Saturday, 5 September 2009

Love of the Land: Charles Lewis: Boycotting the Israel boycotters

Charles Lewis: Boycotting the Israel boycotters

Charles Lewis
National Post
04 September 09

I picked up the National Post this morning to see the highly glossed faces of a group of actors, musicians and writers who have decided to protest the showing of a 10-film program to be highlighted at the Toronto International Film Festival.

It is no surprise that they are targeting a series of 10 films about Tel Aviv. Every protest today by intellectuals or artists who think they are intellectuals has to be about Israel. It is the worst country in the world, is it not?

The 50 protesters, including David Byrne, Jane Fonda and Naomi Klein, believe the films are actually part of a sinister Israeli propaganda plot, unbeknownst to those running the film festival.

They say, as they always do, that they are not anti-Semitic or anti-Israeli, but they feel they must say something in the “wake of this year’s brutal assault on Gaza,” and therefore the films should not be shown.

Some of the signatories, including Ms. Klein, are Jewish, so they cannot really be anti-Semitic. There are always the enlightened Jews who know when their coreligionists have gone too far. In fact, that is what Charles Lindbergh said in 1939 when he identified Jews as one of the main forces dragging the U.S. into the war against Germany

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Love of the Land: Charles Lewis: Boycotting the Israel boycotters

Love of the Land: Another Tack: It's not the settlements, stupid

Another Tack: It's not the settlements, stupid

Sarah Honig
03 September 09

Without historical context there can be no real understanding of existential issues, certainly not of essential continuities. That's why those who seek to obfuscate and skew do their utmost to erase telltale fundamental perspectives and present whatever they focus upon as cogent isolated concerns.

Case in point: US President Barack Obama's fixation on settlements, whether they be a collection of squatters' makeshift lean-tos on a stony hill in the middle of a barren nowhere or entire populous urban quarters of Jerusalem.

The real issue is a layer deep beneath surface palaver. It's a layer which Arabs implicitly understand, which Jews pretend (or prefer) not to understand, and which Obama righteously denies. To paraphrase what Bill Clinton hectored during his first presidential campaign: "It's not the settlements, stupid."

Settlements are mere transitory pretexts, alleged irritants which in fact conceal a far darker but basic truth.

Obama hints at it when he admonishes against creating "new facts on the ground" ahead of the deal he proclaims he's about to concoct. Peace is feasible providing Israelis effectively stay inanimate and refrain from altering reality beyond the non-border (1949's armistice line, a.k.a. the Green Line). Otherwise they jeopardize Obama's magic remedy to all that ails the region but which thus far eluded cure by lesser healers than himself. His unspoken apparent assumption is that whatever betokens Israeli/Jewish life and vitality perforce undermines harmony and bliss. Bottom line priority - weaken Israeli/Jewish interests.

THIS HAS been the Arab subtext since the very advent of Zionism, though at different intervals the casus belli assumed different facades. In all instances the pro forma grievance was that Jews were "changing facts on the ground," just as now.

On occasion, as currently, the outcry centered on settlements, or more specifically on land purchases. (Jews weren't always accused of robbing Arab land. Sometimes their crime was buying stretches of wasteland.) At times it was immigration.
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Love of the Land: Another Tack: It's not the settlements, stupid

Love of the Land: Despair, Indeed

Despair, Indeed

Jennifer Rubin
05 September 09

Jimmy Carter brings us his report, fresh from his Middle East visit with his fellow ”Elders,” including the Medal of Freedom prize-winning duo of Desmond Tutu and Mary Robinson. Carter and crew go to the Middle East and see “despair.”

Not the despair of Jews in Israel who would like to live in peace with their neighbors and have tried repeatedly to give the Palestinians their own state. Not the despair of victims of Hamas violence or of honor killings. Not the despair of the Palestinian people who would like a government free from corruption. Not the despair of Jews who find it incomprehensible that teaching the Holocaust is considered to be a human-rights violation by Hamas. Not the despair of Israel and its neighbors who are contemplating a nuclear-armed Iran and a timid U.S. response. And certainly not the despair that Israelis must feel as a U.S. administration renounces past obligations and delights in picking a fight with its ally.

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Love of the Land: Despair, Indeed

Israel Matzav: Obama takes Iran off the Security Council agenda

Obama takes Iran off the Security Council agenda

This is beyond belief. Trying to distract the American people from his failures in turning around the US economy and reforming healthcare, President Obumbler has decided to boldly go where no US President has gone before: He is going to chair the UN Security Council. But that's only where the trouble begins. The Chairman of a Security Council session gets to set its agenda. Here's Obama's agenda, as announced by UN ambassador Susan Rice at her first press briefing since the US assumed the Council's presidency:

“The session will be focused on nuclear nonproliferation and nuclear disarmament broadly, and not on any specific countries.”

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Israel Matzav: Obama takes Iran off the Security Council agenda

Israel Matzav: Obama to admit that stopping Iran is more important than the 'Palestinians'?

Obama to admit that stopping Iran is more important than the 'Palestinians'?

