Monday, January 16, 2017

I am very pleased to announce a new columnist, Divest This!, the foremost expert in what's really going on in BDS-land.


After a brief hiatus to deal with some family matters, it’s time to return to the fight, both at Divest This! and now with a weekly column at the incomparable Elder of Ziyon site!

Having missed some comings and goings over the last couple of months, it’s time to take a look at what’s gone on that might impact the fight against BDS which – as all of you reading this should know by now – is simply a propaganda tactic in a multi-faceted global war against the Jewish state.

Starting from the top, the surprising result of last year’s US election is clearly going to have a more  dramatic impact on domestic and international politics than, for example, English teachers deciding not to join an academic boycott

Given the effort many of us put into fighting on behalf of Israel and the Jewish people, it’s sometimes difficult to admit how little control we have over the most significant factors impacting our struggle. 
At the top of the list, global geopolitics – the interplay of state and powerful non-state actors – will always dictate the terms within which our battles play out.  Simply put, if those involved with the decades-long war in the Middle East between kings, dictators and religious fanatics determine that attacking Israel is in their interest, there will be war.  Similarly, if Western governments decide it is in their interests to cater to 50+ Islamic states vs. one Jewish one, then – at best – Israel and its friends will be forced to fight an uphill battle on unfriendly terrain.

Who leads Israel is the second most influential factor over what situations Israel’s supporters will have to deal with.  If you look over Israel’s success (starting with founding of the state, defending it, ingathering exiles and liberalizing and expanding its economy) and failures (notably Oslo and its aftermath – including the unilateral withdrawal from Gaza), these were all actions instigated by Israeli leaders at the time.  Yes, those leaders were responding to pressures generated by the aforementioned geopolitics.  But no amount of outside influence (short of invasion) can impact a democratic society more than choices made by its own government.

A close third behind geopolitics and who runs Israel is who runs America.  For a variety of historical reasons, the alliance between Israel and the US has become so vital to the Jewish state that the occupant in the White House can have an outside effect on everything Israel is doing or trying to do. 
Fortunately, Israel benefits from strong support from power structures beyond 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, notably Congress, but ultimately the American people.  As we have seen over the last eight years when the US President was hostile to Israeli interests, strong support for the Jewish state from every level below the Executive Branch (down to the man and woman on the street) creates constraints with which even a popular President must contend.

With a handful of days left to go in his presidency, I think it’s fair to accept that those who criticized the soon-to-be ex-President as harboring an ideological dislike of Israel and letting that drive irrational policy choices were right, while those who felt his animus was driven more by incompetence in delicate foreign affairs overall were wrong.  (We won’t bother with those who tried to pretend that Obama’s needless warring on Israel were examples of “tough love” offered by a sincere friend.)

A President unfettered by democratic constraints (as all Presidents are during their lame duck session) provides the opportunity to let the political id run wild.  And given all he could have done (or not done) during his last weeks in office, it is telling indeed that Obama used this period to throw Israel to the jackals at the UN, even at the cost of cementing his reputation as betrayer (not to mention further eroding his own party’s support of and by Jewish Americans and other friends of Israel).

With a week to go, there is still a possibility that the administration will use its last days in office to kick an ally in the face one last time.  Fortunately, much of this can be undone by the incoming President (there are ways, after all, to marginalize the UN that don’t require expending political capital getting it to reverse its most horrendous official pronouncements).

But if the last eight years (really the last eight decades) teach us anything, it is to not count on the occupant of the White House, or anyone else, to solve our problems for us.  And with the keys to the Executive Mansion changing hands in just a few days, it’s worth drawing some lessons from the past that can help us navigate an unpredictable future.

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  • Monday, January 16, 2017
  • Elder of Ziyon

Ten days before he was assassinated, Martin Luther King answered questions at the Rabbinical Assembly.

One set of questions included:
“What steps have been undertaken and what success has been noted in convincing anti-Semitic and anti-Israel Negroes, such as Rap Brown, Stokely Carmichael, and McKissick, to desist from their anti-Israel activity?... What would you say if you were talking to a Negro intellectual, an editor of a national magazine, and were told, as I have been, that he supported the Arabs against Israel because color is all important in this world? In the editor’s opinion, the Arabs are colored Asians and the Israelis are white Europeans. Would you point out that more than half of the Israelis are Asian Jews with the same pigmentation as Arabs, or would you suggest that an American Negro should not form judgments on the basis of color? What seems to you an appropriate or an effective response?”
Here is the relevant parts about how King viewed the Middle East conflict in 1968:
On the Middle East crisis, we have had various responses. The response of some of the so-called young militants again does not represent the position of the vast majority of Negroes. There are some who are color-consumed and they see a kind of mystique in being colored, and anything non-colored is condemned. W e do not follow that course in the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and certainly most of the organizations in the civil rights movement do not follow that course.

I think it is necessary to say that what is basic and what is needed in the Middle East is peace. Peace for Israel is one thing. Peace for the Arab side of that world is another thing. Peace for Israel means security, and we must stand with all of our might to protect its right to exist, its territorial integrity. I see Israel, and never mind saying it, as one of the great outposts of democracy in the world, and a marvelous example of what can be done, how desert land almost can be transformed into an oasis of brotherhood and democracy. Peace for Israel means security and that security must be a reality.

