Thursday, April 26, 2018

From Ian:

Fred Maroun: Debunking 25 left-wing and Arab myths from a left-wing Arab perspective
Left-wing and Arab enemies of Israel make a number of accusations that they repeat as if they were facts. Here I take apart those myths from a left-wing Arab perspective.

I summarize the facts, but I include many links to other articles that provide further background. Some of the articles referenced are mine, where I reference serious sources not considered pro-Israel, including Haaretz, BBC, The Guardian, The Washington Post, The New York Times, CNN, and The Huffington Post. I also reference pro-Israel sources that are known for their journalistic integrity, including The Times of Israel, The Jerusalem Post, and The Gatestone Institute.

This article is not for everyone. It is intended only for a narrow audience: People who are willing to base their opinions on facts and not lies. Others are kindly advised to stay away, lest they be contaminated by facts that they would rather continue ignoring.

1. “Israel can end the conflict by withdrawing from the “West Bank””
I would welcome the creation of a Palestinian state, but I would be lying if I said that the possibility is realistic under current conditions. Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza, and the resulting transformation of Gaza into a terrorist base shows what happens when Israel withdraws unconditionally. Since Israel left Gaza in 2005, many thousands of rockets have been fired from Gaza into Israel and many tunnels were built to try to infiltrate Israel. As reported by Haaretz in 2014, an online clock timer showed “how much time has passed since the last rocket was fired; Sadly, this counter never really gets above an hour”.

Israel cannot afford to make the same mistake in Judea & Samaria (the correct name for the “West Bank”) which is much closer to Israel’s large cities than Gaza is. If Israel withdrew from Judea & Samaria unconditionally, it is virtually certain that the newly evacuated land would be controlled by terrorists dangerously hostile to Israel. Until Arabs agree to a reasonable solution that provides Israel the security it requires, Israel’s military presence in Judea & Samaria is fully justified, and even as an Arab, if I want to be honest with myself, I have no choice but to support it. (h/t Gnomercy)
David Collier: The Corbyn v Jews chess match. Gaining time by doing nothing
Singing songs about process

The only possible discussions will be over process. To discuss the speed with which mechanisms will work if we can agree on antisemitism. Yet will will almost never agree and there will always be voices in Corbyn’s ear that reinforce the world vision that he adheres to. Thus antisemitism in Labour will always be just ‘anti-Zionism’, no matter what those pesky Zionists were accused of by the Labour member. Given that Ken Livingstone still hasn’t been expelled and there are demonstrations to re-instate him, the Jewish community and Jeremy Corbyn are not even speaking the same language. In fact, the only notable expulsion, Tony Greenstein, wasn’t even a success. We must remember that the Jews who have Corbyn’s ear – hate Tony Greenstein. For them, this was no sacrifice. They threw something to the Jews that they simply didn’t want.

Corbyn can do no more than give empty gestures even as he backtracks on any progress that is made. Everything is a contradiction. In yesterday’s meeting he apparently refused to adopt the IHRA definition (in full), which many believe had already been adopted. This is where Jeremy Corbyn wants everything – locked in vagueness. In the Evening Standard article Corbyn stated that ‘a genuine two-state solution is essential to lasting peace in the Middle East’ and yet within a paragraph was protecting anti-Zionists who explicitly oppose the very solution he suggests is vital for peace. Corbyn is not a natural two state supporter. He sees the 2SS as the most that can probably be taken back from the European thieves who took the Palestinian land.

The conversation between Jeremy Corbyn and the Jews cannot make sense because Zionism and Jews are intertwined and Zionism doesn’t make sense within Corbyn’s paradigm. Corbyn cannot justify it to himself and he certainly cannot justify it to his supporters. Attacking ‘privileged’ Jews, especially dressed up in the ‘Zionist’ disguise, is almost certainly a vote winner within his faction. The only question is whether anyone else cares enough to not vote for him because of it.
Bin Laden's bodyguard walks freely in Berlin, but Jews don't
Sami A. does not work. He lives in Bochum, Germany. The newspaper Bild just revealed that Sami A. is the Tunisian who belonged to the squad of Osama bin Laden's bodyguards and is under surveillance as an Islamist threat. As an aside, three of the 9/11 pilots, including Mohammed Atta, were based in Germany.

Sami A. only has to show up at the police station once a day. He cannot be expelled according to the German Supreme Court. The judges argue that he could be tortured in his country of origin. Since he lives with his family in Germany, Sami is now a well-paid public danger. And he receives a monthly benefit payment of 1,100 euros. By law, the Tunisian and his wife are entitled to € 194 each. In addition, they get between 133 and 157 euros for each of their four children.

Bin Laden's bodyguard can walk, well paid and undisturbed, in the streets of Berlin today. A Jew wearing a kippah on those streets is risking his life.

Thousands of Islamists today in Germany live in multicultural enclaves such as that of Neukölln, the trendy district of the capital which draws in youngsters and Muslims alike. A few days ago, a small demonstration was held in that largely immigrant Berlin neighborhood. The flashmob in Neukölln proved all the fears that Jewish symbols today in Germany are under threat. Bystanders insulted and spit on participants and tore up an Israeli flag. The organizers ended the protest prematurely.

 Vic Rosenthal's Weekly Column

A hot potato today in Israel’s Knesset is the so-called chok hahitgabrut (literally, “the overriding law”) which would provide a way for the Knesset to pass a law over the objections of the Supreme Court. Various versions of such a law have been considered, which require larger or smaller majorities in the Knesset to override a Court decision to throw out a law. Another approach would be to require more than a simple majority of justices of the Court in order to reject a law passed by the Knesset. The precise form the law might take is still up in the air.

The issue that is presently driving the controversy is a series of Court decisions that have made it impossible for the government to deport any of the 38,000 African migrants that entered the country illegally since the early 2000s. Those who want such a law say that the unelected Court rides roughshod over the views of the majority of the citizens, which are expressed by the votes of their representatives in the Knesset. That’s undemocratic, they say. Opponents argue that in a liberal democracy it is necessary to protect minority rights, which is what the Court has done.

