Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren's talk at the University of California at Irvine was aborted because of heckling by a small group of unruly extremists. A number of the students face disciplinary action.
The students are part of a group that has terrorized UC Irvine political gatherings for years, screaming "one state, one state" and preventing opponents from speaking.
The other side is running a write-in campaign to block disciplinary action against the students, so it is important to send as many letters as possible in support of disciplinary action.
Please pass the word to ask UC Irvine officials to expel these people and put an end to the "one state" groupies at Irvine.
Use the addresses/ telephone numbers to support prosecution of the offenders.
Ask to speak with Chancellor Drake or leave a message at: (949) 824 - 5011
and email him at: email@example.com
Speak to the Dean of Students office, who are determining the punishment at: (949) 824-5181 and email them at: firstname.lastname@example.org
UpdateSince this group of extremists has flourished for many years and has been tolerated, at least, by UC Irvine administrators, you can and should, in addition to the above, contact the Governor of the State of California and the regents of the University of California:
University of California Regents: email@example.com
California Governor Schwarzenegger: http://gov.ca.gov/interact#email
Labels: Advocacy, Anti-Zionism, Campus
Continued (Permanent Link)
The original reports about New Israel Fund (see New Israel Fund supports anti-Zionists ) by Maariv journalists Ben-Dror Yemini and Ben Caspit, and the Im Tirtzu report on which they were based were not accurate. Im Tirtzu's advertisement claimed that without the New Israel Fund and Naomi Chazan there would not not have been a Goldstone report condemning Israel. This was prima facie nonsense, and some of the statistics on which this claim was based turn out to be dubious as well. Moreover, it seems that New Israel Fund never funded Zochrot (though they did support them evidently, both directly and indirectly) or New Profile, the draft-dodger group. They did fund Coalition of Women for Peace (CWP) but stopped funding them after 2006 (see here, here and here and NIF's own rejoinder here ).
Im Tirtzu violated an important rule of Israel Advocacy - always be sure of the facts and tell the truth as precisely as possible. They created a sensation for a few days, but now the legitimate part of their claim, and there is a legitimate part, is endangered by their exaggerations and "Public Relations."
There should, however, be no cause for gloating and celebration among supporters of the New Israel Fund. The New Israel Fund is pictured as an innocent victim since they stopped funding Coalition of Women for Peace in 2006, and only support Zochrot but don't fund it. On that basis, American Jews who support Israel are asked to donate to New Israel Fund. Suppose an organization came to you soliciting funds, and their representative said, "We stopped funding the Ku Klux Klan in 2006, and we never funded the American National Socialist Workers Party. We only support them." Do you think you would or should give money to that organization?
Here is a listing of previous (last year's) NIF grantees. Some are innocent projects working for good causes - or so they seem. But some are not necessarily so innocent. The NIF supports Adalah and Breaking the Silence among others. They were sources of materials used in the Goldstone report, and unfailing sources of disinformation designed to blacken Israel's image. Or consider the Al Yater association, which "Promotes the rights of the Palestinian population in Acre." Acre is in Israel. The people in question are Israeli Arabs. Only those who do not recognize the legitimacy of the state of Israel call these people "Palestinians." Or consider Phsyicians for Human Rights. This organization became famous when it popularized the case of a poor Palestinian who died, according to them, because the evil Zionists would not let him get treated for cancer. But the Palestinian never died and the story was a lie. That's the sort of thing NIF is proud to support.
Many of us, myself included, who felt that the Goldstone report was unfair called for a thorough civilian investigation of the IDF, a position that I am sure NIF would support. But the same logic must work for NIF supporters. Im Tirtzu may have gotten many facts wrong, but there are certainly problems with some of the organizations that NIF funds and has funded in the past. But NIF is stonewalling. Just as the Hamas is unwilling to launch an investigation of any kind into the Goldstone allegations, the NIF is unwilling to clean house. Instead, they rant about McCarthyite tactics and suppression of dissent. If the NIF has nothing to hide, why are they hiding it?
Labels: Anti-Zionism, NGOs
Continued (Permanent Link)
Who's demonizing who?
BY BEN-DROR YEMINI
The NIF thinks it's ok to take part in the campaign against Israel.
The New Israel Fund is angry. It thinks that it is okay to cooperate with the Goldstone commission, even though it was formed by an automatic majority of the benighted countries that control the UN Human Rights Council. The NIF thinks it is okay that Israel cooperate with the commission, even though there is no country in the free world that supported its formation. It thinks it is ok to disseminate unsubstantial accusations against Israel. It thinks it is okay to take part in the demonization campaign being staged by certain NGOs. And it is absolutely legitimate, in a democratic country, to do all these things.
But there is something else that is also legitimate: To reveal the truth about the fund and the groups that falsely claim to be "human rights" organizations. If some of the political organizations supported by the fund do not recognize the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish and democratic state – don't cry human rights.
Tell the truth: the denial of rights is to Jews only. The Palestinians have a right to a state of their own, as do the Croats, the Hungarians, the Czechs, the Slovaks and other nations – but not the Jews.
Related opinion: We are with you Naomi Chazan
The New Israel Fund provides support (though not funding – editor, JPost), for example, the Zochrot organization. This is a nonprofit organization that openly strives to destroy Israel by means of the "right of return." Not that there is any such right, and not that there ever was another precedent for a mass "return" after a population swap in the wake of war – but this does not bother the New Israel Fund. It will always jump in under the slogan of "human rights."
All this doesn't mean Israel is exempt from criticism. After all, out of the hundreds of allegations, there are a few of substance. But if many sane people loathe the human rights organizations, it's not because they loathe human rights. Just the opposite. It's because the sane majority is fed up with 'human rights' becoming the weapon of benighted forces.
There are a million and one offenses to human lives and human rights in the world. Israel, as a state in conflict, offends less than all others. This has been checked. This is backed up in numbers. Yet Israel is the one taking the brunt of the criticism. This is called demonization, delegitimization and obsession. This is not defense of human rights, but rather an orchestrated campaign in the service of Iran and Hamas.
HOW IS it that many, mainly Jews, support the New Israel Fund? How is it that they enable this systematic campaign that pretends to be humane? They are not anti-Semites. They are people with good intentions. After all, the rhetoric is about human rights and minorities. Jews are sensitive to that. And it's good that they are. Most of them simply don't know. Most of them sincerely and truly want for Israel to be more enlightened and advanced, while being stricter about human lives and human rights.
But they do not know that some of the money goes to other goals.
Prof. Naomi Chazan, who heads the NIF, is not a hater of Israel. But what happened to the fund is exactly what has happened to innumerable organizations that deal with the "discourse of rights."
Human rights organizations can earn back our trust. They must genuinely support human rights, not organizations that work to deny Israel's right to exist.
The writer is an Israeli journalist and a regular columnist at Maariv, where an earlier version of this article originally appeared.
Continued (Permanent Link)
How a coalition was formed around the goal of destroying Israel.
An uneasy UK political alliance threatens both peace and Israel's existence
By Eran Shayshon, January 7, 2010
In recent years, Israel has faced a dramatic assault on the very legitimacy of its existence as a Jewish and democratic state. In this regard, the UK — and especially London — acts as a prominent "hub" in moves to delegitimise Israel. This is due in part to London's position as a media, cultural and academic centre and the UK's impact as an English-speaking nation.
I recently led a group of four analysts from the Reut Institute — an Israeli policy group designed to provide strategic support to Israeli leaders and decision-makers — on a 10-day visit to London to assess developments in this area. We met leading journalists, experts in international law, human rights activists, diplomats, and representatives of Jewish and Muslim organisations.
Though the Israeli-Palestinian issue seems to be very low on the average Londoner's agenda, there are several structural aspects that comprise a convenient platform for anti-Israel sentiment in the UK. One is Britain's post-colonial history --- notably the sense of historical responsibility for the current make-up of the Middle East, including Israel's creation. Another is the UK's historical role as a hospitable base for political radicalism.
But the main engine for delegitimising Israel in the UK is what is known as the "Red-Green Alliance" – an unholy pact between the radical British left and Islamist groups. Theses include Respect, Socialist Action, War on Want, Palestine Solidarity Campaign and the Muslim Association of Britain.
Powered by the increasing radicalisation of the UK's Muslim community towards Israel, and the inversion of the left's view of the Zionist project (from once having represented the ultimate socialist model society to today being seen as the ultimate expression of Western imperialism), these groups have made the attack on Israel's legitimacy into a rallying cry.
Although this alliance is far from being a hierarchical, top-down structure, it has become increasingly institutionalised in recent years. The annual "Cairo Conference", for example, is an anti-Zionist event that brings together far leftists from Britain, radical Arab nationalists and militant Islamists — as well as the "BDS" movement, which promotes boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Israel.
The aims and methods of the Red-Greens are very different from acceptable, "softer" criticism of Israeli policies, mainly on behalf of human-rights groups. This kind of criticism is prevalent in Israel itself — as it is in any open democracy. But, while the Red-Green Alliance is still a marginal phenomenon in British politics, its delegitimisation activity is having a disproportionate impact as a result of the alliance's ability to unite with these "softer" critics of Israeli policies, blurring the line between legitimate criticism of Israel and illegitimate attempts to undermine its right to exist.
Red-Green strategy has several components. One is the creation of an "'all-or-nothing" dynamic against Israel by advocating boycott as the only effective protest option. Another is to make criticism of Israel "trendy'" by framing it in the worthy language of human rights.
In this regard, key institutions such as trade unions, campuses and NGOs are subjected to political campaigns. All of this is underpinned by the demonisation of Israel, portraying it as an "Apartheid" state, and as the principal source of conflict in the Middle East and beyond.
