Monday, October 23, 2017




We Jews have been branded (or self-branded) with a number of names.  “People of the Book,” and “The Chosen People” are two of the most popular, although I’ve also heard us described as a “stiff-necked people,” a “people of memory,” as well as a “people that dwells alone.”

But when it comes to verbal jousting with political opponents, I’d like to propose a different title for our side: A people that rise to the bait.

To show you what I’m talking about, look at the comment section of last week’s Divest This bit on Elder (which discussed tactical options for fighting the campus wars in an era of intersectionality).  On the surface, I should have been thrilled that the piece triggered over 60 discussion comments.  But if you look those comments over, you’ll see that what triggered them was not my original argument but one of those run-of-the-mill accusations Israel haters routinely throw into other people’s comment sections, regardless of the original topic covered.

In this case, our visitor reached for the old “Israel as US-aid welfare queen” chestnut, and no sooner had he posted than dozens of supporters of the Jewish state rushed to debunk the accusation, presenting facts and arguments that explained the true nature of American aid to the Jewish state, while also trying to turn the slur back on the original accuser. 

While this defense was both able and passionate, no one involved in it seemed to realize that (1) they were fighting on terrain chosen entirely by our enemies; and (2) no matter what facts and arguments were presented, the original accuser simply ignored them and continued on with the pointing finger.

It’s no accident that a culture, like ours, which values disputation and argument births defenders eager to mix it up with opponents.  But when we rise to someone else’s bait (which we do time and time again), it never seems to occur to us that this gives our foes the power to decide what we get to talk about.  

Even as we man the barricades to show our accusers how wrong and misguided they are, notice that they will never budge an inch from their original position.  And if (usually when) their original attack has been smashed, they will either (1) bring up a new accusation, ignoring everything that’s been said before; or (2) slip away and start the whole shtick over again in the next venue they hijack for their own purposes.

Given this dynamic, why should we bother making new and fresh arguments in the first place if we’re willing to let any bozo dedicated to ignoring them dictate to us the terms of debate?

By endlessly accusing opponents and demanding a response while never responding to the points of those opponents, Israel’s foes want to place us in the lose-lose position of either rising to their bait (and thus handing them control over debate) or saying nothing and letting the opposition’s accusations stand unchallenged.

I wish I could offer a no-fail way of handling such situations (which have arisen dozens of times during my many years of blogging).  One useful technique is to promise an opponent an immediate answer to their challenge once they either respond to the original blog post or admit (either directly or through silence) they are in full agreement with my original points.  Another is to point out the dynamic described above and insist that the accuser’s days of acting as prosecutor, judge, jury and hangman are over. 


Whatever you choose to do, always keep in mind that once you’ve moved the discussion to a topic of your opponent’s choosing, you have already limited the best-case scenario to not losing, rather than winning the argument.  




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  • Monday, October 23, 2017
  • Elder of Ziyon


Last week there was a bombshell in the Israeli political scene:
Israel does not necessarily need to evacuate any West Bank settlements in a future peace deal with the Palestinians, Labor party leader Avi Gabbay said Monday.

The left-wing party leader made the statement in an interview with Israel's Channel 2, after having been asked whether the Eli or Ofra settlements would have to be evacuated.

"If you make a peace deal, solutions can be found that do not necessitate evacuations," Gabbay said. "If a peace deal is made, why do we need to evacuate? I think the dynamic or the terminology that we have become accustomed to, that if you make a peace deal you evacuate, is not actually true."
The statement shocked members of Labor and its partner, Zionist Union, and was widely criticized, but mostly privately, out of fear of public infighting in the beleaguered leftist party.

Gabbay himself clarified a day later, and the media completely missed that his clarification was not based on a rightist view - but that of  a liberal:

Gabbay elaborated on his comments on Tuesday, saying that "we must not look at the evacuation of 80,000 Jews casually."
One rock-solid rule of modern international law is the illegality of the forcible transfer of populations except for extreme security reasons. In almost all circumstances, forcibly transferring a group of people against their will is regarded as a war crime, the only exception being for security reasons.

Among the many international instruments against forced transfer:
Pursuant to Article 7(1)(d) of the 1998 ICC Statute, “[d]eportation or forcible transfer of the population”, “when committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population, with knowledge of the attack,” constitutes a crime against humanity.

Under Article 8(2)(a)(vii) of the 1998 ICC Statute, “[u]nlawful deportation or transfer” constitutes a war crime in international armed conflicts.

Under Article 8(2)(e)(viii) of the 1998 ICC Statute, “[o]rdering the displacement of the civilian population for reasons related to the conflict, unless the security of the civilians involved or imperative military reasons so demand”, constitutes a war crime in non-international armed conflicts.

