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 is wrong as well. 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.




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  • 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
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.


photo
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
Cartoon by Moshe Gulst, The Israeli Cartoon Project



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  • 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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  • Tuesday, February 28, 2017
  • Elder of Ziyon


Arab organizations and media are attacking Aisha Amehiham, the Mauritanian ambassador to France, for attending a dinner held by the Conseil Représentatif des Institutions juives de France (Representative Council of French Jewish Institutions or CRIF).

The "National Rabat to support the Palestinian people" released a statement saying that "the presence of Ambassador Amehiham at the dinner represents a new attempts of Zionist infiltration of the Mauritanian people through its embassies abroad, which is a bad and unacceptable, and we will not tolerate it, we will not accept it ever" .

The statement continued, "This represents a deep blow to the emergence of the Palestinian issue, and a blatant contempt for the proud Mauritanian people  which has long demonstrated its strict opposition to normalization with the Zionists."

It said that eating with Jews was a "provocative and disgraceful act", a "painful stab" and a "moral and political scandal."

A Mauritarian anti-Israel student group called her attendance "shameful" and said, "Instead of the Ambassador choosing to fight in the same trench with the Palestinian people in their legitimate struggle against the occupation and reinforcing the anti-Zionist position of the Mauritanian people, the Mauritanian Ambassador is siding with the killers of children and usurpers of the land of the Islamic holy sites in Palestine."






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Monday, February 27, 2017

  • Monday, February 27, 2017
  • Elder of Ziyon


From JTA:

President Donald Trump reportedly is considering cutting a number of special envoy positions, including one dedicated to fighting anti-Semitism, as part of a forthcoming budget proposal.

Trump will propose increasing defense spending by $54 billion and make cuts to federal agencies to accommodate the 10 percent defense increase in the new budget plan, Bloomberg reported Monday, citing unnamed administration officials.

As part of these cuts, Trump is considering whether to nix some special envoy positions, including ones dealing with anti-Semitism, climate change and Muslim communities, according to Bloomberg.
From looking at the (now archived) State Department pages from the Office to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism, it doesn't show too many accomplishments. But that is a little deceptive.

For one thing, there is a definition of antisemitism on the site that essentially uses Natan Sharansky's "3-D" test for when criticism of Israel crosses the line into antisemitism. That is significant.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center summarized other accomplishments of the office last year:
President George W. Bush appointed Gregg Rickman, who served from 2006-2009. He was succeeded in the Obama administration by Hannah Rosenthal (2009-2012) and then by the current special envoy, Ira Forman. Both Rickman and Rosenthal made noteworthy contributions to making combating anti-Semitism a part of official U.S. foreign policy. Rickman set the tone by vigorously engaging with more than 25 countries during his term, while Rosenthal built on Rickman’s accomplishments by establishing a mandatory course on anti-Semitism at the Foreign Service Institute as well as personally confronting the anti-Semitic mayor of Malmo, Sweden.

We at the Simon Wiesenthal Center have worked closely with the special envoys from the beginning, but especially with Ira Forman, the current special envoy. Forman has taken the office to new levels of engagement. Under his watch, the State Department convened a high-level meeting on anti-Semitism with Secretary of State Kerry that Rabbi Marvin Hier, the dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, described as “the first time that the State Department had elevated the battle against anti-Semitism to such a high level within the department’s leadership.” Forman, working closely with our office and other Jewish activists, was also instrumental in pushing the Hungarian government to abandon plans to erect a statue to honor a notorious Nazi collaborator who helped pave the way for the persecution and murder of over 450,000 Hungarian Jews.

Working alongside his colleague, Nicholas Dean, special envoy on Holocaust issues, Forman played a pivotal role in diplomatic efforts that led to the recent adoption by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance of a Working Definition of Anti-Semitism. This is the first-ever formal international definition of anti-Semitism, and a potentially crucial tool for forcing governments and international agencies to confront and take action against it. There are numerous other efforts and initiatives related to anti-Semitism that Forman continues to be directly involved with in the waning days of the Obama administration.
Ira Forman also worked to raise the issue of European nations considering outlawing circumcision, although he curiously made a distinction between that ban and the bans on ritual slaughter for kosher meat:

Forman has raised the issue in meetings with ambassadors to Washington from Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland. He says he plans to raise it with envoys from other Northern European countries, where pressures to ban circumcision are most acute.