The Red-Greens have enjoyed success as a result of many anti-Israeli protestors believing they are thereby promoting human rights and supporting the Palestinian cause. This is clearly not the case. It is not the Palestinians who are influencing London; it is London that is influencing the Palestinians. At present, only a few key Palestinian individuals or organisations play an active role in the Red-Green Alliance, but radical left-wing ideology is slowly infiltrating and radicalising Palestinian discourse in the West Bank. Increasing calls among traditionally moderate Palestinian leaders to question the two-state solution are certainly buoyed by the increasing attempts among the Western left to undermine Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state.
Challenging the two-state solution on the basis of "liberal" post-modern theories is a recipe for continued violence and insecurity in Israel and the Palestinian territories. Instead of seeking to delegitimise Israel, pro-Palestinian groups should be working for coexistence, peace and good governance within the Palestinian Authority. Moderate Israelis and Palestinians can only hope for the emergence of an anti-radical alliance in support of a two-state solution to counter the dangerous message currently coming out of London.
Eran Shayshon is leader of the political-security team at the Reut Institute
Continued (Permanent Link)
Writing in Haaretz, Reut Institute Founder and President Gidi Grinstein describes an "unholy alliance" aiming to turn Israel into a pariah state and recommends a comprehensive policy approach to address the challenge.
Gidi Grinstein, Haaretz, 01/15/10
A year after Operation Cast Lead, it is increasingly clear: Together with the Second Lebanon War in 2006, the Gaza campaign exposed a dire need for Israel to reform its security and foreign policy doctrine.
Many Israelis are frustrated. Over a three-year period, despite overwhelming military, technological and economic superiority, we failed to achieve decisive successes in confrontations with both Hezbollah and Hamas. In 2006, Israel was dragged through a 33-day exchange, with a cost of 133 dead and a trauma to Israeli society that will take years to heal. And in last year's Gaza operation, our superior military power was offset by an offensive on Israel's legitimacy that led to a significant setback in our international standing, and will constrain future Israeli military planning and operations as effectively as any Arab army could. This is a scorecard Israel can't afford to accept.
Israel's wars are won, or lost, as much on the drawing boards of strategists and planners as on the battlefield. In its first 20 years of existence, Israel had remarkable military successes, but, notwithstanding the bravery of our soldiers, they were primarily the outcome of an intellectual victory in the war of ideas and concepts. David Ben-Gurion's 1947 "seminar," by which he prepared himself for leading the nascent state in an existential military confrontation, generated a set of principles for Israeli national security many of which are relevant today. By 1967, it was secure in its borders.
In the more than four decades since then, Israel's physical existence has been an unchallenged reality, even if at times its citizens have been subjected to terrorism and violence. Arab intentions to destroy Israel were repeatedly frustrated, to a point where any such effort was effectively abandoned, and Egypt and Jordan signed peace treaties with Israel. Even though Iran may grow into an existential threat, Israel's successes to date have been truly phenomenal.
Frustrated by Israel's military might, its adversaries - primarily Iran and its Arab allies in Hezbollah and Hamas - have experimented with politics and violence in their attempt to cap our power and diminish it. Over time, they were able to crystallize a set of ideas that have proven effective. Rather than seeking to conquer Israel, they would aim to bring about its implosion, as with South Africa or the Soviet Union, by attacking its political and economic values. While Israel aims to avoid civilian casualties, they systematically involve civilians on both sides of the frontier. While Israel seeks decisive "victory" in direct confrontations, they value "resistance" and low-intensity conflict.
Turning Israel into a pariah state is central to its adversaries' efforts. Israel is a geopolitical island. Its survival and prosperity depend on its relations with the world in trade, science, arts and culture - all of which rely on its legitimacy. When the latter is compromised, the former may be severed, with harsh political, social and economic consequences.
The transformative change taking place stems from an unholy alliance with some European elites. The radical, brutal, sometimes-fascist Islamic states and organizations that reject Israel share aims with Europeans that deny the right of Jews to self-determination.
And so, our politicians and military personnel are threatened with lawsuits and arrest when they travel abroad, campaigns to boycott our products gain traction, and our very existence is challenged in academic institutions and intellectual circles. The country is increasingly isolated.
To date, Israel has failed to recognize these trends for the strategically significant, potentially existential, threat they constitute. It has mustered neither resources nor personnel to fight them, and lacks a comprehensive approach to the challenge.
Many frame the problem as one of public relations, as if what's required is a task force of eloquent speakers that can deliver a three-point punch line in polished English in 30 seconds. This may have been useful in the early days of global news, 20 years ago. Today it is insufficient.
Others say that Israel's policy is key, and that a genuine and credible commitment to the peace process will decrease both criticism and delegitimization of the country. But the delegitimization effort would continue even if Israel were to sign a comprehensive peace treaty with the PLO: Indeed, the forces that drive this effort are not Palestinian moderates, but rather people who oppose Israel's very existence. An agreement would only fuel their campaign to converge around the next outstanding issue that comes up between Israel and the Arab world.
Israel's delegitimacy is propagated in a few global metropolises - such as London, Madrid and the Bay Area - that are hubs of international NGOs, media outlets, academia and multinational corporations. Therefore, an extraordinary effort is required to respond to and isolate Israel's delegitimizers. We must play offense and not just defense.
The most effective barrier to fundamental delegitimization is personal relationships. In every major country, Israel and its supporters must develop and sustain personal connections with the entire elite in business, politics, arts and culture, science and academia. This requires not only an overhaul of Israel's Foreign Ministry, and particularly of its larger embassies, by infusing them with significantly larger operating budgets, but also the mobilization of our civil elite in Israel and overseas for the task.
Operation Cast Lead may have ushered in a new era in Israeli national security. The frontiers of our survival have shifted from the battlefields and military to our formal and informal diplomats the world over. This is a struggle that may be less bloody, but is as existentially important.
Gidi Grinstein is founder and president of the Reut Institute.
Continued (Permanent Link)
This issue of ReViews cites a variety of quotes that demonstrate the Resistance Network's political rationale based on the theory of "Implosion", whereby Israel will not be overthrown militarily, but rather will be pressured on a number of fronts that will ultimately lead to its internal implosion
The recent war in Lebanon has revealed the consolidation of a Resistance Network, in which various political state and non-state actors promote a radical agenda through strategic, cross-boundary collaboration against Israel.
The Resistance Network conducts itself against Israel according to a political logic that is based on a theory of "Implosion", whereby Israel will not be overthrown militarily, but rather will be pressured on a number of fronts that will ultimately lead to its internal implosion as a state. This logic promotes the establishment of one Palestinian / Arab / Islamist state in place of Israel.
This issue of ReViews cites a variety of quotes from leaders of the Resistance Network (including Iranian President Ahmadinejad, Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah, and leaders of Hamas) whose statements demonstrate, the Resistance Movement's political rationale based on the theory of "Implosion" that are carried out through the following means: 1) the basic de-legitimization of Israel, and 2) preventing Israel from promoting a two-state solution.
The Resistance Network's Theory of Implosion
The theory of Implosion asserts that Israel's strength in relation to its neighbors will not withstand over time and it will implode as a result of internal pressure, demographic trends, and the erosion of its legitimacy in the eyes of the international community.
The following quotes demonstrate the Resistance Network's theory of implosion:
- Ahmadinejad, in a speech given at the recent Holocaust denial conference held in Teheran, stated that "Israel is about to crash;" he added: "when I said the Zionist regime must be wiped off, the Zionist media of course harshly blasted me, but everyone must know that just as the USSR disappeared, this will also be the fate of the Zionist regime, and humanity will be free." (Ynet, 12/12/06).
- Referring to a statement made by Shimon Peres in which he said that the war in Lebanon is a battle of life or death for Israel, Nasrallah stated: "[Peres] certainly does not mean that the resistance in Lebanon will enter Palestine, liberate Palestine, and eliminate and destroy the [Israeli] entity. However, he knows full well that this wonderful Lebanese steadfastness ... will destroy the haughtiness, mighty arrogance, and the spirit on which his entity was established, and consequently, this entity will have no future. This is the story of life and death in the battle Israel is waging now" (BBC Monitoring Middle East, 7/29/06).
- Speaking to a conference in Tehran supporting the "Palestinian cause" against the Jewish state, Ahmedinijad said, "Like it or not, the Zionist regime is heading toward annihilation. The Zionist regime is a rotten, dried tree that will be eliminated by one storm" (Ha'aretz, 4/16/06).
- In a speech given to cheering supporters on the heels of Israel's unilateral withdrawal from Lebanon in May 2000, Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah declared that "in order to liberate your land, you don't need tanks and planes. With the example of martyrs, you can impose your demands on the Zionist aggressors. It (Israel) has a nuclear weapon and the strongest air force in the region, but in truth, it is weaker than a spider web" (YnetNews, 7/31/06).
1) Basic de-legitimization of Israel
One facet of the resistance network's political rationale is the attempt to de-legitimize the basic tenets upon which Israel was created. This includes political, legal, and diplomatic declarations and actions aimed at terminating the existence of the State of Israel by fundamentally rejecting the Jewish right to self-determination and promoting the establishment of one Palestinian / Arab / Islamic state instead of Israel. Recent examples include:
- The Holocaust Denial Conference held in Teheran was used as an instrument to undermine the Jewish entity by denying the legitimacy of the creation and continued existence of the State of Israel. At the conference, Ahmadinejad said: "The life-curve of the Zionist regime has begun its descent, and it is now on a downward slope towards its fall... I tell you now... the Zionist regime will be wiped out, and humanity will be liberated." (Memri, 12/15/06).
- At the Holocaust Denial Conference, Iran announced a plan to establish a world foundation for Holocaust studies which is to be eventually based in Berlin and headed by Iranian Presidential Advisor Mohammad Ali Ramin who said: "The resolution of the Holocaust issue will end in the destruction of Israel" (Memri, 12/15/06).
- In his letter to the American people, Ahmadinejad wrote: "I recommend that in a demonstration of respect for the American people and for humanity, the right of Palestinians to live in their own homeland should be recognized so that millions of Palestinian refugees can return to their homes and the future of all of Palestine and its form of government be determined in a referendum" (CNN, 11/29/06).
