A one-man pro-Israel advocacy effort – let’s join in and help him

As readers of this blog know well, media bias is one of my pet hates. It is so frustrating to read the lies and agit-prop and yet be unable to effectively counter the lies.  Thankfully there are now several organizations that work hard and effectively at pro-Israel advocacy (e.g. Honest Reporting, UN Watch, CAMERA and others listed down my right sidebar).

But it is unusual to find a “one-man band” of advocacy. This is the story that Arutz Sheva brought us back in June but which I somehow missed. Even so it is just as relevant today as 2 months ago.

Ezri Tubi, a resident and spokesman of the much-maligned community of Yitzhar in the Samaria region, created a video based on John Lennon’s “Imagine” as he took on the anti-Israel bias of the UN and international media:

In the face of this bias, Ezri Tubi, the spokesperson for the Samaria community of Yitzhar, has taken “Imagine,” by John Lennon – a song now associated heavily with leftist organizations and human rights groups – to explain the facts on the ground.

“Imagine,” he begins. “Imagine yourselves driving with your family and being targeted by rocks.”

“Imagine a nightmare of terrorists penetrating your house in the middle of the night, slaughtering your family,” he continues. “Imagine missiles exploding in your city on a regular basis, killing innocent civilians.”

Watch the video which is very well-made – and reveals Tubi’s hidden talent as a singer too!:

Tubi spoke to Arutz Sheva about the making of the film, and his song choice.

“This is a great song with an endearing message – a manifesto of the desire for peace,” he noted, “but also a self-righteous hypocrisy that can turn ugly. Accusing Israel of war crimes is hypocrisy and this blindness will eventually backfire against the self-righteous themselves.”

“The video is centered around concentric circles,” he added. “[It begins with a] description of terrorism against settlers in Judea and Samaria, to rockets and tunnels directed against all citizens, on to describe the general situation in the Middle East to global hypocrisy in relation to the State of Israel.”

“Make no mistake – we are at war and this is not the time to be modest!” he concluded. “Anyone who can contribute uniquely to the brutal and anti-Semitic war being waged against Israel and the world – must do something.”

This week Tubi continued with his video messaging. This time he took on the New York Times’ Roger Cohen, a “reporter” with much previous form in anti-Israel reporting and who uses his Jewishness to give “street cred” and cover to his anti-Israel message, after Cohen spread some more lies about Israel:

Cohen claimed that Palestinian Arabs ride around in “donkey carts” on “dirt roads” to their orchards, while Jews ride in fancy cars on modern highways nearby – so Tubi drove through the Arab village of Huwara located near his home to test the ex-editor’s claims.

What Tubi found were luxury cars made by Mercedes-Benz and other leading makers, driven by Arab residents on clean paved roads.

“Recently I find myself growing very interested in the processes occurring in the public opinion of Jews in the US,” said Tubi. “When I saw these lies said by this Jew eaten up by hate I was so angry. How can one lie like that? Anyone who drives on the roads in Judea and Samaria can’t help but notice the fancy luxury cars of the Arabs.”

By filming the routine traffic in Huwara, Tubi sought to make his point about the actual conditions in the region.

Here is the video filmed by Tubi:

The Arutz Sheva article concludes with a plea for help so that Tubi can continue in his vital work:

Tubi is raising funds online in a head-start campaign to continue his efforts to fight Israel’s opponents through his videos.

Share these videos far and wide and if you can afford it, participate in the crowd-funding effort so that we can all fight the delegitimization of Israel together.

Posted in Lawfare and Delegitimization, Terrorism | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Meanwhile the West crawls back into its Jew-hatred

As I have noted several times on this blog, the world has become a topsy-turvy place, and while certain Arabs are drawing closer to Israel, the West in many instances is moving in the opposite direction, not “just” into anti-Israel sentiment (which in itself is bad enough because there is no logical reason for Israel to be singled out) but into outright Jew-hatred (formerly known as antisemitism).

Mattisyahu, the Jewish-American rap and reggae star

One of the top stories this week has been the banning, at the insistence of the BDS bigots, of the American-Jewish rap star Mattisyahu from a reggae festival in Spain – all for the “crime” of his support of Israel:

The Rototom Sunsplash Reggae Festival called off the formerly Hasidic rapper’s August 22 show, with organizers saying Matisyahu had refused to comply with their demand to pen a statement or a video message backing “the Palestinians’ right to a state.”

Festival organizers were driven by intense pressure from the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, the reports said. Artists scheduled to perform at the event threatened to cancel their appearances if Matisyahu were to perform because he was “seen to represent Israel.”

The organizers gave Matisyahu an ultimatum, telling him if he would “sign such a declaration [publicly affirming his support for the Palestinians, he] can perform,” according to Spanish daily, El Pais (Spanish Link).

Although not Israeli, Matisyahu has visited and performed in the Jewish state multiple times.

In a statement on Facebook, Rototom organizers said that the move was linked to “the festival’s sensitivity to Palestine, its people and the occupation of its territory by Israel.”

Mattisyahu responded very elegantly and classily (and much too politely for my taste) on his Facebook page to those revolting Jew-haters:

The festival kept insisting that I clarify my personal views; which felt like clear pressure to agree with the BDS political agenda. Honestly it was appalling and offensive, that as the one publicly Jewish-American artist scheduled for the festival they were trying to coerce me into political statements. Were any of the other artists scheduled to perform asked to make political statements in order to perform? 

