Friday, January 31, 2014

No! Not the dreaded Normalization!

The Palestinians are looking for tourists- from Israel.  Its that dread "normalization"- the strong cultural political and economic ties that form the building blocks of a real and lasting peace - that makes the BDS'ers quake in their boots.

From Haaretz

The Palestinian Authority is considering hiring Israeli marketing firms for a campaign to attract young Israelis to what they are calling "the other Palestine," Israel Radio reported on Friday. 

The goal of the campaign, according to the report, is to avoid politics and the occupation and expose Israelis to a different side of the PA – namely, its nightlife, parties, cultural events, cafes and upscale restaurants. 

The PA is weighing hiring Israeli marketing and PR firms for the largely Internet-based, multimillion-dollar campaign. 

According to the report, the campaign will include short videos featuring, for example, an Israeli model tearing up the dance floor with an image of Ramallah in the background. 

The PA is also reportedly planning a tour of Ramallah for Israeli celebrities. Plans include a meeting with PA President Mahmoud Abbas, a meal at a fancy Ramallah eatery and a visit to Rawabi, the new Palestinian city being planned north of Ramallah in the West Bank. 

The initiative is part of a larger effort to strengthen ties between Palestinians and their Israeli neighbors, Israel Radio reported. 

San Francisco Voice for Israel. Not a Eulogy, I hope.

Reading  the Elder of Ziyon's  tribute to Sussex Friends of Israel brought back memories of San Francisco Voice for Israel, a local grass roots Israel activist group that did well at everything, except perhaps self-promotion.

San Francisco Voice for Israel was established in 2004 in occupied northern California as a grass roots response to the blatant demonization of Israel seen on the streets of San Francisco.

They organized. They wrote letters to the editor. They blogged. They countered every anti-Israel event for miles, making sure there was balance and truth.

They stood against thousands, documenting hate, documenting the antisemitism of the "progressive left"

They documented the willingness of such groups as Jewish Voice for peace  to turn a blind eye and stand shoulder to shoulder with those that would destroy Israel as the state of the Jewish people

SFV4I routinely stood strong in this "hub of demonization", sometimes thousands strong,

and sometimes with just a few stalwarts.

In 2008 one of their best and brightest was found dead in an elevator shaft, in the building where he took Arabic classes.

That didn't stop them. Days after Dan Kliman's death they stood up against jihadis at the annual AIPAC dinner who chanted "Zionists watch your back or we will throw you in the shaft"

Utilizing a variety of actions that went beyond the traditional "counterprotest",

SFV4I activists participated in random acts of urban beautification,

 brought lunch to a Code Pink organized hunger strike,

and according to rumor, were involved with Oakland Women in Black, which held a silent vigil at the Berkeley Sabeel conference

Yet they still had time to participate in vibrant and colorful celebrations of Jewish life, including the traditional Lag B'Omer bonfire.

This isn't a eulogy. Not yet. They'll be back, if needed.

The death of Mohammad Mubarak

What we know: Mohammad Mahmoud Mubarak, 22, was shot and killed, on Wednesday January 29, 2014 close to the Ein Senia village, north of Ramallah. after he began began shooting at Israelis.  Troops had returned fire, hitting him.

"We will continue to protect Israeli civilians from acts of terrorism like this," said army spokesman Peter Lerner, in apparent reference to an attack on settlers.

According to The "International Middle East Media Center",

The young Palestinian man was not armed, was not protesting, was not obstructing traffic, he was working, wearing clearly marked clothes, he was a flagger directing traffic while repairs were being conducted on the road.  

Ummm. No.

Mohammad Mubarak with his gun
Whats that gun-like object near Mohammad Mubarak's body, originally published at Ma'an?   Maybe a close-up, via our friends at Israellycool will help.

Mohammad Mubarak with his gun
Clearly marked clothing?  I don't think so. 

Yet as far as that story is from reality, its stellar reporting compared to this, from  "The News Informer", whose headline identifies  Mubarak as a "teen"

Israeli  Terrorists soldiers shot and killed a Palestinian man near the Ramallah village of Ein Siniya on Wednesday.

A Ma’an reporter identified the victim as Muhammad Mahmoud Mubarak, 22, from al-Jalazun refugee camp.

Israeli forces in the area denied Palestinian ambulances access to the body before medics were eventually allowed to transfer the man to Ramallah Medical Complex.

A Palestinian official in the military liaison department told Ma’an that Mubarak, a shepherd, was shot dead by a soldier positioned in a military watchtower.

Sadly, even mainstream media outlets botched this story, too
Israeli  Terrorists soldiers shot and killed a Palestinian man near the Ramallah village of Ein Siniya on Wednesday.
A Ma’an reporter identified the victim as Muhammad Mahmoud Mubarak, 22, from al-Jalazun refugee camp.
Israeli forces in the area denied Palestinian ambulances access to the body before medics were eventually allowed to transfer the man to Ramallah Medical Complex.
A Palestinian official in the military liaison department told Ma’an that Mubarak, a shepherd, was shot dead by a soldier positioned in a military watchtower.
- See more at:

From media watchdog, BBCWatch

Later in the day, a Facebook posting from an advisor to the PA president described Mubarak as “a Martyr in the battlefield”:

“With the most exalted expressions of honor and pride and with symbols of Jihad and resistance, we part with piety from our heroic Martyr (Shahid) Muhammad Mahmoud Mubarak from the resolute Jalazone refugee camp, who ascended to Heaven as a Martyr in the battlefield while challenging the Zionist enemy.”
Here are some of the photographs previously posted by Mohammed Mubarak on his Facebook account:

 Not a single sheep.