- In an address delivered by Iranian president Ahmadinejad on 10/20/06, he stated: "Today, this community, which was gathered by force, and under false pretexts, and whose members were joined to one another by a paper-clip, in order to create a false illusion of a nation...Today, they have fallen apart. I declare here, loud and clear: With God's grace, this regime has lost the philosophy of its existence" (Memri, 10/27/06).
2) Preventing Israel from promoting a two-state solution
An additional method for causing Israel's implosion is to prevent it from achieving a sustainable separation between itself and the Palestinians, including the end of occupation through the two-state solution (see: One-State Threat). In order to promote this goal, the Resistance Network works through the following paths: 1) erosion of the unilateral option; 2) undermining the negotiation option; 3) preventing Israel from a decisive military victory; 4) preparing the ground for the dissolution of the PA.
Erosion of Unilateral Option
The Resistance Network uses terror and rocket-fire as a strategy to prevent Israel from achieving political gains from its unilateral withdrawals from Gaza (8/05) and Lebanon (5/00), and in order to prevent additional unilateral withdrawals from the West Bank. Thus, the continuous firing of Qassam rockets erodes Israel's unilateral option and undermines Israel's ability to end its control over the Palestinians.
- When asked about her plan for further withdrawals from Judea and Samaria, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni remarked: "The plan that I'm talking about must provide an answer to the problem of steep-trajectory firing. That is one of the reasons why I prefer a consensual diplomatic process to a unilateral one. I think that after the disengagement, it's absolutely clear that we cannot simply throw down the keys and leave" (Ha'aretz, 12/29/06).
- As a result of the War in Lebanon and the firing of Qassam rockets, Prime Minister Olmert said that the Convergence Plan "is no longer on the agenda." (Ha'aretz, 8/18/06).
- Uzi Dayan, a former deputy chief of staff, referring to the implications of the kidnapping of Gilad Shalit on Olmert's convergence plan stated: "Anyone who cannot provide a military solution to the Qassam rockets or resurrect deterrence cannot carry out the Convergence plan in the West Bank, and that is the broader context in which these events must be considered." (San Francisco Chronicle, 6/30/06).
Undermining Negotiation Option
In order to undermine the negotiation option and in order to prevent political progress towards an agreement, the Resistance Network utilizes a number of tactics including: strategically timing violence to coincide with negotiations or other important political events, refusing to recognize and negotiate with Israel, and posing unreasonable conditions for negotiations (including 1967 borders, Jerusalem as capital, right of return, etc.).
- Khaled Mashal said: "if Israel and the U.S. want to end the bloodshed in the region, they must accede to the Palestinians' demands." Specifically, he said, Israel must withdraw to the pre-1967 armistice lines, release all Palestinian prisoners, accept a "right of return" for Palestinian refugees and dismantle all settlements (Ha'aretz, 12/10/06).
- Speaking to thousands of students at the University of Tehran, Haniyeh stated that Hamas would never recognize Israel or accept past Israeli-Palestinian agreements (Ha'aretz,12/10/06).
- After meeting with Arab League chief, Amr Moussa in Cairo, Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh demanded the "establishment of a Palestinian state, with June 4, 1967 borders, with east Jerusalem as its capital, and right of return of Palestinian refugees. He added, "The right of return of Palestinian refugees is holy, no Palestinian can make concessions about it" (Jerusalem Post, 11/29/06).
- In an interview on Al-Jazeera, Khaled Mashal stated that Hamas would not negotiate with Israel. (Memri, 1/27/06).
Preventing Israel from decisive military victory
The goal of the Resistance Network is not to destroy Israel on the battle field, but rather to prevent Israel from achieving a decisive military victory through the use of guerilla and limited warfare. The ability of the Resistance Network to "survive" against Israeli retaliation erodes Israel's deterrence capability and military image. The following statements illustrate Israel's weakened image:
- Jordan's King Abdullah said during an interview with the Tokyo-based newspaper The Daily Yomiuri that "The Lebanon war last summer showed that Israel is not as strong as we had previously thought, and, justifiably or not, the perception in the Middle East is that Israel lost." (Ynet, 12/26/06).
- In President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's Qods (Jerusalem) Day speech, he said: "The existence of this regime [Israel] has been based on military threat, on military strength, and on its myth of invincibility. Today, by the grace of God, this myth has been shattered, with the help of the believers in Palestine, and thanks to the self-sacrifice and the belief of the Hizbullah commanders. Today, the Zionists do not feel safe, not even in their homes, [or] anywhere in the world" (Memri, 11/15/06).
- In a speech given after the war in Lebanon, Nassrallah said: "There is no army in the world that can [force us] to drop our weapons from our hands, from our grip. Today we celebrate a great divine, historic and strategic victory." (The Independent, 9/23/06).
Dissolution of PA
During the Oslo process, the Palestinian Authority was established as the cornerstone for the future Palestinian state. However, the Resistance Network continues to struggle against any temporary solution that may allow Israel to create a sustainable separation between itself and the Palestinians, such as the creation of a Palestinian state alongside Israel.
The dissolution of the PA undermines the establishment of a Palestinian state, and promotes - in light of demographic trends - the establishment of one Palestinian/Arab/Islamic state in place of Israel.
The continuous threats made by Hamas leaders to dissolve the PA, may be interpreted as signs that the Resistance Network is preparing the ground for such a move (see: Dismantling the PA - an Emerging Trend).
- Khaled Mashal, head of Hamas political bureau, declared that Hamas would not hesitate to dismantle the PA if it sees that it "cannot protect the Palestinian people." He added that Hamas won't hesitate to announce the dismantling of the PA and return to the starting point: people under occupation. (Ha'aretz, 3/19/06).
- Members of high and mid ranks in the Hamas movement called the leadership of the movement to resign from the government, return to the armed struggle and dismantle the PA (Al-Hayat, 6/27/06).
- Representatives of Hamas and the Popular Front in the PLC have decided to convene to discuss the future of the PA and the possibility of dissolving it (Al-Ayyam, 8/7/06 and Al-Jazeera, 8/7/06).
- Speaking to the PLC, Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh called Palestinian factions to sincerely discuss the future of the PA and the possibility of its dissolution. Chairman of the "Third Way" party and former finance minister, Sallam Faid as well as other representatives in the PLC supported Haniyeh's position. (Al-Hayat, 8/10/06).
Continued (Permanent Link)
This Reut Institute study tracks the "Palinform" that has been formed to delegitimize Israel. This is one of several posts on the issue.
Israel is facing a dramatic assault on the very legitimacy of its existence as a Jewish and democratic state. The groups promoting this delegitimacy aim to isolate Israel and ultimately turn it into a pariah state. This issue of ReViews tracks this strategy and its components.
In recent years, Israel has faced a dramatic assault on the very legitimacy of its existence as a Jewish and democratic state. While the ideological framework for this delegitimacy was solidified after the first Durban Conference in 2001, the trend has been given a boost by the perceived lack of progress in the political process, coupled with Operation Cast Lead in Gaza.1
The groups making the fundamental delegitimacy of Israel among their main rallying cries represent a marginal phenomenon in Western politics. Although some of their activities are portrayed as protesting against Israeli policies, in fact they are frequently manipulated in order to blur the difference between valid criticism of Israeli policies and attempts to undermine Israel's right to exist. Thus, they are able to disproportionately impact Israel's international legitimacy.
The aim of these groups is to internationally isolate Israel and ultimately turn it into a pariah state through demonizing the country;2 promoting a policy of boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS); and waging a legal struggle against the state and its citizens.
This issue of ReViews tracks this strategy and its components.
The Strategy: Turning Israel into a Pariah
- Addressing an International Conference on Palestine in London, Betty Hunter of Palestine Solidarity Campaign, UK said that, "Our task is to isolate Israel and to make it a pariah state." (International Conference on Palestine-London 12/5/04).
- Speaking at Hampshire College, Ali Abuminah explained that, "The loss of legitimacy in the practices of the [South African] apartheid regime is what changed, and when a system loses its legitimacy, all the weapons in the world cannot protect it... we're beginning to see a similar loss of legitimacy for Zionism." (Conference in Hampshire College 11/21/09).
- During Operation Cast Lead, the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network advised that "unless this ideology [of Zionism] is delegitimized and defeated, the violence in the Middle East will continue to escalate." (Call to Action on Gaza 01/09/09).
Demonizing Israel creates an ideological justification for taking concrete steps aimed at negating the state's legitimacy. Demonization is rooted in the narrative of Israel as an illegitimate colonial entity born in sin that practices Nazism, apartheid and racism. This narrative plays out in several key arenas, such as public protests and demonstrations, the media, and campus activities.
- Protestors in Brazil, Madrid and Buenos Aires held signs equating Israeli leaders and actions with Nazism and genocide (YNET 11/12/09, ADL 01/09).
- A series of events, titled "Gaza: Our Guernica," organized by the Palestinian societies at five University of London campuses, is due to take place throughout January and February. The reference to Guernica evokes a fascist attack that targeted Basque civilians (Jerusalem Post 01/21/10).
- First launched in 2005, Israel Apartheid Week is an annual event organized by anti-Zionist groups, which aims to create a link between Israel and the former apartheid regime in South Africa in order to lead a boycott against it. In 2009, Apartheid Week grew to include 27 cities, including England, the U.S., South Africa, the West Bank, Mexico, Scotland, and Norway3 (Jerusalem Post 1/29/09).
- A series of articles aimed to establish Israel as an apartheid state engaging in racist and discriminatory behavior (Guardian feature on Israel and Apartheid 2/6/07 part 1 and part 2).
- The University of Pittsburgh held a conference entitled 'Divest from Israeli Apartheid' (Pittsburgh Palestine Solidarity Committee 10/23/09).