The Jew-hatred of the festival organizers becomes even more apparent as they have no qualms in inviting homophobes, as Mirabelle of Israellycool notes: Jews may not be welcome at Rototom but homophobes are.

Happily, both the Spanish government and the Spanish media were not so accepting of this anti-Jewish racism:

Summing up this anti-Jewish bias in the world of culture, Douglas Murray at the Gatestone Institute writes about The New Racists: Jew Hate:

They are singling out Jews — Jews and only Jews. And their singling out of Jews, wherever they are from, makes their racist motivation abundantly clear. If the Rototom Sunsplash festival wants to take part in this racist BDS fever then it is them — and not Jews — whom the world must make into global pariahs.

UPDATE: cba in the comments below informs us that the Rototom Festival have apologized to Matisyahu and have reinvited him. I wonder if he will accept their invitation. If it were me I would tell them to take a running jump but I suspect that Matisyahu is classier than me… :-)

Jeremy Corbyn, far-left candidate for head of Labour

A much more significant turn of events has been taking place in Britain where an election contest for the new head of the Labour Party has been heating up. Out of nowhere, Jeremy Corbyn, an extreme-left Marxist candidate with very dubious views (to say the least) about Jews and Israel and even more dubious views about “his friends Hamas and Hezbollah” has taken the lead. The rhetoric and accusations have been flying in all directions and the Jew-hatred has been simmering just beneath the surface.

The Algemeiner has a summary of the situation and how Corbyn is leading the Opposition race:

The British Labour MP who infamously called members of terror groups Hamas and Hezbollah his “friends” is far ahead of his fellow candidates in the race for the party leadership, a YouGov poll has revealed.

Political analysts say Islington North MP Jeremy Corbyn has attracted voters with his far-left economic policy that includes renationalizing Britain’s railroads and energy industries, removing tuition at British universities and imposing rent control to address the U.K.’s housing issues.

But for some, including former prime minister Tony Blair, a Labour Party with Corbyn at the helm will undoubtedly split the party and make it electorally irrelevant in the future.

Especially concerning for many is Corbyn’s apparently convivial affiliation with proud antisemites, such as Hamas and Hezbollah — which seek the destruction of Israel and the slaughter of Jews — but also individuals such as Raed Saleh, a member of the northern branch of Israel’s Islamic Movement, who was charged with inciting to violence against Jews in Jerusalem and sentenced to eight months in prison.

Corbyn defended his friendship with Hamas and Hezbollah saying it was in the spirit of all elements must be party to the peace process with Israel, though Hamas and Hezbollah openly declare opposition to a diplomatic solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Corbyn has also appeared on Iran’s Press TV, a station banned by the U.K. communications regulator as a propagandizing mouthpiece for the Iranian regime — also unabashedly anti-Israel and antisemitic —  and faced accusations that he donated money to self-proclaimed Holocaust denier Paul Eisen, though Corbyn offered a perfunctory denial of any association with him.

Here is a video clip of Corbyn talking about his terrorist friends:

Brian Goldfarb in the comments on another post provides us a link to the British Campaign Against Antisemitism and their article on Jeremy Corbyn and Antisemites. The list of his Jew-hating associates is frightening and depressing. As Brian writes:

Notice how he uses the so-called “Livingstone Formulation” in the third paragraph of the article when he defends Stephen Sizer, saying he was being victimised because he “dared to speak out against Zionism”, when the Church of England hierarchy specifically accused him of posting and/or linking to antisemitic on his website.

The Livingstone Formulation is the accusation by antisemites that Jews are ‘playing the antisemitism card’ and contesting the boundaries of antiracist discourse.

Richard Millett describes the surreal times in which British Jews are living due to Corbynmania:

British Jews are living in surreal times. We watched with dismay as the anti-Israel SNP won a landslide in Scotland at this May’s general election. Now anti-Israel Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn seems certain to become leader of the UK’s main opposition party according to all the polls and George Galloway is back on the airwaves of a national radio station.

And a Labour MP who heads up the All-Party ­Parliamentary Group Against Anti-Semitism is reportedly receiving anti-Semitic abuse from Corbyn supporters including tweets calling him “utter filth” and a “Zionist stooge”. John Mann isn’t even Jewish.

There’s no let up on Britain’s radio phone-in shows. A Corbyn supporter speaking on LBC Radio recently wanted to discuss the assassinations of Lord Moyne and Count Bernadotte and the blowing up of the King David Hotel, events carried out by Jews but which took place in the 1940s.

And another caller described Corbyn as “refreshing”. This despite Corbyn’s unanswered questions, outlined by this week’s Jewish Chronicle, relating to Corbyn’s perceived support for Hamas and Hezbollah, for Holocaust denier Paul Eisen, for Reverend Stephen Sizer who has posted anti-Semitic links to Facebook, and for homophobic preacher Raed Salah who has been accused of the blood libel against Jews.

The Jewish Chronicle was attacked by Jewish (!) anti-Israel activists for that article mentioned above daring to challenge Corbyn’s links to antisemites.

