11/09 Links: Anti-semitism in the guise of ‘Palestinianism’; Kristallnacht’s lessons for today
Bernard-Henri Lévy, the French philosopher, recently argued that anti-Semitism has been changing for centuries. “It was Christian during the centuries of the crusades, the Inquisition, the Medieval pogroms,” and it was anti-Christian after the Enlightenment threw a shadow over Christianity. It was anti-capitalist and pro-worker during the rise of socialism. Levy believes “the world’s longest-running form of hate has never stopped searching for the right formula.”
The latest version seems to have developed in response to new forms of leftist opinion. Where the left once considered class warfare its main issue, in recent times it has transferred its attention to colonialism and the rights of disadvantaged ethnic groups. It’s now almost automatic for liberals and socialists to see Israel as a colonial power imposed on a comparatively helpless people. And dislike of Israel easily turns into dislike of diaspora Jews who support Israel.
Ben Cohen, a much-published author on this subject, commented recently that anti-Semitism has become less a political phenomenon, more a social movement, with what he calls “Palestinianism” as its key ideology.
“Palestinian Arabs have assumed the status of iconic, transcendental victims, as the Jews did for a brief period after World War II, and as Israel did until 1967,” he says. The new anti-Semitism brings together leftists, neo-fascists, Islamists and liberals. Its aim is to persuade the mass of Europeans to shun Israel reflexively. The movement was greatly cheered by the decision of the British parliament to recommend recognition of “the state of Palestine.”
This is what Joshua Muravchik identifies as the “new paradigm of progressive thought.” It involves seeing world politics as “the Rest against the West,” or the people of colour against the white man. If that’s the great moral drama of the age, then Israel comes across as the Western white side and Palestinians are the anti-colonial people of colour. In the universities this attitudes owes much to Edward Said and his most famous book, Orientalism . Said announced that in dealing with the Middle East and other regions dominated by colonialism, every European is a racist, an ethno-centric imperialist.
Abraham Foxman: Kristallnacht’s lessons for today
Each year on the anniversary of Kristallnacht, we recall the opening salvo of the violent assault on Jews that foreshadowed the Holocaust and ask ourselves what should have been done at that moment.
In thinking about Kristallnacht, we should also consider the outpouring of violence against Jewish communities in Europe this summer and draw the right lessons for today. It is rightly said that the Holocaust began not with gas chambers but with words. The significance of Kristallnacht in the history of the Holocaust is the passage from anti-Jewish legislation and anti-Semitic rhetoric to violence against Jews. And therein lies the lesson for today.
To be clear, in today’s democratic Europe, there is no risk of a new Holocaust. Invoking such a possibility obscures rather than illuminates the serious situation of European Jewry. Comparisons to Kristallnacht, however, are apt.
Two of Germany’s most well-known left-wing members of parliament have urged a leading Berlin theater to “reconsider” the hosting of a November 9 discussion on the Middle East featuring Max Blumenthal, an American anti-Semitic writer of Jewish origin, and the son of Sidney Blumenthal, a close adviser to potential Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
In a letter to Frank Castorf and Thomas Walter – the directors of the famed Volksbühne theater, the leading German center for avant-garde and experimental performances – Volker Beck of the Green Party and Petra Pau of Die Linke (“The Left”) pointed to Blumenthal’s frequent “anti-Semitic” comparisons between Nazi Germany and Israel.
The letter, also signed by Reinhold Robbe, a prominent pro-Israel advocate in Germany, explicitly linked the commemoration of the Holocaust with contemporary anti-Semitism, observing that the date of the meeting scheduled for this Sunday, November 9, will mark the 76th anniversary of the Kristallnacht pogrom in Nazi Germany, during which over 30,000 Jews were rounded up and deported.
Salaita also exhibits broad ignorance of Zionism. To choose just one example, he finds the fact that Israel Zangwill wrote of Israel as “A land without a people,” even though he knew that there were people living there, “mysterious.” But there is no mystery here. Zangwill’s assertion was simply and unmysteriously that the Arabic-speaking population did not in the pre-WWI era form “a people,” in the sense of sharing a national identity tied to the Holy Land. Ignorance such as Salaita’s is no crime. Except, of course, if you are an academic conspicuously ignorant of the topic that is a major focus of your scholarly work.
