I’ll start with some terrible breaking news: Rav Yehuda Glick, the advocate for Jewish prayer rights on the Temple Mount, has been shot and very seriously wounded in Jerusalem:
Yehuda Gilck, a leading advocate for Jewish rights on the Temple Mount, has been very seriously wounded after being shot in Jerusalem on Wednesday night, Arutz Sheva has learned.
Glick was shot outside the Begin Heritage center in the capital, witnesses said, after a terrorist pulled up in a scooter or motorcycle and shot him before fleeing the scene.
Initial reports are indicating that Glick – who founded and heads the LIBA Initiative for Jewish Freedom on the Temple Mount – was deliberately targeted for nationalistic reasons, but police have not yet officially announced a motive.
The Begin Center had been hosting an event to help in efforts to re-establish a greater Jewish presence on the Mount Wednesday night, just before the activist was shot.
He has been rushed to Sha’arei Tzedek Medical Center for immediate medical treatment.
Magen David Adom (MDA) spokesman Zaki Heller said that Glick was shot in the upper body no fewer than three times and paramedics had barely had time to speak to him during the initial stages of treatment.
Activists have asked that prayers be said for the urgent recovery of Yehuda Yehoshua ben Rivka Ita Breindel.
May Rav Yehuda have a complete and speedy recovery. And may the Jerusalem Police apply themselves for once and arrest the terrorist perpetrator of this act rather than working so hard to prevent Jews from praying at their holiest site.
UPDATE: The terrorist who shot Glick was killed early this morning as he resisted arrest. It turns out he worked at the restaurant of the Begin Center where the conference was being held, and he previously served prison time as a member of Islamic Jihad. (What were the Begin Center thinking?!).
Rabbi Glick survived surgery but is still in a serious condition. Please pray for Yehuda Yehoshua ben Rivka Ita Breindel.
The main news item that has been dominating the media for the last day is an article in the Atlantic by Jeffrey Goldberg in which anonymous Washington officials were quoted as calling PM Binyamin Netanyahu “chickensh!t” for being too recalcitrant on “making peace” (i.e. surrendering) with the Palestinians, and for being too cowardly to bomb Iran. The article itself is the usual Goldbergian lament at Israel’s reluctance to commit suicide by surrendering to the Palestinians’ maximalist demands, and Goldberg seems to take great delight in quoting the uncivil, uncouth descriptions of Netanyahu made by assorted US politicians. You can read the article at the link above.
What I want to focus on is the extraordinary epithet quoted about Netanyahu’s character. Besides being utterly undiplomatic, juvenile and just plain rude, there are two problems with this epithet.
Firstly, “chickensh!t” usually means something of little value. It does not mean cowardly. I think the officials were intending to use the term “chicken-hawk” – i.e. someone who talks the talk but does not walk the walk.
My main problem with this term however – besides my obvious outrage at the utter rudeness of politicians towards a foreign leader – is that these anonymous officials (talk about being chicken! They’re too scared to be quoted by name) sound angry that Netanyahu did not order the bombing of Iran. But can you imagine the outrage if Netanyahu had done just that? It does not bear thinking about.
Think about it for a minute. None of this makes any sense whatsoever. The Americans warned Israel over and over not to bomb Iran. So Israel did not bomb Iran. And the Americans call us cowards. Go figure.
Their rudeness speaks more about themselves than about us or Netanyahu.
The reactions from Netanyahu and other Israeli politicians and commentators were not slow to follow.
Ari Soffer in Arutz Sheva (h/t David) explains why rude words shouldn’t bother Israel:
Goldberg – a key advocate of the Israel-as-an-American-vassal-state model of “pro-Israel” – begins by informing us how an unnamed but “senior” Obama administration official chose to describe the Israeli prime minister: chickens**t.
You can almost feel Goldberg shudder with pleasure:
“Over the years, Obama administration officials have described Netanyahu to me as recalcitrant, myopic, reactionary, obtuse, blustering, pompous, and ‘Aspergery.’ (These are verbatim descriptions; I keep a running list.)” he gleefully informs us (does keeping a detailed list of the epithets hurled at one specific world leader also qualify as “Aspergery”?)