But Independent columnist Yasmin Alibhai-Brown topped the lot with a ludicrous, not to say nasty, column defending Corbyn from accusations of antisemitism – despite the fact that no one ever accused him of such. Richard Millett challenges her assertions at UK Media Watch:

Alibhai-Brown criticises those who accuse Jeremy Corbyn of being “an anti-Semite”, but she offers no evidence that Corbyn has been so accused by any serious commentators. She obliquely accuses “The Jewish Chronicle, some MPs and various sections of the media”. But the JC has merely reasonably asked Corbyn to answer for his dubious support for Hamas, Hezbollah, Stephen Sizer, Paul Eisen and Raed Salah,

In fact the opposite is often true. James Bloodworth has raised similar concerns to the JC about Corbyn but goes out of his way to write “I genuinely believe that Corbyn does not have an antisemitic bone in his body…”

And Alibhai-Brown continues her manner of parading Jews who reject Israel as “conscientious and ethical”. In yesterday’s article these two people are the late Mike Marqusee and Ken Loach. At a meeting she chaired in 2012, in which the ex-BBC journalist Tim Llewlynn claimed that “Zionists are scattered at strategic points throughout British business”, Alibhai-Brown told the audience that Professor Hugh Blaschko had complained to her that “Israel will bring the worst out in us Jewish people.”

It’s a shame that Alibhai-Brown attaches so much respect to the likes of Marqusee, Loach and Blaschko by dint of their Jewishness. Is she really saying that Jews supportive of Israel, the vast majority, are unethical? That’s the sad implication from someone who should be concerned with racial harmony considering her forced flight from her homeland of Uganda.

But the most telling part of her article is about Carlos Latuff. It seems that either she just doesn’t understand anti-Semitism or that she prefers to turn a blind eye to it.

True to form she looks for a Jew or a Jewish organisation that supports the view that Latuff’s cartoons are not anti-Semitic.

Honest Reporting too takes Alibhai-Brown to task for her “Straw men and Hard Zionists”:

Why would Alibhai-Brown claim that Jews are accusing Corbyn of being an anti-Semite himself even when this is not the case? It soon becomes clear that it is all about Alibhai-Brown’s pet hate when it comes to Israel:

So for Alibhai-Brown, it’s not about Jeremy Corbyn, but a vicious plot by Zionists to tarnish the candidacy of someone who is critical of Israel. Based on her previous form, this isn’t surprising.

She continues:

Most depressing of all is the collusion between the powerful right and Zionists. They seem determined to crush all alternatives to neoliberal economics and Western hegemony.

What exactly does Alibhai-Brown mean by this? Having complained at being branded an anti-Semite, she then goes and indulges in conspiracy theories that appear more in tune with the Protocols of the Elders of Zion buttressed by a final claim that the “forces of darkness” have turned on Corbyn.

Richard Millett has it right when he calls these days surreal times for the Jews of Britain.

Barack Obama and Mahmoud Abbas (Credit:www.frontpagemag.com)

Over the ocean, in the USA, the Obama Administration has exceeded even its own very low threshold of tolerance for Muslim terrorists as they have interceded on behalf of the terrorists (!) in a court case of Jewish American victims of Palestinian terrorism suing the PLO: (emphases added):

Writing in Israel National News last week, Tova Dvorin tell us:

The Obama administration has asked a judge Monday to “carefully consider” the size of the bond demanded from the Palestinian Authority (PA) for its role orchestrating years of terror attacks against Israelis and Jews – directly interfering in a US court case.

In a document entitled “Statement of Interest of the United States of America,” the Obama administration expressed concerns over the payments hurting the PA’s basic government services.

Forcing the PLO to pay

“a significant portion of its revenues would likely severely compromise the P.A.’s ability to operate as a governmental authority,”

deputy Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken wrote.

It’s hard to imagine that at this late date I am still capable of being disgusted by the Obama administration. Yet there it is. Just when I think that they can’t sink even lower into the muck, we get stories like the one above.

Read the whole sickening post.

Who would have thought that the day would come when the West would turn on Israel and the Jews in such a fashion while the Arab world seems to be starting to rethink its old anti-Israel position?

Posted in Antisemitism, Boycotts and BDS, Culture, Arts & Sports, International relations | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Arabs overturning their own preconceptions about Israel

There’s plenty of bad news out there which I will get to in a subsequent post, but for now, here’s some more good news from our Arab neighbours. (All emphases are added by me).

Abdullah Al-Hadlaq

Abdallah Al-Hadlaq, a Kuwaiti columnist wrote in Al-Watan newspaper : The Gulf States real enemy is Iran; Israel is a friendly country:

“To all those who think the Persian state (Iran), and the regime of the Rule of the Imprudent,[3] [namely] the dictatorial fascist Persian regime which controls it, is a friendly country, whereas Israel is an enemy country, I say that a prudent enemy is better than an imprudent one. The state of Israel and its various governments have waged more than five wars with the Arabs, yet never in the course of these wars did Israel think to use its nuclear weapons against its Arab enemies. Conversely, if the Persian state, with its stupid, rash and fascist regime that hides behind a religious guise, ever develops nuclear weapons, it will not hesitate to use nuclear bombs against the Arab Gulf states in the first conflict that arises.

Israel is a friendly state that does not endanger us in the Arab Gulf region and we have nothing to fear from it.

“Hence, I repeat my call to form a Israel-Gulf friendship society, as a first step towards developing and strengthening [our] ties with the friendly state of Israel in the domains of politics, diplomacy, trade, education and military and civilian cooperation. The rapprochement between Israel and the Gulf should be accompanied by a gradual distancing and severance of all ties with the Persian state (Iran) and its fascist Persian regime, now that it has been proven beyond all doubt that the Persian Iranians are involved in acts of terror, destruction and bombing in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Yemen, Kuwait and the UAE, and after it has been proven that they incite and support the Shi’ite Houthi rebels in Yemen, and that the Shi’ite Persian Iranian militias are involved in all the hotspots of terror and conflict in the Arab Gulf and the Middle East, such as in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon and throughout the world.