Salaita asserts that Zionism was produced within the American narrative of indigenous dispossession and the search for a promised Holy Land, he exhibits no awareness of the European national revivals that formed the actual context within which modern, political Zionism arose. Nor of the Russian pogroms that directly influenced Herzl and other founders and supporters of the Zionist movement. Nor of any other context for the origins of Zionism with the lone exception of a single factoid, “In 1898, when Hitler was nine years old, Herzl proposed…”
Elliott Abrams: Arafat — 10 years later
Yasser Arafat died 10 years ago, on November 11, 2004.
I am posting this “appreciation” a bit early, and anticipating an outflow of mourning and praise for Arafat next week. In fact, he was a curse to Palestinians.
It’s impossible to prove that had Palestinians had a different leader — someone like Nelson Mandela or Sheikh Zayed, who wanted to build states that would assure a decent life for their people — today there would be an independent and responsible Palestinian state. But it’s easy to see what Arafat wrought, and Palestinians sadly continue to suffer from his years in power. Ten years after Arafat’s death, his historic “contribution” seems even more awful than it did in 2004.
Even if every Jew in Israel were secular, we’d still be in a religious war with the Arab-Islamists, because for them this is a religious war for Islam’s survival.
A few months ago, an Israeli-Arab, a Bedouin, a man for whom Israel provided education and every opportunity to better himself (as it does for every citizen), who as a result rose from the lowest socio-economic level in the country to becoming a doctor at one of Israel’s most respected hospitals, went and joined ISIS and got himself killed.
As I write this, Arab neighborhoods in Jerusalem, and now in parts of the rest of the country, are destroying themselves, trying their best to bring the Arab Ice-Age to Israel.
Some claim, if only we integrate Arabs better, or collect their garbage more often, or pave more potholes, things would be different.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday that the Israeli authorities would act forcefully against Arab Israeli protesters who are “calling for the destruction of the State of Israel.”
The riots that have been sparked in Arab Israeli towns in the Galilee over the weekend are being instigated by Hamas, the Islamic Movement and the Palestinian Authority, he added.
“Israel is a nation of law. Whoever violates the law will be punished severely. We will not tolerate disturbances and riots. We will take determined action against those who throw stones, firebombs and fireworks, and block roads, and against demonstrations that call for our destruction. We are not prepared to tolerate more demonstrations in the heart of our cities in which Hamas or Islamic State flags are waved and calls are made to redeem Palestine with blood and fire — calling in effect for the destruction of the State of Israel,” Netanyahu told ministers at Sunday’s cabinet meeting.
“I have instructed the interior minister to use all means, including evaluating the possibility of revoking the citizenship of those who call for the destruction of the State of Israel,” he added.
In a video of his November 7 sermon in Nazareth, translated by MEMRI, Sheikh Raed Salah said “Inshallah, Jerusalem will soon become the capital of the global caliphate.”
“The caliphate will spread justice throughout the land after it was filled with injustice by America, the Zionist enterprise, the Batiniyya, reactionism, Paganism and the Crusaders,” referring to the West, Jews, Christians, Shi’a Muslims, and anyone who does not follow Sunni Islam.
Salah further said: “I am confident that if the circumstances of the Muslims were as they should be, they would march to al-Aksa Mosque in tens of millions, crossing all borders and overcoming all obstacles, and they would not be stopped by nuclear bombs, until they arrived at al-Aksa mosque, liberated it…”
Raed Salah: Jerusalem Will Be the Capital of the Global Caliphate
Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz (Likud) called to outlaw the Islamic Movement in Israel on Sunday, noting that the group is responsible – at least in part – for the escalation of rioting in Jerusalem and on the Temple Mount.
“The first step to curb the wave of incitement and violence on the Temple Mount and in the Arab sector is to remove and outlaw the Northern Islamic Movement, led by Sheikh Raed Salah,” Katz said on his Facebook page.
