05/29 Links Pt2: The depraved indifference of ‘two-statism’; The Holy See’s unholy sanctimony
Alan Dershowitz: Universities Should be Unsafe for Political Correctness
The current code word being tossed around to protect political correctness from competition in the marketplace of ideas is “unsafe.”
“I feel unsafe” has become the argument stopper on many university campuses. Efforts have been made to shut down controversial events or speakers, some of which have succeeded, at MIT, the University of Michigan, Northeastern University, Oxford, Hampshire College, Smith College, and other great universities on the grounds that students would feel “unsafe.” Students must, of course, be and feel physically safe in their dorms, classrooms and campuses. That’s what university and city police are for: to protect against physical assaults and threats. But no one on a university campus should be or feel safe or protected when it comes to the never-ending war of ideas.
An important role of the university is to challenge every idea, every truth, every sacred notion, even if challenge makes students (or faculty) feel intellectually uncomfortable, unsettled, or unsafe. There must be no safe spaces in the classroom or auditorium that protect members of the university community from dangerous, disturbing or even emotionally unsettling ideas.
Under these conditions, demilitarization is virtually irrelevant. Even lightly armed renegades with improvised weapons could disrupt the socioeconomic routine of the nation at will, with or without the complicity of the incumbent regime, which due to its despotic nature would have little commitment to the welfare of the average citizen.
Definitely depraved indifference
Faced with this grim prospect, any Israeli government would either have to resign itself to recurring paralysis of the economy, mounting civilian casualties and the disruption of life in the country, or respond repeatedly with massive retaliation, with the attendant collateral damage among the non-belligerent Palestinian-Arab population and international condemnation of its use of “disproportionate force.”
It is uncertain – perhaps unlikely – that the fabric of Israeli society could withstand the strain for long…
The fact that other, more palatable, outcomes may be possible is of no real relevance. Unless two-staters can provide some plausible argument as to how such grave consequences can be averted with a significant degree of certainty, it will be increasingly difficult not to have grave doubts as to the nature of their motives. After all, as the introductory citation from Yossi Beilin, arch-architect of the Oslo Accords, demonstrates, two-staters were aware that their policy might be unsuccessful. Yet despite it clearly failing their own “test of blood,” despite the clear and present danger it entails, they persist in it.
It is becoming increasingly difficult to reconcile calls for a Palestinian state with concern for the security and well-being of the Jewish nation-state – and increasingly difficult to deny that “depraved indifference” is becoming an ever-more apt characterization of “two-stater” behavior.
Sarah Honig: The Holy See’s unholy sanctimony
Despite Israel’s exemplary attributes of sovereignty, the Vatican remained sour, begrudging and glacially aloof – and that again is resorting to understatement.
So whereas a Palestinian state is recognized prematurely – before actual self-determination – it took the Vatican a whopping 45-and-a-half years after the fact to bring itself to officially recognize Jewish self-determination. Egypt – Israel’s bitter foe for decades – beat the Vatican by 14 years.
Only in late December 1993 did the Vatican finally deign to recognize the Israel that was born in mid-May 1948. Moreover, the Vatican’s ultra-belated recognition remained hesitant, as if the ecclesiastical bureaucracy’s gut instincts prevented it from at all stomaching the notion of Jewish sovereignty.
The difference screams to High Heaven and anyone who denies a brazen double standard simply refuses to admit the truth staring us all in the face.
The adjective which most immediately comes to mind to describe the Vatican’s blatant bias is sanctimonious. Its dictionary definitions are “affecting piety, making a display of holiness, showing false righteousness, marked by hypocritical virtue.” All the above fit the Holy See to a tee to say nothing of the fact that sanctimonious originates from the Latin sanctimonia (sanctity) and sanctus (holy).
Galling pontifical predispositions or preconceptions were even abundantly evident during the visit here last year of apparent nice-guy Pope Francis.
In what would constitute a stunning rhetorical volte-face, Pope Francis reportedly walked back earlier statements praising Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and dubbed some of Israel’s detractors “anti-Semitic.”
In comments made to veteran Portuguese-Israeli journalist Henrique Cymerman Thursday, Francis was quoted as saying that “anyone who does not recognize the Jewish people and the State of Israel — and their right to exist — is guilty of anti-Semitism.”