These views are astounding for an Arab writer, especially one who writes for an Arabic newspaper. As Al-Hadlaq himself points out, he will no doubt be accused of:

Zionism, collaborating with Israel, harboring hatred for Islam and Arabism, betraying the Palestinian cause and being hostile towards the Arab ummah.’

Indeed this is not the first time Al-Hadlaq has espoused such views and he has been blacklisted because of them too. Nevertheless, his courage in the face of such adversity – and that a Kuwaiti paper publishes his views – is a very good harbinger of positive change in the region. Let us hope that Mr. Al-Hadlaq has very good security and that he continues to be a voice for peace in our region.

Salman Masalha

From a slightly different angle, Salman Masalha, an Israeli Druse intellectual, chides the Arab nations for their refusal to face reality, as he writes  in the London-based Saudi paper Al Hayat: “The Israel that Arabs call a “false entity” is the most stable advanced country in the region“:

“Uttering the name ‘Israel’ has not been easy for Arabs, from their leaders to their mouthpieces to their intellectuals. Israel’s name is sometimes written in scare quotes, as part of the attempt to ignore the reality that writers see on the ground. Dealing with this reality has become a kind of rhetorical contest in Arab discourse; some have not settled for using scare quotes but have gone so far as to ban mention of that name in Arab writing, replacing it with the term ‘the state of gangs.’ Later, the Arab rhetoric became even more impassioned, and to this series [of epithets] was added a new term – ‘the false entity.’ All this arrogant stubbornness in Arab discourse is not ended, and continues to this day, with the addition of such epithets as ‘the deviant state’ or ‘the artificial state.’

In fact, the discourse on Palestine… was obviously no more than a tool used by the Arab leaders to avoid [admitting] that these Arab entities are just as false… And so the years passed, and here we are some seven decades later, during which we were born, grew up, and got old on this plot of land, and what do we see around us? Undoubtedly, any Arab with a smidgen of understanding finds himself facing the same questions: ‘Where are the states of the gangs – and where are the false entities?’

“Just for the sake of inventory, [let us do] some simple math: ‘Yemen the Joyful’[2] is more miserable today than it was before independence. Libya, another false entity, has returned to its roots and to the tribal divisions that predate its establishment. The ‘false Iraqi entity’ has [also] broken down to its sectarian and ethnic groups. The ‘false Syrian entity’ has broken down as well, and has been extinguished in a sea of blood and crimes [perpetrated] by the ‘resistance’ [axis, i.e. Syria, Iran, and Hizbullah], with no redemption in sight.

“As for Lebanon… This Lebanon, with its tiny territory and large population, cannot [even] choose a president…

“As for Palestine – it, like Israel and the rest of the countries in the region, is also a ‘false entity’… Many years ago, two entities began establishing themselves on the ground, one in Gaza and one in the West Bank. Today, decades later, the Palestinians are finding that their problem is no longer ‘the primary Arab problem’ and that their Nakba is no greater than other Arab Nakbas, because Greater Syria [for example] has experienced a far greater Nakba that overshadows their own.

“…  If we look at what is happening around us in this region, we will see that the most stable entities are not Arab, and that they are strong and developed entities – from Iran through Turkey to what Arabs call ‘the false entity’ and the world calls ‘Israel.’

While not calling for a rapprochement or even normalization, it is significant that an Arab is reproving other Arabs for their refusal to face facts. For without facing up to reality and accepting that Israel is both a legitimate entity and that it is here to stay permanently, peace will never be attained or last longer than the next military coup.

Hassanein

Haisam Hassanein

Saving the best for last, the greatest item of all that I read this week is the JPost’s “An unexpected surprise: Haisam Hassanein, an Egyptian-American international student at Tel Aviv University, had all his preconceptions about Israel overturned during his year of study in Israel and was the valedictorian of his class at Tel Aviv University.

There’s war there! Aren’t you afraid of being blown up? Do they even have water there? Do Jews speak English? If you think you heard a million reasons why not to come to Israel, I heard a million and a half. Growing up in Egypt, my entire country had opinions about Israel, and none of them were positive. All we knew was that we had fought bloody wars, and they were not like us.

My exposure to Israel was through music and television. On the radio, there were anthems about the destruction Israel had caused. In the movies, Israelis were spies and thieves, and in spite of the fact that our countries struck a famous peace accord in 1979, the Israelis, I was told, were our worst enemies.

A recent Egyptian action film called Cousins, a box-office hit, told the story of an Israeli spy who married an Egyptian woman and had a family with her, only to kidnap her and her children to Israel. When I told my mom I was coming to study in Israel, she was understandably terrified that I would get a girlfriend.

I arrived to Israel knowing only what I had learned in the movies and in the media. So, at the airport, when the security official asked why I decided to come here, I half-joked, “I always heard the Jews are bad people, and I came to see this for myself.”

I expected to find that people here were unfriendly, and especially unhappy to meet Egyptians. I was pleasantly surprised to find just the opposite. I was invited everywhere, from Shabbat dinner, to Ramadan Iftar meals, to plays and even to political gatherings. And the diversity I found here was as surprising as the warmth of the people.