On the other hand, we must see what peace for the Arabs means in a real sense of security on another level. Peace for the Arabs means the kind of economic security that they so desperately need. These nations, as you know, are part of that third world of hunger, of disease, of illiteracy. I think that as long as these conditions exist there will be tensions, there will be the endless quest to find scapegoats. So there is a need for a Marshall Plan for the Middle East, where we lift those who are at the bottom of the economic ladder and bring them into the mainstream of economic security.
King may have gotten Israel right, but he did not understand the Arab world nor antisemitism.

The idea that Arab hatred of Israel is based on economics is pure wishful thinking. Palestinian Arabs are better off economically than their neighbors in Egypt and Jordan. Several years ago Egypt opened the border with Gaza and residents of the Sinai had the opportunity to visit. they discovered that Gaza was a nicer place to live than Egypt, and not at all how the media portray it.

In another section King placed all antisemitism into two buckets:

Anti-Semitism historically has been based on two false, sick, evil assumptions. One was unfortunately perpetuated even by many Christians, all too many as a matter of fact, and that is the notion that the religion of Judaism is anathema. That was the first basis for anti-Semitism in the historic sense. Second, a notion was perpetuated by a sick man like Hitler and others that the Jew is innately inferior. 
King ignores the antisemitism of the Jew as the controller of the world, the Protocols version of antisemitism.

Beyond that, there is the antisemitism inherent in Islam and Islamic supremacism, which combined with the virulent antisemitism of Middle East Christians has informed how the Arab world looks at Jews.

Most importantly, King fell into the trap of most Westerners in believing that people are generally the same and have the same way of thinking. It isn't true. The reason why the Arab world will never, ever truly accept Israel is because Israel's very existence is an affront to Arab and Muslim honor. The poor, weak, pitiful Jew convincingly beat the strong, sword-wielding Arab. That shame cannot be erased no matter how many concessions Israel makes or how rich the Arab nations become.

Arab antisemitism and anti-Zionism is not based on economic disadvantages. The hate comes first, the justifications come after. It is a shame that King, who was very pro-Israel, didn't delve into the existence of this kind of hate.

(You can read a lot more about MLK's attitudes towards Israel here.)

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  • Monday, January 16, 2017
  • Elder of Ziyon

I touched on this yesterday but it is worth highlighting.

From AP:

The chief Palestinian representative to France said moving the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv would violate international law and adds that he does not think Donald Trump's new administration will make such a decision.

Salman Elherfi told The Associated Press that a Mideast peace conference Sunday in Paris sent a "very clear" message calling on everyone not to make any changes that would affect a final solution for the region, especially regarding the status of Jerusalem.

He said,"I do not believe that the United States will violate international law because transferring the embassy of the United States into an occupied territory would mean admitting the annexation of this territory by Israel."
Elherfi knows quite well that any US embassy would be to the west of the Green Line, and would not be considered to be in "occupied territory" by the world.

Even though he is knowingly lying, he is the official Palestinian representative in France and speaks for the PLO leadership.  This means that the official PLO position is that all of Jerusalem is Palestinian and Jews have no rights to the city at all.

As outrageous as this is, I am more fascinated by the fact that statements like this are given a pass by the dozens of reporters and scores of diplomats on the scene, especially the AP reporter who quoted it. While the statements of Israeli officials are dissected endlessly to find the tiniest grounds to assume that they really don't want peace, a statement like this - a bombshell in any other context - is simply ignored. And it has been over 18 hours since he said it.

This was a prime opportunity to have a Palestinian official explain exactly why they are against the move. So far the only reason given has been the threat of violence - violence that the PLO itself is encouraging, another fact that the world media and the diplomats in Paris choose to simply ignore.

This lack of pushback indicates at least one of the following:

- Everyone assumes that Palestinians are liars and therefore no one holds them to any standards.
- Reporters are so thoroughly ignorant about the basics of the stories that they cover that they simply let insane lies like this fly by without having a clue.
- The meme of "Israel is intransigent, Palestinians only want their rights" is so strong that anything that contradicts it is simply ignored; violating the meme is a worse crime for reporters and diplomats than admitting the truth.

Experience shows that all three statements are correct.

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Sunday, January 15, 2017

  • Sunday, January 15, 2017
  • Elder of Ziyon
France's foreign minister says moving the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem from its current place in Tel Aviv would be a "provocation" and a threat to efforts for a two-state solution to the protracted Mideast conflict.
Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault ...cautioned U.S. President-elect Donald Trump against moving the U.S. embassy before new peace negotiations can be held. The move could be seen as recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital after decades of insisting that the city's status must be determined by direct talks.
Ayrault said France would work to maintain good relations with the Trump administration but stressed French fears that an embassy move will unleash new Mideast violence. (AP)
It is Mohammed cartoons all over again.

There is no legal reason why the US should not move the embassy. The only reason against it is because of fear that Arabs will go crazy and start killing people.

And this fear means that Muslims have veto power over literally anything they don't like worldwide.

There doesn't have to be any logic - the entire underpinning of this blackmail is that Arabs and Muslims are irrational and illogical.