Francis was also said to have backtracked on statements he was reportedly heard making earlier this month designating the visiting Abbas “a bit an angel of peace.”
The pope recalled telling Abbas in Italian that he hopes the Palestinian chief might one day become an angel of peace in the future, according to Cymerman — although ostensibly he has not yet reached that level.
It’s been a difficult couple of weeks for “progressive” anti-Zionists.
First, Barack Obama, during his interview with Jeffrey Goldberg last week, clearly suggested that denying Israel’s right to exist is antisemitic. More recently, it was reported that Pope Francis told Portuguese-Israeli journalist Henrique Cymerman that “anyone who does not recognize the Jewish people and the State of Israel — and their right to exist — is guilty of anti-Semitism.”
Of course, the comments by Obama and Pope Francis regarding the inherent racism of denying Israel’s right to exist are consistent with EUMC Working Definition of Antisemitism and the US State Department’s definition.
The UK media largely avoided reporting on Obama’s comments about antisemitism. So, it is likely that the same media outlets – who were so eager to selectively quote the pontiff’s highly disputed comments about Mahmoud Abbas being ‘an angel of peace’ – will similarly ignore Francis’s apparent agreement that you can’t simultaneously be an anti-racist and an anti-Zionist.
You may recall that, back in March, Marcia Freedman, in a J-Street panel discussion on Liberal Zionism, argued that the Jewish people should not have a state, and should instead live as a minority in an Arab Palestine. And, Peter Beinart (who participated in the J Street panel with Freedman), in his latest column at Haaretz, expressed his disagreement with Obama’s equating of anti-Zionism with anti-Zionism.
Although, as you may have noticed, the president never mentioned Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by name, the heart of his speech was devoted to justifying his own role in their by now famous conflict. At the heart of that conflict, he suggested, was Netanyahu’s presumed hostility to recognizing the rights of the Palestinians. Making references to Ramallah in one breath and Selma in the next, and sketching an ethical map that made the civil-rights movement and Palestinian nationalism interchangeable, the president implied that support for Netanyahu’s policies was tantamount to rejecting the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr.
It was Chemi Shalev, the U.S. editor of Haaretz, who best captured the essence of Obama’s May 22 message to you: “I represent your core values far better than the elected leader of Israel.”
To judge by the enthusiastic applause, many of you accepted the president’s sincerity and strongly agreed with his message. May I ask you, however, to pause and consider an alternative view? I cannot claim, as Obama did, membership in the tribe, but I can say that I am well informed both about the Middle East and about United States policy toward that region. In addition, I am deeply concerned about the deterioration in Israeli-American relations.
Here’s my question. As Obama donned his yarmulke and embraced your community, did you also catch the hint of a warning? If you did, it was because the president was raising, very subtly, the specter of dual loyalty: the hoary allegation that Jews pursue their tribal interests to the detriment of the wider community or nation. Obama was certainly not engaging in anything so crude as that; nor is he an enemy of the Jewish people. But he did imply that many Jews—that is, Jews who support Benjamin Netanyahu—have indeed placed their narrow, ethnic interests above their commitment to universal humanistic values. In his view, they have betrayed those values. And so the warning was faint, but unmistakable: if Jews wish to avoid being branded as bigots, then they—you—must line up with him against Netanyahu.
While not intended as a full-blown policy address, he did touch on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, asserting:
“Just as Israelis built a state in their homeland, Palestinians have a right to be a free people on their land, as well. Now, I want to emphasize that’s not easy. The Palestinians are not the easiest of partners.”
For starters, like a clear majority of Israelis, I have long believed that the Palestinians have such a right. It would serve not only Palestinian interests but Israeli interests as well, allowing the Jewish State to end an unsought occupation, dating back to 1967, and also to shift significantly the demographic balance within its own borders.
But there is just one problem, and it is contained in eight words the president expressed: “The Palestinians are not the easiest of partners.”
The audience’s reaction was to laugh right after this sentence. But, of course, it’s no laughing matter. Indeed, it’s the heart of the issue, and has been for decades.