“For years, I warned against the [group’s] destructive influence,” Katz continued. “It is absurd that Raed Salah incites religious war and acts openly to promote Israel’s destruction, [but] moves in Israel freely and without limits, while his partners [the Muslim Brotherhood – ed.] in Egypt find themselves banned by law and sitting [in court] as caged defendants.”
Prominent jihadis in Gaza distributed a list on Friday containing personal details of six Israeli lawmakers and urged all Muslims and Palestinians to “ram them,” according to NBC News’ counterterrorism consulting partners Flashpoint Intelligence. The list included names, pictures, locations, jobs, email addresses and phone numbers of the Knesset members, who were labeled “legitimate targets for every Muslim and the Palestinian people,” according to a statement by Flashpoint. The list was posted to Twitter in the form of a poster featuring a car and flames next to each lawmaker’s photograph.
Also included were images of the compound known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as the Temple Mount, access to which has been the source of recent unrest in Jerusalem. Two people were killed when a vehicle rammed into pedestrians at a light rail stop in Jerusalem this week. The driver was shot and killed by police. The militant Islamist group Hamas claimed responsibility. The list concluded saying: “Even if a long time passes, one day you will be punished for your crimes, and the elite of Al-Aqsa [a coalition of armed groups in the West Bank] will reach you to uproot your ungodliness from this pure land.”
Dozens of students rallied outside of Tel Aviv University against what they termed “the desecration of the holy sites,” in reference to recent tensions at the Temple Mount, according to Israel Radio. Protesters held aloft Palestinian flags, and signs reading “Israel, state of terror,” and “Shahid, rest in peace,” using the Arabic word for “martyr” for the slain Kheir Hamdan, who was shot to death by police Friday after approaching a patrol car with a knife and then running away.
Over at Haifa University, some 120 demonstrators held a similar protest, during which they called for a “third intifada.”
Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas is intent on going through with his unilateral plan to have the United Nations (UN) Security Council set a deadline for Israel to “end the occupation”.
According to the Ma’an news agency, Abbas said Saturday that the PA leadership would submit its resolution to the UN Security Council this month.
“Israel is violating all international laws by occupying (Palestinian) lands,” Abbas said, speaking during a meeting at his Ramallah headquarters.
Philipp Missfelder, a leading German deputy member from Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union party (CDU), rejected moves by Sweden’s government and Britain’s parliament to recognize an independent Palestine State. He told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday that, “To better promote peace in the Middle East, Europe must adopt a united front,” adding, “Individual states unilaterally choosing to recognize Palestine is the wrong approach….Germany will not follow in the steps of Sweden and Britain.”
Missfelder’s comment was in response to a slated opposition Die Linke (Left Party) event in the Bundestag on Monday covering Gaza and “state recognition.” The event was organized by two anti-Israel deputies, Inge Höger and Annette Groth, both of whom were on the Turkish vessel Mavi Marmara in 2010. The ship was intercepted by Israeli commandos during its attempt to violate a naval blockade of Hamas-controlled Gaza.
In a tirade posted on Twitter Saturday night, using the hashtag #handsoffalaqsa, in reference to the recent tensions on the Temple Mount, the Iranian religious leader also reiterated his appeal to arm the Palestinians in the West Bank.
“This barbaric, wolflike & infanticidal regime of #Israel which spares no crime has no cure but to be annihilated,” Khamenei wrote.
“West Bank should be armed just like #Gaza. Friends of Palestine should do their best to arm People in West Bank.”
State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki said that Israel “could have done more” to prevent civilian casualties during the 2014 Gaza War.
Psaki’s comments contradict Gen. Martin Dempsey’s statements on Thursday that Israel went to “extraordinary lengths” to limit civilian casualties and “did what they could” to avoid them.
“It remains the broad view of the entire administration that they could have done more,” Psaki said during a press briefing Friday. “And they should have taken more feasible precautions to prevent civilian casualties.”
AP reporter Matt Lee pointed out that, according to Dempsey, Israel had lived up to the “high standards” to which the Obama administration holds Israel. Still, Psaki said, Israel’s efforts were not enough.