The Mohammed cartoons were the same way. No one will print cartoons of Mohammed because Muslims might freak out and kill people.

But their irrationality is accepted, so they are not blamed for their threatened violence. Only the Westerners who "provoke" them are to be stopped, not the Muslims or Arabs themselves.

There is one other thing in common between the Mohammed cartoons and the potential move of the embassy: The aggrieved parties pretend that they are against international law.

Just like Muslims have been trying (and have failed) to add language to UN treaties and resolutions against "defamation of religions", so do Palestinians now claim that the US moving the embassy is against international law:

The chief Palestinian representative to France says moving the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv would violate international law and adds that he does not think Donald Trump's new administration will make such a decision.
Salman Elherfi told The Associated Press that a Mideast peace conference Sunday in Paris sent a "very clear" message calling on everyone not to make any changes that would affect a final solution for the region, especially regarding the status of Jerusalem.
He says "I do not believe that the United States will violate international law because transferring the embassy of the United States into an occupied territory would mean admitting the annexation of this territory by Israel."
Now they are claiming that all of Jerusalem is occupied territory. And there is no pushback on such an obvious lie - because Palestinians are assumed to be irrational liars to begin with, so why hold them responsible for something that is their nature?

This is how the "enlightened" nations of the world treat their Muslim and Arab friends - as irrational, illogical liars. And when you treat them that way, they are happy to take advantage of it.

UPDATE: There is a third parallel: In neither case would anyone actually get hurt if it wasn't for the same people "warning" the West of a "spontaneous outbreak of violence" being the ones who incite the violence to being with.

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  • Sunday, January 15, 2017
  • Elder of Ziyon
Times of Israel reports:

Israeli officials on Sunday credited the efforts of the National Security Council and the Foreign Ministry for a “significant weakening” of the text of the final joint declaration issued by the participants of a peace conference in Paris.
To me, the text is fundamentally the same as the draft that Haaretz published last week. In one way it is definitely better, in one way a little worse.

Here is the final statement, highlighting some changes (language removed in red, language added in bold, some minor changes not highlighted):

I) Following the Ministerial meeting held in Paris on 3 June 2016, the Participants met in Paris on 15 January 2017 to reaffirm their support for a just, lasting and comprehensive resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. They reaffirmed that a negotiated solution with two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security, is the only way to achieve enduring peace.
They emphasized the importance for the parties to restate their commitment to this solution, to take urgent steps in order to reverse the current negative trends on the ground, including continued acts of violence and ongoing settlement activity, and to start meaningful direct negotiations.

They reiterated that a negotiated two-state solution should meet the legitimate aspirations of both sides, including the Palestinians’ right to statehood and sovereignty, fully end the occupation that begin in 1967, satisfy Israel’s security needs and resolve all permanent status issues on the basis of United Nations Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973), and also recalled relevant Security Council resolutions. (Draft also mentioned 1397 (2002), 1515 (2003), 1850 (2008), the Madrid principles (1991) and the Quartet Roadmap (2003)).

They underscored the importance of the Arab Peace Initiative of 2002 as a comprehensive framework for the resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict, thus contributing to regional peace and security.

They welcomed international efforts to advance Middle East peace, including the adoption of United Nations Security Council resolution 2334 on 23 December 2016, which clearly condemned settlement activity, incitement and all acts of violence and terror, and called on both sides to take steps to advance the two-state solution on the ground; the recommendations of the Quartet on 1 July 2016; and the United States Secretary of State’s principle on the two-state solution on 28 December 2016.
(Draft: "They noted with particular interest United States Secretary of State's remarks on 28 December 2016, in which he stressed that no solution could be imposed and outlined his vision of principles for a final status agreement.)

They noted the importance of addressing the dire humanitarian and security situation in the Gaza Strip and called for swift steps to improve the situation. (This is new.)

They emphasized the importance for Israelis and Palestinians to comply with international law, including international humanitarian law and human rights law. (Draft: "including accountability.")

II) The Participants highlighted the potential for security, stability and prosperity for both parties that could result from a peace agreement. They expressed their readiness to exert necessary efforts toward the achievement of the two-state solution and to contribute substantially to arrangements for ensuring the sustainability of a negotiated peace agreement, in particular in the areas of political and economic incentives, the consolidation of Palestinian state capacities, and civil society dialogue. Those could include, inter alia:

– a European (Draft: special) privileged partnership; other political and economic incentives and increased private sector involvement; support to further efforts by the parties to improve economic cooperation; continued financial support to the Palestinian Authority in building the infrastructure for a viable Palestinian economy;

– supporting and strengthening Palestinian steps to exercise their responsibilities of statehood through consolidating their institutions and institutional capacities, including for service delivery; [Draft: "concrete support to the implementation of the Palestinian Statehood Strategy, including further
meetings between international partners and the Palestinian side to that effect;")

– convening Israeli and Palestinian civil society fora, in order to enhance dialogue between the parties, rekindle the public debate and strengthen the role of civil society on both sides. (this is new.)

