Thursday, December 08, 2016

  • Thursday, December 08, 2016
  • Elder of Ziyon

The story has been out for a couple of days, and no one really seems to care.

From Le Monde:

The British have spied on Israeli diplomacy both in Jerusalem and abroad. They have also targeted private firms in the defence sector, State agencies responsible for international cooperation and university research centres known for their excellence in scientific matters. These targets appear in the form of email addresses or telephone numbers in the interception reports of the GCHQ technicians, pleased to demonstrate that they had succeeded in identifying them in the flow of satellite telephone communications between the African continent and the rest of the world. At the end of each report, they state that the collection of this data can now become automatic.

In 2014, the Wall Street Journal showed that the NSA could both support its Israeli partner, the ISNU (Israeli Sigint National Unit or Unit 8200) and monitor the telephone calls of Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahou. In 2013, the German daily Der Spiegel observed that in January 2009 the email addresses of the then Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, and the Minister for Defence, Ehud Barak, had both been spied on by the GCHQ.

According to our information, the spies cast their nets much more widely. Their aim is the State services and, in particular, its diplomats. Among this user account information we thus find the telephone number of the second in command of the Israeli Foreign Affairs Ministry or the email addresses of the current ambassadors in Nairobi, Kenya, andAbuja, Nigeria. These capitals, considered to be strategic by the Israelis are also considered by the British to be their backyard since they are former colonies.

One of the defence firms under surveillance, Ophir Optronics, set up in 1976 in Israel, is known to be one of the outstanding firms in optic fibre and laser, two key elements in modern armaments and leading industries. Another email address, to which is appended the key word ‘Israeli UAV’ – the English acronym for drones (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) – is a reminder that the Israelis were amongst the forerunners in the production of planes and other pilot-less vehicles in the world. Along with the United States, they are the leading exporters of this expertise in civil and military fields and the British would, it seems, like to know all the secrets.

The surveillance of Israeli interests by the GCHQ has also extended to the MASHAV – the Israeli state agency responsible for international cooperation and development. Suspected by the British of playing a double game by supporting weak countries to consolidate the influence of Israel, this agency is established and operates all over the world. Finally, the British secret services have concentrated their attention on the work of certain advanced research centres in the top-level Hebrew University of Jerusalem They have also targeted the Racah Institute for Physics where theoretical and practical research is carried out in highly sensitive areas, in particular in nuclear physics.

This is a paradox which illustrates the nature of the relationship between allies, even those who are very close. The GCHQ was cooperating very closely with Israel in 2009, at the very time when Israel launched a new attack against Hamas in the Gaza Strip; at the same time, the GCHQ stepped up its espionage operations on the Hebrew State. In its top-secret internal newsletters, the GCHQ congratulates itself on its good relations with the ISNU, the Israeli technical secret service. One can actually read that the British have spied on email addresses and telephone numbers at the request of the Israelis: ‘They thanked us on many occasions.’

Only when Israel is accused of spying on allies do people get upset.

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From Ian:

NGO Monitor: Recent Activities of NGOs Receiving Core Funding from the Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law Secretariat
The Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (IHL) Secretariat is a joint funding mechanism of Sweden, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Denmark, and, until recently, Norway. The Secretariat is managed by the Institute of Law at Birzeit University (IoL-BZU) in Ramallah and the NIRAS consulting firm. The Secretariat has been providing $6 million in 2013-2017 to non-governmental organizations (NGOs) active in BDS campaigns (boycott, divestment and sanctions) and other forms of demonization. Some of these NGOs have also promoted antisemitic rhetoric and have apparent links to terror.
The following document summarizes the recent activities of Secretariat-supported NGOs:
B’Tselem (Received $710,000 between 2014-2016)
14 October: Hagai El-Ad, head of B’Tselem, spoke at a highly publicized Arria-formula UN Security Council session, where he described Israel as committing “invisible, bureaucratic, daily violence” against Palestinians that occurs from “cradle to grave.”
Defense for Children – Palestine (DCI-P) (Received $738,000 between 2014-2016)
31 October: Released an article claiming that the Gaza wars “propel child labor for Palestinian kids” due to “Israel’s blockade and repeated military offenses.” In its repeated demonization of Israel, DCI-P referred to the Gaza blockade which, they alleged, “perpetuates and worsens an entirely man-made humanitarian and economic crisis,” entirely removing the context of terrorism.
17 November: In a meeting with the European Parliament’s Delegation for Relations with Palestine, held with Addameer (see above), DCI-P “urged the European Union during a meeting on Thursday to pressure Israeli authorities to end ill-treatment of Palestinian children in the Israeli military detention system.” In accusing Israel of violations, Khaled Quzmar, general director of DCI-P, erased Palestinian stabbing and other terror attacks against Israeli civilians that were perpetrated by minors.

Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) (Received $710,000 between 2014 and 2016)
31 October: Director Raji Sourani spoke at an event sponsored by the World Council of Churches. Sourani asserted that Israel’s blockade of Gaza was “illegal” and “criminal,” and that the Palestinians are living “in one of the biggest manmade disasters.”
22 November: Sourani was quoted in the press release promoting the 145-page communication to the ICC falsely claimed that “The siege on Gaza is unprecedented and is a form of collective punishment. The aim of the closure and the occupation is to de-develop Gaza, to strip Palestinians of their dignity and send Gazan society back to the Middle Ages.”
Keith Ellison’s Views on Israel Reflect the Democrats’ True Colors
Haim Saban is wrong when he says Minnesota’s US Rep. Keith Ellison is unqualified to head the Democratic National Committee. Ellison’s anti-Israel and antisemitic lineages do not disqualify him from the position. They more than qualify him.
It is Ellison, not Saban — the Israeli-American mega-donor to both the Democratic Party and pro-Israel causes — who represents the Democrats’ true colors. The party has been abandoning support for the Jewish state for well over a decade. Recent studies by Brookings, Gallup and Pew reveal a growing gap of support for Israel between Democrats, Independents and Republicans. Israel — an issue that should never be partisan — is strongly supported by Republicans and independents. Democrats? Not so much.
When there are anti-Israel demonstrations and antisemitic activities on our college campuses, it is not the Young Republicans declaring allegiance to the US-designated terrorist group Hamas. Progressives are chanting, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.” This call for the destruction of Israel and murder of the Jewish people comes from Leftist groups, not Christian organizations.
Democrats generate more sackcloth and ashes over a Jew building an extra bathroom in eastern Jerusalem than an Iranian building a nuclear device in Tehran. This is the party that remains silent over the murder of gays in Iran and inhumane treatment of women in Saudi Arabia, while condemning Israel when they defend their citizens from rocket attacks launched from Gaza.
Crazy About Keith Ellison
In one of the comments that the ADL said was disqualifying, Ellison described the Jewish state as having a stranglehold on U.S. foreign policy.
“The United States foreign policy in the Middle East is governed by what is good or bad through a country of 7 million people,” Ellison said in 2010. “A region of 350 million all turns on a country of 7 million. Does that make sense? Is that logic?”
Ellison is no stranger to making controversial statements.
Back in 2010, the same year of his comment on Israel, Ellison called Arizona’s immigration laws “fascist” and “racist.”
He also compared anti-terrorism surveillance policies to Japanese internment during World War II.
In 2013, Ellison said the National Rifle Association supports people who “traffic in death” and the following year said he wished the Democratic Party would come out against the Second Amendment.
Ellison is running against South Carolina Democrat Jaime Harrison, who spent the last eight years as a lobbyist for the Podesta Group, and New Hampshire Democratic Party chairman Ray Buckley to head the DNC.
Crazy About Keith Ellison SUPERcuts!

  • Thursday, December 08, 2016
  • Elder of Ziyon
At Middle East Quarterly, Richard Landes wrote an excellent overview of how Edward Said's outsized influence on Middle East studies has blinded the West to reality.

It is very long, but here is the section on how the West didn't understand - and still refuses to understand - the dynamics behind the Oslo process of the 1990s:

Few debacles better illustrate the folly of ignoring honor-shame dynamics than the Oslo "peace process," which based its logic on the principle of an exchange of "land for peace": Israel cedes land to the Palestinians (most of the West Bank and Gaza) to create an independent state; the Palestinians bury the hatchet of war since they're getting what they allegedly want, without the need for war.

Thus the accords banked on a Palestinian shift from their charter-defined commitment to regaining Arab and Muslim honor by wiping out the shame that is Israel, to a readiness to accept Israel's legitimate existence. Such a shift depended on their understanding that this promissory concession to Israel would bring what Palestinians "yearn for," namely the freedom to govern themselves in peace and dignity. A win-win so obvious, that, as Gavin Esler of the BBC opined, "it could be solved with an email."[32]
What the Oslo architects and their Western supporters so completely underestimated was the hold that his native honor-world held over Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) chairman Yasser Arafat. This lack of insight not only dominated thinking in Western circles (not put at risk by such a gamble), but even Israeli political and intelligence circles, who had much to lose:
[I]t is clear that it was not only Israel's political leadership that was held hostage by the chimerical conception that an era of peace with the Palestinian Authority had begun: M[ilitary] I[ntelligence] and the Shin Bet security service had trouble liberating themselves from the same feeling. The intelligence officials were not always willing to let facts disturb a rosy perception of reality.[33]
Just because Western and Israeli analysts failed to pay attention, however, does not mean the laws of honor-shame ceased to operate. After the ceremonious signing of the deal on the White House lawn, PLO chairman Arafat found himself the target of immense hostility from his Arab and Muslim honor-group for having brought shame upon himself, his people, upon all Arabs and all Muslims. When he arrived in Gaza in July 1994, Hamas denounced him roundly: "His visit is shameful and humiliating, as it occurs in the shadow of occupation and in the shadow of Arafat's humiliating submission before the enemy government and its will. It is impossible to present a defeat as victory."[34] Edward Said, proud member of the Palestinian National Council, the PLO's semi-parliament, echoed the language of Hamas: the compromises involved a humiliating and "degrading ... act of obeisance ... a capitulation" that produced a state of "supine abjectness ... submitting shamefully to Israel."[35]Thus did the "post-colonial" intellectual speak the zero-sum, tribal language of Arab and Muslim honor-shame, attacking negotiation as dishonorable; this was the very language Westerners avoided discussing lest they "Orientalize the Orient."
To the extent that Arabs were sold on the Oslo process, it was as a Trojan horse, not as a humiliating concession.
And yet Arafat used the same honor-shame language in Arabic, from the moment the accords were signed and the Nobel Prize granted.[36] Six months after returning from Tunisia in July 1994, to what had, as a result of the accords, become Palestinian-controlled territory, Arafat defended his policy to fellow Muslims in South Africa, not by speaking of the "peace of the brave,"[37] but rather by invoking Muhammad's Treaty of Hudaybiya, signed in weakness, broken in strength. To the extent that Arabs were sold on the Oslo process, it was as a Trojan horse, not as a (necessarily) humiliating concession; a plan for honorable war not for ignominious peace.[38] In cultures where, for honor's sake, "what was taken by force must be retaken by force," any negotiations are shameful and cowardly.[39]

