Thursday, August 30, 2012

A Response to Jon Haber

Mike L.

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

Those of you who follow Israel Thrives will recall that I recently had something of a dispute with pro-Israel "progressives" on Jon Haber's DivestThis! blog.

There are some Jews on the progressive-left who simply refuse to acknowledge that which is before their very eyes, i.e., that BDS / anti-Zionism is a toxic political sub-movement coming out of the left. It is not coming out of the right, nor does it somehow float above normal politics.


It is primarily a left-wing phenomenon and we need to acknowledge that because it could not be more obvious. We must stop playing ostrich.

In any case, I have responded to Jon Haber's piece, "Israel Left and Right" at my new Times of Israel blog, here:

"Anti-Zionism and the Left: A Response to Jon Haber"

Feel free to drop in and tell me why I am wrong.

Monday, August 27, 2012

A Tribute to Rachel Corrie

Mike L.

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

As you guys are probably aware Rachel Corrie is back in the news.

Corrie family hopeful ahead of court ruling

Rachel Corrie's parents and sister say they hope the court will find the IDF responsible for her 2003 death in Gaza.

This being the case, I thought it was a good moment to reprint this response written by Ruhama Shattan one year after the accident that took Corrie's life:

A Tribute to Rachel Corrie

Today is the first anniversary of Rachel Corrie's death. I want to thank Corrie for the explosives that flow freely from Egypt to Gaza, via the smuggling tunnels under the Gaza homes that she died defending.

Perhaps it was these explosives that in the year since her martyrdom--oops, death--have been strapped around suicide bombers to blow up city buses and restaurants in Israeli cities, particularly in Jerusalem, killing men, women and schoolchildren (two of them classmates of my daughter and her friend in the February 22, 2004 bombing) and leaving hundreds more widows, orphans and bereaved parents.

On the first anniversary of her death, I want to thank Rachel Corrie for showing Palestinian children how to despise America as she snarled, burned an American flag, and led them in chanting slogans, and as she gave "evidence" at a Young Palestinian Parliament mock trial finding President Bush guilty of crimes against humanity.

Perhaps her help in fanning the flames of violent anti-American sentiment led to the October 2003 bombing of the Fulbright delegation to Gaza to interview scholarship candidates, killing three. There will be no new crop of Palestinian Fulbright scholars this fall.

On the first anniversary of her death, I wanted to thank Rachel Corrie for providing her organization, the Palestinian-sponsored International Solidarity Movement, with the opportunity to release a manipulated photo sequence "showing" an Israeli military bulldozer deliberately crushing her. (I would also like to thank the Associated Press and the Christian Science Monitor for taking up the baton and immortalizing this cynical ISM stunt.)

On the first anniversary of her death, I want to thank Rachel Corrie for showing the way to all those who seek peace in the Middle East. Unfortunately, Corrie's peace, as anyone familiar with the Palestine Liberation Organization, Fatah, Hamas and Hezbollah organizations that she defended with her life knows--or as anyone familiar with the weekly rants of the Friday preachers in the Palestinian mosques is aware--means not peaceful coexistence but the elimination of the state of Israel, and death to those they call "the usurping Jews, the sons of apes and pigs."

Thank you, Rachel Corrie, of Evergreen State University, where the profs wear khakis and kaffiyehs at graduation ceremonies, for showing us what peace really means.

Ms. Shattan is a translator, editor and writer who has lived in Israel since 1976. This article appeared in the Jerusalem Post.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

An Open Letter to the Arab Resource Organizing Center

First, some background:

Pam Geller, a New York activist decided to run offensive ads on our local bus system. The message was uncomfortable to those in the Jewish community who believed our best hope for peace is a Jewish State of Israel living side by side with an Arab state of Palestine. The ads did nothing to further the cause of peace, and were damaging to the cause of community building and interfaith relations. The MUNI system clearly felt their hands were tied- they’ve issued their own disclaimers on the buses, and have pledged to donate the proceeds of the ads to the SF Human Rights Commission for educational purposes

The Jewish community took a principled stand and denounced the ads. Additionally, the Jewish Federation has pledged to match funds donated to the HRC

The response from the Arab Resource Organizing Center rivals Pam Gellers' ads in its intractable hatred, shrilly claiming "The reality is that Zionism and structural racism have the same impact whether couched in JCRC's politesse or AFDI's vulgarity." and asserting "we cannot allow HRC to accept Zionist money".

Please read an Open Letter to the Arab Resource Organizing Center crossposted at Bluetruth Written by DrMike

The recent condemnation of Pamela Geller’s MUNI ads by the Jewish Community Relations Council and the American Jewish Committee could have provided an opening for dialogue, given the shared sentiments about those ads.  Yet AROC has chosen not to use this as an opportunity to build bridges but rather to throw gasoline onto hot ashes and inflame the situation further.

Your dismissal of the JCRC’s statement begins with a statement that you reject in other contexts: “We must not equate support for free speech with support for hate speech.” I completely agree.  Can I assume that you then also condemn these exercises of free speech in San Francisco?  I'm sure the leaders of your group saw these in person at some of the many anti-Israel demonstrations held here.

What about the new University of California report on campus  anti-Semitism which explicitly states “The Principles of Community operate under the assumption that not all speech is protected. Words and accusations which at their core demean, defame and degrademust be addressed and denounced.”  Will you join me in endorsing this statement, and condemn the repeated invitations by the Muslim Student Union at UC Irvine to hate speaker Amir Abdel Malik Ali?

Unfortunately it appears that your answer will be in the negative, since your statement then moves sadly but predictably on to rhetoric that far exceeds Geller’s in explicit hate. Phrases such as “the racism that drives Zionism” are dropped throughout the rest of the statement, which labels any support of Israel,whether by JCRC or by Geller’s AFDI, as “based on racism andIslamophobia”.  Any review of JCRC’s statements, whether on Israel or any other topic, is of course notably absent of any trace of either racism or Islamophobia, unless one adheres to your insistence that the very existence of a Jewish state is a racist endeavor.

Since that appears to be your position, you might want to review the Working Definition of Anti-Semitism prepared by the European Union in 2002; I’m sure you agree that many Europeans are not the strongest friends of Israel and you might even be aware that the EU funds NGO’s in Israel and overseas that promote BDS and similar anti-Israel activities.  
The EU stated: 
“Examples of the ways in which anti-Semitism manifests itself with regard to the state of Israel taking into account the overall context could include:
Denying the Jewish people their right of self-determinatione.g. by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor
Applying double standards by requiring of it a behavior notexpected or demanded of any other democratic nation
Using the symbols and images associated with classicanti-Semitism (e.g. claims of Jews killing Jesus or blood libel) tocharacterize Israel or Israelis
Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to thatof the Nazis.”

You close by saying that “we cannot allow HRC [the SanFrancisco Human Rights Commission] to accept Zionist money.”  When “Zionist” gets thrown around repeatedly as an epithet, the words of Dr Martin Luther King spoken in 1968 come to mind:  “When people criticize Zionists,they mean Jews. You are talking anti-Semitism.”

Sadly, you have lived up to the expectation that you will apply blatant hypocrisy and double standards not only to any issue involving Israel, but to concepts such as free speech as well.  Not that this a surprise coming from AROC.  After all, it was AROC's own program director, Lily Haskell, who exercised her free speech rights in December 2008 (a few weeks after the untimely and tragic death of Dan Kliman z"l in an elevator accident) by threatening the lives of Israel advocates by leading chants of "Israel Supporters watch your backs, or we'll push you down a shaft!"

Friday, August 24, 2012

Palestinians reject BDS, flock to Israeli beaches

During the month of Ramadan Israeli authorities granted permits to tens of thousands of Palestinians from the West Bank to visit Israel. The visitors converged on the beaches and in parks and shopping malls.

Photos from Getty
From an article at Gatestone Institute by Khaled Abu Toameh

For many years, the Palestinians had been complaining about Israeli restrictions that ban them from entering Israel, but during the holy month of Ramadan, in an unprecedented move, the Israeli authorities granted permits to tens of thousands of Palestinians from the West Bank to visit Israel during the Muslim feast of Eid al-Fitr.

