trips, birthday parties, camps, and other events. Most children that visit MOCHA are between the ages of 5 and 9, and many children enter our gallery without the supervision of their parents.
With the exhibit A Child’s View from Gaza it was our intent, as it is with all our exhibits, to foster insight and understanding. We understand that, sadly, violence is a part of many children’s lives, and we remain committed to showing artwork that depicts the diverse realties of childhood across the world.
However, as an organization that serves a large and diverse community, we tried to balance this with the concerns raised by parents, caregivers and educators who did not wish for their children to encounter graphically violent and sensitive works during their use of our facility. MOCHA is a facility that must be accessible for our entire community. Although we worked to develop a way to separate the most violent images in the exhibit from our main studio spaces, we ultimately came to the conclusion that MOCHA is not currently set up to effectively accomplish this.
Recognizing this, the MOCHA Board of Directors decided to cancel this exhibit. It is important to note this was not a judgment of the art itself or related to any political opinions. The Board determined that MOCHA simply did not have the space or staffing to accommodate the exhibit in a way that both respected the gravity of the material and our mission to serve all children.
We regret that we did not make this determination earlier. Our next step will be to thoroughly evaluate our exhibit policy so that we can ensure all exhibits—including those of a violent or sensitive nature—are handled in a way that promotes constructive dialogue and ensures that children and adults of all backgrounds feel comfortable visiting MOCHA. We will be developing this policy in the next month, and will then invite all of our partner organizations, including the sponsors of A Child’s View from Gaza the Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA) to participate in our exhibits in keeping with this policy.
This experience has reminded us, yet again, of the power of children’s voices and visions and of the unique role that art can play in our community. We remain committed to ensuring that art, in all its forms, remains a vibrant part of our lives.


Hilmon Sorey
Chair, MOCHA Board of Directors

Violence, threats and intimidation inherent in BDS tactics.

Our friends at Divest this have reported on a mutant variation of the BDS strain- how bullying, threats and violence are used to promote the anti-Israel agenda. (yes, this is the same BDS movement that portrays itself as "non-violent")

Jon observes:

"There have always been elements of threats, intimidation, and even violence within the range of internally acceptable activities carried out by BDSers over the years. While originally isolated to howling pro-Israel speakers off the stage at colleges like Berkeley and Hampshire, this tactic has moved from the periphery to the center of chosen BDS tactics…."

We also observed this phenomenon during the day of rage against Trader Joes . Organizers of the Hate on Trader Joes Campaign included a handy "how to vandalize Israeli products section" on their facebook page: suggesting that participants put "Don't Buy Into Apartheid" stickers on the products or to damage "products in some way (e.g., pouring fake blood or ketchup on them) so they cannot be reshelved". At one Trader Joes, a garbage can was set on fire. At others, products were vandalized. Yet the actions against Trader Joes in Bay area cities San Francisco, Oakland and Sacramento were countered by a highly successful "buycott" leading to sold out shelves throughout the nation. Trader Joes, in gratitude for the community support, promoted Israeli products with floor to ceiling displays and free recipes. The campaign against Trader Joes was subsequently abandoned.

Jon continues:

"When you look at what the BDSers brag about as “victories,” they include items like getting an landlord to not renew the lease for an Ahava store in London, largely by making life hell for Ahava’s retail neighbors through non-stop protests (including violent protests) that disrupted business activity for years. Today, you can see the same tactic being employed in Australia (although Down Under, Australian civil society has reacted by defending the target of these attacks and condemning the attackers).

Lately, the boycott brigade has moved from disrupting pro-Israel speakers (to ensure their voice never gets heard) to shouting and blowing bullhorns at artistic performances that dare to include Israeli dancers and musicians (most recently the nasty interruption of the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra playing the Proms concert event in the UK)."

The violence, threats and intimidation so inherent in BDS tactics backfired at Proms as well.

The UK Telegraph reported the protest of the Israeli Philharmonic at Proms was reminicient of "Weimar Germany, and the way Nazi party members broke up meetings... "

"There is a chilling air to the so-called protests: But Thursday night’s events can only be understood in the context of anti-Semitism. When have there been similar protests against “violations of international law and human rights”, as was chanted on Thursday, by any other country? And this in the middle of the Arab Spring, when genuine protesters for human rights are daily risking their lives in Syria against a murderous dictatorship.

