Thursday, 11 March 2010

DoubleTapper: IDF Women

IDF Women







DoubleTapper: IDF Women

Israel Matzav: Europeans funding Arab land grabs in Gush Etzion area

Europeans funding Arab land grabs in Gush Etzion area

Jewish activists in the Gush Etzion area claim that European-funded initiatives are allowing 'Palestinians' to lay claim to state land through what sounds a bit like a method called adverse possession. The 'Palestinians' plant olive trees on the land and then after seven years they are able to claim it on their own (think about that the next time you hear stories about 'interference' with the 'Palestinians' olive harvest).

Yehudit Katzover of the Committee for Jewish Shdema told Arutz Sheva's Hebrew newsmagazine this week that her group has been working against the trend for the past five years.

“You can see it everywhere in Judea and Samaria... you can see it along the entire length of the road along Highway 60, especially in the area between [the Jewish communities of] Alon Shvut and Elazar," Katzover said. "There are no private plots of land there at all, but they continue to plant trees there, in order to close around us.”

“We must wake up,” Katzover declared. "We want to catch the hilltops before the Palestinians do. We have appealed to all the authorities with any relevance to the problem, but they have to operate in accordance with the law – and as you know, the wheels of the law turn slowly.”

Katzover claims the Arabs are planting olive trees, and then, after seven years, claim ownership. “That is how they work,” she said. “The Defense Minister is really closing his eyes. When we tried to build houses [in these areas], they destroyed them eight times. When we tried to plant trees, we received orders to cease and desist. To the Arabs, no orders are given – only to Jews. Therefore we call upon everyone to come and join us in the fight to take these hills,” she said.

The Gush Etzion activists note that there is a catch to their struggle, in that if they do nothing in response to Arab plantings, the Arabs take over, while if they (the Jews) initiate a planting of their own, the army comes and throws them off, essentially reserving the land for Arabs.

Given that the Defense Minister already tried and failed to give half the country to Yasser Arafat in 2000, this is not at all surprising. And unfortunately, it's typical of the double standard in Judea and Samaria where Jewish building is frozen so as not to 'predetermine the outcome of negotiations' while 'Palestinian' building continues unabated.

What could go wrong?


Israel Matzav: Europeans funding Arab land grabs in Gush Etzion area

Israel Matzav: Let's get aggressive in answering the 'apartheid' charge

Let's get aggressive in answering the 'apartheid' charge

Two JPost columns suggest that Israel should be more aggressive in answering charges of 'apartheid' that are being made against it overseas. The apartheid charge is an invention of those strange bedfellows - the radical Left and the Islamists. Make no mistake about it, the goal is to cause the disappearance of the Jewish state.

Malcolm Hedding, who grew up in South Africa, explains how the apartheid state operated and why Israel is nothing like it. He suggests that if there are apartheid states in the region today, they are Arab states.

Michael Freund goes a step further and suggests that Israel ought to be answering the apartheid charge by launching Arab Apartheid Week on college campuses.

Well, I say the time has come to stop playing defense and to bring the offense out onto the field. We need to turn the tables and fight back against our opponents by taking the struggle toward their end-zone.

A good place to be start would be to organize an annual “Arab Apartheid Week,” which would highlight the decrepit state of human and political rights throughout the Arab world.

There is a solid case to be made that the Arab states remain the last great outpost of despotism and tyranny on earth, and people need to be reminded as much. Indeed, the Arab world today is a living encyclopedia of outmoded forms of government, from sultanates such as Oman and emirates such as Qatar, to thuggish dictatorships such as Syria and dynastic monarchies along the lines of Jordan. It may be a political scientist’s dream, but it is a nightmare for the hundreds of millions of Arabs chafing under oppression and tyranny.

Basic and fundamental freedoms such as personal autonomy and individual rights are routinely trampled upon, and ethnic and religious minority groups suffer extreme discrimination and intolerance. Just ask Coptic Christians in Egypt, Baha’is in Iran or Shi’ites in Saudi Arabia for starters.

This was borne out most recently by a report issued by Freedom House, the independent Washington-based group that advocates for freedom worldwide. Its annual survey, “Freedom in the World 2010,” would make for eye-opening reading for all those who cry “apartheid” whenever they see a flag with a Star of David.

Consider the following findings:

Of the 18 countries in the Middle East that Freedom House surveyed, only one is considered to be “free.”

And just who might that be? Yep, you guessed it: Israel.

Not a single Arab country – not one! – did Freedom House consider “free.” Three Arab states – Morocco, Lebanon and Kuwait – were labeled “partly free,” while 13 other Arab states as well as Iran merited the dubious distinction of being branded as “not free.”

In effect, then, this means that of the approximately 370 million human beings currently residing in the Middle East, only 2 percent enjoy true freedom – namely those who live in the Jewish state.

So much for “Israeli apartheid.”

Okay, time to start planning for next year. Where do we start?

Israel Matzav: Let's get aggressive in answering the 'apartheid' charge

DoubleTapper: Mossad Hit Squad Surveillance Video Used to Sell Groceries in Israel

Mossad Hit Squad Surveillance Video Used to Sell Groceries in Israel

Mossad Hit Squad Surveillance Video Used to Sell Groceries in Israel

An Israeli supermarket chain has produced a television commercial parodying the assassination of Mahmoud al Mabhouh, the senior Hamas official assassinated in a hotel in Dubai in January

The commercial uses spoof surveillance footage similar to the type released by Dubai police with actors dressed in the disguises worn by the suspected Mossad hit squad.

The ad uses the slogan “Eliminate the prices” and ends with the line “We offer killer prices”

I'll post the full ad when it airs next week.


DoubleTapper: Mossad Hit Squad Surveillance Video Used to Sell Groceries in Israel

Love of the Land: Syrian stories of separation and escape

Syrian stories of separation and escape


Rabbi Elie Abadie MD (photo HSJE)

Bataween
Point of No Return
11 March '10

It was one of the largest ethnic cleansings of modern times, yet the media have largely ignored the mass exodus of Jews from Arab lands. The David Project's Forgotten Refugees film has been trying to remedy this state of affairs, with its poignant stories of discrimination, expulsion and escape. In her comprehensive piece for Community Magazine, Our parents, the refugees, Kelly Jemal Massry recounts stories of Jewish refugees that were not included in the film, such as that of Rabbi Elie Abadie, whose parents fled Syria for Lebanon following the riots of 1947.

Rabbi Elie Abadie of the Safra Synagogue is the child of survivors of the 1947 Syrian riots. The mobs—aided by police the Jews had once trusted—began burning synagogues and sifrei Torot in what became known as the harayik. One day, rioters entered the building in which Rabbi Abadie’s parents lived. Within minutes, Mrs. Abadie heard shrieks of terror. “They were beating Jews, destroying their property, looting stores, ruining businesses,” she recalled.