Writing in Friday's Haaretz, Aluf Benn argues that even President Obama now recognizes that stopping Iran takes precedence over creating a 'Palestinian' state reichlet.

But Obama's declaration will have immediate strategic importance. By presenting a two-year timetable for the peace agreements, the president will make it clear that dealing with Iran is more urgent than establishing an independent Palestine alongside Israel.

That will be a major diplomatic achievement for Netanyahu. In his visit to the White House in May, the prime minister's main aim was to persuade Obama of "Iran first and the Palestinians afterward." It was convenient at the time for Obama to present a disagreement with Netanyahu in order to strengthen U.S. credibility in the Arab world. One hundred days later, it turns out that on the crucial issue - setting the foreign affairs agenda - Netanyahu's view prevailed.

Next year, 2010, will be the "year of Iran." The Palestinians will have to wait their turn and pass the time in empty talks until Iran is restrained. Under the quid pro quo principle, in return for advancing action on Iran, Netanyahu agreed to freeze construction in the West Bank settlements for a period of nine months, according to leaks from his talks with U.S. envoy George Mitchell.

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Israel Matzav: Obama to admit that stopping Iran is more important than the 'Palestinians'?

Israel Matzav: Time's up on Iran

Time's up on Iran

Caroline Glick's weekly JPost column reviews much of the material I have published on this blog in the last 2-3 weeks (the Uzi Rubin piece she discusses is here). But the bottom line is that time's up for negotiating with Iran and time's up for sanctions. Like John Bolton, Glick has concluded that Israel has no choice but to strike. Here's why:

ALL IN all, the totality of Iran's moves make clear that it is not interested in using its nuclear program as a bargaining chip to gain all manner of goodies from the West. It is planning to use its nuclear program as a means of becoming a nuclear power. And it wishes to become a nuclear power because it wishes to wage war against its enemies.

And all in all, the totality of the UN-led international community's responses to Teheran's moves make clear that the world will take no effective action to prevent Iran from gaining the capacity to wage nuclear war. The world today will again do nothing to prevent the genocide of Jewry.

And that's the thing of it. So long as the mullahs continue to signal that the Jews are their first target, the world will be content to allow them to build their nuclear weapons and to use them. As US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's contention that the US will retaliate against Iran if it launches a nuclear attack against Israel makes clear, Washington will only consider acting against Teheran after the US moves to the top of Teheran's target list.

The question then is whether Israel has the ability to effectively attack Iran even if the US opposes such a strike. Based on open source material, the answer to this central question is yes, Israel can launch an effective strike against Iran.

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Israel Matzav: Time's up on Iran

Israel Matzav: EU and US slam Netanyahu building permit plan

EU and US slam Netanyahu building permit plan

Shavua tov, a good week to everyone.

Not surprisingly, the EU and the US have slammed Prime Minister Netanyahu's plan to hand out building permits before implementing a 'settlement freeze.'

Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini told reporters the EU's 27 foreign ministers were all against the move, following similar criticism levied by the US

"The announcement made to build new buildings and new settlements exactly at the moment when all the international community is asking Israel for a freeze has been criticized by the ministers of foreign affairs," Frattini said after the ministers completed the first day of a two-day meeting in Stockholm.

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Israel Matzav: EU and US slam Netanyahu building permit plan

RubinReports: The Limits of Polite Discourse: Exposing People to Evil Ideas or Exposing Evil Ideas as…Evil?

The Limits of Polite Discourse: Exposing People to Evil Ideas or Exposing Evil Ideas as…Evil?

By Barry Rubin

After publishing an op-ed by a radical Israeli professor urging a boycott of Israel, Los Angeles Times editorial page editor, Jim Newton, said, “Had Hitler submitted an excerpt from Mein Kampf in the late 1930's [I would have published it] because the world would have benefitted from exposure to evil ideas."

This is an interesting subject for discussion but first it should be noted that Newton misworded his answer, a rather serious mistake for a professional journalist and editor. Perhaps it is even a Freudian slip.

Presumably the world would have benefitted from the exposure of Hitler’s arguments as evil and dishonest. But does the world, to take Newton’s own phrase, benefit “from exposure to evil ideas,” that is, just giving them a bigger audience?

No. After all, those who spread evil ideas do so precisely to win over those who hear them. The world did get exposed to the evil ideas of fascism. One of the main results was a lot of support for it by millions of people in many countries.

And that’s certainly happening a lot nowadays for the contemporary equivalent evil ideas.

The media not only publicizes but reinforces evil ideas on many occasions. Newton’s error shows the problem: the media does not expose evil ideas as evil. It often portrays them as correct and accurate or good or at least just another credible opinion.

Newton’s point also raises another issue: the limits of what has been called “polite discourse.”

In societies practicing free speech—at least up until recently—anything could be said. The pernicious influence of the “hate speech” concept, first applied to Holocaust denial, has been terrible in limiting free and open discussion. In Canada, nominally one of the freest of countries, you can be tried and sentenced for saying or writing something that a group deems offensive.

Newton opposes this, correctly I believe, and upholds the concept of free speech. But, again, he’s not implying he’d publish Hitler because the German dictator had a right to express his views but rather precisely in order to expose them as evil. How does one know that they are evil?

