Thursday, May 31, 2012

And the last word on Habima goes to David Hirsh

David Hirsh from Engage has written a thoughtful (ok, ok, bloody brilliant) review of Israel's Habima Theater and the failed attempts to censor and disrupt the Israeli troops performance of "The Merchant of Venice"

"Portia, Shylock and the exclusion of Israeli actors from the global cultural community"

To David, the audience at the Globe "was there to face down those who said that Israeli actors should be excluded from the global community of culture, while actors from all the other states which had been invited to the Globe were celebrated in a festival of the Olympic city’s multiculturalism." After all, the Globe had hosted theater troops from all over the world from such bastions of human rights as South Africa, Georgia, Palestine, Turkey and China.

First, he provides context:

"Since some rather nasty medieval stuff, London and Jews have got on fairly well. London stood firm against Hitler, and the local Blackshirts too; it didn’t mind much whether Jews stayed separate or whether they immersed themselves in its vibrancy; it didn’t feel threatened, it didn’t worry, it just let Jews live engaged lives. But London’s very post-nationalism, and its post-colonialism, has functioned as the medium for a rather odd new kind of intolerance.

Sometimes, we define our own identities in relation to some ‘other’. Early Christianity defined itself in relation to the Jews who refused to accept its gospel, and it portrayed them as Christ-killers. If people wanted to embrace modernity, then they sometimes constructed themselves as being different from the traditional Jew with his beard and coat, standing against progress. Yet if they were afraid of the new then they could define themselves against the modernist Jew. Nineteenth Century nationalists often defined the Jew as the foreigner. Twentieth Century totalitarianisms, which had universal ambition, found their ‘other’ in the cosmopolitan Jew.

These processes created an invented image of ‘The Jew’ and the antisemites portrayed themselves as victims of ‘The Jew’. Antisemitism has only ever portrayed itself as defensive."

He continues:

"Some people who love London’s relaxed, diverse, antiracism look for an ‘other’ against which to define themselves. They find Israel. They make it symbolise everything against which they define themselves: ethnic nationalism, racism, apartheid, colonialism. London’s shameful past, not to mention in some ways its present, is cast out and thrust upon Israel. London was within a few thousand votes last month of re-electing a mayor, Ken Livingstone, who embraced this kind of scapegoating...'

We can tell that this hostility to Israel is as artificially constructed as any antisemitism by looking at the list of theatre groups against which the enlightened ones organized no boycott. Antizionists have created a whole new ‘-ism’, a worldview, around their campaign against Israel. Within it, a caricature of Israel is endowed with huge symbolic significance which relates only here and there to the actual state, to the complex conflict and to the diversity of existing Israelis. If the Palestinians stand, in the antizionist imagination, as symbolic of all the victims of ‘the west’ or ‘imperialism’ then Israel is thrust into the centre of the world as being symbolic of oppression everywhere. Like antisemitism, antizionism imagines Jews as being central to all that is bad in the world.

One of the sources of energy for this special focus on Israel comes from Jewish antizionists. For them, as for many other Jews, Israel is of special importance. For them, Israel’s human rights abuses, real, exaggerated or imagined, are sources of particular pain, sometimes even shame. Some of them take their private preoccupation with Israel and try to export it into the cultural and political sphere in general, and into non-Jewish civil society spaces where a special focus on the evils of Israel takes on a new symbolic power. But the ‘as a Jew’ antizionists are so centred on Israel that they often fail to understand the significance of the symbolism which they so confidently implant into the antiracist spaces of old London."

Regarding the protestors, he asks

"Do the protestors think that this is an antisemitic play? Perhaps they felt that this was the ‘Zionists’ rubbing the history of antisemitism in the faces of London and then by proxy, the Palestinians. Isn’t that the source of Zionist power today? Their ability to mobilize Jewish victimhood and their ownership of the Holocaust. This, again, is an old libel, that the Jews are so clever and so morally lacking, that they are able to benefit from their own persecution. When will the world forgive the Jews for antisemitism and the Holocaust?"

Read David Hirsh's complete essay here .

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Dr. Feng-Shan Ho: Righteous Among the Nations

It was a fearful time for the Jews of Austria. After Austria’s annexation to Nazi Germany in March 1938 its 185,000 Jews were subjected to a reign of terror. For many Austrian Jews- leaving was not an option. The Nazis required that Jews have entry visas or boat tickets to another country. At a time when most nations refused to take Jewish refugees, the Chinese consul-general in Vienna Feng-Shan Ho issued visas to Shanghai to all who asked. Going against the orders of his superior, it is estimated that Dr. Ho saved thousands of Jewish lives, by allowing them to seek refuge in Shanghai.

Ho's actions were recognized posthumously when he was awarded the title Righteous among the Nations by Yad Vashem in 2000

Dr. Ho died at 97, in San Francisco. The Chinese Historical Society of America will be featuring an exhibit next month on Dr. Ho- Wings of the Phoenix: Dr. Feng Shan Ho and the Rescue of Austrian Jews, 1938-1940.

His daughter, Manli Ho is working on a book, and has been has been researching and documenting her late father’s humanitarian work in Vienna, Austria, for the past 15 years She created and wrote the text for the exhibit at the Historical Society.

This free exhibit runs from June 1 – July 1 at the Chinese Historical Society of America, 965 Clay Street, San Francisco.

From the China Daily, written by Manli Ho:

"During my 10-year pursuit of a history that has been buried for more than half a century, I was often asked why a Chinese diplomat would save Jews in Austria when others would not. My response has been: "If you knew my father, you wouldn't have to ask." That is usually followed by: "But weren't you surprised to discover this facet of your father?" No, I was not surprised because what my father did was completely in character.

My father's greatest legacy was to be who he was. He was a scholar and a gentleman, a product of his culture and of the times in which he lived, the likes of which we will never see again. But more importantly, he was a person who was never false, whose honor and integrity, whose strength of will, whose faith and optimism always shone through - and that was part of his charisma. He was loved and respected not just for what he was, but for who he was as a human being.

My father always felt that he had received a full measure of gifts. He was brilliant, fearless, charming and dynamic. He was also incorruptible, straightforward and conscientious. He possessed a hot temper - which I always attributed to his love for the hot peppers of Hunan. Among his most admirable traits was his capacity for love and for compassion. Most importantly, my father believed that these gifts were not bestowed upon him solely for his personal benefit, but for that of his fellow men."

Monday, May 28, 2012

A Play Attendee from the Globe Reports

Sarah AB at Harry's Place was able to see the performance. Sounds like an excellent performance, although I really hate Merchant.

Loved this part: Generally people heeded the opening plea to keep calm and not respond to disruption. But at one point, when an audience member started to recite a Palestinian themed parody of Shylock’s famous ‘Hath not a Jew eyes’ speech, an exasperated ‘piss off’ met with warm applause.

BDS Activists Lose, Act Out At Habimah Performance

I've been trying to recast Shylock's "Hath Not A Jew Eyes" speech to be spoken by a BDS activist, but I don't have the talent, or the heart to do that to Shakespeare. I'll settle for just popping in to mention that, amazingly, the London BDS crowd didn't take being told by the Globe Theatre to shove off lying down. Nope, they showed up with signs, flags, and band-aids over their mouths.

One man was arrested for assaulting a security guard outside.

Please note the message of the Band-Aids: "Allowing Israelis to perform in the same festival with Palestinians means that I am being silenced. Me, me, it's all about me!!!"