He also has asked the relevant desks at the State Department to have U.S. diplomats raise the issue in their meetings in their host countries.

Forman, who is Jewish, contrasted efforts to prohibit circumcision with bans on ritual animal slaughter — in place in some countries for decades — which at least have workarounds, for instance by importing frozen kosher meat.

“Circumcision, if you ban it, you have three choices: You do it underground illegally, you take a little 8-day-old baby across state lines — and if you have contiguous states [with bans], doing that becomes harder and harder — or three, you emigrate,” he said.
It seems strange that Forman would essentially surrender on the issue of kosher meat, which is prompted by antisemitism just as much as the bans on circumcision are - with both of them pretending to be about "human rights" or "animal rights."

The Office to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism also publishes annual reports on antisemitism in the world, and reports on more specific topics like antisemitism on college campuses.

As part of the State Department, the antisemitism office is oriented towards fighting hate in foreign countries. It doesn't do anything about domestic antisemitism, although the definition of antisemitism is very useful when other departments need to use it, such as this act introduced in the Senate last year to use that definition to fight campus antisemitism.

I can't tell how effective this office has been in pressuring European nations on the issue. As far as I can tell, the office did nothing about Arab or Muslim antisemitism.

So while the office has some accomplishments, I would have hoped for a more muscular policy against antisemitism, and I also would have hoped that it would have had the opportunity to accomplish more under the Trump administration.

Human rights is not a priority in this administration, than this office seems to be a victim of that mindset.



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From Ian:

The Palestine Solidarity Campaign of Jew hatred
Scratch the surface of any chapter of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and you’re likely to come across an anti-Semite. This kind of statement is hardly new on the blog pages of the Times of Israel but never has it been given such a basis in fact as it has today by David Collier.
The London-based blogger has painstakingly trawled through the shadowy corners of Facebook to gather a powerful data set exposing a broad swathe of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign’s street activists as anti-Semites and/or barking mad conspiracy theorists. His report, "Antisemitism in the Palestine Solidarity Campaign" (pdf)
serves to highlight in excruciating detail just how extensive the anti-Semitism in the Palestine Solidarity movement is, one social media post at a time.
The research is 75 pages long and features post after post of -anti-Semitic conspiracy theorizing straight from the accounts of some of the PSC’s most ardent activists. These posts show many PSC activists live in a delusional world where Zionists are responsible for just about everything.
In one example, a PSC activist posts a fake news story alleging that the head of ISIS was actually trained in Israel. One of their Facebook friends attacked the story as a slur on…(ISIS) “Mujahideen”!
What Happens to PSC Now?
Recently the PSC made a submission to the now infamous Chakrabarti Inquiry into antisemitism. In light of Collier’s research the document reads like a sick joke. That an organisation whose most active members are motivated by the belief that they’re engaged in a fight against a Zionist conspiracy to take over the world would seek to define antisemitism is an affront to Jews everywhere. According to the PSC;
“As an organisation we actively challenge racism, and do not tolerate antisemitism, Islamophobia, and all forms of racism within our membership.”
This is a fiction Collier has laid to rest. From now on it’s unlikely they’re going to be able to utter words like;
“It is vital that political parties avoid confusing or conflating support for Palestinian rights with antisemitism.”
This is advice the bosses at PSC should be taking on board themselves. Their quest for rights for Palestinians attracts way too many antisemites and the PSC as a body takes far too little responsibility when it comes to changing that proven fact. By refusing to act on the research PSC as a body is now complicit in the antisemitism of its own members. The next time they seek to contribute to any kind of Parliamentary finding one expects that they will be booted out of the room.
Rabbi Sacks on the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign
The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel is dangerously wrong because beneath the surface it's an attempt to delegtimize Israel as a prelude to its elimination. No Jew and no humanitarian can stand by and see that happen. Let me explain why.


  • Monday, February 27, 2017
  • Elder of Ziyon
Here is a photo of Israel destroying a house built without a permit in Kafr Qasim, an Israeli Arab town.


Even though the BDSers love to target Caterpillar, there is no Caterpillar equipment here. Only Hyundai and Hitachi.

So how come we never hear of any initiatives to boycott those companies?

Could it be because Hyundai and Hitachi products are sold in the Palestinian Authority areas?

In fact, an anti-Israel organization listed lots of manufacturers of equipment that Israel uses for activities in the territories besides Caterpillar that we never hear about:  Bobcat, CNH Industrial (UK), Doosan, Hidromek (Turkey), Hitachi, Hyundai, JCB (UK), Liebherr (Switzerland), Terex, and Volvo (Sweden).