Israeli  Terrorists soldiers shot and killed a Palestinian man near the Ramallah village of Ein Siniya on Wednesday.
A Ma’an reporter identified the victim as Muhammad Mahmoud Mubarak, 22, from al-Jalazun refugee camp.
Israeli forces in the area denied Palestinian ambulances access to the body before medics were eventually allowed to transfer the man to Ramallah Medical Complex.
A Palestinian official in the military liaison department told Ma’an that Mubarak, a shepherd, was shot dead by a soldier positioned in a military watchtower.
- See more at:

Palestinian Teen Muhammad Mubarak shot dead by Israeli forces near Ramallah

- See more at:

Palestinian Teen Muhammad Mubarak shot dead by Israeli forces near Ramallah

- See more at:

Palestinian Teen Muhammad Mubarak shot dead by Israeli forces near Ramallah

- See more at:

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Jewish voice for peace gets it wrong. Again.

Determined to keep the BS in BDS, JVP's already tenuous grasp of reality is fracturing further.

Poor Jewish Voice for Peace is still trying to come to grips with superstar Scarlett Johansson's decision to remain as the celebrity spokesperson for the Israeli home carbonation device, Sodastream.   In a marvelous act of fantasy or perhaps simply delusion the team at Jewish Voice for Peace has declared victory over the same incident they bemoaned as a loss just 12 hours earlier.

Last night , JVP wrote on their facebook page "Oxfam's inaction allows Sodastream shill Scarlet Johansson to quit ambassador role, rather than be held accountable for promoting policies Oxfam staunchly opposes".  Its still there.

( Hmmm. Scarlet's been taking about peaceful coexistence and economic cooperation. Why does this upset JVP and Oxfam so much?)        

Yet today's email from Sydney Levy  at JVP declares this a boycott victory,  and claims that Oxfam dropped  Scarlett over "Sodastream ties".

Not quite, Sydney, not quite.

If Sydney (JVP's director of advocacy) had actually been following the news,  he might have seen this:

Scarlett Johansson Cuts Ties With Oxfam Over Differences on BDS Movement
or perhaps this:
Johansson steps down as Oxfam ambassador
or even this:
Scarlett Johansson Cuts Ties with Oxfam Over BDS

 Later, JVP's executive director  Rebecca Vilkomerson added her own unique bit of spin , claiming the superstar's decision to thumb her nose at BDS was proof of the "growing power" of BDS worldwide. Alright, then...

Let me be the first to wish them many more such "victories".

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Sorry to burst your bubble, BDS. Scarlett Johansson has parted ways with Oxfam

 Beautiful AND Smart.

Citing “a fundamental difference of opinion” over the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, Actress Scarlett Johansson has ended her relationship with Oxfam International, an organization with a history of distortions and half-truths on the Israel/Palestine issue. Johansson had served as a global ambassador for Oxfam since 2007.
“Scarlett Johansson has respectfully decided to end her ambassador role with Oxfam after eight years,” her statement said. “She and Oxfam have a fundamental difference of opinion in regards to the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement. She is very proud of her accomplishments and fundraising efforts during her tenure with Oxfam.”
Earlier this month  the 29 year old actress signed on as the first global brand ambassador of SodaStream International Ltd.. She's been under fire ever since. The continual harassment included disgustingly sexist remarks from Seattle blogger Richard Silverstein and his supporters via social media

And in your face harassment from  anti-Israel group Jewish Voice for Peace

In response to the criticism, Johansson said last week 

 "I remain a supporter of economic co-operation and social interaction between a democratic Israel and Palestine," said Johansson. "SodaStream is a company that is not only committed to the environment but to building a bridge to peace between Israel and Palestine, supporting neighbours working alongside each other, receiving equal pay, equal benefits and equal rights."

Jewish Voice for Peace turned on both Oxfam and Scarlett Johansson after the decision was announced.

In response, social media erupted with the inevitable "Even when we lose, we win" announcements.

Her Sodastream debut will be during Super Bowl -Sunday Feb. 2. Preview it here.

 Its been out for two days, and its been viewed over 4 million times. I'd call that a BDS fail.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

American Studies Association Academic boycott: The Fallout Continues

The fallout over the American Studies Association academic boycott resolution continues. As of this week, 218 University presidents have denounced the measure, and 6 Universities have dropped their institutional membership.  Individual memberships are also being withdrawn, though the danger is that strategy may further empower the extremist fringe within the Association.   Again, Kol hakavod to both Avi Mayer and Prof. William Jacobson for their efforts in keeping us up to date. And thanks are due as well to the countless bloggers, pundits and non-profits who refused to remain silent in face of this attack on academic freedom.

From Richard Behar's Open letter To NYU's President: Why The American Studies Assn.'s Israel Boycott Makes Me Ashamed To Be An Alumnus
A supposedly “democratic” town hall meeting took place the night before the vote. More than 700 ASA members were in the room to hear six panelists supportive of the boycott, with no panelists invited to take a different position. One of the oldest members of the association, Professor Michael Aaron Rockland of Rutgers, went ballistic and rose from his seat. “You don’t know history!” he said....
 Rutger’s professor Rockland was aghast as he watched the ASA’s “open house” in Washington, D.C., in November. “I have never attended a meeting like this in my life,” he says he told the audience. “This was advertised as a town meeting, a round table. Well, as far as I can see, it’s a one-sided table and you made no effort whatsoever to garner different opinions… You’re supposed to be cultural historians, and all you did was find six people who would denounce Israel. And you outdid each other- each one trying to come up with more and more ugly things. This reminds me of what it must be like at a North Korean Politburo meeting where the leader speaks and everybody applauds.”