How fascinating is it to be in a country where you can to go a beach and see a Muslim woman, a gay couple kissing, and a Hassid sharing the same small space? Where else can you find a Christian Arab whose apartment is decorated in posters of Mao and Lenin? Where else can you see a Beduin IDF soldier reading the Koran on the train during Ramadan? Where else can you see Ashkenazi and Mizrachi Jews arguing about whether or not Ashkenazi families had kidnapped Yemenite babies in the 1950s? To be sure, my experience here has been defined by the unexpected.

While traveling beyond Tel Aviv, one can not help but notice the proximity of kibbutzim to Arab villages, and the easy relationship they seem to share with each other.

Perhaps the greatest revelation of my being here was that in spite of all the conflicting histories and identities, people are still able to live their daily lives in a spirit of cooperation.

I often reflect on the strangeness of coming to this country, where the people I was taught to think of as enemies were transformed into my teachers, classmates, vendors, doctors and guidance counselors. When Israelis ask me, how does it feel for you to be in this country, I have to be honest. I tell them, before I knew you, I didn’t like you. But I never considered that my “enemies” would accept me to their school, to their country, and moreover into their society.

And now the comes the best and most interesting part of this anyway wonderful story:

Interestingly, at the end of my experience, one of the biggest surprises came not from Israel, but from Egypt.

Each year, during Ramadan, there is a special series of soap operas which families all over the Arab world gather to watch after breaking the fast. This year’s soap opera was called Haret el-Yahoud, “The Jewish Quarter,” and it told the story of Egyptian Jews in the wake of Israel’s establishment.

The series deals with questions of identity and politics, and features a cast of Jewish and Muslim characters, and there is even an inter-religious love affair.

As a student of history, I can’t say that the series was perfect, but the depiction of Jews for the first time as human beings, as people with a love of family and country, rather than mortal enemies is nothing short of extraordinary. And while Egypt has a ways to go before accepting Israel as a friend, perhaps this series will inspire more Egyptians to at least be willing to rethink “the enemy.”

Tablet Magazine has a video of Hassanein’s speech:

What an extraordinary speech from an extraordinary young man! May Hassanein’s experiences go with him as he returns to Egypt and may he become a goodwill ambassador to bridge the gap between our countries and help bring us closer to a real peace.

Posted in Academia, International relations, Israel news, Mideast news | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Good News Friday

The good news is that I’m on holiday with all my kids and grandchildren in Kibbutz Lavi.

Also good news is that my father-in-law is home from hospital after a 10 day stay.

Less good news is that it’s very difficult to nigh-impossible to blog on an ipad.

Therefore I’ll leave you with a couple of short links as reading material for Shabbat:

No Camels brings us the wonderful news of a possible cure for melanoma:

Now, a new Tel Aviv University study sheds light on the precise trigger that enables melanoma cells to become invasive killers, providing a future method to block cancer by pinpointing the precise place in the process where “traveling” cancer turns lethal.

The researchers found that the direct contact of melanoma cells with a layer of the skin turned on a set of genes that promotes changes in melanoma cells, rendering them invasive.

“Now that we know the triggers of melanoma transformation and the kind of signaling that leads to that transformation, we know what to block,” Levy says. “Maybe, in the future, people will be able to rub some substance on their skin as a prevention measure.”

Kol hakavod to the researchers, Tel Aviv University’s Dr. Carmit Levy, along with researchers from the Technion, Sheba Medical Center, and the Hebrew University. May their research bear fruit for the benefit of millions of melanoma patients worldwide.
From life saving to life-affirming and remembrance, a Torah scroll was dedicated at the Kotel this week in memory of Eyal, Gil-Ad and Naftali, the three teens kidnapped and murdered by Hamas terrorists.

Arutz Sheva was on scene as a Torah scroll was dedicated Tuesday at the Kotel (Western Wall) in Jerusalem, in memory of the three Israeli teens abducted and murdered by Hamas terrorists last summer – Eyal Yifrah (19), Gilad Sha’ar (16) and Naftali Frenkel (16).

The families of the murdered teens were present at the special event, as were Chief Ashkenazic Rabbi David Lau, Chief Sephardic Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef, Kotel Chief Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, and other leading rabbis.

Gilad Sha’ar’s father Ofir spoke to Arutz Sheva about the Torah dedication, calling it a “complicated event” in that it is both a memorial to the murdered teens encompassing the pain of their loss, but it also contains the joy of dedicating a Torah scroll at the Kotel.

Memorial plate for the Torah scroll in memory of the three teens

“The symbol of the three boys was the unity of kol am Yisrael (the entire nation of Israel – ed.) all this year and especially all the time of the kidnapping,” said the bereaved father.

“The most special place to show this unity is here in the Kotel, where everyone can feel belonging here in this place.”

When asked whether the murder of the boys sparked a change in Israeli society, he noted that there is a tendency for one news story to replace another and the public to become indifferent.

But at the same time, Sha’ar said he perceived that people last summer felt “not the same,” in a change for unity he hopes can continue in the coming years.

What a wonderful inspiring thought to take home for Shabbat and for the month of Elul, the month of introspection and ski hot, which begins tomorrow.

Wishing you all chodesh tov and Shabbat Shalom!