Psaki: ‘Israel Could Have Done More To Prevent Civilian Casualties’
A new and controversial bill extending Israel’s laws to West Bank settlements without formally annexing the area was approved Sunday by the Ministerial Committee for Legislation, thus overcoming the first legal obstacle en route to becoming a law.
While settlers living in the West Bank are formally subject to military rule, the bill will see the region’s military commander ratify bills passed in Israel’s Knesset as military decree, thus de facto extending legislation passed in Israel to the occupied territories.
The news comes at a volatile time for Israel, with tensions between Jews and Arabs reaching new heights with violence spearing across the nation, as well as international pressure on Israel growing, with more and more states passing bills vowing to recognize a Palestinian state.
The bill – dubbed The Norms Law – was sponsored by rightists MK Orit Struk (Bayit Yehudi) and MK Yariv Levin (Likud) and saw four ministers object and six vote in favor. The Ministerial Committee for Legislation is a committee of ministers charged with choosing which bills go forward with the legislation process.
A new United Nations report released today on global phenomena representing existential threats to mankind points to Israel’s construction activity as the leading danger to the species’ survival.
The 100-page report by the United Nations Sustainability and Stability Council analyzes nearly a dozen threats facing civilization, including climate change, pollution, epidemics, soil erosion, genocidal warfare, hunger, and poverty, and concludes that Israel building homes for Jews outstrips the other dangers by a factor of of nearly two to one.
“Humanity has survived for this long despite armed conflict, rampant famine, and plagues,” notes the report, “but the relatively new phenomenon of Jews building homes in areas where Arabs wish there not to be Jews has traumatized the environment and civilization itself, neither of which is prepared to withstand such an assault.”
The parents of the soldier seriously injured on Wednesday near Bethlehem sharply criticized the IDF official who said the hit-and-run incident was a traffic accident and not a terror attack.
The soldier’s father, Roni Yehonatan, told Israel Radio his son was deliberately run over and that the attack was not accidental in any way.
“I’m still making a personal appeal: Come look at my son, imagine that he is your child and then tell me that this was an accident,” he said in a different interview with Army Radio. “It hurts me so much.”
Yehonatan’s son was injured late Wednesday evening, when a Palestinian van plowed into three IDF soldiers near al-Arub (south of Bethlehem), sending all of them to Hadassah University Medical Center in Jerusalem’s Ein Kerem.
As for the other two soldiers run over in the incident, one is in moderate condition while the other sustained light injuries.
Previous Arab riots, intifadas and suicide bombings succeeded only when Israeli security was unprepared and ill-equipped to deal with the violence.
Ignoring violence only incites rioters, who are excited by the smell of fear, to escalate viciousness to brutality and murder.
Arabs in some areas of eastern Jerusalem have ambushed Jewish motorist for the past three years, and the police have responded after the fact.
There is virtually no constant presence of Israeli police in the Arab neighborhoods, exactly like Hamas-Bedouin areas in the Negev where police don’t dare to enter for fear of being overpowered.
It was only a matter of time before Israel had to make a decision: De facto recognition of Arab neighborhoods as Judenrein or lethal violence that is going to exact a heavy price on both sides.
The 3-year-old boy who was injured by a rock-throwing attack on his parents’ car near Shiloh was released from Hadassah Ein Kerem hospital in Jerusalem Sunday morning.
Gittit Yitiv, the boy’s mother, told Arutz Sheva as the child was discharged the full story of Saturday night’s attack, which occured on Route 60 between Ofra and Shiloh.
“We were in a bizarre and impossible situation,” she recounted. “We returned on Saturday from Jerusalem and [were between] the settlements of Ofra and Shiloh when we heard a crazy popping sound in the car.”
“We understood that [terrorists] threw a rock at our sleeping 3 year-old son, who began to scream and cry, and we began to worry,” she continued. “My husband and I debated whether to pull over or to continue, because of the threat of a potential ambush down the highway.”
Arabs and left-wing activists broke through the thick security fence surrounding Jerusalem over the weekend, footage from Palestinian news agencies revealed Sunday – hammering a huge hole in the barrier for videographers.