Rockland told me last week: “It was disgraceful. It was so misguided. Stupid, really. We sometimes make the mistake in thinking that all fascists come from the right. These were fascists from the left. I just couldn’t quite believe it.”

Rockland is the founder of the American Studies department of Rutgers (in 1969), and he’s been a member of the ASA for more than 40 years. Unlike the national council members, he has foreign policy credentials, having served in the diplomatic corps during the 1960s.

A day after the town hall, just before the boycott vote was taken, audience members were allotted all of two minutes to speak. Rockland took to his feet again, this time saying that the founders of ASA, who were his professors at the University of Minnesota, “must be turning over in their graves.” He added: “Regardless of what your feelings might be about Israel and Palestine, what the heck does this have to do with what the ASA is for, which is studying the people, culture and society of the United States?”

There is a tangible level of despair in the social media emanating from the American Studies Association. . J Kehaulani Kauanui of Wesleyan University writes:

WHO WANTS TO JOIN THE ASA? Some previous members have written to say they won't renew their membership until the ASA rescinds its boycott of Israeli institutions.  Therefore new members more welcome than ever and also membership renewals are essential!

Memberships in this organization are offered on a sliding scale,  for as low as $20 per calendar year, giving some insight into how easy and inexpensive it was to transform the ASA agenda.

So now we know.  For as little as $20 anyone can join the fascist left. Academic credentials are not a pre-requisite.

CAMERA exposes New York Times bias

 The New York Times is the newspaper of record in America.  Its website is one of the most popular news sites in the country,  yet when it comes to reporting on the Middle East, the quality of the journalism has been lacking.   As documented by the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting, there is a strong anti-Israel bias that goes back years

New York Times staff and New Yorkers  will be reminded of this bias for the next 6 months. CAMERA has just purchased space on a billboard just outside the New York Times headquarters

To contribute to CAMERA's billboard and its  many other efforts, visit their website

KQED capitulates to Bullies

During Friday's morning pledge drive, local radio station KQED offered the home carbonation system, Sodastream, as a thank you gift for subscribers.

The BDS cru saw blood.

Via social media, an organized campaign began to bully KQEd into capitulating to their demands. While the pro Israel community were busy at their day jobs, the "Don't they have a life?" contingent began the process of pressuring the station.

Here's the quick and dirty anatomy of the attack.

Anti-Israel agitprop site Electronic Intifada issued a call to arms.

Dr Hatem Bazian, who infamously called for an intifada in America  encouraged people to call KQED.

 Eyad Kishawi, of the extremist Al Awda movement also jumped on the bandwagon

Soon, others were spamming the KQED Twitter feed, 

as well as their facebook page

Rather than do independent research, KQED simply capitulated to the bullies, tweeting to anger management poster child Deppen Webber   "Controversy surrounding Sodastream would undermine our unbiased message"

Interestingly, according to the Electronic Intifada  the station had  been "unaware" of the controversy surrounding Sodastream until this incident.  What does that say about the alleged "momentum" of this "movement"?  After years of letter writing, emailing, "twitter storms", "thunderclaps" "culture jamming", protests and flash mobs,  the BDS 'holes had not yet succeeded in propagandizing a Bay Area progressive radio station

If only KQED had taken the time to really examine this issue.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Monday, January 20, 2014

Antisemitism in Montclair

The Bay area is reputedly the most liberal area in the nation. Tolerance, diversity  and individual human rights are valued.  That is why the appearance on nearly every light pole in Montclair Village of flyers depicting a Jewish Oakland Councilmember emblazoned with swastikas was particularly shocking to community members.  It was particularly ironic that these hurtful and offensive flyers made their debut on the day we commemorate the achievements and vision of Dr. Martin Luther King.

 From NBC
The councilwoman, Oakland native Libby Schaaf, said she found the fliers displayed Sunday on Mountain Boulevard in the city of Montclair “very hurtful.”

 "It's very hurtful, especially as a person of Jewish heritage, to see tour face with a swastika on your forehead,” Schaaf said. “I'm very proud of that heritage and I know there's a large community of people that really were hurt having to see that."

 The postings appeared to be a response to the city's plan to create a surveillance center, which would allow authorities to monitor streets through multiple surveillance forms, such as cameras and gunshot sensors, in order to help detectives solve crimes.  
Libby Schaaf  has expressed privacy concerns over the Domain Awareness Center and believes the flyers misrepresent her position. She feels the attack is personal.
 "The attack does feel personal because the issue is one that they misrepresented my position on it, Schaaf said.

 Schaaf said she is most concerned about the impact on her two young children. She said she would likely talk to them Monday night. 

 Schaaf said her family spent the day talking about MLK day and about the importance of tolerance, love and acceptance.

More Dispatches from the "Apartheid" State: Druze poet appointed Ambassador to Brazil

Israel loves and respects her poets as much as her warriors.

Druze historian and poet Dr. Reda Mansour has been appointed by Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman as Israel's next ambassador to Brazil. He will enter his new position in the summer.

Mansour was born in 1965 in the Druze village of Isfiya in northern Israel. He has a Ph.D from the University of Haifa's Middle East History Department and is a graduate of Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. Ambassador Mansour has received the Haáretz Annual Short Story Award, as well as the Haifa University Miller Award. He has published three books of Hebrew poetry and speaks 5 languages.

Mansour has been ambassador to Ecuador, deputy ambassador to Portugal and served as consul-general to the South-Eastern United States.

In an article originally  appearing in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on February 5th, 2007, Dr. Mansour wrote:

My grandfather, who lived to be more than 100 years old, used to say, “I’ve seen them all and there are none like the Jews.”