III) Looking ahead, the Participants;

– call upon [expect] both sides to officially restate their commitment to the two-state solution, thus disassociating themselves from [and to disavow official] voices that reject this solution;

– call on each side to independently demonstrate, through policies and actions, a genuine commitment to the two-state solutions and refrain from unilateral steps that prejudge the outcome of negotiations on final status issues, (in order to rebuild trust and create a path back to meaningful direct negotiations, in line with the recommendations of the Quartet report of 1 July 2016) ;including, inter alia, on Jerusalem, borders, security, refugees and which they will not recognize;

-(reaffirm that they will not recognize any changes to the 4 June 1967 lines, including with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the parties through negotiations; also reaffirm that they will distinguish, in their relevant dealings, between the territory of the State of Israel and the territories occupied since 1967;)

– welcome the prospect of closer cooperation between the Quartet and Arab League members and other relevant actors to further the objectives of this Declaration.

(restate the validity of the Arab Peace Initiative and highlight its potential for stability in the region;)

As follow-up to the Conference, interested Participants, expressing their readiness to review progress, resolved to meet again before the end of the year in order to support both sides in advancing the two-state solution through negotiations.

France will inform the parties about the international community’s collective support and concrete contribution to the two-state solution contained in this joint declaration.
The good part is that the paragraph about the June 1967 lines being sacrosanct is gone, along with the call to essentially boycott any Israeli person or entity beyond the Green Line. That is probably what Israel is happy about.

The bad part is that they took out the language saying that "solutions cannot be imposed" on the parties along with one of the two mentions insisting on direct negotiations. Also the follow-up conference added in the statement will again be more one-sided pressure on Israel.

So it is somewhat better than the draft but not a whole hell of a lot.

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From Ian:

Elliott Abrams: The Paris Peace Conference
What is the point of this endeavor? According to the French, it is to show support for the two-state solution and urge both parties, meaning Israel and the PLO, to negotiate. That is a demonstration of bias, because it is the PLO not Israel that has been refusing negotiations and rejecting peace plans again and again for years—indeed decades. To treat the government of Israel and the PLO as if their desire for peace were identical is wrong and unfair. If the participants at the conference truly wished to advance peace, they would be pressuring the Palestinians to stop rewarding and inciting terrorism by glorifying terrorists, and pressuring them to start negotiating seriously. This will not happen. There is every reason to believe Mr. Abbas will leave Paris satisfied with the circus and feeling zero real pressure to do anything at all.
The other point, perhaps the real point, of the conference is to pressure Israel to stop all settlement growth. In this sense it is a follow-up to UN Security Council resolution 2334 of December, and shares its conclusion that the real barrier to peace is the increasingly rapid, uncontrollable, endless, limitless growth of Israeli settlements. But this is false, as the statistics show. Settlement populations are growing, at about four percent a year, but the notion that they are rapidly gobbling up the West Bank and making peace impossible is a fiction.
There may be a third objective for the conference: pressing President-Elect Trump not to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. We can expect language about leaving Jerusalem as a final status issue and doing nothing at all that changes the status quo. If you believe the President-Elect will be dissuaded by such a declaration from a conference such as this, well, I don’t agree.
So the conference will soon be nearly forgotten, and go down as yet another feeble effort to undermine Israel’s legitimacy. Of course if you ask the French, they will angrily deny that this was their purpose. I agree that it was not the purpose, but it is the effect, predictably. Like Resolution 2334, it is another diplomatic blow against the Jewish State, trying to isolate it and criticize it and undermine its ideological and diplomatic defenses. And meanwhile, this very month, we will see the PLO pay more money to prisoners convicted of terrorist acts and name more schools or parks or squares after murderers and would-be murderers. But there will be no Paris conference about all of that.
Why the Palestinian Question Won’t Be Resolved by the Paris Conference
Yet while the change of administration in Washington may strengthen Israel’s diplomatic position for the immediate period, and while the Palestinians will have to get to the back of the line in terms of international priorities, the Palestinian question itself will not disappear. In many ways, it will find its status enhanced.
To begin with, there’s the public domain. And this brings us to something that the Europeans have never understood: The historic Palestinian strategy has never been about achieving statehood, but about preventing a negotiated solution in order to perpetuate the image of the Palestinians as the people to whom history has dealt the cruelest blow. It’s why the Palestinians make deliberately unrealistic demands, like the “right of return”—a goal the Palestine Liberation Organization originally pledged to achieve through violence—and suing the United Kingdom for the 1917 Balfour Declaration.
In terms of building up public support around the world, it’s a strategy that has worked. Hence, we can assume that if President-elect Donald Trump does a 180-degree turn on President Obama’s approach to the Israelis, the narrative of the Palestinians—ignored by America, facing 50 years of “occupation” under Israel—will become emblematic of public resistance to the foreign policies of the Trump administration. In the American context, the Democratic Party is now the most significant barometer of that process.
The Palestinians can also play power politics. They can carry on with their campaign to achieve membership in international bodies as an independent state. They can curry favor with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the next stage of his conflict with the West. And they can insert themselves into domestic issues—rising anti-Semitism, the political culture on university campuses, the legality of boycotts—in a way that few other foreign policy issues can do.
As I said, Netanyahu may well be right about the last gasp of Obama’s strategy to secure Palestinian independence. But none of us should believe that these battles are over.