Hundreds of thousands of Muslims from the West Bank have been entering Jerusalem for Friday prayers at the Aqsa Mosque without permits.

Many Palestinians, particularly shopkeepers in the city, welcomed the Israeli move, noting that it boosted the local economy.

Then, in a move that angered Hamas, the Palestinian Authority and other Palestinians, the Israeli authorities went a step farther by allowing tens of thousands of West Bank Palestinians to enter the rest of Israel.

For the first time in many years, in scenes reminiscent of the good old days before the peace process when Palestinians were able to enter Israel freely, the beaches of Tel Aviv and Jaffa were full of Palestinian Muslims who also converged on shopping malls and water parks in different parts of the country.

But the scenes of Palestinians enjoying themselves on Israeli beaches and shopping in Israeli malls have angered Hamas and the Palestinian Authority.

Hamas also fears that the easing of restrictions may have a moderating effect on Palestinians at a time when the Islamist movement is working hard to recruit more followers, especially in the West Bank.

Hamas does not want to see Palestinians happy and enjoying themselves, especially not in Israel. Hamas would prefer to see Palestinians live in misery and poverty so that it could find fertile soil for recruiting terrorists.

The Palestinian Authority, for its part, is now accusing Israel of seeking to damage the Palestinian economy by opening its doors to Palestinian vacationers and shoppers.

Some Palestinian officials in Ramallah are even talking about an Israeli "conspiracy" to undermine the Palestinian Authority. Other officials are opposed to the new Israeli policy because they believe it is aimed at promoting "normalization" with Israel -- something the Palestinian Authority leadership considers a crime...

For years, the Palestinian Authority has been demanding that Israel lift travel restrictions imposed on West Bank Palestinians. But now that Israel has permitted tens of thousands of Muslims to visit its beaches and malls, Israel is being denounced for trying to damage the Palestinian economy.

What is clear is that neither the Palestinian Authority nor Hamas wants to see Palestinians living a good life. Improving the living standards of Palestinians is something that these two parties are not interested in. They would rather see Palestinians direct all their anger and frustration only toward Israel.

Otherwise, Hamas and the Palestinian Authority fear, Palestinians may vent their anger against their own leaders

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Anti-Israel Rabbis for Obama

Ok, Mike L. - this one's for you.

Seven members of the Rabbinical Council of the extremist anti-Israel group Jewish Voice for Peace have endorsed the candidacy of Pres. Barack Obama and have appeared on his Rabbis for Obama list

Does Obama really want the endorsement of these seven?

•Rabbi Chava Bahle, Suttons Bay, MI
•Rabbi Rachel Evelyne Barenblat, Lanesboro, MA
•Rabbi Haim Beliak, Los Angeles, CA
•Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb, Berkeley, CA
•Rabbi Linda Holtzman, Philadelphia, PA
•Rabbi Rebecca Lillian, Chicago, IL
•Rabbi Brant Rosen, Evanston, IL

JVP is at the forefront of the boycott, sanctions and divestment campaign, and is currently targeting financial services giant TIAA-CREF. They have also been spearheading a drive to have a report on campus anti-Semitism issued by the UC Advisory Council on Campus Climate, Culture, and Inclusion tabled. JVP is a member of the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, which calls for a halt to all US aid to Israel. Locally, JVP stands side by side with the worst haters in the community and pickets our annual Jewish Community Celebration.

Yitzak Santis and Gerald Steinberg from NGO Monitor , label this activity “Jew-washing” , providing a Jewish cover for the isolation and demonization of Israel.

From their article: On ‘Jew-Washing’ And BDS.

Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) is far from the Jewish mainstream. It is a fringe of a fringe – a small anti-Zionist group, whose finances are unclear, but are almost always found at events where Jew-washing is used, particularly when boycott, divestment and sanctions campaigns (BDS) are at stake. Their motivations, like their financing, are unclear and irrelevant – the fact that they provide a useful cover for non-Jews to justify gratuitous Israel-bashing is what counts.

Pres. Obama, at AIPAC, not that long ago, you stated "When there are efforts to boycott or divest from Israel, we will stand against them. And whenever an effort is made to delegitimize the state of Israel, my administration has opposed them.". Stand by your words. Reject the endorsements of those that would just as soon see Israel destroyed.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Ethnic Cleansing of the Hebron Jews

Aug 24 is the anniversary of the infamous Hebron massacre, marking the ethnic cleansing of the Jewish population from Hebron, the second holiest city in Judaism. For those who claim "its all about the Occupation", read on;

From the wonderful blog Israel's History. A Picture a day

Background to the Hebron massacre. After the British army captured Palestine from the Turks in late 1917, the relationship between the British and the local Arab population was characterized by tension that sporadically erupted into insurrection over the next 30 years.

The Arabs of Palestine were led by the powerful Husseini clan who controlled the offices of the Mufti (religious leader) as well as the Mayor of Jerusalem. For decades the clan had opposed European colonialism, the growing power of foreign consulates in Jerusalem, Christian and Jewish immigration and land purchases. After the 1917 Balfour Declaration expressed support for “a national home for the Jewish people,” Husseini added “Zionists” to his enemies list. The clan leveraged its power and threats of violence to win over Turkish and British overlords, to challenge the Hashemite King Abdullah, and to hold off competing clans such as the Nashashibi, Abu Ghosh, and Khalidi clans.

On Yom Kippur 1928, Jews brought chairs and screens to prayers at the Western Wall. This purported change of the status quo was exploited by the Mufti, Haj Amin el Husseini, to launch a jihad against the Jews. Husseini’s campaign continued and escalated after a Jewish demonstration at the Kotel on Tisha B’Av in August 1929. Rumors spread that Jews had attacked Jerusalem mosques and massacred Muslims. The fuse was lit for a major explosion.

Starting on Friday, August 23, 1929 and lasting for a week, attacks by enraged Arab mobs were launched against Jews in the Old City in Jerusalem, in Jerusalem suburbs Sanhedria, Motza, Bayit Vegan, Ramat Rachel, in outlying Jewish communities, and in the Galilee town of Tzfat. Small Jewish communities in Gaza, Ramla, Jenin, and Nablus had to be abandoned.

The attack in Hebron became a frenzied pogrom with the Arab mob stabbing, axing, decapitating and disemboweling 67 men, women and children. At least 133 Jews were killed across Palestine. In 1931, there was a short-lived attempt to reestablish the Jewish community in Hebron, but within a few years it was abandoned until the Israel Defense Forces recaptured Hebron in 1967.

The British indulged the Arabs and responded by limiting Jewish immigration and land purchases.

Ransacked synagogue in Hebron

Ransacked Jewish home in Hebron

See more photos from 1929 Hebron here.

And what do the Palestinians have to say about the Hebron massacre? From MEMRI 92-Year-Old Palestinian Woman: Palestinians Should Massacre Jews Like We Massacred Them in Hebron

Interviewer: What is your name?

Sara Jaber: Sara Muhammad 'Awwadh Jaber.

Interviewer: How old are you?

Sara Jaber: I am 92.

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

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

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

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


And the lesson is, as always: Never Again.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Is Barack Obama a Fool or a Liar?

Mike L.

{Cross-Posted at Israel Thrives and Geoffff's Joint, Bar and Grill.}

I am going with fool and let me tell you why.

In a recent piece entitled "Israelis Prefer Romney" I claimed that Obama "praised the rise of the radical Jihad as something akin to the Spirit of '76 or the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and the 1960s."

Stuart took exception to this saying:

You know Michael, a lot of your rhetoric sounds exactly like the lies that Mitt Romney tells.

Obama never "praised the rise of the radical Jihad as something akin to the Spirit of '76 or the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and the 1960s." and you damn well know it.

Because Barack Obama did, in fact, praise the rise of radical Jihad as something akin to the Spirit of '76 or the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and the 1960s, I referred Stuart to the direct quote.

