Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Our weekly column from the humor site PreOccupied Territory

Check out their Facebook page.

desecrated Mt Olives graves
By Neu Aloyse
Jerusalem, March 1 - Vandalism at this holy city's oldest active Jewish cemetery has impeded the customary dancing activities of Haaretz writers and editors, the paper's publisher lamented today.

Amos Schocken held a meeting today with senior editorial staff and columnists to discuss the ongoing difficulty in dancing on the graves of people buried on the Mount of Olives facing the Temple Mount, and to devise ways of maintaining the practice without compromising the efforts of local enthusiasts to continue smashing Jewish tombstones.

Schocken delineated the challenges involved in dancing on those Jewish graves, including potential liability for injuries Haaretz contributors might incur while engaged in that important journalistic activity. "Our mission, as I have defined it, aims to place only certain people or institutions in harm's way," he noted. "We remain very strict about confining harm to people who are religious Jews, the political right, IDF soldiers, police, and any positive sense of Jewishness. But we draw the line at letting our people come to harm. It would just be irresponsible."

"We must find a way to adhere to our mission of inviting, justifying, and celebrating harm to Jews," continued Schocken. "But prudence demands that we exercise good judgment when it comes to placing our writers in harm's way. For the time being, dancing on the graves of Jews buried on the Mount of Olives will be restricted to those few areas of the cemetery that have not been vandalized in such a way that would pose a hazard to our dancers."

Several editors and writers objected to the decision. "I get what you're saying, Amos, but with all due respect, which I of course would deny to anyone who thinks differently from me, I'm willing to assume that risk," insisted Gideon Levy. "What right did those Jews have to be buried there before the place fell into Jordanian hands in 1948? I'm willing to absolve Haaretz of any liability for my dancing on those graves, whether their tombstones are intact or smashed."

Schocken, for his part, praised Levy's willingness to risk injury in support of his beliefs, but put his foot down. "It's inspiring to see you actually volunteer to put yourself in danger of a sprained ankle, Gideon - and I'm not being sarcastic here," he answered. "I know it's not your custom to put yourself at risk while calling for Jewish settlers or the religious to suffer. But when we dance on those graves, we might also get in the way of the Palestinian patriots who are smashing the monuments. That's a possibility I'm sure you agree must be prevented."

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From Ian:

Caroline Glick: 'US supported Israel's opponent during Protective Edge'
Jerusalem Post managing editor Caroline Glick called Operation Cast Lead "the most successful operation" in Israeli history in response to the State Comptroller's report blasting the government for its handling of the tunnel threat.
Glick wrote on her Facebook page that Israel was facing not only Hamas during the 2014 Gaza conflict, but a hostile Obama Administration. "When talking about the political questions regarding Operation Protective Edge, we somehow ignore two important points. The first is that Operation Protective Edge was the first war Israel fought in which the US supported the other side. From the beginning, the unequivocal demand of [former US President Barack] Obama was that Israel accept Hamas' conditions for a ceasefire."
"The second point, which is a result of the first, is that politically, Protective Edge was the most successful operation in the country's history. Israel managed to avoid accepting the dictates of Hamas, which were backed by the Obama Administration, by bypassing Washington and paralyzing the anti-Israel political campaign of the White House. The Americans stood open-mouthed and helpless as the Egyptians and the Saudis went and openly sided with Israel against Hamas.
"We have to learn the details of the State Comptroller report, and I am beginning to read it right now. But make no mistake. Politically the operation was an unparalleled achievement. Israel fought against the US and managed not to surrender."
PMW: Want to learn 16 languages? Murder 3 Israelis
For a released Palestinian terrorist who murdered 3 Israeli soldiers, the 27 years he spent in Israeli prisons was his ticket to higher education.
Terrorist murderer Hilal Jaradat:
"In prison I studied at the Hebrew University in the history and political science faculties. I read approximately 6,000 books in prison, and I translated for many of the prisoners."
[Donia Al-Watan, independent Palestinian news agency, Jan. 26, 2017]
While in prison he also developed an interest in learning foreign languages:
"I began with Hebrew and English and then I moved on to many languages such as Russian, Spanish, and French, until I reached approximately 16 languages."
Jaradat was released by Israel in 2011, as part of the Shalit prisoner exchange deal brokered between the Israeli government and Hamas. In that deal, Israel released 1,027 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, who had been held hostage by Hamas for more than 5 years.
JordanTimes: Iran’s Israel card
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Tuesday used the podium of a pro-Palestinian gathering in Tehran to call for liberating Palestine from the Mediterranean to the River Jordan.
While it is the not the first time an Iranian leader calls for the destruction of Israel, this time the Iranian supreme leader threatened Israel in response to his perception that there is a sort of a Saudi-Israeli rapprochement.
If anything, Iranian leaders are used to exploiting the Palestinian cause, using it as a smoke screen, to conceal their sectarian agenda in the Levant and the Gulf.
The Arabs are not oblivious to the most recent Iranian ploy.
In fact, a considerable majority of Arabs believes that the Iranians are using the Palestinians cause as a Trojan horse for their negative influence in the Middle East.
By appearing as embracers of the Palestinian cause, many Arabs argue, the Iranian leaders seek to cover up their “terrorist” acts committed in some Arab states.