Escape was risky. Syrian police patrolled the border and imprisoned Jews who were caught trying to cross. Some were daring enough to bribe a well-connected official or walk outside the border where no one would see them. But many of these attempts were unsuccessful, and resulted in death, torture or incarceration. Rabbi Abadie’s parents hid in his grandparents’ house, and a few days later they made separate attempts at escape. His mother obtained a doctor’s permit and took her sons to the Lebanon Mountains, but his father was unsuccessful after several attempts to escape Syria.

In one instance, he was caught by a Syrian guard whom he happened to know. The guard said, “The authorities are after you because you’ve tried to escape several times, and I have orders to arrest you. I’m coming back to arrest you tomorrow.”Mr. Abadie understood the hint, and the very next day, with the help of some friends, he boarded the train to Lebanon. A train official with whom he was acquainted hid him in the cargo hold, warning that if he would sneeze or move a muscle they’d both be caught and killed.

(Read full story)


Love of the Land: Syrian stories of separation and escape

Israel Matzav: In private, Biden went berserk

In private, Biden went berserk

Laura Rozen publishes translated (I assume because there is no link) excerpts of a Shimon Shiffer piece in Thursday's Yediot Aharonot (Hat Tip: Memeorandum).

While standing in front of the cameras, the U.S. vice president made an effort to smile at Binyamin Netanyahu even after having learned on Tuesday that the Interior Ministry had approved plans to build 1,600 housing units in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Ramat Shlomo. But in closed conversations, Joe Biden took an entirely different tone. ...

People who heard what Biden said were stunned. “This is starting to get dangerous for us,” Biden castigated his interlocutors. “What you’re doing here undermines the security of our troops who are fighting in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. That endangers us and it endangers regional peace.”

The vice president told his Israeli hosts that since many people in the Muslim world perceived a connection between Israel’s actions and US policy, any decision about construction that undermines Palestinian rights in East Jerusalem could have an impact on the personal safety of American troops fighting against Islamic terrorism.

First of all, it's important to note that Yediot is Israel's second most Leftist newspaper (after Haaretz). The Israeli Left hates Netanyahu for reasons I discussed at length here. Anything written by almost any regular columnist for Yediot (the Hebrew side of YNet) or Haaretz that goes after Netanyahu has to be taken with a large grain of salt.

Did Biden say that? Well, maybe he did and maybe he didn't. But if he did say it, he is way out of line and his assertion is ridiculous. The Taliban is going to fight harder against American troops in AfPak because Israel is building apartments in Ramat Shlomo? Give me a break. Granted the timing of the announcement was about as personally embarrassing for Biden as it could have been, but to go from there to claiming that Israel building apartments in Jerusalem endangers American troops in AfPak and Iraq is beyond the pale.

Perhaps Shiffer (or the translation) is mistaken and what Biden was discussing attacks by Iran on American troops as a fallout from Israeli attacks on Iran's nuclear weapons program. That would at least be a legitimate concern, although given that Iran is an existential issue for Israel, I don't believe it will or ought to outweigh Israel's protection of its own safety against Iran.

Jennifer Rubin quotes the same three paragraphs that I quoted and adds:

It’s hard to fathom that the vice president would make such a claim. Aside from its nonsensical quality (Does the Taliban attack the U.S. because of apartment building in East Jerusalem?), it is precisely the sort of ill-conceived, bullying message that certainly must convince the Israelis not to place their trust in the American negotiators.

Yes, but I don't believe we need any more convincing on that score.

Another indication that Shiffer went off the deep end is that he refers to Biden as "the greatest friend of Israel ever to have been a member of the U.S. Senate." That's hyperbole at best and downright wrong at worst (would Israel's 'greatest friend' consistently vote against sanctioning Iran?). Even assuming Biden is a great friend of Israel, I see no way you could rank him ahead of Scoop Jackson or Hubert Humphrey, among others.

Israel Matzav: In private, Biden went berserk

Israel Matzav: 70% of 'Israeli Arab' schoolkids see themselves as 'Palestinians'

70% of 'Israeli Arab' schoolkids see themselves as 'Palestinians'

On Wednesday, I blogged an article by JPost 'Palestinian' reporter Khaled Abu Toameh, in which Abu Toameh raised concerns about discrimination against 'Israeli Arabs.' I argued that Abu Toameh's concerns are legitimate and that there is discrimination. But I questioned why if Abu Toameh is correct that 'Israeli Arabs' don't constitute a fifth column, they keep electing Knesset members whose loyalties are to the 'Palestinians' and Syria.

The survey I'm about to show you was a lead headline in Thursday morning's news. The lead headline was that bare majorities of Israeli schoolchildren aged 15-18 believe that Arab Israelis should not be granted rights equal to their Jewish counterparts (50%), Arab Israelis should be prevented from running for Knesset (56%) and Jewish youngsters who defined themselves as religious said they believe the “Death to Arabs” slogan was legitimate (50%).

What the headlines didn't tell us was the following:

The survey further showed that nearly 70% of Arab youngsters living in Israel defined themselves as being “Palestinian patriots,” and that 20% don’t feel a part of the country.

The survey did not elaborate.

If 70% of 'Israeli Arab' kids define themselves as 'Palestinian' patriots, does that make them a fifth column?

Curiously, most 'Israeli Arabs' have no desire to live in 'Palestine.' They railed against Avigdor Lieberman's plan to do a land and population exchange with a putative 'Palestinian state.' Moreover, since Israel started building the 'security fence,' 'Palestinians' from Judea and Samaria have tried moving into Jerusalem to be on the Israeli side of the fence.

So if they'd all rather live under Israeli rule than 'Palestinian' rule, what does it mean that they are 'Palestinian' patriots? I would argue that they want to destroy the Jewish state. But what would they gain from that if they would rather live under us than under the 'Palestinians'? Or could it be that the older generation is more sensible and wants to live under Israel, while the younger generation is much more radical and wants to live in 'Palestine'? If it's the latter, we have a growing problem on our hands, and very little prospect of solving it.


Israel Matzav: 70% of 'Israeli Arab' schoolkids see themselves as 'Palestinians'

Israel Matzav: State Department kisses Gadhafi's butt

State Department kisses Gadhafi's butt

This is a new low for the Obama administration and the US State Department (Hat Tip: Fausta).

The US state department has apologised for comments made about Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s call for jihad against Switzerland.

Department spokesman PJ Crowley, who made the dismissive comments, said they did not reflect US policy and were not intended to offend.

Col Gaddafi had criticised a Swiss vote against the building of minarets and urged Muslims to boycott the country.

Mr Crowley described it as “lots of words, not necessarily a lot of sense.”