By and large, Western journalists and policymakers, including the "peace camp" in Israel, and even intelligence services, ignored Arafat's repeated invocations of Hudaybiya.[40] Advocates of peace viewed them as antics designed to appease public opinion (itself a thing worth pondering) and remained confident that, in the end, the more mature call of the international community would sway Arafat to the side of positive-sum reason. Practitioners of "peace journalism" in Israel, for example, consciously avoided such discouraging news items in general and the meaning of Hudaybiya in particular.[41] In his 800-page memoir on the Oslo failure, Dennis Ross, the U.S. Middle East envoy most deeply involved in negotiations with the Palestinian leadership, has not a word to say about the Hudaybiya controversy, despite how consistent it was with his own assessment of Arafat's problematic behavior, his "failure to prepare his people for the compromises necessary for peace."[42] Worse. Arafat's sin was not of omission, but of commission: He systematically prepared his people for war right under the noses of the Israelis and the West.

Rather than consider the implications of this counter-evidence, those supporting the process attacked anyone who drew attention to them. The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a so-called Muslim civil rights organization with ties to the same Muslim Brotherhood of which Hamas is a branch, led the attack in the name of protecting the Prophet Muhammad's reputation. Daniel Pipes wrote repeatedly about the Johannesburg mosque speech, the meaning of the Treaty of Hudaybiya, and the trouble Westerners found themselves in when they brought up the subject. Despite being studiously fair to the Muslim prophet on historical grounds, Pipes provoked furious condemnation and an early accusation of "Islamophobia."[43]

The outcry essentially forbade critics from examining evidence relevant to their pressing concerns. Instead, peace enthusiasts viewed Arafat and the Palestinian leadership as full-fledged modern players who wanted their own nation and their freedom, and whom one could trust to keep commitments. Most thought that Arafat would, when the opportunity presented itself, choose the imperfect, positive-sum, win-win, over the zero-sum, all-or-nothing, win-lose. They "believed" in the Palestinian leadership and shamed anyone who dared to suggest the Palestinians still clung tightly to atavistic revenge. Thus, even as Jerusalem and Washington prepared for a grand finale to the peace process at Camp David in the summer of 2000; even as Israel's media prepared their people for peace, Arafat's media prepared Palestinians for war.[44] And none of the key decision-makers paid any attention.

The inability to understand the dynamics of maintaining honor (through fighting Israel) and avoiding shame (brought on by compromising with Israel) doomed Oslo to failure from the start. People involved, who thought that they were "so close" and that if only Israel had given more, it would have worked, got played.[45] For the Palestinian decision-makers, it was never close. Even a successful deal would have led to more war. Indeed, according to that logic, the better the deal for the Palestinians—i.e., the "weaker" the Israelis—the more aggression will accompany its implementation.[46]

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 Vic Rosenthal's Weekly Column

If I’ve learned anything in my relatively comfortable and placid life it is that despite my good luck, evil is real. Sometimes it grows and sometimes declines. Today it’s gathering strength.

Hezbollah came into being in 1985, as a response to the Lebanese Civil War, Western interventions, and the Israeli invasion and its aftermath. Its stated goals were the elimination of Western influence, the assertion of Islamic (Shiite) dominance over Lebanon, and the destruction of Israel, which its founders saw as a tool of the West and an ally of Lebanese Christians. 

Its attitude toward Israel is shown by this snippet from an “open letter” published by its founders in a Lebanese newspaper:

The month-long Second Lebanon War in 2006 was fought by an IDF grown complacent from years of occupation duty and a leadership team (PM Ehud Olmert, Defense Minister Amir Peretz, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Chief of Staff Dan Halutz) who were only marginally competent. While Hezbollah suffered heavy losses and much Lebanese infrastructure was destroyed, Israel was unable to stop the heavy rocket fire on the northern part of the country, which continued until a UN-brokered cease-fire came into effect. 120 IDF soldiers and 43 Israeli civilians were killed, and as many as a half-million Israelis were displaced as a result of Hezbollah rocket attacks. Israel tried to destroy Hezbollah’s leadership both from the air and by commando operations, and failed to do so. UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which was negotiated by Livni to end the fighting, proved worthless in preventing Hezbollah from rearming and rebuilding military infrastructure. Wikipedia called the result a “stalemate,” and I agree.

By 2016, Hezbollah has achieved most of its goals. It now completely controls Lebanon for all intents and purposes. It has not destroyed Israel, and after its bloody skirmish with the IDF ten years ago, it seems to have decided that it will wait until its chance of success is much greater. Over the years it has lost most of its autonomy to its Iranian patron. Nothing illustrates this more clearly than the way it has been used to fight – and suffer many casualties – on behalf of Iranian interests in Syria.

Militarily, Hezbollah seems to grow stronger as time goes on, despite its losses in 2006 and more recently in Syria. In the 2006 war, it fired about 4,000 rockets into Israel, mostly inaccurate short-range Katyusha or Grad rockets with a range of about 30 km. Although it possessed some longer-range rockets, they were destroyed by IAF bombardment before they could be launched. Hezbollah had about 13,000 rockets at the beginning of the war. 