An indulgent, damaging MidEast "peace" conference
The French initiative for a conference was made tempting with promises of incentive packages for both Israel and the Palestinians if agreement could be reached on a peace arrangement.
It is laudatory that each people understand the basic needs of the other party. But there is a basic asymmetry in the situation. There are legitimate disagreements on Israeli settlements, but the state of Israel threatens no other nation or people.
On the contrary it seeks satisfaction of its security needs and defense against unending terrorist attacks, most recently in the truck attack in Jerusalem. Israel is not reinforcing the worst stereotypes of Palestinians or Arabs or Muslims when it accuses them and responds to terrorist attacks.
It is time for the international community to consider the real nature of the problem. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict exists and has always existed because of the refusal of Palestinians to acknowledge the right of Israel, a Jewish state, to exist.
The US administrations, particularly Secretary of State John Kerry, have forgotten the statement of Madeleine Albright in March 1994 when she was US Secretary of State, “We simply do not support the description of the territories occupied by Israel in the 1967 war as ‘occupied Palestinian territory.’”
The solution can only come through negotiations between the two parties, bilateral talks, and not by statements or intervention by the US, the UN, or any other nation or international body.

Hatem Bazian backed by supporters
Hatem Bazian, a Palestinian-Arab instructor of Near Eastern Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, is calling for the elimination of Israel as the national homeland of the Jewish people.

In a recent blog post entitled, Trump’s Appointment of David Friedman is the Official End of Oslo, Bazian argues that because President-Elect Donald Trump appointed David Friedman the incoming U.S. ambassador to Israel this means that the "peace process" is concluded and that, therefore, Israel has no right to exist as the Jewish state.

Let us see how he gets from point A to point B.

In his opening remarks Bazian claims:
Trump’s appointment of David M. Friedman as the new ambassador to Israel brings an end to 70 years of U.S. official policy on Palestine centered on U.N. resolutions 181, 242 and 338 with a two-state solution as the final outcome.
Other than as an implied fallacious "last straw" argument, just how he draws this conclusion from Trump's appointment of Friedman remains unexplained. While Bazian is correct that the two-state solution is a corpse, it was neither Trump, nor Friedman, who killed it. In truth it was still-born upon conception for the simple reason that the Palestinian-Arabs, as an irrational religious imperative, never had the slightest intention of accepting a state for themselves in peace next to Israel to begin with.

Upon arbitrarily deciding that Friedman's appointment means the end of the so-called "peace process," Bazian then insists that people everywhere should therefore "call for Israel’s annexation and demand one person, one vote rather than allow Apartheid to masquerade as democracy."

Just how Bazian came to believe that he is in any position to demand anything from anyone, much less his Jewish enemies, is hard to imagine. Nonetheless, by "annexation" he presumably means the potential Israeli annexation of Judea and Samaria. If so, Bazian is one of those academic anti-Zionists nurturing the hope that Israel can be defeated via demographics.

Many Israelis and diaspora Jews wish to see Israel annex the ancient heart of the Jewish homeland.
Bazian wishes for this, as well, with the anticipation that the hostile Arab majority could then force its will upon the Jewish minority within the Middle East. Just as for thirteen hundred long years, from the rise of Muhammad to the demise of the Ottoman Empire, Muslims held non-Muslims as slaves and dhimmis, so Bazian hopes to see a return of Muslim domination to the Holy Land.

Although subjugating non-Muslims is integral to Islam, Bazian should however be careful what he wishes for.

If Israel annexes Judea and Samaria it will remain a majority Jewish democracy. This is true for a number of simple reasons. The first is that the Palestinian Authority habitually inflates the numbers of Arabs living in Areas A and B and it is, therefore, highly questionable whether Israel would become a majority Arab country in the future. Furthermore, despite popular opinion otherwise, the birthrate among Palestinian-Arabs is declining while the birthrate among Jews is increasing.

More importantly, of course, Israel is under no suicidal obligation to offer citizenship to enemies of the Jewish people or the Jewish state. If Israel does annex Judea and Samaria it will likely institute pathways to citizenship for those Arabs with no political-religious agenda that involves either the murder or subjugation of the Jewish people. This is to say that Jihadis, terrorists, and anti-Semitic anti-Zionists will probably not be eligible to participate in the political life of the country, if they are permitted to remain in the country at all.

In order to determine eligibility for citizenship, Israel could easily institute a two or three year national service requirement with political enfranchisement dependent upon the demonstrated good-will of the individual Arab. Those who demonstrate a true desire for good citizenship within the Jewish state will be allowed citizenship. Those who do not, will not.

However, let's give Bazian the benefit of the doubt and assume that what he really wants is what is good for everyone in that part of the world. In this case, Bazian is telling the Jewish people that despite Jewish history under the brutality of Islam they are under a moral obligation to hope that a Bazian-style single-state will emerge that will not trample their well-being and civil liberties.

Now, how is that for a roll of the dice?

Bazian would have the Jewish people dependent upon the goodwill of Palestinian-Arabs in an Arab-dominated state. Does he honestly expect that after centuries of dhimmitude and theocratically-based Arab aggression it makes sense for the Jewish people to gamble the very lives of their children on Arab-Muslim hospitality?

The notion is ridiculous on its face and the great majority of Jewish people will have none of it.