Posted in Family, Israel news, Technology | Tagged , , | 11 Comments

BDS and anti-“occupation” = anti-Zionism = anti-Jewish bigotry

The modern-day Jew-haters, particularly the Europeans, who disguise their racism as anti-Israelism – or, to be more specific, anti-settlerism (to coin a new phrase), or anti-Likudism for that matter, and who declare themselves horrified and offended to be labelled “antisemitic” or “anti-Jewish”, have in fact tipped themselves so far over the edge in their bigotry that they are promoting boycotts of the most ridiculous or innocuous projects simply because they are connected to Israel, the world’s only Jewish state.

Paris plages sur Seine 2015

Paris plages sur Seine 2015

Thus we learned that the city of Paris’s “Tel Aviv beach on the Seine” day has become the target of a boycott attempt for no reason other than that Tel Aviv is a city in Israel. Remember – we are not talking about “occupied” territory or “evil settlers” or the Likud or anything to do with politics at all. We are talking about a beach. Sun, sand, sea, paddle-ball and bathing costumes:

Controversy is growing in France following the Paris town council’s decision for Tel Aviv be one of the cities honored in the Paris-Beaches summer event organized every year by the municipality.

The month-long festival turns the banks of the Seine River and the Bassin de la Villette into beaches, trucking in sand and other coastal paraphernalia.

This year, each day will be dedicated to a different famous beach around the world and, Thursday, the outdoor space is slated to be turned into the shores of Tel Aviv.

But across social media, and even among local politicians, the decision has caused an outcry. Danielle Simonnet, a left-wing lawmaker, called for the day devoted to Tel Aviv to be canceled.

In an interview on French Inter radio on Monday, Simonnet instead called for turning the day into “a peace protest, in support of fraternity, in support of the fight against all forms of racism and anti-Semitism, and to back recognition of the Palestinian state.”

“Just one year after the massacres over the Gaza Strip by the Israeli state and army, the City of Paris dares to organize in the frame of its cultural partnerships with the big cities of the world a day honoring Tel Aviv,” she wrote in a letter of protest.

The deputy mayor’s defence of the decision was not as welcome as it might have been. In fact it was a stinging backhander to Israel:

Bruno Julliard the first deputy mayor of Paris, said on Sunday: “We refuse any parallels between the brutal colonization policy of Israel and the city of Tel Aviv, which is a progressive city and a symbol of tolerance.

“We will not let an entire population be punished for its government’s colonialist policy,” he added.

Yeah, because Tel Aviv is such a colonial place, displacing all those thousands of tons of, um, sand in order to build the first Jewish city…

Yes, I’m as disgusted as you are.  And yes, this is antisemitism plain and simple. To boycott the depiction of an Israeli beach only because it is Israeli and for no other reason is not anti-fascist or anti-imperialist or any other such radical-chic term. It is anti-Jewish bigotry.

But how can we be surprised at such antisemitic attitudes in France when the EU itself is seeking to label – and thus enable an eventual boycott of – items produced in Judea and Samaria by Jews only. They are not promoting a boycott of items produced in these areas by Arabs – in other words, an anti-Jewish boycott of which the Nazis would be proud.  As the blog First One Through writes, the EU’s choice of labels is “Made in the West Bank” or “Antisemite”: (emphases are added):

From the EU’s perspective, not only does it seek to inform European consumers about the precise location of origin of foreign products, it wishes to uniquely harm Israel as it disputes the Israeli claim over Area C (despite the Israel-Palestinian Authority agreement noted above). It is therefore requiring a change of labels from “Made in Israel” to “Made in the West Bank” for items produced east of the Green Line.

Israel has attempted to stop the European Union from embarking on this policy. It fears that the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement will hurt its economy by not only not purchasing Israeli products, but by trying to ban the items from store shelves. […]  The reality is that many organizations that are promoting the EU policy for distinct labelling of Israel vs. “West Bank” seek to boycott and harm all of Israel. For example, Friends of Al Aqsa (FOA) prints advertisements that call for boycotting all products from anywhere in Israel and its territory.

The European Union distinction of strictly labelling products to exclude Israeli territory is unique for Israel.  The EU makes no distinctions for countries where it does not challenge the legal authority (like the US with American Samoa), AND for other countries where it disagrees with the claim on disputed land.

Double standards and unique critical attention for Israel is considered anti-Semitism, even by US President Barack Obama who said “[if] you acknowledge the active presence of anti-Semitism—that it’s not just something in the past, but it is current—if you acknowledge that there are people and nations that, if convenient, would do the Jewish people harm because of a warped ideology… you should be able to align yourself with Israel when it comes to making sure that it is not held to a double standard in international fora, you should align yourself with Israel when it comes to making sure that it is not isolated.”

It would appear that many Europeans would choose to wear the “Anti-Semitism” label with honor.

The Norwegians too have gone right over the edge into drooling antisemitism: A Norwegian film festival has banned an Israeli film about disabled children and stated that they will only show Israeli films about the “occupation”:

A Norwegian film festival recently rejected an Israeli documentary on children with disabilities, telling its director that it supports the boycott on the Jewish state and will not screen Israeli movies unless they deal with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

A still from the Israeli film The Other Dreamers

Roy Zafrani, the director of “The Other Dreamers,” was turned down by organizers in a decision he termed “absurd,” the Yedioth Ahronoth daily reported Wednesday.

“I’m sorry but we can’t show this film,” a letter from the organizers to Zafrani said. “We support the academic and cultural boycott of Israel so unless the films are about the illegal occupation, or deals with the occupation or the blockade of Gaza, or otherwise about the discrimination of Palestinians, we can’t show them.”

