03/15 Links Pt2: The ME Is Unraveling—and Obama Offers Words; France’s Relentless Hostility to the Jewish State
What is most jarring is Obama’s tendency to distort the views of his detractors to the point of dissembling by reframing their original positions. He perfected this formula on critics of his maddening approach to Syria, including senior members of his administration, by belittling their proposals for establishing no-fly zones, or protected safe havens in Syria, as “half-baked” ideas or “mumbo-jumbo” proposals. Obama told Goldberg that his critics say, “You called for Assad to go, but you didn’t force him to go. You did not invade.” But Mr. President, who asked you to invade Syria? Could you please name one serious critic who said so? Obama speaks expansively and derisively about the “Washington playbook” and what he describes as the foreign-policy establishment’s “credibility” fetish; the playbook, according to Obama, tends to prescribe militarized responses to different crises in order to maintain America’s credibility. But credibility, particularly for a great power, is the coin of the realm. And it need not be purchased by force every time.
Obama boasts that he is “very proud” of the moment, on August 30, 2013, when he retreated from his threat to punish the Assad regime militarily following its mass murder of more than 1,400 innocent Syrian civilians, many of them children, with chemical weapons. He may view that date as his day of liberation from promises he made to help people who have been at the receiving end of weapons of mass destruction. But for millions of Syrians, August 30, 2013 is a day that shall live in infamy.
Elliott Abrams: The U.N. Sinks Further into the Anti-Israeli Muck
It may seem hard to believe that the United Nations can hold any new surprises when it comes to unprincipled attacks on Israel, but never despair: There is always farther to fall.
For more than 20 years, the U.N. Human Rights Council has had a dedicated “Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967.” (Needless to say, there’s no U.N. Special Rapporteur for the condition of Tibetans or Cubans; only Palestinians.) Now, the incumbent Israel-Hater-in-Chief is leaving and his replacement must be chosen.
This being the U.N., what kind of candidate will they choose? Be careful, now: The position’s entire purpose is to condemn Israel, so it’s important to disqualify anyone who might examine the evidence in an unbiased search for truth. Heaven forfend. Much better to choose someone whose anti-Israel bias is absolute.
And this being the U.N., that’s what they’re doing.
Jennifer Rubin: Former apartheid state can attest that Israel is not one
A new report billed as the “the first empirical study of its kind providing objective confirmation of student reports of widespread antisemitism, as well as evidence that the primary agents of antisemitic activity are anti-Zionist students and faculty boycotters and that Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) is the strongest predictor of anti-Jewish hostility on campus” confirms a number of disturbing trends, including a strong correlation between anti-Zionist student groups such as Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and anti-Semitism; between the presence of faculty who have expressed public support for an academic boycott of Israel and anti-Semitism; and between BDS activity and anti-Semitic activity.
With regard to BDS activity:
“56% of schools with evidence of BDS activity had one or more incidents that targeted Jewish students for harm, whereas of the schools with no evidence of BDS activity, only 23% had incidents targeting Jewish students. In fact, schools with more incidents of BDS activity tended to have more incidents that targeted Jewish students for harm.
95% of schools with BDS activity had one or more incidents of anti-Semitic expression, whereas of the schools with no evidence of BDS activity, only 33% had anti-Semitic expression. Schools with more incidents of BDS activity tended to have more incidents of anti-Semitic expression.”Ironically, in the real world, the post-apartheid government of South
Africa wants closer relations with Israel on trade, water and
technology. Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs Director General Dr. Dore Gold is in South Africa
to do just that. A readout of the meeting between Gold and his
counterpart states: “The discussions focused on the relations between
the two countries and the sides agreed on improving cooperation between
the two countries.
Caroline Glick: The tragic state of American Jewry
These Jewish anti-Israel activists are doing more than prevent the community from rallying in support of Israel. They are making it increasingly difficult for non-affiliated American Jews to recognize the anti-Semitism which is supposed to bring them back to their Judaism, even when it smacks them in their faces.