Critics of the Court have been complaining for a long time that it is biased leftward, and that it sticks its nose where it shouldn’t, like the proposed deal regulating the concession for the natural gas recently discovered off Israel’s shores; or the ownership of property in Judea and Samaria, decisions that forced the demolition of communities and the removal of people from their homes.

But the intricacies of the gas deal were understood by only a small percentage of Israelis, and the inhabitants of the razed settlement of Amona did not find a lot of empathy in the general population, many of whom thought of them as extremists. The migrant question, on the other hand, resonates more broadly. It pits the residents of South Tel Aviv – who say that the migrants who are concentrated in their neighborhoods have brought crime, dirt and fear to them – against a coalition of organizations that claim to be defending the human rights of the migrants. In fact, many of these groups are funded by unfriendly foreign governments, or groups with a political motive to embarrass our government (e.g., the Israel Religious Action Center).

A balance between the powers of the various branches of government is important to protect minority and majority rights. A comparison with the Supreme Court in the US will be helpful in understanding just how unbalanced the situation in Israel is.

The American court only has appellate jurisdiction, which means that it can only rule on cases that have been appealed from lower courts. It can decline to hear a case, but it does not have original jurisdiction in which it can take up a case that has not already been heard by a lower court, except in special circumstances (such as one state suing another). The Israeli court is the highest appellate court, but it also acts as the High Court of Justice – bagatz – which can rule on anything done by any branch of government, including the army, municipalities, and – importantly – laws passed by the Knesset, whether or not they have been ruled on by a lower court.

The American legal system includes a doctrine of standing, which means in particular that a person can’t challenge a law or government action unless they can convince a judge that they could be directly injured by it, or that they would be prevented from exercising their legitimate rights by threat of legal sanction. But in Israel, anyone can petition the Supreme Court if he believes a law or government action is illegal or not in the public interest. As a result, anyone can paralyze the government by paying a couple of thousand shekels to file a petition. For example, several foreign-funded NGOs have recently petitioned the Supreme Court to force the IDF to stop using snipers to defend the border fence with Gaza.

In America, some matters are considered political and not legal, and are therefore not taken up by the courts (they are considered not justiciable). Two such areas are foreign policy and impeachment. In Israel, the limitations on justiciability are much weaker.

American Supreme Court justices, including the Chief Justice, are appointed by the President and then confirmed by the Senate, after which they serve for life unless they are impeached, resign or retire. Interestingly, there are no constitutional requirements for a justice to have judicial experience, or even a law degree! 

In Israel, the justices are appointed by a committee which includes members of the Bar Association and sitting Justices, as well as the Justice Minister and representatives of the government and opposition Knesset factions. There is a mandatory retirement age of 70, which in practice means that Israeli justices tend to serve for shorter terms than American ones. There are specific qualifications of legal experience. The President of the Court is the most senior of the Justices.

The method of appointment of justices in Israel tends to make the Court reflect the views of the legal establishment, which critics say is biased toward the left end of the spectrum. It tends to prioritize what it perceives as the rights of individuals over the needs of the state, and Israel’s democratic character over its Jewish one.

An associated issue is the Attorney General. In the US, the Attorney General is appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate, and serves as the government’s lawyer. He or she is required to defend the government in the courts, including the Supreme Court, and on several occasions attorneys general have been fired by the President for refusing to do so.

In Israel, the Attorney General is appointed by the Justice Minister from a list of candidates drawn up by a commission whose majority also represents the legal establishment. The Attorney General can prevent the government from taking an action by saying that he or she believes it to be illegal, and will not defend it before the Supreme Court. The authority of the Attorney General is, like many things in Israel, unclear.

One example of the possible conflicts involving the Supreme Court, the Attorney General and the government, is the legal peril faced by PM Netanyahu. The police have recommended that he be indicted in several corruption cases, and it is up to the Attorney General to decide whether to indict him. The law is not clear whether an indicted PM is required to resign his position, although the Attorney General has expressed the opinion that if indicted, he should resign. But supposing he is indicted, Netanyahu could refuse to quit. Then the Supreme Court would undoubtedly take up the question, and the Attorney General likely would not defend him before it!

There is also the Nation-State Law which has been debated for several years now. It is intended to explicate the sense in which Israel is not only a democratic state, but the state of the Jewish people. Various versions of the bill did not get off the ground because the Attorney General said that they were not “constitutional” (Israel doesn’t have a constitution, but it has Basic Lawswhich serve some of the purposes of a constitution). Even if the Attorney General doesn’t object, the Supreme Court is expected to be very tough on any non-vacuous Nation-State Law. A former President of the Court who inspired the activist judicial philosophy that characterizes it today, Aharon Barak, famously opined that the meaning of the phrase “Jewish State” should be “identical to the democratic nature of the state.” In other words, a Nation-State Law would have to be so trivial as to be meaningless.

A version of the law that will permit the Knesset to override the Supreme Court  will be voted on by government ministers this Sunday, after which it will be submitted to the Knesset. The Opposition, which has come to depend on the Court to make up for its lack of seats in the elected Knesset, is pushing very hard against it.

The deportation of illegal migrants, the Nation-State Law, and numerous other important issues depend on the ability to take control of the state away from the legal establishment and return it to the elected government. Israelis voted for a right-wing government – they should be able to get right-wing policies. This is a bill that needs to pass.

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  • Thursday, April 26, 2018
  • Elder of Ziyon
A week ago I linked to the Terrorism Info Center analysis that showed that 80% of the first 32 people killed on the Gaza border in the "Great Return March" were not innocent civilians but were linked to terror groups, with many of them known to be terrorists themselves.