If, indeed, this was a protest against the actions of the Israeli government, rather than against Jews, where have been the similar disruptions of performances by Russian, Chinese, Turkish, Iranian or any number of other nations’ musicians? What about disruptions of British national companies, in protest at British human rights abuses? To pose the question is to answer it. There’s little doubt in my mind that this was an action motivated specifically by the fact that the performers were playing in the national orchestra of the Jewish state.

This should no longer surprise anyone. It seems to me that the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) long ago moved from legitimate protest for a legitimate cause – the rights of Palestinians to self-determination – to attacks on Jews for being Jews. "

From Jonathan Hoffman on the backlash from anti-Israel activists behaving badly:

"The Palestine Solidarity Campaign - which consorts with homophobes, misogynists, supremacists and antisemites - managed to turn an entire audience pro-Israel at the Royal Albert Hall last night. I was there. So was Ed Vaizey, Culture Minister, who tweeted "Demonstrators seem to have turned entire audience pro-Israel". "

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Examining One's Own Bigotry

A friend posts to her Facebook account: I've often wondered why people are so much more concerned w/ the Palestinian/Israeli conflict than this. After all Turkey doesn't exactly have a stellar history when it comes to how it treats others. Think: Armenians.

I added: There's a degree of--emotional involvement and assumption of malicious intent, I guess--that seems to go along with how people see Palestinian/Israeli tension. It does not get applied situations involving the Kurds and Turkey, or India and Pakistan in Kashmir. I have some theories about why, but none of them are especially nice.

And another poster adds: Two wrongs make a right? Sorry, but the "he did it, too" never worked when I was five and it doesn't work now.

This is, of course, meant to shut off any complaints about Israel being unfairly treated. "If you did something wrong, you're gonna get criticized," the line runs, "and don't try to get out of it by complaining about context."

Of course, as a teacher, I've given the 'we're not talking about him, we're talking about you' speech many times. But as a teacher, I have also been asked, throughout my career, to keep a close and watchful eye on whether I critize or punish behavior in a discriminatory manner. Do boys and girls alike get in trouble for the same behavior? Are African-American students, African-American boys in particular, often punished or removed from the classroom for behavior that would not get children of another race into trouble? We're asked to keep an eye on this, and be mindful about it, because research does in fact indicate that this happens in classrooms, that some children, usually on a gender or racial basis, are penalized for things that draw no criticism in a different child.

So, if a child says, "He did it too," you may tell him "We're not talking about him, we're talking about you."

But if your school counselor says, "Why is every child you send out of your room an African-American boy? You sent Bobby to me for chewing gum, but when Susie was chewing gum, you just made her spit it out," it's time to listen, because otherwise you are asserting that your right to be unconsciously racist is more important than your student's right to justice.

So, if your answer to "Why is Israel being criticized for X when Turkey has done worse?" is "Because we're talking about what Israel did," that may be reasonable.

But when the question is "Why doesn't Turkey ever seem to end up in the Indymedia equivalent of the principal's office? Why isn't Turkey the object of BDS campaigns? Why aren't ladies with signs standing every week all over Berkeley talking about Turkey? Why isn't the Turkish flag being burned at demonstrations?" and the answer is "Because we're talking about what Israel did" just might be a bigot fighting not to give up your privilege.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Kidnapped Israeli Soldier Gilad Shalit Named as an Honorary Citizen of the City of San Francisco

Supervisor Scott Wiener (District 8) will hold a ceremony at City Hall naming Gilad Shalit an Honorary Citizen of the City of San Francisco. San Francisco joins other world-renowned cities – including Paris, Rome, Miami and New Orleans - in awarding honorary citizenship to Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier who was kidnapped by Hamas terrorists in 2006 and been held in captivity ever since.