- One of Sweden's largest dailies published a double-page focusing on claims that Israeli soldiers seized young men from the West Bank and Gaza and later returned the bodies with missing organs (Aftonbladet 08/26/09).
- Nobel peace laureate Mairead Maguire accused Israel of "ethnic cleansing" policies in east Jerusalem (Agence France-Presse 04/21/09).
Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS)
Attempts to demonize Israel provide the ideological and rhetorical platform for pursuing a policy of BDS in the fields of academia, economy, culture, sport, and security.
Despite the BDS movement including several academics, trade unions, and church groups, it has enjoyed limited practical success so far. However, efforts have been highly successful in generating publicity and in mobilizing anti-Israel activism, effectively uniting anti-Zionists with critics of specific Israeli policies.4
The risk posed is that such campaigns will create an equivalency between Israel and apartheid-era South Africa that penetrates the mainstream of public and political consciousness. Given Israel's dependence on vigorous trade, as well as scientific, academic, and technological engagement with other countries, this movement towards isolating the country may pose a strategic threat.
The BDS movement is largely spearheaded by non-governmental organizations. In a revealing example, the World Social Forum - an umbrella group for hundreds of social, anti-globalization, and rights groups worldwide - announced it would be launching a campaign calling on all of its affiliates to excommunicate Israel (YNET 3/30/09). Similar initiatives have also been taken up in academic, cultural and scientific, security, sporting, and economic arenas.
- One of Norway's largest academic institutions, the University of Bergen intends to impose an official academic boycott against Israel over what it claims is its apartheid-like conduct (YNET 01/24/10).
- The board of the University of Trondheim in Norway held a vote on adopting an academic boycott of Israel. Three days prior, the institution hosted a lecture on Israel's alleged use of anti-Semitism as a political tool (Haaretz 10/20/09).
- A group of American university professors recently launched the U.S. Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (Weekly Standard 3/20/09).
- University workers in the Canadian Union of Public Employees passed a motion calling for an academic boycott of Israel, and union members from at least one Toronto university planned to pressure their school to cut any financial ties with the country (The Star 02/22/09).
- A letter by 400 UK academics urging boycott, divestment, sanctions against Israel was published in the Guardian (Guardian 01/26/09).
- Since 2003, there have been a multitude of attempts to impose an academic boycott on Israel in the UK. A prominent example is the successful passage - later overturned - of a motion by Britain's largest lecturers' union (Natfhe) supporting a boycott of Israeli lecturers and academic institutions not publicly disassociating from Israel's "apartheid policies" (Guardian 05/30/06; UCU Website 5/30/06).
Culture and Science:
- The Toronto International Film Festival was the object of controversy for selecting Tel Aviv as its thematic subject, with high-profile artists signing a statement in support of a filmmaker who withdrew his entry (Guardian 09/07/09).
- An exhibition celebrating Tel Aviv's White City due to take place in Brussels was postponed after local organizers faced demands to boycott Israeli culture (YNET 2/9/09).
- The 2009 Edinburgh International film festival returned a £300 gift from the Israeli embassy following protests (Guardian 09/07/09).
- More than 400 academics called on Britain's prestigious Science Museum to cancel workshops promoting Israeli scientific achievements to schoolchildren (The Independent 03/03/09).
- A Norwegian government pension fund sold its shares in Elbit Systems due to its role in building Israel's security fence (TradingMarkets.com 09/03/09).
- Belgium's government banned the export to Israel of weapons that "strengthen it militarily" (Haaretz 02/01/09).
- British labor unions voted to support a ban on importing goods produced in 'illegal settlements' and ending arms trading with Israel (Associated Press 09/17/09).
- The Irish Municipal, Public and Civil Trade Union passed two resolutions endorsing a boycott of Israeli goods and services and supporting divestment from corporations engaged in, or profiting from, the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza (Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign 05/29/08).
- The Congress of South African Trade Unions joined the boycott of Israel, calling Israel 'an apartheid nation' (YNET 08/06/06).
- At its annual meeting, the British National Union of Journalists called for "a boycott of Israeli goods similar to those boycotts in the struggles against apartheid South Africa led by trade unions, and [for] the [Trade Union Congress] to demand sanctions be imposed on Israel by the British government " (The Guardian 04/13/07).
- Canadian Union of Postal Workers called for a Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions campaign against Israel (Canadian Union of Postal Workers 04/09/09).
In parallel to demonization and promotion of the BDS Strategy, groups and individuals have increasingly sought to combat Israel in the legal arena. These efforts comprise attempts to: utilize laws of universal jurisdiction in European countries in order to charge Israeli generals and politicians with war crimes; levy proceedings against Israel in the International Criminal Court and the International Court of Justice; and file charges against corporations conducting business with Israel.
While certain initiators of these lawsuits claim to exclusively act according to a humanitarian agenda, Hamas involvement in some of these cases may indicate that the intention of prosecuting Israeli military and political leaders is not always pure.5
- A British court issued an arrest warrant for Tzipi Livni for war crimes that Livni allegedly conducted as Israel's foreign minister during Operation Cast Lead (Guardian 12/14/09).
- Two law firmsrepresenting a group of Palestinians applied for an international arrest warrant against Ehud Barak, claiming that he committed war crimes and breaches of the Geneva Convention during Operation Cast Lead (Jerusalem Post 09/29/09).
- French pro-Palestinian organizations filed a law suit with the International Criminal Court against the Israeli president, foreign minister and defense minister (JCPA March April 2009).
- A class action lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia against former IDF Chief of Staff Moshe Yaalon (NGO Monitor 09/08). The following year, New Zealand's Auckland District Court issued an arrest warrant for Yaalon on charges of war crimes (Jerusalem Post 11/30/06).
- A class action lawsuit was filed in a New York U.S. District Court against former Director of Israel's General Security Service Avi Dichter for "war crimes and other gross human rights violations" concerning his alleged involvement in a 2002 military strike in Gaza (NGO Monitor 09/08).
- Major General Doron Almog avoided arrest in the UK by remaining on an El Al airplane and flying back to Israel, after a UK court issued a warrant for his arrest on charges of breaching international laws during Israel's control of Gaza (BBC 09/12/05).
- A law suit alleging war crimes was filed in a Spanish Court and with Switzerland's Military Attorney General against former Israeli Defense Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer, former IDF Chief of Staff Shaul Mofaz, former Israel Security Agency Director Avi Dichter, and Doron Almog (American Jewish Committee 10/04; CNN 1/29/09).
- Belgium's highest court was set to try Ariel Sharon for his role as defense minister in the 1982 massacres at the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in Beirut (New York Times 02/13/2003).
- International Criminal Court Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo considered whether to investigate Lt. Col. David Benjamin, a reserve officer in the Israeli military involved in authorizing Israeli military actions during Operation Cast Lead on the grounds of Benjamin's status as a dual citizen of Israel and South Africa, which has signed the ICC's charter (Newsweek 09/21/09). The ICC also considered whether the Palestinian Authority was "enough like a state" for it to initiate a case alleging that Israeli troops committed war crimes in Gaza (Guardian 3/2/09).
- The UN fact-finding mission on the Gaza conflict headed by Richard Goldstone "found strong evidence to establish" that Israel committed serious war crimes and breaches of humanitarian law that may amount to crimes against humanity (UN 09/15/09).
- In July 2008, law suits were filed suit in Quebec against three Canadian corporations accused of "aiding, abetting, assisting and conspiring with Israel, the Occupying Power in the West Bank, in carrying out an illegal act" through their involvement in construction projects in the town of Kiryat Sefer (Modi'in Ilit) (NGO Monitor 06/11/09).
- A 2005 law suit filed against Caterpillar, Inc. in a U.S. District Court charged the corporation with "providing specially designed bulldozers to the IDF that it knew would be used to demolish homes and endanger civilians" (NGO Monitor 09/08).
- A law suit was filed against the British Government in Birmingham charging that the sale of military equipment to Israel breached guidelines on arms exports and contributed to the oppression of Palestinians in the occupied territories (The London Times 05/30/07).
1 See Ari Shavit, Haaretz 10/15/09; Ethan Bronner, New York Times 10/19/09.
2 Jewish agency Chairman and human rights activist Natan Sharansky describes demonization as occurring when "Israel's actions are blown out of all sensible proportion" and when "comparisons are made between Israelis and Nazis." (Natan Sharansky. 3D Test of Anti-Semitism: Demonization, Double Standards, Delegitimization. Jewish Political Studies Review 16:3-4 Fall 2004).
Canadian Member of Parliament and international human rights lawyer Irwin Cotler meanwhile sees demonization as "the portrayal of Israel as the metaphor for a human rights violator," giving calls for "the dismantling of the apartheid state of Israel... the appearance of international sanction." These demonizing labels are "tantamount to transforming ideological anti-Semitism into a duty - the obligation to remove this Nazi state, Israel." (Irwin Cotler, Identifying the New Anti-Semitism Jewish People Policy Planning Institute. Nov. 2002.)
3 For more see Reut Concept Israel Apartheid Week.
4 See Gal Beckerman The Forward 9/16/09
5 See Reut post: Legal Aid: Role in Livni Arrest Warrant and Beyond
Continued (Permanent Link)
Dore Gold and Lt. Col. (ret.) Jonathan D. Halevi
Col. (ret.) Desmond Travers was one of the four members of the UN Fact Finding Mission that produced what is widely called the Goldstone Report. The Mission investigated Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip between December 27, 2008 and January 18, 2009. Travers joined the Irish Defense Forces in 1961 and retired after forty years. As the only former officer who belonged to Justice Richard Goldstone's team, he was the senior figure responsible for the military analysis that provided the basis for condemning Israel for war crimes.