Israel’s critics didn’t need much prompting to damn the latest government led by Prime Minister Netanyahu. But his appointment of tough-minded figures from his own party and inner circle to hold key foreign policy posts, has led to an increase of lamentations about the Israelis putting a fork in any hope for a two-state solution. But if they were listening closely to the prime minister’s statements in the last week, they would see he’s leaving the door wide open for a new round of peace. Earlier this week, Netanyahu stated his willingness to enter into talks about defining settlement blocs that would be kept by Israel and leaving open the possibility of settlement freezes elsewhere and with it the possibility of territorial compromise. Today, he doubled down on that by saying the “general idea” behind the 2002 Arab peace initiative was “a good idea.” But we didn’t have to wait long to learn that the Palestinians want no part of any new negotiations with the Israelis. The reason for that tells us more about their intentions than whether or not Netanyahu is being sincere.
Netanyahu’s last minute pronouncement before the March election that a Palestinian state wouldn’t be created on his watch is still held against him by those urging a two-state solution. His subsequent explanation when he walked it back after winning was that all he was saying was that given the Palestinians refusal to talk or recognize Israel as a Jewish state, there was no way a peace deal could ever be concluded. He was right about that, but his bluntness about this obvious fact made it appear that he was opposed to a two-state solution in principle when his conduct during his previous three terms in office makes it clear that he has consistently shown a readiness to talk about the possibility.
So there should be no surprise that now that he’s safely back in office, he’s sending signals to Washington and the Arabs that they should try him. The settlement bloc proposal would, if the Obama administration or the Palestinians were serious about making incremental progress toward peace, be of special interest to them.
It has been a year since the Fatah-Hamas national unity government was sworn in, agreed upon by the warring Palestinian factions two months earlier. At the time, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed his displeasure with the merger. He said it proved that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas had chosen terrorism over peace.
Since Abbas has never opted for the latter — rejecting all direct Israeli overtures and those brokered by the U.S. — the Israeli leader’s words rang hollow. But they were made necessary by the conventional myth that something resembling a “peace process” had been going on between Israel and the Palestinians for more than two decades. It was this “peace process” that led to the signing of the Oslo Accords, which have done nothing but perpetuate war.
Nevertheless, the lie lives on, as does the lip service enlisted in its embellishment.
The fiction centers on two tenets. The first is that Middle East stability rests on resolving the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. The second is that Israel, being responsible for the predicament in the first place, bears the burden of repairing the damage. The trouble is that the facts keep interfering with the storyline, jeopardizing its happy ending.
Six foreign ministers will be visiting Israel in the coming weeks as international efforts to resume peace talks ramp up.
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier is slated to visit Israel on Sunday, followed later in the week by Canada’s Rob Nicholson and New Zealand’s Murray McCully, the Ynet news site reported. Polish Foreign Minister Grzegorz Schetyna will visit next weekend, and in June France’s Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and Cyprus’s President Nicos Anastasiades are expected to follow.
The directors-general of four East European foreign ministers, those of the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland and Hungary, will also be in Israel next week.
European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini was in Israel this week for talks with Israeli and Palestinian officials.
The battery of visits are being interpreted by Israeli media as reflecting a widespread desire in the international community to see a resumption of peace negotiations stalled since 2014.
Tony’s Blair resignation as Middle East peace envoy has been widely welcomed by Palestinians who say his term was useless, and even some Israelis agree he failed to accomplish much.
For the past eight years the former British prime minister had been tasked by the Mideast Quartet to help mediate a peaceful settlement to the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The Quartet — the European Union, Russia, the United Nations and the United States — had appointed him to support the Palestinian economy and institutions in preparation for eventual statehood.
When the media did its job back in April, the Clinton Foundation was forced to refile multiple tax returns after it was discovered that the Foundation failed to disclose donations from foreign governments. Still, gathering new information about the Foundation remains a monumental undertaking, even for mainstream media outlets.
The latest information to come out is the news that long time political confidant Sid Blumenthal was paid $10,000 per month by the Clinton Foundation while he was offering up unsolicited foreign policy advice to Hillary Clinton on Libya. From Politico:
Sidney Blumenthal, a longtime confidant of Bill and Hillary Clinton, earned about $10,000 a month as a full-time employee of the Clinton Foundation while he was providing unsolicited intelligence on Libya to then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, according to multiple sources familiar with the arrangement.