  • Wednesday, March 01, 2017
  • Elder of Ziyon

Students at Al Quds University managed to shut down a conference that was held in Jericho between Israeli Jews and Arabs because it was "normalization."

The coexistence group is named Abrahamic Reunion  (h/t Bob Knot). 

One of the speakers was supposed to be Mohammed Dajani Daoudi, the Palestinian professor who was forced to quit after he brought some students on a trip to Auschwitz.

Police had to escort the Jews out for their safety.

In related news, the Palestinian Ministry of Education issued a statement telling all Palestinian schools not to engage in any way with any Israelis because of the "dangers of normalization."

The idea that years of brainwashing kids into hating Israeli Jews could be undone by actually meeting some of them apparently scares them silly.

One would think that the liberal organizations who are directly affected by this systematic policy against peace by the Palestinian Authority would issue strong condemnations of the Arabs who are so allergic to Jews that they actively fight against any possible cooperation or peaceful coexistence.  Yet, somehow, these supposedly pro-peace organizations blame the Israeli side exclusively for the lack of peace, and they simply do not mention the official Palestinian policies against "normalization" that proves which side is actively working against peaceful coexistence.

Which makes one wonder exactly how interested these "peace" organizations are in real peace.

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  • Wednesday, March 01, 2017
  • Elder of Ziyon

The Fateh Media site started a series of articles on the UN's proposed blacklist of companies that "profit from the occupation." It notes that the UN delayed its release of the database earlier this month.

So they decided to publicize their own list of companies that should be boycotted because they are supposedly tied to the "occupation."

It starts off with the usual suspects - Caterpillar and ReMax (which sells real estate over the Green Line.)

It's second installment adds Volvo, for Israel's use of its heavy machinery.

And then it adds Revlon.

Why Revlon?

Because its head, Ronald Perelman, gives money to the "Zionist" Chabad and to the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

Nothing to do with "settlements" (although they say that Chabad supports settlements.)

Adding Revlon to the "blacklist" shows that, to Fatah, it isn't about "occupation." It is about Israel and, to a large degree, it is about Jews.

But we already knew that.

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It is that time of year again when idiots accuse Israel of being guilty of "apartheid."

So it is also time for me to add to my popular series of posters that disprove the slander.

The poster series has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times.

UPDATE: I'm not sure I ever posted this one:

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Tuesday, February 28, 2017

  • Tuesday, February 28, 2017
  • Elder of Ziyon

The Telegraph reported last week:

Bristol University is investigating claims of anti-Semitism after an article by one of its lecturers emerged, in which she says Jews should stop “privileging” the Holocaust.

Dr Rebecca Gould, a reader in translation studies and comparative literature at the elite Russell Group university, has been accused of using the “language of Holocaust denial”.

 The university said they are “actively looking into this matter”, which first arose when an undergraduate penned an open letter to his lecturer last month, explaining his shock at coming across the article.

Sir Eric Pickles MP, who is the UK’s special envoy on post-Holocaust issues and a former Conservative Party chairman,​claimed it is “one of the worst cases of Holocaust denial" he has seen in recent years, adding that she should "consider her position" at the university.
Then came the backlash:

 But now three professors have rushed to her defence, saying they see "no evidence" of anti-Semitism in the article.

Professor Gene Feder, Professor Havi Hannah Carel and Dr Tom Sperlinger Reader have written a joint letter to say they are "dismayed" at the criticism.
So was her article, entitled "Beyond Anti-Semitism,"  antisemitic or not?