Upon the revolution in Tunisia, which was just one of the various Islamist revolutions taking place across the Muslim Middle East Barack Obama said this:

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

To which Stuart claimed, "He was referring to the overthrow of the non-democratic government. Not the rise of islamic jihad."

The truth, of course, is that while it is probably true that Obama thought that he was praising the overthrow of a non-democratic government, he was also praising, wittingly or not, the rise of the radical Jihad throughout the Muslim Middle East.

The question then becomes, is Barack Obama a fool or a liar?

When all the riots and rapes and bloodshed rocked the Arab world last year, many on the progressive-left, including Barack Obama, praised the chaos and murder and mayhem as actually the rise of Arab-Muslim democracy. At the time, unlike president Obama, I was willing to take a wait-and-see approach. My suspicion was that we were going to see the rise of radical Islam and that is precisely what happened, which is why the Muslim Brotherhood has taken over the government of Egypt.

Thus when Obama told the world how wonderful this all was and how it was something akin to the American Revolution and the Civil Rights Movement, I knew immediately how irresponsible and foolish such claims were and are. He was, whatever his intention, praising the rise of Islamic fascism as the wondrous up-welling of democracy.

I do not believe that Barack Obama lied. What is obviously true is that he interpreted the Arab Spring within the ideological parameters set forth by the mainstream media. Throughout that period we were generally told that the "Arab Spring" was the glorious rise of democracy and the yearning of the Arab peoples for the blessings of liberty. In this way the west, in general, and Barack Obama, in particular, projected our hopes and aspirations onto people who do not necessarily share those hopes and aspirations.

The "Arab Spring" was not about democracy, nor about overthrowing tyrants or ridding the Middle East of non-democratic governments. It was (and is) about the rise of radical Islam, a movement that subjugates women, slaughters gay people, despises non-Muslims, holds a genocidal intention toward the tiny Jewish minority in the Middle East, and that has a historical provenance that goes in part to Nazi Germany. Thus when Obama said "think of the defiance of those patriots in Boston who refused to pay taxes to a King, or the dignity of Rosa Parks as she sat courageously in her seat" he was, despite his best intentions, praising "the rise of the radical Jihad as something akin to the Spirit of '76 or the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and the 1960s."

If that was not his intention then he is a fool, otherwise he is a liar.

I will go with fool.

Monday, August 20, 2012

More Denial from the BDS crowd

In which alternate reality is a failure to achieve ones goals considered a successful action?

From the webpage of a group from the UK "Jews for Justice for Palestinians":

"In an email Action Alert (dateline 16 August 2012), Anna Baltzer of the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation draws attention to a very successful action in Sonoma County, California"

A very successful action ?
The Sonoma Human Rights commission rejected their request to cancel Veolia's contract. Rejected as in No. Nada. Thanks but no thanks.

BDS Flops in Sonoma

No victory for BDS proponents in Sonoma County

Latest Divestment Effort Results in Yet Another Failure for BDS Movement

The Wheels on the bus : Veolia BDS fail in Sonoma

Regarding the "success" of the Sonoma Veolia action. Hmmm. As someone deeply committed to the side of light and truth, the best I can do is wish Anna, Dalit and Sydney many more years of such continued "success"

Apparently, the Jews for Justice for Palestinians have based their conclusion on an email from Anna Baltzer that reads in part (my comments are bold):

Last month, our newest coalition member group North Coast Coalition for
Palestine caught the attention of corporate America, multinationals, and official representatives of the State of Israel when they challenged renewal of a local bus operating contract with Veolia, a French conglomerate heavily implicated in the Israeli occupation.

In a stirring 5-hour session of testimonies, Sonoma County, CA residents
put the Israeli occupation and its corporate enablers on trial.

What Anna has conveniently forgotten, is that many of those offering "the stirring hours of testimony" were there simply to expose the BDS anti-Israel agenda. Many of the people speaking rejected her request that Veolia's 20 year commitment to providing bus service to Sonoma county be dropped because of a conflict thousands of miles away. At least 4 of the people speaking were long-term Veolia employees, desperately concerned that their jobs were being put in jeopardy because of someone else's narrow political agenda

It was historic...

No, not really. It was just one in a series of BDS fails.

The diverse, unpaid group of Palestinians,
Jews, artists, teachers, students, veterans, and activists...

Dalit Baum is salaried. Sydney Levy is salaried. Anna Baltzer is salaried. And they aren't even Sonoma County residents. They are paid professional shills who jet around the country promoting an anti-Israel agenda.

were simply asking for the local Commission on Human Rights to recommend that the Board of Supervisors investigate Veolia prior to renewing contracts in 2014.

And the Commission said "No".

Here's where it gets interesting and where Anna Baltzer tips her hand. She writes:

"This is what the future of our movement could look like -- local communities putting the occupation and its US institutional supporters on trial in courthouses, town halls, and municipal departments across the nation, in truly grassroots and democratic campaigns with global reach."

Could that be the real BDS goal? To Anna Baltzer the Sonoma Human Rights Commission are as much pawns in her little game as Veolia. They exist as a vehicle, as a host organism to spread her hate-filled program. The whole goal of this carefully orchestrated BDS "movement" is to hijack our civic institutions to amplify an anti-Israel agenda. BDS is a parasitical movement, happy to sacrifice its host to achieve its goal. Its not about achieving any tangible result- its about the level of noise created.

Israelis Prefer Romney

Mike L.

{Cross-posted at Israel Thrives and Geoffff's Joint, Bar and Grill.}

When it comes to the well-being of the Jewish people of the Middle East I, unlike "progressive Zionists" or faux "pro-Israel" organizations like J-Street, tend to defer to the Israelis. It should seem fairly obvious that the Jews of the Middle East know what is in their best interest more than American Jewish dhimmis, like Jeremy Ben Ami. A recent poll of Israelis demonstrates clearly that they have much more faith in a potential Romney presidency than they do in the hostile Obama administration.

The Jerusalem Post reports:

Poll: Romney cares more than Obama about Israel

Peace Index poll shows Israeli Jews – by 2:1 ratio – believe Romney assigns high importance to defending Israel's interests.

I find it difficult to understand how progressive-left diaspora Jews can support an American president that praised the rise of the radical Jihad as something akin to the Spirit of '76 or the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and the 1960s. The Israelis, however, are under no such delusions concerning Barack Obama. They, better than anyone, know what they are dealing with in their hostile neighbors and in an American president that promotes the interests of the Muslim Brotherhood.

The United States, of course, is in a much worse geo-political situation since Barack Obama promoted the rise of the Jihad throughout the Middle East and sought to prevent Israel from dealing with an impending nuclear-armed Iran. As Turkey turned away from the west and looks toward Iran and as radical Islam took over country after country under the falsely named "Arab Spring," the Obama administration lied to the American people by suggesting that such developments were a good thing.

It should be obvious to any but the most ideologically blinkered that the rise of radical Islam is not in anyone's best interest other than the Jihadis themselves. It is certainly not in the best interest of moderate Arabs who have no particular interest in conquering Jerusalem and it is obviously not in the best interest of women, gay people, Jews, or non Muslims in that part of the world.

It is one of my contentions that the western left, including the Obama administration, has abandoned women, gay people, and Jews throughout the Middle East. Leftists claim to stand for universal human rights, but it could hardly be more obvious that they stand for no such thing. The Israelis know this better than anyone which is why the Israeli left got decimated after the second terror war (intifada) directly after the failure of Oslo.

On the question of Jewish well-being in that part of the world, perhaps American Jews should listen to their fellows in Israel, rather than to an American president who has proven himself hostile to the Jewish state. And for those of you who deny that Obama is hostile to Israel, how can anyone who supports the Muslim Brotherhood not be considered hostile to the Jewish nation or the Jewish state?

The Brotherhood called for the conquest of Jerusalem during a Morsi campaign rally.

Much of the Jewish left is simply in denial.

My hope is with progressive-left Jews like JayinPhiladelphia who are willing to acknowledge the obvious, and confront it, without demonizing those of us who point it out.