Amid accelerated international efforts to reach a nuclear deal with Iran, the UN atomic agency on Friday reported that work on a key element — an assessment of allegations that Tehran worked on atomic arms — remains essentially stalled.
After years of deadlock, Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency agreed in November 2013 on a new attempt to probe the accusations. The US and its allies also included the investigation into a to-do list for talks with Iran meant to curb its nuclear programs in exchange for sanctions relief.
Washington continues to insist that full lifting of sanctions depends on the IAEA’s ability to thoroughly probe the accusations and deliver an assessment on its findings.
The IAEA is focused on 12 alleged activities that point to Iranian attempts to make such weapons, including suspicions that Tehran worked on the development on a nuclear payload for missiles. The IAEA started its probe last year by asking for information on less sensitive work related to nuclear arms allegedly carried out by Iran.
Since then, Iran has asserted that explosives-related experiments had civilian uses and were not related to the alleged work on nuclear weapons.
Pushing back against recent statements insisting that Iran be required to make its military sites available to nuclear inspectors, Iranian foreign minister and lead nuclear negotiator Mohammad Javad Zarif said that a nuclear deal between the West and Iran was possible in a “reasonable period of time,” if the West doesn’t make “excessive” demands Reuters reported today.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Thursday he hoped Tehran and world powers would reach a final nuclear deal “within a reasonable period of time” but this would be hard if the other side stuck to what he called excessive demands. …
“If the other side respects what has been agreed in Lausanne and tries to draft, based on mutual respect, a comprehensive agreement with Iran that is sustainable…, then we can meet any deadline,” Zarif said after meeting his Greek counterpart.
“If people insist on excessive demands, on renegotiation, then it will be difficult to envisage an agreement even without a deadline,” he said in Athens.
StandWithUs: Supporting Israel Around the World
StandWithUs is an international, non-profit organization. We believe that education is the road to peace. StandWithUs is dedicated to informing the public about Israel and to combating the extremism and anti-Semitism that often distorts the issues. We believe that knowledge of the facts will correct common prejudices about the Arab-Israeli conflict, and will promote discussions and policies that can help promote peace in the region. Through print materials, speakers, programs, conferences, missions to Israel, campaigns, social media and internet resources, we ensure that the story of Israel’s achievements and ongoing challenges is told on campuses and in communities around the world. Based in Los Angeles, StandWithUs has sixteen offices across the U.S., Canada, Israel and in the UK.
The Washington Supreme Court reversed a ruling that protected the Olympia Food Co-op from lawsuits over its boycott of Israeli products.
The ruling Thursday, reached through a vote of 9-0 justices, voids a 2012 ruling by the Thurston County Superior Court against five people who in 2011 sued the co-op over its policy on Israel.
The 2012 ruling not only dismissed the five plaintiffs’ claim, but also slapped them with a $230,000 bill for legal expenses and fines connected to state legislation designed to punish those found to have used litigation to intimidate political rivals.
The decision on Thursday opens to the plaintiffs the possibility of suing Olympia once more in a trial court and having their claims reviewed. It also means the plaintiffs do not need to pay the $230,000 bill.
The Olympia Food Co-op is the only commercial establishment in the United States officially to vote to boycott Israeli products, according to StandWithUs, an American pro-Israel group that funded the plaintiffs’ motion to have the supreme court review the county court’s 2012 ruling.
A friend recently attended a concert at the local Uniting Church and picked up a glossy pamphlet published by the Palestine Israel Ecumenical Network (PIEN). While I’m well aware of the Uniting Church’s animus against Israel, the lies it contained truly shocked me.
PIEN supports the virulently antisemitic BDS movement, and ignores the atrocities committed by ‘Palestinians’ against Israelis. They spread lies about Israelis destroying olive crops, but are silent about the reality – Arab incursion into Israeli homes to kill innocents, even newborn babies. While we remember numerous murderous rampages like in Itamar and the merciless slaying of a family and their young children, this hypocritical and hate-filled group care nothing for Jewish lives.
In their May 5 2015 rant, “ don’t buy into the occupation – join campaign against Israeli settlement goods in Australia”, they state:
“Enough is enough. No more words without deeds. It’s time for action.”