The ceremony will be held on Thursday, September 15, 2011 at 10:30am on the front steps of the City Hall (Polk St.), San Francisco

While his whereabouts have been unknown since he was kidnapped by terrorists who launched a cross-border raid from the Gaza Strip into Israel on June 25, 2006, Shalit is thought to be alive. He has been denied any access to the outside world – including to his family and humanitarian organizations seeking to verify his status and living conditions. Despite numerous efforts by Israel and the international community to secure his release from captivity, Gilad Shalit has remained held prisoner by Hamas for over five years.

Photos courtesy of JNF No Cal

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Kiss My BDS. Palestinian Civil society overwhelming supports Cooperation with Israel

In spite of the rants of the BDS'ers claiming they speak for "Palestinian civil society", once again, its apparent they do not.

85% of Palestinian residents in the West Bank are interested in cooperation with Israel, according to a survey by Geocartography Knowledge Geocartography Knowledge is a research institute in Israel, specializing in opinion & marketing research, strategy, market potential analysis, qualitative technology & solutions.

From an article in Globes:

"The survey examined Palestinian attitudes about cooperation with Israel. It found that as Palestinians' geographical proximity and familiarity with Israel increased, there was greater willingness to cooperate, and vice versa.

The survey asked 1,000 people living between Jenin and Hebron whether they were interested in joint projects with Israel in several fields, including humanitarian aid, emergencies (such as rescue teams in case of fires or earthquakes), sewage, water, and electricity, as well as social issues, such as exchanges of youth delegations and soccer games…

While the survey found that the decisive majority of West Bank Palestinians want continued relations with Israel, it also shows a gap between the public's position and the position of the political leaders, who do not want direct official cooperation."

I believe Palestinian civil society has spoken. The question remains. Will anyone listen?

Monday, September 5, 2011

Obstruction of Justice? Richard Silverstein Admits to Burning Classified documents

An article in the New York Times says convicted spy Shamai Leibowitz leaked transcripts of material derived from the FBI bugs planted in Washington Embassy to blogger Richard Silverstein

Leibowitz – who worked as a contract Hebrew translator for the Federal Bureau of Investigation held a top security clearance for his work as a linguist. He leaked transcripts of material to Silverstein, an anti-Israel blogger who told the NYT he burnt the secret documents after he came under investigation in mid-2009.

(Obstruction of Justice? Intentional destruction of evidence? Attorneys- Is there a reason Dickie should not be indicted?)

Richard Silverstein said that at one point he was in possession of "200 pages of verbatim records of telephone calls and what seemed to be embassy conversations," adding that in one of the transcripts, Israeli officials expressed concern that their conversations might be monitored.

The United States routinely spies on Israel.
From the New York Times:

The Federal Bureau of Investigation listens in on foreign embassies and officials in the United States chiefly to track foreign spies, though any intelligence it obtains on other matters is passed on to the C.I.A. and other agencies. The intercepts are carried out by the F.B.I.’s Operational Technology Division, based in Quantico, Va., according to Matthew M. Aid, an intelligence writer who describes the bureau’s monitoring in a book, “Intel Wars,” scheduled for publication in January...“We started spying on Israel even before the state of Israel was formally founded in 1948, and Israel has always spied on us,” Matthew Aid, an intelligence writer told the New York Times. “Israeli intercepts have always been one of the most sensitive categories," he added.

Martha Stewart Visits Israel: Its a good thing

The American cultural icon, Martha Stewart is visiting Israel for the second time.

Reportedly, she is scouting for a possible episode of her show here in the country and plans to visit Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, the Galilee, Masada, and the Dead Sea.

She made a two-week long visit to Israel last May. She wrote in her website following her last visit:

"just got back from two amazing weeks in Israel, truly one of the most beautiful and fascinating landscapes I've ever seen. Though it is an arid, desert-like climate, much of the country appears as a garden: lush, colorful, and flower-filled.".

Her wonder of the blooming Israeli countryside continues on this trip. Martha just tweeted "Driving around sea of galilee-golan heights to north,jordan to east. Bananas,grapes,oranges, mangoes grown here".