The footage shows dozens of masked Arabs from Bir Nabala gather near the security fence, then begin drilling into the concrete and hammering at the barrier until a passageway is punched through.
After some time, the group succeeds – and one of the group tells the camera that the objective of the stunt was to “show solidarity” for Arabs in Jerusalem living under “Israeli aggression,” and to break what he termed the “Berlin Wall” of the Middle East.
Last week’s terror attack which claimed the lives of two Israelis at a Jerusalem Light Rail stop produced a number of headline fails. But was there a more unbecoming headline than this that appeared on the sidebar of the NBC News homepage?
“Look Out! Van Careens Into Pedestrians in Jerusalem”
“Look Out!” is the type of phraseology more appropriate to a humorous YouTube video. There is nothing remotely funny about a terror attack and this headline, apart from failing to acknowledge that it was a terror attack at all, looks like tabloid sensationalism at its worst.
NBC News should be embarrassed.
Hamas on Sunday forced the cancellation of a memorial ceremony in the Gaza Strip that was to have marked the 10th anniversary of the death of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.
The decision illustrated continuing tensions between Hamas and Arafat’s Fatah movement — despite the formation of a unity government that was meant to end years of hostilities between the rival factions.
In an announcement, the Gazan Interior Ministry, which is still dominated by Hamas, said it had informed Fatah it could not provide security for the rally.
The rally would have been the first time Fatah has marked the anniversary in the Gaza Strip since 2007 — the year that Hamas seized control of the area. At that previous rally, just months after the Hamas takeover of the Strip, 10 people were killed in clashes that erupted.
Israel has now entered the Shmittah, or sabbatical, year, in which many farmers let the land lie fallow. While many exploit a loophole involving the temporary sale of land to a non-Jew to allow the farm to be worked as usual, those who adhere strictly to the practice of Shmittah began gathering snozzcumbers from the Negev Desert several weeks ago. The vegetable’s propensity to grow abundantly regardless of cultivation renders it beyond the scope of religious restrictions on certain types of harvesting, and the quantity of snozzcumbers available from this year’s harvest far exceeds typically anemic demand in the domestic Israeli market. The surplus has now been made available for Gazans, and the low outlay makes the snozzcumber an obvious choice for easing the plight of Gazans.
“There is no security risk in allowing snozzcumbers into the Gaza Strip, as far as Israel is concerned,” says agronomist B.F. Gee, noting that unlike metal piping and concrete, which could be used either for civilian construction or military uses to threaten Israel, snozzcumbers are completely unsuitable for any military purpose. “In fact it’s not even an economic risk of any significance, because it costs almost nothing to just ship these things to Kerem Shalom and have them hauled across.”
Palestinian officials were unavailable for comment, but an aide who spoke on condition of anonymity said the Hamas-Fatah government overseeing the Gaza Strip was likely to refuse all shipments unless they included frobscottle.
Jeffrey Goldberg: A Troubling Letter to an Unbending Ayatollah
The most potentially damaging aspect of this latest Obama letter is that U.S. allies in the Middle East weren’t informed of its existence. Given the dysfunctional nature of the U.S.-Israel relationship right now, I doubt that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was particularly surprised to be surprised in this manner.
But America’s Gulf allies could legitimately feel some level of disappointment. These countries, which face twin threats—from Shiite extremism in the form of the Iranian regime, and Sunni extremism, in the form of the Islamic State terror group, or ISIS—count on the United States to protect them from both. Lately, and uncharacteristically (particularly in the case of the Saudis), they are actually helping the U.S. fight extremism. The Saudis and Emiratis are both currently participating in attacks on ISIS. In other words, they are part of an actual wartime alliance led by the United States. It would have been appropriate for the Obama administration to let its friends know that it was reaching out, again, to one of their enemies. The Gulf allies are already paranoid about U.S. intentions toward Iran. Now they are more paranoid.
We’ve lost count at Israellycool how many times Israel’s former ambassador to the UN, Dan Gillerman, knocks it out of the park. Well this time he’s talking to Fox about Obama’s appeasement letter to the Iranians. He’s hitting six sixes in an over, running the length of the park to score the winning try and striking a double hat-trick to win the game 6-0.