“Film is meant to bring people together, not drive them apart,” he told the paper. “I see films from all over the world, from Syria to Iran, and learn about the people beyond their leadership. No one would boycott an Iranian director because of what his government does, so if he doesn’t get that sort of reception, neither should I.”

Zafrani maintained that the film received no funding from the Israeli government.

“It’s absurd. I’m not a political man. I am not responsible for my government’s actions,” he said. “This is an entirely independent film, with zero funding from Israeli public grants, so the boycott cannot even be justified by saying that it was made with government support.”

And you know what? Even if the film DID receive Israeli governmental support, why should it be boycotted? What do disabled children have to do with politics or culture? Only a Jew-hater who refuses to see anything inherently good in the Jews, oops, I mean Israel, at all, would come to such a decision.

Zafrani should not have used the lack of government funding as an excuse. It just makes him sound like a grovelling ghetto Jew, weak and pathetic.  I’m glad he called the Norwegians out on their bigotry even if he cowardly declined to name the festival in question:

“This boycott is simply because it’s a film that shows a different, nice side of Israel,” he added.

And THAT is the definition of Jew-hatred.

Posted in Antisemitism, Boycotts and BDS | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Compare and contrast: the attitudes of the White House and Arab journalists towards Israel

Democrat Senator Chuck Schumer who objected to the Iran Deal

As I wrote in an earlier post, the politics of the new Middle East is making the strangest bedfellows and the unlikeliest adversaries.  The US Administration is actively distancing itself from Israel, and even slandering it.  (I covered Obama and Kerry’s Jew baiting a couple of weeks ago.)  The Administration has descended even further and has now stooped to accusing veteran Democrat Senators of dual-loyalty, Israel-firstism and even treason (!) because they object to the Iran deal on purely objective reasons. The Jewish online magazine Tablet Magazine has an outstanding article on this smearing of Jewish objectors to the Iran deal in Crossing a Line to Sell a Deal.

What we increasingly can’t stomach—and feel obliged to speak out about right now—is the use of Jew-baiting and other blatant and retrograde forms of racial and ethnic prejudice as tools to sell a political deal, or to smear those who oppose it. Accusing Senator Schumer of loyalty to a foreign government is bigotry, pure and simple. Accusing Senators and Congressmen whose misgivings about the Iran deal are shared by a majority of the U.S. electorate of being agents of a foreign power, or of selling their votes to shadowy lobbyists, or of acting contrary to the best interests of the United States, is the kind of naked appeal to bigotry and prejudice that would be familiar in the politics of the pre-Civil Rights Era South.

This use of anti-Jewish incitement as a political tool is a sickening new development in American political discourse, and we have heard too much of it lately—some coming, ominously, from our own White House and its representatives. Let’s not mince words: Murmuring about “money” and “lobbying” and “foreign interests” who seek to drag America into war is a direct attempt to play the dual-loyalty card. It’s the kind of dark, nasty stuff we might expect to hear at a white power rally, not from the President of the United States—and it’s gotten so blatant that even many of us who are generally sympathetic to the administration, and even this deal, have been shaken by it.

Here is just one example of the slurs cast at Senator Chuck Schumer:

The White House has also accused Israel of interfering in US affairs over the Iran deal – which is a bit rich coming from the same White House that actively interfered in Israel’s elections, funding an NGO and sending Obama’s PR guru to help the opposition in their efforts to get anyone but Netanyahu elected.

In stark contrast to the barely concealed hostility to Israel issuing from the White House, our erstwhile enemies are beginning to see the light, and not only on the Iran issue.

Mudar Zahran

Mudar Zahran, the Jordanian-Palestinian commentator, warns that if Israel disappears, others will too: (via Miriam C.)

Since 1948, we Arabs have been taught that all we need to do is get rid of the Jewish state, and ‎everything else will go well after that. Our dictators took full advantage of this idea. Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser locked up and executed his opposition members ‎using his famous excuse: “No voices are to be allowed except for those for the war with ‎Israel.” Iraqi President Saddam Hussein adopted the Palestinian flag and had it ‎printed, distributed and flown alongside his own flag, and even said, “Palestine and Iraq share the same ‎identical cause.” In short, we Arabs have put 70 years of our existence on hold while awaiting that ‎‎”glorious day” when we defeat Israel and “feed the Jews to the fish.”

But that day did not come, nor does ‎it seem to be coming, as Jordanian opposition figure Emad Tarifi once told me: “It seems the fish in ‎the sea are not betting on us feeding them Jews.” ‎

It is not only Arabs who want Israel gone. There are others who seek the same, for ‎example anti-Semites in the West. …  There are groups calling for a boycott of Israel “for ‎the sake of the Palestinian people.” There are countries whose entire foreign policy seems to revolve around opposition to Israel. We ‎Palestinians might have believed that these groups and countries actually care about us, but they take no interest in the fate of the ‎‎150,000 Palestinians being starved to death in Syria’s Yarmouk refugee camp, nor in an estimated ‎‎5.8 million Palestinians in Jordan (as indicated by a U.S. Embassy cable) who live as second-‎class citizens and are banned from government jobs and any form of state benefits while paying full taxes.‎

If these Israel-haters got their wish to see Israel disappear, what would ‎happen?‎

First, Israel is the only reason Iran does not yet have nuclear weapons. Iran could buy the ‎technology to produce them, or could learn it quickly the way Pakistan did. Why has Iran been slow in ‎doing so? Because it learned a lesson from the experience of Saddam’s Osirak reactor, which Israeli jets reduced to rubble in 1981.‎

If Israel were to disappear and be replaced by a Palestinian state, the Palestinians would most likely end up ‎with another Arab dictatorship that oppresses them and reduces them to poverty. We have partially ‎seen that with the Palestinian Authority and the “liberated” areas it rules.