Anti-Semitism and extremist rhetoric from Iran

Anti-Semitism and extremist rhetoric from Iran, via the Israeli MFA

Destroying Israel:

"President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told them there was no place for the Jewish state in a future Middle East…. 'You want a new Middle East? We do too, but in the new Middle East ... there will be no trace of the American presence and the Zionists,'….
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad - Quds Day Address, 17 August 2012;
Reuters, Published: 17 August 2012

"The Israeli regime is a tool in the hands of Zionists to control the Middle-East and the entire world, Ahmadinejad stated. The Iranian president further stated that the International Quds Day is the day of unity among all human beings to remove the Zionist black stain from the human society."
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad - Quds Day Address, 17 August 2012;
Fars News Agency, Iran; Published: 17 August 2012

"President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad ... said the very existence of the Zionist regime is an insult to the humankind and an affront to all world nations….The Iranian President further described the World Quds Day as an occasion for the unity of all human communities to wipe out this scarlet letter, meaning the Zionist regime, from the forehead of humanity."
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad - Quds Day Address, 17 August 2012;
IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency; Published: 17 August 2012

"Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei…. noted that liberating Palestine from the grip of Israel and its allies is a religious duty for all Muslims across the world."
Ayatollah Sayyid Khamenei - Statement made during a meeting with hundreds of veterans from the Iraq-Iran war, 15 August;
Fars News Agency, Iran; Published: 16 August 2012

"General Amir Ali Hajizadeh ….said if the Zionist hooligans embark on practicing their verbal threats, they will provide the best opportunity for the destruction of Israel because then the forged regime will be wiped out of the map and thrown into the trash bin of history for ever."
Commander of the Aero-Space Forces of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps Bridadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh - Interview with IRNA;
IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency; Published 18 August 2012

"He [Ahmadinejad] added: 'Anyone who loves freedom and justice must strive for the annihilation of the Zionist regime in order to pave the way for world justice and freedom.'"
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad - Speech to ambassadors from Islamic countries ahead of Quds Day, published on Ahmadinejad's website on 2 August 2012;
Jerusalem Post; Published: 2 August 2012

"Zionists understand only the language of force, Ayatollah Khatami reiterated. He further noted that the Zionist regime will meet destruction through unity in the Islamic world."
Tehran's Provisional Friday Prayers Leader Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami - Address to a large congregation of worshippers on Tehran University campus, 17 August 2012;
Fars News Agency, Iran; Published: 17 August 2012

"Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami underlined the importance of this year's International Quds Day (August 17, last Friday of the Ramadan) rallies, and said that 'The nations of the region, which have toppled dictators, also have the power to annihilate the Zionist regime (Israel).'"
Tehran's Provisional Friday Prayers Leader Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami;
Iran Daily Brief; Published: 14 August 2012

"Khomeini's successor, Ayatollah Khamenei, said on Wednesday that the liberation of Palestine was top on the Islamic world agenda and predicted that 'the fake Zionist regime would soon fade away from geography and every inch of the occupied territories be returned to Palestinians.'
Ayatollah Sayyid Khamenei -15 August;
DPA and the Associated Press, Haaretz; Published: 17 August 2012

Delegitimization of Israel's existence:
"Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told an annual anti-Israel protest in Tehran on Friday that the Jewish state was a "cancerous tumour" that will soon be excised….'The Zionist regime and the Zionists are a cancerous tumour,' he said. 'The nations of the region will soon finish off the usurper Zionists in the Palestinian land.... A new Middle East will definitely be formed. With the grace of God and help of the nations, in the new Middle East there will be no trace of the Americans and Zionists,' he said."
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad - Quds Day Address, 17 August 2012;
AFP; Published: 17 August 2012

"Supreme Leader of Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei, said on Sunday that noble Quds and Palestine are the main issues of the world of Islam….Elsewhere in his address, the Ayatollah referred to ignorance of Muslim nations and governments for years and rule of the hegemonic powers over their fate as well as creation of the cancerous tumor of Zionism in heart of Muslim world….Zionism is a danger for entire humanity…."
Ayatollah Sayyid Khamenei - Address to officials and others, including ambassadors of Muslim states in Tehran, 19 August 2012;
IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency; Published: 19 August 2012

"'The very existence of the Zionist regime is an insult to humankind and an affront to all world nations," the news agency's English-language report on the speech quoted him as saying. "Confronting Zionists will also pave the way for saving the whole humankind from exploitation, depravity and misery.'"
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad - Quds Day Address; 17 August 2012;
New York Times, Published: 17 August 2012

"Ahmadinejad said that a "horrible Zionist current" had been managing world affairs for "about 400 years." Repeating traditional anti-Semitic slurs, the Iranian president accused "Zionists" of controlling the world's media and financial systems…. 'Quds Day is not merely a strategic solution for the Palestinian problem, as it is to be viewed as a key for solving the world problems,' he said.
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad - Speech to Ambassadors from Islamic countries ahead of Quds Day, published on Ahmadinejad's website on 2 August 2012;
Jerusalem Post; Published: 2 August 2012

He [Ahmadinejad] said Zionists, who think solely of power, wealth and dominance over others, have been inflicting very heavy damage and suffering on the whole humanity for over two thousand years especially during the past four centuries. Saying that the two world wars were designed by Zionists and carried out by the US to retain dominance on other countries, the president further noted that Zionists have been administrating affairs in the US since the very beginning of its establishment."
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad - Quds Day Address, 17 August 2012;
IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency; Published: 17 August 2012

Israel and Iran: Relative sizes

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Judy Feld Carr: the Canadian musicologist who saved over 3,000 Syrian Jews

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." Lets take it one step further- Never doubt that a single thoughtful, committed citizen can change the world. Remember the story of Judy Feld Carr. Feld Carr used funds from the Dr. Ronald Feld Fund for Jews in Arab Lands (established at Beth Tzedec Synagogue, Toronto in 1973), to negotiate the ransom and release of Syrian Jews from inside Syria. Ultimately, Feld Carr helped over 3,228 Jews escape from Syria.

From an article in the Times of Israel by Raphael Ahren

Horrified, Judy Feld Carr closely follows the news coming out of Syria, where government troops and rebels are waging a bloody civil war. The former music teacher from Toronto has never been to Syria, yet she has a special connection to the country, and especially to the Jewish community that used to live there.

For nearly three decades, Feld Carr single-handedly arranged the smuggling of more than 3,000 Jews out of Damascus, Aleppo and Qamishli to safety in Israel and America. At the time, the totalitarian Syrian regime didn’t allow Jews to emigrate and tortured those caught trying to escape. But lower officials, she found out, could be bribed into letting Jews leave.

“Oh, my dear,” she says when asked what’s going through her head as she hears the reports from the war zone. “Thank God the Jewish community is out. That’s my first thought. Because if you had a sizable community of 3,000 people, this would be a major problem.”

Judy Feld Carr, a grandmother of 13 has received countless honors, awards and medals. In June 2012, Feld Carr was the recipients of the Presidential Award of Distinction of the State of Israel, created by President Shimon Peres, to "recognize outstanding contribution to the Jewish People and the State of Israel".

She remains a lasting inspiration to many, a reminder that one person can truly make a difference in the world.

Facebook Note to Aly Raisman from an Israeli Soldier -- August 10, 2012

This made me smile. Its how we all feel. Incidently, Aly and her family are planning on visiting Israel soon.

Facebook Note to Aly Raisman from Israeli Soldier -- August 10, 2012
(via William Daroff)

Dear Aly,

I want to tell you about how you became the hero of a gym full of Israeli soldiers.

The same Israeli soldiers who have to deal with Iran's nuclear threat to the Jewish state. The sameones who serve two-to-three years of their lives, because we have to; because there's no one else that would do it besides us, because our neighborhood sucks, and when the leadership next door in Syria massacres their own people, there's no way we would let them lay hands on our kids, as foreign dictators have done for thousands of years.