“But I had not previously heard Netanyahu described as a ‘chickens**t.'”
The crux of this sophisticated and objective article comes right at the end, with Goldberg warning that as a result of the perception within the Obama administration that “Bibi is a chickens**t”, “the White House will be much less interested in defending Israel from hostile resolutions at the United Nations, where Israel is regularly scapegoated. The Obama administration may be looking to make Israel pay direct costs for its settlement policies.”
Such moves, he warns, could even be as extreme as a unilateral and public attempt by the US to draw the borders of a “Palestinian state” and present Israel with a fait accompli.
The “revelation” that one unnamed US official used a rude term to describe Israel’s PM, and that another official responded by jumping up and down, pumping his fist and saying “yeah, yeah!” made headline news here in Israel – mostly because that kind of undiplomatic language makes for great clickbait. (As an aside, it was quite amusing to see the Hebrew media scramble to find a translation for the word “chickens**t”, before unanimously settling on the somewhat liberal translation of “pahdan” – coward.)
So yes, it is vindictive and petty in an almost childlike way – but Goldberg’s article must be read by anyone striving to understand precisely the self-defeating neuroses a free and independent Jewish state must avoid if it is to remain as such. The Israeli government must not allow these kinds of blatantly political broadsides to influence our own legitimate, internal political discourse, which should be conducted confidently, if cautiously, and with a level-head….
But if Goldberg is correct that the Obama administration is genuinely considering something as radical as throwing its most dependable ally in the Middle East under a bus because some top officials feel personally slighted, or because Bibi is not an agreeable person to work with, that is simply a reflection of how and why American foreign policy under this current administration will not, and should not, be taken seriously by anyone.
Ben Cohen in the Algemeiner also has a go at the chickengate story:
Naftali Bennett, Israel’s economy minister, got it 100 percent right in a Facebook posting just a few hours after the latest blow to American-Israeli relations—aka “chickenshitgate”—surfaced in the media.
Responding to the anonymous “senior Obama administration” official who told The Atlantic correspondent Jeffrey Goldberg that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was a “chickenshit,” Bennett said, “Cursing the prime minister and calling him names is an insult not just to him but to the millions of Israeli citizens and Jews across the globe. The leader of Syria who slaughtered 150,000 people was not awarded the name ‘chickenshit.’ Neither was the leader of Saudi Arabia who stones women and homosexuals or the leader of Iran who murders freedom protestors.”
“Chickenshit?” That’s rich, coming from an administration whose fear of Vladimir Putin is the subject of derisory mirth in the Kremlin, and whose cravenness towards Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Damascus has directly resulted in the deaths of thousands of innocent Syrians. Blissfully dismissive of their own failings, they round on Netanyahu, a man who served with distinction in his country’s elite Sayeret Matkal army unit, by calling him, of all things, a coward!
Jonathan Tobin at Commentary Magazine slams the Administration for the consequences of a chickensh!t policy:
While most of those writing on this subject, including Goldberg, have emphasized the real possibility that the U.S. will sandbag Israel at the United Nations and otherwise undermine the Jewish state’s diplomatic position in the last years of Obama’s term in office, that won’t be the only blowback from the administration’s “chickenshit” diplomacy. Rather than harm Netanyahu, this ploy, like previous attacks on the prime minister, will strengthen him while making mischief for the president’s party in both this year’s midterms and in 2016.
Nor should anyone discount the potential for severe damage to Israel’s diplomatic standing in the world should Obama decide to collude with the Palestinian Authority and to allow them to get a United Nations Security Council resolution on Palestinian statehood, borders, and Jerusalem.
But for all the huffing and puffing on the part of Obama’s minions, the administration’s real objectives in all this plotting are not likely to be achieved. That’s because nothing published in a Goldberg column or leaked anywhere else will weaken Netanyahu’s hold on office or prompt the Palestinians to make peace or Iran to be more reasonable in the nuclear talks. The only people who will be hurt by the attacks on Israel are Obama’s fellow Democrats.