By the definition of antisemitism that is accepted by the EU, it is.

Beyond that, it a violation of any sort of professional ethics.

Gould's entire thesis is based on lies:

Elie Wiesel did the most to popularize the use of the Greek term holokaustos ("entirely consumed by fire") to translate the Hebrew shoah. Already 20 years ago, the historian Arno Mayer contested the use of the term "holocaust" in lieu of the shoah, because he recognized that this word had spawned "a collective prescriptive 'memory' unconducive to critical and contextual thinking about the Jewish calamity.' Unfortunately, Mayer's protests have gone unheeded.

When the most religiously freighted term imaginable is used to describe a purely human tragedy, memory becomes an instrument of ideology rather than a means of connecting with the past. This problem is only exacerbated by the way "holocaust" implies divine ordination. Defining the shoah vis-a.-vis the Greek (and, incidentally, Christian) term for a sacrifice to God has helped make it available to manipulation by governmental elites, aiming to promote the narrative most likely to underwrite their claims to sovereignty. Claiming the Holocaust as a holy event sanctifies the state of Israel and whitewashes its crimes. As Mayer feared. it also forestalls objective critique of any group associated with those who were brutally "sacrificed" half a century ago. 
Gould's first false assumption is that the religious etymology of the word "holocaust" limits how the word can be used in historical context.  She offers no proof for this. Since the 1960s, the word has been used almost exclusively for the Nazi genocide of Jews and the earlier meaning has been all but lost; the word now transcends its etymology. If the word "Shoah" had been the word that took root fifty years ago instead of "Holocaust," there would be no difference in how the word could be used today.

The claim that Israel claims the Holocaust as a "holy event" is simply not true, and Gould brings no evidence for her assertion. The Holocaust is a uniquely horrifying event but there is no religious connotation to it and there hasn't been one since the term was coined - except, of course, for the religious dimension of the Nazi attempt to destroy the Jewish people.

Gould's second false assumption follows from her first:
Just as it is necessary to separate the past from the present in contemporary Israel-Palestine, so, too, it is necessary to separate Jewish suffering from the Palestinian crisis. One tragedy does not license another. The Holocaust does not license the Israeli occupation. Nor does it license the bulldozing of Palestinian homes or the razing of Palestinian land. To refuse the moral calculus that transforms Jewish suffering into a justification of Israeli oppression does not imply insensitivity to or obliviousness of what the Jews have faced over the course of their long, often devastating, history. Even less does it earn one the label of anti-Semite. Rather, it opens a post-Holocaust present to an ethics that looks beyond the "eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth" principle that has undergirded all three of the world's most influential monotheisms - regardless of how they toss this label at each other, all have subscribed to such ethics in practice - at various moments in their history. Two wrongs do not make a right. Jewish suffering will never be appeased by making Palestinians pay the price for the world community's silence half a century ago, when the Jews were being exterminated. 
When does Israel use the Holocaust to justify defending itself from Palestinian terror? You might hear analogies between the Holocaust and the stated genocidal aim of Israel's enemies, which are quite strong, but the basic assumption that Israel uses the Holocaust to forestall valid criticism is unfounded. No Israeli leader has ever said "we have the right to mistreat Arabs because of the Holocaust" and to claim that this is how Israelis think is simply slander. On the contrary, Israel's treatment of Palestinians is far more careful and tentative than one can find any country treating those whom it is at war with. It isn't Israel that puts Palestinians into concentration camps: it is Arab nations.

Gould's article is bookended by an anecdote of a pro-Palestinian friend of hers who is afraid to criticize Israel because he doesn't want to appear antisemitic. She takes that fear as fact and bases her thesis on it - but it is based on a false assumption to begin with. There are plenty of criticisms of Israel that are valid and that are not antisemitic.

Gould builds on her false assumptions:
The justification of silence regarding Israel's illegal expansion in Palestine on the grounds that protest against this injustice could be perceived as anti-Semitic merely extends the lifespan of anti-Jewish prejudice. 
Has there been silence regarding the "occupation?" I seem to remember that every nation on the planet has criticized it. Perhaps Gould missed that, plus the hundreds of UN and UNHRC resolutions, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty articles, and daily op-eds in Western media.