You picked a song for your floor routine in the Olympics that every Jewish kid knows, whether their families came from the shtetls of Eastern Europe, the Asian steppes of Azerbaijan, the mountains of Morocco or the Kibbutzim of northern Israel. It's that song that drew almost everyone at the Israeli army base gym to the TV as soon as the report about you came on the news this morning. After showing your floor exercise to Hava Nagila, the announcer told about your gold medal with unmasked pride, and of your decision to dedicate it to the Israeli athletes who were killed in the Munich Olympics in 1972.

There were some tough people at that gym, Aly. Men and Women, Battalion Commanders from Intelligence, Captains from the navy, Lieutenants from the Armored Corps and more. You probably understand that words like 'bravery' and 'heroism' carry a lot of weight coming from them, as does a standing ovation (even from the people doing ab exercises.) There was nothing apologetic about what you did. For so long we've had to apologize for who we are: for how we dress, for our beliefs, for the way we look. It seems like the International Olympic Committee wanted to keep that tradition. Quiet, Jews. Keep your tragedy on the sidelines. Don't disturb our party.

They didn't count on an 18 year-old girl in a leotard.

There wasn’t one person at the gym who didn’t know what it was like to give back to our people,not one who didn’t know what happened to the good people who died in 1972, not one who didn’tfeel personally insulted by their complete neglect in the London Olympics, the 40 year anniversary of their deaths, and not one who didn’t connect with your graceful tribute in their honor.Thank you for standing up against an injustice that was done to our people. As I was walking back to my machine at the gym, I caught one of the officers give a long salute to your image on television. I think that says it all.

Dan Yagudin
Officer, Israeli Defense Force

Hezbollah Theme park promotes Jihad tourism

Looking for a wholesome family entertainment? You might want to avoid the Lebanese town of Mleeta, home of a brand spanking new Hezbollah theme park. It features barbed wire, tanks, rockets, archive video footage and an assortment of guns and other weapons used in the struggle against the Jewish state, er, um, the Zionist entity. Visitors, are encouraged to take turns raising and lowering an anti-aircraft gun as to fire at incoming Israeli air force jets.

From Arutz Sheva

Designed to indoctrinate children and the Western world with a reverence for jihadi terrorism, Hizbullah has built a multi-million dollar theme park that espouses "martyrdom" against Israel...

Visitors are able to walk around replica war scenes that feature destroyed Israeli tanks and other scenes of death and destruction.

The park also includes a video segment that provides visitors with a history of Hizbullah that clearly states the terrorist group’s grievances against Israel and celebrates its victories against the Jewish state.

According to new footage taken by Ryan Duffy of, Hizbollah's real motive is to promote what it calls “resistance tourism.”

In other news from Lebanon:

Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah (If the Jews all gather in Israel, it will save us the trouble of going after them worldwide.) continues to threaten Israel From a broadcast yesterday:

"I tell the Israelis that you have a number of targets, not a large number ... that can be hit with precision rockets ... which we have," He said he would not identify the targets and did not say whether the rockets were newly acquired weapons. "We know of certain targets that can be hit by a small number of rockets that would turn the lives of hundreds of thousands of Zionists into hell," he added.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

"As a Jew" cru planning a protest of Wiesenthal Center fundraiser

Oh that daffy "As A Jew" cru. Are they really planning a protest of the Wiesenthal's Center showing of "It Is No Dream: The Life of Theodore Herzl" at Laemmle Music Hall in Beverly Hills tomorrw evening?

Apparently they are, according to a recent email by Rick Chertoff, Estee Chandler, and Jeff Warner

WHEN: Friday evening at 9:00 PM (to leaflet people leaving the 7:30 PM showing – prime time)
Friday evening at 6:30 PM (to leaflet people leaving the 5 PM showing – secondary time)

They are planning to protest a movie they haven't seen because (yep, this is an actual real life quote from the Jew-washers of LA) "Movie is sponsored by the Simon Wiesenthal Center, so it surely will contain material that we must counter."

This is their leaflet, incidentally. It contains the repeatedly discredited 4 part map (though this time they've decided to include Jerusalem's status as an International city in the partition plan map)

Regarding their claim that Israel was not in danger in 1967, let us remind the "As a Jew" cru of the words of the Arab leaders, as they prepared for war against tiny Israel in 1967.

President Abdur Rahman Aref of Iraq: “The existence of Israel is an error which must be rectified. This is our opportunity to wipe out the ignominy which has been with us since 1948. Our goal is clear—to wipe Israel off the map.”

Egyptian President Gamal Nasser: “Our basic objective will be the destruction of Israel."

Syrian Defense Minister Hafez Assad: "Our forces are now entirely ready not only to repulse the aggression, but to initiate the act of liberation itself, and to explode the Zionist presence in the Arab homeland. The Syrian army, with its finger on the trigger, is united. . . . I, as a military man, believe that the time has come to enter into a battle of annihilation. "

Fortunately, the Israeli political leaders of the time had learned that actions often follow words, and took the threats seriously.

Protesting a movie they haven't even seen? I wish I could say this was a new low, but JVP members don't seem to have any limits to the depths to which they will sink.

BDS fails Again. Chapter 456

Thanks everyone for the reminders. I'm having a hard time keeping up with the latest BDS fails, but for this week, lets give top billing to the ever noble actor Sir Patrick Stewart, (Captain Picard to my fellow Trekkies) currently in Israel filming a comedy with Israeli director Reshef Levi. He will play an eccentric British lord who teams up with Israeli misfits to help a boy save his family's home.

Also annunced this week, rocker Lenny Kravitz will be traveling to Israel in October and has scheduled a concert in Tel Aviv's Nokia Arena on October 6. Kravitz has sold more than 35 million albums since 1989. His latest album Black and White America came out in 2011.

From the Times of Israel:
This is really exciting for me. It’s monumental,” Kravitz said Wednesday in an interview with Israeli reporters ahead of his first trip to the Holy Land.

He also said had no doubts about making the trip, and since his arrival will mark the last of a leg of his tour, he plans to “hang out a bit” in the country after the concert.

The musician, famous for hits including “American Woman,” “Fly Away,” and “Are you gonna go my way?”, has never been to Israel, despite his father’s Jewish heritage. Though his mother is not Jewish, Kravitz’s father is from a Jewish family of Ukrainian decent. Kravitz said he “grew up right in the middle.”

The time spent in Israel will hopefully be a welcome change for Kravitz, who said he spends half the year in Paris and half in a trailer on a beach in the Bahamas

UPDATE. This just in via Charismatic Megafauna:

Sighted in a farm stand on the edge of a wildlife preserve in the middle of nowhere, Yolo county- a full line of Osem cakes from Israel. Quick, someone hike out there and reminder the proprietor that BDS is on a roll. Apparently the shop specializes in gourmet international groceries, and local produce. BDS fail.

UPDATE. Aw! Lenny Kravitz has cancelled his date in Israel, along with his appearances in in Kiev, Bucharest, Zagreb and Istanbul, to shot a movie, according to the J post Wanna bet the BDS'er s will claim victory?

Hotel owner must pay damages for discriminating against Jewish fundraiser

"If my (family finds) out there's a Jewish event here, they're going to pull money from me immediately."

Friends of the IDF had scheduled a pool party and fundraiser in the Shangri-la hotel in Santa Monica. Owner Tehmina Adaya ordered that signs and banners promoting the event be removed, and allegedly yelled, "Get these [expletive] Jews out of my pool," as she ordered a halt to the fundraiser.

A jury decided that the hotel decided that the hotel and Adaya violated California's Unruh Civil Rights Act, which bars hotels and other business from discriminating on the basis of sex, race, color or religion, and awarded the Friends of the IDF awarding $1.2 million statutory damages. An amount for punitive damages will be determined Thursday.

Yeah. its all about the "occupation".