Article 3(1)(a) of the 2009 Kampala Convention provides that States Parties shall: “[r]efrain from, prohibit and prevent arbitrary displacement of populations”.
States Parties shall respect and ensure respect for their obligations under international law, including human rights and humanitarian law, so as to prevent and avoid conditions that might lead to the arbitrary displacement of persons. [P]rohibited categories of arbitrary displacement include but are not limited to: b. Individual or mass displacement of civilians in situations of armed conflict, unless the security of the civilians involved or imperative military reasons so demand, in accordance with international humanitarian law;h. Displacement caused by any act, event, fact or phenomenon of comparable gravity … and which is not justified under international law, including human rights and international humanitarian law. 

The 1998 Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement provide:
Principle 5All authorities and international actors shall respect and ensure respect for their obligations under international law, including human rights and humanitarian law, in all circumstances, so as to prevent and avoid conditions that might lead to displacement of persons.Principle 61. Every human being shall have the right to be protected against being arbitrarily displaced from his or her home or place of habitual residence.2. The prohibition of arbitrary displacement includes displacement:(b) in situations of armed conflict, unless the security of the civilians involved or imperative military reasons so demand;

The right of people to continue to live where they have lived is considered in nearly all circumstances to be sacred under international law, and under international humanitarian law, the only real exception being  for urgent security reasons.

No one, and I mean no one, demands that populations be forcibly removed from occupied territories in Turkey’s occupation of northern Cyprus since 1974; Morocco’s occupation of Western Sahara since 1975; Armenia’s occupation of parts of Azerbaijan including Nagorno-Karabakh since 1994; Russia’s occupation of Georgia’s Abkhazia and South Ossetia since 2008; and Russia’s occupation of Ukraine’s Crimea since 2014. In fact, the human rights of "settlers" is considered obvious in all cases - except Israelis. 

It is self-evident that forcibly removing populations is inconsistent with modern, liberal interpretations of international law. The previously accepted "population transfers" from the first half of the twentieth century (for example, India/Pakistan) are no longer considered to be legal by anyone.

Gabbay's statement was not "rightist"- it was liberal and entirely consistent with the Labor Party's leftist philosophy.

The so-called liberals who are upset at Gabbay are the ones who are advocating a policy that is reminiscent of fascism. Anyone who cares about human rights cannot create an exception for a single group of people, and all those who criticize him for his statements from the Left are simply hypocrites.





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  • Monday, October 23, 2017
  • Elder of Ziyon

From this week's Sunday Herald (Scotland) by Philippa Whiteford:

Having worked with Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) as a surgical volunteer in Gaza for a year and a half in 1991 and 92, I returned last year for the first time in 25 years to see how we could contribute to the improvement of breast cancer treatment there and in the West Bank and, then again, just a few weeks ago.

What struck me once I made my way through checkpoints at Erez crossing was how crowded and claustrophobic the Gaza Strip is after 10 years of virtual siege. The spread of Gaza City outwards to accommodate the population of almost two million people, squashed into a strip of land 8 by 40 kilometres, is eating into the arable land within the strip, while the Israeli security wall and associated no-man’s land shrinks it around the edges. The pervasive smell of sewage as a result of the near doubling of the population and refusal of Israeli permission to expand the sewage treatment plant, means raw sewage is just pumped out into the sea; one of Gaza’s most important resources.
 Israel has not refused to expand any sewage treatment plant. On the contrary, Israel is keenly interested in Gaza's sewage treatment to work properly. As Haaretz reported only last week, a new sewage treatment plant is being built - but there are no funds from the international community to run it.

The construction work for northern Gaza’s new sewage treatment plant is scheduled to be completed by the end of this year, but funding has not yet been secured to allow for the facility’s operation and maintenance — putting at risk water in Israel as well.
Without suitable funding, the sewage will not be treated and will continue to  threaten water sources.
Gaza sewage is also threatening Israeli water supplies and beaches.

Whitehead is a liar.

The external security wall and a decade of blockade impact on every aspect of daily life, including cancer treatment. For those requiring chemotherapy, it is not always possible to maintain an unbroken course of treatment and there are always chronic drug shortages - WHO report that 35% of all essential medicines are out of stock in Gaza.
Israel does not restrict medicines to Gaza. The Palestinian Authority does. 

Whitehead is a liar.

I can't comment directly on this claim:
In the UK, we would use a combination of blue dye and a radiocolloid injected into the breast to identify the first nodes in the axillary lymph chain, i.e. the most likely to have any cancer deposits. Unfortunately, the Israeli authorities do not allow the import of radiocolloid into the OPT - describing it as a security threat, despite the fact that Technitium has a half-life of a mere 4 hours which means the radioactivity is essentially gone the following day.
But I can tell you that COGAT has told me directly that  some materials that are banned from being imported to Gaza that are necessary for medical reasons are often approved on a case by case basis. Did Whiteford attempt to go through channels? Or did she simply want to use this as a reason to bash Israel?

Given her other outrageous lies, as well as her not mentioning anything about why Israel blockades Gaza, anything about Egypt's responsibility for its border, anything about how Hamas and the PA have clashed to bring electricity in Gaza down far less than it was earlier this year - it is apparent that Whiteford is more interested in bashing Israel than helping Gazans.