After following his repeated public appearances with the other mission members in July 2009, and especially in light of his most recent interviews, serious flaws have now become evident in the methodology he followed, in his collection and processing of data, and in the conclusions he draws. In the past, the flaws in the Goldstone report, and especially its lack of balance, have been criticized by the London Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, and the Economist, but the fundamental problems of its military analysis have not been fully addressed. In the material presented here, this becomes evident in four specific ways:
1. A Fundamental Bias against the Israel Defense Forces
During the Mission's collection of testimonies from Palestinian psychologists in the Gaza Strip, Travers asked them straight out to explain how Israeli soldiers could kill Palestinian children in front of their parents. In an interview with Middle East Monitor, on February 2, 2010, he asserted that in the past Israeli soldiers had "taken out and deliberately shot" Irish peacekeeping forces in Southern Lebanon. Both of these statements by Travers are completely false. It should be stressed that one of the most vicious and unsubstantiated conclusions in the Goldstone Report is the suggestion that Israel deliberately killed Palestinian civilians.
While Travers assumes the worst of intentions on the part of the Israel Defense Forces, he praises Hamas for their cooperation with the Mission. When he was asked about Hamas intimidation that affected the Mission's inquiries, he replied that that there was "none
whatsoever." Yet the Goldstone Report itself noted in Paragraph 440 that those interviewed in Gaza appeared reluctant to speak about the presence of Palestinian armed groups because of a "fear of reprisals." He rejects the notion that Hamas shielded its forces in the civilian population and does not accept the idea that Israel faced asymmetric warfare.
2. False Information Reported About Weapons Systems
Travers comes up with a story that the IDF had unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV's) that could obtain a "thermal signature" on a Gaza house and detect that there were large numbers of people inside. Incredibly, he then suggests that with this information that certain houses were "packed with people," the Israeli military would then deliberately order a missile strike on these populated homes. The primary technical problem with his theory is that Israel does not have UAV's that can see though houses and pick up a thermal signature. More importantly, Israel used UAV's to monitor that Palestinian civilians left houses that had received multiple warnings, precisely because Israel sought to minimize civilian casualties, a fact that Travers could not fathom, because of his own clear biases.
3. Completely Inaccurate Data
Travers rejects that Israel began military operations against the Gaza Strip on December 27, 2008 as an act of self-defense in response to Hamas rockets. He bases this idea on a "fact" that he presents that in the month prior to start of the war, there were only "something like two" rockets that fell on Israel. Israeli military sources found that there were in fact 32 rockets fired from Gaza at Israel over three days alone--between December 16 and 18, 2008. He adds to his analysis that at this time Hamas sought to extend the tahdiya, or lull arrangement--which he called a cease-fire. Yet the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades of Hamas announced on December 17 that the lull would come to an end two days later and would not be renewed. The head of the Hamas political bureau in Damascus, Khaled Mashaal, announced the end of the lull on December 14. To say that Hamas wanted to continue the lull is a complete distortion of events.
In his Middle East Monitor interview, Travers states that he "only came across two incidents of where there was an actual combat situation" - the exchange of fire between Israel and Hamas. Because he minimizes the possibility that Israel was engaged in real combat in the Gaza Strip, it follows that he naturally conclude that Israel was essentially attacking non-combatants during Operation Cast Lead.
4. Lack of Professionalism in Conducting Thorough Investigations
Travers relies on his own prejudices when he looks into the question of whether Gazan Mosques had been militarized by Hamas and turned into weapons depots. In an interview with Harpers, published on October 29, 2009, Travers makes a sweeping generalization: "We found no evidence that mosques were used to store munitions." He then dismissed those who suggested that was the case by saying: "Those charges reflect Western perceptions in some quarters that Islam is a violent religion." How many mosques did Travers investigate? He admits that the Mission only checked two mosques.
Of course, srael produced photographic proof that large amounts of weapons were stored in mosques, like the Zaytun Mosque. In a subsequent interview, Travers rejected the Israeli proof: "I do not believe the photographs." He described the photographs as "spurious." Travers appears to be bothered by proof that contradicts the conclusions he reaches on the basis of a very limited investigation. In early 2010, Colonel Tim Collins, a British veteran of the Iraq War, visited Gaza for BBC Newsnight and inspected the ruins of a mosque that Israel had destroyed because it had been a weapons depot. He found that there was evidence of secondary explosions cause by explosives stored in the mosque cellar. Travers clearly did not make the effort that Collins made.
In his questioning of Palestinian witnesses in the Gaza Strip, Travers does not ask the questions that a military advisor should raise. He did not ask those giving testimony if they were member of the Izz al-Din al-Qassam units of Hamas and were combatants. He also failed to ask them straight out if their homes had been used to store munitions, like Grad rockets. Instead, his questions reflected his ideological bias.
Travers most recent interview also had a disturbing additional element. When addressing the role of British officers in defending Israel's claims, Travers suddenly adds: "Britain's foreign policy interests in the Middle East seem to be influenced strongly by Jewish lobbyists." Travers implies that British Jews have interests that differ from Britain's own national interests and that Prime Minister Gordon Brown's government is influenced by these considerations. This statement, unless corrected, places Travers is a position in which his views are suspect of being motivated by anti-Semitic prejudices. Even without this last statement, he clearly emerges as an individual who is not qualified to take part in any serious fact-finding mission and the U.N. should not seek his services in the future. Given his statements, Justice Richard Goldstone should repudiate Col. Travers and completely reject the conclusions that he reached as a result of his work.
For an expanded version of this report in Hebrew, see Unprofessional Conduct of the Goldstone Commission's Military Expert - Jonathan D. Halevi.
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At the base of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's worldview is profound anxiety over Israel's future and its fortitude in the face of the threats surrounding it. Netanyahu is afraid that if Israelis are pressed hard enough, they will simply get up and flee, especially if presented with the material temptations of American society and its satellites. He is preoccupied with finding ways to salvage Israel's Zionist, educated, established skeleton from its pending collapse under the dual pressures of the increasingly strong ultra-Orthodox and Arab populations from within, and the threat of annihilation by Iran and its allies from without.
Netanyahu's speech at the Herzliya Conference last Wednesday was devoted to the danger of national collapse. The speech aroused only slight media interest, but it was one of Netanyahu's most fascinating and important: He revealed his fears about Israel's collective future, if it continues to distance itself from the founding fathers' Zionist legacy.
"Our existence depends not only on a weapons system, our military strength, the strength of our economy, our innovation, our exports," he said. "It depends, first and foremost, on the knowledge and national sentiment we as parents bestow on our children, and we as a state bestow on our education system. It depends on our culture; it depends on our cultural heroes; it depends on our ability to explain the justness of our path and demonstrate our affinity for our land - first to ourselves and then to others. We must remind ourselves that if our feeling of serving a higher purpose dissipates, if our sources of spiritual strength grow weak, then ... our future will also be unclear."
Netanyahu cited two sources of inspiration: Napoleon, who was deeply impressed by the Jews' centuries of lament over the destroyed Temple, and Yigal Allon, the late Israeli politician and fighter, who said that "a people that doesn't remember its past - its present is uncertain and its future is unclear."
This was no trivial choice for a right-wing politician, whose father worked with Ze'ev Jabotinsky. As commander of the Palmach, the elite strike force of the pre-state Jewish militia the Haganah, Allon was responsible for the anti-Irgun campaign known as the Saison and the sinking of the Altalena, as it approached shore with an arms shipment for the latter organization. In the eyes of the Fighting Family, as Irgun veterans were known, these were acts of political persecution, if not a criminal betrayal of the national cause in favor of the partisan, factional interests of Mapai, the precursor to the Labor Party.
Netanyahu is prepared to forgive Allon, in order to adopt what he symbolizes: the founders' generation, the earthy sabra-ism, the field trips and bonfire, and "Yalkut Hakzavim" [a collection of folklore about the Palmach]. A modern incarnation of the heroes of the Bible, a book "that is close to my heart these days," Netanyahu said. He wants to educate the younger generation in the way of these symbols, so that the connection to Jewish history and to the Zionist enterprise will keep them in Israel, even in adulthood.
He is worried about the collective crumbling: "[The] challenge is not to get carried away by the illusion that we - each and every one of us - is allowed to become preoccupied solely with self-development. There are a great many talented young people here, and they are being taught to think, quite justifiably, that they are cosmopolitans. But they cannot be just cosmopolitans."
Netanyahu is still upset about an unscheduled visit he made to Tel Lachish a few months ago. The bookcase in his father's home, like many homes from that period, contains Naftali Tur-Sinai's book about the Lachish letters, missives written in Hebrew on clay tablets that documented the plight of the city's Israelite defenders against the Babylonian army. In his speech, Netanyahu said how saddened he was by the emptiness of the site, which had only a handful of Russian tour guides milling about.
In a similar vein, Netanyahu was awed by a trip to the British detention camp in Atlit with his son's class, where he saw the hut from which the underground group NILI used to send signals to the British during World War I. NILI "helped the British take control and free the Land of Israel. It opened up the way to Zionism," Netanyahu said, in a return to his roots; the right liked to praise NILI, whose members came from peasant stock and were affiliated with the Labor movement.
On Tel Hai Day, Adar 11, Netanyahu will present Cabinet Secretary Zvi Hauser's "heritage program" to his government for approval. The government plans to invest in restoring hundreds of historic sites, museums and archives, and in building two trails between archaeological sites and landmark stations from the era of the Yishuv, the pre-state Jewish community. New technologies will be used to bring the younger generation closer to the past.
A senior government official says that not since the days of David Ben-Gurion, who even during the difficult period of austerity invested in preserving treasures from the Jewish people's past, has an effort of this kind been made to impart Israeli heritage. Ben-Gurion, like Netanyahu, was profoundly worried about the fortitude of Israel's citizens, and gave high priority to archaeological excavations, which along with Bible study were meant to provide the basis for a shared historical consciousness in a modern nation of immigrants.
Netanyahu's detractors will say that his processes of privatization, and the American values he represents, are what decimated the social cohesion of "little old Israel" and replaced it with a no-holds-barred race for the money. Netanyahu would respond that in capitalist America, a great deal is invested in preserving historic sites.