Habima at the Globe. Another BDS fail

The Habima Theater Company, with its team of Arab and Jewish actors is precisely the sort of institution we'd expect the progressive community to support. But, no, anything or anyone from Israel is treated as though its the harbinger of the Zombie Apocalypse or the equivalent of a modern day leper. Its "demonization" - part of the "3D's" of anti-semitism.

And they just hate it when the real progressives fight back- when those who value democracy, diversity and plurality take to the streets in support of the most progressive nation in the Middle east.

Here's some great photos from our friends in the UK, who gathered by the Globe Theatre in support of Habima

When the dust settled today at the Globe theater in London, we had 2 sold out shows. We had a brilliant, critically acclaimed performance of "The Merchant of Venice". We had an extended standing ovation, and an appreciative audience. We had a handful of haters, both inside and out who proved themselves irrelevant. We also had “I do not consider myself an anti-Semite, yet I can also understand why some are” Ben White tweeting as fast as his little fingers could manage in an effort to "win" the social media game.

Today at the Globe was an overwhelming victory for the forces of light- for those who feel that culture should provide a bridge between people, and was yet another "BDS fail" for those opposed to tolerance and co-existence


Ben White has descended even further into the sewer with his abhorrent Twitter comment regarding acclaimed author Howard Jacobson "If you need another reason to support a boycott of Habima I present a massive picture of Howard Jacobson's face"

Is Ben implying the distinguished visage of Man Booker Prize-winning author and journalist Howard Jacobson isn't , oh, Aryan enough for him?

Juvenile, Ben. And damned close to anti-Semitism

Cultural Boycott Fails, Israeli Shakespeare Performance Sold Out

I almost want to scold Habimah, Israel's national theater group, for choosing The Merchant of Venice to stage at the Globe Theate as part of an international Shakespeare festival. Merchant? Really? It's an edgy choice, but edgy in a sort of dated way. I would, honestly, rather have seen an Israeli-nuanced King Lear, or The Winter's Tale. But I'm not in London anyway, and nobody asked me.

However, any criticism of Habimah's choice has to be overshadowed by the cheerfulness with which I report that, yet again, the forces of BDS have produced great Sturm und Drang, and two sold-out performances for Habimah in London.

In the end, it all came down to a protest outside, a counterprotest, a lot of police checking bags, and then,

In sooth, I know not why I am so sad:
It wearies me; you say it wearies you;
But how I caught it, found it, or came by it,
What stuff 'tis made of, whereof it is born,
I am to learn;
And such a want-wit sadness makes of me,
That I have much ado to know myself.

Israel wins, Shakespeare wins, London, strutting her cultural stuff for the Olympics, wins, and the Palestinian company who performed Richard II wins. BDS loses.

In nosing around for information on the event, I happened to run across this piece by Harry Glass at Worker's Liberty. They're a Trotskyite group, which raises my hackles to begin with, and I am not thrilled by Glass's light use of the term 'atrocity' toward the end of this piece. (So basically, this is a reading suggestion, not an endorsement) It is a well-written, well-reasoned, far-left critique of BDS, thorough and coming from a clear worldview that extends beyond the irrational self-congratulation of BDS supporters. I found myself impressed.

Glass writes: BDS needs to be fought politically, because it stands in the path of two states, the only consistently democratic solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict. But BDS is ultimately a pessimistic approach. It put the agency for change outside of the region.

Read it in full.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words. Fauxtography as a Weapon to demonize Israel.

Its often been said that a lie can make it half way across the world before the truth even has a chance to put on its pants. The widespread and often deliberate spread of misinformation is backed up with fraudulent, faked or heavily edited photography. This practice became widespread during the second Lebanese war in 2006, and was dubbed "fauxtography" The IDF blog has featured a series on 5 Anti-IDF Lies Which Turned Viral.

This photo appeared on countless blogs- it was spread virally on Twitter and on Facebook. It was a fake.

The real photo, uncropped, showed street theater in Bahrain. Of the bloggers that spread the false photo- very few issued a retraction.

The IDF blog shows other notorious hoaxes, including strategically cropped Reuters photos from the Mavi Marmara, and the Mohammed Al Dura hoax- the blood libel that may have triggered the second intifada. It shows the recent Raja Abu Shaban hoax as well. The misinformation campaign started when a UN worker, Khulood Badawi, posted the photo on Twitter and claimed the three year old was killed during an IDF strike against Gaza. The young girl had actually died years earlier in a playground accident.

The IDF blog was not all-inclusive however. Photographic staging and manipulation was widely used during the second Lebanese war to sway public opinion and implicate Israel for targeting civilians. Remember this series of photos from Lebanon? Toys were removed from a suitcase and placed around a destroyed building- the photo was staged to give the illusion of a war crime.

And of course, there was our friend Zombie's brilliant expose of the Red Cross Ambulance Hoax.

From the IDF blog

The following photo, taken by Mahmoud Zayyat, was published by AFP on April 17, 2012

The photo caption is captioned:

“Palestinian refugees pose as Israeli soldiers arresting and beating a Palestinian activist during celebrations of Prisoners’ Day at the refugee camp of Ain el-Helweh near the coastal Lebanese city of Sidon on April 17, 2012 in solidarity with the 4,700 Palestinian inmates of Israeli jails. Some 1,200 Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails have begun a hunger strike and another 2,300 are refusing food for one day, a spokeswoman for the Israel Prisons Service (IPS) said.”

Yep. Posing as Israeli soldiers. No actually Israeli soldiers are involved. How many people looking at the photo would even realize that?

Fauxtography can take many forms:

1. Digitally altering photographs
2. Staging or posing scenes to be photographed and presented as real.
3. Giving false or misleading captions

The lesson? Looks can be misleading. The anti-Israel cru exist in a truth optional reality. Question everything.

Make Art Not War: Haters threaten to disrupt Hebrew language "Merchant of Venice"

Next week the historic London Globe Theatre will feature Israel's Habima Theater Company in "The Merchant Of Venice". Habima will be performing as part of the 37-play Globe to Globe Shakespeare festival. Having failed in their attempt to censor the production, anti-Israel bullies have threatened to disrupt the sold-out Hebrew-language play .

In response, the Globe is increasing its security, reserving the right "to refuse admission to anyone we have reason to believe may cause a disruption" and that "any objects or material which could be used in disrupting the performance will be deemed prohibited items".

A Palestinian theater group from Ramallah, Ashtar was at the Globe theatre earlier this month, performing 'Richard II', without incident. Human rights activists apparently turned a blind eye to Palestinians arrests of journalists and bloggers and persecution of gays and minorities.

Increasingly, as the BDS movement falters and stalls, we are seeing more of these extremist and counter-productive bullying tactics from anti-Israel activists.

From Divest this!

"As with most BDS tactics, this type of bullying almost seems designed to turn off those whom the boycotters claim they are trying to convince, demonstrating the fanaticism and rudeness of those who adhering BDS principles. And when such behavior has been rightly wrapped around the neck of the BDS movement as a whole, it has helped continue the process of de-legitimizing the entire effort to de-legitimize the Jewish state."

From reknowned author Howard Jacobson:

“If there is one justification for art - for its creation and its performance - it is that art proceeds from and addresses our unaligned humanity.

“Whoever would go to art with a mind already made up, on any subject, misses what art is for. So to censor it in the name of a political or religious conviction, no matter how sincerely held, is to tear out its very heart.