Libya and Switzerland are embroiled in a long-running diplomatic row.

Clarification

“I regret that my comments have become an obstacle to further progress in our bilateral relationship,” Mr Crowley said.

What could go wrong?

Read the whole thing.

Israel Matzav: State Department kisses Gadhafi's butt

Israel Matzav: Why don't Christians care?

Why don't Christians care?

John Hinderaker reviews the story of a recent massacre of 500 Christians in Nigeria, and asks a question that I have asked many times on this blog: Why don't Christians care?

Do you remember the "massacre" at Jenin? Of course: Palestinians initially claimed that 500 had been killed, but it turned out that there was no massacre after all. In Nigeria, on the other hand, no one disputes that more than 500 Christians were slaughtered by Muslims. So where is the outrage? I don't know what denomination those Nigerian Christians were, but Lutherans are the most numerous Christian denomination in Africa. I'm a Lutheran, but I have never heard a single word from any church source, local or national, about the mass murder of African Christians. No one seems to care.

...

Why? I can't explain it. Maybe "mainstream" Christianity is dead, except as an appendage of secular liberal opinion. Maybe, as the world's largest religion, Christianity has become so diffused that New World Christians don't much relate to their co-religionists in Africa and Asia. I don't know. What I do know is that it is much more dangerous to publish a cartoon of Mohammed than to slice apart a Christian with a machete.

The answer to John's question is quite simple when you add in one more fact: No one cares when Muslims kill Muslims either (see Sudan).

So when do people care? In Jenin, people cared because the allegation was that Jews were killing Muslims. That will excite the entire world (even if - as in Jenin - it was untrue). And my guess is that people would care if Jews killed Christians, or if Christians killed Muslims, but that has not happened in my memory. But no one is interested in Muslims killing Christians or Muslims killing Muslims. To care would be branded 'Islamophobia.'

Israel Matzav: Why don't Christians care?

Israel Matzav: Now you're talking

Now you're talking

Haaretz reports with great distress that there are some 50,000 Jewish housing units in various stages of planning for Jerusalem neighborhoods that, like Ramat Shlomo, are beyond the 'green line.'

Most of the housing units will be built in predominantly Jewish neighborhoods beyond the Green Line, while a smaller number of them will be built in Arab neighborhoods. The plans for some 20,000 of the apartments are already in advanced stages of approval and implementation, while plans for the remainder have yet to be submitted to the planning committees.

The planned construction includes the 1,600 homes in the ultra-Orthodox East Jerusalem neighborhood of Ramat Shlomo that were approved Tuesday. Saying the decision undermines peace talks, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden has publicly condemned the move, which the Interior Ministry announced during his visit to Israel.

...

Municipal planning officials said the only direction in which Jerusalem can grow is eastward. The municipality ruled out westward development after the controversial Safdie Plan - a massive construction project planned for the hills west of the capital - was axed three years ago under pressure from environmental groups.

Massive construction within Jerusalem's older neighborhoods was also scrapped, since it clashed with other considerations: keeping buildings low, preserving historic buildings and streets, and retaining quality of life.

Ir Amim data show that the construction plans in advanced stages of approval are for Gilo (3,000 housing units), Har Homa (1,500), Pisgat Ze'ev (1,500), Givat Hamatos (3,500), Ramot (1,200), Armon Hanetziv (600) and Neveh Yaakov (450).

Several construction plans are not being advanced at the moment, including a plan to build 1,300 housing units in a neighborhood in the south of the city. In addition, a plan to make Atarot an ultra-Orthodox neighborhood was put on hold after Mayor Nir Barkat decided to revitalize the industrial area there.

There's a severe housing shortage in Jerusalem. To put it in perspective, in my (beyond the 'green line') Jerusalem neighborhood, a storage room made over into a one-bedroom apartment rents for about $600 per month. The other night, I saw a sign for an apartment the size of ours which is renting for NIS 6000 per month (about $1,600 at today's exchange rate). That's way beyond the budget of most families in my neighborhood.

Part of the reason for the housing shortage is that most of the apartments built in Jerusalem in the last 10-15 years have been luxury apartments that are bought by foreigners and sit empty for most of the year.

Because Jerusalem rent is so expensive, young families are trying to move out of the city. But the places that are cheaper that would be attractive to ultra-Orthodox families who would like to be near Jerusalem - Kiryat Sefer and Beitar Ilit - are over the 'green line' where the government has implemented a 'settlement freeze.' So they are looking for solutions in Jerusalem.

People have to live somewhere. Unfortunately, most of the 'international community' would rather that we just leave.
Israel Matzav: Now you're talking

Israel Matzav: Malmo, Sweden: A dangerous place for Jews

Malmo, Sweden: A dangerous place for Jews

Malmo, Sweden is a dangerous place to be a Jew these days. Tundra Tabloid reports that the rabbi of Malmo, Schneur Kesselman, notes that he hears 'Heil Hitler' and 'F***ing Jew' all the time now in Malmo. And that's the least of it.

Forget about the mythical unicorn of "Islamophobia", with more Muslims wanting to pour into Europe than ever before, the Organization of the Islamic Conference's habitual "cry of wolf", is falling on deaf ears. Jewish communities are being pressured in every quarter of Europe, save Finland, with Jews heading for greener pastures elsewhere as politicians choose to be more attentive to their larger Muslim constituency, at the expense of their smaller Jewish communities. That's the reality of it.

TT then quotes the following from the Sweden, Israel and the Jews blog.
One of those exposed to anti-Semitic hate crime is Rabbi Shneur Kesselman of the Malmö Jewish community. He states in an interview with Expressen on March 5th that “ever since I came here people have been shouting ‘f***ing Jew’ and ‘heil Hitler’ at me.”

What is worth noting about Rabbi Kesselman’s statement in Expressen is that out of the 65 incidents in 2009, according to the Skåne police, three of these incidents were directed at Kesselman. Yet according to Kesselman, 15 separate reports were filed concerning anti-Semitic hate crimes aimed towards him. The worst incident involved someone trying to run him over with a car. Apparently, the authorities have a different method for calculating these figures, as the full number of incidents does not appear in the Skåne police statistics.


...

The most common anti-Semitic hate crimes have been graffiti or engraved swastikas or Stars of David on buildings or cars but there have also been several arson attacks on Jewish sites in Helsingborg as well as Malmö Jewish community.

According to Expressen, some of the most serious anti-Semitic hate crimes occurred in Northwest Skåne where a family from Helsingborg was threatened with death and a man later tried to run their car off the road. In another northern Skåne town a man is suspected of etching a swastika into the hand of another person with sulphuric acid.
Read the whole thing.

Hey folks - it's time to come home.