But the hard question relates to processes of social change in Israel: How will the program accommodate ultra-Orthodox and Arab youth, who together will be a majority in their age group within a few years? They are raised on other narratives, non-Zionist ones, and Netanyahu's program is designed to present the "core of the Zionist story."
"We will not be restoring the site where Abdul Khader Husseini fell in the heroic battle for Kastel, and we will not promote Haredi culture and rabbinical questions-and-answers," the senior government official said. Netanyahu mentioned the ultra-Orthodox and the Arabs in his speech, and called on them to sign up for social service within "their communities." He is not offering them a shared cultural heritage. And this will make it harder to realize his grand vision, to build an Israeli society united before the challenges of the future.
Continued (Permanent Link)
It has been evident for some time that there is a sort of "Palinform," analogous to the Cominform of Stalinist Russia, that coordinates "spontaneous" demonstrations and uses issues to enlist "useful idiots" to the cause of Israel hate.
It is not a coincidence when demonstrations are planned and carried out simultanously on numerous campuses or in several cities around the world, or when the same slogan suddenly appears on placards in every demonstration in every city, and the same chant is heard. Suddenly, everyone was saying "we are all Hamas" "Jews to the gas" and other delightful slogans.
Israel is facing a global campaign of delegitimization, according to a report by the Reut Institute, made available to the cabinet on Thursday. The Tel Aviv-based security and socioeconomic think tank called on ministers to treat the matter as a strategic threat.
The report cites anti-Israel demonstrations on campuses, protests when Israeli athletes compete abroad, moves in Europe to boycott Israeli products, and threats of arrest warrants for Israeli leaders visiting London.
Reut says the campaign is the work of a worldwide network of private individuals and organizations. They have no hierarchy or overall commander, but work together based on a joint ideology - portraying Israel as a pariah state and denying its right to exist.
Reut lists the network's major hubs - London, Brussels, Madrid, Toronto, San Francisco and the University of California, Berkeley. The network's activists - "delegitimizers" the report dubs them - are relatively marginal: young people, anarchists, migrants and radical political activists. Although they are not many, they raise their profile using public campaigns and media coverage, the report says.
The "delegitimizers" cooperate with organizations engaging in legitimate criticism of Israel's policy in the territories such as Amnesty and Human Rights Watch, blurring the line between legitimate censure and delegitimization. They also promote pro-Palestinian activities in Europe as "trendy," the report says.
The network's activists are not mostly Palestinian, Arab or Muslim. Many of them are European and North American left-wing activists. The Western left has changed its approach to Israel and now sees it as an occupation state, the report says. To those left-wing groups, if in the 1960s Israel was seen as a model for an egalitarian, socialist society, today it epitomizes Western evil.
The delegitimization network sees the fight against the former regime in South Africa as a success model. It believes that like the apartheid regime, the Zionist-Israeli model can be toppled and a one-state model can be established.
The Reut team says the network's groups share symbols and heroes such as the Palestinian boy Mohammed al-Dura, American peace activist Rachel Corrie and joint events like the Durban Conference.
Israel's diplomats overseas, meanwhile, must counter the attempts to delegitimize the country. "The combination of a large Muslim community, a radical left, influential, English-language media and an international university center make London fertile ground for Israel's delegitimization," says Ron Prosor, Israel's ambassador in London.
Prosor gives many interviews to the British media and lectures at university campuses throughout the country. Although he says he has encountered anti-Israel demonstrations on almost every campus, Prosor has told his people to increase their campus activity.
"What is now happening in London universities will happen, at most, in five years at all the large universities in the United States," he says.
The Reut report says Israel is not prepared at all to deal with the threat of delegitimization. The cabinet has not defined the issue as a threat and sees the diplomatic arena as marginal compared to the military one.
"The Foreign Ministry is built for the challenges of the '60s, not the 2000s," the report says. "There are no budgets, not enough diplomats and no appropriate diplomatic doctrine."
Reut recommends setting up a counter-network, in which Israel's embassies in centers of delegitimization activity would serve as "front positions."
The report says the intelligence service should monitor the organizations' activities and study their methods. The cabinet should also confront groups trying to delegitimize Israel but embrace those engaged in legitimate criticism.
The report adds that Israel should not boycott these groups, as Israel's embassy in Washington does with the left-wing lobby J Street. Boycotting critics merely pushes them toward joining the delegitimizers, Reut says.
Continued (Permanent Link)
The New Israel Fund and its supporters are up in arms against accusations that New Israel Fund supports anti-Zionist Propaganda. The revelations are bewailed as curtailing "free speech" and "democracy." But they are not concerned about hecklers in American and British universities who won't let Israeli representatives speak. At Oxford, one Muslim yelled "Itbach al Yahud" - slaughter the Jews, a common rallying cry of Palestinian pogroms.
By Richard L. Cravatts, Ph.D
Of the many intellectual perversions currently taking root on college campuses, perhaps none is more contradictory to what should be one of higher education's core values than the suppression of free speech. With alarming regularity, speakers are shouted down, booed, jeered, and barrage with vitriol, all at the hands of groups who give lip service to the notion of academic free speech, and who demand it when their speech is at issue, but have no interest in listening to, or letting others listen to, ideas that contradict their own world view.
Coincidentally, last week two Israeli officials, Deputy Foreign Minister Daniel Ayalon and ambassador to the United States Michael Oren had the unpleasant experience of confronting virulent anti-Israel, pro-Palestinian Muslim students whose ideology on academic debate seems to be "free speech for me, but not for thee."
Ayalon, who spoke at Oxford University, had his speech interrupted by several audience members, including one who yelled incessantly and called Ayalon a "racist" and "a war criminal" while waving a Palestinian flag. Another student who loudly read passages of the incendiary Goldstone Report. There were calls from one charming scholar to "slaughter the Jews," and the intrusion of a third student who remained standing for the entire balance of the lecture while she hurled anti-Israel invective. Still another radical brat who threatened to Ayalon with: "We will do to you what we did to Milosevic."
The genteel, soft-spoken Ambassador Oren did not fare much better during his visit to the University of California at Irvine, a notorious hotbed of radical anti-Israelism by Muslim students. During the aborted speech to some 500 people about U.S.-Israeli relations, which was loudly interrupted 10 times, boorish hecklers screamed over Oren's talk such profound observations as "Michael Oren, propagating murder is not an expression of free speech," "I accuse you of murder," "How many Palestinians have you killed?" and "Israel is a murderer." Even after he took a 20-minute recess to let the crowd cool off and regain its collective composure, he returned to the podium with more volleys of invective, shouting, and speech-stopping bombast from the Muslim students, 11 of whom – eight from UC-Irvine (including the Muslim Student Union's president) and three from UC Riverside – were eventually escorted out of the hall and arrested.
The fact that UCI's habitually craven administrators, led by feckless Chancellor Michael Drake, were even motivated enough by the students' errant behavior to have them ejected from the event is a promising sign. While the university has always claimed to be dedicated to encouraging debate and scholarly inquiry by letting the Muslim Student Union mount annual hate-fests to demonize and vilify Israel and Jews, the MSU has effectively hijacked all discussion of the Middle East on campus, and their odious events are not platforms at which opposing views are aired and discussed. In fact, these so-called pro-Palestinians seem to care very little about the actual self-determination and state building of the hapless Palestinians. As is frequently the case when speaking about the Israeli/Arab conflict, the discussion often glosses over the real problems of Palestinian culture, politics, and society (including its cult of death), and targets all criticism on the perceived defects of Israel, Zionism, and Jewish power.
Ambassador Oren is hardly what even his staunchest critics could consider an Islamophobe or even a rabid Zionist, perfectly willing to trample the Palestinian's aspirations for their putative state. A Columbia and Princeton graduate, former Georgetown professor and fellow at Jerusalem's Shalem Center, the American-born Oren is also the author of two seminal books on the Middle East, "Six Days of War: June 1967" and the "Making of the Modern Middle East and Power," "Faith and Fantasy: America in the Middle East: 1776 to the Present," all of which clearly make him at least as qualified to speak about the Israeli/Palestinian situation as the raucous, boorish students who had decided, in advance of his UCI appearance, that Oren was morally unfit to even appear on their campus.
This notion that pro-Israel speakers and scholars do not even deserve on a moral or intellectual basis, an opportunity to participate in scholarly debate is a very dangerous one, even if it comes from tendentious students. It starts with the assumption that Israel, because of its perceived moral defects and its oppression of the hapless Palestinians and the theft of their lands, does not even have the right to participate in intellectual debate; that academic free speech in Israel's case can be modified and is not absolute. And while Muslim students and other campus radicals have, both at UCI and other college campuses, seen to it that speech that they do not approve of, spoken by people with whom they disagree, is shut down with the "heckler's veto," they have never missed an opportunity to invite their own stable of of slimyanti-Israel, anti-American speakers. What is more, these speakers have never been shouted down, chased away, or jeered by those students and professors who might well have found their views to be repellant.
A closer look at the ideas tossed about by some of the MSU's invited guests suggests both the moral incoherence and intellectual debasement that characterizes the human output of these events. Amir-Abdel Malik-Ali, for instance, former Nation of Islam member, convert to Islam, and cheerleader for Hamas and Hezbollah, has been a ubiquitous, poisonous presence on the Irvine campus who never hesitates to castigate Israel, Zionists, Jewish power, and Jews themselves as he weaves incoherent, hallucinatory conspiracies about the Middle East and the West. Speaking from a podium with an execrable banner reading "Israel, the 4th Reich" in May 2006, Malik-Ali referred to Jews as "new Nazis" and "a bunch of straight-up punks." "The truth of the matter is your days are numbered," he admonished Jews everywhere. "We will fight you. We will fight you until we are either martyred or until we are victorious."