If the BDSers are so pure in their motives, then why don't we hear about boycotts of these companies? How come we aren't seeing any protests by Swedish anti-Israel activists against Volvo or the Swiss against Liebherr? Why haven't the divestment campus initiatives said a word about these other companies and only concentrate on HP and Caterpillar?

The reason, of course, is that the BDSers don't want the world to think that Israel uses so many manufacturers that are also used by Palestinians and Arab countries and their liberal European friends. Their BDS initiatives would fail miserably if they tried to cast such a wide net because everyone would know that the boycotts would be useless from the start.

But it might be fun to see if any of these so-moral anti-Israel activists drive Hyundais or Volvos.

UPDATE: It turns out that Hyundai has been on the BDSers target list - for a couple of weeks. (h/t Shaun)



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  • Monday, February 27, 2017
  • Elder of Ziyon
  • ,
By Petra Marquardt-Bigman

It may be debatable if Israel’s recent decision to deny a work permit to Omar Shakir, the Israel and Palestine Director of Human Rights Watch (HRW), was prudent. Indeed, the inevitable outcry – amplified by coverage in the New York Times, Ha’aretz and numerous other outlets around the world – quickly produced assurances that Israel’s “Foreign Ministry … intends to reexamine” the matter. Yet, the Foreign Ministry was absolutely right when it accused HRW of promoting “Palestinian propaganda.”

You don’t even have to dig deep – just scroll through Shakir’s recent tweets and you’ll find excellent examples for HRW’s trademark anti-Israel propaganda (which has been documented extensively by NGO Monitor; the site also has a relevant profile of Shakir).

Before we look at some of Shakir’s recent tweets, it is important to realize that he has been an anti-Israel activist for all of his adult life. Given his biography, this is noteworthy, because Shakir has apparently long been exposed to the countless crises all over the Arab world. A biographical note from the Islamic Scholarship Fund, which sponsored him in 2010, tells us that he is “of Iraqi descent” and grew up in the San Francisco Bay area; he “graduated from Stanford University in 2007 with honors in international relations” and spent 2007-2008  as a Fulbright scholar in Syria, where “he conducted research on contemporary Syrian economic reform and studied Islamic jurisprudence;” he also studied “at Oxford University and in Morocco and Cairo.”

Yet, neither Morocco’s occupation of Western Sahara nor the repression he must have witnessed in Egypt and Syria seem to have interested Shakir as much as the Palestinian struggle against the Jewish state. Starting in his freshman year, Shakir was already involved in efforts to promote a positive image of the Palestinians. Back then, in May 2004, the Palestinians perhaps needed some PR: the murderous “Al Aqsa Intifada” was still going on – having already claimed more than a thousand Israeli lives, with many thousands more wounded. The exploitation of Palestinian children and teenagers for terrorist attacks was already well known, and reliable polls showed that a shocking 71% of Palestinians “say they have confidence in [Al Qaeda leader Osama] bin Laden [to do the right thing regarding world affairs].” Incidentally, the Pew surveys at that time were also showing that “[b]y wide margins, most Muslim populations doubt that a way can be found for the state of Israel to exist so that the rights and needs of the Palestinian people are met. Eight-in-ten residents of the Palestinian Authority express this opinion.” To put it in a less convoluted way: most Muslims – including 80% of Palestinians – felt that “the rights and needs of the Palestinian people” require the elimination of Israel as a Jewish state.

But this was a view Shakir apparently shared, and there is no indication that he changed his mind in the following years. Quite the contrary: in May 2005, Shakir is listed as the organizer of a “Nakba Day” event at Stanford, commemorating what was described as “The Palestinian Catastrophe … the historic day, which saw the mass deportation of a million Palestinians from their cities and villages, massacres of civilians, and the razing to the ground of hundreds of Palestinian villages.” Two years later, in April 2007, an article on “Celebration and protest of Israel” in The Stanford Daily identified Shakir as “president of Students Confronting Apartheid by Israel (SCAI)” and quoted him as saying: “To be celebrating [Israel’s Independence Day] without even acknowledging what happened is really offensive … Our goal is to be here and to remember the events of May 1948. This is a day 750.000 refugees were created.” Shakir reportedly estimated “the current number of Palestinian refugees at close to five million” and explained his objections to celebrating Israel’s independence further: “While some celebrate the creation of a homeland, we stand here to remember the destruction of the indigenous society and a 59-year subjugation of the indigenous population that resulted from that.”