Michael Lumish is a blogger at the Israel Thrives blog as well as a regular contributor/blogger at Times of Israel and Jews Down Under.

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  • Sunday, January 15, 2017
  • Elder of Ziyon
For the past week, the big story in Palestinian media has not been the Paris conference. It hasn't been the US possibly moving the embassy to Jerusalem.

No, the top story has been the shortage of electricity in Gaza.

Gazans have been protesting by blaming Hamas for the shortage. (Not Israel.) Hamas has responded by violently suppressing demonstrations.

And attacking reporters.
On Thursday evening, an Associated Press reporter covering a demonstration in the northern Gaza Strip was detained by plainclothes Hamas security men and forced at gunpoint to turn over his mobile phones to them. The men stuck a pistol in his chest and verbally threatened the reporter until he agreed to give them the phones.
In addition an AFP photographer  was badly beaten to the head by uniformed policemen required medical care after he had refused to give up his camera. The  memory card of his camera was confiscated and he was placed under arrest.
Hamas responded with its own manufactured protests, where they blame Fatah (not Israel!) for the power shortage. In these rallies, they burn photos of Mahmoud Abbas and other top PA officials.

PA and Fatah officials lashed out at this, saying that burning photos of Abbas is a "crime" that "excceds all red lines."

And Hamas is not the only side that attacks reporters. The Palestinian Authority is just as ruthless against any reporters who might write about endemic corruption there:

No journalists in Gaza — no matter how senior — would even think of criticizing the leaders of Hamas, and in the Palestinian Authority (PA), criticism of any kind against President Mahmoud Abbas, or exposure of corruption in the PA, could result in the journalist’s arrest.

“We all known there’s terrible corruption in the PA,” a senior veteran journalist from Ramallah, the seat of the PA in the West Bank, told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity. “We know hundreds of stories about senior PA officials and about Abbas’ sons, but we can’t publish them or even talk openly about them.”

“We saw PLO activists who arrived [in the West Bank and Gaza] from Libya and Tunisia [in the 1990s] with only the clothes on their backs, and a few months after the PA was established they were already driving around in Mercedes cars, wearing Italian suits and building ostentatious villas,” the journalist claimed. “To this day they are all rich, taken care of and no one can say a word or even ask where such wealth came from.”

European Union states that donate hundreds of millions of dollars in humanitarian aid to the PA have tried to establish supervisory mechanisms over the funds they provide, but according to Palestinian journalists who spoke with Al-Monitor, the top PA levels were more devious than all the oversight mechanisms, and they found loopholes through which to funnel some of the money into their own pockets.

The criticism discussed behind closed doors does not relate only to past malfeasance. A senior journalist who works for an Arabic language media outlet notes in a conversation with Al-Monitor that the sons of the Palestinian president are also mentioned among those making a fortune out of their family connection to Abbas.

The journalist said that reporters have learned not to ask “unnecessary” questions, lest they lose their jobs, at best, or are sent to jail in a worst-case scenario. The media learned the limits of what was permissible and what was not in the affair of Mahmad Hadifa, an independent journalist who published a series of investigative reports about the goings on in the Palestinian Ministry of Economy in Ramallah. Hadifa was arrested by Palestinian security forces after the stories ran and was threatened, even though no one claimed his reports were false. 
The international community turns a blind eye to all of this, because criticizing the Palestinian leadership is viewed as watering down criticism of Israel. So Palestinian leaders, knowing that no one will demand that they act responsibly towards their critics or to reduce corruption, can freely act as they please, confident that there will be no international conferences on their own corruption and crimes.

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  • Sunday, January 15, 2017
  • Elder of Ziyon

Human Rights Watch, along with Amnesty International, claim that they are very much against antisemitism. They issued a joint statement in 2003:
Recognizing anti-Semitism as a serious human rights violation, we also recognize our own responsibility to take on this issue as part of our work. It should not be left to Jewish groups alone to highlight this issue and to appeal to the international community to address it. We are firmly committed to joining their ongoing efforts and to helping to bring problems of anti-Semitism into the overall human rights discourse.
I have noted previously that the groups have nothing to say about antisemitism in Arab countries. On the other hand, right-wing antisemitism in Europe has always been the one and only example of Jew-hatred that they would mention in their reports. As recently as Friday, HRW noted in an article that "Anti-Semitism remains a serious concern" in the EU in the context of right-wing xenophobia.

What about European antisemitism that pretends to be anti-Zionism?

We have a perfect example in this well-reported story also from Friday. This is how Vox, hardly a right-wing site, reported it:
A synagogue burning in Germany is perhaps among the most literal illustrations of anti-Semitism imaginable.

But apparently, not all synagogue burnings are equal.

This week a German regional court ruled that the 2014 firebombing of a synagogue in Wuppertal, a region just east of Düsseldorf, was an act of criminal arson, but not anti-Semitic. Instead, the court found it was a protest against Israel, even though the synagogue was obviously not in Israel and those who worship there are Jews, not Israelis.

The decision upheld that of a lower court, which stated the perpetrators, a trio of Palestinian-born German residents, wanted to “call attention to the Gaza conflict” when they prepared and then lobbed Molotov cocktails at the synagogue one July night in 2014. No one was injured, but the attack caused €800 in damages. The men were ultimately given suspended sentences.