Likewise, the emphasis that Jewish educators have placed on Holocaust education makes it difficult for Jews to understand that anti-Semitism is an enduring prejudice. Today Jews are hard-pressed to understand that anti-Semitism exists even when there aren’t death camps and that not all anti-Semites are Nazis. Some anti-Semites are their progressive professors.
The hard truth seems to be that the salvation of American Jewry can only come with the restoration, at wider and wider communal levels, of the three foundations of Judaism to their proper positions in a meaningful, substantive way. Torah literacy needs to increase. Jewish peoplehood needs to be experienced and advocated. And Zionism, and Zionist history, needs to be taught.
Maybe that is the answer to Sanderson. If he thinks it is too hard to instill Zionism in college students, then the time has come to teach them all of it – Torat Yisrael, Am Yisrael and Eretz Yisrael. No, in a culture where people expect instant and continuous gratification without knowledge, this won’t be easy.
But if American Jewish history teaches us anything, it teaches us that they are all necessary.
Khaled Abu Toameh: Netanyahu: Peace will come through Arab world
Peace with Israel’s Arab neighbors will lead to an agreement with the Palestinians, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday as a French envoy visited Jerusalem to solicit support for an international conference on the conflict.
“The Arab world softening its views toward us will help us when the time comes to reach a real and lasting agreement with our Palestinian neighbors,” Netanyahu said.
“If someone thought earlier that a breakthrough with the Palestinians would lead to improved relations with the Arab world for us, the opposite is happening and will continue to happen.”
Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said Monday that the Iranian nuclear deal has created the conditions for Iran to attain greater hegemony in the region and that President Barack Obama mishandled attempts to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
While maintaining gratitude to Obama for his support of Israel’s security, he faulted the president for not holding PA President Mahmoud Abbas accountable for his role in the breakdown of peace efforts, and also said the president bought into the incorrect notion of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict being the core of Middle East problems.
Ya’alon also bewailed the recent lifting of crippling oil and financial sanctions on Iran, which released more than $100 billion in frozen assets. The defense minister conveyed that while the deal has caused the Iranian regime to give up its “timetable” for acquiring military nuclear power, it has not given up its aspirations to eventually do so.
Israel said it was struggling to “understand the logic” of a French peace initiative after Israeli Foreign Ministry officials met with a French envoy in Jerusalem on Monday.
France is lobbying for an international peace conference before May that would outline incentives and give guarantees for Israel and the Palestinians to resume face-to-face talks before August and try to end their decades-long conflict.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has welcomed the French initiative and the international support it would bring but Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has voiced opposition and has insisted on direct talks between the parties without pre-conditions and prefers less international involvement.
Israel’s Foreign Ministry said it had “submitted questions to understand the initiative’s logic” during a meeting between France’s envoy, Pierre Vimont, a former French ambassador to the United States, and Foreign Ministry Director General Dore Gold.
“The Israeli side emphasized the importance of direct, bilateral negotiations, with no prior conditions between the parties and the [Palestinian Authority’s] responsibility to combat terror and incitement,” the ministry statement said.
Palestinian leaders expressed hope for a new push for peace Tuesday, in talks with a French envoy who faced skepticism in meetings with Israeli officials.
Pierre Vimont, France’s point man on efforts to hold an international peace conference by the summer, held talks in Ramallah with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Foreign Minister Ryiad al-Malki and chief negotiator Saeb Erekat.
“The French ideas are timely, the French ideas are realistic and the French ideas are the only thing in town, and those who care about peace between Palestinians and Israelis must fully support the French ideas,” Erekat said.
As Abbas constantly incites terror against Jews, France’s anti-Israel relentlessness can only be seen as an extension of France’s centuries-old anti-Semitism.
On International Holocaust Remembrance Day, January 27, Hassan Rouhani, President of the Islamic Republic of Iran – a regime that denies the fact that the Holocaust occurred and does not hide its intention to commit another holocaust – arrived in Paris for an official visit.
Two days earlier, Rouhani had been in Rome, where the Italian authorities, in a gesture of submission, covered up the nude statues of Rome’s Capitoline Museum. Rouhani thanked Italy’s Prime Minister Matteo Renzi for his “hospitality.” He did not thank President François Hollande.