Israel and Martha Stewart. Its a good thing.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Open questions to Jewish Voice for Peace

An open letter to Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) from a new blog: Engaging Zion

"Yes, this question is an accusation. I won’t pretend otherwise. You are my Jewish brothers and sisters, and I am living in Israel where some six million of your Jewish brothers and sisters — almost half of the Jewish people — face a virulent strain of annihilationist politics on our borders and in the broader region.

I must get one thing off the table up front: I do not question your right, moral or civil, as a diaspora Jewish organization to criticize — even harshly — the policies of Israel’s government. No government is above criticism, no politician is above the law. The issue of how to criticize, however, is a legitimate one for honest debate. I feel compelled to write this blog entry, because I am deeply troubled by your partnership choices.

My question is far deeper. For me, personally and literally, it is an existential one. This has to do with your partnering with a number of organizations to produce an ad campaign calling for the United States to stop all military aid to Israel. These ads are now appearing on the sides of San Francisco’s iconic cable cars and elsewhere. Nice placement, by the way.

Two of your partners in this endeavor are American Muslims for Palestine and Friends of Sabeel of North America. In my view, these groups are beyond the pale of what any organization that describes itself as “Jewish” should be partnering with. Here are my reasons:

On December 21, 2010 AMP issued a press release announcing a rally marking the second anniversary of Operation Cast Lead. The last sentence of the release declared:

Palestinians are more determined than ever to fight on until total liberation, until every refugee can return, until the land of Palestine is free from the river to the sea!

This statement is unequivocal. There is no room for Israel in this vision of “peace” promoted by your AMP partner.

This is not the first time you co-sponsored programming with AMP. Last winter you partnered with them and Sabeel in a similar ad campaign in San Francisco. Your slogan: “Be on our side. We are the side of peace and justice.” Really? AMP seeks our destruction, sorry, “liberation” from the “river to the see.” Peace?

Furthermore, AMP has at least one board member, Osama Abu Irshaid, who was involved in pro-Hamas activities in the U.S. He was editor of Al-Zaytounah, published by the now-defunct Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP), which with the Holy Land Fund, was a member of the Palestine Committee, court records show. This committee, other court records show, was created by the radical Muslim Brotherhood — Hamas’ parent body — to assist Hamas politically and financially. This is the side of “peace and justice?”

Dear JVP, some more questions:
Were you aware that AMP takes such a clear position calling for Israel’s destruction?

If not, now that you know, will you distance yourself from this organization and have no further dealings with them?

If you don’t, should I take that as meaning you condone this position?
Do you see that AMP’s purpose for calling for an end to U.S. military aid to Israel is to forward the goal of weakening Israel so it no longer can defend itself against terrorism or hostile armies?
Lest I be accused of either fear mongering or delusional fantasy, I direct you to just one (of numerous) annihilationist statements made by Iranian President Ahmadinejad. On August 27 (last week) he said that “Egyptian-Iranian relations in the post-Mubarak era will eliminate the presence of the Zionist entity.” According to the Ahlul Bayt News Agency, under the headline “Ahmadinejad: Egyptian-Iranian alliance can eliminate Israel,” he made these comments in an interview with Hezbollah’s Al-Manar TV where, “Ahmadinejad addressed Egyptian society, expecting that Egypt will play a key regional role in the coming period.”

One more thing: please take a look at this headline from today’s Ha’aretz: IAEA: Iran reaches breakthrough in suspected nuclear weapons push.

Not fantasy. Not fear-mongering. Just cold, hard reality: one of Iran’s chief foreign policy goals is Israel’s “elimination.”

My read of things: your partner, the AMP, seeks to weaken Israel militarily (as do you). This would greatly benefit Iran and other hostile states whose goal is to liberate Palestine “from the river to the sea.” Given the fact that Israelis are willing to fight for their right to exist, this slogan has only one meaning: war.

How is this the “side of peace”?"

The blog continues, taking on JVP's partnership with Sabeel. Not only has JVP co-sponsored these bus ads with the Sabeel group, they are sharing a booth for the second time, at an East Bay Street festival. In previous years, JVP had shared a booth with Alison Weir's hate group "If America Knew" and the International Solidarity Movement at the Marin County Fair .

Read more at Engaging Zion