Does this mean the newspaper must publish other material—even a critical introduction—to say that these are evil ideas?

Or does the readers’ common sense and political culture innately tell them these are evil ideas? Surely not all of them would see it as such, as Pat Buchanan, Hitler’s leading contemporary American admirer, or David Irving, his counterpart in Britain, repeatedly remind us.

[Let me digress here for a moment. Hitler’s book, Mein Kampf, makes interesting reading and I analyzed it in my book Modern Dictators to show parallels with Communist and Islamist thinking. This is not to say the three doctrines are alike but they do share a lot in their basic approach to politics, rationality, critique of Western democracy, and prescription of a dictatorship that controls all of society and its institutions.]

Yet when it comes to channels of communication limited by time and space—newspapers, wire services, radio, television, and book publishing—choices must be made. The people who make choices decide what will be published, printed, aired, or broadcast.

The same issue applies to the Swedish government’s treatment of the Israel is murdering Palestinians to steal their organs tall tale. Swedish officials self-righteously portray themselves as defenders of free speech. In reality, though, Swedish government money paid the author who made these outrageous claims and financed publication of his work. The Swedish government did not choose to subsidize someone to write a book in defense of Israel or to point to the very real crimes of radical Islamists and terrorists.

We’re not talking about freedom of speech here but about choices made by government officials and editors.

How do they make those decisions?
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RubinReports: The Limits of Polite Discourse: Exposing People to Evil Ideas or Exposing Evil Ideas as…Evil?

RubinReports: Cultural Watch: Great Moments in Syrian Cinema; Qadhafi Meets the Real Cuckoo Clock

Cultural Watch: Great Moments in Syrian Cinema; Qadhafi Meets the Real Cuckoo Clock

By Barry Rubin

A MEMRI story arrives on the new government-controlled Syrian television series—also on Iranian and Hizballah television—showing how Jews plot world conquest while snacking on murdered children.

Although the MEMRI story doesn’t reveal the surprise ending of the new Syrian television series, my sources tell me that it’s this: The Zionists plan the atomic bomb attacks on Japan in 1945 as part of their murderous efforts. That’s not a joke.

In response to my telling him about this, an Arabic-speaking reader notes another Syrian film he once saw. Here’s the plot:

“The eldest son of the family died and everybody was heartbroken. Shortly afterwards the father of the family died and everybody was distraught. For a moment, they were directionless fearing that their enemies may destroy them.

“But then the second son took hold of the reins and everybody was happy again.

“Hmmmmm..... What could that mean............?”

Of course, my correspondent knew precisely how the plot was put together. The Assad family has ruled Syria for almost 40 years. The eldest son (Basil, not Sonny) ran his sports car into a bridge abutment (though in the other film, the rival mob got him at a toll both), the father (dictator Hafiz, not Vito), died.

But then the second son (Bashar, not Michael) came to power.

Or as the song in The Producers, “Springtime for Hitler” put it (slightly modified):

“[Syria] was having trouble
What a sad, sad story
Needed a new leader to restore
Its former glory
Where, oh, where was he?
Where could that man be?
We looked around and then we found
The man for you and me.”

And since then it’s been springtime for Bashar and Syria. But there was a controversy in the film: It was the first Syrian film to show an actual kiss. This set off a big debate. As my correspondent puts it:

“Apparently the local authorities were outraged. Jews drinking children's blood? No problems.

A kissing scene? Scandal! Outrage!”

And he concludes quite accurately: “True story. That's the thing about Syria. Anything you made up wouldn't be as bizarre as what actually goes on.”

Meanwhile, as aspiring Syrian filmmakers plan future productions of “Citizen Bashar,” “How the Golan Was Won,” and “West Beirut Story,” Libyan dictator Muammar Qadhafi continues to pack in the audiences with his Borad impressions.
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RubinReports: Cultural Watch: Great Moments in Syrian Cinema; Qadhafi Meets the Real Cuckoo Clock

The Jews of Africa -- Around Jewish Africa

The Jews of Africa -- Around Jewish Africa

Hero performed by Michael Israel in New York

The Jewish Defence League of Canada will hold a counter protest against the BDS program on Thursday September 10th.

"The Jewish Defence League of Canada will hold a counter protest against the BDS program on Thursday September 10th.

Dear (Contact First Name),

A protest by haters of Israel, 'filmmakers' and 'artists' opposed to a Toronto International Film Festival program that spotlights Tel Aviv is growing, with plans to hold a press conference Thursday to coincide with the festival's opening.
This anti Israel protest is part of an international campaign called 'boycott, divestment and sanctions' or BDS. The purpose of this BDS campaign is to distract attention away from Radical Iran's Nuclear plans and to allow Hamas and Hezbollah to attain more weapons.

The Jewish Defence League of Canada will hold a counter protest against the BDS program on Thursday September 10th.

The exact time and location will be announced.

The Jewish Defence League of Canada is calling upon all decent people to join with us and raise Israel and Canada flags high and proud.

For additional information call 416-736-7000

With love of Israel,
Meir Weinstein"
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