Like all good hypocrites.

(h/t Ellis Simpson)




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Sunday, October 22, 2017

  • Sunday, October 22, 2017
  • Elder of Ziyon
Earlier this month, Knesset MK Hanin Zoabi said that Jews are not a people and therefore have no right to self-determination, although Palestinians, mysteriously, do.

That may not be the most outrageous thing she said this month.

Over the weekend, at a symposium on the Balfour Declaration held in the Tubas on the West Bank, Zoabi said, "We [Arabs] are the legitimate owners of the homeland, and the Nakba is a product of the Balfour Declaration, which expelled the Palestinians from their lands, and the right of return is a Palestinian demand that can not be waived."

She isn't calling for a Palestinian state on the territories. She is saying that the state whose parliament she is a member of is illegitimate altogether and should be replaced with another Arab state.

Zoabi was suspended from Knesset for six months back in 2014. Why she wasn't banned altogether is unexplainable. No nation in the world would tolerate a lawmaker openly advocating the destruction of the state.






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  • Sunday, October 22, 2017
  • Elder of Ziyon
I reported last week on an article that (not very accurately) described 10 "Jewish" foods that Arabs enjoy. Among those foods were some that are generally considered to have had Arab origins before Israeli Jews adopted them as favorites, like falafel and shakshuka.

Predictably, there has been backlash. Some of the sites that published the article have removed it, with this apology:

This article was deleted because it violated the rule of objectivity and failed to put the story in its comprehensive context, which was stated in the editorial policy of the Post politicians. It adopted a single perspective to see the issue at hand, without taking into account another perspective.
The newspapers that removed the article (not all of them did) added an article about how Israelis stole everything from Palestinians, even their Dabke dance.

It quotes Joseph Massad of Columbia University as saying that the "Zionist" claim that these foods came from Jews who were expelled from Arab countries is false, because, Massad says:
This, however, flies in the face of the facts that there are very few Syrian, Palestinian or Lebanese Jews in Israel (the majority of Syrian and Lebanese Jews immigrated to the United States and Latin America, especially Mexico, while there are very few Palestinian Arab Jews left anywhere). The vast majority of Arab Jews in Israel come from Morocco, Iraq and Yemen, countries where hummus and falafel are not eaten.
Massad, another academic fraud, is lying. There are more Syrian Jews (115,000) in Israel than in the US or any other country. And how many 700,000 Jews who lived in Palestine before 1948 moved away? Unless Massad is saying that they don't count, and the only "Palestinian Jews" are the religious Jews in Jerusalem and Tzfat before 1900.

Furthermore, falafel is part of Iraqi cuisine. 

More importantly, it was brought to Israel by Yemeni Jews in the 1950s, where falafel is also popular, contrary to Massad's lie that it is simply not eaten in Yemen.







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From Ian:

In Syrian barrage, a confident message signed by Iran and Russia
It’s not clear if the sudden barrage of rockets “bleeding” into Israel from Syria Saturday had anything to do with the presence in Damascus of Iran’s defense chief. But given Iran’s seemingly unstoppable drive to entrench itself militarily in the region, the Syrian regime’s newfound confidence, and some other suspicious factors, it’s likely the volley was more than just an accident.

Though inadvertent fire has hit Israel in the past, this incident doesn’t fit that mold, and seems more like a Syrian attempt to send a message. First, there’s the timing — around 5 a.m. Most of the fighting in the Syrian civil war has taken place in the daylight hours, certainly not before the crack of dawn. Second, none of the previous inadvertent volleys consisted of five consecutive rockets.

Indeed, the incident appears to be connected to the anti-aircraft fire Syria directed at Israeli jets flying a reconnaissance mission over Lebanon last week, and a more aggressive recent tone from Damascus.

These developments are evident of the boost in self-confidence the Syrian regime is experiencing. Just Saturday, Assad’s army captured the Christian town of Qaryatayn, which had previously been taken by Islamic State and used as a base for the terror group. Assad may feel that victory in the civil war is within his reach thanks to having Tehran by his side, along with Shiite militias from Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan, and 8,000 well-armed Hezbollah fighters. So maybe he considers this a good time to send Israel a defiant message.

It doesn’t hurt that the same day, Iranian defense chief Mahmoud Bagheri signed a memorandum of understanding with his Syrian counterpart, Ali Ayyoub.
JPost Editorial: Peace conditions
Hamas has apparently failed its own recent reality test, which caused it finally to admit its utter failure in governing Gaza since it defeated Fatah for the privilege in a bloody 2007 coup. Weary of the task of rationing electricity and drinking water to its subjects, Hamas is now willing to let the PA do the dirty work of governance, while the most it apparently is willing to “sacrifice for the sake of its people’s freedom” is a transparently false pledge to refrain from terrorism – in the West Bank – while maintaining a Hezbollah- like presence alongside Fatah there and in Gaza.