“For artists themselves to do such a thing to art is not only treasonable; it is an act of self-harm.”

Friday, May 25, 2012

Cal State Northridge Prof. David Klein: Still at it

The story:

Cal State Northridge Mathematics Professor David Klein, a founding member of the Academic Boycott of Israel campaign has used his CSUN website as a springboard to spread anti-Israel propaganda of the most vicious kind. Does the principle of academic freedom protect faculty and administrators who use their university positions and state resources to promote a political agenda? Or does using a tax-payer supported website and email address grant university imprimatur and legitimacy to anti-semitism and racist incitement?

The Amcha Initiative has taken the lead on this issue, and is in regular correspondence with the Cal State regents.

The following is the timeline of the AMCHA Initiative’s Correspondence with CSUN President Jolene Koester

November 22nd, 2011
AMCHA co-founders sent a letter to President Joelene Koester, apprising her of Professor Klein’s anti-Semitic webpages and urging her to have them removed from the CSUN server:

AMCHA co-founders’ initial letter to President Koester, sent November 22nd, 2011

December 5th, 2011
President Koester sent AMCHA co-founders a response to our initial concerned email. While graciously acknowledging our concerns, she failed to address them, instead excusing the hateful content Professor Klein’s inappropriately promotes on a CSUN website.

President Koester’s response to AMCHA’s initial letter, sent December 5th, 2011

December 7th, 2011
Two days later, AMCHA co-founders sent President Koester a response. It thanked President Koester for her attention but criticized her for not not removing Professor Klein’s anti-Semitic webpages.

AMCHA co-founders’ response to President Koester, sent December 7th, 2011

December 8th, 2011
President Koester responds to AMCHA co-founder, Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, in a dismissive email that simply says: “Too bad.”

President Koester’s dismissive email, sent December 8th, 2011

December 9th, 2011
After President Koester received numerous emails from AMCHA Initiative supporters regarding her message to Tammi containing the words “too bad,” President Koester sent out the “message of apology” linked to below.

President Koester’s “message of apology”, sent December 9th, 2011

December 12th, 2011
AMCHA co-founder Tammi Rossman-Benjamin responds to President Koester’s apology. In her response, Tammi reiterates CSUN’s obligation to remove defamatory and offensive content from its websites.

Tammi Rossman-Benjamin’s response to President Koester’s apology, sent December 12th, 2011

David Klein, exhibiting characteristic arrogance, is clearly still at it. The following is a copy of an email sent by David Klein from his CSUN email earlier this month, and forwarded to us. Klein is shamelessly using tax-payer resources to push his political agenda

----- Forwarded Message -----
From: David Klein
To: ************
Sent: Wednesday, May 9, 2012 11:10 AM
Subject: Congressional candidate supports BDS


If you have friends in the 30th congressional district (in the San Fernando Valley), please urge them to vote for Mike Powelson. He is running as the Green Party candidate against Brad Sherman and Howard Berman, two extreme zionists. Powelson supports BDS of Israel. Here is his website:

David Klein


Do you object to tax-payer resources being used to push a biased and hateful political agenda? Do you object to tax-payer resources being used used to push ANY political agenda? Send CSU President Reed a quick email

Speech might be free, but we still pay for bandwidth. David Klein should transfer his hate-filled agenda to a non-university server.

New Arabic Translation of the Talmud--The ADL Reports

Translating the Talmud into a new language is no light matter. It's a long shelf full of books, made up not of a single text, but of interlocking commentaries, and written in a terse, legal Aramaic in which lengthy arguments are reduced to a sort of telegraphic shorthand, and then unfolded by generations of scholars to lengthy arguments once more. This is not the latest Harry Potter book, or a set of directions for an IKEA desk, this is a challenge for a translator on a par with Finnegans Wake, but more of it. Much more.

So the news that the entire Bavli has been translated and published in Arabic was fairly big news in the scholarly world. It does raise some questions though. Who actually needs a Talmud in Arabic? English, sure, I myself have learned a little using Adin Steinsaltz's spectacular life's work of a translation. Hebrew translations are available, and French, Russian, and Spanish. But more than sixty years after the founding of the State of Israel triggered the expulsion of the ancient Jewish communities of the Arabic-speaking world, you have to wonder how many potential learners are out there who cannot read Aramaic, Hebrew, English or French, and must have an Arabic translation.

Don't ponder that question for too long. The translation is not for us.

As the ADL reports, the purpose of this translation, made explicit in its introduction, is to present the Talmud as a deeply racist text, which reveals the deep racism of Jews, and has formed the deeply racist State of Israel. Racist all the way down, and therefore completely illegitimate as a nation.

The ADL quotes the introduction: “These texts confirm the racist and hostile perception toward the non-Jews, especially those who threaten the ‘chosen nation’ and stand in the way of its ambitions and hopes. There is no doubt that Israel is the best example of this racist position, both in the level of its daily crimes against the Palestinians and the level of its rejection and contempt for international resolutions and laws. For what applies to other countries in the world does not apply to contemporary Israel, as it is unique...Jews, according to this racist position [of the Talmud], are permitted to do what is not permitted for non-Jews.”

The ADL article concludes: The conclusion of the introduction neatly merges the publishers’ anti-Semitic and anti-Israel proclivities: “The Talmudic heritage has a significant impact on the formulation of Jewish identity based on holy [principles of] racial isolation…It [the Talmud] also established the extreme positions that advocate hatred toward non-Jews, the violation of their rights and looting of their lands and property.” The publisher then refers to the Zionist movement’s alleged “crimes” against the Palestinian people as an example of the Talmud’s validation of racist policies.

So, who commissioned this?

MESC, established in 1991, is a Jordan-based political think tank that focuses on the Middle East and North Africa. The Center has a special unit on Israeli affairs, which monitors Israel, Zionist organizations and Hebrew-language media. MESC is highly critical of Israel, and organized a conference last year on the Palestinian unilateral declaration efforts to which they invited senior Muslim Brotherhood leaders as well as Hamas officials.

Al-Jazeera has specifically promoted this book as a contribution to the “establishment of Arabic language Jewish studies” as well as claiming that the translation “identifies the features of the Jewish character that blend elements of racial superiority with Mosaic teachings.”

Nicholas Donin's legacy lives on. This is an old tactic, relatively newly adapted to a new political goal, the delegitimization of Israel. Anyone who has spent much time dealing with hard-core Israel-haters has probably encountered this already, the desperate attempt to take Jews out of time and space--out of history--and reduce them, against any rational interpretation, to a people driven to conquest and oppression by a scattering of quotations taken out of context from a thirty-seven volume legal code.

It's a sickening tactic, but clearly, seen as effective enough for MESC to invest the time and the money to commision this translation, and that worries me.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Another BDS Fail. Palestinians reject Boycotts

"The calls to boycott Israeli products have mainly permeated at the slogan level. On the ground there is no sweeping implementation of the boycott. "

So, where's this "Palestinian civil society" we keep hearing about? The one that supports BDS? Its clearly not in Bethlehem, where Israeli products are flying off the shelves.

From YNET:

"Brand names like Strauss, Tnuva, Osem, Elite, and other smaller Israeli brands are displayed in Hebrew and Arabic side by side in stores in Bethlehem. The names are even featured on the store signs and in the stores themselves.