The report has been updated ahead of tomorrow's riots, and the percentage remains the same: 80% of the dead are linked to terror groups:

The Hamas-controlled ministry of health in the Gaza Strip reported that 40 Palestinians have been killed during the "great return march" events since March 30, 2018, when the rioting began along the Gaza Strip-Israel border (updated to April 25, 2018).2 The information provided by the Gaza ministry of health, which is used by the Israeli and international media, does not include a statistical distribution or distinguish between terrorist operatives(and those affiliated with them) and civilians. As far as the ITIC has been able to determine, no sources in the Gaza Strip make such a distinction. As a result, the impression given to world public opinion is that all the casualties were innocent Palestinian civilians. The analysis conducted by the ITIC shows that most of the Palestinians killed were terrorist operatives or individuals affiliated with the terrorist organizations.
The interim findings of the ITIC analysis revealed that 32 of the 40 Palestinians killed
(80%) were terrorist operatives or individuals affiliated with them
, distributed as follows:
• 18 of the 32 (about 56%) were terrorist operatives belonging to or affiliated with Hamas:
• Nine were operatives in Hamas' military wing (the Izz al-Din Qassam Brigades) and operatives in Hamas' security forces.
• Nine were affiliated with or linked to Hamas, based on circumstantial evidence (Hamas issued death notices for them, their bodies were wrapped in Hamas flags, or other supporting evidence).
• Ten were members of Fatah, two of them operatives in its military wing and eight with organizational affiliation or connections
 • Two belonged to the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), one to the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), one to Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine PFLP).

ITIC goes on:
The ITIC's interim findings clearly show that terrorist operatives (especially Hamas operatives), or Palestinians affiliated with terrorist organizations, play a key role in the front lines of the "great return march" demonstrations near the fence. They are primarily
involved in violent clashes with the IDF and on occasion carry out terrorist attacks. Conspicuous is the small number of civilian activists and ordinary civilians, who were involved in organizing the march, involved in rioting with the IDF. They were left behind when the violence began. 
This story has still not been reported in any media as far as I can tell. And it just shows that the media will believe Hamas lies over the truth.

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From Ian:

Malaysian hit said part of broad Mossad op against Hamas global training efforts
Palestinian engineer Fadi al-Batsh’s assassination in Malaysia on April 21 was part of a broader Mossad campaign against Hamas efforts to send experts abroad for technical training and weapons acquisitions, The New York Times reported Wednesday night.

The report was based on multiple unnamed Middle Eastern intelligence officials, who said the wide-ranging Mossad operation against Hamas’s overseas efforts was ordered by the agency’s chief, Yossi Cohen.

There was no official confirmation of The Times’ report, which did not itself cite Israeli sources.

The intelligence officials said Batsh himself, an expert on drones and the nephew of Gaza’s police chief Tayseer al-Batsh, traveled to Malaysia to “research and acquire weapon systems and drones for Hamas,” the Times reported.

Israel has a longstanding policy of not commenting on claims about Mossad operations. There has been no official statement about the killing of Batsh from Israeli officials, with the exception of Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman hinting that he may have been a victim of an intra-Palestinian feud.

According to the Times, however, the timing of the killing was no accident. The hit occurred on a day in which Batsh was scheduled to travel to Istanbul, ostensibly for an academic conference. But an intelligence official told the Times that Batsh was to meet a Hamas official in the city, which according to the report serves as the terror organization’s hub for international training programs.

Khaled Abu Toameh: 220 Airstrikes on Palestinians; World Yawns
According to the London-based Action Group for Palestinians of Syria, 3,722 Palestinians (including 465 women) have been killed since the beginning of the civil war in Syria in 2011. Another 1,675 are said to have been detained by the Syrian authorities, and another 309 are listed as missing.

More than 200 of the Palestinian victims died because of the lack of food and medical care, most of them in Yarmouk. Since the beginning of the civil war, some 120,000 Palestinians have fled Syria to Europe. An additional 31,000 fled to Lebanon, 17,000 to Jordan, 6,000 to Egypt, 8,000 to Turkey and 1,000 to the Gaza Strip.

On April 24, Syrian and Russian warplanes carried out more than 85 airstrikes on Yarmouk camp and dropped 24 barrels of explosives; 24 rocket and dozens of missiles were fired at the camp.

A day earlier, Syrian and Russian warplanes launched 220 airstrikes on Yarmouk camp. The warplanes dropped 55 barrels of dynamite on the camp, which was also targeted with 108 rockets and missiles.

According to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), the conflict in Syria "continues to disrupt the lives of civilians, resulting in death and injuries, internal displacement, extensive damage to civilian infrastructure and persistent humanitarian needs. Affected communities suffer indiscriminate violence, restrictions on their freedom of movement and continued violations of international humanitarian and human rights law. Palestinians are among those worst affected by the conflict."

UNRWA said that of the estimated 438,000 Palestine refugees remaining inside Syria, more than 95% (418,000) are in critical need of sustained humanitarian assistance. Almost 254,000 are internally displaced, and an estimated 56,600 are trapped in hard-to-reach or wholly inaccessible locations.
20 civilians killed in 'Palestinian refugee camp' in Syria
Around 20 civilians have been killed in week-long regime airstrikes on Yarmouk, a neighborhood of Damascus referred to as a "Palestinian refugee camp", the Turkish Anadolu news agency reported on Tuesday.

Several people were injured in the attacks, local sources told the news agency on condition of anonymity due to security concerns.

According to the sources, regime forces were trying to advance from the southern side of the camp, which accommodates some 2,500 families, amid heavy bombardment.

The attacks come after the regime and the Islamic State (ISIS) group failed to reach a deal on evacuating the group’s jihadists from Yarmouk and its vicinity.
MEMRI: Israeli Druze Intellectual: The Syria Crisis Exposed Nothing More Than The Failure Of Arab Leaders And The Illusion Of Arab Solidarity
On March 2, 2018, Salman Masalha, an Israeli-Arab intellectual of Druze origin,[1]published an article in the Dubai-based Al-Hayat daily that harshly criticized the Arab leaders' response to the civil war raging in Syria, which is currently in its eighth year. Masalha claims that the Arab leaders aren't lifting a finger to alleviate the crisis in Syria and are unwilling to take in Syrian refugees, but are instead waiting for the international community to deal with the disaster there. This, he says, reveals their shameful failure to deal with the problems in their own Arab region and proves that the Arab slogans and Arab solidarity are nothing but an unfounded illusion. He adds that "every Arab who retains a shred of human dignity" should be "ashamed of belonging to this wretched nation and its leadership."