Today, thanks to Iran, it is estimated that Hezbollah has at least ten times as many rockets, many of them capable of longer ranges and/or larger payloads, and some with guidance systems that make it possible to hit a precise target, like a military base or industrial installation. Hezbollah has also made plans for incursions into Israel to kidnap civilians or even to hold territory, possibly by way of tunnels like those constructed by Hamas. If Hezbollah is allowed to actualize its plans, the destruction wrought in Israel will be worse  by far than in any previous war.

War is terrible no matter how it is fought, but Iran has planned our next one with a particularly diabolical twist: as the map preceding this post shows, it has embedded rocket launchers and other military infrastructure in civilian residential areas. A 2013 report describes an Iranian-funded program to enlist residents of southern Lebanon as human shields:

…the Shiite terror group launched a major social/real-estate project that bolstered its political standing: It purchased lands on the outskirts of the villages, built homes on these lands and offered them to poor Shiite families at bargain prices (to rent or buy), one the condition that at least one rocket launcher would be placed in one of the house's rooms or in the basement, along with a number of rockets, which will be fired at predetermined targets in Israel when the order is given.

In addition, Hezbollah has set up camouflaged defense positions in villages which contain advanced Russian-made anti-tank missiles it had received from Syria. Hezbollah gunmen have planted large explosive devices along the access roads, and inside the villages structures that were purchased by the organization were converted into arms caches.

In this manner some 180 Shiite villages and small towns situated between the Zahrani River and the border with Israel have been converted into fighting zones in which Hezbollah is preparing – above and below ground – for the next conflict with Israel. Hezbollah has some 65,000 [now more than twice that number -- vr] rockets and missiles at its disposal.

The deliberate use of civilians as shields is a war crime, prohibited by the Geneva Convention. But according to the rules of war, an action that causes casualties among civilians is not considered ‘disproportional’ if the force used was necessary to achieve a military objective. In other words, if a Lebanese family is killed because there is a missile launcher firing from its garage, Hezbollah has committed a war crime, and Israel has not.

Israel has warned Hezbollah and the Lebanese government on numerous occasions over the past several years – most recently when it declassified and released the map above on Tuesday. Officials from the Prime Minister on down have made it clear that a rocket attack will be met with overwhelming force targeting the launchers and other infrastructure, regardless of where it is located. The IDF’s Deputy Chief of Staff recently said that the next war would do “devastating damage” to Lebanon. They have correctly stated that both morally and legally, Hezbollah will be responsible for civilians that are hurt or killed as a result.

But emotional appeals are powerful, especially when it is claimed that children are being hurt. In 2006, Hezbollah made use of humanitarian concerns – both real and fabricated (fascinating link!) – to sway opinion against Israel. Even Condoleezza Rice was influenced to call for a cease-fire by the bombing of a building in which civilians including children were killed (although it’s likely that the number of casualties was inflated and heart-rending photos were faked). 

This technique, also used by Hamas, will certainly be repeated. During the 2014 Operation Protective Edge in Gaza, US Secretary of State John Kerry sarcastically referred to a “pinpoint operation” after 13 IDF soldiers and 62 Palestinians were killed in the battle of Shuja'iyya, where civilians were warned to evacuate but did not do so because of Hamas threats. President Obama also reacted to a widely-criticized attack on a UN school in Jabaliya and even held up shipments of arms to Israel as a result. 

The use of human shields is therefore an effective political and psychological weapon, either because officials and the public are actually affected by emotional appeals or find it convenient to use them as justifications for the actions that they would like to take anyway. 

But today Hezbollah is entirely different from Hamas. Tehran has built it into an existential threat. If war breaks out we will have to unleash as quickly as possible the most powerful conventional weapons at our disposal against the rocket launchers. Look at the map! Perhaps such an attack would kill tens of thousands in Lebanon. But there’s no alternative. Israel is a tiny country with a concentrated population. We can’t absorb hundreds of missiles an hour, especially accurate ones with heavy payloads. We can’t afford to wait, not even a few minutes, once it starts. 

Incidentally, if Hezbollah and Iran want to reap the benefit of the human shield strategy, then now is the time to do it. I suspect that Trump and his advisors would be less biased against Israel than the present administration, and therefore less likely to interfere with Israel’s response. Our enemies probably agree with me, and this means war is more likely in the next two months than at a later time. Maybe that’s why our officials have made the effort just now to ensure that Iran and Hezbollah understand the consequences of their possible actions.

It only makes sense to threaten Iran as well. The regime would be happy to sacrifice Lebanon and its people to destroy Israel, and the regime is pulling the strings, not Nasrallah. There need to be consequences for Iranian leaders too.

Evil is growing stronger and good is retreating. Deterrence may put off the reckoning for a time, but unless something completely unforeseen happens, the day will come when our PM will have to give the order to save one nation by destroying another. I’m glad I’m not the one to do it.

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From Ian:

Netanyahu: Push for UK Apology for Balfour Declaration Reveals Conflict Is Not About Land or Palestinian Statehood
A campaign to get the United Kingdom to apologize for the 1917 Balfour Declaration is “very revealing about the true source” of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Jewish state’s prime minister said on Tuesday.
“The Balfour Declaration recognized this land as a home for the Jewish people, which obviously had consequences later on down the line,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at the 2016 Jewish Media Summit in Jerusalem. “But if the Palestinians, 100 years later, are challenging even the idea that the Jewish people have a home here, you know that they are not really gung-ho on…a nation-state for the Jewish people.”
“It’s not about territories, even though that’s an issue,” he continued. “It’s not about settlements, even though that’s an issue. But it’s not ‘the’ issue. It’s not even about a Palestinian state…it was offered again and again and again. It was never and is still not about a Palestinian state. It’s always been about the Jewish state and the fact that there’s a challenge to the Balfour Declaration 100 years later tells you that we haven’t come very far.”
In his UN General Assembly address in September, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said, “We ask Great Britain, as we approach 100 years since this infamous declaration, to draw the necessary lessons and to bear its historic, legal, political, material and moral responsibility for the consequences of this declaration, including an apology to the Palestinian people for the catastrophes, misery and injustice this declaration created and to act to rectify these disasters and remedy its consequences, including by the recognition of the state of Palestine. This is the least Great Britain can do.”