"People love and buy Israeli products," says one Bethlehem minimarket owner. And while there are local dairies that sell their products in the Palestinian Authority, he says "lots of people prefer to buy Tnuva products simply because there is tighter supervision and they want to feel safe in what they buy.

"It has nothing to do with politics. When we buy a product from you (Israelis) we know it is under supervision and only made with fresh ingredients."

Stanford Caterpillar protest falls flat

The announcement went out to dozens of lists. It read:
Dear People of Conscience,

"The CEO of Caterpillar is speaking Thursday May 24th at 12 PM in Cemex Auditorium. Caterpillar violates international law and principles of human rights by supplying bulldozers to the Israeli military to illegally demolish Palestinian homes. Since 1967 Israel has illegally demolished about 25,000 Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem, Gaza, and the West Bank. The CEO of Caterpillar obviously thinks profits are more important than international law, human rights, and the livelihoods of tens of thousands of innocent people. Join Students for Palestinian Equal Rights to demonstrate against home demolitions and violations of international law and human rights. We will show our discontent with Caterpillar's unethical and illegal business practices Thursday May 24th at 12 PM outside Cemex Auditorium. Stand up for human rights and the tens of thousands of displaced Palestinians."

So, Josh, what if you gave a protest and no one came?

There was a total of 3 protesters standing quietly outside the auditorium, completely ignored and irrelevant. Inside there were about 200 students listening attentively to Caterpillar CEO, Doug Oberhelman. What did they hear? For more than 85 years, Caterpillar Inc. has been making sustainable progress possible and driving positive change on every continent. With 2011 sales and revenues of $60.138 billion, Caterpillar remains the world’s leading manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, industrial gas turbines and diesel-electric locomotives, much to the profound annoyance of the BDS cru.

Oh, yes. The issue of Israel never came up.

So Josh Schott. How does it feel to be irrelevant?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Israeli gives up dream to scale Everest to save Turkish climber

A traffic jam on Mount Everest turned deadly last weekend, with reports of seven climbers perishing on the mountain. Weeks of bad weather had prevented climbers from summit attempts until Saturday. When the weather cleared, an estimated 150 people rushed to reach the peak.

But still, there were stories from Everest that showed the triumph of the human spirit.

A 24 year old law student from Israel, Nadav Ben-Yehuda was just 300 meters from the summit of Everest when he noticed a Turkish climber Aydin Irmak lying unconscious on the ground.

"People passed him by and didn’t do a thing.... All I thought about is that I can save this person – and that’s what I did," Ben-Yehuda noted.

He continued:

"I attached him to my harness, and we started the descent. It was very hard to carry him because he was heavy. At times he would gain consciousness, but then faint again. When he woke up he would scream in pain, which made it even more difficult."

It took nearly 10 hours until they arrived at the closest base, located at an altitude of 7,900 meters.

"Expressing his gratitude, Irmak, 46, told Yedioth Ahronoth, "If Nadav wasn't there, I would have died on the mountain. It was a miracle.

"I remember falling down. I woke up with Nadav standing over me and shouting my name. Nadav did a great thing. He built a bridge between Turkey and Israel, and our leaders can learn a lot from him. Politics doesn’t matter much, what matters is human nature.

"I may have missed the summit, but I gained a new brother. Who knows, maybe one day we'll climb the Everest together," Irmak noted.

Meanwhile, in their living room in Rehovot, Nadav's parents – Yoram and Dorit – are bursting with pride. "He did the right thing, no doubt," said Yoram. "This is the education he received not only at home but also from his military service in Golani – a friend in need comes first."

I've been wondering how the Turkish papers are framing the incident. Perhaps something along the lines of "Israeli prevents Turkish climber from reaching Everest summit" ?

Monday, May 21, 2012

Shelter from the "storm"

The bastardization of language continues to be part of the collateral damage of the conflict in the Middle east

Storm: a violent military assault on a fortified place, strong position, or the like.

From Merrimam-Webster
Storm : a disturbed or agitated state : a sudden or violent commotion
: a heavy discharge of objects (as missiles)
: a tumultuous outburst a storm of protests

From the Friday, May 18 "Window into Palestine" blog: "Storm" is used 4 times in this very brief report

Jewish settlers, officials storm Aqsa mosque

"A group of 25 Jewish settlers accompanied by an Israeli minister stormed the holy Aqsa mosque in occupied Jerusalem on Thursday morning.

Mahmoud Abu Ata, a spokesman for the Aqsa foundation for endowment and heritage, told the PIC that 25 settlers, a minister, and media personnel were escorted by Israeli soldiers in their “provocative” stroll inside the holy Islamic site. He condemned the recurrent storming of the Aqsa, charging that the storming fell in line with the Israeli occupation authority’s Judaization attempts of occupied Jerusalem.

Fanatic Jewish settlers have threatened to repeatedly storm the holy compound in 2012to establish the alleged “temple” on the ruins of the Aqsa mosque after destroying it."

In case you were wondering, this is what "storming" by "fanatic Jewish settlers" looks like:

Anti-Israel activists object to saving Israeli civilian lives?

Iron Dome is an Israeli mobile air defense system designed to intercept and destroy short-range rockets that might potentially land in populated areas. The system targets incoming rockets that might pose a potential threats to city centers and fires an interceptor missile to destroy them in the air. On March 2012 the Jerusalem Post reported that the system shot down 90% of its targets. By April 2012Iron Dome had intercepted 93 rockets.

Its clear that Iron Dome saves the lives of Israeli civilians.

Israel also plans to setup the Iron Dome system near its northern border. Reports indicate that Hezbollah has 55,000 missiles aimed at Israel- a testament to the effectiveness of UNIFIL "Peacekeepers".

Recently, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta recently announced an additional $70 million in funding for Israel for its Iron dome system. "My goal is to ensure Israel has the funding it needs each year to produce these batteries that can protect its citizens... That is why going forward over the next three years, we intend to request additional funding for Iron Dome, based on an annual assessment of Israeli security requirements against an evolving threat."

Pentagon spokesman George Little added "It's a proven system...Missile defense is important to Israel and we're committed to supporting the Israelis"

Well, some of us anyway.

Amy Hendrickson ( you can contact her at recently sent out a mass email calling for protests at Harvard to protest US taxpayer money used to save Israeli lives.

Join a Stand Out at Harvard Graduation to Protest US Military Aid to Israel
When: Thursday, May 24, 4 - 6 PM
Where: Harvard Square in front of Au Bon Pain

Did you know that the US is giving Israel an additional $680 million for its "Iron Dome" project - on top of the annual $3.1 billion in military aid we have pledged to give each year until 2017? ….

Let us raise our voices against the use of our tax dollars to kill Palestinians, destroy their land and homes and make war on neighboring countries.
Please help spread the word!

Even in the hate-driven reality challenged world of the anti-Israel activist, its hard to imagine the Iron Dome system characterized as "killing Palestinians"
No Amy, this additional aid is earmarked specifically for Iron Dome- to save the lives of Israeli civilians, living under a barrage of unrelenting missile attacks. What possible objections could you, or could anyone have to that?

All Criticism of Israel is Anti-Semitic!

Mike L.

(Cross-Posted at Israel Thrives and Geoffff's Joint, Bar and Grill)

There is an article in this morning's Jerusalem Post by Benjamin Kerstein entitled, "Yes, all criticism of Israel is anti-Semitic!" When I first noticed it I rolled my eyes and moved on by because the premise is so obviously nonsensical. Of course not all criticism of Israel is anti-Semitic. If all criticism of Israel is anti-Semitic then Israel, itself, is the most anti-Semitic country on the entire planet.