No French journalist or politician mentioned International Holocaust Remembrance Day. French journalists spoke only of Rouhani’s “moderation” and “openness,” despite Iran’s dire human rights violations. Hollande evoked the rebirth of a “fruitful relationship” between Iran and France.
New Zealand’s foreign minister said in Sydney on Tuesday that Israel’s settlement activities are behind the disappearing viability of the two-state solution with the Palestinians.
In his address to the Lowy Institute for International Policy, Murray McCully said: “The situation on the ground gets worse, violence has escalated, and the viability of the two-state solution is disappearing as a consequence of Israeli settlement activity.”
The minister was speaking at the Institute founded by Sydney’s Lowy family headed by Jewish Westfield shopping center magnate Frank Lowy.
Before migrating to Australia, [Lowy] the Slovak-born Holocaust survivor fought in the 1948 War of Independence in Israel.
PreOccupiedTerritory: Palestinian Leaders Promise To Laugh Only Part Of Way To Bank (satire)
Palestinian leaders lining their pockets and Swiss accounts with funds intended for Palestinian economic development have vowed to address the flagrant cronyism and corruption this week by laughing only part of the way to the bank, the Maan News Agency reported today.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, now eleven years into his four-year term, and a bevy of Fatah loyalists announced yesterday that instead of chuckling and guffawing as they deposited huge sums of aid money in their offshore accounts, they would politely titter, pause for a reflective moment, and only then, in a fit of giggles, make the deposits.
Maan noted that Abbas was thus departing from the practice of his revered, iconic predecessor Yasser Arafat, whose legendary extravagance and glee in the misappropriation of funds became the model for Palestinian officials across the political spectrum. “Our departed Raïs, may he rest in peace, still serves as a role model for our policies and behavior,” said Abbas. “This is manifest in the political and diplomatic realm, where he used the phenomenon of warring internal Palestinian factions as the pretext for making, let alone making good on, Palestinian commitments.”
Anti-Zionism is not the same as anti-Semitism, these people plead in their defence. And care should be taken not to label every critic of Israel in the same way. We can hardly trumpet Israel’s (rightful) status as a liberal democracy and then try to shut down any criticism of its government by throwing around unpleasant accusations. Yet what is Zionism other than support for the creation and continued existence of the state of Israel? Scratch the surface of these campus revolutionaries and you will find resentment at the decision, in 1948, of the UN, supported by the hated United States, to recognise Israel in the first place.
Labour must not, cannot tolerate such a view. And yet, among its rank and file it is becoming more commonplace, more accepted. That is surely inevitable when the leadership of the party is willing to tolerate Islamism, of which anti-Semitism is such an inevitable part.
Labour does indeed have a problem with Jews. It can acknowledge that problem’s existence, confront it and deal with it. Or it can shrug, mutter something about UN Security Council resolutions and continue to court the support of those on the far Left who are the source of the problem.
Jewish members of the party have scant reason for optimism about which course will be pursued.
Vicki Kirby, then Labour’s candidate for Woking, was suspended from the Labour Party in 2014 following a string of antisemitic tweets. Now it seems that she has not simply been reinstated by Labour, but appointed as Woking’s vice chair. This news comes at a time when Labour faces particular scrutiny over the way it deals with antisemitism following the (brief) readmittance of Gerry Downing and allegations over antisemitism in Oxford University’s Labour Club. Earlier today Wes Streeting, Labour MP for Ilford North, responded to Kirby’s reinstatement on LBC:
I simply can’t understand how or why someone who has expressed these sorts of views has been allowed to remain a member of the Labour Party at all … frankly if this was any other form of racism she would have been kicked out … I’ve had messages from Party members who’ve cut up their membership cards, I’ve had constituents in Ilford North write to me asking what on earth is going on with the Labour Party, is there still a place for Jews in the Labour Party.