At a 2008 event, dubbed "Never Again? The Palestinian Holocaust," Malik-Ali was at his hateful best once again, standing behind a banner that read "Death to Apartheid" while he wildly contended that "The Islamic revival should only be feared by those who support imperialism, colonialism, racism, occupation … Groups like Hamas and Hezbollah" are not the real terrorists at all, he proclaimed. No, the actual "terrorists are the United States; the terrorists are Israel!"
Another odious guest speaker who regularly makes appearances on the hate-fest circuit is Muhammad al-Asi, an anti-Semitic, anti-America Muslim activist from Washington, D.C. who has written, among other notorious ideas, that "The Israeli Zionist are [sic] the true and legitimate object of liquidation." At a MSU-sponsored event in February 2008, "From Auschwitz to Gaza: The Politics of Genocide," which repulsively tried to draw parallels between the Holocaust and Hamas-controlled Gaza, al-Asi was a featured speaker. In his speech, he repeated the canard of Jewish control of world politics, suggesting that "Zionists or what some people call the Jewish lobby" had reduced the United States to playing "second fiddle to the Israeli government."
Just months after 9/11, al-Asi had similar invective to utter towards Jews, in the context of Israeli oppression of Palestinians. Using his favorite image of the ghetto when describing Jews, he observed that "We have a psychosis in the Jewish community that is unable to co-exist equally and brotherly [sic] with other human beings. You can take a Jew out of the ghetto, but you can't take the ghetto out of the Jew, and this has been demonstrated time and time again in Occupied Palestine."
If ever there were utterances which deserved to be shouted down and drowned out with reason and fact, al-Asi's hallucinatory ravings probably would qualify. But despite continual complaints from the Orange County Task Force on Anti-Semitism and other concerned UCI stakeholders, the tenor and frequency of speakers at the MSU's lurid hate-fests continue unabated, seemingly with the tacit approval of the university administration. The same Muslim students who could not abide even the presence of Israel's ambassador to the United States, listen rapturously to the loathsome bloviating of Malik Ali, al-Asi, Norman Finkelstein, Ward Churchill, and any other ideological thug who have come to UCI's campus with the purpose of vilifying Israel and defaming Jews.
It is, of course, the MSU's choice to hear whatever ideas they wish from whichever speakers to whom they choose to listen. What is not their choice, however, is to be able to prevent other views from being heard on campus, particularly the complex and thorny Israeli/Palestinian conversation, merely because pro-Palestinian students have decided that they will not recognize the very existence or legitimacy of a sovereign nation, Israel, nor hear that ideas of individuals who are able to defend it and explain the Israeli side of the argument. University officials must repeatedly make clear that campuses must allow many different views and perspectives, and should not try to exclude unpopular thought from being heard in the proverbial marketplace of ideas.
Concern for the long-suffering Palestinians may be a commendable effort, but the exclusion and demonization of Israeli speakers and government officials from the academic community as a tool for seeking social justice for that one group "represents a profound betrayal of the cardinal principle of intellectual endeavor," observed commentator Melanie Phillips, "which is freedom of speech and debate," something universities should never stop diligently defending. And they should certainly never abandon that pursuit to the baleful whining of ideological bullies intent on suppressing the views of others.
Richard L. Cravatts, Ph.D., director of Boston University's Program in Publishing, just finished a book about the worldwide assault on Israel taking place on college campuses, Genocidal Liberalism: The University's Jihad Against Israel.
Continued (Permanent Link)
Sunday Feb 07, 2010
Posted by David Harris
I know I shouldn't be surprised any longer, but I still can't help it.
In a recent edition of The New York Times, after seeing 25 column inches on page 4 devoted to an article entitled "Israel Rebukes 2 in Attack on U.N. Complex," I read a short news item two pages later. It wasn't quite eight lines long, the fourth of five items under "World Briefing."
Here are the first two (of three) sentences:
A human rights group criticized Jordan on Monday for stripping the citizenship of nearly 3,000 Jordanians of Palestinian origin in recent years. Concerned about increasing numbers of Palestinians, who make up nearly half the population, Jordan began in 2004 revoking the citizenship from Palestinians who do not have Israeli permits to reside in the West Bank."
Apart from the scanty news coverage of what is, after all, an important story - thousands of people losing their citizenship as a country seeks to tilt its delicate demographic balance - there is, of course, another issue.
Apart from the group that blew the whistle on this years-old policy, where is the outcry?
When Israel is accused, however unjustly, of any alleged misdeed against the Palestinians, the din is immediate and deafening. But when fellow Arabs are shown to be inflicting real damage on the Palestinians, there's hardly a peep.
Since the story surfaced nearly a week ago, I've looked in vain for editorials, columns, op-ed pieces, or letters-to-the-editor on the citizenship policy. Couldn't find a thing.
I checked on the usual addresses that profess to care about the Palestinian fate - the UN General Assembly, UN Human Rights Council, UN Special Rapporteur on the Palestinian Territories, Arab League, Organization of the Islamic Conference, and Non-Aligned Movement, among others - and found nothing.
I looked at the usually loquacious individuals and groups for whom the Palestinian issue is the alpha and omega of human rights questions - the first and last example of refugees ever produced by conflict - and met a blank slate.
Silence from the mayor of Malmo. Silence from the London School of Economics Student Union. Silence from the British trade unionists who want to boycott Israel. Silence from the Norwegian academics who wish to shun their Israeli counterparts. Silence from those who seek to remove Israeli products from Trader Joe's and Carrefour supermarkets. Silence from the media outlets that can be counted on to slam Israel for every perceived violation of Palestinian rights. Well, you get the point.
In other words, when Israel takes action to defend itself, pro-Palestinian forces around the world are ready to mobilize at a moment's notice with emergency sessions, self-righteous indignation, heated resolutions, angry protests, boycotts, letter-writing campaigns and over-the-top ads.
Yet, these very same forces are AWOL if Israel is not involved. They simply can't be bothered. Suddenly, their self-described anguish over the Palestinian plight evaporates.
And, of course, this isn't the first such instance.
Here are two other examples.
In 1990, Saddam Hussein ordered Iraqi forces to occupy Kuwait, claiming it was a province of his country. After the Iraqi military was ousted, Kuwaiti officials ordered the expulsion of 300,000 - 400,000 Palestinians who had been living in the country, in some cases for decades. The Palestinians were accused of having served as a fifth column for Iraq. Out they went.
Stop to think about it. An entire community was labeled subversive and kicked out en masse. That's a pretty heavy-duty step by a government that offered no judicial recourse, no right of appeal and no compassion for the broken lives.
Where were pro-Palestinian forces at the time? Again, missing in action. They couldn't pin the blame directly on Israel - although indirectly they blame everything that happens to the Palestinians on Israel's very being - so the fate of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians fleeing Kuwait didn't cause them sleepless nights.
Or how about the situation of Palestinians living in Lebanon? According to UNRWA, there are over 400,000 Palestinians registered with the UN agency. Most have been there for decades. In line with UNRWA policy, there is no mandate to resettle these Palestinians or future generations. Rather, they are deliberately kept as "refugees," unlike any other such population in the world.
Meanwhile, the Lebanese government has adopted resolutions and decrees over the years effectively aimed at the Palestinians in the country. "Foreigners," meaning Palestinians, are restricted from working in over 70 different professions in Lebanon, including medicine, dentistry, law and accounting.
Moreover, Palestinian refugees in Lebanon cannot today purchase property, and those who bought land before 2001 are barred from passing it on to their children. Only Lebanese citizens have the right to form non-governmental organizations. Palestinian refugees must do so through others since they are not accorded the chance to acquire Lebanese nationality.
Pretty draconian stuff. Yet, once again, where is the moral outrage of those who claim concern for the welfare of the Palestinian people? Why the telling silence?
Oh yes, I had forgotten. It's not Israel placing the stiff restrictions on Palestinian professional activity, land purchases, or the formation of civic associations, so it doesn't pass muster as a cause worth pursuing.
If this isn't a case of rank hypocrisy and transparent double standards, then what is?
Continued (Permanent Link)
Distributed by Press Release (PRnewswire) Christians for Fair Witness on the Middle East is disturbed to see America magazine continue its pattern of omitting critical facts while reporting about recent evictions in East Jerusalem.
America editor Fr. Drew Christiansen, S.J. complains about the eviction of Sharihan Hannoun's family from their home in East Jerusalem. According to Fr. Christiansen "Jewish settlers" have been "grabbing Palestinian land" in the Hannoun's neighborhood "with the support of [Israeli] authorities." ("Of Many Things" November 16, 2009).
"I don't like these evictions or the way they were conducted. But Fr. Christiansen omitted many essential aspects of the story," notes Fr. James Loughran, S.A., Director, Graymoor Ecumenical & Interreligious Institute.
After 1949 East Jerusalem and the West Bank fell on the Jordanian side of the armistice line. Palestinian refugees (including the Hannouns) were resettled in homes built on land seized from Jewish owners under Jordan's "Enemy Property" law. The Jordanian Custodian of Enemy Property never transferred ownership into the families' names as they were supposed to after the families paid a nominal rent for three years.
After acquiring this territory in 1967, Israel allowed the Palestinian families to stay in the homes undisturbed. But in the 1970s Jewish groups started raising ownership claims. The Israeli courts ultimately gave the Palestinians "protected tenant" status allowing them to stay in the homes into perpetuity in exchange for nominal annual fees and with some restrictions on renovations to the property. Only those families that refused to pay this fee were evicted -- the families that are paying the nominal rent remain in their homes.
Msgr. Dennis Mikulanis, Vicar for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs for the Diocese of San Diego, says, "From what I understand the Hannouns have been living in their house for years and I think they should be allowed to stay, especially since there are homes on the Israeli side of the Green Line that were owned by Palestinians where Jews now live. But it appears that the Israeli courts reached a fair compromise which actually seems pretty close to the situation the Palestinians had under Jordanian rule." Msgr. Mikulanis added: "I'm sure some will disagree, but America did not report all of the facts. This magazine is quickly losing its credibility for responsible journalism."