Nonetheless the idea seemed so outrageous and so patently false on its very face that I decided to see what the writer was saying. Perhaps his title, like mine above, was meant as snark. But, nope. Kerstein means precisely what he says. All criticism of Israel is inherently anti-Semitic for historical reasons. This is what he writes:

All criticism of Israel is anti-Semitic because of the specific historical circumstances under which we currently live. That is to say, the historical circumstances under which Israel and the Jews exist in the world today render any non-anti-Semitic criticism of Israel impossible. And, ironically, these are circumstances that Israel’s opponents have themselves created.

To hold that this is not the case requires acting – and demanding that others act – as if these circumstances do not exist, even as they sit as patiently as a pachyderm in the parlor waiting for us to notice them and, sometimes, when our self-willed ignorance grows too infuriating, murder our children and set off bombs in our streets.

Nonetheless, these circumstances are not complex, nor are they numerous. They are simply these: A large portion of the world, West and East, has come to believe that Arabs and Muslims have earned the right to murder Jews.

This last bit, I have to say, is unquestionably true. Those of us who follow the grassroots / netroots of the Democratic party on the question of the Long Arab War against the Jews see this constantly. That is, we are constantly told that the reason that so many Arabs and Muslims seek to murder the Jews in the Middle East is because those Jews are mean. In places like Daily Kos or the Huffington Post or the UK Guardian (not to mention TIME magazine, Harvard, Yale, and the University of Pennsylvania) we are constantly told that the reason Palestinians sometimes strap suicide belts onto children and send them off into areas crowded with Jews is because Israel is a racist, colonialist, imperialist, apartheid state and that if Israel would simply end the Occupation (with a capital "O") then the local Arabs would become as gentle as narcofied lambs.

In this way, the Jews of the Middle East, who, as a tiny minority in that part of the world, have been subject to 14 centuries of persecution, are at fault for that persecution. Just as so many Germans in the early-middle part of the twentieth century told one another that the Jews have it coming, so today many, many western progressives tell themselves precisely the same thing. What it amounts to is the notion that if for 2,000 years we Jews have been unjustly persecuted and oppressed, thus artificially holding down our numbers, in this generation we really DO deserve whatever beating the Arab or Muslim world wishes to give out.

Every generation of Jews prior to 1948 was perfectly innocent, but NOW we just happen to actually be guilty.

Derived from this right, they have also come to believe that the destruction dismantling, and erasure of the State of Israel, and the slaughter, expulsion, and/or perpetual subjugation of its Jewish population are entirely legitimate and indeed desirable.

That is, ultimately, what anti-Semitic anti-Zionism of the kind found so commonly on the left is about. That's what anti-Zionism means. It means that after 2,000 years of getting our collective ass kicked it is immoral and wrong for Jewish people to come together in their own self-defense because it means effectively fighting back against Arab Muslim persecution and, as everyone seems to know, Jewish self-defense is immoral and unacceptable.

Derived from the preceding is the belief that the Jewish people in general, in Israel or the Diaspora, either do not exist as a people deserving the same rights as other peoples, or are an evil and debased people who must be slaughtered, expelled, and/or perpetually subjugated in order to prevent them from committing further debased evils.

The western left never puts it in these kinds of terms. They never would because they see themselves as enlightened anti-racists. Instead, they often talk to one another about the Occupation (with a capital "O") and what a shame it is that the Jews are behaving something like Nazis. What usually, but not always, goes unspoken is the idea that if Israel is something akin to Nazi Germany or Apartheid South Africa then it must be dismantled as a Jewish state and any such effort can only lead to war, if not a second Holocaust.

So, is all criticism of Israel anti-Semitic?


I'm sorry, but despite the above the very notion is still ridiculous on its face. Nonetheless, it's not really that difficult to understand where Kerstein is coming from. Israel represents about half the world's Jewish population and it is surrounded by people numbering 60 to 70 for every Jew and a very great proportion of those people hold murderous hostility toward those Jews. People in the west do not really understand, or care to understand, what a precarious position those Jews live under. People in the west do not really understand, or care to understand, that the Jews in the Middle East have been living under siege since they were freed from dhimmitude in the early part of the twentieth century.

In the comments of Kerstein's op-ed we read this:


Bizarre and counter-intuitive proposals like all criticism is anti-semitic are a mark of either Power or Desperation.

The western progressive-left thinks that Israel is powerful, but the truth is that the Jews of the Middle East are desperate. They desperately wish to be left alone to raise their children in peace, to work on computer and medical technology, and to send Natalie Portmans out into the world. That's what they want, but instead they live with constant hatred coming at them from all quarters and bloodthirsty violence directed at them from many in the local Palestinian population.

When malicious progressives direct their hatred toward the Jews of the Middle East they are confusing victims with victimizers and seeing their own hatred in noble terms.

There is a reason why young Jewish kids in Israel must go into the IDF and it is not because the Jews of the Middle East are essentially militaristic and mean. It is because so many of the 400 million Arabs surrounding those Jews are hell-bent for fury and hundreds of millions of westerners seem to favor the Arabs over those Jews.

One thing that I know for certain is that if the shit ever really hits the fan over there and we end up with a whole mess of dead Jews (and dead Arabs), the tendency on the western left will be to blame the Jews for the hostility against us.

That's the way it has been every generation for 2,000 years.

This one is no different.

Friday, May 18, 2012

This Bird Controls the Media

State Bird of Israel. This is what a Zionist with wings looks like.
This is a hoopoe, called in Hebrew a dukhifat. It is the national bird of the State of Israel. They are insectivores, also sunbathers. According to the good folks at Wikipedia "hoopoes sunbathe by spreading out their wings and tail low against the ground and tilting their head up; they often fold their wings and preen halfway through. The hoopoe also enjoys taking dust and sand baths."

I am, of late, developing an interest in Israeli wildlife, having realized at some point that many of the animals referred to again and again in Torah were things I really didn't know very much about. I am rather embarassed to say that well into my thirties, I believed that a hyrax was a kind of gazelle or something, when it turns out that they are actually "fairly small, thickset, herbivorous mammals in the order Hyracoidea"*. Apparently they are sort of the raccoons of the Middle East, and have been known to raid trash cans. I think they're adorable. They also get Biblical mentions, and not only in terms of being trayf, which they are, but also poetically in the Psalms; The high mountains belong to the wild goats; the crags are a refuge for the hyrax."

But enough about the hyraxes for now. Today we're talking about the hoopoe, which is also not kosher**, and which has also inspired Manchester’s Palestine Solidarity Campaign to be critical of the socialist British daily newspaper the Morning Star.