Israel Matzav: Malmo, Sweden: A dangerous place for Jews

Israel Matzav: CJP Boston: Even dumber than we thought

CJP Boston: Even dumber than we thought

Last week, I reported that CJP - Boston, the local Jewish federation, has been funding the anti-Israel activities of George Soros' NGO's. Hillel Stavis of Solomonia now takes that story one step further. CJP is also apparently funding the Sommerville Divestment Project, one of the most virulently anti-Israel local groups in the United States.

When we did our original analysis of The Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Boston cash grants to organizations that demonstrated extreme animus towards Israel (Guess Who's Dining at CJP's Trough?, What We Should Expect From CJP) -- and in some cases -- advocated the dissolution of the Jewish State - we missed possibly the most extreme, anti-Israel group of all - The Haymarket People's Fund. This group maintains an extremist agenda against Israel.

The Haymarket People's Fund has bankrolled the Somerville Divestment Project (SDP) for years. They have tried in vain to convince the voters of that city close to Boston to:

Reduce the military and political support given to Israel by the U.S. in order to end the military occupation of Palestine and instead have their country support human rights of Palestinians including the Right of Return. They use grassroots organizing and education to advocate for human rights of all Palestinians.

...

Most shockingly of all, while the Boston Jewish Community Relations Council was participating in the campaign opposing the Somerville Divestment Project, its parent, the CJP, was funding (most likely, indirectly) the SDP through the Haymarket grant! Even if the grant was earmarked for another Haymarket project, the overall, intensely anti-Israel nature of the charity should have been recognized. After all, no mainstream Jewish philanthropy would fund Hamas' "social service" wing and then claim that no money was given to the "military" wing.

Of course, we don't believe that CJP is anti-Israel. They fund and organize wonderful and indispensable programs in Haifa and other Israeli cities. They support strongly pro-Zionist organizations directly and through their Donor Advised Funds as we have noted. They were instrumental in defeating the SDP ballot initiative.

But who's minding the store at 126 High Street? Spending roughly one minute googling Haymarket People's Fund will reveal their extreme, anti Israel agenda. Funding an organization like Haymarket is beyond the pale. Can you imagine the NAACP funding a white supremacist organization?

Read the whole thing (yes, there's more).

Israel Matzav: CJP Boston: Even dumber than we thought

Israel Matzav: How to move the 'peace process' along

How to move the 'peace process' along

David Pryce-Jones argues that the 'peace process' is not getting anywhere because the 'Palestinians' are happy with the status quo.

The Palestinians are happy with the way things are; they see no reason for change; the present situation is playing profitably into their hands. If they'd really wanted a state, they could have had one any time since the 1992 Oslo Accords. Israel, the United States, the European Union, and even Saudi Arabia implore them to have a state. But why should they? All these well-wishers are pumping money to them, and a state would force them to spend it on administration rather than themselves. They also have the pleasure of observing everyone — and specially Washington — putting pressure on Israel and making it unpopular. Sixteen-hundred more settlements gives them grounds for 1,600 more complaints, and then sitting down and rubbing their hands in expectation of commiseration and rewards. A state would oblige them to pull their own chestnuts out of the fire.

Pryce-Jones argues that the way to move the 'peace process' along is to make the 'Palestinians' unhappy. And that the Obama administration has just missed an opportunity to do just that.

Read the whole thing.


Israel Matzav: How to move the 'peace process' along

Israel Matzav: Contiguous or not contiguous?

Contiguous or not contiguous?

I've discussed the question of whether the 'Palestinian state' - if there ever is one - ought to be contiguous or not and what that means for Israel. I last discussed it here.

Is Joe Biden playing both sides of that question? Here's what he told the 'Palestinians' in Ramallah on Wednesday:

US Vice President Joe Biden said Wednesday the Palestinians deserve a "viable" independent state with contiguous territory, seeking to reassure them of US support after the Interior Ministry on Tuesday approved a plan to expand the Jewish Ramat Shlomo neighborhood in east Jerusalem.

...

"The United States pledges to play an active as well as a sustainable role in these talks," Biden said. He stressed the Palestinians deserve an independent state that is "viable and contiguous," meaning the territory should not be broken up by Israeli settlement enclaves.

And here's what he told Israelis in Tel Aviv on Thursday:

Regarding the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, the US vice president called for a two-states solution, saying that peace with Palestinians is "profoundly" in Israel's interest, and stressing that Washington is committed to Israel's security.

"From my experience, the one precondition for progress is that the rest of the world knows this - there is no space between the US and Israel when it comes to security - none. That's the only time that progress has been made," he said.

Biden went on to say that the "status-quo is not sustainable," because Israel could not remain a Jewish state while the Arabs population continues to grow and a Palestinian state has not been established.

PA President Mahmoud Abbas and PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad are both real partners for peace, Biden said, urging Israel to seize the opportunity to achieve real peace with the Palestinians.

And here's more:

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden says "good faith negotiations" can recognize Israeli security needs and the Palestinian goal for a viable state.

Biden is urging Israel to make a serious attempt to reach peace with the Palestinians. He says an agreement is "profoundly" in the interest of both Israelis and Palestinians.

In a speech at Tel Aviv University on Thursday, Biden also repeatedly voiced Washington's commitment to Israel's security, trying to allay any concerns the Jewish state might have.

But he also said an end to the conflict would restore to the Palestinians "the fundamental dignity and self-respect that their current predicament denies them."

I haven't seen a transcript yet, but I recall him saying 'viable' again this morning, but not 'contiguous.'

Hmmm.

By the way, whether or not it's contiguous, a 'Palestinian state' in Judea and Samaria - even in all of Judea and Samaria - would not be economically viable. It would be resource poor and lacking transport facilities. That's yet another elephant in the room that's being ignored.

Israel Matzav: Contiguous or not contiguous?

Israel Matzav: Netanyahu reassures Biden there won't be any building in 'east' Jerusalem?

Netanyahu reassures Biden there won't be any building in 'east' Jerusalem?

Prime Minister Netanyahu's office has released a statement regarding the Ramat Shlomo announcement. Curiously, it hit Twitter during Biden's speech.

(Communicated by the Prime Minister's Media Adviser)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu yesterday (Wednesday), 10 March 2010, summoned Interior Minister Eli Yishai and expressed his displeasure at the timing of the announcement of another stage in the planning process of a Jerusalem building project.

In light of the ongoing disagreement between Israel and the US on building in Jerusalem, Prime Minister Netanyahu said there was no need to advance the planning process this week and instructed Interior Minister Yishai to adopt procedures to prevent such an incident from recurring.

Prime Minister Netanyahu spoke to US Vice President Joe Biden and expressed his regret over the unfortunate timing. The Prime Minister informed the Vice President that this specific project had moved through various planning stages over several years. The final approval process will in all likelihood take more than a year and the beginning of actual construction would likely take several years.