From Verdict Search California
Vol. 11 Issue 37  Sept 24 2012
The jury unanimously found that the hotel and Adaya had violated California state law. It also decided
that almost every one of the 18 individual plaintiffs was negligently inflicted with emotional distress and that most had been intentionally inflicted with emotional distress. Thus, the jury ordered Adaya and Indus Investments to pay $1.25 million in damages and statutory penalties, with each individual plaintiff awarded differing amounts, including some individual plaintiffs who were awarded sums adding up to more than $100,000. The jury also found that Adaya and the hotel had acted with malice, oppression or fraud. Subsequently, the jury awarded punitive damages of $440,000.  Therefore, the total
recovery would be $1.69 million.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

"It's about Building Bridges." Ashkelon is Sacramento's newest Sister city

By unanimous decision of the City Council, Ashkelon in Southern Israel is now the newest Sister City of Sacramento, honoring a commitment they had made in 2009. Though hundreds filled the Council chambers, it was clear that the vast majority of the large and diverse crowd had gathered in support of Israel.

The few anti-Israel activists clutched goldenrod colored signs stating "No rights, no sisters". Many refused to stand during the opening pledge of allegiance. They listened to a presentation outlining plans to encourage trade with Sacramento by establishing a memorandum of understanding with the Chinese city of Chongqing and not a single one uttered a word of concern about China's egregious human rights record.

Some human rights activists.

One of Sacramento's finest- Bodie, a magnificent German Shepherd made an appearance at the hearing. Bodie was shot in the line of duty through his jaw and paw in May, and was honored by the council. He and his police companions also received a standing ovation- and once again, much of the anti-Israel crew sat it out.

Bodie and Chongqing were just the appetizers. The main course of the evening was a heaping platter of Israel bashing. Three activists identifying themselves as Jewish Voice for Peace members (Pssst. Didn't you get the memo, David? Ashkelon is well within the Green line) testified, as did local Palestinian activists. And again, as we've seen over and over, the testimony was heavy with name-calling and hyperbole, and oh so short on truth.

On the side of justice and light, State Senate pro Tem Darrell Steinberg reminded the Council that the purpose of the Sister city program was to "build bridges", stating "We expect people with different points of views to talk to one another. That's what the sister city movement is all about."

The anti-Israel team weren't quite able to spin this loss. They wrote:

"Despite our having met with almost every member of the Sacramento City Council and the outstanding presentations of 14 Palestinian-Americans, members of Jewish Voice for Peace and other Sacramento human rights activists, the Council voted On August 14, 2012 with the Israel lobby and approved Ashkelon as a discriminatory, human rights-violating sister city for Sacramento.

Those addressing the Council in favor of discriminatory Ashkelon included CA State Senator Darrell Steinberg, who is part of a group of California legislators that call themselves the California Capitol Knesset. Representatives of Stand with Us and Christians United for Israel also spoke in support of Ashkelon"

The "Israel lobby" included such diverse speakers as:

-State Senator Pro Tem Darryl Steinberg
-Ray Trethaway, former Sacto City Council Member
-Gail Rubin, area rep for StandWithUS, who presented a petition signed by approximately 3,500 signatories
-Pastor Dumisani Washington,
-Barry Broad, Sacto J, Fed. Board member and Sister city Chair
-Dan Gorfain, Israeli-U.S. citizen
-Alex Eng, from the Asian community
-David Siegel, physician and Davis resident
-Alan Edelstein, resident of Sacto and Jerusalem
-Randy Neal, CUFI West Coast Director
-Norm Gold, Sacto resident
-Tim Boyd, Sacto Resident

Monday, August 13, 2012

The Bay Area Jewish Community Condemns Anti-Muslim Muni Bus Ads

The Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) is the central public affairs and community arm of the organized Jewish community. Representing synagogues and Jewish institutions throughout the Bay Area, JCRC promotes a just society and secure Jewish future. American Jewish Committee (AJC) has, for over 100 years sought to advance the peace and security of the Jewish people around the world. Through high-level diplomacy, strong legislative advocacy, and effective interreligious and interethnic coalitions, AJC has made a significant impact on issues critical to the Jewish people. Together, they have issued a press release condemning the recent Muni Bus ads paid for by New York Blogger, Pam Geller.

Press Release from the Jewish Community Relations Council and the American Jewish Committee regarding Pam Geller's Muni Bus ads

San Francisco – Last week, a new advertisement appeared on Muni buses in San Francisco, placed by the American Freedom Defense Initiative. The Bay Area’s organized Jewish community takes great offense to the ad’s inflammatory and anti-Muslim language. We are steadfast in our support of Israel and our concern about the growing threat of Islamic radicalism, and steadfast in our opposition to anti-Muslim stereotypes.

We have long been concerned that the repeated appearance of offensive anti-Israel ads would turn our local public transit system into a battleground for the Israeli-Arab conflict; we are no less concerned by offensive anti-Muslim ads. We urge all transit authorities to reassess their policies and to construct advertising policies consistent with laws governing protected speech that preserve public transit as a safe space for all passengers.

From the Anti-Defamation league, as quoted in Mother Jones

"AFDI presents itself as a pro-Israel group. Our sense is that it's just a mischaracterization of who they are. They are an anti-Muslim activist group, and you don't have to be anti-Muslim to be pro-Israel," says Michael Salberg, director of international affairs for the Anti-Defamation League. "The ads are offensive and inflammatory."

Richard Landes and Progressive-Left Racism

Mike L.

{Cross-Posted at Israel Thrives and Geoffff's Joint, Bar and Grill.}

Dr. Richard Landes is at the very center of the questions around Arab-Palestinian culture that Mitt Romney raised while in Jerusalem. You will recall that Romney suggested that a main factor for Israeli economic success (and Palestinian economic failures) is due to cultural reasons.

One of the books that Romney cited was a book by David Landes, Richard Landes' economist father. That book, "The Wealth and Poverty of Nations," stresses the cultural factors in the relative prosperity of nations as opposed to Jared Diamond's "Guns, Germs and Steel" which stresses access to natural resources as the determining factor of the question.

When Palestinian leader Saeb Erekat, and his progressive-left allies such as those on Daily Kos, shamefully defamed Romney as a "racist" for daring to acknowledge the obvious, Richard Landes responded in a piece in the Wall Street Journal, prompting Shaul Magid to respond to the response in the Times of Israel.

Let's look at some of what Landes has to say about the Magid piece entitled "On Palestinian ‘culture’ and Ashkenazi-centrism."

Magid writes:

Mitt Romney initiated a robust debate with his comment that “culture” distinguished Israeli economic success and Palestinian economic stagnation. While Saeb Erekat’s labeling of Romney as a “racist” may be premature — I think Romney is generally more klutz than putz — it does demonstrate his insensitivity or perhaps tone deafness to what words can mean.

Landes responds:

Premature? They’re ludicrous. There’s nothing in a cultural argument that’s racist. It’s the opposite of racist, just as nurture is the opposite of nature.

This is a very important point. Racism refers to attributes which are biologically inherited, not cultural. Culture is flexible and constantly changing, whereas the outdated notions of racial inferiority or superiority were considered fixed and essential. To criticize a culture cannot be racist, because cultural references are not about the biological nature of the people. They are not about "race."

Magid writes:

What really disturbs me about Landes’s essay is what is largely implied, both in it and perhaps in Romney. That is, there is something in Jewish culture lacking in Arab culture that enables one to succeed and the other to stagnate.

And Landes responds:

This gets to the core of the problem. On the one hand, it’s obviously not politically correct to say something like this, and from the point of therapeutic history (let’s not hurt the feelings of those who come out on the wrong side of this comparison), it seems to be counter-indicated (although I’m not so sure, see below). But it at least addresses an obvious disparity: Israel’s level of development and internalization of a modern ethos far outstrips those of the surrounding Arab nations. (For those who wish to claim “occupation”, just move north south or east and you’ll get non-occupied Arab states whose development trails behind Palestine.

The (invidious) disparity is there. The cultural dimensions cry out for investigation. What are you going to do, ignore them just so as not to hurt the feelings of the Arabs? Isn’t that incredibly condescending and just a bit prejudiced (racist?)?

Here Dr. Landes gets right to the heart of a problem for progressive-left commenters on the long Arab war against the Jews. Since progressives tend to see Jewish self-defense as a form of aggression they therefore see things like check-points in Samaria, or the blockade of Gaza, as representing the oppression of the local Arabs. And since the Jewish minority are held to be oppressing a subsection of the Arab majority, the Palestinians, it is that oppression that allegedly explains Palestinian economic failures in comparison to Israeli economic successes.