What the heck could the Palestine Solidarity Campaign have against the humble, bug-eating, dust-bath-taking hoopoe, you ask? And how did the Morning Star get involved in this? Well, I'm glad you asked. The Morning Star has a daily quiz, in which one of the questions recently made reference to the fact that the hoopoe is Israel's national bird. This is a fact suitable for a trivia quiz, right up there with the fact that the national animal of Belize is the Baird's tapir, or that the bangus is the national fish of the Philippines. And yet, there was an element in town that objected.
In a letter to the newspaper, Linda Claire, the chairwoman of Manchester’s Palestine Solidarity Campaign, asked why it had referred to the bird after it has “always been the newspaper you could rely on to support the cause of the Palestinians.”
“Maybe you don’t support the methods chosen by the international solidarity movement of BDS [boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel] to assist the Palestinians in their struggle for freedom and justice,” she said, adding that this included any reference to Israel’s wildlife.
No, no, you didn't misread that. She considers BDS to apply to free-range wildlife. Her husband also seems to consider the hoopoe, an indigenous bird that has never been known to harm anyone who wasn't a beetle, to be a wedge fowl.
“Despite its condemnation of zionists [sic] it yet finds space to include an item in its daily quiz about Israel’s national bird. Is the Star not aware there’s a cultural boycott going on?” Claire’s husband, George Abendstern, asked in another letter.
 (George, a tip here...the Israelis did not INVENT the hoopoe. They are not MARKETING it. Its inclusion in the quiz does not indicate any sort of policy statement.) This may just leave you scratching your head in puzzlement, or, if you're a hoopoe, off to take another dust bath and take it easy, but this nutty couple underline something very real about BDS: it's not about policy, it's not about any positive goal, it's about the blind hatred of Israel, and the desire to reject anything connected to Israel--hoopoes included.

 After being criticized for being really weird, the PSC clarified. “It was not the bird we object to but what this bird represents – the racist and apartheid State of Israel.”

It's not racism they want to get rid of, folks, or the imagined's Israel.

*'Thickset?' say the hyraxes. 'Thanks.'

**Just as well for the hoopoe, one might point out.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Homes in Gaza

A comment in the post "Real Children's art from Gaza" implies that the Oxfam drawings from Gaza were perhaps fraudulent, since they showed homes with gables. Indeed many homes in the Middle east do have flat roofs- as an extension of the living space, and as a refuge from the heat.

But as this June 2007 Philip Rizk photo shows, flat roofs are by no means universal in Gaza. This photo of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s house in Gaza City, appeared in the Electronic Intifada.

Here it is, from a different angle

Rather nice, huh? Not what you'd expect from the World's largest concentration camp, is it?

Richard Millet Attacked at Anti-Israel Event

(Cross-Posted at Israel Thrives)

Richard Millet is a British pro-Israel blogger whose work can be found here:

This morning I received, along with a number of other people, the following email from Adam Levick of CiF Watch.



Intrepid blogger, Richard Millett, was assaulted and subjected to racial abuse earlier this evening at an anti-Israel meeting at the School of Oriental and African Studies of the University of London. Though Richard is a bit shaken up he is largely ok.

The pretext for assaulting Richard was because he refused to stop filming even though this was a public meeting and there were according to him others present who were filming.

This all took place in front of a room full of people - who taunted Richard - as well as speakers, Karma Nabulsi and Abdel-Bari Atwan, who are both well known on the anti-Israel circuit. Nabulsi teaches at Oxford University and is a former PLO representative while Atwan is a Palestinian journalist. Atwan of course is known for making the following statement: "If the Iranian missiles strike Israel – by Allah, I will go to Trafalgar Square, and dance with delight if the Iranian missiles strike Israel."

Fortunately, Richard has footage of what happened at the meeting which you can view at the links below. I urge you take 5 minutes to review the footage.

This is not the first time an incident like this has taken place at SOAS. Last year a pro-Israel supporter was physically attacked by a rabid (literally) anti-Israel hater. The attacker was later acquitted.

This incident cannot pass without criminal charges being brought against Richard's attackers and disciplinary action being brought against the organizers and the speakers. Richard has already filed a complaint with the police.

We need to let right-thinking people know that the atmosphere of violence and hate against Jews on British campuses is getting out of control and those that stand silent or incite as the speakers did need to know that they are accomplices to this hatred and must be disciplined accordingly.

Here are some suggestions of things that you can do:

1. If you are in the UK, please write to your MP and ask what he/she is going to do about this.

2. Complain to the Director of SOAS, Professor Paul Webley - email - tel - 0207 898 4014.

3. Complain to Vice Chancellor of Oxford University, Andrew Hamilton - email - tel - 01865 270252

4. Complain to Abdel Bari-Atwan on twitter - @abdelbariatwan (Nabulsi does not have an active twitter account)

5. If you know a journalist or blogger, please encourage them to write about what happened. This story should be making national news.

Please don't stand silent and please be firm but respectful and polite in any communication with anyone you complain to.

Feel free to forward this email.

Adam Levick, Managing Editor
CiF Watch

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Real Children's Art from Gaza

An exhibit of children's art from Gaza is currently on exhibit in London, at the London Muslim Centre.

A photo essay of the art is shown at the UK's "Guardian"

"Gaza's children reveal their hopes and fears – in pictures
The children of al-Zarqa, one of the Gaza Strip's poorest areas, have been affected by a conflict outside their control. An exhibition of drawings made by primary school children from the area, which was damaged during a three-week military assault in 2009, is on show in Whitechapel. It highlights a collective yearning for a clean, safe neighbourhood"

So, does anyone remember the controversial Gaza art exhibit "A child's view of Gaza" from Oakland of last year?

Part of the controversay was, well, the drawings seemed rather, professional.
From FresnoZionism:

".....The Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA) claims that the pictures were drawn by children from 9 to 11 years of age. That’s nonsense. Look at the drawing above. Note how the viewer’s eye is drawn to the slightly off-center focal point, the child cowering in the corner, the suggestion of despair evoked by the black shading around him. Look at the effective representation of the soldier’s face with a few strokes. Look at the sureness of the lines, the bold strokes. Whoever drew this was either an adult artist or a remarkable prodigy, sophisticated both artistically and politically."

"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."

Artist and teacher Juniper in the Desert commented...

"As an artist and teacher I can safely say... They are faked to look like children, but the detail is too pointed and expert - the helicopters for instance. The proportions and stance of the woman and child are a creation of a professional. The boot and flag, the lines are not those of a child.?"

And the Elder of Ziyon pointed outremarkable resemblances between the "children's art" and American anti-Israel propaganda posters.

An artist commenting ay the Elder's site writes: :

"I've been an avocational artist my entire life and have some experience with the styles of amateurs. The sureness of the color application -- especially in the dense, complicated scenes (which are obviously all done by the same person) -- is at variance with the primitive (faux-primitve, frankly) nature of the sketching. It's the use of color especially that gives it away to me as the product of an older person. But the complexity of the composition in the big scenes is uncharacteristic of 9-11-year-olds as well. Certainly the politicized content is atypical.

The sureness of stroke in these pictures is something you almost never find from a very young artist. The biggest giveaway I see in this regard is not actually in the complex, refined drawings, but in the more primitive ones. For example, the confidence with which the concertina wire is sketched in, in one of the primitive crayon drawings, is just not characteristic of the young. I was accounted an exceptional artist in my K-12 years, and I couldn't have achieved that confident, bold, rapid-stroking effect until I was at least 16. It's one of the hardest things to do, and you really do lack the coordination and focus for it when you're younger. A kid would draw that laboriously, with a lot of short, stubby strokes strung together -- or he would simply achieve a cruder, less symmetrical and more tentative effect."

Compare and contrast the drawings exhibited in London, with those from the controversial MECA exhibit. Do you really still believe that the Middle east children's Alliance drawings were made by children?