While it's true that it will take a long time for the permits to be approved, I really don't like those last two sentences. We've seen stories before about Netanyahu instituting a de facto building freeze in 'east' Jerusalem. Has he reassured Biden that the de facto building freeze in 'east' Jerusalem remains in effect? Anyone have Ariel Attias' phone number?


Israel Matzav: Netanyahu reassures Biden there won't be any building in 'east' Jerusalem?

Israel Matzav: Biden's message of reassurance

Biden's message of reassurance

Some comments from Shmuel Rosner on Biden's speech (I guess he didn't wait for the questions). I'm sticking my comments in between his.

2. Netanyahu's advisers asked that Biden will make it clear that there's no "crisis" between the governments. It is clear to me that both sides do not want this to become a crisis. Generally speaking, Biden stuck to the initial goal of the visit, and made this speech about reassuring Israelis, about making them more trustful of the Obama administration.

I agree, but I found that somewhat surprising. What we saw over the last two days was real anger from Biden. Now, I have the sense that the crisis is blowing over.

3. It's enough for both sides to have the crisis with the Palestinians not wanting to re-ignite negotiations. With the Palestinians one knows it's an excuse, not the reason: When they agreed to join negotiations they knew Israel weren't freezing east Jerusalem construction. What they do now is one of two things.

A. Taking the opportunity to withdraw from talks they didn't even want to join (but were forced to do so under American pressure).

Or:

B. Trying to prolong the crisis just to score a couple more points and make Israel look bad for couple more days.

In other words: The Palestinians move is either against the Americans (option A) or against Israel (option B).

Well, Thursday morning's paper said that the 'Palestinians' would enter into the talks (which was why I wrote what I did in the previous post), but now that appears to have changed.

5. It is time for Americans to realize that mentioning Golda Meir and praising her doesn't really make Israelis swoon. This isn't the first time for me to write this - to no avail. But I have patience:

I heard the speech made by Speaker Nancy Pelosi to the Israeli Knesset. It was a fine speech but revealed, yet again, a common cultural misunderstanding by Americans in regard to former Prime Minister Golda Meir. Americans still adore this unique and courageous woman, Israelis remember her mostly for her failure in the 1973 war. No Israeli leader in his right mind would bring up Golda as an example of excellence and distinction, but I heard many Americans do it.

100% correct.

6. Biden was here "to remind you" - namely Israelis - that the US is a friend, that the Obama administration will continue this "chain" of friendly Presidents.That's the goal - that's the key statement made in this speech. The rest is commentary.

7. "Make no mistakes about America's resolve". Repeating this sentence twice can be a sign of, well, resolve. Or an attempt to compensate for luck of resolve by raising ones voice - twice. I'm sure Biden knows that many Israelis do question America's resolve. That many Arabs believe there's no such thing as America's resolve. That what's happening with Iran in recent years is not a sign of resolve - the repeated "we-will-not-allow" speeches followed by insufficient means of prevention - is a demonstration of weakness, not one of resolve.

The fact that Obama did not come here, the fact that Obama and Clinton have both made statements confirming that the goal is to avoid war and not to stop Iran from going nuclear, and the fact that Clinton has admitted that sanctions will take 'months,' speak much louder than Biden raising his voice.

8. A nuclearized Iran will be a "sorry outcome" - meaning it is also a conceivable outcome. Not one that the US will not allow, or will not tolerate.

9. Note the crowd: They were cheering Biden most loudly when he condemned the east Jerusalem construction announcement. If Biden is smart he will realize that other Israeli might be ashamed of the sloppy behavior of their government in recent days, but aren't as enthusiastic about having their government condemned by foreign leaders.

Yes. The student body at Tel Aviv University - from which much of the crowd presumably came - is far to the Left of Israel's mainstream.

I stand by my characterization. Biden is the Shimon Peres of the US. Anyone in the US agree or disagree? (I have been in Israel for 18.5 years and don't really have that much exposure to Biden). By the way, the Biden-Peres comparison is why I thought the graphic at the top was particularly appropriate.


Israel Matzav: Biden's message of reassurance

Israel Matzav: Watch Biden's speech live from Tel Aviv University

Watch Biden's speech live from Tel Aviv University

If this works, you should be able to see Jumpin' Joe Biden's speech via livestream from Tel Aviv University.

Let's go to the videotape livestream



UPDATE 11:20 AM

Speech is starting late. Maybe Biden has to rewrite his condemnation of Israel over Ramat Shlomo.

UPDATE 11:34 AM

We seem to be about to start. I can't watch the livestream on the blog. It shows up when I preview the post, but when I publish it, all you get is a line with a link to the Justin.tv site. So I'm watching on that. If you're able to watch, please let me know.

UPDATE 11:40 AM

No speech yet and now the sound seems to be gone.

UPDATE 11:52 AM

Why Biden's late:

What had originally been intended as “the big ‘show them the love’ speech," as one member of the American Jewish community in touch with the Obama administration put it, will now emphasize as well that Israel has to take more tangible steps toward peace.

“The speech was reworked yesterday,” an administration source said. While it’s mostly about the strength of the U.S.- Israeli relationship, he said, “it also has the ‘but you have to do things yourselves for peace’ part – which is now stronger than it was before yesterday.”

While Biden will not let the Obama administration be dragged back into a public row with Israel’s right-wing government over Jewish settlements, sources in and out of the administration say, there is no doubt that the Israeli government’s announcement Tuesday of plans to build another 1,600 Jewish housing units in East Jerusalem was an embarrassing start to Biden’s visit.

No great shock there.

By the way, the 'proximity talks' are back on. More on that later.

UPDATE 12:13 PM

If you can't view the livestream, go here. He's starting now.

UPDATE 12:14 PM

Biden starts with warm words. Note how he keeps saying how Obama loves us. Right....

UPDATE 12:17 PM

Still rambling on. If he keeps this up, people here will be pleased. But I don't think he will continue it.

UPDATE 12:32 PM

Same nonsense about terrorists being recruited because of poverty.

And now he gets to Iran, which he says flat out is developing nuclear weapons. He says that the US is determined to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. He says that he understands that it's an existential threat to Israel.

But does Obama agree? Will he take action to stop it?

UPDATE 12:35 PM

Note nothing from Biden about preventing war with Iran. The problem is that Obama keeps talking about preventing war.

Calls on Arab states to support 'peace' between Israel and the 'Palestinians' and to take their own steps. Good luck with that.

Note Biden doesn't use the word 'contiguous' regarding the 'Palestinian state.' He did use that term yesterday.

UPDATE 12:37 PM

Progress only made when there is no space between US and Israel when it comes to security. That's not what Obama told 'Jewish leaders' last summer. Does Obama agree with Biden now?