These words were issued nearly eight years ago as part of a statement by a World Council of Churches gathering, and affirmed recently by a meeting of senior Palestinian Christians and their supporters in the Kairos Palestine 5th Anniversary statement, which noted that things have become worse, not better, for Palestinians since then. These words stirred us into action when we met earlier this year as the Palestine Israel Ecumenical Network (PIEN) to consider our future priorities.
There’s a website called ‘Canary Mission‘. I don’t know who’s behind it. Nor, it seems, does anyone else. But I think it’s a great exercise in turning the tables on anti-Israel activists who have been ‘shaming’ people online for years.
Canary Mission says its aim is to “expose individuals and groups that are anti-Freedom, anti-American and anti-Semitic in order to protect the public and our democratic values.”
It seeks to do this by maintaining an online database, complete with pictures, biographies, Facebook posts, videos, and quotes from anti-Israel activists who are seemingly apoplectic that their public behaviour has become, well, even more public than it was before.
And while I’m kind of sad that political activism in both the United States and the United Kingdom has sunk to this level, it isn’t new, and thusly there shouldn’t be the outcry over it that there has been online.
The hard-left, combined with anti-Israel specialists, have been doing this to people of a pro-Israel, or right-wing persuasion for years now. I should know – they’ve done it to me.
Five streets in Chevy Chase, Md., were papered with anti-Semitic fliers on Wednesday morning.
Montgomery County police are looking for the person or people who left the hate-filled leaflets on almost every driveway on the streets.
“This is very disturbing. My community is definitely disturbed,” said Jean Sperling, the village manager of Martin’s Additions, the community where the fliers were found. Sperling called the leaflets “ghastly.”
Sperling said that police who responded to the fliers said that they had seen similar papers in neighboring communities, and that they would be doing extra patrols in Martin’s Additions.
The two-page fliers are a compilation of photocopied quotations from anti-Semitic documents. “Remove each and every Jew and Pro-Israel official from state and federal governments and financial organizations,” one corner of the flier says. The heading at the top of the flier is: “Jews Destroy U.S. Financially.”
British police chief has requested London’s Jewish community to provide
proof an extremist rally being planned for July 4 in Golders Green will
be anti-Semitic, so authorities can shut it down.
to a Jewish Chronicle report, Barnet borough commander Adrian Usher
claimed that if there was evidence the rally is “motivated by
antisemitism, then that is clearly against the law and we will take
Dozens of Jewish community members have called on
the police to ban the rally, which the far-right group New Dawn is
promoting as a demonstration against “Jewish privilege.”
Jewish grassroots group the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism is already
planning a counter-protest, which has attracted the support of some
Using the slogan “They Shall Not Pass,” CAA has called on the community to “stand united” against a “neo-Nazi demonstration.”
the rise in anti-Israel (anti-Semitic) activities capturing more
headlines in recent years, especially on college campuses, Christians
United For Israel is combating the trend with a new program that has
been part of the Progressive playbook for nearly a generation.
the largest pro-Israel organization in the country, has developed a
diversity outreach program geared toward millennials and minorities,
especially on college campuses and within churches.
multicultural, multiracial, diverse and tolerant. This truth is the most
powerful antidote to the apartheid lie. We’re devoted to aggressively
disseminating this truth to everyone. Thus we’ve assembled a team as
diverse as Israel itself,” explained David Brog, CUFI’s executive
director. “We’re targeting everyone, but placing a special emphasis on
millennials because they are being aggressively targeted with the
anti-Israel lies. And we’re also very purposeful about reaching out to
African-Americans and Hispanics since they are also being targeted with
this Israel-as-settler-Europeans myth.”
Brog, who is Jewish, takes great pride in the team he has assembled.
seemingly unassuming husband and wife, Des and Remeny Starritt, are at
the forefront of a new unlikely British initiative. Next month the
Starritts are formally launching a UK chapter of Christians United for
Israel, or CUFI, at a rally in Westminster, the heart of political
London. And helping CUFI off to a rousing start will be Pastor John
Hagee, founder of the group in the United States, one of the most
thunderous of evangelical preachers.
The Starritts are quietly
spoken and reticent — except when it comes to Israel. They were in
London last week to take part in the annual Christian Resources
Exhibition, which offers a wide spectrum of Christian takes and
accoutrements, from different kinds of church furniture to the coolest
sorts of clerical outfits.