The court’s decision is baffling — and deeply troubling. The men didn’t target the Israeli Embassy or one of its consulates. They attacked a Jewish institution. To conflate Israelis with Jews — and to say that a disagreement with the policies of the former somehow justifies attacking the latter — is by definition anti-Semitic. And if there is a line between anti-Israel sentiments and anti-Semitic ones, this attack definitely crossed it.
Ken Roth of Human Rights Watch tweets around two dozen times a day. But he didn't say a word about this. (Neither did Amnesty International.)

I tweeted Roth asking him what his opinion was, and he ignored me (and 30 retweets) - even as he tweeted on other topics. Including a swipe at Israel.

Apparently, HRW is only against some antisemitism, just as long as the bad guys are the same people that HRW considers bad to begin with. But Muslims or Arabs or their sympathizers cannot possibly be guilty of antisemitism, for the same reason the German judge gave:

Claims of being merely anti-Israel exonerates Jew-haters in both the German court system - and in "human rights" groups.

Remember this next time HRW and Amnesty ask you for money by claiming that they fearlessly speak "truth to power" about human rights. Jews obviously do not have human rights if their oppressors are on HRW's and Amnesty's "good guys" list.

We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

From Ian:

Alan Dershowitz: Obama’s Mid-East Legacy Is Tragic Failure
The Middle East is a more dangerous place after eight years of the Obama Presidency than it was before. The eight disastrous Obama years follow eight disastrous Bush years during which that part of the world became more dangerous as well. So have many other international hot spots. In sum, the past 16 years have seen major foreign policy blunders all over the world, and most especially in the area between Libya and Iran, that includes Israel, Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Turkey and the Gulf.
With regard to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, the Obama policies have made the prospects for a compromise peace more difficult to achieve. When Israel felt that America had its back – under both President Clinton and Bush 43 – they offered generous proposals to end settlements and occupation in nearly all of the West Bank. Tragically the Palestinian leadership – first under Arafat and then under Abbas – did not accept either the Barak-Clinton offers in 2000-2001, nor the Olmert offer in 2008. Now they are ignoring Netanyahu’s open offer to negotiate with no pre-conditions.
In his brilliant book chronicling the American-Israeli relationship – “Doomed To Succeed” – Dennis Ross proves conclusively that whenever the Israeli government has confidence in America’s backing, it has been more willing to make generous compromise offers, than when it has reason to doubt American support. President Obama did not understand this crucial reality. Instead of having Israel’s back, he repeatedly stabbed Israel in the back, beginning with his one–sided Cairo speech near the beginning of his tenure, continuing through his failure to enforce the red-line on chemical weapon use by Syria, then allowing a sunset provision to be included in the Iran deal, and culminating in his refusal to veto the one-sided Security Council resolution, which placed the lion’s share of blame on the Israelis for the current stalemate.
These ill-advised actions – especially the Security Council resolution – have disincentivized the Palestinian leadership from accepting the Netanyahu offer to sit down and negotiate a compromise peace. They have been falsely led to believe that they can achieve statehood through the United Nations, or by other means that do not require compromise.
The UN and Obama's Act of Aggression
UNSC Res. 2334 is an act of political aggression against foundation of the Judeo-Christian civilization and should be treated as such. The Jewish nation has every right to consider this attack as an act of war against it.
President Obama sometimes seems to have an indifference to historical truth that often borders on antagonism. Obama has again tried to re-write history by claiming that Greece, with the help of the winners of World War I, was an aggressive and imperialistic state that cared only to re-build its Empire against the Turks.
The notion that ancient non-Muslim nations are occupiers in their own lands, is repeated in the UN Resolution 2334.
Historically, Muslim forces began invading Syria in 634, and ended by conquering Constantinople in 1453. They invaded not only all of Turkey -- obliterating the great Christian empire of Byzantium -- but then went on to conquer all of North Africa, Greece, southern Spain, parts of Portugal and eastern Europe.
President Obama apparently did not learn about the Trojan War in school; he apparently never read Homer to know that the inhabitants of the Bosporus and much of Asia Minor were Greeks -- just as he apparently never read the Bible, or the Greek and Roman historic records of the Jewish people and their capital, Jerusalem.
Palestinians: A Strategy of Lies and Deception
Abbas here lied twice. First, it is a lie that he is prepared to return to the negotiating table with Israel. In the past few years, Abbas has repeatedly rejected Israeli offers to resume the stalled peace negotiations.
Abbas's chief negotiator, Saeb Erekat, claimed this week that his boss was ready to resume the peace talks with Israel in Moscow....Indeed, Abbas had "earlier" voiced his readiness to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Moscow. But Abbas once again outlined his preconditions for such a summit... This means that Abbas has not abandoned his preconditions for resuming the peace talks with Israel. The timing of Erekat's announcement in Moscow is clearly linked to the Paris peace conference. It is part of the Palestinian strategy to depict Israel as the party opposed to the resumption of the peace talks.
Abbas has in the past reluctantly condemned some of the terror attacks against Israel. But these statements were made under duress, after being pressured by the US or EU.
In fact, his "condemnations" are nothing but political pablum, a sop to the West.
The Palestinian terrorist who rammed his truck into a group of young Israeli soldiers last week was doing exactly what his president urged Palestinians to do.
The Germans and French should not believe Abbas when he says that he condemns truck terror attacks in their countries. The scenes of Palestinians celebrating carnage in Jerusalem should serve as a wake-up call to the international community. The message of the call? That the overall Palestinian strategy – like the jihad strategy - is built on lies. Both continue to feature terror as one their main pillars.