UPDATE 12:38 PM

Says status quo not sustainable. Repeats demographic lie (I will try to add links later, but it's a lie).

And here we go on the 'settlements'....

UPDATE 12:42 PM

Talks about breaking 'cycle of violence' - please....

He says no one suggested two-state solution in 1970's. He's wrong. What was the partition resolution if not a two-state solution. It's just that there were no 'Palestinians' then.

It almost sounds like he's trying to pump Netanyahu up. Netanyahu doesn't need it.

(Sorry - I had to reboot the browser here).

UPDATE 12:54 PM

He's finished. Much shorter than Obama. I could still hear him most of the time that my browser was jammed. He was saying that it takes a friend to tell us that building in Jerusalem was a bad idea. There was no threatening. He was much more diplomatic than I think Obama would have been.

He's taking questions.

He says that until the parties can sit down and talk together there is no real process. He says it's very difficult. But he's an optimist.

He thinks sanctions most likely to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons and he says that we have to move forward on sanctions.

He says that 'Palestinians' see what Israel has done and would like to emulate it (in substance). If only.... He believes that Arabs will eventually reconcile themselves to Israel. He's dreaming. He says that it's 'just reality' that countries that have hated us will need to take actions other than war to accommodate their future, because the alternative is 'unthinkable.' He doesn't get ethnic conflict. He reminds me of the Israeli dreamers of the 90's who said that we have to have peace with the 'Palestinians' because there's no alternative and the 'Palestinians' will recognize that too. Well, guess what: They didn't.

Biden is an American Shimon Peres.


Israel Matzav: Watch Biden's speech live from Tel Aviv University

Israel Matzav: Netanyahu v. Biden

Netanyahu v. Biden

David Hazony apparently agrees with me that the timing of the announcement of new construction in Jerusalem's Ramat Shlomo neighborhood was not coincidental.

What Netanyahu knows, and Biden apparently does not, is that the vast majority of Israelis, including those who favor a land-for-peace deal with the Palestinians, do not, and will never, look at Jerusalem as a settlement or at residents of its neighborhoods as “settlers.” We can fully understand why Biden might have thought the move to be “precisely the kind of step that undermines the trust we need right now.” At a time when he’s trying to show the American public that he and the president are capable of bringing a new era of peace in the region, such an announcement certainly does not make his job easier. But unlike the U.S., Israel is an actual party to the negotiations and has a right to draw red lines. One such line that must not be crossed is undoing the unification of Jerusalem that happened in 1967 and that still captures the imagination and commitment of both the great majority of Israelis and a very large number of Diaspora Jews. Jerusalem is home to more than 700,000 citizens, of whom two-thirds are Jews. It has granted far greater and more liberal access to non-Jews worshiping at its shrines than the Palestinians have ever done with regard to Jewish (and Christian) freedom in the territories it controls. This is a great deal to ask in time of ongoing war.

One of the worst things about the Oslo Accords was the logic that said, “Let’s take care of the easy things first, and wait on the hard issues until later.” And so, while the Palestinians were allowed to create a heavily armed, ideologically belligerent, terror-supporting government in the territories Israel vacated, Israel gained nothing in terms of security, while the “hard issues” like Jerusalem and the repatriation of millions of Palestinians remained up in the air, not as questions to be resolved, but as threats hanging over Israelis’ heads: You can give us these, and face demographic and symbolic decimation; or you can refuse, and face a renewal of violence. When it became clear to Arafat that Israel had no intention of giving in on these core issues, all the “trust” that had been built was suddenly meaningless. He launched the second intifada, and the rest is too well known.

In making the move on Jerusalem, the Israeli government is trying to avoid the ambiguities that were the undoing of Oslo. Anyone hoping for a successful negotiation leading to the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel, they are saying, had better forget about the division of Jerusalem. Sometimes, it’s the timing that drives the point home.

Indeed. Jennifer Rubin adds an insider's look at the language used by Biden regarding the decision to build in Ramat Shlomo. It's frightening to see the list of items to which the Obama administration compares 1,600 apartments in Ramat Shlomo:

And notice the language Biden employed: “condemn.” A Capitol Hill Republican leadership adviser sends this keen observation:

What kind of language is this? Isn’t “condemn” reserved for things like beating dissidents, or even terror attacks? Whatever you think of the decision, the Obama administration couldn’t have said they felt it undermined the peace process, were “very disappointed,” saw it as “a step backward” or something like that?

A quick search of the White House website shows that in June, Gibbs said Obama “condemned the violence” in Iran.

In May, Obama released a statement on Aung San Suu Kyi, saying, “I strongly condemn her house arrest and detention, which have also been condemned around the world.”

The same month, Obama “strongly condemn[ed]” a North Korean nuclear test and missile launch.

In July, Obama said, “I strongly condemn the attacks that occurred this morning in Jakarta.”

The October bombings in Baghdad prompted Obama to say, “I strongly condemn these outrageous attacks on the Iraqi people…”

Last month, we had this: “The United States and the European Union condemn the continuing human rights violations in Iran since the June 12 election.”

The adviser wonders whether Obama and company really think a housing complex is ”on the same plane as all these things that rightly deserved condemnation.” In Obama’s skewed vision, it seems so. For this crowd, allies are fair game for vitriol, but diplomatic niceties take priority over criticism of despots.

I'd love to know who the Republican adviser was (Jennifer, if you tell me, I won't post it). But if any of you are still wondering why the US no longer has power over influence on Israel, the word 'condemn' ought to make it clear.

Israel Matzav: Netanyahu v. Biden

Israel Matzav: Sheikh Muhammad Tantawi of al-Azhar dies of heart attack

Sheikh Muhammad Tantawi of al-Azhar dies of heart attack

Sheikh Muhammad Tantawi, who had been the Sheikh of Cairo's al-Azhar University since 1995, died of a heart attack on Wednesday while on a visit to Saudi Arabia. He was 81 years old. There's a fairly balanced obituary for Tantawi here.

Perhaps most public was his battle with al-Qaradawy, Islamists, nationalists, and many on the left over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In 1996, Tantawi became the first major Sunni figure to oppose suicide bombings in reaction to a particularly bloody attack on Israeli civilians that year. But within weeks, he backtracked in the face of a press campaign against him and called the bomber a "martyr." He battled the Mufti at the time, Sheikh Nasr Farid Wassel, over whether suicide bombings were acceptable. His meetings with Israeli figures, such as Israel's head rabbi [Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau in 1997. CiJ] or Shimon Peres, made many indignant, particularly after the Oslo process collapsed. It made it worse that he constantly waffled on the issue, pretending not to have recognized Peres. In the context of the war in Gaza and Egypt's shift of policy towards the Palestinians, as well as Peres' bloody past, this was seen as outrageous. The irony is that there has long been a rumor that Tantawi's doctoral thesis, titled "The Children of Israel in the Quran and Sunna", is believed to have been removed from al-Azhar's library because of its un-PC views of Jews.