PMW: US Senator pledges to cut all aid to PA, in response to PMW findings
US Senator Lindsey Graham (Chairman Senate's Foreign Operations Subcommittee), has introduced legislation to cut all funding to the Palestinian Authority, according to yesterday's Jerusalem Post. This action follows other international outrage in response to PMW's report The PA's Billion Dollar Fraud, released earlier this year. PMW exposed that the PA tried to deceive international donors by making public statements that it had stopped paying salaries to terrorist prisoners, whereas in fact the PA continues to do so through the PLO.
Jerusalem Post:
"The United States Senate will aggressively promote legislation next month aimed at cutting funding... [Sen. Lindsey] Graham told the Jerusalem Post that as chairman of the Senate's Foreign Operations Subcommittee, he will work to cut US aid to the PA for continuing to pay stipends to imprisoned Palestinian terrorists." (Click to view PMW Report exposing this)
"Under PA law, if you get convicted in Israeli court of being a terrorist, they give you a military rank based on how long you've been in jail," Graham said. "The longer you're in jail, the higher rank you get."
Will Trump and Netanyahu Make the America-Israel Relationship Great Again?
Though some Americans may not want to hear it, the election of Donald Trump has changed Israel's strategic situation dramatically for the better. The Israelis have been relatively quiet about their enthusiasm for the Trump administration - partly because the American public is still so dramatically split on the election. One senior Israeli official likened Trump's security picks to a "dream team" of pro-Israel U.S. policymakers.
Most important to Israel, according to the same official, is Iran. "We haven't changed our view of the nuclear deal with Iran or Iran's malevolent role in the region. But the incoming administration sees both the nuclear deal and the danger posed by Iran very differently than the outgoing administration. They believe that this deal and Iran's aggression and support for terror is not only bad for Israel and the region. They think it is bad for America." Yossi Kuperwasser, former head of the research division of IDF Military Intelligence, told me in Jerusalem, "The Iranian nuclear program is the biggest threat Israel has ever faced....The deal guarantees that the Iranians will have the capability to have an arsenal of nuclear weapons in 15 years." Most important, he said, "Trump says he wants to make America great again. And a strong America is good for Israel."

  • Thursday, December 08, 2016
  • Elder of Ziyon

Last month I pointed out that Palestinians and ISIS have another thing in common - the desire to destroy ancient heritage sites that they consider to be in conflict with their beliefs. I gave many examples of how important Jewish historic sites have been attacked, damaged and destroyed over the years by Arabs including under Palestinian Authority control.

Here's another example of a direct attack on Jewish heritage from last week:
A marble pillar belonging to the 2,000-years-old Herodium palace was smashed in the Sebastia National Park in the capital of ancient Samaria.

This is not the first time that biblical treasures have been vandalized. Indeed, graffiti was sprayed at the site denouncing Judaism and Christianity, while Christian monuments were defiled, antiquities were robbed, and seats in a Roman amphitheater were damaged.

The giant archeological site, which was located in the ancient capital of Israel, was founded, according to the book King of Kings, by King Omri in 880 BCE.

The incident is the second time vandalism has occurred within three months at the archeological site against antiquities directly connected with Israeli heritage.
(h/t Yisrael Medad)

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  • Thursday, December 08, 2016
  • Elder of Ziyon
This has been a bad week for Hamas.

Over the weekend, four bodies were found after Egypt flooded a tunnel. A Hamas member was killed after he was electrocuted in a tunnel.

On Monday, a Hamas member blew himself up with a grenade.

And yesterday, two more Hamas members were killed in a tunnel collapse.

It looks like they were good buddies.

Hamas says that they were "martyred" while inside a "resistance tunnel." (Actually, the supposedly impartial Ma'an also calls it a "resistance tunnel.") The tunnel was in Gaza City, meaning that it wasn't a smuggling tunnel that many pretend are necessary for Gazans to live, but a military bunker.

Ma'an says that others are missing in the tunnel as well, and Palestine Today says that a third body was found but not yet identified.

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.
  • Thursday, December 08, 2016
  • Elder of Ziyon

As people continue to react to the NYT magazine piece on Shuafat - written, as it turns out, by Rachel Kushner, an author  sponsored by Breaking the Silence to write anti-Israel articles for a book to come out next year for the 50th anniversary of "occupation" - there is another angle besides the one I wrote abut earlier this week about the violent beginnings of the camp.

Part of the reason that Shuafat is so crowded is because thousands of Arabs who aren't even considered refugees by UNRWA are squatting there.


Today, approximately 12,500 Palestine refugees are registered as living in Shu'fat camp. However, UNRWA estimates that the actual number of residents in the camp is around 24,000.

Shu'fat camp was illegally annexed by Israel after the 1967 hostilities when Israel unilaterally established new municipal boundaries for Jerusalem. Camp residents still hold Jerusalem IDs and, unlike West Bank ID holders, are allowed to reside in Jerusalem. Because the Israeli Ministry of the Interior has a policy of revoking Jerusalem IDs from Palestinians who do not have their ‘centre of life’ in Jerusalem, the camp has become a popular place of residence for Palestinians (non-refugees) with Jerusalem IDs who might not otherwise afford the high living costs of Jerusalem.

As usual, UNRWA is not telling the entire story even here.

Israel has tried, for decades, to solve the problem in a way that the camp residents could continue to hold on to their Jerusalem IDs!

According to this article at the official Shuafat website, since the mid 1970s, Israeli authorities have tried to get camp residents to move to other, less crowded areas of Jerusalem, especially the Arab neighborhood of Wadi el-Joz., "but the residents of the camp have categorically refused the Israeli offer," claiming that it would somehow impact their "right of return."

In fact, it would mean that they would have to pay rent instead of getting free housing from UNRWA. That's the real reason.

The same article says that more than half the residents of the camp are not "refugees." They are squatters taking advantage of the lawlessness of the area.

UNRWA should take responsibility for expelling the residents who are not registered with them, but of course UNRWA hasn't done that for sixty years - Arabs have been moving into UNRWA camps since the 1950s to take advantage of free services and UNRWA has never done anything about it after some half-hearted attempts in the 1950s.'

The bottom line is that Israel has tried to fix the problems of Shuafat for a long time, and UNRWA has let them fester, to follow the Palestinian master plan of keeping "refugee camps" forever as a propaganda weapon against Israel.

And Rachel Kushner and the New York Times happily follow that lead.

(h/t Irene)

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Wednesday, December 07, 2016

  • Wednesday, December 07, 2016
  • Elder of Ziyon
From J-Street:
It’s almost too outrageous to believe: An umbrella group that claims to represent the American Jewish community plans to host its 2016 Hanukkah Party at Trump Hotel.

Trump's campaign rhetoric and policy positions are an affront to some of the most core values of American Jews. To hold a Hanukkah party under the Trump banner is shocking in its wrong-headedness. 
Yes, this is the same J-Street who hosts BDS supporters like Mustafa Barghouti at its conference.  The same J-Street  where a member of its advisory council openly advocates Israel's destruction - to applause! - at a J-Street conference. The same J-Street that twists itself up into pretzels to downplay the very real history of support for antisemitism from a member of Congress, saying merely that his statements are "inartful." The same J-Street that eagerly gives forums to those who want to ethnically cleanse Jews.

All of that is perfectly fine.

But visiting a hotel that happens to have the name "Trump" on it is "too outrageous to believe."

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From Ian:

Isi Leibler: American Jewish liberals have lost the plot
Throughout the 2,000 years of Jews living in the Diaspora, there has been no precedent for the behavior of major liberal mainstream sectors of the American Jewish community. They are undermining themselves and provoking massive waves of resentment from Americans, many of whom were favorably disposed toward them.
The United States has been the home of the largest Jewish community in the Diaspora over the past half-century and was regarded by many Jews as the “goldene medina.” Traditional antisemitism is at an all-time low with the exception of the current anti-Israeli agitation initiated at campuses by Muslims and far-left radicals. Many Jews have become affluent and powerful, and Jews in general are highly respected by most Americans.
Until recently, all mainstream Jewish organizations sought to maintain bipartisanship with regard to Israel and major issues of Jewish concern. This, despite the fact that for complex historical reasons the vast majority of American Jews were inclined toward liberalism and voted Democrat.
Even after eight years of President Barack Obama’s efforts to create daylight between Israel and the United States to appease the Iranians and other Arab countries, and despite the extraordinary support for Israel expressed by all sections of the Republican Party, Jews still tended to vote Democrat. This contrasted sharply with Anglo Jewry, whose members defected in droves from the British Labor Party when it became anti-Israeli/antisemitic under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn.
Nearly half of Israeli Jews say left not loyal to the state — poll
Nearly half of Jewish Israelis believe the political left is not loyal to Israel, and a majority of citizens maintain it is illegitimate to criticize the state during times of security instability, according to a poll published on Tuesday.
The Israel Democracy Institute and Tel Aviv University Peace Index also found some 44 percent of Jewish Israelis favor annexation of the West Bank, compared to 38% of opponents. But Israelis are split on an outpost legalization bill that would recognize unauthorized construction on private Palestinian land — and which some politicians, from both sides of the aisle, have described as a first step in annexing the area — with 46% siding with the government position in support of the legislation, and 43% backing the attorney general’s stance opposing the bill.
The poll of 600 respondents — 500 Jewish and 100 Arab — also revealed that most Israelis believe the Donald Trump administration will be supportive of Israel and downplay fears of an uptick in anti-Semitism in US as a result of the election.
Most (56%) back contentious legislation that would bar mosques from using loudspeakers to broadcast the call to prayer — though a majority also believe other solutions could be reached in lieu of legal action.
According to the survey results, among Jewish Israelis, 55% say “criticizing policy in times of security tension is illegitimate.”
JCPA: On December 11, 1917, 99 Years Ago, the British Liberated Jerusalem
With the capture of Be’er Sheva by British-led forces on October 31, 1917, the way was open to Jerusalem. But the path to the Holy City was no cakewalk.
The British forces, led by Gen. Edmund Allenby, climbed and fought through the hills leading to Jerusalem, culminating in the battle of Nebi Samwil (Samuel) November 14-21, 1917. Both sides deployed three divisions; the British took 2,000 casualties, and the unknown Turkish casualty count was undoubtedly higher.
Between the battles of Be’er Sheva and the capture of Jerusalem, Britain issued the Balfour Declaration on November 2, 1917.
From Nebi Samuel the route to Jerusalem was relatively open. The German commander of the Turkish and German troops in Palestine, General Erich Von Falkenhayn, ordered the withdrawal of his troops from Jerusalem.
According to the Turkish account, Turkey in the First World War by Dr. Altay Atli:
The British attack on Jerusalem began on 8 December. The city was defended by the XX Corps, commanded by Ali Fuad Pasha. Falkenhayn did not send reinforcements to Jerusalem because he did not want the relics and the holy places damaged because of severe fighting…. His refusal to send reinforcements had resulted in the loss of Jerusalem…. Enver Pasha was losing patience too. On 24 February 1918, he replaced Falkenhayn.
On December 9, 1917, two British sergeants on patrol met a delegation of Jerusalem dignitaries carrying a white flag (a bedsheet from the American Colony) who came to surrender the city. The moment was preserved by a photographer from the American Colony.

  • Wednesday, December 07, 2016
  • Elder of Ziyon
  • ,

Fake news is a trending news story. Fakesters create mockups of popular websites where they post news stories created entirely out of thin air. People believe these fake stories and share them because they appear on websites that look just like CNN or the Washington Post. The fake stories have even led to a shooting incident known as Pizzagate.

Jim Geraghty, writing for the National Review says that no one knows what to do about the phenomenon of fake news.  Which is completely ridiculous. Because it's clear that putting the fakesters out of business begins with looking at root causes. And the root cause of fake news is media bias.

Media bias is dishonest news which is just another kind of fake news.  It is media bias that led to the popular perception that Hillary Clinton was going to cream Trump in the recent presidential election. We believed it because the media led us to believe it. It was a fake news story that sucked us in all the more so because it didn't appear on mockups of the CNN or Washington Post websites but on the real deal.

The media hoped to convince us that Clinton would win so that no one would want to waste a vote on Trump. In fact, it's quite possible that many people voted for Clinton thinking that a vote for Trump would be a throwaway vote. After all, Americans are taught from grade school on up to maximize their votes. Trump might indeed have won the popular vote as well as the electoral vote had the media not persuaded us beyond all doubt that he didn't have a snowball's chance in hell of winning the election.

It was a concerted, conscious effort to divert votes to Clinton through one mammoth and ongoing lie to the public.

And as long as the media can lie through its teeth and we just drink it in, fake news will continue to explode on our screens and dupe us into believing all kinds of stupid stuff. And it doesn't help when government officials feed these news sites their lying lines.

Take, for instance, the first line of this Wall Street Journal story that appeared in my Google newsfeed on Sunday:

"Secretary of State John Kerry sharply criticized Israel’s continued construction on contested Palestinian territory and didn’t rule out administration support for action at the United Nations on the Arab-Israeli conflict before President-elect Donald Trump takes power."

If the author had spoken of "contested territory," that would have been a fairly neutral statement in line with good journalistic standards. The use of the phrase "contested territory" would have suggested that both Arabs and Jews claim the territory as their own, which is true. With the phrase "contested Palestinian territory,"  however, the author plants the seeds of bias in the very first line of her piece so as to poison her readership against Israel in favor of the Arab narrative. With this phrase, the author suggests that while Jews claim the land, it actually belongs to the Arabs. This is media bias by description: "Palestinian territory."

The author posits no proof of her assertion that the territory is "Palestinian," merely states this as if it were a fact. Because the article appears on a distinguished website, the Wall Street Journal, many readers will indeed absorb the idea as a fact: that there is such a thing as "Palestinian territory" and that Jews are wrong to build homes therein.

The author would have you believe that Jews have no rightful claim to the territory, only an unreasonable demand. She wants you to think that Jews are stealing the homeland of another people by building homes there. This idea is certain to generate righteous fury in readers with a bent for social justice. Which is why the author uses inflammatory language that prejudices readers against Israel and for the Arabs.

It's a fake news story as much as the fake news story that brought on Pizzagate, because the territory in question is Judea and Samaria. Judea and Samaria are not only indigenous Jewish territory, but land that rightfully belongs to Israel according to international law. The word "Jew" is English for "Yehuda" which is what "Judea" means. There are biblical, historical, and archaeological proofs of this fact. Jews are to Judea as Arabs are to Arabia.

What is "Palestinian territory," on the other hand? According to David Bukay:

"Palestinian Arabs, as opposed to Arabic-speaking residents, have not been in the area west of the Jordan River from the Islamic occupation, from the Ottoman Empire, or even from British rule since 1917. No Palestinian state has ever existed, and so, no Palestinian people has ever been robbed of its land. There is no language or dialect known as Palestinian; there is no Palestinian culture distinct from that of surrounding Arab ones; and there has never been a land known as Palestine governed by Palestinians at any time in history. For these reasons, Palestinians have been driven to fabricate a past by denying and expropriating that of Jews and Israel."

If there never was an Arab-ruled state known as Palestine with a distinct language and culture, then how is it possible for there to be something that is "Palestinian territory?" And if there is no such thing as "Palestinian territory," then how can one consider the territory to be legitimately "contested?" 
An honest news piece would need to account for all of these ideas for the sake of balance.

And of course, the author is lucky enough to have no less than Secretary of State John Kerry lending credibility to her slanted viewpoint with his, as she puts it, sharp criticism of Israeli construction. This is media bias by selection of sources (Kerry). There's Kerry's  bold threat: if Jews don't stop building homes on land Arabs want, President Obama may help the UN unilaterally declare a Palestinian state in his few remaining lame duck days in office. Because with Trump coming in, implies the author, we lose our last chance to help these poor Arab people get a state (aside from Jordan, Gaza, and the sections of Judea and Samaria that are under the PA).