This Lebanonization of the West Bank is a total non-starter, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Jordan Valley settlers on Thursday. The prime minister declared that, while Israel wants to resolve the conflict, it would not conduct negotiations with the irredentist Hamas.

“We want peace. We want a genuine peace and because of this we will not conduct negotiations with a terrorist organization in diplomatic disguise,” Netanyahu said.

What Netanyahu left unsaid was the undeniable truth that, after all, one cannot negotiate with an irrational subject, and Hamas’s persistent delusion that it is capable of destroying Israel is clearly proof of that.

PLO Executive Committee member Ahmad Majdalani noted that the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah was aware of the similarities of statements from Greenblatt and the Israeli security cabinet on the latest attempt at Palestinian reconciliation. He pointed out that, if a unity government is indeed formed with Hamas, it would have to follow the policies of the PLO, which recognizes Israel and supports ending the conflict through peaceful means – which apparently do not include inciting terrorism.

The security cabinet, in its declaration a day before Greenblatt’s, included the humanitarian condition that Hamas must return the bodies of Israeli soldiers as well as the two Israeli citizens it holds. Even if Hamas decides to demonstrate that it can act rationally and meet this request as a gesture of good faith, the continued belligerence toward Israel – as expressed this week by Sinwar – is the truest sign that the terrorist organization cannot be a partner for peace.
Point of No Return: Prickly discussion on the 'Right of Return' for Palestinians
Haaretz has been carrying an interesting exchange on the Palestinian 'right of return' for refugees. The radical leftist Uri Avnery breezily ignores the rights of Jewish refugees in the discussion. While a rebuttal letter in response mentions Jewish refugees, the author makes the mistake of demanding an equal right of return for Jewish refugees to Arab lands.

My comment: Uri Avnery is wrong to assume that a 'right of return' is a sacrosanct principle of international law. Article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights has never applied to Palestinian refugees. A 'right of return' was added at the last minute and was intended to underscore the rights of hostage populations to leave their countries. Besides, the Palestinian refugees were never citizens of Israel.

The Arab states rejected UN res 194, which also called for compensation and resettlement, while Israel did take back around 50,000 refugees in the 50s and paid some compensation.
The Arab states have violated international law by refusing to resettle their own refugees, and refusing to compensate Jewish refugees.

Besides, Avnery is wrong to say that the Arab refugees were 'ethnically cleansed'. They fled a war zone. The Jews, on the other hand, were banished from areas which fell to the Jordanians and Egyptians. The question remains - whether anything should be owed to a population who violated international principles by waging a war of aggression.

Grinblat is right that the definition of refugee should only apply to the actual refugees and not their descendants, but is wrong to even to entertain the idea of return for 100,000.

Israel has no obligation to allow Arab refugees to return 70 years after they left.
The existence of an equal number of Jewish refugees for whom return to Arab countries is dangerous should put paid to this notion, once and for all.

The point he should be making is that an irrevocable exchange of refugees took place. Neither set should be allowed to return.







I am Free from Reem's Racist Stupidity!

Michael Lumish



Reem Assil and her malicious, anti-Zionist friends challenged the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States and promptly got their legalistic butts kicked.

{Good for them.}

Anyone who followed the story of Assil's extremist and terrorist-admiring restaurant at the Fruitvale BART Station in Oakland knows that her attorneys dismissed her malicious "lawfare" action against Bob Pave, Robin Dubner, and myself.

This was due to the insightful work of Mitch Danzig, Evan Nadel, and Paul Huston of the law firm, Mintz Levin.

Speaking strictly for myself, I owe those gentlemen a significant debt of thanks.

There are, however, a few loose ends dangling that I want to tie up.

The first is that I owe an apology to StandWithUS, particularly Randy Kessler, Executive Director of the Northwest chapter.

And I owe a big tip 'o the kippa to Yael Lerman, Director of the SWU legal department.

{Were I her I do not know that I would have been quite so nice to me.}

When, during the vigils, it looked as if we would get zero support from the larger San Francisco Bay Area Jewish community, I lambasted that organization and stormed into Kessler's Facebook space with a self-righteous fit.

It was inappropriate, unfair, and I was wrong to do it.

Nonetheless, despite my bad manners, SWU did more to help the ongoing vigils at Reem's than any synagogue or other Bay Area Jewish organization.

After coming out of this nonsense, however, I have one significant message.

It is this:

The western-left is not a friend to the Jewish people and "intersectionality" as expressed within left-leaning politics is racist.

This is my "takeaway" from all of this mishigas.

There are plenty of self-identified progressives and "liberals" who are, indeed, great friends of the Jewish people and of the State of Israel. I do not mean to insult or castigate my progressive friends, but the obvious fact is that the western-left, in general, is unfriendly toward Israel.