I had the impression, for which this post provides some support, that Tantawi wanted to tone down - if not reconcile - the disputes between Sunni Muslims and Jews. Unfortunately, the askanim (a concept with which many Orthodox Jews - certainly in Israel - are familiar) would not let him do so.

Israel Matzav: Sheikh Muhammad Tantawi of al-Azhar dies of heart attack

Israel Matzav: Israeli supermarket spoof of Dubai liquidation

Israeli supermarket spoof of Dubai liquidation

The day got off to a late start - the power went off during the night and without the alarm clock, I did not wake up for my normal sunrise service. Now, I have to drive the boys to school or they will be late. And many of the roads here are closing from 9:00 - 11:00 for Biden to go to Tel Aviv.

I will be liveblogging Biden's speech at 11:00 am Israel time. If I get back by then....

In the meantime, here's a good story (Hat Tip: Will).

In the advert for Mahsanei Kimat Hinam shops, disguised customers prowl the supermarket's aisles and an actress wearing a wide-brimmed hat says she: "cannot admit to anything". The final line is: "We offer killer prices".

Advertising executive Sefi Shaked said the campaign was inspired by the original footage.

"We were fascinated by the technique of using surveillance cameras instead of high-production cameras, and the latest events in Dubai have us a great opportunity," he said.

"It's a parody, a take-off of what happened in Dubai. All the Israeli television comedy shows have done it, so why shouldn't we?" he added.

I'll try to find the video later.

UPDATE 3:55 PM

I didn't find the whole commercial, but I did find a report about it from British TV, so let's go to the videotape.



Israel Matzav: Israeli supermarket spoof of Dubai liquidation

Elder of Ziyon: Islamic Jihad reminds everyone that Jews are inherently evil

Elder of Ziyon: Islamic Jihad reminds everyone that Jews are inherently evil

Elder of Ziyon: PalArabs seething and inciting over Hurva Synagogue

Elder of Ziyon: PalArabs seething and inciting over Hurva Synagogue

Elder of Ziyon: The likely next Al Azhar leader - a "moderate"

Elder of Ziyon: The likely next Al Azhar leader - a "moderate"

DoubleTapper: Dubai Police have now really almost solved the case

Dubai Police have now really almost solved the case

Now the Dubai police are 99% sure it was the Mossad that liquidated Hamas terrorist and arms dealer Mahmoud al-Mabhouh.

That's much closer then the 99% from 2 days ago...


Actual News Video (no actors, really!)


In the meantime,
interest in enployment in the Mossad, Mossad memorabilia and Mossad gear is high.





DoubleTapper: Dubai Police have now really almost solved the case

Love of the Land: The Games We Play

The Games We Play


Marc Prowisor
Yesha Views
11 March '10

One of the great game boards of the world is and always has been the Middle East, Israel especially. Since the time of Abraham, when he was given some insights regarding the Real Estate of the region, this area has been coveted by every power in the world. It seems that just because it was promised to the Jewish people, every one wants a piece of it.

Israel has no great amounts of natural resources, no oil, no water or great natural gas deposits. Our only and most valuable resource that we have is the Jewish people, and the only time the land of Israel flourishes is when we are there, en masse.

The amount of good and knowledge that comes out of Israel and the Jewish people in Israel is not proportionate to the size of the people and land, the numbers of Nobel Prizes, Awards, Technological and Medical Advances, to name a few categories is renown and amazing. This happens most when there is an Israel with Jews in it, and the most advances for our people and the world have occurred since 1967, since we have been back in our land, all of our land.

This is not a coincidence it is a simple fact.

In fact, if we look back at history, when did the Arab world start taking a renewed interest in Israel? Only since the Jewish people started returning to their land.

The early Jewish returnees had no choice but to revive the land and by doing this, more jobs and opportunities became available. Suddenly a flower bloomed in the desert, and this caught the eyes not just of the world, but of course the Arabs of the region, from Syria, the Eastern region of then Palestine, today called Jordan and Egypt. Simply out of seeking a better life for themselves from amidst the squalor they were (and are) used to, they came to Israel to be near the Jews, to take advantage of work and opportunities, to make things better for themselves. No illusions, straight up, they were not looking for a homeland, a spiritual renewal, they were simple opportunists, seeing the possibilities of a better life they came to the Jews and to Israel (which was by the way called Palestine at the time).

(Read full article)


Love of the Land: The Games We Play

Love of the Land: No wonder he's smiling...

No wonder he's smiling...




Melanie Phillips
The Spectator
10 March '10

Israel is in the doghouse with America because it revealed during the visit by US Vice-President Joe Biden that it was building more houses for Israelis in east Jerusalem. According to Biden and outraged western received opinion, this ‘undermines peace efforts’.

Why? To be more precise, why does this initiative – or indeed any of the ‘settlements’ -- undermine peace efforts while the actual reason for the absence of peace, the fact that the Abbas administration has said it will never accept a Jewish state of Israel and refuses to renounce the Arab aim of ending Israel's existence, the sole reason for eight decades of aggression, terrorism and war in the Middle East, is not even mentioned?

Biden also said:

the Palestinians deserve a ‘viable’ independent state with contiguous territory

Why? What have they done to deserve it?

(Read full post)

Related: Nobody deserves a murderer-state





Love of the Land: No wonder he's smiling...

Love of the Land: Jewish Time for the Jewish State

Jewish Time for the Jewish State


Michael Fuah
Manhigut Yehudit
25 Adar 5770

How many times have you asserted that "everything is under control?" Is that really true? We live in a world that is time-oriented. Everything is scheduled and anticipated and as we perceive it - under control. But do we control our time or does time control us?

The Western approach that plans and controls everything finds its expression is its solar calendar. In the Western calendar, everything works on a precise schedule. Every month has a pre-determined amount of days, there is one day added to February every four years and the sun remains a source of constancy. It makes us feel in control and easy to forget about G-d, Who created the sun and all the rules of nature.

The Moslem calendar is lunar - shorter than the solar calendar. It does not use extra days to balance the seasons. Thus, it is a calendar that travels around the seasons; a Moslem holiday will occur in different seasons in different years. The Moslem calendar expresses a reality in which man is out of control, dependant on outside factors such as "fate."

The Jewish calendar, about which we read this Shabbat, (Parshat Hachodesh) creates the proper synthesis between a calendar that preserves the basis of the seasons like the solar calendar, while remaining in synch with the waxing and waning of the moon. It gives order to our lives, while reminding us that G-d controls the world.