Our small Druze town had remained virtually the same for hundreds of years under Ottoman and later British rule. When Israel was established in 1948, rapid development ensued, and for the first time, our homes had electricity and running water and every child received a quality, free education. 

Even among all that modernity and relative luxury, my grandfather’s greatest praise for Israel came as a result of how the young state treated its less fortunate citizens. For the first time in his life, my grandfather, a retired factory worker, received a pension and had access to quality health care. He said that a society could be judged by the way it treats the elderly, sick and unemployed and that Israel had proved itself both strong and compassionate. Certainly, he would say, such a nation would prevail.
Dr. Mansour joins two other Druze diplomats: Naim Aryadi, Israel's ambassador to Norway, and Baheej Mansour, Israel's ambassador to the Dominican Republic.

PM Stephen Harper to Israel: "Through fire and water, Canada will stand with you."

The historic visit  by Canada's prime Minister Stephen Harper to Israel is the first by a standing Prime Minister since Jean Chrétien's visit in 2000.

The following is a transcript of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s speech to the Knesset, delivered on Monday January 20, 2014. Prime Minister Harper received a standing ovation

Via David Akin

The following has been adapted from a prepared text distributed to reporters ahead of the speech. The actual speech, as a result, may differ slightly from you see here.

And thank you for inviting me to visit this remarkable country, and especially for this opportunity to address the Knesset.
It is truly a great honour.
And if I may, Mr. Speaker, on behalf of my wife Laureen and the entire Canadian delegation, let me begin by thanking the government and people of Israel for the warmth of your hospitality.
You have made us feel extremely welcome.
We have felt immediately at home.
Ladies and gentlemen, Canada and Israel are the greatest of friends, and the most natural of allies.
And, with your indulgence, I would like to offer a reflection upon what makes the relationship between Canada and Israel special and important because the relationship between us is very strong.
The friendship between us is rooted in history, nourished by shared values, and it is intentionally reinforced at the highest levels of commerce and government as an outward expression of strongly held inner convictions.
There has, for example, been a free trade agreement in place between Canada and Israel for many years an agreement that has already proved its worth.
The elimination of tariffs on industrial products, and some foodstuffs, has led to a doubling in the value of trade between our countries.
But this only scratches the surface of the economic potential of this relationship and I look forward to soon deepening and broadening our mutual trade and investment goals.
As well, our military establishments share information and technology.
This has also been to our mutual benefit.
For example, during Canada’s mission to Afghanistan, our use of Israeli-built reconnaissance equipment saved the lives of Canadian soldiers.
All such connections are important, and build strong bridges between us.
However, to truly understand the special relationship between Israel and Canada, one must look beyond trade and institutions to the personal ties of friendship and kinship.
Jews have been present in Canada for more than 250 years.
In generation after generation, by hard work and perseverance, Jewish immigrants, often starting with nothing, have prospered greatly.
Today, there are nearly 350,000 Canadians who share with you their heritage and their faith.
They are proud Canadians.
But having met literally thousands of members of this community, I can tell you this:
They are also immensely proud of what the people of Israel have accomplished here of your courage in war, of your generosity in peace, and of the bloom that the desert has yielded, under your stewardship.
Laureen and I share that pride, the pride and the understanding that what has been achieved here has occurred in the shadow of the horrors of the Holocaust;
the understanding that it is right to support Israel because, after generations of persecution, the Jewish people deserve their own homeland and deserve to live safely and peacefully in that homeland.
Let me repeat that: Canada supports Israel because it is right to do so.
This is a very Canadian trait, to do something for no reason other than it is right even when no immediate reward for, or threat to, ourselves is evident.
On many occasions, Canadians have even gone so far as to bleed and die to defend the freedom of others in far-off lands.
To be clear, we have also periodically made terrible mistakes as in the refusal of our government in the 1930s to ease the plight of Jewish refugees but, as a country, at the turning points of history, Canada has consistently chosen, often to our great cost, to stand with others who oppose injustice, and to confront the dark forces of the world.
It is, thus, a Canadian tradition to stand for what is principled and just, regardless of whether it is convenient or popular.
But, I would argue, support today for the Jewish state of Israel is more than a moral imperative it is also of strategic importance, also a matter of our own, long-term interests.
Ladies and gentlemen, I said a moment ago, that the special friendship between Canada and Israel is rooted in shared values.
Indeed, Israel is the only country in the Middle East, which has long anchored itself in the ideals of freedom, democracy and the rule of law.
These are not mere notions.
They are the things that, over time and against all odds, have proven to be the only ground in which human rights, political stability, and economic prosperity, may flourish.
These values are not proprietary; they do not belong to one nation or one people.
Nor are they a finite resource; on the contrary, the wider they are spread, the stronger they grow.
Likewise, when they are threatened anywhere, they are threatened everywhere.
And what threatens them, or more precisely, what today threatens the societies that embrace such values and the progress they nurture?
Those who scorn modernity, who loathe the liberty of others, and who hold the differences of peoples and cultures in contempt. Those who, often begin by hating the Jews, but, history shows us, end up hating anyone who is not them. Those forces, which have threatened the state of Israel every single day of its existence, and which, today, as 9/11 graphically showed us, threaten us all.
And so, either we stand up for our values and our interests, here, in Israel, stand up for the existence of a free, democratic and distinctively Jewish state or the retreat of our values and our interests in the world will begin.
Ladies and gentlemen, just as we refuse to retreat from our values, so we must also uphold the duty to advance them.
And our commitment as Canadians to what is right, fair and just is a universal one.
It applies no less to the Palestinian people, than it does to the people of Israel.
Just as we unequivocally support Israel’s right of self-defence, so too Canada has long-supported a just and secure future for the Palestinian people.
And, I believe, we share with Israel a sincere hope that the Palestinian people and their leaders… will choose a viable, democratic, Palestinian state, committed to living peacefully alongside the Jewish state of Israel.
As you, Prime Minister [Netanyahu], have said, when Palestinians make peace with Israel, Israel will not be the last country to welcome a Palestinian state as a new member of the United Nations — it will be the first.