So for Shakir, it was not about Israel’s occupation of the West Bank since 1967; as far as he was concerned, it was Israel’s re-establishment in 1948 that resulted in “the destruction of the indigenous society and a 59-year subjugation of the indigenous population.” In other words, as long as Israel exists as a Jewish state, Shakir considers “the indigenous population” as ‘subjugated.’ It seems that even if you graduate from an elite university like Stanford “with honors in international relations,” you don’t necessarily know that the Jews are as least as indigenous to the area west of the Jordan River as the descendants of the Muslim Arabs who conquered the region.

In 2009, Shakir was busy protesting Israel Independence Day celebrations at Georgetown University, where “protestors held signs with slogans such as, ‘61 Years a Refugee’ and ‘Israeli Independence = 4,000,000 Palestinian Refugees.’” A year later, he marked the “the 62nd anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba (Catastrophe) and the beginning of the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian people” in a radio program devoted to comparing “Israeli & South African Apartheid;” alongside other notorious anti-Israel activists, he also participated in an event at UC Irvine for “Israeli Apartheid Week: A Call to Boycott, Divest, and Sanction.”  In 2006, the same event had been advertised under the title “Apartheid State of Israel Carries Out Holocaust,” which is just one reason why the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) eventually felt it necessary to document (PDF) that the “University of California, Irvine (UCI) has become a center for anti-Semitic activity in recent years.” As the ADL noted:

“Much of this activity has been organized by the Muslim Student Union (MSU), a vocal student group at UCI, which is responsible for staging large events every spring featuring virulently anti-Semitic speakers. In July 2010, the MSU was suspended for one year because of its involvement in disrupting a speech by Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren in February of that year.”

We also learn from the ADL documentation that Shakir “praised the students” who had disrupted Oren’s speech, emphasizing at the “Israeli Apartheid Week” event he spoke: “it’s an honor to be speaking at the campus that made a statement heard around the world, the campus that officially said: ‘we have no place for a war criminal…’ you guys should be very proud of what you are doing.”

It’s worthwhile reading what the ADL reported on the event Shakir felt so ‘honored’ to participate in:

“As in previous years, Amir Abdul Malik Ali delivered one of the more radical speeches. Titled ‘Death to Apartheid,’ Malik Ali compared Jews to Nazis, expressed support for Hamas, Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad and called for the destruction of the ‘apartheid state of Israel.’ He also accused supporters of Israel of ‘using’ the Holocaust as an excuse to oppress Palestinians, and claimed that it is easier to criticize Israel because people ‘are no longer being afraid of being called anti-Semitic.’ […]
 Hatem Bazian, president of the anti-Israel American Muslims for Palestine, gave a speech titled ‘Roots of the Conflict.’ Bazian portrayed Israel as a foreign colonial power and rejected the legitimacy of Jewish claims in the Middle East. He characterized [the] Jewish presence in the Middle East in Biblical time as ‘occupation,’ which he said was similar to the ‘occupation in the present context.’ […]
Prior to each presentation, an MSU representative read a prepared statement rejecting accusations that the event was anti-Semitic. The statement argued that it is ‘hypocritical and immoral’ to describe ‘anyone who has the courage to stand up and speak out against the genocidal Zionist policies of Israel as anti-Semitic.’ The statement then compared Israel’s policies to ‘the oppression that took place in Nazi Germany.’ 
The event’s organizers erected a mock version of Israel’s security barrier, which displayed anti-Israel messages and a poster that hailed Hamas as ‘Freedom Fighters’ decorated with a picture of Hamas founder Sheik Ahmad Yassin.”

Given that Shakir considered it “an honor to be speaking” at such an event, it’s only natural that he continued with his anti-Israel activism in the following years (see e.g. here and here). Just three years after he had the ‘honor’ to participate in the UC Irvine hate-fest – and while he was still involved in anti-Israel activism –, HRW hired Shakir as the “2013-14 Arthur R. and Barbara D. Finberg Fellow at Human Rights Watch;” eventually, when he was appointed HRW “Israel and Palestine Country Director,” Shakir must have been very pleased to have found an employer willing to pay him for doing what he had done as a volunteer for so many years.

It is thus no surprise that Shakir was now only too happy to give an interview to Ali Abunimah’s notorious Electronic Intifada (EI) – a site dedicated to demonizing Israel, mainstreaming antisemitism, and cheering Islamist terror groups like Hamas. EI contributor Charlotte Silver, who wrote about Israel’s “ominous” refusal to grant Shakir a work permit, probably knows him from the good old days ten years ago, when they both protested the celebration of Israel’s Independence Day at Stanford.

While Shakir is surely aware that EI readers are already convinced that Israel is too evil to be allowed to exist, he told Silver that by refusing to issue a work permit for him, “Israel puts itself in the same group as Sudan, Uzbekistan, North Korea and Egypt, all of which have barred Human Rights Watch from entering.” A similar charge is made in an official HRW statement, and Shakir’s Twitter timeline is littered with tweets emphasizing that Israel should now be counted among the “most repressive states we [i.e. HRW] cover.”




I have archived Shakir’s own tweet because the breathtaking arrogance and the implicit disregard for the untold misery inflicted by the world’s “most repressive states” – as well as the deep-seated hostility to Israel – seem worth documenting. All it takes for Israel to be counted among the world’s “most repressive states” is denying a long-time opponent of Israel’s existence as a Jewish state in any borders a work permit for a job in which his main task is coming up with “evidence” that will be eagerly seized by his old BDS buddies to further their campaigns of demonizing the world’s only Jewish state as simply too evil to be allowed to exist.

 While there are several other revealing tweets (or re-tweets) recently posted by Shakir, one by Kenneth Roth, Executive Director of Human Rights Watch, is arguably particularly noteworthy.



Roth’s own openly displayed bias against Israel has been amply documented (e.g. here my own effort in 2014 and a stunning EoZ analysis from the same time). So now Roth objects to Israel’s defense minister (not FM, i.e. foreign minister) emphasizing the threat posed to Israel by Iran during the recent Munich Security Conference. It is downright bizarre that Roth apparently expects that instead, Israel’s defense minister should compete with HRW and talk about “Israel persecuting Palestinians.” While we can only speculate what exactly Roth means by that, I think it’s safe to assume that a lot of the “persecuting” occurs whenever Israel defends itself against Palestinian terror.

But what about Iran? Does Roth disagree with the many respected analysts who think that Iran’s destabilizing role in the Middle East poses very serious security risks?

As it happens, on the same day Roth complained about Israel’s focus on the threats posed by Iran, the Tehran Times had an article announcing that Iran was about to hold a “conference on Palestinian intifada.” A few days later, the conference duly took place; reportedly, there were reserved seats for the heads of the terrorist groups Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Hamas, and Hezbollah. Let’s just quote for Ken Roth one short passage from the rambling speech given by Iran’s Supreme Leader on the happy occasion of this “Sixth International Conference in Support of the Palestinian Intifada”:

“From the beginning, this cancerous tumor [i.e. Israel] has been developing in several phases until it turned into the current disaster. The cure for this tumor should be developed in phases as well. Until today, several intifadas and a constant and continuous resistance have managed to achieve very important phased goals. The Palestinian intifada continues to gallop forward in a thunderous manner so that it can achieve its other goals until the complete liberation of Palestine.”

As far as Ken Roth is concerned, Israel should apparently just shrug off being called a “cancerous tumor” by a regime that massively supports several terror groups – most notably Hezbollah – dedicated to the elimination of the Jewish state.


Last but not least a few words on the media coverage of Israel’s refusal to give Omar Shakir a work permit. If you google “Omar Shakir Human Rights Watch,” you will see that this incident received global media coverage. But most of this coverage amounted to not much more than giving HRW a megaphone to broadcast its outrage as entirely justified. The organization’s longstanding and well-documented record of bias against Israel was largely ignored, and nobody noticed that HRW demanded a work permit for an employee who would “investigate” Israel’s human rights record even though he has a long record of opposing the existence of the world’s only Jewish state in any borders.  




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From Ian:

Khaled Abu Toameh: Palestinians: Why a "Regional Peace Process" Will Fail
Many Palestinians sometimes refer to Arab leaders and regimes as the "real enemies" of the Palestinians. They would rather have France, Sweden, Norway and Belgium oversee a peace process with Israel than any of the Arab countries.
Hani al-Masri, a prominent Palestinian political analyst, echoed this skepticism. He, in fact, believes the Arabs want to help Israel "liquidate" the Palestinian cause.
The Jordanians are worried that a "regional solution" would promote the idea of replacing the Hashemite kingdom with a Palestinian state. Former Jordanian Minister of Information Saleh al-Qallab denounced the talk of a "regional conference" as a "poisonous gift and conspiracy" against Jordan and the Palestinians.
The Lebanese have for decades dreamed of the day they could rid themselves of the Palestinian refugee camps and their inhabitants, who have long been subjected to apartheid and discriminatory laws.
Israel as a Jewish state is anathema to Palestinian aspirations. Any Arab or Palestinian leader who promotes such compromise is taking his life in his hands. And Palestinian history will record him as a "traitor" who sold out to the Jews and surrendered to American and Israeli pressure.
Abbas and his Ramallah cohorts are already up at night worrying about the talking between Israel and some Arab countries, particularly Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states. Such "normalization", in the view of the PA, is to be reserved for after Israel submits to its demands.
Any "regional solution" involving Arab countries would be doomed to fail because the Palestinians and their Arab brethren hate each other. Any solution offered by the Arab governments will always be regarded as an "American-Zionist dictate."
Here is what Palestinians really want: to use the Europeans to impose a "solution" on Israel.

Israeli intelligence minister says Trump created a new path to peace
Katz’s plan, which he says has been adopted by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, is regional and multilayered. And if all goes smoothly, there might be some type of autonomous, demilitarized Palestinian entity at the tail end.
“Netanyahu went to America after many discussions here in which we spoke about the idea for regional peace, based on security and economic considerations in the region,” said Katz in an interview with The Washington Post.
“I told the prime minister that the goal should be to deal less with labels and more with content,” said Katz, who also serves as Israel’s minister of transportation.
This was the one of the messages Netanyahu shared in a news conference with President Trump in the White House earlier this month.
Responding to a journalist’s question asking if the prime minister had come to Washington to tell the president he is backing off from the solution of two states for two people — the Israelis and the Palestinians — Netanyahu said: “Rather than deal with labels, I want to deal with substance. It's something I've hoped to do for years in a world that's absolutely fixated on labels and not on substance.”
“I am against two states. As one White House official pointed [out] – ‘if you ask five people what two states would look like, you'd get eight different answers,’ ” said Katz, a member of Netanyahu’s Security Cabinet.
Katz said this point and others made recently by the new U.S. administration has made clear that Trump will allow Israel to find its own solution, in its own time.
Trump, he said, has opened up the playing field for peace.
Trent Franks: Israel’s ally serving in the White House
As President Obama’s days in office were coming to an end, he and Secretary of State John Kerry broke with over 20 years of bipartisan precedent by refusing to veto a resolution at the UN Security Council designed to undermine Israel’s right to exist. The resolution, orchestrated by the Obama administration, went to such an outrageous extent it would categorize even places like the Western Wall as occupied territory. This overt betrayal by Obama of our closest ally reinforced the position of the ubiquitous antisemites at the UN.
The cowardly refusal of the Obama administration to confirm to the world who our allies are left President Donald Trump in the very uncomfortable position of having to do damage control before he was even sworn in. If anything should serve as unequivocal confirmation to the entire world of America’s commitment to Israel and the Jewish people, it is the president’s choice of Dr. Sebastian Gorka as White House deputy assistant.
I am compelled to respond with disgust to recent attempts in the press and on social media to libel this American patriot. Dr. Gorka truly understands the existential threat Global Jihadism poses to both America and Israel. He has repeatedly stated that groups like al-Qaida and Islamic State (ISIS) share a totalitarian bond with the Fascists and Nazis who threatened the world in the 20th century. To associate him in any way with such ideologies is repugnant and a prime example of “fake news.”
Most disturbing of all is the attempt to portray Dr. Gorka as in any way antisemitic. Having called upon his expertise on counterterrorism repeatedly in Congress and used his analysis to inform our work, I can attest that he is a deep and relentless friend of Israel and the Jewish people.
Sebastian Gorka’s service to the nation, his reputation, and his national security credentials are all unimpeachable and I am delighted that Israel and the Jewish people have such an ally serving our president in the White House.
The author is serving his eighth term in Congress and is the chairman of the Congressional Israel Allies Caucus.

  • Monday, February 27, 2017
  • Elder of Ziyon



Fools, apparently, rush in where angels fear to go.  At the same time, he who hesitates is lost.  So it seems that folk wisdom doesn’t provide obvious advice on how fast to move when military or political advantage opens up.