According to recent Pew polling 40 percent of "liberal Democrats" support Palestinian-Arabs over the Jews in the Middle East, while only 33 percent favor the Jews.

Those who stood up with me against Reem's racist restaurant included members of the LGBT community and a survivor of the Warsaw Ghetto, yet we were called both homophobes and White Supremacists by the "progressives" who opposed us.

This is what the Left has descended into.

The people who confronted our vigil and who outnumbered us by a factor of at least three-to-one were entirely from progressive-left organizations and pro-Palestinian groups.

Despite all the evidence that is available - as Professor William Jacobson from the Cornell University Law School readily demonstrates - they still prefer to believe that Rasmea Odeh's confession was beaten and raped out of her over twenty-five days, despite the fact that the records show she admitted her guilt on the day immediately following her apprehension by the Israeli authorities.

We even have Aisha Odeh, Rasmea's partner, boasting of the murders and implicating Rasmea on Palestinian Authority television many years later.

The International Red Cross observed the trial and found it to be fair.

What more can anyone want?


Intersectionality and the Killing of Oscar Grant

It should also be noted that on the mural of Rasmea Odeh at Reem's bakery-cafe is a button or badge reading "Oscar Grant."

Oscar Grant was the young black man shot dead by Oakland police on New Year's Eve 2009 on the platform of the Fruitvale  BART Station within spitting distance of Reem's joint. The shooting sparked riots in Oakland and Reem Assil is trying to associate Rasmea Odeh with Oscar Grant for the purpose of associating Palestinian-Arab antisemitic anti-Zionism with the movement for "social justice" in the United States.

She is exploiting that movement and, in the process, is suggesting a sort-of ideological kinship between Grant, who was a victim, and Odeh, who is a murderer of innocent people. It seems to me that the Black community should be unhappy at the implied comparison.

In any case, the fundamental idea behind the intersectionalist trend is that just as African-Americans are said to be oppressed by the powerful "white patriarchy" in the United States, so Palestinian-Arabs are said to be oppressed by the powerful "Jewish white patriarchy" in Israel. The notion is that Zionism, like White Supremacy, is an oppressive system of dominance that must inevitably crush the Palestinian-Arabs under an iron boot.

These separate forms of alleged injustices are all thought of as sewn from the same racist and rapacious ideological cloth.

Needless to say, progressive-left anti-Zionism and intersectionality leave Jewish people out of the progressive-left Good Guys Club. Jews are considered "white" and "whiteness" is considered a predatory form of consciousness.

Meanwhile, the idea that Jewish nationalism must be crushed while Palestinian-Arab nationalism must be celebrated is racist, yet this is precisely what Assil is promoting by shoving Rasmea Odeh into the face of anyone who happens into her place. Since Odeh is a murderer in the cause of antisemitic anti-Zionism the message is that violence toward Jews - even to the degree of blowing people to smithereens - is honorable.

This is shades of 1930s Berlin and every Jew who passes that mural on the way into the Fruitvale BART Station has been put on notice.

Western-left intersectionality and the related identity politics, as practiced today, dockets people according to a racialized and gendered hierarchy of victimhood. The value of the individual depends on where they fall within the hierarchy. Jewish people, and particularly Jewish men, are at the very bottom of the hierarchy - along with men of European descent - and thus killing Jewish people is considered understandable under the toxic logic of progressive-left intersectionality and identity politics.

Within progressive-left identity politics the murder of Jews is simply an expression of the Palestinian-Arab "resistance" to Jewish oppression. Assil and her friends consider Odeh innocent not because of the evidence - which clearly demonstrates her guilt - but merely because they want her to be innocent. And even if she is not, her actions were fully justified as a matter of the "liberation" of the Palestinian-Arabs.

Such a view is nothing more, nor anything other, than genocidal racism toward the Jewish people. 



A Dash of Jewish History

For thirteen centuries the Jews of the Middle East suffered under the heel of Arab-Muslim imperial rule, along with the Christian population, within the system of dhimmitude as we call it in the West.

Although dhimmitude varied from century to century, and within the various areas of Arab-Muslim dominance, it was never better than Jim Crow at its worst. 

Jewish people were not allowed to repair synagogues. They were not allowed to hold a position of authority over any Arabs. They were generally not allowed to ride horses or defend themselves in the streets. They were not allowed to possess homes that overlooked the homes of the dominant majority Arab population. Speaking ill of the prophet Muhammad was punishable by death, as was Jewish sexual relations with Muslim women. In some places Jews were not even allowed outside during a rainstorm lest their Jewish filth run into the streets, thereby contaminating the dominant majority population.

And we had to pay the jizya, otherwise known as "protection money." The formal process of that payment was designed to be a humiliating experience for the purpose of reinforcing our lowly place within Arab-Muslim culture.

{See, Martin Gilbert, In Ishmael's House: A History of Jews in Muslim Lands, Yale University Press, 2010.}

Furthermore, the Palestinian-Arabs have turned down every single offer for statehood from the Peel Commission of 1937 until this moment and the greater Arab nation, which outnumbers the Jews of the Middle East by a factor of 60 or 70 to 1, have never ceased trying to destroy Israel and thereby reduce the Jews who survive back to the second and third-class non-citizenship.

And, yet, intersectionality in the mouths of western-leftists blames the Jewish people for the never-ending Arab-Muslim, Koranically-based hostility toward us.

When I attended the first vigils at Reem's restaurant my grievances with the progressive-left were largely theoretical. It seemed clear to me that by embracing various forms of racism - such as anti-white racism, antisemitic anti-Zionism, and what Manfred Gerstenfeld dubbed "Humanitarian Racism" - and through their growing opposition to freedom of speech, that the Left was (and is) shedding its liberalism and, thereby, hollowing-out its very reason to be.

{Progressivism without liberalism is authoritarianism, after all.}

Now, however, the criticisms have moved from the theoretical to the personal because Assil and her supporters tried to drag me into court for the purpose of shutting down my freedom of speech. People have suggested to me that this was a test case designed to challenge the American commitment to freedom of speech.

From where I sit, despite the howling of precious snowflakes from UC Berkeley to Columbia University, the First Amendment to the Constitution remains strong.

Now if only we could somehow get more Jewish people, and friends of Jewish people, to understand that the mural of Rasmea Odeh at Reem's remains an ongoing call to violence against the tiny Jewish minority wherever we may be in the world.

What does it say about a political movement that it venerates a genocidal Jew murderer in the name of "social justice"?

In the name of fundamental human decency, the mural of Rasmea Odeh should be removed from Reem's racist restaurant.

I have been in touch with Terry Joffe Benaryeh who has a piece in the Times of Israel concerning the murder Edward Joffe entitled, The day joy vanquished my terror. 

Terry is Edward's niece.

My guess is that she and her family would heartily agree.



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From The New York Times:

This time around, Hamas has so far refused to consider disarming its fighters and has insisted that it remains dedicated to liberating Palestine, not embracing Mr. Abbas’s project of a two-state solution — despite a new document of principles it released in the spring that accepted the idea of a provisional Palestinian state, without renouncing future claims to the land that is now Israel.
While the newspaper will often put scare quotes around the word "terrorist," claiming that the definition of that term may be interpreted differently by different parties, it has no problem saying that Hamas' goal is "liberating Palestine."

The implication that the Times is giving by not choosing to use those scare quotes is that "Palestine" is  a land that deserves to be liberated - from Jewish rule.

Of course, Hamas' goal is destroying Israel and expelling its Jewish residents, not "liberating Palestine.". It says this explicitly; one example comes from a press release last month:
Palestine is a holy land that can not be bargained for, and only its people and its martyrs will live there.
The NYT use of "liberating Palestine" without scare quotes is not a one-off. In 2011 the NYT published an op-ed that used that phrase in reference to Hezbollah's aims, as well as an article about an anti-Israel Facebook page taken down:

Facebook began closely monitoring the page after numerous complaints in the last couple of weeks, including a letter last week from Israeli Cabinet Minister Yuli Edelstein to the chief executive officer, Mark Zuckerberg. Mr. Edelstein asked for the page to be removed because of concern that it was calling for the killing of Jews and of “liberating” Jerusalem through violence.
The managers of the page could not be reached for comment. In the information box, they described the purpose of the page as liberating Palestine. “After the Tunisian intifada and the Egyptian intifada and the Libyan intifada comes the Palestinian intifada.”
In this example, by not using the scare quotes, The New York Times is explaining the meaning of a "Palestinian intifada" as being the liberation of Palestine.

But in 2010, referring to Hamas, the newspaper did put the word "liberating" in quotes, noting accurately that it meant destroying Israel, an explanation that was not made clear in this latest case.

Newspapers, especially prominent papers like The New York Times, have style sheets and guides on consistent use of phrases. It seems unlikely that this phrase has been mistakenly kept in its reporting without an editor having made a clear decision to allow it is be used without the scare quotes.

By using the term "liberating Palestine" as a matter of fact phrase and not a quote by Israel's enemies, the NYT is telling the world that a nation that never existed is in need of being "liberated" from Israel, meaning the destruction of Israel.

That is about as anti-Israel as it gets.

(h/t Gary Weiss)




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  • Sunday, October 22, 2017
  • Elder of Ziyon


From Asharq al Awsat:
Israeli artillery shelled three Syrian regime positions in the Golan Heights amid threats that Tel Aviv would escalate its response to rocket fire from the Syrian side of the Golan.

The Israeli shelling came in retaliation to five rockets being fired from Golan territories that are held by gunmen in Syria. The rockets had veered off their course and landed in the Israeli-occupied section of the region.
Actually, the rockets came from territory controlled by the Syrian army.
For its part, the regime acknowledged the Israeli attack against one of its positions,.