The General Union Of Palestinian Writers rejects Peace

From Palestinian Media Watch:
At a meeting of the General Union of Palestinian Writers last week, the union's logo was on display, showing a rifle and a quill over a map of "Palestine" that replaced Israel.

Rejecting Israel's right to exist within any borders. Glorifying violence. Does any think that the General Union of Palestinian Writers is a peace group? Does anyone believe this organization supports a homeland for the Palestinian people living side by side and in peace with a homeland for the Jewish people?

Perhaps its not surprising that this group has condemned writers throughout the world for traveling to Jerusalem to attend the International Writer’s Festival in Jerusalem. What might surprise you however, is that this group has gone one step further- and as actually singled out for derision individual writers who have decided to seek out Palestinian voices

From an article in the "Electronic Intifada" (No, I'm not going to link to it)

"Not only are some of these writers – who crossed the Palestinian picket line – like the American writer Tracy Chevalier and the Bosnian writer Aleksandar Hemon, still participating in this shameful festival, they have also asked the director of the Festival, Uri Dromi, to arrange for them to meet with 'local’ Palestinian writers in Ramallah, and to tour East Jerusalem to see the Palestinians. This Orientalist tendency to get acquainted with 'the locals’ as objects of colonial voyeurism, and through colonial intermediaries, should be met on the Palestinian side with condemnation and boycott."

Their rant continues:

"Promoting Jerusalem as a legendary city that is quintessentially Jewish, extending from 'The Tower of David’ to the 'Judean Desert’, and the participation of top Zionist writers like Amos Oz, A. B. Yehushua, David Grossman, and Etgar Keret, along with Arab writers who don’t write in Arabic such as Sayed Kashua and Bouallam Sansal, turn this festival into a carnival of irony that should be boycotted for aesthetic, cultural, and political factors."

From the festival website

"Established by the Jerusalem Foundation, Mishkenot Sha'ananim is an international cultural and conference centre in Jerusalem, serving artists and encouraging creative expression. The centre embraces a pluralistic perspective and interdisciplinary approach and sees as its goal to promote Jerusalem as a city of dialogue and tolerance.

Situated in a famous historical building dating from 1860, Mishkenot Sha'ananim was the first residential building established by Sir Moses Montefiore for Jewish residence outside the Old City walls. The structure exudes both charm and inspiration, offering a magnificent view of the Tower of David, the Old City walls and the Judean Desert. "

So, once again, the truth-challenged Electronic Intifada is wrong. There's not a word about promoting Jerusalem as a "legendary city that is quintessentially Jewish". And they've completely missed the "dialog and tolerance part".

Attended by over 60 writers from Israel and around the world, the literary encounters, readings, workshops and discussions, The Third International Writers Festival at Mishkenot Sha’ananim features respected authors from countries as diverse as Algeria and India, Italy and Argentina, Bosnia and the U.S. The festival will be held in various locations in the capital including the cinemateque, Anna Ticho House Museum and the Yellow Submarine club.

By now, it must be clear to everyone that the overarching goal of Boycotts, Sanctions and Divestment (BDS ) is not peace or co-existence. The tactic serves to isolate and condemn those who believe in these out-dated principals. The goal of BDS is the isolation and the elimination of Israel as the home of the Jewish people.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Something there is that doesn't love a wall

Before I built a wall I'd ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offence.

Robert Frost "Mending Fences"

Since construction of Israel's security barrier began, the number of attacks on Israeli civilians has declined by more than 90%. According to the IDF, 30% of Israel’s counterterrorism arrests took place at checkpoints. Today there are some 50 barriers and fences in the world today. So why is only Israel's security barrier problematic?

Mexico/US border fence

Morocco/Ceuta fence

From YNET:

"Spain built fences to keep out Moroccans; India is walling off Kashmir and Bangladesh; South and North Korea share the most heavily fortified border in the world. Elsewhere, Saudi Arabia has an epic wall project; the glitz, wealthy Arab sheikhdoms are closing the border with dirt-poor Oman; Russia is considering walling off Chechnya; Western Sahara has “the Wall of Shame”; Cyprus is entirely divided by walls; Belfast is a fenced city of brick, iron and steel barriers, and even the ultra-liberal Nederlands built a fence around the Hook of Holland.

But only Israel’s barriers have been condemned by the International Court of Justice, only Israel’s fences have received round-the-clock coverage on CNN and front page stories on the New York Times, only Israel’s checkpoints are turned into the meccas of “peace” activists and are condemned by Western public opinion as an instrument of harassment used to subjugate a proud “native” people, whose only crime is wanting freedom, or “liberation.”
While foreign fences keep out livestock and refugees from neighboring countries, only Israel’s fences and checkpoints have a truly humanitarian reason: to secure the civilian population's right to life. Only in Israel barbed wire, patrol roads, sand tracking paths, video cameras and electronic sensors are used to prevent a restaurant, a shopping mall or a hotel from being turned into carpets of human bodies."

From the Jewish Virtual library on the role of the security barrier in savings lives:

"During the 34 months from the beginning of the violence in September 2000 until the construction of the first continuous segment of the security fence at the end of July 2003, Samaria-based terrorists carried out 73 attacks in which 293 Israelis were killed and 1950 wounded. In the 11 months between the erection of the first segment at the beginning of August 2003 and the end of June 2004, only three attacks were successful, and all three occurred in the first half of 2003.
Since construction of the fence began, the number of attacks has declined by more than 90%. The number of Israelis murdered and wounded has decreased by more than 70% and 85%, respectively, after erection of the fence.
Even the Palestinian terrorists have addmitted the fence is a deterrent. On November 11, 2006, Islamic Jihad leader Abdallah Ramadan Shalah said on Al-Manar TV the terrorist organizations had every intention of continuing suicide bombing attacks, but that their timing and the possibility of implementing them from the West Bank depended on other factors. “For example,” he said, “there is the separation fence, which is an obstacle to the resistance, and if it were not there the situation would be entirely different.”
The value of the fence in saving lives is evident from the data: In 2002, the year before construction started, 457 Israelis were murdered; in 2009, 8 Israelis were killed."

Israel's security barrier is a non-violent way of saving lives. It is moveable. It is temporary, and it will come down when there is a real and lasting peace in the land. In the absence of peace, it provides security and it saves lives every day.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

United States-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act of 2012 passes

In a nearly unanimous bipartisan 411-2 vote, the House of Representatives passed the United States-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act of 2012 to reaffirm and strengthen our security ties with Israel.

The bill was formally sponsored by House Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) and Minority Whip Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD), with 294 co-sponsors

Nine representatives voted “present” but not “yes” on the legislation, and two voted against: U.S. Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), and U.S. Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich). Several did not vote.

Find out how your representative voted here.

Did your Representative vote NO?
Did your Representative vote PRESENT?
Did your Representative NOT VOTE ?

Right now- drop them a line, send them an email or give them a call. Tell them why Israel's security is important to you and why you are disappointed in their action.

Did your Representative vote yes? Contact them and thank them.

During debate, Rep. Cantor spoke about the importance of this legislation, declaring:

"This bill reaffirms Israel's right to defend itself against threats and puts Congress on the record about America's long-standing commitment to the US-Israel strategic relationship, a unique and special relationship founded on shared interests and shared democratic values...This bill recognizes the profound threats the U.S. and Israel face in the region and reiterates our commitment to standing side by side with Israel during this pivotal and dangerous period of transition and instability.”

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Cyberbullying: The new trademark of the BDS crowd.