In short, if the day were to come when Israel falls, Jordan, Egypt and many others would fall, too, and ‎Westerners would be begging Iran for oil.‎

Do you think anyone in the West, Let alone in the Middle East, is listening to Zaharan’s cry in the wilderness? Judging by current headlines, I fear not.

Ali SalemAli Salem, an Egyptian writer, writes from a more positive viewpoint, reassuring his countrymen that Israel has no intention of occupying Sinai, and that cooperation between Egypt and Israel would only benefit the region:

On July 8, 2015, following the series of brutal attacks carried out in the Sinai by terrorist organizations, especially Ansar Bait Al-Maqdis, which is affiliated with the Islamic State (ISIS), the Egyptian daily Al-Masri Al-Yawm published an article by Egyptian playwright, author and political commentator ‘Ali Salem in which he criticized the Egyptian government’s neglect of the peninsula. According to Salem, the Egyptians did not develop the Sinai due to fears by the country’s elite that Israel would occupy the territory, which would leave any development projects in the peninsula in Israeli hands. Salem decisively argued that Israel would not undertake such a foolish act.

Salem also criticized Egypt’s reluctance to normalize cultural relations with Israel out of fear that Israeli cultural influence would endanger the Egyptian regime. He argued that it was actually the Arab Spring revolutions that toppled Arab regimes, as opposed to cultural ties with Israel, which he argued would benefit the region.

Salem further said that Egypt would defeat the terrorism in the Sinai and that Israel does not exploit Egyptian violations of the peace treaty to create tension between the countries because it looks forward to improving relations in the long term. Salem concluded that the regional situation would improve once the Egyptian and Israeli peoples cooperated with each other.

Read the rest of the article. Again, here we have a clear-eyed Arab writer viewing the region much more realistically than the blinkered White House and its absurd Administration.

The last item I present to you here (via MEMRI) is on a slightly different subject but related nevertheless. Since Barack Obama and several of his highest officials have expended so much effort in denying that Islam has anything to do with violence, it is eye-opening indeed to read a call, in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo massacre,  from Iyad Abu Shakra, a Lebanese journalist to recognize precisely the opposite: that there is indeed a connection between terrorism and Islam. Abu Shakra quotes another Lebanese journalist, Nadim Koteich, with a similar viewpoint.

Iyad Abu Shakra

First, Abu Shakra’s article “For Years, Crimes Have Been Carried Out In The Name Of Islam As Muslims Stand Idly By“:

“This reminds me that in January, following the murderous attack on the satirical French magazine Charlie Hebdo, and the stream of Arab and Muslim condemnations claiming that it ‘does not represent true Islam,’ my colleague [Lebanese journalist] Nadim Koteich published a spot-on analysis… He asked in his piece: ‘So what is this true Islam that those who condemn crimes committed in the name of Islam are supposed to be bestowing upon us?…’ After providing several examples of crimes committed by Sunni and Shi’ite extremists, he said that the perpetrators ‘all belong to the true Islam…’

“[He added:] ‘It doesn’t matter which Islamic text, whether it is a Koranic or jurisprudential text, or a text recounting the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad; the killers do not kill for nothing, they kill in the name of books, fatwas, ayahs, and age-old tradition. All of these things are inseparable parts of true Islam. They will remain Muslims as long as they pronounce the shahada and as long as the religious institution doesn’t dare to modernize the criteria for being a Muslim. ‘These killers are us. They are our religion at its most extreme. They are our true Islam taken to its furthest extent and they are not beyond the scripture.’

“I reject the attitude that tries to understand ‘circumstances’ – that is, [as an] action [that sparked] a reaction… The time for excuses and apologies is over. It is time for a fundamental solution.”

Nadim Koteich

And from Nadim Koteich’s article, “The ISIS Murderers Belong To Islam, Rely On Islam’s Texts”:

“So what is this true Islam that those who condemn crimes committed in the name of Islam are supposed to be bestowing upon us? Beyond condemnation, what confrontation with the criminals have the proponents of true Islam been engaged in since the defeat of the Mu’tazila – the defeat of rationality in Islam 1,100 years ago?…

“It doesn’t matter which Islamic text, whether it is Koranic or jurisprudential, or a text recounting the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad; the killers do not kill for nothing, they kill in the name of books, fatwas, ayahs, and age-old tradition. All of these things are inseparable parts of true Islam. They will remain Muslims as long as they pronounce the shahada and as long as the religious institution doesn’t dare to modernize the criteria for being a Muslim.

“These killers are us. They are our religion at its most extreme. They are our true Islam taken to its furthest extent, and they are not beyond the scripture. If the West says in one united voice ‘we are Charlie’ we should say ‘we are ISIS.’

I suppose it shouldn’t surprise us that people who are directly immersed in Muslim culture, i.e. other Muslims, can see the violence inherent in Islam more clearly than well-meaning Western liberals. Nevertheless one would expect such august bodies as the White House, the State Department, the UN and EU, to have enough resources at hand to spot the same dangers.

But there are none so blind as those who do not wish to see.

Posted in International relations, Mideast news, Terrorism | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments