Sunday, May 27, 2018

  • Sunday, May 27, 2018
  • Elder of Ziyon
Last week, TOI reported:

A group of Palestinians from the Gaza Strip breached the security fence on Tuesday morning and set fire to an empty IDF position on the other side, the army said.

The suspects got through the fence east of the Bureij refugee camp in the Gaza Strip. The target of their arson attack was a tent that had been used by Israeli snipers during recent riots along the border.

Islamic Jihad published this video on their Palestine Today site:


How can anyone watch this and think that the Gaza incidents are simply demonstrations and not military?

Similarly, here is video of one of the forest fires in Israel started by incendiary kites from Gaza last Friday - a clearly military action:


"Human rights groups" argue that Israel should treat these sorts of incidents like riots and use the international laws of policing, not of war. But this is war.






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Saturday, May 26, 2018

From Ian:

Ronen Lubarsky, soldier struck by marble slab in West Bank, dies of wounds
A soldier from an elite army unit died Saturday after being critically injured Thursday when a marble slab was dropped on his head during an operation to arrest suspected terrorists in the West Bank.

The Israel Defense Forces named the soldier as Ronen Lubarsky, 20, from the central city of Rehovot.

The army posthumously promoted him to the rank of staff sergeant.

He was to be buried at 2 a.m. overnight Saturday-Sunday at the Mt. Herzl military cemetery in Jerusalem.

“On Shabbat we lost Duvdevan soldier Sergeant Ronen Lubarsky, who was critically wounded during an operation to arrest wanted suspects,” said Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman. “Duvdevan, one our elite units, every night carries out many arrests in an endless war…”

“I wish to send my condolences to the family in the family of the entire nation of Israel and am closely monitoring the efforts to arrest the terrorist,” added Liberman. “We will bring justice for Ronen.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also expressed his condolences to Lubarsky’s familly.

“Our security forces will get to the terrorist and the State of Israel will bring him to justice,” he said.
Sarsour, Adelson, and Ha’aretz: Unraveling the Lies
Writing in the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz, Uri Blau claims in “Spying on Linda Sarsour: Israeli Firm Compiled BDS Dossier for Adelson-funded U.S. Group Battling Her Campus Appearances,” to have outed a Sheldon Adelson-funded Israeli “spying” operation against the American Islamist Linda Sarsour.

But Blau and Ha'aretz got the story entirely wrong: The Middle East Forum (MEF), an American think-tank, compiled the Sarsour dossier.

The real story: MEF has publicly and openly tracked Linda Sarsour’s career since 2010, when she was still an obscure figure. MEF’s president and founder, Daniel Pipes, has maintained a running account since then of her foibles and extremism. Using this and other information (see here, here, here, and here for examples), MEF created the Sarsour dossier in December 2017.

There is nothing shocking or wrong about this. MEF is a research organization and has produced similar documents studying other American Islamists. For instance, see our CAIR study here, our Islamic Relief study here, and our recent report on Islamists lobbying Congress here. We’ve disseminated our research all over the world, working with moderate Muslim allies.

Further, MEF has never received funding from Sheldon Adelson; nor is MEF part of any coalition mentioned in the article; and no foreign government has been involved with financing or providing information for our research on Sarsour.

With Blau’s article established to be fake news, the Middle East Forum calls on Ha’aretz to issue a public correction and apology.

Rather than waste his own and his readers’ time investigating the research on Sarsour, Blau would do better joining us in researching Sarsour’s career, for she has a long history of vicious antagonism and radical sentiments.
Iranian FM caught chanting 'death to US, UK, Israel'
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, considered a moderate by many, was caught on tape Thursday joining a crowd in a chant calling for the destruction of Iran's enemies—among them the US, UK and Israel.

The chant broke out after a speech delivered by Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei held in Tehran.

The crowd is then heard chanting "Death to America", "Death to Britain" and "Death to Israel," all while Zarif is seen smiling and mouthing the words shouted by the participants.

Among the participants in the event were Iran's Atomic Energy Commission, former Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi and Iran's Chief of Staff General Mohammed Hussein Bakri.

Zarif left last week for a trip to Asia and Europe as part of efforts to maintain the nuclear agreement after the US withdrew from it.

In the days before President Trump's decision to withdraw from the deal, Zarif attacked the United States and Israel, threatening I ran is ready to resume its nuclear activities "at a much greater speed" should the US decides to pull out of the 2015 international agreement aimed at preventing Tehran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

On Wednesday, Khamenei set out seven conditions for Tehran to stay in its nuclear deal with world powers, including steps by European banks to safeguard trade with Tehran.

Friday, May 25, 2018

From Ian:

The Media’s Palestine Narrative Reads Like Fan Fiction
Take, for instance, the issue of the peace process. Most media outlets have decided on behalf of the Palestinians that they want peace with Israel and are willing to share the land, which Israel won’t allow. That is, despite what Palestinian leaders from Hamas to Fatah say publicly.

News outlets simply rationalize facts away. The Palestinians waving machetes in Gaza don’t really want to kill Israelis; they’re just props. Ismail Haniyeh, the Hamas Political Bureau chairman who runs Gaza didn’t mean it when he led chants at the May 11 riots: “Khaybar, Khaybar, oh, Jews! The Army of Muhammad has begun to return!” Sure, it may refer to the wholesale Muslim slaughter of Jews near Medina in the year 628 but it’s probably just a figure of speech. It doesn’t matter that he explicitly declared “Palestine is from the [Mediterranean] Sea to the [Jordan] River and we shall never, never, never recognize Israel!” I’m sure that’s negotiable and beside the point.

As for Palestinian actions, their internal politics, or their societal struggle, they don’t matter. If there are allegations of corruption involving an Israeli politician, reporters are all over it. If the accusations involve Palestinians, those stories usually fall by the wayside. Outside Israel one likely won’t read about the father of two in Gaza who recently set himself on fire in protest of Hamas’s mishandling of the humanitarian situation. That was how the so-called “Arab Spring” began, with a street vendor in Tunisia who engaged in self-immolation; he was striving to make a point. Yet reporters would likely be tripping over themselves to get the story out if he had blamed Israel instead.

All of this points to what should be painfully obvious by now: After 70 years of a failed strategy to secure their statehood in place of Israel, Palestinian leadership would still rather use its population as cannon fodder for a media stunt and its reconstruction aid for building terror tunnels than devote resources to building the institutions necessary to run a state and provide for its people. The longer Palestinians cling to the mythology that they will kick the Jews out of Jerusalem, flood Israel with millions of refugees, and replace the Jewish state with a state of their own, the more distant the prospects for progress become. That change is even more unlikely to happen while mainstream media outlets remain wedded to the promotion of Palestinian fiction.
Bomb hurled at IDF troops on Gaza border as hundreds protest
An explosive device was thrown Friday at Israeli troops along the Gaza border in the Strip’s north, the army said, as Palestinians took part in weekly clashes near the security fence.

The army said no soldiers were injured by the bomb.

It said some 1,600 Palestinians took part in riots at two locations along the border, where they threw rocks and burned tires. Numerous attempts were made to damage security infrastructure, the army said.

Troops used riot dispersal means and live fire in accordance with IDF regulations, it added.

Gaza’s Hamas-run health ministry said 86 people were injured. Most were treated for tear gas inhalation while some sustained gunshot wounds.

Also during the afternoon several incendiary kites were flown into Israel from the Palestinian coastal enclave, sparking fires. Strong winds hampered efforts to douse the blazes, though all were eventually brought under control.

MEMRI: CAIR-LA Executive Director Hussam Ayloush At Orange County Event: The Governmental 'Countering Violent Extremism' Program Exclusively Targets American Muslims; It Should Target Jewish Kids Who Join The Israeli Army
Hussam Ayloush, Executive Director of the Greater Los Angeles Chapter of Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), spoke at an event titled "Challenging Islamophobia with My Vote" at the Islamic Institute of Orange County (IIOC), California on April 20, 2018. He said that the U.S. governmental Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) program exclusively targets American Muslims although white supremacism is the number one cause of "domestic terrorism and violent extremism" in the U.S. "Do you know how many hundreds of Jewish American kids are recruited to join the Israeli occupation army?" he asked, adding: "No one has ever established a CVE program to see why normal American kids leave their homes to become part of an army committing war crimes... They go to the American Muslim community, although the number of Muslims who join ISIS and Al-Qaeda is... tiny." Professor Khaled Beydoun of the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law, the other speaker at the event, said that it falls upon the shoulders of the community to spearhead efforts to educate people about Islam and to counter Islamophobia. The event, co-hosted by the IIOC and CAIR, was billed as encouraging Muslim Americans to fight Islamophobia and empower themselves through voting. The event was posted on the IICO YouTube channel.

Having been executive director of Greater Los Angeles chapter of CAIR since 1998[1] Hussam Ayloush is also an active member of various interfaith groups.[2] He has made some controversial statements on social media and on television. Following the December 2015 San Bernardino terror attack, Ayloush said on CNN: "Let's not forget that some of our own foreign policy, as Americans, as the West, have fueled that extremism."[3] In November 2016, Ayloush tweeted an Arabic phrase chanted across the Arab world during the Arab Spring, that translates as "The people want to bring down the regime," and exhorted his readers, "Ok, repeat after me."[4]

In January 2017, on Facebook, he criticized an imam who participated in an inaugural event for U.S. President Donald Trump: "In the face of unreluctant and unrepentant defamation and animosity toward Islam and Muslims... by this Trump team, [this imam's] symbolic participation... does not qualify as engaging or correcting the wrongdoers, but rather enabling them and providing them with a token cover for their bigotry."[5] Following the December 25, 2016 crash of a Russian passenger jet en route to Syria in the Black Sea, Ayloush tweeted: "I'm sad about the crashed Russian military jet. The TU-154 could have carried up to 180 military personnel instead of just 92!"[6] Also, in October 2017, he spoke at a teacher's workshop that some described as portraying Israel as the villain and Palestinians as the victims.

From Ian:

Col Kemp: Do not be fooled by what Hamas is doing
The Hamas-organised crowds were hell-bent on breaking through the border fence. Had the IDF allowed the fence to be breached, they would have surged through in their thousands. Using their Google maps showing routes from the border, they would have dashed for pre-designated villages, intent on mass slaughter.

Yes, the IDF would have stopped them — but to do so they would have had to kill many times more than have been killed already.

The Jewish community in Britain must not succumb to the hysteria demanded by Hamas and stoked by a predominantly anti-Israel media which has the world howling in outrage as the Gaza terrorists again and again jerk the strings.

Of course, we can only be horrified by the heart-breaking death toll on the Gaza border in the last six weeks and especially on Monday. But those of us who remain sober know this has been directly caused by Hamas and their Iranian paymasters.

At the Gaza border, I met five officers and four soldiers from North London. With their brothers in arms from Israel and around the world, these young people were risking death every minute of the day to stand between innocent men, women and children in villages like Nahal Oz and the bloodthirsty hordes desperate to butcher them.

These fine, courageous soldiers are your brothers and sisters, sons and daughters. They would no more indulge in an orgy of unnecessary killing than you or I would. Do not believe the lies that are told about them.

There is another reason you must stick up for them and the Jewish state in this dark hour. Those who falsely condemn Israel play into Hamas’s hands, fuel their terrorism, encourage their use of human shields and contribute to the death and bloodshed.

Standing up for the IDF is also standing up for innocent Palestinian civilians so betrayed, exploited and sacrificed by their leaders.

If the Jews won’t find the courage to do that, who will?
Richard A. Epstein: The Israel-Palestine Standoff
Few issues produce more political and emotional discord than the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In principle, there is much to commend a two-state solution. If achieved, it could allow the two groups to live beside each other in peace. Unfortunately, but unsurprisingly, the interminable peace process came to a screeching halt this past week as the American embassy opened in Jerusalem. An exultant Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu proclaimed before Israeli and American dignitaries, “We are in Jerusalem and we are here to stay.” At the same moment, thousands of angry Palestinian demonstrators were rebuffed with deadly force as they sought to storm into Israel from Gaza. The confrontations took place on May 14 and 15—and the Palestinians consciously timed their protests to correspond with the seventieth anniversary of the Palestinian Exodus that resulted in the birth of the Israeli state. Some 62 Gazans died and thousands were wounded as the Israelis used live ammunition to keep protestors from storming over the barricades into Israel.

Now that the protests have subsided, Hamas seeks to capitalize on the deaths and injuries to isolate Israel diplomatically. The United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva has harshly condemned the Israelis for a “wholly disproportionate response” to the provocations they faced. Any fair-minded assessment can only judge the Israeli response by first looking at Hamas’s provocation. But as with other UN tribunals, the evidence on the ground does not matter. In this instance, Hamas was fiendishly clever by mixing in children with violent protestors to bolster its common claim that the Israelis fired on “unarmed individuals” who posed little or no imminent threat to the Israelis, a claim that was quickly repeated by Reps. Keith Ellison (D-Minn) and Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii).

Hamas’ charge is bizarre for two reasons. The first is that a mob, even of “unarmed” individuals, is typically intent on committing acts of violence by its sheer force of numbers. Indeed, the fiery confrontation looked like a war zone, marked by the hurling of Molotov cocktails, rocks, grenades, and pipe bombs at IDF border guard forces, backed up by the use of incendiary kites flown over Israeli territory. At multiple points along the border, Hamas operatives used wire cutters to tear up fences in order to allow hordes of thuggish Palestinians to fan out into Israeli territory. As Israeli intelligence reports, Hamas paid women and children to go to the front in order to put them in the line of fire.

This was no peaceful protest, and it takes an uninformed view of the law of self-defense to insist that Israeli soldiers should have held back their fire until personally faced with “imminent danger,” at which point it would have been too late both for them and the civilians they were there to protect. There is no principle in the law of self-defense that requires a group to forego self-defense because there is some chance that the assailant, if successful, will inflict fewer casualties by its aggression than are in fact inflicted on it. The Israelis were right to stand their ground.
Melanie Phillips: Going onto the front foot on the battleground of the mind
The attempt to scapegoat the IDF communications team for the shocking western media coverage of the Gaza Strip border riots reveals once again that Israel’s political class simply hasn’t got a clue about the anti-Israel madness.

Mainstream media in Britain, America and Europe presented the murderous attempts by Hamas to storm the border, using Molotov cocktails, IEDs, firearms and flaming kites under cover of the unarmed civilians they pushed to the front, as peaceful demonstrators being killed by brutal Israeli soldiers. That was the coverage Hamas was out to procure.

The media thus made themselves accessories to Hamas war crimes.

Within Israel, this has been blamed on the IDF spokesperson, Brig.-Gen. Ronen Manelis, and on Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, head IDF spokesperson to the foreign press. This is deeply unfair.

Doubtless, they could have done things better. When BBC Radio asked Conricus how he could justify firing live ammunition at unarmed protesters, he said they were members of Hamas – but failed to list the weapons they were using or that the IDF had tried tear gas, rubber bullets and shooting at legs before the last resort of lethal fire.

Merely saying they were Hamas meant nothing to a British public indoctrinated by wall-to-wall propaganda that unarmed protesters were mowed down – a public, moreover, for whom the greater the violence Hamas uses against Israel, the deeper the Gazans’ desperation is thought to be as a result of Israeli “oppression.”

The problem is far too profound to be adequately addressed in such circumstances by any individual. For the demonization of Israel is a derangement that has gripped the media and intelligentsia in Britain, Europe and America.

  • Friday, May 25, 2018
  • Elder of Ziyon
From TOI:

A legal team headed by US lawyer and academic Alan Dershowitz is preparing a international lawsuit to force Arab countries that host sports events to allow Israeli athletes to compete under the Jewish state’s flag and play its national anthem if they win.

Israeli athletes face various restrictions when competing in the Middle East or against Arab countries due to hostility toward the Jewish state. Gulf countries have allowed Israelis to compete, but without the Israeli flag or other symbols displayed on the athletes’ uniform or in the competition facility.

Jerusalem has long considered pursuing legal action against the practice but postponed it for various reasons. But now a legal team, assembled by Yesh Atid MK Yoel Razvozov, is working on a lawsuit on the issue to be filed at the Court of Arbitration for Sport, an international body for settling disputes related to sport.
The headline in the Arabi21 site says that Israel is not happy with mere normalization with Arabs, but wants more and more.

Obviously because insisting on being treated like any other country is simply more evidence of Jews acting above their station.




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  • Friday, May 25, 2018
  • Elder of Ziyon

Egypt made a big deal over opening the Rafah crossing for Ramadan.

The statistics for the first 11 days of Ramadan shows that Egypt allowed 4200 Gazans to enter, but only three of them were admitted for medical treatment. (490 people returned to Gaza.)

In that same time period, Israel allowed 30 injured people to travel to Jordan for treatment. And Israel has allowed about 1000 Gazans to enter Israel altogether for "humanitarian reasons" (which usually means the people seeking medical attention and one family member.) I count 86 ambulance crossings into Israel in that time period.

Egypt has hardly flung the gates open when less than 400 cross everyday while tens of thousands want to leave. Yet there is no criticism of Egypt as far as I can tell - after all, Rafah has been almost completely closed this year before Ramadan.





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  • Friday, May 25, 2018
  • Elder of Ziyon
From the Twitter account of the Government of South Africa:

Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005, but why should that be relevant?

I looked at the minutes of the cabinet meeting. This was the only international topic mentioned.

I looked at the minutes from every cabinet meeting this year. This was still the only statement on anything happening outside South Africa.

As hundreds are killed weekly around the world, the only people that the South African government seem to care about are the members of Hamas and other terror groups who are the vast majority of those killed in Gaza.

Priorities.




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Thursday, May 24, 2018

From Ian:

CAMERA OP-ED: Is It Criticism or Bigotry?
Note: A slightly different version of this article appeared in the Salt Lake Tribune on May 20, 2018. (The commentary was written in response to an anti-Semitic Op-Ed that was published earlier in that newspaper. Following the negative publicity generated by CAMERA’s harsh criticism, the newspaper published an apology by the author.)

Honest and civil criticism based on truth is an essential component of any democracy. Bigotry is an expression of visceral hatred against a person or a people. Both are protected free speech, but the first strengthens democracy while the second erodes it.

A controversial opinion column by Michael Robinson in the May 6 Salt Lake Tribune has raised the question of what differentiates the two. The author claims his commentary simply represented criticism of human rights abuses by the Israeli government. Yet its misrepresentation of facts and reality and its inflammatory language convey undisguised bigotry, which is why it was the subject of a critique by CAMERA (Committee for Middle East Reporting in America), of angry comments and outraged letters, and of an editor’s column.

This was in reaction to the author’s self-declared hatred for Israel, rooted in misconceptions and inaccuracies about Israelis, Palestinians and the Arab-Israeli conflict. By lashing out emotionally and attacking Israel inchoately, without any facts to back up his accusations, the author precluded any rational discussion that might arise from legitimate criticism.

Many readers were appalled by the crude invoking of classic, anti-Semitic caricatures that have been used for centuries to demonize the Jews as a people possessing malign attributes — as monsters lacking human compassion. Such demonizing in the past has been the precursor to grotesque violence. Referring to “the Jews” interchangeably with “Israel” and conflating the two, the author was not criticizing specific government policies as much he appeared to be attacking “the Jews” as a people. And in dismissing the wholesale slaughter of European Jewry as akin to a child’s “owie,” the author did nothing to dispel that impression.

David Collier: The Parliament Square Kaddish. We have to fight back
The blog on the Parliament Square Kaddish event was the hardest I have ever had to write. My research has taken me into some of the darkest anti-Jewish movements on the internet. I have got up close and personal with neo-Nazis, Rothschild conspiracy theorists and Holocaust deniers. I have worn a Kaffiyeh, walked with the Hezbollah and broken bread with people who think Jews are ‘evil’ and Israel needs to be ‘nuked’. Yet after all this, it was reporting on a small gathering of Jewish ‘peaceniks’ saying Kaddish for Hamas terrorists that hurt me the most.

I admit to being angry and sickened by that event in Parliament Square. The act was deliberate, public and provocative. It was designed to create a stir. Those involved have little cause to complain about the publicity they asked for, simply because the publicity they received was overwhelmingly negative. The stunt simply backfired on them.

But these people are still not ‘the enemy’. Those that really wish us harm are numerous and determined and deadly. The people at the Kaddish event are not ‘traitors’, nor ‘kapos’. Nor is there anything malicious in their activity. They are even unaware that they have been infected with a poison that is dripping from within the organisations that are supposed to ‘educate them’. These people are our kids. Our nieces and nephews and cousins and siblings and children.

Looking to put names to faces and then to find those who act as ‘influencers’ was soul-destroying. There was no joy in this. This type of research is one of the things I excel at, but there was no sense of accomplishment when I succeeded. There was only sadness.
Anti-Israel Protesters Shout Down Amb. Nikki Haley at University of Houston
Washington’s ambassador to the United Nations was interrupted by protesters waving Palestinians flags while speaking at the University of Houston in Texas on Tuesday.

Less than three minutes after taking the podium, Nikki Haley’s speech on US foreign policy achievements was interrupted by a male protester who accused her of sanctioning “the genocide of a native people.” She seemed startled by the exclamation, muttering, “Oh jeez.”

About two dozen students, some affiliated with the school’s Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) chapter, quickly rose in unison and chanted, “Nikki, Nikki can’t you see, you are on a killing spree,” and “free, free, free Palestine.”

The disruption continued for more than two minutes, until most of the protesters were removed from the Cullen Performance Hall by police. The audience then applauded and Haley resumed speaking, only to be shouted over once again. “Any more?” she asked to loud applause after the final interruption.

“You know, while disruptive as that might have been, it’s a reason to celebrate,” she said. “Because my husband and my brother are combat veterans, and they fought for their right to be able to do that.”

The protesters continued displaying their signs outside the event hall, where SJP member Muhammed Fattoush expressed his objection to Haley’s defense of Israel’s response to recent Hamas-led riots in the Gaza Strip.




RISING UP: Showcasing Israel and Progressive Values in Unison
by Noah Phillips

We were all electrified by Nettas Eurovision performance. Whether you were bobbing your head and clucking your arms, or, like me, swelling with Israeli pride while partly confused with the European infatuation with this kind of music, we loved her moment. Netta, a proud representative of Israeli culture (Next year in Jerusalem! she declared to 180+ million viewers) and an important voice for the #MeToo movement of female empowerment, was fantastic in all respects.

As one of the foremost celebrities originating from Israel should, Netta embodies the progressive and inclusive principles of Israeli society through her music and personal triumphs. Nettas hit song, Toy, is emblematic of the #MeToo movement, embracing feminism and denouncing patriarchy of the past. The song rejects the objectification of women and resonates with a global audience at a time when individuals are disclosing painful past experiences of sexual assault.

From her various interviews, we know of Nettas personal struggles with bulimia and bullying from others about her weight and appearance. In Eurovision, Netta embraced her eccentricities and quirks. Garbed in a Japanese kimono and, at times, clucking like a chicken, Netta sang powerfully and connected with a diverse audience.

Her personal life story and messages conveyed through her music reach a current audience of young progressives demanding change from ideas of exclusivity and elitism--be it weight, size, race, or other markers. Nettas words: Thank you so much for accepting differences between us. Thank you for celebrating diversity. Thank you!

Nettas messaging as a champion of diversity only bolsters Israels international reputation, particularly among progressive-millennials. Its a stark contrast to both Israels general European and American-liberal perception as a state of apartheid, utilizing differences as divisors to further hate. To see Netta succeed while carrying her progressive ideals brings Israels complex reality and a more nuanced and positive state of Israeli society to millions of viewers. For example, while the LGBTQ community seeks acceptance and support in many closed, restrictive countries, Israeli society is known for embracing LGBTQ causes, and Israels largest city, Tel Aviv, hosts an annual week-long celebration of gay pride which attracts thousands of attendees from across the world. While the United States still awaits our first female president, Israel already reached that milestone nearly half a century ago. And while Jews have been expelled throughout history from Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Libya, Morocco, Syria, Tunisia, Yemen, and Spain among other nations due to religious intolerance, Israeli-Arabs enjoy religious freedom and integration in Israeli society, a fact often overlooked by Israels detractors.

Netta helps defy stereotypes personally and even about the State of Israel. Her influential agendas of feminism and gender equality are timely; similarly, her declarations of Israeli pride and inclusivity through her performances are long overdue.






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 Vic Rosenthal's Weekly Column



Jaspreet Oberoi is a blogger who recently had an article published in Ha’aretz, entitled “From Punjab to Palestine: Why young Sikhs like me are becoming pro-Palestinian activists.” I read it with interest, because I would like to know too.

I met some Sikhs in California, and had some in classes that I taught in the prehistoric 1970s. They were distinguished by being extremely hard workers who wanted to get along with everyone. The Sikh religion has a strong tradition of self-defense. They didn’t strike me as the type of folks that would be pro-Palestinian activists.

Oberoi’s photo shows a young man, probably in his 20s. He says in the article that he has lived in Canada for 8 years, having been born and raised in Punjab. He works as "a research scientist for a quantum computing company," but his recent Twitter feed is peppered with links to his Ha’aretz article; he is clearly very pleased to have been published in what he calls “Israel’s longest running newspaper.” Maybe he has a future as a journalist, and not just a blogger with a day job? 

So why is he becoming a pro-Palestinian activist? In his words,

Sikhs know what it feels to be effectively shooed out of your homeland and be forced to live in exile; what it's like to be shot at "just for fun," as target practice; what it's like to be harassed daily by state security forces; what it's like to have a seven year-old arrested on charges of "terrorism"; and what it's like when the world simply ignores your plight.

One would think that such an experience would be precisely what would make someone a Zionist! But apparently that isn’t how it works.

When someone like Jaspreet Oberoi hears that some 59 “Palestinian protestors” were killed by Israeli snipers on May 14, he suffers “anguish, pain, remorse and disgust.” And later, his feelings were further assaulted by the lack of popular outcry over the “massacre” in Canada:

But after pacifying myself, when I peeked around, there was a stoic silence. At least nobody in Canada was celebrating or justifying the massacre, unlike many right-wingers across the globe, but there wasn't a strong rebuke either.

Oberoi is immediately reminded of the horrific violence in India between Sikhs and the majority Hindus that began with Operation Blue Star in 1984 and the subsequent assassination of Indira Gandhi. He tells a story of a minority’s violent persecution, and how its complaints are ignored by the majority government and the rest of the world. And he keeps asking: does this sound familiar?

I admit that I am not competent to judge whether his account of the plight of the Sikhs in India is accurate. I’m sure there are facts and interpretations that he doesn’t mention, things I would hear about if I asked a supporter of Indian PM Modi. In any event, I am not about to write an article for an Indian newspaper about the Sikhs.

And of course there are things that Jaspreet Oberoi does not know about the Israeli-Arab conflict in general and recent events in Gaza in particular. For example, he doesn’t know that 53 of the 62 dead Gazans were operatives of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, according to spokespersons for those organizations, and that Hamas leader, Yahya Sinwar, announced that “We will take down the border and we will tear out their hearts from their bodies.” 

He does not understand that the “protest” was actually an attempted invasion, and that the IDF was defending Israel’s border and the people that live just a few minutes’ walk away from it, with what was actually the minimum force necessary.

Ha’aretz editors knew all this (it was in their own newspaper), even if Oberoi did not. They published his article anyway. But this post isn’t about Ha’aretz.

So we come back to the initial question: why does a young Sikh become a pro-Palestinian activist?

The cynical answer is that there is a demand for it. It is an easy way to get published in a prestigious venue, even if your writing isn’t of professional quality. Many Jews have taken this path with great success. A Jew attacking Israel has an authority that say, an Arab or European, doesn’t. But a Sikh presents an interesting, diverse, perspective too.

But I will give Oberoi the benefit of the doubt, and say that he simply doesn’t know any better. He is so deeply immersed in and affected by the real struggle of his own people, that he was triggered to write on a subject that he knew less than nothing about. 

It’s a common psychological phenomenon. Each of us has his own story, and we impose it on chaotic reality that we don’t understand. To a woman who had an unpleasant divorce, every man looks like her jerk of an ex-husband. It’s not an accident that the idea of calling Israel an “apartheid state” arose in South Africa, or that Condoleezza Rice, Barack Obama, and the Movement for Black Lives have all drawn highly misleading parallels between Palestinian Arabs and African-Americans.

And why did he choose the Palestinians to identify with? Why not the Jews? Why indeed did he not end up a Zionist? Probably because he studied in Canada and that was the prevailing opinion. The easy, obvious choice.

It’s easier to apply a familiar pattern to a situation about which you are ignorant than to make the effort to learn about it. A good journalist or political analyst learns to avoid this trap. Mr. Oberoi hasn’t.






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From Ian:

Danny Danon: Why the UN should condemn Hamas
In recent weeks, Israel has faced violence at the security fence separating our country from Gaza. Tens of thousands of Palestinians, incited by Hamas - some armed with guns, improvised explosive devices and Molotov cocktails - have approached the fence to tear down any obstacle in their way and infiltrate Israel.

Instead of directing their condemnations at this internationally recognized terrorist organization for their war crimes against both Palestinians and Israelis, some countries and UN bodies have not only embraced Hamas' propaganda but have even criticized Israel's right to self-defense.

Such baseless charges against Israel are morally unjust. Those who criticize Israel's legitimate actions are either unaware, or are willfully ignorant, of the clearly violent nature of what's happening at the Gaza border. Israel is defending itself from terrorists committing orchestrated attacks, not from activists leading an innocent protest.

The real tragedy is that this situation was - and remains - completely avoidable. Israel removed all Jewish communities and military facilities from Gaza in 2005. In the years following, we have facilitated the transfer of billions of dollars of aid for Gaza's local population.

Countries that criticize Israel must ask themselves how they would expect their security forces to react if terrorists armed with rifles and explosives marched on their borders.

The UN must use its power and resources to improve the situation on the ground in Gaza and enforce change. To do so it must start by condemning Hamas for attacking Israel and for holding the people of Gaza hostage.