The only way to maintain this fiction, however, is to ignore the fact that the Palestinians are, as a group, more economically prosperous than most Arabs throughout the Arab Middle East who do not suffer from much contact with Jews. They nonetheless blame Israel for Arab failures, thus reducing the majority population to the status of children who have no responsibility for the foreseeable outcomes of their own behavior.

The fact of the matter is that the Palestinians suffer those check-points, and that blockade, because the greater Arab majority uses them as a perpetual weapon against the tiny Jewish minority.

To ignore this fact is to treat the Arab majority in the Middle East like little children who hold no responsibility for themselves.  It is to condescend to them as one's inferiors, which is precisely what the progressive-left tends to do.

It is what we call "humanitarian racism" and it represents the foremost type of ethnic bigotry coming out of the west today.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

National Geographic: Israel Trail named one of the Worlds Best Hikes

Doug Schnitzspahn of National Geographic has included the 620 mile Israel trail among the "Holy grail" of hiking trails- one of the 20 best hikes in the world.

The Israel National Trail crosses the entire nation, with its northern end at Dan, near the Lebanese border and extending to Eilat in the south. The trail is marked with three stripes (white, blue, and orange), and takes an average of 45 days to complete.

The terrain is as varied as Israel itself. From the Israel Trail website:
In the north, the trail climbs the ridge above the city of Kiryat Shmona; drops down to the Sea of Galilee and goes back up again; goes up and over Mt. Tabor; and climbs the Carmel ridge near the sea. In between all of those, however, the trail crosses through a lot of farmers’ fields, which can make for quick hiking.

The central section of the trail is somewhat flat, as it stays mostly on the coastal plain. There’s also a long stretch where the trail runs straight and flat along the seashore. But when the INT goes into the rugged hills around Jerusalem, the trail is steep and rugged.

Much of the Negev is rugged as well. Even when there isn’t much altitude gain or loss, the trail often follows wadis, or dry watercourses, that are choked with stones and boulders, making the footing somewhat treacherous. And when there are steep ascents and descents, the trail can get really interesting; in several places in the Eilat Mountains, the only way to proceed is to use metal ladder rungs that have been driven into the faces of sheer rock walls

From National Geographic:

Passing through vast empty desert and winding into kibbutzim, the Israel National Trail (INT) delves into the grand scale of biblical landscapes as well as the everyday lives of modern Israelis (with opportunities to stop in the cities of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem). But beyond the immense sense of history and breaking news, the trail powerfully connects to something that often gets lost in all the headlines—the sublime beauty of the wilderness of the Middle East. The southern end of the trail crosses the harsh and lovely Negev, still populated by wandering Bedouins and long-horned Nubian ibex and filled with wildflowers in spring. There’s not much water to drink along the way, though the trail crosses plenty of wet spots. It dips into the 600-foot-below-sea-level waves of the Sea of Galilee, flanks the baptismal River Jordan, and runs along Mediterranean beaches north of Tel Aviv. The southern terminus ends in the resort town of Eilat on the Red Sea.

Of course, the INT does take hikers to spots that have immense significance in the Judeo-Christian world and beyond. Among these is the sheer climb up the 1,929-foot peak of Mount Tabor, where Barak and 10,000 Israelites defeated Sisear and the Canaanites as recorded in the Bible’s Book of Judges. The heights of Mount Carmel are sacred to Jews and Christians as well as to Ahmadiyya Muslims and followers of the Bahá'í faith. More modern sites, such as the Metzudat Koach memorial, commemorating 28 soldiers who died taking a fort in the 1948 Arab-Israeli conflict, speak to the still ongoing tensions between Israelis and Palestinians. But life on the trail is safe and far from current hostilities. In fact, the joy of the trail is meeting the Israelis hiking it and spending some time in small kibbutzim where the local people will take hikers into their homes. On the trail, there is peace and friendship.

And there's an "only in Israel" aspect to this hike, as well.

Read about Israeli Trail Angels- Israelis who offer their homes and their hospitality to hikers free of charge.

The spectacular Israel Trial- now recognized as one of the world best hikes. I'm thinking this counts as yet another "BDS fail".

A Controversial New Player in our local Billboard Wars

This won't go over well.

In the Bay Area, the "progressive" community often resorts to fascist tactics to suppress anything that paints Israel in a positive light.

A poster talking about a revolutionary new treatment for HIV with the potential to save countless lives world wide was recently vandalized. Why? Because this innovative new procedure was developed by an Israeli team.

Israeli food is vandalized routinely.

Kosher food from Virginia that reminds the fascist brown shirts of Israeli food is vandalized routinely.

It makes me wonder how the anti-Israel forces will react to this ad, appearing on MUNI buses throughout San Francisco, for the next four weeks.

Financed by Pam Geller, whose organization Stop Islamization of America
is considered a hate group by the venerable Southern Poverty Law Center these ads are sure to provoke a reaction.

Stay tuned.


Annie Robbins, a Bay area "writer at Large for Mondoweiss, a mother, a human rights activist and a ceramic artist" is now encouraging people to vandalize the ads.

Classy. Even by Mondoweiss standards.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Nazareth's Sufis bullied by fellow Muslims

From SufiNews, originally published in Haaretz profiling an alarming trend of violence and intimidation directed towards the mystic branch of Islam. The threats started a decade ago, after 10 Nazareth Sufis reached out to other Muslims, and began pursuing interfaith relationships with the Jewish community.

For decades, the mystical Sufis in Nazareth have celebrated Islam through music and poetry without considering themselves in danger. But nowadays, local Salafis, who practice a more conservative and coercive Islam, bully and beat Sufi leaders to deter them from their practices, Muslim community leaders told Haaretz. "We visit tombs of holy peoples and they say it is forbidden; we chant and they say it is forbidden to use instruments; I say there should be dialogue with Israelis and Jews because the prophet Muhammed received delegations of Jewish tribes," but Salafis object, said Nazareth Sheikh Ghassan Menasra, 44, a leader of the Qadiri Sufi Order of the Holy Land.

Menasra says he and two of his five sons have been beaten in Nazareth and Jerusalem and his wife, an Islamic educator for women, was pushed. Shaken by threats and having tear gas thrown into his home, he spent two weeks in meditation to avoid the fate of Jerusalem Sheikh Abdul Aziz Bukhari, who suffered similar attacks and died of a heart attack in 2010 at age 61.

Such incidents may reflect a growing regional trend of clashes between progressive Muslims and their more fundamentalist brethren. Egyptian Salafis have razed Sufi shrines, Tunisian Salafis injured dozens in riots over work of art and political analysts blame Salafi Jihadis for the bloodshed in Syria

Sheikh Ghassan Menasra believes facilitating interfaith relationships is an important part of Islam, to the benefit of all. "Muslims can also teach Jews the cultural codes of peacemaking in Islam – politics alone cannot build trust." Quoting Rabia al-Adawiya, a female Sufi saint, he describes the three kinds of religious people. There are "Slaves who worship through fear, merchants who worship for profit and free people who worship through love – this is the way," he said. "The radicals think that they need to stop us in any way, but we will not stop."

Friday, August 10, 2012

Ashkelon Mayor Benny Vaknin didn't know his city was a den of apartheid policies until the good people of Sacramento told him so.

From an article in the Jewish press by Lori Lowenthal Marcus

While the Israeli city of Ashkelon has been physically assaulted by rockets and bombs hurled by Israel’s haters in Gaza, haters abroad are doing their best to assault Ashkelon in other ways.

There is a battle now taking place to prevent the city of Sacramento, California, from becoming a sister-city to Ashkelon, Israel. The battle is being waged on the internet and phone lines, in the lead-up to a Sacramento City Council meeting on the topic which will take place on August 14.

Radical anti-Israel activists are distributing hate literature portraying Arabs who live in Ashkelon as second-class citizens “without the same rights, benefits or access to land as Jewish Israelis.”