The following is a translation of his article:
"There is no morality in the politics of the superpowers, and all the more so where wars are concerned, especially when they take place in distant arenas. In such a situation, self-interest dictates policy, and these interests – even when couched in honeyed words – are ultimately economic interests. The people and their fate are not taken into account in the calculations of profit and loss of the superpowers' policymakers.

"For example, let us examine the recent statement by Russian General Vladimir Shamanov in the Russian parliament.[2] He stated that the Russian army had brought 200 types of new Russian weapons [systems] to the battlefields in Syria, to test them. The general added that these experiments proved the efficacy of the Russian weapons, which will increase the sales of Russian arms worldwide and advance the Russian economy. We are aware that the Russian economy is based solely on the military industries and that Russia has nothing to export to the world other than its military products. What this means is that the Russian war in Syria is an [just] an opportunity for the Russian Czar [President Vladimir Putin] to try out the new Russian weapons. What is true of Russia in this sphere is also true of the U.S. and of the other powers. As I said, there are no morals in politics.

"That's how Syria, with its ethnic and religious complexities, became an arena for disputes and tugs of war [between parties with conflicting interests], and a testing ground for the regional and international forces. In its calls on the 'international community' to intervene to bring an end to the Syrian tragedy, the Arab leadership expresses only its own shameful national failure to deal with what is happening in its own Arab back yard.

I’ve heard that people who are bipolar often go off their medication because, although the lows of depression are difficult and sometimes even dangerous, the highs they experience are so thrilling, they don’t want to give them up for the sake of being normal. The highs open the door to genius, to creativity, to the sublime.

And it is impossible to attain the high, without also experiencing the low.

The Israeli experience is something like this. I hesitate to compare my beloved country to a disorder but like the bipolar person, our “normal” isn’t normal.

Everyday life in Israel is about as normal as casually making sandwiches for the kids while walking on a tightrope, with no safety net, over a sea of blood-thirsty sharks. We do make fabulous sandwiches - as well as self-driving cars, solutions for world water shortages and cures for cancers – with a smile and full of joy for life – on the tightrope, over the sharks.

Some days are more intense than others. Probably (unless there is a war), the most intense day of the year is the day of Yom Hazikaron, IDF Memorial Day, which at night becomes Israel’s Independence Day.
On Yom Hazikaron my family attends the ceremony held at the Hebrew Reali School in Haifa. The children of the school attend as well as many of the school’s alumni. There is something special about generations of alumni coming together, on this important day.

The Reali was founded 1913. The State of Israel had not yet been formally re-established but this did not stop the Jewish community in Palestine (Eretz Yisrael) from building institutions of education for the next generations, the new Jews who would be free in their homeland and be educated in Hebrew, the language of their ancestors.

The ceremony at the Reali is probably the most impressive and moving Yom Hazikaron ceremony in the country. Israelis are notoriously bad at ceremonies. Pomp and circumstance is a foreign concept, there is something about focusing on the way things look (rather than their content) that goes against Israeli nature.
The Reali ceremony is simple, yet profound. The 9-12th graders of the school march on the field with the flags of the school and the military academy (also managed by the Reali). The visual impression this creates is of seeing the present and the future at the same time – the students dressed in civilian clothes will soon graduate and join the IDF (and look like the students from the military academy marching alongside them). A group of teachers and distinguished alumni also march on the field.

A few songs are sung. They are never songs about war, always songs of grief, sadness at innocence lost and hope for the future. Yom Hazikaron songs are never about the enemy. The Yizkor and Kaddish prayers are said.

The bulk of the ceremony consists of the names of every single Reali student killed in Israel’s wars or by acts of terrorism. This year they read 302 names.

Think about that. In 105 years 302 people were killed from this school alone.

During the ceremony I sat behind a family. Grandparents, a mother and her daughter, a daughter of the grandparents.

The principle of the school explained that this year, classmates of Dudi Zohar were marching on the field in his memory. The grandmother’s head sunk down on her daughter’s shoulder. The little girl turned around and I saw that her face was streaked with tears. Dudi’s family. His is the 302nd name on the list.    
When it came time to say the prayer for the dead, Dudi’s 14 year old son read the kaddish. I don’t know if there was a dry eye in the audience, mine certainly weren’t.  

After the ceremony in the school was over, we went to the ceremony in Haifa’s military cemetery. The IDF prepares the cemeteries throughout the country for the thousands of families they know will arrive. Each grave has flowers laid on it, a flag and a soldier (the rank or higher than that of the person killed) to stand as an honor guard. Stools are brought to every grave so that families can have a place to sit should they feel the need to do so and water bottles are brought for everyone attending the ceremonies. Of course, politicians and dignitaries attend the ceremonies in their communities.

The ceremony ended with Hatikvah, as all ceremonies do. As I stood and sang, I watched a woman approximately my age standing in front of a grave, singing. The ceremony was taking place behind her but she had come for personal reasons, not to be part of the community. Whose grave was she facing? Her husband? Her brother? A friend?

Watching her, I choked on the words of our national anthem: “To be a free people, in our own land, the land of Zion and Jerusalem.” The price of our freedom was lying in the grave, at her feet – and yet she sang. As did everyone all around me.
That evening we watched the official Yom Haatzmaut ceremony on tv. Wow! It was like watching a mini-opening ceremony for the Olympics – a sweeping depiction of Jewish history from the beginning of our people, yearning for Zion in exile and the rebirth of our nation.

At night we went out to the Independence Day street party. Every municipality sets up enormous parties with the best Israeli performers, music, dancing and fireworks. There was a party right by my house but we chose to go to one in a suburb of Haifa because of the artists who were scheduled to perform there.
Omer Adam is perhaps the most popular Israeli singer today. When ticket sales for his concerts open, the lines crash. Within a few minutes all the tickets are sold out. On Yom Haatzmaut we walked down the street to the stage and there he was.

There he is! There he is!!! The street was packed, people were hanging out the windows and standing on the porches of nearby buildings. Everyone pulled out their cameras. Everyone was smiling and singing. What a way to end the day.

What other way is there? We mourn death and celebrate life, we celebrate life in gratitude and appreciation for those who made it possible for us to live.

In Israel, the equation is very clear.

We didn’t ask to live with the sharks swimming below us. Every time one of us falls, we all fall. The pain is devastating… there really are no words to describe it. At the same time, if we must walk the tightrope, why not dance across it? What could be more glorious?

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  • Thursday, April 26, 2018
  • Elder of Ziyon
Meirav Arlosoroff writes in The Marker (Haaretz' economic magazine) that Bibi Netanyahu is a racist.

But....she also documents that he also has done far more for the Arab sector in Israel than anyone else.

She admits she's confused. She says that Netanyahu speaks in a racist way (in her example, by specifically talking about law enforcement in his remarks about Arab society, which doesn't strike me as proof of racism.)

While Netanyahu's speech makes the impression of a lame and miserable racist, Netanyahu's actions are the exact opposite. In December 2015, Netanyahu passed Resolution 922 - a historic and unprecedented decision to allocate NIS 10 billion to reduce the budgetary discrimination suffered by Israeli Arabs, which was promoted and managed by the Ministry for Social Equality, headed by Minister Gila Gamliel. Together with the Ministry of Education's differential budgeting program aimed at narrowing the gaps between strong and weak pupils in Israel, the decision on which was previously accepted, the total investment in Arab society is likely to range from NIS 12 billion to NIS 14 billion. The approval of Resolution 922, which no Israeli government had dared to ratify, was accompanied by a fierce struggle against right-wing ministers, and was spread over three particularly stormy cabinet meetings. The racist Netanyahu, the one who incites against the Arab voters, is fighting with exceptional political determination to bring about the approval of the resolution.
This week... Netanyahu devoted his precious time to receiving a report on the progress of the implementation of Resolution 922 , to promote decisions on the establishment of two new high-tech parks in Arab communities and to think about how to solve the barriers preventing the establishment of classrooms there. ...

Of the NIS 12-14 billion (including the differential education budget) that Resolution 922 allocates to Arab society over five years, almost NIS 4.5 billion has already been allocated. NIS 1.85 billion was allocated to infrastructure - NIS 700 million for construction of roads, NIS 500 million for sewage infrastructure, NIS 235 million for public buildings and NIS 200 million for public transport investments.

NIS 1.5 billion was allocated to strengthen Arab local authorities. NIS 800 million was allocated to education, including NIS 250 million for differential funding, NIS 260 million for informal education (afternoon classes), and NIS 175 million for absorbing Arab students in higher education. Another NIS 410 million was invested in employment guidance centers, the establishment of day care centers, the establishment of industrial zones and the subsidization of salaries of Arab workers.
Thus, for example, there is a clause that for any new allocation for public transportation, 40% should flow to Arab communities in the framework of affirmative action. This means that this is not an incremental budget, but rather a decision to allocate certain percentages of each ministry's budget to Arab society, so that the allocation to Arab society should be permanent and ongoing.

Results in the field are already having  positive effect. Since the implementation of the plan, the percentage of Arab communities connected to the sewage system has increased from 40% to 85%; The number of trips by public transportation increased by 127%; The number of users using public transport increased by 77%; Eligibility for matriculation increased from 59% to 65% (excluding Druze and Bedouin); The proportion of Arab students out of the total student population rose from 14% to 16%; And 88,000 Arab children now enjoy classes in the afternoon.

The road to narrowing the gaps between Arab and Jewish society in Israel is still very long, but Resolution 922 is undoubtedly a historic milestone. Netanyahu is the man responsible for this historic breakthrough, but he is also the one who threatens its success with its inflammatory rhetoric. 
Someone who clearly despises Netanyahu as an anti-Arab bigot has to admit that he is putting significant political capital behind helping the Arab sector, often against the wishes of his own coalition.

Here is another story that won't be reported in Western media- because the "racist Bibi" meme is more powerful than the Bibi who actually cares about all Israeli citizens.

(h/t Yoel)

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  • Thursday, April 26, 2018
  • Elder of Ziyon
From the UN OCHA-OPT:

Since 30 March 2018, the Gaza Strip has witnessed a significant increase in Palestinian casualties in the context of mass demonstrations taking place along Israel’s perimeter fence with Gaza. The demonstrations have occurred as part of the ‘Great March of Return’, a series of mass protests, expected to continue up to 15 May. The large number of casualties among unarmed Palestinian demonstrators, including a high percentage of demonstrators hit by live ammunition, has raised concerns about excessive use of force. Gaza's health sector is struggling to cope with the mass influx of casualties, due to years of blockade, internal divide and a chronic energy crisis, which have left essential services in Gaza barely able to function.

And they made infographics so that their statistics can be easily shared on social media:

If the UN officially releases these graphics with specific numbers, then they must be true, right?  It isn't as if the UN would mindlessly repeat the statistics handed to them by a terrorist organization, right?

Well, that's exactly what the UN did.

On the bottom of the press release, they admit:
Source of casualties data: Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza
Disclaimer: Data and analysis provided in this snapshot is based on preliminary information available. Further assessments are pending.
The Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza is Hamas.

Yet the graphics created by the UN include no such caveats! They are being spread, and since they have the UN as the source, people will believe them uncritically.

There is evidence that Hamas is inflating the casualty figures, especially the number of people shot. No one can do an independent investigation in Gaza so Hamas has the monopoly on casualty information. The UN is following Hamas' rules on how to report casualties. 

The media up until now would generally mention that their figures came from the "Ministry of Health" and could claim that they informed their readers of the source, not mentioning Hamas. But now they can say that these are official UN figures, which give them far more authority. Haaretz has an entire article about these UN figures as if the story is anything new. Only deep into the article does it mention that the UN's source is Hamas' Health Ministry.

During Operation Protective Edge, the UN also republished spurious data on how many civilians were killed.  Hamas instructed Gazans to identify all the dead as civilians, and the UN's sources followed Hamas instructions. Even a year later, it ignored evidence proving how many of the supposed "civilians" were really terrorists. 