As mentioned last time, timing is one of the crucial ingredients for any sort of political or military strategy.  And for a small nation such as Israel, which has been at the center of military and political conflict since the nation’s birth, deciding between “full-speed-ahead,” “steady-as-she-goes” and “proceed-with-caution” is a routine decision.

At this moment in history, when a U.S. President hostile to the Jewish state has been replaced by one respectful of its interests, there is an understandable tendency to want to rush ahead and gain as much advantage as possible.  In some cases, this is a wise choice, especially in places like the UN where American backing of Israel has returned with a vengeance.

At the same time, while it might seem that this is the right moment for Israeli politicians to push controversial legislation, or for Israel’s supporters abroad to assume a friendly White House and Congress means brighter days ahead, there are a number of reasons to move cautiously through the today’s uncharted waters of US and international politics.

To begin with, the new US President has become a lightning rod for a broad range of opposing forces, domestically and internationally.  And as we have seen in recent years, such forces have little resistance to being infiltrated – if not entirely taken over – by anti-Israel activists ready to force their issue to the top of everyone else’s agenda. 

The mercurial nature of now President Trump also means that assuming continued unalloyed support from this White House is as much a folly as counting on anyone outside of ourselves to make protection of Israel’s interests an ongoing top priority.  While it is highly unlikely we’ll see the same kind of animus we experienced with Trump’s predecessor, there is no shortage of potential flash points Israel and her friends need to navigate.  Are we prepared, for example, if the new President gets it into his head that he can resolve the Israeli-Palestinian dispute with some grand bargain that has eluded less talented “deal-makers?”

Last time, I mentioned the difference between administrative, legislative and cultural victories which can provide a framework for determining how to best proceed during unpredictable times. 

The sorts of Executive Orders we’ve seen flowing from the White House represent the sort of slam-bam wins that make supportive partisans cheer and opposing ones squeal, but such “victories” tend to be highly unstable.  President Obama’s major victories (including ObamaCare, the Iran Deal and various Executive fiats he ordered), for instance, are all examples of victories won without widespread legislative and public support.  So it’s no accident that these are the very issues most easily undone by his successor.

Legislative victories – especially ones that take into account multiple perspectives – tend to be more stable and longer lived.  One need only look at how bi-partisan Congressional support prevented the Obama administration from doing even more damage to the US-Israel relationship to see the power bi-partisan consensus wields within a democracy.   

But on the whole, the most long-lasting political victories take place at the cultural level.  Civil rights, women’s rights, LGBQ rights, victory in the Cold War and – yes – support for the Jewish state are societal transformations within the US that were cultivated over decades, to the point where they are now givens threatened more by over-reach of their supporters than by hostile forces eager to see these examples of social progress overturned.

Anti-Israel forces assume they are playing a long game, hoping that the violence and propaganda they have visited upon the world will eventually translate to an abandonment of the Jewish state – if not by this generation of Americans, then perhaps the next.

What they have failed to take into account is that Israel and her friends are also capable of long-game strategy.  Bi-partisan Congressional support, for example, did not emerge out of thin air but was cultivated over decades by smart, political operators within the organized Jewish community – leveraging general support for Israel within a US public cultivated by countless other Jewish groups and individuals dedicated to telling the truth to counter the lies of the BDS “movement” and its antecedents. 

What this means in today’s unstable world is that Israel needs to continue to leverage the current supportive atmosphere while not becoming joined at the hip with today’s administration – or any administration – to the exclusion of alliances that contribute to ongoing legislative and cultural support. 

Friends of Israel happy with the new President need to understand the cost (and potential instability) of administrative victories, and plan accordingly.  Similarly, pro-Israel forces hostile to Trump et al need to fight within the movements they work with to ensure the anti-Trump agenda doesn’t become yet another progressive cause that falls to ruins after infiltration and takeover by the ruthless foes of the Jewish state.

Winning in a long game requires forgoing today’s single marshmallow for tomorrow’s two.  In other words, it requires resisting impatience, thinking in terms of decades, rather than weeks, and refusing to allow foes or friends to turn support for the Jewish state into a domestic partisan football. 

  




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Mondoweiss commenter: "For virulent pro-Zionism (and plain straightforward lies of course) there is nothing much to beat it."
Didi Remez: "Leading wingnut"

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