Here is Dan Glass:
“I go on a few human rights missions, because Palestine is the biggest … is under the most brutal occupation in the WORLD … um… and it should be all of our concerns. So, whatever your human rights ISSUES, Palestine should be the centre of our focus.
We have to look historically and CRITICALLY about how this situation has happened in the first place. For me, it is very important not to conflate Zionism with Judaism. Zionism is a specific political project, a colonial project, to occupy a specific mineral rich REGION, to support the Western EMPIRE, to maintain the status quo and keep themselves minerally rich, at the expense of everybody else.
He’s asked about the situation of LGBT rights in Gaza. Dan Glass responds by talking about the Palestinians as the victims of the Holocaust. After a minute, he remembers his script and turns to “Pinkwashing”.
Then, this follows:
“Uh-huh. That’s not the issue. We’ve got to see all oppressions as connected. YES, some religious communities, some cultural communities, may not be so… conscious and, um, compassionate towards the LGBTQI community, but that doesn’t mean that we should see them as part of the problem. “
And so on.
It’s been a disappointing couple of months for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions crowd. In January, in what seemed sure to be a lay-up for reflexively anti-Israel academics targeting the Jewish state, the American Historical Association instead dealt the BDS folks a stinging blow, defeating by a more than 2 to 1 margin a resolution condemning Israel for what were claimed to be violations of Palestinian academic freedom.
Last month at McGill University in Montreal, where the BDS movement has been strong and anti-Israelism is deeply-rooted, BDS forces failed for the third time in 18 months to pass an anti-Israel motion. McGill’s undergraduates rejected the latest one by a 57 percent to 43 percent vote.
A new Gallup poll released in late February found that despite an intensified effort to discredit Israel on American campuses, Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 declare their sympathies with Israel rather than the Palestinians by 54 percent to 23 percent. American support for Israel in general is steady at 62 percent and support for the Palestinians is down slightly to 15 percent, and sympathy for Israel among Democrats has actually risen over the past year.
Amid all this blundering, vitriol and provocation by the BDS movement, a voice of peace and reconciliation emerged. Prof. Mohammed Dajani, formerly a hard-line Fatah member and today a committed peace activist, was brought out by the Jewish community to share his vision with the greater South African community. For Dajani, the solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict lies in both sides listening to and understanding one another’s aspirations, fears and historical narratives. During his visit, he met with academics, students, politicians, trade unions, journalists and community members, leaving a deep impression on everyone he interacted with.
Bringing humor into the week was a group of social media activists who designed banner ads that were strategically placed through Google on the Daily Vox site as it was running its IAW series. The Daily Vox tweeted, “Welcome to the information war. Zionists are buying google adspace and sabotaging our coverage.” Banners included images of Shimon Peres and Nelson Mandela embracing with the words, “Let’s bring Peace not Hate” and using the recurring #SeeIsraelForYourself.
We end IAW on two sweet notes. One is a picture of ambassadors Dore Gold and Jerry Matjila’s smiling faces as they commit themselves to cooperation between Israel and South Africa. And second was seeing supporters of Israel coming out today in the streets of Johannesburg and Cape Town, in a forthright demonstration of their constitutional right to be both proudly South African and proudly Zionist.
The legislation, which passed the House 42-16-2 after advancing through the Arizona State Senate last week, prohibits state investment in companies that engage in a political boycott of Israel and requires all entities contracting with the state to certify that they don’t participate in such efforts.
The bill will now go to the desk of Arizona Governor Doug Ducey, who must decide whether to sign it into law.
Arizona’s anti-BDS measure comes just a few weeks after Florida’s General Assembly passed similar legislation.
Two Canadian corporations have promised vigilance after pro-Palestinian activists plastered their products with anti-Israel stickers.
In recent weeks, Facebook posts by those advocating the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against Israel have shown warning labels affixed to bottles of Israeli wine for sale in Vancouver and grocery products at a store in Calgary.
“Shopping was fun!” announced Calgary BDS activist Billie Jones on her Facebook page earlier this month. A photo there shows anti-Israel labels stuck on several grocery products.
AMCHA Initiative calculates what we already knew.