Dan Gillerman Fox News Nov 8 2014 Obama Letter to Iranians
Iranian Analyst: We Sell Arms to European Countries
In an interview with Hizbullah’s Al-Manar TV channel, Iranian political analyst Mohammad Sadeq Al-Hosseini said: “Iran sells weapons to 17 countries, including small European countries, as well as Arab countries.” The interview was broadcast on November 3, 2014.
Certainly, ISIS must be destroyed before it becomes a permanent geostrategic reality. But to destroy ISIS while allowing Iran to reassert regional hegemony would be to win the battle and lose the war. ISIS’s ideology is aggressive and dangerous, and they must not be allowed to become what Iran currently is. At the same time, however, Iran must not be allowed to exploit the fight against ISIS to get even one step closer to its nuclear ambitions or to establish a stranglehold on the region.
The West must go on simultaneous offensives against Iran and ISIS. Dismantling Tehran’s nuclear program must be coupled with equally strong measures aimed at crippling its support for terrorist organizations and rolling back its destabilizing influence on neighboring countries. After Iran is contained, its abysmal human rights record—which differs very little from ISIS’s brutality—must be addressed head-on.
Put simply, Iran is not a partner. In this case, the enemy of our enemy is emphatically not our friend. And in the end, the only way to stop Iran’s regional—and ultimately global—ambitions is for the regime to be completely dismantled. The stability of the Middle East and international security depends on it.
Turkey has forbidden army officers from watching the popular hit series Game of Thrones while also requiring them to take classes on Islam, the Turkish daily Cumhuriyet reported over the weekend.
In a sign of the growing trend toward Islamization, the military has been instructed to cease watching the show as part of its new “protection of students” regulations that ban “sexual exploitation, pornography, exhibitionism, abuse, harassment, and all negative behavior.”
According to the report, Turkish army officers were kicked out of a military academy in Istanbul in 2012 for permitting cadets to watch Game of Thrones.
Tension between religious and secular elites has long been one of the underlying fault lines in the predominantly Muslim but constitutionally secular republic, forged from the ruins of an Ottoman theocracy by Ataturk 90 years ago.
Eyal Rosenthal doesn’t expect to make a mint from his new eMotion Stories digital books in English and American Sign Language. The world’s first interactive bilingual e-library for parents of children with hearing impairment was created as a labor of love, though the market is quite limited.
Rosenthal, an American who moved to Israel in 2008, expects only to reap the satisfaction of bringing a new dimension into the lives of children who otherwise would miss out on reading classics with their parents such as Goldilocks, Cinderella, The Ugly Duckling, Little Red Riding Hood and Three Little Pigs.
Each of the interactive fairy tales features pictures by world-class Israeli illustrators and is narrated in American Sign Language, in synch with the text, by deaf actress Alexandria Wailes.
Soft-launched last May, eMotion Stories offers a free download of its iPad app along with the first book; additional e-books can be purchased for $3.99 apiece.
Masada may seem like an unlikely place to have a rave—but for thousands of Israelis looking to blow off steam after a stressful summer, it was the perfect setting. Photos: Aviram Valdman
Driving south from the bustling cityscape of Tel Aviv through the silent serenity of the desert night, loud booms and bright lights suddenly shatter the stillness in the air. As the imposing sight of the ancient mountain fortress of Masada grows larger, the booms become louder, the lights brighter.
These aren’t the uncomfortably familiar booms heard throughout southern Israel during this summer’s war in Gaza. These are the booms of a phenomenon that, even in Israel, is more common than war. They are the booms of an electrifying bass that pounds faster and faster as it radiates from a giant stage at the foot of Masada.
The Druze are Arabic speaking citizens of Israel, with a long and distinguished record of serving their country.
The “Herev” Battalion composed entirely of Israeli Druze soldiers is celebrating 40 years since its inception and incorporation into the IDF. The unit recently completed a final march in order to receive their berets in which they hiked from town to town in northern Israel, close to the areas they will be responsible for defending.
One Day & 60 Kilometers Later: Herev’s Beret March