Does the "B" in BDS stand for Bullying?

Dr. Jess Ghannam is one of our local chameleons. As a Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Global Health Sciences in the School of Medicine at UCSF Medical Center, Dr. Ghannam is clearly one of the one 1 %. Yet, he's been spotted frequently removing his tie and suit- jacket on his way to participate in demonstrations, often donning a jaunty Che style beret in an attempt to fit in with the crowd. Dr. Ghannam will trot out his academic and medical credentials when its convenient- he is a member of a California Scholars for Academic Freedom (a group that is obsessed solely with allowing academics the freedom to demonize Israel at taxpayers expense), but he's equally at home playing anarchist at International ANSWER or Al Awda meetings.

Dr. Ghannam just sent out a mass email via the extremist Al Alwda email list, encouraging the cyberbullying of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, who are scheduled to play in Tel Aviv, Israel later this year, complete with pre-packaged tweets to RT and RT ad nauseam .

Cyberbullying is being used with increasing frequency against any artist that dares to schedule a tour in the only democracy in the Middle east.

From an article by Jerome Reilly in the Independent-Ireland

"Justice Minister Alan Shatter has launched a blistering attack on the Irish Palestinian Solidarity Group (IPSG), accusing them of "cyberbullying" the folk group Dervish who were forced to pull out of a planned concert in Israel.
The band cancelled the tour planned for June, citing an "avalanche of negativity" and "venom" directed towards them on social media websites.
Shatter, who is Jewish, said, "It is a great pity that the bullying tactics of the IPSG worked."
He added that the IPSG's appeal to human rights "ignores the constitutional rights of Irish citizens and those who live in this state to get on with their lives, to travel and to perform around the world free from bullying, intimidation and discrimination."
"It is particularly extraordinary that the orchestrated campaign targeted at Dervish occurred at a time when thousands have lost their lives in Syria and the IPSG have remained silent about the crimes against humanity."

The website BDS gone bad has done an expose of anarchist and cyberbully Tali Shapiro. Tali apparently writes personal letters to bands calling herself a "long time fan". The site asks "Why is it then she’s not even the fan band’s fan on Facebook untill it’s time to call for divestment? A quick browse through her profile shows that she almost only likes Bands and artists who announced a concert in Israel,soon after the announcement, in order to fill their public pages with calls for boycott." At least 37 out of 50 Artists that Tali Shapiro "likes" are ones that announced concerts in Israel!

Tali Shapiro in anarchist mode

So there we have it. A system of alerts and pre-packaged tweets are sent out to anti-Israel activists around the world. With the mindless group-think of the Borg they blog and tweet and spam the web, hoping to bully an artist into submission. It gives the illusion of a mass- movement where one does not actually exist. Whenever a group like the Dervishes capitulates to the bullies, it increases the BDS'ers own delusions of their power and their importance.

And thats why we need to fight back.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Al Awda: And the War continues

If its May, it must be Nakba season. And true to form, a variety of anti-Israel events are scheduled throughout California . Our local Al Awda's promotional poster carries the promise of continued "resistance"- a thinly veiled threat of violence.

The theme of continued violence carries over to the Southern California Al Awda, who have declared No Return = No Justice = No Peace!, and have scheduled a day of rage at the local Israeli Consulate on Wilshire Blvd.

Zahi Damuni's hate filled invective begins:

"Of all Zionist war crimes, none was as massive as that committed in the 1948 era with the wholesale expulsion of the Palestinian Arab people from their homes, towns and villages, as part of a calculated plan to uproot an entire population and empty the land of Palestine from its indigenous inhabitants.

The Nakba ("Catastrophe" in Arabic) of 1948 refers to this planned ethnic cleansing when the vast majority of Palestinians were ruthlessly attacked, massacred and driven from their homes into refugee camps by Zionist terror groups, and not allowed to return in violation of international law...."

And of course, he is wrong.

What Israelis, Jews and most of the world celebrates as Israel's independence, people opposed to Israel's birth commemorate as the "Nakba"- the Catastrophe. Roughly 650,000 Arabs were displaced in Israel's war of Independence. The vast majority fled without seeing a single Israeli soldier. Thousands of wealthy Arabs left in anticipation of a war. Others responded to a call from Arab leadership to leave, and were promised a quick return following a victory over Israel. That victory never came. A handful were expelled, but most simply fled to avoid being caught in the war.

A 1948 British police report from Haifa explained that “every effort is being made by the Jews to persuade the Arab populace to stay and carry on with their normal lives, to get their shops and businesses open and to be assured that their lives and interests will be safe.” In her autobiography, Golda Meir writes about going to Haifa to try to persuade the Arabs to stay.

Thousands of these handbills were distributed in Haifa, in an effort to convince the Arabs not to leave.

Israel's declaration of independence- that most Zionist of all documents states

"WE APPEAL - in the very midst of the onslaught launched against us now for months - to the Arab inhabitants of the State of Israel to preserve peace and participate in the upbuilding of the State on the basis of full and equal citizenship and due representation in all its provisional and permanent institutions. "

The true catastrophe- the real Nakba- is that after 64 years Al Awda continues to wage a war on the Jewish state- a war of words, a war of hate, a war of agitprops.

It ain't "Pinkwashing" if it's True

This one's for you, Dan:

The Equality Forum is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to advance national and international lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights through education. Since 2006, Equality Forum has spearheaded LGBT History Month. LGBT History Month honors 31 LGBT Icons—one each day—with a video, bio, bibliography, downloadable images, and other downloadable educational resources including special features for students.
They also host the weeklong Annual Equality Forum with an international focus, top-tier panel discussions, parties, an annual art exhibit, International Equality Dinner, Sunday OUT! and more.

The 20th annual Equality Forum's featured nation was Israel.

Some of the special programing about Israel's LGBT population included an exhibit of Israeli photographer David Adika's work at the 13th annual Gay and Lesbian Art Exhibit and the Tel Aviv Drag Performer/Singing Sensation Osher Sabag performing at the Drag Show at Tabu

For many, the highlight of the event was the appearance of Ambassador of Israel to the U.S. Michael Oren as Keynote speaker. From the Globes website:

"Oren mentioned three cases that highlight Israel's liberal attitude toward the LBGT community: two women IDF soldiers who harassed a lesbian soldier were sentence by a military court to prison; and an Israeli diplomat, who received a top posting in Europe, asked and received without further ado full rights for his partner; and the Israeli government did not capitulate to intense pressure from religious parties to cancel the Jerusalem Gay Pride parade, which was held to great success under heavy police protection.

"Our activists have faced many challenges, but they can build on a solid foundation of liberty," said Oren. "Today, Israel's LBGT community is part of the country's diverse and thriving social fabric. Together, we are soldiers, professors, legislators, judges, factory workers, members of the medical professions, and teachers. Together, we are not gays, heterosexuals, bisexuals, or transgenders, but proud Israelis."

Oren added, "In fact, two Palestinian organizations that are fighting for LBGT rights in the West Bank, operate out of Israel because they cannot operate freely in the Palestinian Authority."

Oren said that it is not difficult to be more liberal than Israel's neighbors, adding that Israel must be more advanced not only in the region, but in the world. "We must never cease our efforts to remove the remaining obstacles to total equal rights in Israel. We must ensure that these rights are guaranteed in law, and we must ensure that abuse at school, intolerance by certain religious circles, and public prejudice become unacceptable. Period," he said."