"Fr. Christiansen's article has a downright unsavory tone," said Rev. Dr. Bruce Chilton, the Bernard Iddings Bell Professor of Religion at Bard College in Annandale, New York. "There are complex and competing claims here, and like many aspects of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict arguments can be made on both sides. However, Fr. Christiansen characterizes the Jewish claims as 'grabbing Palestinian land' and 'ethnic cleansing,' even as he omits any and all facts -- no matter how essential to understanding the situation -- that might tend to exonerate the Israelis. This calls his integrity as an editor into very serious question."
Continued (Permanent Link)
One of the false claims made by Israel bashers is that Israeli archeologists are building myths about Jewish sovereignty in ancient Israel, and therefore suppress archeological finds that cannot be related to Jewish habitation. A variant of this slander was repeated in a recent Time magazine political polemic about archeology in Jerusalem, that tried to pass itself off as factual and objective.
The fact is that Israeli archeologists find what is there to be found, whether it "helps" the "Zionist narrative" or demonstrates what everyone knows to be true - the land was conquered by many peoples including the Romans, and the Jews have not been sovereign here for 2,000 years. In this case, archeologists found what was apparently the main road in Jerusalem during the Byzantine era, a finding that is sure to be of interest to many, but which should not have any bearing on political disputes, and certainly doesn't favor any pro-Zionist narrative.
The Madaba map, by the way, is a tourist attraction in neighboring Jordan. It is at the site where Moses supposedly looked out on the promised land.
Main Byzantine-era road in Jerusalem exposed
Archaeological excavation in the heart of the Old City confirms the description on the Madaba Map and reveals Jerusalem's main road from the Byzantine period for the first time.
(Communicated by the IAA Spokesperson)
The region of Jerusalem as it appears on the Madaba Map (Photo courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority)
The Madaba Map – an ancient mosaic map in a church in Jordan from the sixth-seventh century CE, which depicted the Land of Israel in the Byzantine period, explicitly showed: the entrance to Jerusalem from the west was via a very large gate that led to a single, central thoroughfare on that side of the city.
Various evidence of the important buildings in Jerusalem that appear on the map has been uncovered over the years or has survived to this day – for example the Church of the Holy Sepulcher – but the large bustling street from the period when Jerusalem became a Christian city has not been discovered until now. The reason for this is that no archaeological excavations took place in the region due to the inconvenience it would cause in stopping traffic in such a busy central location.
Remains of the 1,500 year old street in Jerusalem.
Photograph: Assaf Peretz, courtesy of the
Israel Antiquities Authority
Now, because of the need for a thorough treatment of the infrastructure in the region, the Jerusalem Development Authority has initiated rehabilitation work and is renewing the infrastructure in this area in general, and next to the entrance to David Street (known to tourists as the stepped-street with the shops) in particular. Thus it is possible for both archaeologists and the public to catch a rare glimpse of what is going on beneath the flagstone pavement that is so familiar to us all.
From his knowledge of the Madaba Map, Dr. Ofer Sion, excavation director on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, surmised that the place where the infrastructure will be replaced is where a main road passes that is known from the map. "And indeed, after removing a number of archaeological strata, at a depth of c. 4.5 m below today's street level, much to our excitement we discovered the large flagstones that paved the street". The flagstones, more than a meter long, were found cracked from the burden of centuries. A foundation built of stone was unearthed alongside the street on which a sidewalk and a row of columns, which have not yet been revealed, were founded.
According to Dr. Sion, "It is wonderful to see that David Street, which is teeming with so much life today, actually preserved the route of the noisy street from 1,500 years ago".
During the Middle Ages a very large building that faced the street was constructed on the stone foundation of the Byzantine period. In a later phase, during the Mamluk period (thirteenth-fourteenth centuries CE) elongated rooms were built inside this structure, some of which are vaulted; these were apparently used as shops and storerooms. It turns out that beneath this building – right below the street that runs between David's Citadel and David Street and leads to the Armenian Quarter – is an enormous cistern, 8 x 12 meters and 5 meters deep, which supplied water to its occupants.
The Madaba Map is an 8 x 16 meter mosaic map that was built in a church in Madaba, Jordan and described the Land of Israel through the intimate knowledge the mosaic's builder had of the country. The map depicts schematically all of the Land of Israel, with an emphasis on the Christian sites in it. Among other things that appear on the map are many of the churches they began to erect at this time when the city underwent a religious change from paganism to Christianity. The churches can be identified by the red roofs that are portrayed on the map.
The artifacts that were discovered in the excavations include an abundance of pottery vessels and coins and five small square bronze weights that the shopkeepers used for weighing precious metals.
Continued (Permanent Link)
February 09, 2010
- NIF-funded groups and their publications were featured centrally in the Goldstone report, which focused on alleged Israeli "war crimes" in the 2009 Gaza war. The report referenced B'Tselem more than 56 times; Adalah, 38; and Breaking the Silence, 27.
- Many of these citations referred to speculative issues unrelated to the conflict in Gaza, seeking to brand Israeli democracy as "repressive" and to widen the scope of the condemnations.
- Since the initial publication of the Goldstone report on September 15, 2009, these NIF-supported NGOs – including B'Tselem, ACRI, Gisha, PHR-I, and Yesh Din – have continued supporting Goldstone and lobbying the governments of the United States, the European Union, and others to legitimize the report's extreme biases and endorse its recommendations.
- In response to the controversy over their support for Goldstone, these organizations and the NIF launched an offensive against critics. NIF supporters accused NGO Monitor of "silenc[ing] expression," and being "extremist," "incendiary," the "rotten fruit of Israeli democracy," and "McCarthyite."
- In addition to involvement with Goldstone, several organizations funded by NIF, including Adalah, campaign against the legitimacy of Israel as a Jewish democratic state. Others such as Mossawa and Coalition of Women for Peace are active in worldwide boycotts, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaigns targeting Israel.
- The political impact of NIF-supported NGOs, based on NIF's annual budget of $32 million, is bolstered by additional funds from European governments and church groups that allocate funds to the same recipient organizations.
Continued (Permanent Link)
The Ir-Amim organizaion has taken up the cause of the "unfortunate" Palestinian "victims" of "Zionist oppression" in Sheikh Jarrah, Arabs who are supposedly being expelled to make way for setters. Ir-Amim is one of those "rights" and "peace" and "democracy" groups funded by the Ford foundation and the New Israel Fund and several European governments as well as the EU (see New Israel Fund Supports anti-Israel propaganda).
I thought democracy was a system of government in which citizens choose the representatives who decide policy, and citizens form and fund groups to influence policy. Silly me! "Democracy," according to those who claim to know, is a system in which foreign governments and rich people decide policy for us. With their unblemished historical record, Europeans can clearly be trusted to have the best interests of the Jewish people at heart, and to do what is best for the Jews. American Jews and the Ford Foundation are more familiar with the problems of the Middle East than us ignorant Israelis.
It turns out that the Arabs (27 families in all) are being evicted from the houses because they did not pay rent for over 35 years. This little detail is generally hidden from accounts of the saga. It also seems that Ir-Amim, which claims to advocate "shared Jerusalem" actually is advocating apartheid and ethnic cleansing in Jerusalem. Christians and Muslims can share East Jerusalem, not Jews, because Jews would be in "ongoing conflict with their environment" according to Ir-Amim.
Continued (Permanent Link)
Another consequence of the Goldstone report:
"Senior UN diplomats note, meanwhile, that one consequence of the Goldstone inquiry is that Hamas, which along with Israel issued a formal response, has become a quasi-official actor in the UN arena. "
Recognition - even as war criminals - is what Hamas craves. Thank you, Judge Golstone.
The United Nations is likely to refer the findings of the Goldstone report to the International Court of Justice in The Hague, diplomatic sources in New York said on Saturday.
A decision to bring the report on last year's Gaza war before the court would follow a debate in the UN General Assembly over Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon's response to the document last week.
Assembly president Ali Abdussalam Treki announced on Saturday that member states were drawing up a plan of action over Ban's answer to the report, in which retired South African Judge Richard Goldstone accused both Israel and Hamas of war crimes.
Treki, a senior Libyan diplomat, did not give a target date for a debate by the assembly - but the tone of his press release implied that he would push for a full discussion of the issue, diplomats said.
Ban himself is thought not to support a general session, fearing that further criticism of Israel would only delay the renewal of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.
Most UN-watchers believe that Arab member states will demand a plenary session on the report, however.
Senior UN diplomats note, meanwhile, that one consequence of the Goldstone inquiry is that Hamas, which along with Israel issued a formal response, has become a quasi-official actor in the UN arena.
In his report, Ban wrote that Israel had responded to all the accusations against it. But he added that it was too early to say whether recommendations had yet been implemented by Israel and Hamas, as the parties were still conducting investigations.
The Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem said on Friday that Israel was satisfied with Ban's statement, which was an "accurate representation" of the Israeli submission.
Hamas on Saturday appeared to backtrack on last week's apology for harming Israeli civilians in rocket attacks. The Goldstone report accused Hamas of firing rockets indiscriminately at civilians.
The militant group, which controls the Gaza strip, had said previously that its rockets were meant to defend Gazans against Israeli military strikes: "We apologize for any harm that might have come to Israeli civilians," the Hamas government wrote in an intial reponse to the Goldstone report.
But on Saturday Hamas said in statement that its response the UN had been misinterpreted and contained no apologies. Hamas officials declined to give any further comment.
"Hamas is a terror organization whose main purpose is to attack civilians, so it's not surprising that they would retract their apology," Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Andy David told the Associated Press on Saturday.
"For years Hamas has boasted about deliberately targeting civilians, either through suicide bombings, by gunfire or by rockets," Palmor said Saturday. "Who are they trying to fool now?"
Continued (Permanent Link)
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