Sadly, we have yet to reach that point.
But, when that day comes, and come it must, I can tell you that Israel may be the first to welcome a sovereign Palestinian state, but Canada will be right behind you.
Ladies and gentlemen, support – even firm support – doesn’t mean that allies and friends will agree on all issues all of the time.
No state is beyond legitimate questioning or criticism.
But our support does mean at least three things.
First, Canada finds it deplorable that some in the international community still question the legitimacy of the existence of the state of Israel.
Our view on Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state is absolute and non-negotiable.
Second, Canada believes that Israel should be able to exercise its full rights as a UN member-state and to enjoy the full measure of its sovereignty.
For this reason, Canada has spoken on numerous occasions in support of Israel’s engagement and equal treatment in multilateral fora.
And, in this regard, I should mention that we welcome Israel’s induction this month into the western, democratic group of states at the United Nations.
Third, we refuse to single out Israel for criticism on the international stage.
Now I understand, in the world of diplomacy, with one, solitary, Jewish state and scores of others, it is all too easy “to go along to get along” and single out Israel.
But such “going along to get along,” is not a “balanced” approach, nor a “sophisticated” one; it is, quite simply, weak and wrong.
Unfortunately, ladies and gentlemen, we live in a world where that kind of moral relativism runs rampant.
And in the garden of such moral relativism, the seeds of much more sinister notions can be easily planted.
And so we have witnessed, in recent years, the mutation of the old disease of anti-Semitism and the emergence of a new strain.
We all know about the old anti-Semitism.
It was crude and ignorant, and it led to the horrors of the death camps.
Of course, in many dark corners, it is still with us.
But, in much of the western world, the old hatred has been translated into more sophisticated language for use in polite society.
People who would never say they hate and blame the Jews for their own failings or the problems of the world, instead declare their hatred of Israel and blame the only Jewish state for the problems of the Middle East.
As once Jewish businesses were boycotted, some civil-society leaders today call for a boycott of Israel.
On some campuses, intellectualized arguments against Israeli policies thinly mask the underlying realities, such as the shunning of Israeli academics and the harassment of Jewish students.
Most disgracefully of all, some openly call Israel an apartheid state.
Think about that.
Think about the twisted logic and outright malice behind that: a state, based on freedom, democracy and the rule of law, that was founded so Jews can flourish, as Jews, and seek shelter from the shadow of the worst racist experiment in history, that is condemned, and that condemnation is masked in the language of anti-racism.
It is nothing short of sickening.
But this is the face of the new anti-Semitism.
It targets the Jewish people by targeting Israel and attempts to make  the old bigotry acceptable for a new generation.
Of course, criticism of Israeli government policy is not in and of itself necessarily anti-semitic.
But what else can we call criticism that selectively condemns only the Jewish state and effectively denies its right to defend itself while systematically ignoring – or excusing – the violence and oppression all around it?
What else can we call it when, Israel is routinely targeted at the United Nations, and when Israel remains the only country to be the subject of a permanent agenda item at the regular sessions of its human rights council?
Ladies and gentlemen, any assessment – any judgment – of Israel’s actions must start with this understanding:
In the sixty-five years that modern Israel has been a nation, Israelis have endured attacks and slanders beyond counting and have never known a day of true peace.
And we understand that Israelis live with this, impossible calculus:
If you act to defend yourselves, you will suffer widespread condemnation, over and over again.
But, should you fail to act, you alone will suffer the consequence of your inaction, and that consequence will be final, your destruction.
The truth, that Canada understands, is that many of the hostile forces Israel faces, are faced by all western nations.
And Israel faces them for many of the same reasons we face them.
You just happen to be a lot closer to them.
Of course, no nation is perfect.
But neither Israel’s existence nor its policies are responsible for the instability in the Middle East today.
One must look beyond Israel’s borders to find the causes of the relentless oppression, poverty and violence in much of the region, of the heartbreaking suffering of syrian refugees, of sectarian violence and the fears of religious minorities, especially christians, and of the current domestic turmoil in so many states.
So what are we to do?
Most importantly, we must deal with the world as we find it.
The threats in this region are real, deeply rooted, and deadly and the forces of progress, often anaemically weak.
For too many nations, it is still easier to scapegoat Israel than to emulate your success.
It is easier to foster resentment and hatred of Israel’s democracy than it is to provide the same rights and freedoms to their own people.
I believe that a Palestinian state will come, and one thing that will make it come is when the regimes that bankroll terrorism realise that the path to peace is accommodation, not violence.
Which brings me to the government of iran.
Late last year, the world announced a new approach to diplomacy with the government in tehran.
Canada has long held the view that every diplomatic measure should be taken to ensure that regime never obtains a nuclear weapon.
We therefore appreciate the earnest efforts of the five permanent members of the security council and Germany.
Canada will evaluate the success of this approach not on the merits of its words, but on the implementation and verification of its promised actions.
We truly hope that it is possible to walk the iranian government back from taking the irreversible step of manufacturing nuclear weapons.
But, for now, Canada’s own sanctions will remain fully in place.
And should our hopes not be realized, should the present agreement prove ephemeral Canada will be a strong voice for renewed sanctions.
Ladies and gentlemen, let me conclude with this thought.
Je crois que l’histoire d’israël est UN très bel exemple pour le monde entier.
I believe the story of Israel is a great example to the world.
It is a story, essentially, of a people whose response to suffering has been to move beyond resentment and build a most extraordinary society a vibrant democracy a freedom-loving country… with an independent and rights-affirming judiciary, an innovative, world-leading “start-up” nation.
You have taken the collective memory of death and persecution to build an optimistic, forward-looking land one that so values life, you will sometimes release a thousand criminals and terrorists, to save one of your own.
In the democratic family of nations, Israel represents values which our government takes as articles of faith, and principles to drive our national life.
And therefore, through fire and water, Canada will stand with you.
My friends, you have been generous with your time and attention.
Once more, LKaureen and I and our entire delegation thank you for your generous hospitality, and look forward to continuing our visit to your country.
Merci beaucoup.
Thank you for having us, and may peace be upon Israel.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