PMW: PA and Fatah honor terrorists with huge billboard, including one serving 10 life sentences
Since the day of his arrest, the PA has paid terrorist Izz Al-Din Hamamrah a monthly salary, which by now totals $155,909 (540,600 shekels)

The Palestinian Authority and Abbas' Fatah have come up with yet a new way to honor terrorist prisoners. A huge billboard with numerous photos of so-called "fighting prisoners" was inaugurated in the town of Husan, west of Bethlehem.

PA TV News said the billboard immortalizes 17 prisoners who are serving long sentences. Among the prisoners on the billboard is terrorist Izz Al-Din Hamamrah, who is serving 10 life sentences for recruiting a suicide bomber who murdered 8.

The billboard was inaugurated at an event in which the head of the PLO Commission of Prisoners' Affairs Issa Karake participated as well as the prisoners' parents, local school students, and a scouts group. Karake stated that the billboard is a sign of the "support for the prisoners":
Karake: "These [activities] are a kind of support, stand, and aid for the fighting prisoners who fought and sacrificed for Palestine. We say that the prisoners' cause is a central and main cause, and it is the criterion for any just peace in the region." [Official PA TV News, April 24, 2018]

Under Palestinian Authority law, the PA pays every terrorist prisoner a monthly salary. Since 2000, the PA has raised the monthly salaries a number of times. Currently, every prisoner's salary starts at 1,400 shekels/month and increases every few years, reaching as high as 12,000 shekels/month after 30 years. Until now, terrorist Izz Al-Din Hamamrah has received 540,600 shekels ($155,909) in reward for his crimes from the PA. His current salary is 6,000 shekels/month ($1,730).
PMW: We’ll take Jerusalem “if not peacefully then by force… Allah, drive out the Jews” - PA TV preacher
A preacher on official Palestinian Authority TV threatened that the Palestinians or Muslims in general will "soon" conquer Jerusalem "by force," unless it is handed over "peacefully":

"The Jews are an arrogant and tyrannical enemy, occupying Jerusalem and Palestine... Allah willing, we will soon take what was taken from us, if not peacefully then by force."[Official PA TV, April 13, 2018]

The preacher called on Allah to help "drive out the Jews" from Jerusalem, using the Muslims to do so. The preacher compared this to the way Allah helped drive out the crusaders who "left it humiliated and disgraced, dragging their tails behind them":
Preacher on PA TV: "The Jews are an arrogant and tyrannical enemy that is occupying the land of Jerusalem and the land of Palestine, and that they have no right to arrogance, tyranny, and occupation... Allah willing, we will soon take what was taken from us, if not peacefully then by force... How long did the European Crusaders live in this country? They lived here nearly 100 years, but by Allah's will, they left it humiliated.

They left it humiliated and disgraced, dragging their tails behind them, because Allah inscribed for this [Islamic] nation eternity and victory... Allah, protect our Al-Aqsa Mosque and our Jerusalem for us, and return it to the rule and sovereignty of the Muslims. Allah, drive the Jews out of it, humiliated and disgraced, by means of those [the Muslims] who are monotheists, humble, and purified."
[Official PA TV, April 13, 2018]

The same preacher asked Allah to "punish the wicked Jews" and prayed for their genocide in another sermon, which was broadcast by official PA TV in 2016 and exposed by Palestinian Media Watch:


  • Thursday, May 24, 2018
  • Elder of Ziyon


i24 reports:
The Arab League on Wednesday cancelled a memorandum of understanding with Guatemala in retribution for the Latin American country's decision to transfer its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales inaugurated the country's mission in the holy city on May 16, just one day after the new US embassy in the city threw open its doors, garnering condemnation from the Palestinian leadership.

The Arab League's axing of its 2013 agreement with Guatemala "came in light of activating the [League's] decision to condemn the Central American country's relocation of its embassy and taking the suitable political and economic suitable measures in that regard," a statement from the pan-Arab body quoted by Xinhua said. 
The Guatemalan government responded (autotranslated) that "it is respectful of the sovereign decisions of the States and has the interest to maintain cordial and cooperative bilateral relations with all the States with which we maintain established diplomatic relations.. So far there is no treaty of cooperation [with the Arab League.]

"The Republic of Guatemala and the League of Arab States have a mechanism of Political Consultations, which promotes coordination to carry out an exchange of information, however it is important to clarify that there is no instrument on International Cooperation and to date there is no official communication on the subject."

Essentially, the 2013 agreement was a piece of paper that no one has done anything with yet.

Meanwhile,  the Guatemala-Israel Fund for Investment and Development announced $2 billion in joint projects between the two countries.





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