If her idea that there is "silence" on Israel's actions is completely wrong, then that means that her thesis that this imaginary silence adds to antisemitism. The idea that relentless criticism of Israel out of proportion to its supposed crimes may be engendering antisemitism obviously did not cross Gould's mind.

So far, it would be a stretch to call this article antisemitic. But her conclusion indeed reaches that level:

Israel must find a way of not passing on the crime the Nazis introduced into the world onto the next generation of its citizens. If Israel can find a way to stop the cycle of bloodletting released into the world over half a century ago, then, even in an era weary of nations and the states that underwrite them, it will merit the world's admiration. As the situation stands today, the Holocaust persists and its primary victims are the Palestinian people. 
This is antisemitism, despite the "if." This paragraph tells the reader, only slightly elliptically,  that Israel is guilty of doing to the Palestinians what the Nazis did to the Jews, and that Palestinians are victims of the Holocaust via the proxy of the modern Israeli Nazis. Israel is repeating the "bloodletting" that the Nazis started, just this time the victims are the new Jews and the Israelis are the new Nazis.

To call Israelis Nazis is antisemitic and outrageous, and that is exactly what Gould is doing despite her wording that tries to make her accusation appear theoretical.

I am not going to weigh in on whether Rebecca Gould should be fired for this. What should definitely happen is that she must be exposed both as a person who glibly throws around antisemitic accusations, as well as an academic fraud who builds her case on her own hateful fantasies instead of the facts that academics are supposed to base their arguments on.

(There are other counterfactual points she makes in her article that invalidate her as an honest academic, such as invoking "millennia of harmonious Jewish-Arabic coexistence prior to modernity.")

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From Ian:

David Collier: Apartheid Week watch – day one. The Jew hating fetish opens at UCL
It is Apartheid ‘Week’ again. Last night, 27 Feb 2017 I was at UCL (University College London) for the opening night of UCL’s very own ‘Apartheid Fortnight’ (we were informed that their ‘classy’ week has been ‘doubled’). This event was titled ‘Apartheid: Stories from the Ground‘
The evening was put together by the UCLU Friends of Palestine Society. Which means that the welcoming committee was led by Yahya Abu Seido. A few months ago, Yahya was one of the ringleaders when the protestors tried to ‘no platform’ an Israeli speaker on this campus. In fact, Yahya was caught on camera celebrating what he had believed was the successful closing down of the event. He was part of the group that left the Jewish students locked in a room. Those that left Jewish students needing a police escort to remove them safely. Just a few months later he is happily leading a Jew hating festival on the UCL campus. Another bitter pill that the Jewish UCL students are forced to swallow.
At this event, there were two speakers and a Chair. The Chair was Dr Saladin Meckled-Garcia, the ‘co Director of the UCL institute of Human Rights’. Just in case anyone is foolish enough to believe that a Chair should at least maintain the veneer of impartiality, we can see that Meckled-Garcia has signed petitions against Israel, here, here, here and here. Just for good measure he signed one titled ‘Israel must lose’ in 2009. This ‘impartiality’ was visible throughout the evening, especially in the way the Q&A was handled.
The evening opened with the Chair announcing he wanted to make a political statement. Meckled-Garcia then proceeded to object to the use of the adopted definition of antisemitism for what he suggested was a way of silencing ‘free speech’. How anybody can address the thugs of the UCLU Friends of Palestine Society about free speech and keep a straight face is beyond me. At least we were left in no doubt as to which side the Chair was on from the very beginning.
Caroline Glick: Perez, Ellison and the meaning of antisemitism
This sad state of affairs has been on prominent display in the wake of the recent spate of antisemitic attacks against Jewish cemeteries in the US. Muslim Americans with records of antisemitism have been quick to condemn the attacks.
On the face of it, statements by Ellison, Hamas supporter Linda Sarsour and others condemning the attacks on Jewish cemeteries are welcome. Sarsour’s support for Palestinian mass murderers of Jews and open calls for Israel’s destruction have been ongoing for more than a decade. It’s nice that she is suddenly raising money to repair broken Jewish graves in St. Louis.
The problem is if Sarsour and her Jew hating comrades are viewed as legitimate partners in fighting antisemitism, when they themselves are abetting and popularizing antisemitism, then the notion of fighting antisemitism is destroyed.
If Sarsour, who wrote in 2012 that “nothing is creepier than Zionism,” is a legitimate voice in the fight against anti-Jewish discrimination and violence, then the fight against anti-Jewish discrimination and violence is reduced to farce.
Sarsour, like Ellison, is no fringe figure on the Left. She has become a major mover and shaker in the second party in America. Sarsour was one of the organizers of the anti-Trump women’s protests the day after the president was inaugurated.
Sarsour’s rising prominence in progressive and Democratic circles despite her open support for Hamas shows why it is important today to draw a line in the sand and reject the notion that antisemites can suddenly become defenders of Jews.
Douglas Murray: Europe: Laughing at the Messenger
How can one excavate the minds of so many European officials and the extraordinary mental gymnastics of denial to which they have become prone?
One of the finest demonstrations of this trend occurred in January 2015, after France was assailed by Islamist gunmen in the offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and then in a Jewish supermarket. In the days after those attacks, Fox News in the U.S. ran an interview with a guest who said that Paris, and France, as a whole, had "no-go zones" where the authorities -- including emergency services -- did not dare to go. In the wake of these comments, the Mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, chose to make a stand. She announced that she was suing Fox News because the "honour of Paris" was at stake.
It appeared that Mayor Hidalgo was rightly concerned about the image of her city around the world, presumably worrying in particular about the potential effects on tourism.
Of course, Mayor Hidalgo's priorities were all wrong. The reason Paris's public relations suffered a dent was not because of what a pundit said on Fox News one evening, but because of the mass murder of journalists and Jews on the streets of the "City of Light." Any potential tourist would be much more concerned about getting caught up in a terrorist firefight than a war of words. Mayor Hidalgo's manoeuvre, however, turned out not to be a rarity, but a symptom of a wider problem.
Swedish Ambulance Union ‘We need military equipment to protect medics from hand grenades’
Det Goda Samhället (the good society) is a Swedish initiative that discusses the necessities of a good society, and is dedicated to reporting on issues in Sweden that they feel need to be addressed. To this end, it has also started up a series of interviews on YouTube and podcasts. This interview is by Paulina Neuding, with Gordon Grattidge, the President of the Swedish Ambulance Drivers Union, who makes it absolutely clear that Swedish no-go-zones are a fact of life that his personnel is faced with every day.
Some of the highlights:
“Let me ask you Gordon, I know that your union has called for military equipment in order to protect paramedics on emergency calls. What kind of equipment?”
-“That’s correct. (…) We work with lighter protection in the form of body armour and helmets.”
“In what situations does a paramedic need body armour and helmets?”
-“It’s when we enter hazardous areas and there’s a risk of putting our paramedics in danger. It’s often about these risk areas we have in Sweden. So-called ‘no-go zones’.”

  • Tuesday, February 28, 2017
  • Elder of Ziyon
Every winter, potholes and cracks appear around Israel because of the rains.

And every winter, the Arabs who live in Silwan blame their "landslides" on Israelis building multiple tunnels under their land.

Even if the archaeological sites are hundreds of meters away.

This year the accusation was reported as fact by Al Jazeera.

Here's the only photo I could find of supposed damage from this year.

The head of the "Islamic - Christian Commission in support of Al Quds" warned that the excavations can cause the Al Aqsa Mosque to collapse. 

The head of the Islamic Endowments ministry of the PA called on UNESCO to stop any Israeli actions that could possibly upset Muslims, because UNESCO has declared the Temple Mount and Western Wall to be exclusively Muslim.

We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.
  • Tuesday, February 28, 2017
  • Elder of Ziyon

Clashes between gunmen in the Ain el-Hilweh Palestinian refugee camp in southern Lebanon killed a child on Tuesday, the latest casualty in several days of violence, the state-run National News Agency reported.
Witnesses said the boy was severely wounded in the head, apparently by a gunshot, before being taken to hospital.
The NNA said at least one other person was wounded by sniper fire on Tuesday.
The child was the son of a Fatah leader in the camp. The wounded person was an UNRWA employee.

Mahmoud Abbas visited Lebanon last week, but didn't bother to visit a single camp where some 200,000 Palestinians are stuck living in horrible conditions, barred by law to buy land anywhere else and who can never become citizens no matter how many generations removed they are from being refugees.

On the contrary, Abbas praised Lebanon for treating them as "guests" until they can "return" to Israel.

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From Ian:

The Politics of Anti-anti-Semitism
The reason, I would suggest, is that anti-Semitism has become politicized, and has become entwined in the widespread disdain for No. 45. Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu did not help by eagerly endorsing the alleged pro-Semitic qualities of Donald Trump at one of the two news conferences in which Trump ducked questions about anti-Semitism. Those comments might help Bibi deal with the egomaniac in the Oval Office, but he antagonized Jewish Americans who have well-grounded concerns about Trump’s seeming indifference to anti-Semitism. Netanyahu also put defenders of Israel in an awkward position by embracing not just Trump but his coterie of right-wing advisers. He might have been well advised to adhere to the Hebrew school admonition, “sheket, bevakasha!” That brings me to the other reason I’m feeling uneasy. It’s the way people who make me feel uneasy are jumping on the anti-anti-Semitism bandwagon.
In a statement, the American Studies Association said that it “strongly reproves the recent wave of attacks on synagogues, mosques, and religious community centers in North America and on the Jewish and Islamic people using those institutions.” The ASA, of course, is widely known not for “reproving” anti-Semitism but quite the opposite, a widely condemned resolution boycotting Israeli academics—a singling out of the Jewish state as part of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which has been denounced as anti-Semitic. Linda Sarsour, a Palestinian-American activist who “makes no secret of her opposition to Israel and support of BDS,” has raised significant money for the St. Louis cemetery—and believe you me, she is not keeping it a secret.
Yes it’s possible that Sarsour and the ASA are just bubbling over with empathy for the Jewish community that they have never shown for the Jewish state. It’s also possible that they are cynically exploiting the wave of anti-Semitism as political cover for their BDS advocacy. I lean toward the latter theory. It’s a bit like “Jew-washing”—the use of Jewish supporters in anti-Israel agitation—except that in this instance the Jews are safely dead.
Hard-pressed cemeteries are not going to turn down thousands of bucks, regardless of the motives of the donors. One can’t fault the cemeteries targeted by tombstone-topplers for holding their noses and taking whatever donations are given. But I’m reasonably sure what my Uncle Irving would have said if his parents’ cemetery was the target of a propaganda ploy. He’d have told them to keep their money. And he’d have suggested what they could do with it.
Shmuley Boteach: Donald Trump and the smear of antisemitism
When accusing a man of being an antisemite, let’s be a bit factual lest we falsely libel friends and label allies as foes.
Let’s cut through all the clutter and get straight to the main issues surrounding US President Donald Trump and allegations of antisemitism.
Firstly, to suggest that President Trump dislikes Jews would have us believe that he despises his own daughter and grandchildren when precisely the opposite seems to be true. Ivanka seems to be the apple of his eye. Indeed, when his daughter was dating Jared Kushner, an Orthodox Jew from a famously observant family, her father could have easily dissuaded her from converting but instead publicly supported her and threw a kosher wedding. It would also suggest that his strong support for Israel is inauthentic when it’s something he has worn on his sleeve for his entire adult life.
Trump as antisemite is not implausible but absurd and libelous.
OK, so Trump is definitely not an antisemite. One would even suggest that he’s a philosemite. He has surrounded himself with Jews who are his business colleagues, employees and friends. I know Orthodox Jews who have long worked for Trump and say that his respect for the Jewish faith has been exemplary.
But is Trump sending dog whistles to white supremacist supporters who dislike Jews? Was his failure until last week to publicly decry antisemitism a result of fear of alienating racist backers?
Alan M. Dershowitz: Ellison Was Defeated by His Own Actions Not by Any Smear
Those who believe that Democrats can win by attracting the kind of hard left radicals who voted for Green Party candidates such as Jill stein or Ralph Nader are blinking reality. The Democrats could never nominate a winning candidate far left enough for those hard left ideologues to abandon their extremist candidates. Extremists like Susan Sarandon seem to believe that a vote for Trump will hasten the revolution. This is how she put it: "Some people feel that Donald Trump will bring the revolution immediately if he gets in, things will really explode."
Nor can the Democrats win by emulating the tactics of the Republican Party. The Tea Party did move the Republicans to the right by their uncompromising and obstructionist approach. But the United States has more tolerance-- unfortunately in my view -- for rightward movement (as long as it's not too extreme) than the Democrats gave for leftward movement.
The current leadership of the Democratic Party is reacting short term to a long term problem. They are responding to the loudest, shrillest and most demanding voices-- voices that are hardly representative of the tens of millions of voters they will need to remain competitive in upcoming races.
The Democrats can win only by regaining their traditional base among working class rust belt voters they lost to trump. These voters will never support the kind of radical left wing candidates promoted by the Keith Ellison wing of the party.
Ellison's appointment as the deputy to Tom Perez the man who defeated him elevated unity over principle. His past history and current voting record should have disqualified him for any office within the Democratic Party. But despite that unfortunate appointment, I will remain in the Democratic Party and work from within to move it back to its vibrant liberal center and away from its radical fringe. I will also work to maintain bipartisan support for Israel and against efforts by the hard left to abandon the only democracy in the Middle East.
It will be a daunting task but it is worth the effort. We won the fight against Ellison, though it was close. We must continue to win if the Democratic Party is to remain competitive.