At one level, you could put this post in the “tell me something I don’t already know” category.
For several years I have been documenting anti-Israel activity on campus, typically part of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement and carried out by groups like Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP).
At the same time, I’ve pointed out many instances where such anti-Israel activity crossed-over into overt anti-Semitism, including at places like Oberlin and Vassar. (And that’s putting aside whether the radical extremist anti-Israelism itself is anti-Semitic.)
So the correlation between anti-Israelism and anti-Semitism seems obvious. When the only Jewish-majority nation in the world is demonized and dehumanized based on factual falsehoods and distortions under standards applied to no one else, it is no surprise that the hate manifests itself in hatred not just of Israel, but of Jews.
When a student union passes a motion which purposefully disenfranchises hundreds of students from running for its most important positions, one can only describe such a situation as a reprehensible form of institutional discrimination.
University College London is exceptional for its history of tolerance. It is one of the few universities in England which has accepted students from all faiths since its foundation. In contrast to the closed door policy of the universities of Oxford, Cambridge, and Durham, UCL famously accepted Jewish students when it opened its doors in 1827 – a truly remarkable gesture for its time, which is celebrated until this day.
It is therefore ironic that the first university to ‘remove’ the requirement for Jews to profess a particular faith is also the first university with a student union which will bar hundreds of Jewish students from becoming sabbatical officers.
Ben White has a long standing reputation as an obsessive anti-Israel extremist. The author of “Israeli Apartheid: A Beginner’s Guide,” White has claimed “I do not consider myself an anti-Semite, yet I can also understand why some are.” He has made racist statements and supports racist statements of others. White advocates for a one-state solution and the end of Israel as a Jewish state.
Which begs the question as to why a supposedly credible and mainstream publication like Newsweek would give White an endorsement and platform to dispense his poison.
Newsweek Middle East’s Twitter feed promotes White’s story with a short embedded video that refers to “Israeli occupation forces” – indicating a prejudgment of an ongoing and complex territorial dispute that is inappropriate for a professional and supposedly impartial news organization.
Earlier in the year, the Daily Mirror somehow claimed that the Western Wall is in Tel Aviv, before placing the Jewish holy site back safely in Jerusalem after our tweet to the journalist.
More recently, however, we noticed another erroneous designation related to Tel Aviv, in a March 8th article by Siobhan McFadyen:
Though most countries maintain their embassy in Tel Aviv (for diplomatic reasons), Israel’s capital is of course Jerusalem. Even the Guardian no longer explicitly claims that Tel Aviv ‘is’ Israel’s capital.
The grounds for suspending a MK would be identical to those listed in the basic law for banning a party or person from running for election – incitement to violence or racism; support for armed conflict against Israel; or negating Israel as a Jewish and democratic state. (For instance, in 1988, Meir Kahane’s political party was banned for running afoul of the “incitement to racism” clause.)
MacIntyre claims that, if the bill was passed, hundreds of thousands of Arabs could be “disenfranchised”.
That is simply not true. In the unlikely event that an Arab (or Jewish) MK was suspended, “he or she would be replaced by the next non-MK on the party’s list”. The party would still retain the same exact number of seats in the Knesset. No Arab citizen of Israel (or any citizen) would be disenfranchised.
However, the biggest problem with MacIntyre’s op-ed isn’t his mischaracterization of this specific law. The most misleading element of the piece pertains to how it contextualizes the proposal by arguing that “the Bill, if passed, will undermine Israel’s just claim to be a full democracy in a region dominated by autocracies“.
Indeed, such erroneous predictions about ‘the end of Israeli democracy’ are nothing new within both the Israeli and British far-left.
HonestReporting’s Mission to Israel
Unknown individuals calling themselves the “Tunisian Fallaga Team” hacked into the website of the Venice Jewish community’s library and archive and posted pro-Islamist and pro-Palestinian messages on its home page.
Gadi Luzzatto Voghera, the director of the Renato Maestro Library and Archive, called the incident Monday “in effect, a violent and targeted threat, of a type that was clearly anti-Semitic.”