Today, the Jewish calendar is in exile. It has been pre-determined and no longer depends upon the sighting of the new moon and the Sanhedrin's decree of the new month. As we emerge from our long exile and return to our Jewish heritage, we must also return to our Jewish calendar.

"This month is the head of all months for you. It is the first for you of the months of the year." (This week's Torah maftir reading, Exodus 12:2). G-d gives the Jewish People control over the year. It is their wise men who determine when the months will start and when to insert a leap year. The Jewish People control time; time does not control them.

It is time to begin our return to the Jewish calendar. The best place to start is the school system, which can easily schedule its summer vacation and return to school according to Jewish dates. If we would decide that the first day of school would coincide with the first day of the month of Elul, the two months of summer vacation would necessarily be the Hebrew months of Tamuz and Av. When the kids are on vacation, their parents prefer to be on vacation and slowly but surely, Israeli society will return to its Jewish calendar. This will be one more step in transforming Israel from the State of the Jews to a Jewish State that illuminates the world with its message of true freedom for all.

Shabbat Shalom,

Michael Fuah

Love of the Land: Jewish Time for the Jewish State

Love of the Land: The Corrie Circus is back in town

The Corrie Circus is back in town


Judy Balint
Jerusalem Diaries
11 March '10

As the Rachel Corrie circus comes around yet again--this time in the form of her parents demanding unspecified compensation from Israel's Defense Ministry through legal proceedings in a Haifa court--it's worth taking a look back at the bizarre and tragic circumstances of Corrie's death.

This is a reprint of a 2008 article I published in frontpagemag about the Corrie case:

The news that a senior Islamic Jihad terrorist, Shadi Sukiya, was captured by an elite anti-terror unit of the Israel Defense Forces while hiding out in the Jenin offices of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) did not make a ripple in the flood of coverage from the Iraqi front in late March 2003.

Just eleven days earlier, on March 16, the ISM did make world headlines when Rachel Corrie, a 23-year-old ISM member, was run over by an Israeli bulldozer in Rafah and died of her injuries.

Maybe the fact that a "peace organization" was found to be defending terrorists twice in a two-week period will factor into the inquiry called by several Washington state congressional representatives into the circumstances of Rachel Corrie's death.

With the fifth anniversary of Corrie's death having just passed us, only one thing remains certain about the events of March 16: Corrie died in Rafah, on the southern edge of the Gaza Strip, under very questionable circumstances.

Related: The Upcoming Rachel Corrie Trial: Go After Her Real Killers

The questions remain: Is Israel responsible for Corrie's death, or do the doctors at the Arab hospital where she was taken still alive after the accident bear any responsibility? What about the ISM that organizes protests in a closed military zone and encourages its members to play cat and mouse among the tanks and bulldozers? Or the Arabs who invite the "internationals" to risk their lives in a war zone? How she died, exactly where she passed her last moments and who should take the blame for Rachel Corrie's death are questions that demand answers.

The inconsistencies in eyewitness testimony raise doubts about the simplistic conclusions drawn ever since the event.

By all accounts, Rachel Corrie was one of a group of protesters attempting to disrupt the work of two IDF bulldozers leveling ground to detonate explosives in an area rife with terrorist activity. The bulldozers moved to a different area to avoid the protesters, and Corrie became separated from the group. Some of the agitators stood with a banner, while Corrie picked up a bullhorn and yelled slogans at the driver encased in the small cabin of the dozer. This went on for several hours on the afternoon of March 16. It's the kind of activity favored by the young pro-Palestinian types who make up the ISM.

(Read full article)

Related : Rachel Corrie's Dreams or ...."The (Self-)Deceit of Rachel Corrie"

Love of the Land: The Corrie Circus is back in town

Love of the Land: Lying in Gaza

Lying in Gaza


Ben Cohen
Z-Word Blog
09 March '10

A group of friends in London alerted me to this grubby little piece by a British Labour Party Member of Parliament, Bob Marshall-Andrews, concerning his recent visit to Gaza. Upon reading it, I was struck by various thoughts, not least the degree to which Marshall-Andrews words will be welcomed by the Hamas cheerleaders who compose the Palestinian solidarity movement, in marked contrast to the fierce condemnation with which this blog, and others like it, will greet his compendium of antisemitism-laced falsehoods. Why bother to refute such lies, one might ask, when those of us who defend Israel are at irreconcilable odds with those who demonize her, when any charge of antisemitism we make is bound to be dismissed as another tired attempt to muzzle debate? The most satisfactory answer I can come up with is that some things - and Marshall-Andrews article is one of them - are so odious that they cannot pass without rebuke.

To work, then. Here’s how Marshall-Andrews sets the scene:

“Bags of cement are slit open by grinning ringletted guards. Having destroyed they maintain the destruction.”

The “ringlets” he refers to are known, in Hebrew, as pe’ot, the sidelocks worn by ultraorthodox Jews. Now, I’ve spent a great deal of time in Israel and I can tell you that most Israeli soldiers don’t wear pe’ot. So what visual image is Marshall-Andrews trying to conjure up here? One of a people that rejoices in radical evil, their grinning faces framed by those unmistakeably Jewish ringlets.

(Read full article)


Love of the Land: Lying in Gaza

Love of the Land: New law creates 3 million stakeholders in peace

New law creates 3 million stakeholders in peace


Bataween
Point of No Return
11 March '10

From Nathan Jeffay of The Forward, the first real comment piece to be published since the passing of the Knesset bill requiring compensation for Jewish refugees from Arab countries was passed on 22 February. The piece says that all Israel's Zionist parties supported the new law. Some Israelis, however, voice doubts about linking Palestinian and Jewish refugees, based on the myth that the Palestinians can be exonerated from responsibility for the plight of Jewish refugees. This view is not supported by the facts: the Mufti of Jerusalem played a key role in dragging the Arab League into conflict with the Jewish state, and for decades actively incited violence and antisemitism against Jewish citizens of Arab countries.

"The plight of the estimated 856,000 Jews who were forced to leave Arab countries after the establishment of the State of Israel has played a minimal role so far in negotiations for Middle East peace. But on February 22, the Knesset adopted a law under which any Israeli government entering into peace talks must use those talks to advance a compensation claim for those who became Israeli citizens.

The impact on the Middle East peace process is unclear. But according to the law’s supporters, its implications for Jews from Arab countries is substantial.

“This is a historic decision that will make peace in the Middle East about justice for everyone,” said Isaac Devash, the lobbyist who brought the various communities together around the legislative proposal and then took it to the Knesset. Devash, a Tel Aviv businessman and child of Libyan Jews, is a volunteer with the New York-based group Justice for Jews From Arab Countries.

(Read full article)


Love of the Land: New law creates 3 million stakeholders in peace
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