And there, right in the middle of the
exhibitors, is a stall emblazoned with the slogan “Christians Against
Antisemitism,” CUFI’s first British campaign, with its logo of a burning
Star of David. These evangelicals are clearly no shy British
wallflowers, but an extremely out and proud group who are determined to
get their message across. (To be on the receiving end of this passionate
outpouring, as a British Jew, is slightly overwhelming.)
Starritt has given up his Swindon-based family business providing
management and administration services to become the CEO of British
CUFI. The couple’s three sons, aged 22, 30 and 34, together with their
wives, are also part of the CUFI team.
Decades ago Israeli dairy farmers confronted a quandary – how could they provide milk to a fast-growing population in a country that is two-thirds desert, with little grazing land?
They turned to technology, developing equipment that boosted output – from cooling systems to milk meters and biometrics – and have made Israeli cows the most productive in the world.
Science rules today, with cows’ health, output, genetics and fertility closely monitored by management systems. In kibbutzes, or communal farms, across the country, they line up by the dozens to enter climate-controlled sheds, awaiting the latest innovations in robotic milking that drive up efficiency.
This has put the country’s agricultural tech, and the companies that provide it, in demand around the world as – with populations and dairy consumption on the rise – traditional farming methods are no longer cutting it.
Smallholder and grazing farms are, for the most part, not competitive. Large, mechanised farms that intensely monitor production and maximise yields are the order of the day.
For more than 1.5 billion people without adequate access to electricity, keeping milk fresh is a Sisyphean battle. But new research by Israeli researchers that short pulsed electric fields can be used to kill milk-contaminating bacteria could make storing milk outside the refrigerator possible.
Through a process called electroporation, bacterial cell membranes are selectively damaged. According to lead investigator Dr. Alexander Golberg, of Tel Aviv University’s Porter School of Environmental Studies, applying this process intermittently prevents bacteria proliferation in stored milk, potentially increasing its shelf life.
According to the study, pulsed electric fields, an emerging technology in the food industry that has been shown to effectively kill multiple food-born microorganisms, could provide an alternative, non-thermal pasteurization process. The stored milk is periodically exposed to high-voltage, short pulsed electric fields that kill the bacteria.
The energy required can come from conventional sources or from the sun. The technology is three times more energy-efficient than boiling and almost twice as energy efficient as refrigeration.
US pop rockers One Republic played their first ever Israeli concert in Tel Aviv Thursday night to 20,000 adoring fans – and they vowed it wouldn’t be their last.
Frontman and songwriter Ryan Tedder kept the crowd dancing to the band’s infectious music – and applauding his support for the Jewish state.
“I know a lot of acts cancel on you and I think it’s kind of bullshit,” he said to a resounding cheer at Hayarkon Park. “I don’t know if it’s the way we were raised, but we don’t take sides. We just love people.”
The rest of the show – with bandmates Brent Kutzle, Eddie Fisher, Drew Brown and Zach Filkins – was devoted to the Colorado-based band’s impressive array of hits, including “Apologize,” “Counting Stars,” “All the Right Moves” and “Stop and Stare.” It was clear from their very first moment on stage that they came here to perform – and give it their all. The band played cello, Spanish guitar, violin and of course piano, drums, bass and everything in between. At times they moved closer to the audience and Tedder regularly reached out into the crowd as he sang, always to cheers of delight.
The rhythm guitarist of the band OneRepublic, Drew Brown, has given one of the most undeniably pro-Israel interviews I have heard by a celebrity or artist in a long time.
Mottle Wolfe of Voice of Israel gives the interview and asks him about his experiences here in the country. But what I loved most about this interview is at 8:15 where Wolfe directly asks Brown if Roger Waters called him and he gives this reply:
“I’m grateful (Roger Waters) didn’t call me although I really would’ve liked to give him a piece of my mind.”
However, the visit was not well received by everyone. Disgruntled Hamas fighters submitted a formal complaint accusing OneRepublic of anti-terrorist bias.
“So Iron Dome can shoot rockets out of the sky – big deal,” one Hamas member said. “If not for our rockets, the Israelis wouldn’t even need Iron Dome! If this pop group want to see something really impressive, we can show them our secret tunnel network that no one knows about, or our new and improved Human Dome Defense System.”