  • Tuesday, February 28, 2017
  • Elder of Ziyon

“[Besides Egypt and Jordan,] many other states in the region recognize that Israel is not their enemy. They recognize that Israel is their ally. Our common enemies are ISIS and Iran. Our common goals are security, prosperity and peace. I believe that in the years ahead we will work together to achieve these goals.”
Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, in speech to UN General Assembly, September 22, 2016

Is The Enemy of My Enemy -- My Friend, or My Ally?

At a time when there are still some who insist that Israel is isolated in the international community, it is becoming increasingly clear that Israel is in fact building new friendships and alliances. In his speech at the end of December last year, criticizing Israel, Kerry described Israel's friends as United Kingdom, France and Russia. But Netanyahu's recent trip to Singapore and Australia extends Israel's circle beyond that. Meanwhile closer to home, Netanyahu has visited Africa, visiting Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda and Ethiopia.

And then, even closer to home, are the Arab countries.

Israel has diplomatic relations with Egypt and Jordan.
It has no relations with Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Iran.
Israel has unofficial relations with Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, UAE and Oman.

Map of Israel and surrounding countries. Credit: Altapedia

Putting aside Egypt and Jordan and those Arab countries with which Israel has no diplomatic relations at all, where does Israel really stand with the countries which make up the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)?

The prevailing wisdom is that Obama has practically pushed Israel and these Gulf countries into each others arms by strengthening Iran through the Iran deal and giving them billions of dollars.

But does having a common enemy make Israel and these Arab countries friends or does it make them allies?

Is it the beginning of a growing bond of understanding and cooperation or is it a temporary marriage of convenience?

Saudi Arabia

Just last year, Maj.-Gen. (ret.) Anwar Eshki, chairman of the Middle East Center for Strategic and Legal Studies in Jeddah, headed a Saudi delegation to Israel. He claimed that he was representing only himself and said all of the other right things to avoid putting his government into a corner. Naturally, the visit was still attacked as an attempt by the Saudi Arabian government to normalize relations with Israel.

Anwar Eshki, standing in the middle with striped tie, with members of the Israeli Knesset. Credit: Haaretz

MEMRI describes how the Saudis took other steps to ease relations with Israel.

A Saudi columnist, Siham Al-Qahtani, wrote that descriptions in the Quran portraying Jews as infidels, warmongers, and usurers - were meant to apply only to a particular group of Jews that lived during that time. Contrary to the Arab traditional view that Jews were to be blamed for both Arab and world problems, blaming the Jews was merely a way for Arabs to use them as scapegoats, and had to stop.

Another Saudi Columnist, Yasser Hijazi, went a step further and wrote that Arabs had to take part in the fight against "Judophobia." In another article Hijazi suggested that fighting antisemitism would not only help in the fight against terrorism, but would also counter Western arguments against Islam.

"Netanyahu does not represent Judaism... any more than [ISIS leader] Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi represents Islam..."

But that does not mean that the Saudis and the Israelis are going to be friends.

In addition to the above quote, implying a comparison between Netanyahu and Al Baghdadi, Hijazi made it clear that there was a red line. Fighting antisemitism does not mean they are going to normalize relations with Israel:
The meaning [of this] is not normalization, softening [positions], or relinquishing negotiations to establish a Palestinian state within internationally-recognized borders... The two religions cannot resolve the conflict on the ground... The conflict is not between Islam and Judaism - even if our Israeli enemy seeks to present it as such - but rather between the [rightful] owners of the land and of the rights and occupiers and war criminals… [emphasis added]
The Saudi Writer Ibrahim Al-Matroudi put it a little less harshly, that there was a need for "overcoming the hostility towards the Jews and for benefiting from their experience and successes, even though they are enemies."