“The general command of the military and armed forces renews its warning of the dangerous repercussions of such hostile activities and holds Israel completely responsible for their consequences,” regime forces said in a statement.

“The attack is part of Israeli coordination with the terrorist groups that it supports in the region,” they added.

It said that the initial rocket fire that prompted the Israeli retaliation was originally coordinated with Tel Aviv “in order to give the Zionist enemy an excuse to carry out its aggression.”
 This has Iran's fingerprints all over it:
Concluding a visit to Syria on Saturday, the commander of Iran’s armed forces signed a memorandum of understanding with Syrian officials in which the two allies announced plans for tighter military cooperation and coordination — notably against Israel. The sides agreed to expand cooperation on intelligence, training, technology and against what they called “Zionist-American schemes,” the Ynet news website reported.

Maj. Gen. Mohammad Bagheri, Iran’s chief of staff, has spent several days in Syria, touring war zones and meeting with high-level officials, including President Bashar Assad.

In what was seen as part of a determined effort to put an end to Israel’s hitherto unimpeded air superiority over Syria and Lebanon, Bagheri on Wednesday said Tehran would not tolerate violations of Syrian sovereignty by Israel and vowed that the two countries would jointly fight against Syria’s enemies. “We cannot accept a situation where the Zionist entity attacks Syria from the ground and the air,” he said.
It is notable that even "moderate" Arab media like London-based Asharq al-Awsat - which is pro-Saudi Arabia - simply believes Syria's version of events over Israel.



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Saturday, October 21, 2017

  • Saturday, October 21, 2017
  • Elder of Ziyon
On the Map is a documentary that is now making the rounds of Jewish and Israeli film festivals.



It looks really good.

(h/t Yoel)




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From Ian:

Israel believes rocket fire from Syria may have been deliberate
Israel believes five rockets fired across the border from Syria early Saturday morning may have been deliberately launched at Israel, rather than constituting errant spillover from clashes in Syria, military sources said late Saturday.

Israel fired back into Syria, hitting three rocket launchers, in response to the rocket fire, and warned that further fire would prompt a more intensive response.

Syria, in turn, claimed that Israel had “coordinated” with terror groups, inviting them to fire into Israel as a pretext for the IDF response, and it sent letters of complaint to the United Nations.

The Israeli army said five projectiles were fired at around 5 am, and that four of them fell relatively deep inside Israeli territory. The rockets set off alarms in several locations. They landed in open ground, and caused no injury or damage. One of them landed close to an Israeli residential area.
UN soldiers patrol near the border with Syria in the Golan Heights after projectiles land on the Israeli side of the border, October 21, 2017. (Basel Awidat/Flash90)

Channel 2 news reported that although the IDF officially referred to “spillover” fire in its statements Saturday, there was “a growing sense” in the army that the Syrian fire was deliberate.

There was no fighting going on in Syria at the time of the fire, the TV report said. It added that the area from which the rockets were fired is under the control of the Syrian army. And it noted that the projectiles fell deep inside Israeli territory on the Golan Heights, one after the other, rather than close to the border.
In letter to UN, Syria blames Israel for faking attack to 'justify own aggression'
The Syrian Foreign Affairs Ministry sent two letters to United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Saturday accusing Israel of faking an attack on its own territory following the IDF's aerial attack on Syrian military positions in Quneitra on Saturday morning.

The Israeli military struck the Syrian targets in retaliation after five projectiles were launched at Israel from Syria, with three landing in an open area on the Golan Heights.

"Israel asked terrorists to launch projectiles at its own territory, so it could justify its own attack," the letters to Guterres reportedly charged.

"This new Israeli aggression against the outskirts of Quneitra is a new chapter in the connection between the Israeli occupation and the armed terrorist organizations, and a desperate attempt to support those organizations," the letter read in a blatant accusation but did not specify which terror groups Israel is allegedly collaborating with.

The letter continued to allege that "Syria repeatedly warns of the grave repercussions to the repeated aggressive actions that cannot be explained as anything but support of terror and criminal terror organizations, against Security Council resolutions."

The Syrian Foreign Ministry urged the UN to step up its involvement and to actively condemn Israel for its so-called 'manipulations,' writing to Guterres that "Syria is surprised by the lack of reaction from the Security Council [that isn't calling on Israel] to stop its aggression and isn't condemning it, seeing as it hurts basic UN principles as well as international law."
Corbyn says no to Balfour dinner
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has declined an invitation to attend a dinner to commemorate the centenary of the Balfour Declaration in London next month.

Jonathan Goldstein, chairman of the Jewish Leadership Council, said today it was “deeply unfortunate” Mr Corbyn was not going to the event.

“I do think it will not have been amiss for Mr Corbyn to understand that the Jewish community will have taken great heart and great comfort for seeing him attend such an event because it recognises the right of Israel to exist,” Mr Goldstein said.

He noted Mr Corbyn had also not attended a reception for Labour Friends of Israel during the party conference last month.