Another Hamas fighter, also speaking on condition of anonymity, said “Look, it’s not like I’m in love with Ryan Tedder or anything. But objectively, he is, as the Zionist occupiers say, ‘chatich’. One selfie with me wouldn’t hurt, would it?” Looking around furtively, he adamantly denied any implication that his feelings for Mr. Tedder represented anything more than admiration for the performer’s talent.
Previous visits by popular entertainers have been similarly colored by Israeli-Palestinian tensions. Lauryn Hill canceled a concert in Tel Aviv this past month, ostensibly because she was unable to organize one in Ramallah, but more likely, observers say, because of pressure from anti-Israel activists. Palestinians and their supporters have seethed over singers and ensembles who do appear in Israel, most recently the Backstreet Boys and Robbie Williams.
“It speaks volumes about Western hypocrisy that these so-called ambassadors of music claim that art and music transcend politics, while they blatantly and one-sidedly show support only for the party to the conflict that runs a democratic, multicultural society,” said a spokesman for the organization. “There’s no such thing as a field of endeavor that we Palestinians cannot exploit to produce an indictment of Israel.”
Britain’s Prince William will address a special fundraising dinner next month organized by a Jewish health care organization in London, the UK’s Jewish Chronicle reported on Thursday.
The event will mark his first personal appearance at a community fundraiser.
The dinner on June 11 will celebrate the 25th anniversary of Jewish Care, a charity serving the Jewish community in London and the South East of England. The organization cares for the elderly and those with mental health disabilities. A record 1,400 people are expected to attend the event held at Alexandra Palace in north London, according to the report.
Kensington Palace said that the Duke of Cambridge will meet staff, volunteers and supporters who work for the charity, as well as its clients during the event, British Hello! magazine reported.
A visit to Jerusalem can – and should – include more than just the major tourist attractions like the Old City, Israel Museum and Yad Vashem. The Jerusalem area is a hiker’s paradise. Trails of all sorts – from easy walks to challenging rock scrambles – are just a short drive from the center of town.
For your next trip to Israel’s capital, lace up your hiking boots and head to the forests as ISRAEL21c presents the top 10 hikes in the Jerusalem area. Don’t forget to take an Israel Trails map – every tiyul (Hebrew for “hike”) on this list is on map #9.
1. Har Eitan, 2.5 hours
Perhaps the richest area with the most number of hikes close by Jerusalem is the Sataf Forest. We’ve picked three outstanding trails in this area. The first – and easiest – is the extremely popular 7-kilometer loop that circles Har (Mount) Eitan. At the cooling end of a hot summer day, this wide dirt road is often packed with hikers, bikers and joggers. Run it in under an hour, or walk it in two and a half.
The trail is not particularly shady, but the payoff is the views – a 360-degree panorama, from the hills and small moshavim toward Modi’in and Tel Aviv to the west, to the hulking Hadassah Medical Center-Ein Kerem to the east. Leave your car in the Sataf parking lot and walk slightly back down the road on which you entered to find the start of the hike. You can’t get lost – just keep going in a circle until you come back to the parking lot (the final stretch is a climb through a wooded picnic area). If it’s late in the afternoon, go the other direction to catch the setting sun.
Legal Insurrection: Khawaled Village – Bedouin Pride in Israel
Continuing on my tour in northern Israel, on May 27, 2015, I visited the Bedouin village of Khawaled led by our guide Hassan Khawaled.
Most of the people in the village have the village name as a last name, or a variant, such as the first Israeli Bedouin diplomat Ishmael Khaldi, who is from the village.
Khawaled is east of Haifa, in the Galilee region.
The Bedouin are Arab Muslims with a unique culture. Most Israeli Bedouins live in the south of the country in the Negev region, but there is a sizable presence in the Galilee.
The Israeli Bedouin are not obligated to serve in the Israeli Defense Forces, but many volunteer to do so. Bedouin have achieved great success in the IDF, and are particularly known as trackers at the borders.
Hassan explained to me how thankful he was to be a Bedouin in Israel, that it has opened up huge opportunities that would not be available to him elsewhere.