For the Card-carrying BDS-hole

Thanks to Hen Mazzig for this one, via Twitter

"I instruct the medical authorities , in case I fall ill ensure that no technical equipment is used in treatment which was wholly or partly developed in Israel."

Hen -you may also want to add a disclaimer on the card refusing generic drugs- after all, Israel based Teva Pharmaceuticals is the world's largest distributor of generic drugs

BDS holes, feel free to print this out and carry it in your wallet.  

The IDF strikes back

You won't read it in the mainstream media. This year nearly 20 rockets have been launched against Israel.  On Thursday only, 6 grad rockets were directed against Ashkelon- 5  were intercepted by the Iron dome defense system.

Today Israel struck back.

From the IDF blog:
The IDF successfully targeted a terrorist operative involved in recent attacks against Israel. The terrorist was planning further attacks on Israel in the coming days. Ahmad Sa’ad, a senior operative in the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist organization, was in the northern Gaza Strip when an IAF aircraft carried out the mission. The IDF operated in order to eliminate an imminent threat to the lives of Israeli civilians.
 Ahmad Sa’ad was a key Palestinian Islamic Jihad operative in the Gaza Strip specializing in rocket launching. Sa’ad is personally responsible for the launching of five rockets towards Ashkelon on January 16, 2014 which were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system.

Sa’ad’s terrorist activities over the years include concealing, directing, and launching rockets at southern Israel in numerous incidents including during operation Pillar of Defense in Nov 2012, and multiple launches during an escalation of violence during March 2012. In recent days Sa’ad was involved in substantial planning of launching rockets at Israeli civilians.

“Gaza terrorists must know that there is a personal price to pay when planning and executing terror attacks against Israel,” said Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, IDF Spokesman, ”There is no immunity for those that partake in projectile terrorism. The IDF targeted an integral component of the Gaza terrorist mechanism in order to diminish terrorist capabilities and send a clear message of intolerance to the aggression from the Hamas territory.”

Saturday, January 18, 2014

British parliament to investigate UNRWA abuses.

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA)exists to perpetuate the Palestinian refugee problem, not to solve it.

Speaking at UC Berkeley, on Nov. 4, 2013 Filippo Grandi, Commissioner General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency admitted the role of his agency in perpetuating the plight of Palestinian refugees, describing the "core job" of UNRWA as  keeping the Palestinians "registered".

UNRWA  bestowed refugee status on the 3rd and 4th generation, on the grandchildren and great granchildren deeming them “refugees,” As a result, the Palestinian refugee population has grown from 750,000 in 1950 to 5 million today. The Palestinians are the only people in the world today who can inherit refugee status

UNRWA defines a refugee, not as someone with indigeneous staus, but rather,  as “persons whose normal place of residence was Palestine during the period 1 June 1946 to 15 May 1948, and who lost both home and means of livelihood as a result of the 1948 conflict.”  Yes, you read it  right.  Living in pre-state Israel just  for two years or longer qualifies  Palestinians and their descendents with millions in goods and services, and has, for generations.

Their services are available to all those living in its area of operations who meet this definition, who are registered with the Agency and who need assistance. The descendants of Palestine refugee males, including adopted children, are also eligible for registration.

The total UNRWA budget for 2012 was $907,907,371.  The system is ripe for abuse.

According to the J Post The British parliament has formed a committee of inquiry to probe the flow of funds used by the international refugee agency UNRWA

According to the report, the British government contributes 90 million pounds annually in aid to the Palestinians. A third of that sum is earmarked for UNRWA – the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian refugees.

The parliamentary committee was formed in response to heavy lobbying by pro-Israel organizations and with the encouragement of former Israeli Labor MK Einat Wilf. The committee is due to submit its recommendations to parliament soon.

"UNRWA is perpetuating the notion that the descendants of refugees are themselves refugees, and it is based on this principle that the Palestinians are demanding the right of return, something that will not happen in any future agreement," Wilf said.

"The main point is that UNRWA is entirely supported by Western countries whose official policy is to aim for a two-state solution," Wilf said. "This is completely in contradiction to the idea of a right of return for 5 million refugees and their descendants to Israel."
 Time for our Congress to recognize that reality, as well.

Congress oppossed to academic boycott of Israel

If you haven't already done it, stop by the Legal Insurrection blog and thank the team there for leading the battle charge for academic freedom in America.

via Legal Insurrection

134 House Members sign letter against academic boycott of Israel

 A total of 134 Members of the House of Representatives have signed a letter, organized by the offices of Reps. Peter Roskam (R) and Ted Deutch (D) condemning the academic boycott of Israel passed by the American Studies Association. The effort was truly bipartisan, with 65 Republicans and 69 Democrats signing. The full list of signatories is at the bottom of this post.