As I pointed out yesterday, Obama’s barbs aimed at Israel haven’t enticed the Palestinians to negotiate seriously in the past and won’t do so in the future.
But Obama should have also already learned that challenging Netanyahu and insulting the Jewish state in this manner has one definite side effect: strengthening the prime minister’s political position at home. The same thing happened after Obama’s attacks on the status of Jerusalem in his first term.
But Netanyahu isn’t the only person who will profit politically from this astonishingly crude assault on the Jewish state’s democratically elected leader.
Foreign policy is rarely a decisive factor in U.S. elections but at a time when Democrats are suffering the ill effects of Obama’s inept response to the threat from ISIS, it won’t do the president’s party any good for the administration to pick a fight with it’s sole democratic ally in the Middle East. Americans have a right to ask why an administration that was slow to react to ISIS and is intent on appeasing a murderous Islamist regime in Iran is so intent on fighting with Israel. That won’t help embattled Democrats seeking reelection in red states where evangelicals regard backing for Israel as a key issue.
Read the whole thing. It gives a very good insight into the political machinations in Washington, and while it gives us hope that the Democrats will lose at the next elections, we still have another 2 years to go of the execrable Obama Administration.
Interestingly the White House is rapidly taking evasive action, calling the slur “inappropriate”
Netanyahu meanwhile behaved in a gentlemanly fashion, taking issue with the insult while gracefully defending himself and the State of Israel:
A final item for this woeful post comes from South Africa, where BDS bigots took the final step from anti-Israel activity into outright Jew-hatred when they placed a pig’s head in the kosher section of a Woolworths supermarket:
The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel took another step into open antisemitism today when student activists in South Africa placed the severed head of a pig in the kosher meat section of a Woolworths store in Cape Town. The shocking gesture was aimed, the perpetrators said, at preventing “people who will not eat pork to pretend that they are eating clean meat, when it is sold by hands dripping with the blood of Palestinian children.”
Jewish leaders were quick to condemn the act, organized by the Congress of South African Students (COSAS,) a body affiliated with the ruling African National Congress (ANC.) “Disregarding all standards of basic decency, the Congress of South African Students today chose to send an ugly message to the Jewish community of South Africa. This morning, as a protest against Woolworths for stocking Israeli products, COSAS members in Cape Town deposited a pig’s head in the kosher meat section of a Woolworths food store,” said the South African Jewish Board of Deputies. “The SAJBD regards this incident as a hate crime and is investigating its options regarding taking the matter further.”
And what did the bigots have to say for themselves? In a rambling antisemitic rant which could have come out of the pages of Der Sturmer, the head BDS bigot said:
A statement issued by Siphakamise Ngxowa, COSAS Western Cape provincial chairperson – who was photographed displaying the pigs head inside the store – read as follows:
It is unacceptable that people, especially those who claim to believe in God to buy products from supporters of Israel. We will not allow people who will not eat pork, to pretend that they are eating clean meat, when it is sold by hands dripping with the blood of Palestinian children. Woolworths is NOT Kosher. We cannot allow food like this to be called halaal or Kosher. It is dirty food – the dirtiest food. We have placed the pigs head in Woolworths to show these people of God that Woolworths is Haraam and it is not Kosher.
BDS activists on social media network Twitter positively rejoiced at the COSAS action. “COSAS has basically said that Woolies is not Kosher, thus a pigs head is suitable for its Kosher section,” crowed one of dozens of similar tweets.
The bigots tried to justify their sickening action but only made matters worse:
UPDATE 1: Kware Kekana of BDS South Africa eventually emailed The Algemeiner to say, “The pig was placed in both the halal and kosher section of the store, BDS is a non-violent movement and strongly condemns all forms of racism including Zionism, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia. I refer you again to our press release.” Our original question – “Would you use the phrase ‘good intention’ about a physical attack on a Jewish individual or institution if the Palestinian cause is cited as the reason for such an attack?” – was unanswered.
Anyone trying to justify BDS in the light of this disgusting action is just covering up for anti-Jewish racism and bigotry. They should look in the mirror to see what apartheid, racism and bigotry look like.