The UN doesn't care about the truth any more than Hamas does. Any journalist who repeats UN figures as authoritative is not doing his or her job.

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.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

From Ian:

Can We Talk About Rape In The Holocaust Yet?
They used to tell young Orthodox Jewish girls a story – they may still – about 93 Bais Yaakov girls who were selected by the Nazis to be their sex slaves and put in an apartment full of beds. And when the Nazis arrived to claim their plunder, they found 93 corpses. 93 Bais Yaakov girls had chosen death rather than sexual violation; their teacher had provided them with cyanide.

The story isn’t true; some enterprising academics cast doubt on the letter on which it’s based. And yet this macabre myth, which so eloquently clothed the Holocaust in a “seductive aura of female martyrdom,” as Berkeley professor of Jewish culture Naomi Seidman put it, is the closest anyone ever came to speaking of rape in the Holocaust when I was growing up.

It wasn’t just me. Women’s experiences have been never been part of the Holocaust narrative. Rape during the Holocaust in particular has had about it the flavor of a taboo. And it’s this state of affairs that a revolutionary, international art exhibition called “VIOLATED: Women in Holocaust and Genocide” at the Ronald Feldman Galley seeks to ameliorate.
Tenage girls from Sosnowiec, Poland, before they were rounded up and sent to women’s camps.

VIOLATED contains 47 pieces of art from 30 different artists, all depicting sexual violence during the Holocaust or in later genocides and ethnic cleansings in Bosnia, Darfur, Eritrea, Guatemala, Iraq, Nigeria, and Rwanda. The exhibit also includes two works of art created in Nazi concentration camps during the war.

The first, by Zeev Porath, was drawn secretly while he was a slave laborer. His workshop overlooked a women’s camp, and the ink on paper drawing depicts the women he observed there in three stages: lined up, naked; in a pile, dead; and, in relief in the front, one woman is being tortured by a Nazi guard.
Michael Lumish: Why are we so accepting of Islamic Jew-Hatred in the West?
The way that I have it figured is that the western-left generally views Arabs and Muslims as mere victims who have little in the way of actual agency and, thus, little in the way of actual responsibility for their words or behavior.

This despite the fact that they represent 1.5 billion people.

Western champaign socialists consider Arabs and Muslims pastoral victims of the violent, militaristic, "white" western, industrial techno-patriarchy.

And what that means in the fragile and guilt-ridden Euro imagination, is that any infraction of normal human decency - even when it is directed a sub-minority like Kurds or Yazidis or Copts or Jews - is to be indulged.

Islam represents the most succesful and vicious imperial exercise in human history, yet pussitudenous people of Euro descent have to scratch their navels and ponder their sins as Yazidis are buried alive in mass graves and Coptic churches are burned to the ground in Egypt and the Jews are under never-ending harassment by their malicious neighbors.
IsraellyCool: Experts Weigh In: Why Is Israel Losing The PR War And How Can We Save Ourselves?
[note there are 13 pages to the article]
It dawned on me that Israeli PR caters to the lowest common denominator. It tries to cater to everybody to such an extent that it dilutes its message and turns out superficial and flimsy. It also completely avoids the more difficult issues, causing them to appear as if they have something to hide.

I realized that we can complain about Israeli PR all we want, that won’t fix it. Offering solutions will.

I decided to go on a hunt for solutions, to ask all kinds of experts – politicians, authors, thought leaders, marketing executives, journalists, and more – across the political spectrum, encompassing Jews, non-Jews, not only what they think is dafka wrong with our PR (if anything) but how they feel we can best fix it. Some said things similar to me, others were a direct contradiction. Could all of us be right, or none of us, or is the truth somewhere in the middle?
11 Elder of Ziyon, blogger, Elder of Ziyon Blog

“The main problem with hasbara is that it is not personal. We defend Israel with facts and figures, but what sways opinions is stories, with people that they can relate to. We of course must back up what we say with facts, but we need to emphasize the human aspect of Israel’s story, and how much Israelis have in common with (say) Americans or Europeans. The other side is doing this very well.”
So what can we conclude from all this? There appear to be a few common threads:
1. Be pro-active instead of reactive.
2. We should put on a united front against the haters and curb the infighting.
3. We need to stop apologizing being polite and start exposing the BS that is in BDS and stop giving their narrative any legitimacy.
4. Go beyond the Jewish tent and seek out non-Jewish audiences.
5. Be strong in your convictions, and confident instead of apologetic, even if you do feel bad about the innocent Palestinians in the middle of all this.
6. Don’t sink to their level.

According to journalist Yanki Farber, Christian missionary Hananya Naftali has just been appointed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s new deputy media advisor. This presumably means that Naftali will be managing or directing the prime minister’s social media accounts. As the Israeli PM has a significant online presence, this would seem to be a position of some consequence.

I’ve been aware of Naftali since at least 2015. Naftali previously served in the IDF Armored Corps, and used the close quarters of a tank to spread the word of Jesus (Y”Sh) to Jewish soldiers. He also made pro-Israel videos while wearing his IDF uniform. No one seemed to question his intent. People kept sending me his videos. “Isn’t he wonderful?” they’d gush.

As his social media presence grew, some pro-Israel organizations shared Hananya Naftali’s videos in support of Israel and wrote articles about him, too. In each video and article, I recognized certain code words suggesting Naftali’s true motive was to gain the trust of the Jewish people for the purpose of drawing them away from Judaism and persuading them to become Christians.

Because Naftali was a social media star whose videos were shared by pro-Israel organizations, in some ways, he was untouchable. I couldn’t write to expose him because it would be smearing pro-Israel organizations. It would be undiplomatic.

Writing to the pro-Israel organizations seemed to get me nowhere. I got the brush-off: “Nah. He’s not a missionary,” they swore.

But he was. Is.

The only thing I lacked was a big ole smoking gun, where Naftali would actually come right out and say: “I’m all about converting the Jews.”