You can enlist your enemy as an ally in a fight against a common foe, but the message from some in the Saudi elite is that the alliance will end there -- and Israel remains an enemy.

Some do offer more.

Salman Al-Ansari, the Founder and President of the DC-based Saudi American Public Relation Affairs Committee offers being more than just allies against Iran:
In fact, there are some opinions suggesting that having a common enemy in Iran will help accelerate any sort of rapprochement between two of the Middle East’s most powerful nations. While that could be partially true, a more solid foundation for establishing deep-rooted ties between the two countries could manifest in the context of a mutually beneficial economic partnership.
The way Al-Ansari puts it, the potential exists for a partnership that goes beyond Iran to an economic bond and a true friendly relationship.

Except for one thing.

“The Palestinians are still the gatekeepers.”

Wherever a Saudi-Israeli alliance may go, the issue of the Palestinian Arabs remains the ball and chain that is never far behind.

Netanyahu is fond of saying there are 3 reasons that the Arabs are interested in Israel: "technology, technology and technology", which makes sense. Why should Israel make relations with a country dependent on a danger of the moment?

But the Saudis, let alone the rest of the Arab world, still insist that the path to a regional alliance requires a settlement of the Palestinian Arab issue.

That may explain why Trump and his aids are no longer talking about moving the US embassy to Jerusalem.

Even a Saudi journalist like Muhammad Al-Sheikh, who writes that the  Middle East is in turmoil and the Palestinian Arabs can no longer consider themselves the center of attention in the Arab world -- only uses that fact to advise that they give up armed resistance and settle down to negotiating a two-state solution.

The result of this could be that while the US tries to assemble an Arab coalition to get Abbas to the negotiating table, the Palestinians could just as easily try to form their own coalition to get Israel to make concessions. As it is, the Palestinian Arabs are offering to form a confederation with Jordan with the backing of some of the same Arab states Israel is looking to forming alliances with.

Peace Without Normalization

This same uncertainty about whether to consider Israel a friend, an ally or an enemy, exists among other Arab states as well -- and no matter what the potential for future relations between Israel and the Arab world, those relations may progress no further than they have with Egypt.

The war with Egypt ended in 1973.
The peace treaty with Egypt was signed in 1979.

But what do Egypt and Israel have to show for all that after 38 years?

Egypt and Israel share a high level of security and intelligence cooperation in the face of the common security threats they face in Sinai, but without the common threat posed by ISIS in the Sinai and dealing with Hamas -- what would relations between the 2 countries be like?

Is that what Israel has to look forward to with the Arab Gulf states?

The difference may be that in Egypt both the education and the media encourage antisemitism and picture Jews in a negative light, while the Saudis seem to be making an effort to change that.

In addition, there are elements of Egyptian society among the elite, the bureaucrats and the military who feel they have an interest in discouraging normalization with Israel.
There exists a fear of Israel, of Western principles, a fear the military uses to consolidate its role.

Are things that different in Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf states?


Though these days Israel does not find itself in the midst of one of the major conflicts engulfing the world, its situation is no less complicated.

There is a potential for game-changing alliances, assuming that age-old hatreds can be truly be overcome. At the same time, it is unclear whether those alliances can help to finally help resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict -- or whether the Palestinian Arabs will play the spoiler in preventing a new regional alliance.

Between Netanyahu's new penchant for making friends and the possibilities opened up by having a US president friendly towards Israel, things won't be boring.

Cartoon by Moshe Gulst, The Israeli Cartoon Project

We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.
  • Tuesday, February 28, 2017
  • Elder of Ziyon
We've mentioned the "Palestinians Abroad" conference held in Istanbul last weekend and how the PLO has been upset about it because it pretends to be the dole representative for Palestinians worldwide.

The conference was supported by Hamas.

On Friday, PA religious affairs minister and top Abbas aide Mahmoud Habash said that the conference was a "meeting of Satans."

Naturally, Hamas had to answer this insult. And what better way to do that than to make Habash look like a Hasidic Jew?

The poster quotes Habash as saying ""Palestinian blood is like Israeli blood" and calls him the "Minister of Jewish Temples in Ramallah."

This is the worst insult that Hamas can come up with for Habash. To call him a Jew is obviously much worse than calling people "Satans."

(h/t Ibn Boutros)

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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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