Barry Broad was the chair of the Sacramento Jewish Community Relations Council in 2009 when Bethlehem became a sister City to Sacramento, in an initiative supported by the Jewish Community in hopes of creating broader outreach and multi-cultural understanding. When the Sacramento City council approved the Bethlehem initiative, they also made a commitment that they would establish a sister-city relationship with a town in Israel. The meeting on Tuesday August 14 will determine if the Sacramento intends on honoring this earlier commitment.

The article continues:

Broad says he isn’t trying to have a battle over the Arab-Israeli conflict, “they have enough of that over there.” The concept of establishing sister-cities is to “reach out to other people, to create people to people contact,” and Broad believes that will happen between people in Sacramento and the people in Ashkelon. He is far less hopeful that the pro-Palestinian activists want anything like that with the pro-Israel groups even within Sacramento.

“I was in the room when leaders of the Bethlehem Initiative, some of whom are also in the vanguard of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions groups, pledged in front of several City Council members that they would engage in dialogue and open communications with the Sacramento Jewish community,” recalled Broad. “They have refused.”

What can you do to help? Start by signing this petition
And please consider coming to the City Council meeting, Tuesday Aug 14, in Sacramento.

This is more than a local issue- this is about the continued demonization of Israel in the public sphere. Its incumbent upon all of us to fight back.

Dan Greenfield and the Victim Value Index

Mike L.

{Cross-posted at Israel Thrives and Geoffff's Joint, Bar and Grill.}

Among the top pro-Israel bloggers, there is no one quite like Daniel Greenfield. The guy is a balls-to-the-wall pro-Israel, pro-Jewish, pro-America opinionator who most would consider to be hard-line and right-wing. His blog, for those of you who may be unaware, is called Sultan Knish, but the guy is now published all over the place. The reason for this is because he's a brilliant analyst and a terrific writer.

He's got a piece up as of a few days ago entitled, "The Minority Victim Value Index," which represents a general criticism of the western progressive-left, if not a criticism of prevailing mainstream media assumptions, more generally.

He writes:

Historical suffering transmuted into guilt is the gold standard of liberalism, but suffering is relative. In our wonderful multi-everything society, there are so many groups with so many claims to pain. Everyone agrees that the Heteronormative Caucasian Patriarchy of Doom is to blame for all of it, but that still leaves the question of dividing up the spoils of the system and all the privileges to be gained from denouncing privilege. A caste system doesn't work without priority, and calculating the priority of privilege claims by the perpetually underprivileged is complicated.

Heteronormative Caucasian Patriarchy of Doom.

I'm sorry, but you just have to love that!

His thesis is that victim status, i.e., one's place on the Victim Value Index (VVI) is the "gold standard" of western progressivism and that there is a distinct hierarchy of privilege based around that status with Arab-Muslims at the front of the line. First come Arabs, then come black people, then come others. Jews are toward the very end of the line and white males bring up the rear.

Where a group is placed on the VVI, however, has precious little to do with historical injustice. By all rights native Americans should be at the top of the list, at least in the United States, but they are not. Anyone who follows western progressivism understands that there is, today, virtually no concern for the decimation (economic, social, or literal) of the native population. It's just not discussed very much, although, as Greenfield mentions, it is often used as a club against any creeping pride that Americans might take in our own country.

It is the Victim Value Index (VVI) that explains the progressive acceptance of Islamist violence against Jews and other dhimmis.

Anyone who is shocked that the left would make common cause with Islamists has forgotten the Black Panthers. From the left's point of view they are doing the same thing by bringing on board a group with some revolutionary energy and a willingness to overthrow the system. Associating with them gives the left some revolutionary cred and the supposed ability to turn the violence on and off.

This is absolutely correct. Anyone who knows anything about 1960s revolutionary activities in the United States knows that the political left championed Huey and the Panthers, not because the Black Panther Party represented liberal values, but because the Panthers were considered the vanguard of "the Movement" to overthrow the prevailing political-economic system.

On the left, today, that role is filled by radical Islam which is precisely why we saw western progressives join with Jihadis on the Mavi Marmara in an effort to confront Jews on the high seas.

September 11 and its aftermath is why Muslims have gone to the top of the Victim Value Index. The left may swear up and down that they are interested in Muslim civil rights, but if the Muslims were Sikhs, they would merit a place somewhere in the back. Before Muslims began prominently blowing things up in the United States, the left barely paid any attention to them. Once they did, they began outweighing every other group in the country because killing 3,000 people is the gold standard of revolutionary mayhem.

One of the differences that I have with Greenfield is that I do not believe that it was "Muslims" who "began prominently blowing things up," but radical Jihadis who did so. I still believe that it is important to highlight the distinction. Most Muslims are not particularly in the Jew Killing Business. We need to reserve that category for groups like Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.

Nonetheless, Greenfield is absolutely correct when he points to 9/11 as the reason why Muslims go to the front of the line on the Victim Value Index. After 9/11 there was a much ballyhooed, but non-existent, backlash against Muslims in the United States. The feeling on the left was that Muslims were being unustly persecuted because of 9/11. I, myself, stood up in front of students and told them not to blame Muslims for what happened on that day. The fact of the matter, however, according to crime statistics, is that Jews are something like ten times more likely to be victims of racially motivated crimes and that Muslims, themselves, tend to be the biggest perpetrators of hate crimes against Jews, both here and in Europe.

Latinos are still somewhere in the middle. Native Americans are in the back along with most unclassified minorities. Homosexuals are somewhere near the front, but behind African-Americans. Their status tends to drift wildly depending on current events, but they cannot overtake African-Americans or fall behind Latinos. Not unless some drastic events take place that change their status. Women are, and have always been, in the back.

Women are toward the rear.

I have to say, it's a shame about feminism. Women's issues are almost never at the forefront of progressive-left concerns these days. There was a brief moment in the early-mid 1970s when feminism seemed to be making some headway, and then an even briefer moment in the middle of the 1980s, but once the feminists, themselves, sought to reconcile feminism with radical Islam the movement just died. This is because Sharia and feminism are entirely irreconcilable. Once I started hearing western progressive women telling me that the burka was "liberating," I knew it was all over.

The practical value of the Victim Value Index is that it mediates internal conflicts. For example, a bias attack by a member of a high-value group on a member of a low-value group is much less likely to be treated as a hate crime. However, an ordinary attack by a member of a low-value group on a member of a high-value group is more likely to be treated as a bias attack even when it isn't.

For Jewish people this gets directly to the point.

If on Greenfield's Victim Value Index (VVI) Muslims are at the head of the line and white men bring up the rear, Jews are barely in front of white men. Women are toward the rear and Jews are behind women in this progressive hierarchy of who counts and who doesn't.

If you want to understand just why it is that progressives tend not to care about radical Jihadi genocidal intention toward Jews, Greenfield's Index is a helpful model for analysis. On the arbitrary progressive-left hierarchy of victim status, we simply don't count. We are viewed as privileged white people and, therefore, victimizers.

If you wish to participate in the progressive movement as a Jew then you must accept your role as the enemy. That is, unless you are willing to lay blame at the feet of your Jewish brothers and sisters in Israel for the Arab persecution of Jews, then you are not considered a "good" Jew among progressives.

And this is why "good" Jews like Peter Beinart blames his fellow Jews for their own persecution. He honestly believes that Israeli Jews are the victimizers of the poor, innocent Palestinians, when the opposite is the truth.

It's not historically accurate, but it is the way that we were raised. It's embedded in the political culture that western Jews tended to grow up in. What I think is that it is long past time to rethink these assumptions, particularly given the fact that the Jews of the Middle East are only now emerging from 14 centuries of persecution under the boot of Islamic imperialism.

We do not need to be at the front of the line of anyone's hierarchy of victim status, but we definitely need to stop blaming ourselves for Islamic or Palestinian or Arab hatred toward us. The problem, once again, is not the fact that Jews live and build housing for themselves in Judea and Samaria, but that racist western progressives, like Barack Obama, believe it is.