All that in the first sentence of her piece. And much more as the article goes on to outline key points from Kerry's speech at the Saban Forum.

Kerry, the author says, speaks of the Obama administration losing patience, because the situation is "getting worse." In other words, Jews are building yet more homes! Kerry "cannot accept the notion that [building Jewish homes is] not a barrier to peace."

Kerry phoned Netanyahu over 375 times but said Bibi ignores U.S. criticism regarding Jews building homes. “We issue a warning today when we see a settlement’s going up. Nothing happens.”

The article continues with false assurances that the Iran deal somehow helps Israel with this followed by the reminder that the U.S. finalized a new military aid deal with Israel, which, the author tells us "significantly boosted" American support for Israel. Which is yet another lie. The new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) shows no serious improvement over past agreements and serves more as a freeze of the status quo. Also, under the terms of the new agreement Israel cannot request additional funds and in the event that Congress would approve more funds for defending Israel against missiles or tunnels, for instance, these funds would be deducted from the total sum of U.S. military aid to Israel. Netanyahu thought long and hard about whether to agree to these terms, not knowing whether things would be worse under, for instance, a Clinton administration, or better under a Trump administration.

The author implies that the U.S. is good to Israel but Israel is bad to the U.S. The U.S. made a deal with Iran that helps Israel, according to the author, who begrudgingly quotes Netanyahu's dissent. She fails to outline why everyday Israelis do not see the Iran deal as a good thing but as a major existential threat. She tell us that relations between America and the U.S. hit a new low when Bibi "went around" the White House to speak against the deal to Congress (media bias by spin).

The author also implies that Obama made an unprecedented military aid package to Israel, without giving readers the context that the aid package is a freeze and that it comes with the condition that Israel may not request additional assistance should war break out, God forbid.

The author leaves these details out because they do not further the poisoned perspective she wishes her readers to adopt. She further leaves out any mention of constant Arab terror, which is, after all, what constitutes the absence of peace. Israel had to evacuate 75,000 people from their homes due to Arab arson in recent weeks. There have been constant stonings of Jewish cars by Arab terrorists on the roads of Judea and Samaria.

Kerry does not cite Arab terror as an impediment to peace. Only the building of Jewish homes. And the author parrots this crazy narrative, leaving out any mention of homes burnt down, or lives lost to terror. This is media bias by omission.

It's sickening, frankly. What's more sickening is that thousands of people will read and believe this crazy, unbalanced fake news piece. Worse yet, no news outlet with a significant readership will call out Kerry or the Obama administration for disseminating its antisemitic propaganda: namely that building Jewish homes serves as an obstacle to peace.

Count the lies in this piece that appears in a distinguished news outlet:

1.       Jews are building homes on Arab land

2.       Building Jewish homes is an obstacle to peace

3.       Judea and Samaria are Arab territory

4.       The Iran deal helps Israel

5.       The new MoU regarding U.S. military aid to Israel is unprecedented in its scope

The omissions? The lack of context? No mention of Arab terror. No mention of the fact that the MoU was widely regarded in Israel as a bad deal for Israel. No mention of the fact that the Iran deal facilitates nuclear breakout time.

If we want to stop the trend of fake news cold in its tracks, we're going to have to demand an end to this sort of egregious media bias. We need to call out authors who fail to lend balance to their pieces. We need to call them out for pushing opinion as news.

And we're going to have to be loud.

It's time to take back the media and get real.

Starting right now.

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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Malmo, December 7 - A spike in reported rapes that coincides with the influx of refugees and migrants from African and Middle Eastern countries into Europe has driven the European Parliament to take decisive steps to combat the sexual violence, leading to a new Continent-wide cap this week on the number of rapes allowed per migrant.

The body voted overwhelmingly this afternoon to limit the number of permissible rapes per Muslim migrant to two, a figure beyond which the perpetrator will face the local justice system, if the local justice system can penetrate the no-go zones where many migrant communities cluster. Supporters of the measure hope the limits provide a better sense of safety and security for citizens as well as a welcoming model for the newcomers, who may face a steep learning curve entering a culture where rape is a less-accepted form of communication.

"It's crucial that we strike a balance," stressed Asken Foryt, a Norwegian delegate to the parliament. "Violence, especially sexual violence, has seen an unacceptable rise in the last several years, especially among our newer residents, so we have to find a way to wean them from that behavior. But a sudden ban on rape would likely prove untenable, considering the assumptions that governed life in their previous environment. It is our hope that eventually, within a generation or two, we might no longer see a difference between the sexual assault rate among immigrants and the general population. The law leaves room for a lowering of the limit to one per migrant after seven years."

Among the details of the limit is that the per-migrant figure will not be taken individually, but in the aggregate: only as rapes accumulate beyond two for every migrant in Europe annually will the limit be considered breached. Thus, explained Dutch parliamentarian Majden Groper, a single migrant might conceivably commit hundreds of reported rapes without legal consequences, because many other migrants are not accumulating rapes at nearly the same rate, and some avoid them entirely, bringing down the per capita figure.
Critics of the measure expressed concern at its strictness. "Migrants and refugees already face prejudice, and this does not help," lamented German delegate Muhammad Schtupp. "I could have voted for this law if the limit were above six or seven, but I fear that we are sending the wrong message at a time when openness to people seeking a better life is more important then ever. If Europe doesn't want these rapes to happen it really should stop behaving in ways that invite them."

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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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

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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