  • Saturday, January 14, 2017
  • Elder of Ziyon

The spokesman for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party on Saturday warned that if the Trump administration moves the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, it will “open the gates of hell.”
Should America be scared by this "moderate" spokesman threatening it with opening up the
gates of Hell?

It is hardly the first time.

Here is a very incomplete list of the number of times that we have heard that expression when Palestinian Arabs - including "moderate" Saeb Erekat - want to scare people into bending to their will,

January 2001 - Fatah officials in response to Israel killing a Fatah terror leader

August 2001 - Saeb Erekat in response to Israel's killing a PFLP terrorist leader

August 2001 - Also Saeb Erekat, in response to Israel's destroying a terror HQ/police building in Jenin

November, 2001 - Hamas in response to Israel's killing of Mahmoud Abu Hanoud

January 2002 - Fatah warning Israel not to hurt a terrorist in custody

September 2003 - Hamas after an unsuccessful attempt to kill Sheikh Yassin

March, 2004 - after the successful attempt to kill Sheikh Yassin

July 2005 - after Israel killed 7 Hamas terrorists

November 2005 - After Israel killed a member of Fatah and Hamas

February 2006 - when Israel withheld money transfers to Gaza

June 2006 - by the PRC after their founder was killed

April 2007 - a general warning against an Israeli invasion of Gaza

May 2007 - after Israel fired at the house of Ismail Haniyeh

August 2008 - Islamic Jihad general warning against Israel

December, 2008 - Hamas threatened this before Cast Lead

March 2011 - threat against UNRWA if it started teaching about the Holocaust in Gaza schools

November 2012: Hamas in response to Ahmed al-Jabari's assassination 

June 2014: Hamas warning Israel not to react to the kidnappng and murder of 3 Israeli teenagers

March 2015: Saeb Erekat warning of consequences if Palestinians are blocked from UN action by the US

So, how many times have we seen the gates of Hell open up in the past sixteen years?

All it takes to end these threats is to call them on it, and let them know that any attempts to intimidate anyone with these sorts of threats will result in responses that they would not be happy with.

It is the fastest way to turn their false "honor" at making empty threats into a source of shame.

They have to learn to grow up. And the only way that will happen is by holding them responsible for their words and actions the way other adults are.

(h/t Meryl Yourish)

We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.

Friday, January 13, 2017

From Ian:

German court calls synagogue torching an act to 'criticize Israel'
A German regional court in the city of Wuppertal affirmed a lower court decision last Friday stating that a violent attempt to burn the city's synagogue by three men in 2014 was a justified expression of criticism of Israel’s policies.
Johannes Pinnel, a spokesman for the regional court in Wuppertal, outlined the court’s decision in a statement.
Three German Palestinians sought to torch the Wuppertal synagogue with Molotov cocktails in July, 2014. The local Wuppertal court panel said in its 2015 decision that the three men wanted to draw “attention to the Gaza conflict” with Israel. The court deemed the attack not to be motivated by antisemitism.
Israel launched Operation Protective Edge in the summer of 2014 to stop Hamas rocket attacks into Israeli territory.
The court sentenced the three men – the 31-year-old Mohamad E., the 26 year-old Ismail A. and the 20-year-old Mohammad A.—to suspended sentences. The men tossed self-made Molotov cocktails at the synagogue. German courts frequently decline to release the last names of criminals to protect privacy.
The attack caused €800 damage to the synagogue. The original synagogue in Wuppertal was burned by Germans during the Kristallnacht pogroms in 1938. Wuppertal has a population of nearly 344,000 and is located in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. (h/t Yenta Press)
PMW: PA TV: Jews stole Kim Kardashian’s diamonds
PA TV took advantage of yesterday’s news update on the Kim Kardashian jewelry heist as an opportunity to spread Antisemitism.
An article in the Israeli daily Yediot Aharonot on the arrest of 17 suspects in the well-publicized theft noted that the brains behind the robbery in Paris were two Algerian immigrants. It further mentioned that her driver and his brother, who are also suspects, are reportedly Jews. This reference was embraced by PA TV’s “Israeli affairs expert” as an opportunity to generalize that all Jews are "thieves.”
PA TV chose not to mention that there were 15 non-Jewish suspects arrested. Nor did it mention or speculate about the religion of the two Algerian immigrants who were the masterminds behind the crime.
Palestinian Media Watch has documented that Antisemitic hate speech is fundamental to PA expression, including portraying Jews as enemies of Allah, descendants of monkeys and pigs, and allied with Satan.
PA TV's reporting demonstrates that Antisemitism is so fundamental to PA ideology that even a single mention of two Jews anywhere in the world in a negative context is all that is needed launch another PA Antisemitic rant.
PA TV host: Jews stole Kim Kardashian’s diamonds: “They are thieves”

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This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 12 years and over 25,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


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