Signing the list were

Roskam, Peter J.
Bachmann, Michele
Bachus, Spencer
Bentivolio, Kerry L
Bilirakis, Gus M.
Braley, Bruce L.
Bridenstine, Jim
Broun, Paul C.
Brown, Corrine
Brownley, Julia
Campbell, John
Castor, Kathy
Chabot, Steve
Cicilline, David N.
Coffman, Mike
Cohen, Steve
Collins, Doug
Connolly, Gerald E.
Cook, Paul
Costa, Jim
Crowley, Joseph
Davis, Rodney
Delaney, John K.
DelBene, Suzan K.
Dent, Charles W.
DeSantis, Ron
Deutch, Theodore E.
Duncan, Jeff
Engel, Eliot L.
Fleming, John
Foster, Bill
Frankel, Lois
Franks, Trent
Gabbard, Tulsi
Garcia, Joe
Gardner, Cory
Gerlach, Jim
Gohmert, Louie
Grayson, Alan
Green, Al
Green, Gene
Griffin, Tim
Grimm, Michael G.
Hastings, Alcee L.
Heck, Denny
Higgins, Brian
Holding, George
Holt, Rush
Hudson, Richard
Hultgren, Randy
Israel, Steve
Johnson, Bill
Joyce, David P.
Keating, William R.
Kelly, Mike
Kennedy III, Joseph P.
Kilmer, Derek
King, Peter
Kinzinger, Adam
Kuster, Ann M.
Lamborn, Doug
Lance, Leonard
Langevin, James R.
Lankford, James
Larson, John B.
Latham, Tom
Latta, Robert E.
Levin, Sander M.
Lipinski, Daniel
Loebsack, David
Lowenthal, Alan S.
Lowey, Nita M.
Lynch, Stephen F.
Maloney, Carolyn B.
Marino, Tom
Matsui, Doris O.
McCarthy, Carolyn
McCollum, Betty
McGovern, James P.
Meadows, Mark
Meehan, Patrick
Meeks, Gregory W.
Meng, Grace
Messer, Luke
Murphy, Patrick
Nadler, Jerrold
Nunes, Devin
Nunnelee, Alan
Pascrell Jr., Bill
Pearce, Steve
Peters, Gary C.
Peters, Scott H.
Pierluisi, Pedro R.
Pocan, Mark
Polis, Jared
Pompeo, Mike
Quigley, Mike
Reed, Tom
Rokita, Todd
Ros-Lehtinen, Ileana
Royce, Edward R. Royce
Salmon, Matt
Scalise, Steve
Schakowsky, Janice D.
Schiff, Adam B
Schneider, Bradley S.
Schock, Aaron
Schwartz, Allyson Y.
Schweikert, David
Sensenbrenner, Jim
Sessions, Pete
Shea-Porter, Carol
Sherman, Brad
Shimkus, John
Sires, Albio
Smith, Christopher H.
Stivers, Steve
Swalwell, Eric
Tiberi, Patrick J.
Titus, Dina
Upton, Fred
Van Hollen, Chris
Vargas, Juan
Veasey, Marc A.
Walberg, Tim
Walorski, Jackie
Wasserman Schultz, Debbie
Waxman, Henry A.
Weber Sr., Randy K.
Wilson, Frederica S.
Yarmuth, John A.
Yoder, Kevin
Yoho, Ted S.
Young, Todd. C

If your Congressperson isn't on the list, give them a call and ask why.

And in other Academic Boycott news, according to Avi Mayer, who has been diligently tracking the academic world's repudiation of the fringe ASA resolution, as of today 213 universities have renounced the boycott of Israeli academic institutions.

Lies, Bigotry and blood libel. Omar Barghouti Tours California

Lies?  Check
Demonization? Check.
Supporting terror?  Check.
Denying the Jewish peoples’ right to self determination?  Check.
New blood libel? Check.

Omar Barghouti been doing the California college tour scene the last few days, before he becomes the BDS spokesmodel for the extremist Sabeel organization.

From the Jewish Journal, written by Roberta Seid
Omar Barghouti brings hate and bigotry to UCLA

Much of his litany of false accusations he’d presented before, cherry picking anomalous examples or making up “facts” such as that Israel steals Palestinian water (it gives Palestinians 30% more Israeli water than it even agreed to give in the Oslo Accords), that checkpoints are choking Palestinians (B’Tselem, an Israeli human rights group very sympathetic to the Palestinians, reports there has been free movement in the West Bank for the past few years and the Israeli government reports that only nine checkpoints remain which are manned only during terrorist alerts).  He likes inventing terms to make his accusations seem more sinister.  Absurdly claiming Israel is systematically destroying Palestinian education, he accused it of “scholasticide,”  and omitted the fact that he himself attended graduate school at Tel Aviv University.  He praised the American Studies Association’s vote for an academic boycott of Israel, claiming it showed BDS was succeeding, despite the fact that the most prestigious American academic associations and over 200 major universities unequivocally condemned the resolution as an assault on academic freedom and an unfair singling out of Israel.

But Barghouti didn’t stop there. 

He hurled blood libels. Israeli soldiers shoot Palestinian children “for sport.”  Indeed, they “provoke” the children, “entice them like mice, and then shoot them” for no reason.  Often, it is just because the soldiers are “bored.”

He justified terrorism against Israelis, defending the Palestinians’ right to “resistance by any means, including armed resistance.”   When he insisted that the only way to end terrorism was to end the “root cause”—that is Israel’s alleged oppression of Palestinians-- the audience erupted into finger snapping, is the way college audiences show approval.

He shamelessly told lies. When asked how Israel could be called an apartheid state given the prominent positions of Israeli Arabs in government and the judiciary, he snapped back that every evil system has its collaborators. He claimed there were even Jews in the Nazi government.