In June 2017, I interviewed my friend Shannon Nuszen, a blogger at Jewish Israel. As a former Christian missionary (now Orthodox Jew), Shannon knew the lingo. She’d been following Naftali’s antics for some time. With Shannon’s help, I laid out my case that Naftali’s seeming support for Israel in his popular videos serves as cover for his missionary work.

But we still hoped for that smoking gun, Shannon and I.
Some months later, Aussie Dave of Israellycool found it: the smoking gun we’d been seeking. A video in which Naftali came right out and said that, “God put him in the army precisely to share Jesus with Jews, to be ‘a light among Jews.’”
The video also had Naftali saying, “It is not easy to be the light in the dark,” which Aussie Dave credibly suggests is the missionary’s way of implying that “the dark” is Jewish belief.
You cannot see the video anymore, since Naftali took steps to remove the video from circulation after the blog came out. (Apparently. Because when I went to see it at Israellycool, it was marked “unavailable.”) SEE UPDATE, at bottom for the video.
But it was out there long enough to document. And I thank Aussie Dave for exposing the little creep. We did not survive the Holocaust and create the State of Israel in order to let some sneaky dweeb kill our connection to our Jewishness; our connection to God and His Holy Torah.
On the other hand, people are STILL NOW sending me Naftali’s videos. Each time, I explain it to them: He’s a MISSIONARY.
Some believe me, some don’t.
And now I discover that Bibi has hired this missionary to handle his social media. Think of it! The prime minister of the Jewish State becomes the vessel through which a Christian missionary, Hananya Naftali, gets easy access to millions of Jewish Israelis with his message about Jesus (Y”Sh). Appointing Naftali to a position of influence, moreover, tends to whitewash his missionary activities, gives him an imprimatur: makes him seem clean. I can just hear people saying, "He can't be a missionary if the prime minister of Israel hired him!"

As I was writing this piece, in fact, my attention was drawn to this article in the Jerusalem Post, which suggests that Naftali's missionary work is a figment of the imagination, and that the "accusations" are merely a part of his "colorful past."
It’s unconscionable.

So I did what I could. I wrote to Bibi and explained the situation to him. I tweeted to him. But the thought occurs that considering Naftali being Bibi’s deputy new media advisor and all, it may be Naftali who intercepts and reads my tweets and emails.
I have not yet had a reply from the prime minister or his deputy, the missionary Hananya Naftali. If I do, I will update this space.

Don't hold your breath.

UPDATE: Jewish Israel informs me that there are still two extant copies of the smoking gun video that was found by Aussie Dave at Israellycool in which Naftali says he is in the army to share Jesus with the Jews at 46 seconds in. Here is one of those copies:

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.
Our weekly column from the humor site PreOccupied Territory

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The 1967 Lines Are Sacrosanct Unless Palestinians Violate Them

By Stan Dartkafuhl, legal scholar
Groucho ArafatThe position of the international community on the subject of the 1949 armistice lines between Israel and Jordan, and between Israel and Egypt, has long been clear: Israeli control of any territories beyond those lines constitutes an illegal occupation, and Israel's permanent border must follow the lines on the armistice map that determined boundaries until the Six-Day War of 1967. Any Israeli activity beyond that frontier violates international law. When Palestinians do it in the other direction, however, as with the Great Return March in Gaza, that's fine.

Under normal circumstances international law does not distinguish between an armed invasion or one that features no weapons; an organized crossing of an internationally recognized border without the consent of the government on the other side of that border constitutes a bona fide invasion. That much was established regarding Morocco's annexation of Western Sahara. Masses of unarmed Moroccans simply marched across the border, set up settlements, and there we stand today, with the official position of international legal experts characterizing the influx of Moroccans as an invasion, the repulsion of which justified the use of lethal force. Sovereignty has value in international law.

But not for Israel, which is barred from preventing thousands of Gazans from destroying the border fence and entering pre-1967 Israel. In international law as practiced in modern times, Jewish sovereignty is not like other sovereignty. Other sovereign entities are entitled to protect their sovereignty, by lethal force if necessary, under all circumstances; the Jewish State, on the other hand, must bow to the will of genocidal hordes who have been taught from birth that Jews are inherently evil and must be destroyed. It's the law.
Others may quibble about the current status of those lines given the possibility of a negotiated settlement between Israel and the Palestinians that might involve adjustment of the border, but the principle remains operative regardless of the final boundaries under any agreement. Case in point: the armistice was signed with Jordan, which has since renounced any claims to territory west of the Jordan River - and Israeli agreements with the Palestinians at Oslo only grant Palestinians self-rule in specific population centers of that territory. Nevertheless, the international community automatically sees Israeli control of the balance of the territory as a violation, because Jews. You know how it is.

One day a case might come before the World Court or the International Criminal Court that will formalize this principle and enshrine it in case law, but until then, it will have to be maintained through repetition: only Israeli actions have legal significance.

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.
From Ian:

Caroline Glick: Europe Wants Unity on Iran but Undermines Trump on Jerusalem
While there is nothing new today about the EU’s practice of using the unchecked power of Israel’s Supreme Court, it is remarkable that they are exploiting it to try to subvert U.S. foreign policy.

As Prof. Eugene Kontorvich from Northwestern University, who directs the International Law Department at Kohelet Policy Forum in Jerusalem, explains, “In this absurd lawsuit, an EU-funded organization is trying to use Israeli courts to block the U.S.’s exercise of its core sovereign prerogatives. In essense, EU agents are using the imperiousness of the Israeli judicial system to block U.S. foreign policy with which it happens to disagree.”

Kontorovich noted that “Ir Amin is almost certain to lose even in Israeli courts.” But as Steinberg points out, the purpose of the petition isn’t to block the embassy move, per se.

It is to embarrass the U.S.

“Let’s assume that the Court is wise enough to dismiss their petition, Steinberg begins, “Ir Amim still gets the publicity.

“This is about controlling the discourse about Jerusalem. Ir Amim gets publicity that presents it as an Israeli NGO whose positions are more legitimate than those of the Israeli government and, in this case, more legitimate than the U.S. government,” he explains.

On Tuesday it was reported that European pressure on the Trump administration to suffice with symbolic changes to the nuclear deal with Iran while keeping the substance of the agreement unchanged is making headway. President Trump is now weighing good relations with Europe over the need to block Iran from acquiring the means to wage nuclear war.

As he does so, the president should bear in mind that the same European leaders that are calling for “unity” on Iran are carrying out a multilayered campaign across several continents to undermine his most significant foreign policy achievement since entering office. They are seeking to undermine President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
BESA: Transfer UNRWA’s Responsibilities to Whom?
The PA [should] be responsible for the Palestinians within its own territories as well as those who reside in other Arab states. It would [thus] be forced to act like a state and defend the rights and interests of its own citizens. Externally, foreign aid to a state can also—in theory—be subject to more rigorous donor oversight. Unlike UNRWA’s internal assessments, which rarely find problems except in the allegedly inadequate scale of aid and programs, external review by donor countries would examine metrics and efficiencies, spot corruption, determine the success or failure of programs, and assess the overall level of need. External review is designed to encourage self-sufficiency, not dependency. . . .

UNRWA is an iconic and sacrosanct entity. Without it, aid to the Palestinians would no longer be a sacralized demonstration of support for their narratives of displacement and return, or of support for the international system itself and for the UN. The Palestinian issue would be put into proportion while other needs and issues, like the genuine refugee crises in Syria and Yemen, would receive proper attention and resources.

Finally, by transferring responsibility, two cultural-political requirements would be addressed. First, a final-status issue would be at least partially taken off the table [of Israel-Palestinian negotiations]: that of who bears responsibilities for Palestinian “refugees.” It is the PA. Even without formally repudiating the “right of return,” which UNRWA supports and the PA cannot at this point conceivably abandon, the issue would be incrementally quashed in theoretical and practical terms.

The PA’s taking responsibility, and the end of UNRWA, would also go a long way toward forcing Palestinians to give up the centrality of refugee-ness in their own culture. They are not refugees, much less internationally supported ones. They are a people with their own nascent state.
Isi Leibler: Storm clouds threaten the region
Early this month, Hamas initiated a campaign in which it enlisted thousands of Gaza residents to breach the Israeli border. Hamas gunmen and fighters hurling Molotov cocktails were interspersed among the demonstrators. The IDF took defensive action, using live gunfire only where necessary. Thousands were injured and dozens, primarily of identifiable Hamas terrorists, were killed.

The atmosphere is extremely tense and Israel is girding itself for the possibility that war could erupt at any moment.

We are fortunate that Netanyahu heads the nation at this crucial time. But he faces three major challenges:
1. Preparing for war, if necessary, to prevent the Iranians from setting up bases in Syria that threaten Israel.
2. Confronting attempts by Hamas to breach Gaza's borders while limiting the casualties.
3. Employing his diplomatic talents both to maintaining the alliance with Trump and retaining the fragile relationship with Putin.

To deal with these challenges and avoid being dragged into the U.S.-Russia conflict is an extremely tough balancing act. Despite Russian reprimands and warnings that it intends to provide the Syrians with more sophisticated air defenses, Israel's lines of communication with the Kremlin, though fragile, are still open. Efforts are being made to retain maximum coordination, but Netanyahu must exert all his diplomatic skills to achieve this.

Even though Israel is stronger and more independent than ever before, there are clear storm clouds on the horizon. Keeping the 1973 Yom Kippur War in mind, we should never be overconfident.

  • Wednesday, April 25, 2018
  • Elder of Ziyon

Haaretz reports that Joe Biden will be the featured speaker at a fundraiser for coexistence program "Seeds of Peace":

Former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden will speak next month at a gala dinner for Seeds of Peace, an international educational organization famous for promoting co-existence between Israeli and Palestinian teenagers. The organization will be celebrating 25 years to its foundation in early May, and Biden will give a keynote speech at a New York City event celebrating the occasion. The speech will be his first public appearance at an event related to Israel since leaving the White House last January.
Every once in a while there will be a feel-good article about an initiative like Seeds of Peace. But the news story that you will almost never see is how the Palestinians are so dead-set against these programs.

And so is UNRWA!

The best synopsis of the problems that Seeds of Peace and similar programs have in the territories comes buried in the middle of this 2014 Haaretz article on the group:

The idea of bringing together ordinary Israelis, Palestinians and others from conflict zones in a neutral setting so they can meet and get to know each other across the sectarian divide is such an obviously good idea that few in Israel have dared to challenge its basic assumptions.

Not so on the Palestinian side, where any hint of “normalization” with the Israeli occupier has become a crippling curse. The Seeds of Peace center in Jerusalem was closed at the start of the Second Intifada after Palestinian schools, including those operated by UNRWA, refused to endorse their pupils participating in its activities.
UNRWA is against Palestinian and Israeli children becoming friends! 
The Canadian Foreign Ministry was shocked to discover several years ago that many of the Palestinian groups receiving funds from foreign donors to operate people-to-people programs were refusing to publicize them on their own websites because of the “normalization” stigma.
Palestinian groups are happy to take Western money for these programs, but actively try to quash any such activities.
The results of the first quantitative survey of Palestinian participants in such programs in 2008 were so shocking they were suppressed by the donor government that commissioned it.

91% of Palestinian youths who responded said they were no longer in contact with any Israelis that they had met through the program. 93% said there was no follow-up to initial activity that they had participated in. Only 5% agreed that their program had helped "promote peace culture and dialogue between participants" and a mere 11% came away believing that "there is something that unites us with the other party."
Seeds of Peace is a failure in its goal of creating a new generation of leaders who care about peace, and it doesn't take much research to conclude that the entire reason for its failure is because Palestinian society is overwhelmingly against anything that smacks of "normalization."

But that isn't the message that Joe Biden or the New York Times wants people to hear. They want to pretend that both Israelis and Palestinian leaders want peace. The want to pretend that this program actually does something useful.

But thanks to Palestinian hate, Seeds of Peace is a failure in its original goals.

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.

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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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