But Mr Goldstein said he hoped there would be representation from among the Shadow Cabinet at the dinner.
RELATED: Andrew Neil's Holocaust Educational Trust speech

The Labour Party has been asked to comment.

Earlier this month in an article in the Sunday Times, Mr Goldstein hit out at the Labour party's "utter failure to denounce the pernicious antisemitism that continues to pervade Labour".

Friday, October 20, 2017

From Ian:

Jonathan S. Tobin: Liberal Jews and that inconvenient Israeli consensus
Jewish institutions are under siege these days, and their principal critics aren’t neo-Nazis. Despite the clear leftward tilt of most organized Jewish life, liberal critics are constantly telling us that mainstream groups like AIPAC and federations are toadies of an Israeli government that is pursuing policies that American Jews abhor. The ferment on the left runs from tame—and largely irrelevant—liberal Zionist groups like J Street to more extreme opponents like IfNotNow and the virulently anti-Zionist Jewish Voice for Peace, which also dabbles in anti-Semitic libels as well as support for boycotts of Israel.

The critics and the naysayers have the ear of many Jews. The reason for this has more to do with the demographic collapse and decline of a sense of Jewish peoplehood among the non-Orthodox denominations that make up about 90 percent of American Jews, than it does with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s shortcomings. But it’s also true that the majority of the non-Orthodox Jewish community has little sympathy with the Israeli government’s positions on the peace process.

The notion promoted by President Barack Obama that Israel needs to be saved from itself still resonates among the majority of Jews who voted for him. This view holds that Israel’s continued presence in the West Bank is the prime obstacle to peace as well as the future of the Jewish state. But while this liberal consensus deems Netanyahu a problem, its proponents rarely stop to ask why he was elected prime minister four times, including winning the last three elections in a row.

The answer is simple. There exists a broad consensus within Israeli society that contradicts the assumptions held by most American Jews. The majority of Netanyahu’s compatriots see his policies as the only possible response to a Palestinian political culture that still refuses to accept the legitimacy of a Jewish state, no matter where its borders might be drawn. Moreover, that Israeli consensus isn’t merely upheld by Netanyahu and his allies; his rivals on the center and the left also embrace it.

The most complicated city in the world: Talking to Mayor Nir Barkat about running Jerusalem
On 12 September Fathom hosted a briefing with Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat. Below is an edited transcript of the event. Barkat spoke candidly about running a city that is under the microscope like no other and contested like no other. He also discussed his vision for Jerusalem to be a model for peace and coexistence around the world and his policies to close the gaps between its different communities.

Nir Barkat: I think with this expert audience I’m excused from explaining how complicated the job is. What I’d like to do is share with you the vision that I have for my city. If you understand that vision, you will better understand the decisions I take.

Let me take you back 3,000 years.

When the people of Israel came back from Egypt after hundreds of years of slavery, the land was divided between 12 tribes. Each tribe had its own bit of land, except for Jerusalem, which for a thousand years made everyone welcome at the gates of the Holy City. Hence the phrase in the Bible, “Jerusalem makes all people friends” – a place where all tribes, Jews and non-Jews alike, could worship.

There is another famous phase in Hebrew, “from Zion, new leadership comes out of Jerusalem”. Returning pilgrims would be asked, “what’s new in Jerusalem?” The idea was, if it works in Jerusalem, it might work here. And that need not apply only to the past of Jerusalem; it could apply to its future too. My experience as a mayor is that Jerusalem is a thought-leader. When we get things to work here – between the secular and the religious, between Muslims, Jews and Christians – we offer a model to others.
Arab Muslim Israeli: Anyone Who Slanders Jewish State As ‘Apartheid’ Regime Should Be Ashamed
An Arab Muslim citizen of Israel blasted the anti-Semitic charge that the Jewish state is an “apartheid” regime, saying people should be “ashamed” of using that term to describe the only country in the Middle East that provides “freedom of belief, the right to educate, to elect and be elected” to all minorities.

In a video that went viral this week on Facebook, Dema Taya, who lives in the central Israeli city of Qalansawe, said on an Arabic-language news channel, “Israel is not an apartheid state and anyone who believes this should be ashamed of himself.”

“You live in this country and enjoy the full benefits of its citizenship. You are free to work, study, express yourselves and whatever you desire,” she told the host. “You lead and educate the next generations in a state that respects you. Look at Syria, Iraq, Egypt and the rest of the Arab countries. What have they done for the good of their people?”

Taya is currently in the U.S. on a speaking tour as part of a delegation organized by Reservists on Duty to fight the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS) and tell of their personal experiences growing up as members of Israel’s minority communities.

“I’m proud to stand up and speak for Israel and that I’m an integrated part of it,” Taya said in the interview.

“I hope that all Arab countries will adopt the Israeli democratic regime – and for your information, 90% of Gaza Strip citizens and the West Bank wish they were under such a regime,” she concluded.


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

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