He declared that many large Jewish communities don’t accept a Jewish state, and cited a Satmar rabbi for proof.  When UCLA Hillel Rabbi Chaim Seidler-Feller interrupted to protest that the Satmars are only a fringe group that doesn’t represent the vast Jewish community, the organizer reprimanded him and threatened to have him removed. The Rabbi stormed out, declaring “This is anti-Semitic!”

Barghouti repeatedly denied that Jews are one of the indigenous people of the region. When an Israeli stood up and said he is a 10th generation Israeli and indigenous, Barghouti scoffed.  “You aren’t indigenous just because you say you are.”  He allowed that colonialists could be indigenized but only if they melded and intermarried with the existing society, not if they sought to disenfranchise the real indigenous people.  The Boers, he explained, described themselves as an indigenous  people when they fought British colonialism.

He denied that the Jewish people have a right to self-determination. They are not a people, he declaimed, and the UN’s principle of the right to self-determination applies only to colonized people who want to acquire their rights. While he insisted that Palestinians must have “the right to have rights,” he denied that the Jewish people had any collective rights.

From the AMCHA Initiative:
Barghouti  brings the Boycott Message to UC Riverside

Two of us (Rabbi Singer and Rabbi Cohn) attended the talk by Omar Barghouti on Tuesday, which was sponsored by the UCR College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHASS) and the Department of Ethnic Studies....

As we feared, Omar Barghouti's talk was pure propaganda and political screed, whose unambiguous purpose was to demonize and delegitimize the Jewish state and actively promote the academic boycott of Israel.  For example:

 Barghouti called Zionism "a racist European ideology that was adopted by the dominant stream of the Zionist order to justify and politically recruit for its colonial project of establishing an exclusive, supremacist Jewish state in historic Palestine," and he claimed that most Israelis view Palestinians "as less than human."

 He accused Israeli soldiers of "hunting children," saying that sharpshooter Israeli soldiers target Palestinian children and shoot to kill, and that the soldiers "entice them like mice" into playing football and then shoot them with silencers.

 He accused "Israel and its well-oiled lobby groups" of "buying and paying for allegiance" and controlling the media, saying: "Just open any TV channel, read any mainstream paper, and it's all Israeli propaganda." He also said, "Israel's lobby works overtime to fabricate, to vilify, to intimidate -- that's just the nature of the beast."

 He compared those who criticize the BDS movement to "those white Americans who pushed back against the Montgomery bus boycott," implying that anyone who criticizes the boycott of Israel is a racist.

 He praised the student senate at UC Berkeley for passing an anti-Israel divestment resolution, and said to the students in the room, "We hope you are next!"

Barghouti was not interested in imparting knowledge to the UCR students in the room who came in fulfillment of a CHASS course requirement.  Rather, his unmistakable purpose was to indoctrinate them with a hatred of the Jewish state and those who support it, and to win their hearts and minds to help advance the Palestinian campaign to boycott Israel.

The reports are disturbing, but are true to character not only for Omar Barghouti, but for the entire BDS movement

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Write on for Israel Student Documentaries

Write on for Israel, affectionately called WOFI is a program launched by Bluestar to help High School students explore their relationship with our land and our people. The culmination of months of study is a trip to Israel, and a documentary produced by the students themselves.

Check out the films produced by last year's class of teen participants  at Write On For Israel/San Francisco. The descriptions were written by the students, as well.

Too Thin is No longer In

70 million people worldwide are affected by eating disorders. as teenage girls, we see this affecting our society every day. We feel the pressure to look like the girls on TV, in movies, and in magazines. From a young age, girls are manipulated through the media to believe that thin is beautiful. Adi Barkan is an Israeli fashion photographer and model agent who is trying to change the way the media portrays women. He hopes that through his legislation, we can change the way society perceives beauty. We hope this movie inspires you all to join in our efforts to spread awareness of the media so that we can make a change.

ReWalk :An Israeli Miracle

We made this documentary to show how Israel is not only the conflict. We want to show the spirit of Israelis and how they seek to accomplish the impossible. To show how much this small country has contributed to the world, with numerous devices such as the pill cam, drip irrigation, and the iron dome. ReWalk is just another one of the innovations to come from Israel.

Returning home: A Jerusalem Story

Jerusalem was the original capital of the kingdom of Israel in the time of the first and second temple, and Jews have maintained a small but continuous presence in the Old City of Jerusalem for the past 2000 years. This film tells the little known story of the Jewish families who had lived in the Old City peacefully for generations prior to being besieged, forcibly evicted from their homes and taken prisoner of war by the Arab Legion in 1948 after the state of Israel was declared by the United Nations. The film follows the story of these Jewish refugees until they were able to return to their homes 19 years later after Israeli forces liberated the Old City during the Six Day War in 1967. My documentary group and I were privileged to spend many hours interviewing these survivors during our visit to Israel this summer. We learned the unique story of their return and rebuilding of the Old City of Jerusalem and hope to share it with you.

LGBTQ Life in Israel: A Progressing Journey

Our goals for this film were to explore the challenges and successes of the LGBTQ community while also investigating the new idea of pinkwashing. Pinkwashing is a concept that Israel is using their gay rights to cover up other possible controversial human rights abuses. We became interested in making this film because of all the new exciting progress occurring in the United States around LGBTQ rights such as same sex marriage. While, thinking about America's gay rights movement we began to wonder what gay life was like in Israel with its religious influence and its location.

The Return of Divest this!

You loved him in Young, Jewish and Proud. Oy. 
He made you laugh in the Hampshire SJP Planning Transcript 
And he broke your heart when he took a break from blogging. 
But now he's back.

The anti-divestment web site Divest This is back online. Check out the blog that highlighted the BS in the BDS movement.