He said the library’s home page had been replaced for “several hours” by a dark screen with English-language slogans and videos inciting Islamist attacks in Tunisia and promoting the “fight for the liberation of Palestine.”
Police are investigating the incident.
Pastor Mark Burns was speaking to rally-goers while waiting for Trump to arrive at the event in Hickory, North Carolina. Trump was running late after landing outside the city due to fog, and Burns used the time to praise “our great leader” and rail against his critics and opponents, especially Democratic candidates Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders.
After calling for Clinton to “go to jail,” he turned to Sanders, the Jewish, independent, self-described “socialist” senator from Vermont.
“Bernie Sanders who doesn’t believe in God, how in the world we gonna let Bernie — I mean, really?” Burns began.
“Listen, Bernie gotta get saved. He gotta meet Jesus. He gotta have a comin’ to Jesus meeting.”
Catholic Memorial apologized for the actions of its students, and its president, Peter Folan, said he is “deeply disturbed” by the “unacceptable chant.”
“At the conclusion of the game, CM students were reprimanded and each student personally apologized to the Principal of Newton North High School and shook his hand before leaving the arena,” Folan said in a released statement. “We have been the subject of hurtful chants as well and we will work diligently within our own community and with other schools to end this abhorrent behavior. Catholic Memorial School believes deeply that intolerance, of any kind, is unacceptable. We apologize for the actions of our students and we will continue to strenuously address this issue within our community.”
Catholic Memorial reached out to Jewish human rights organization the Anti-Defamation League for advice on educating its students about antisemitism, the Boston Globe reported. The school has also revealed plans to adjust its curriculum and hold a series of educational meetings, in order to use Friday night’s incident as a lesson for all students, Florida’s 10News reported.
The proposed store would make the supermarket chain, which specializes in supplying only kosher food, Israel’s first with a foreign outlet.
According to the report published in Bloomberg, which cited two anonymous sources familiar with the matter, Osher Ad acquired a 70,000-square-feet store in Brooklyn from the Pathmark supermarket chain.
The supermarket chain’s owners are hoping to capitalize on Brooklyn’s substantial ultra-Orthodox community, said to number around 45,000 households.
The craft’s propulsion system was developed by Rafael, the same company that developed, among other things, the Iron Dome missile defense system.
While known for its defense systems, Rafael is also active in the space business, specifically as the manufacturer of controllable propulsion and reaction control systems (RCS), which help “brake” the landing of satellites and missiles. This ensures that their fuel tanks do not crash into the ground as they land and ignite an explosion.
When ExoMars, launched Monday, gets to its destination, it will release a descent module called Schiaparelli which will land on Mars. During the descent phase, a heat shield will protect the payload from the severe heat flux. Parachutes, thrusters, and damping systems will reduce the speed, allowing a controlled landing on the surface of Mars.
Tamim Zoabi knew that if he and his classmates could win at the Young Engineers’ Conference, it could mean a ticket to a better life – a coveted university scholarship for this truck driver’s son from a poor village in northern Israel.
But no Arab team had ever won at the conference, a competition among Israeli high school entrepreneurs to come up with the best high-tech startup idea.
Zoabi grew up a world away from Israel’s thrumming high-tech scene, with its hyper ambitious entrepreneurs and millions in venture capital. Though his school is focused on technology studies, it lacks many of the resources needed to help students develop the kind of app Zoabi and his teammates hoped to enter in the competition. Even reliable Internet access is hard to come by.
Kathie Lee Gifford, co-host of NBC‘s morning show, Today, returned from a trip to Israel bearing gifts on Monday for co-anchor, Egyptian-American Hoda Kotb.
Gifford, who is not Jewish, brought Kotb two goblets from Bethlehem, some jewelry, and some mud from the Dead Sea. She also brought chocolate-flavored tahini (sesame paste), and wine-flavored halva, a tahini-based confection.
Kotb was so enthusiastic about the tahini that she insisted on a second serving, asking Gifford, “Can I double dip?”
The Jewish people – we’re stronger than ever