Monday, October 23, 2017

From Ian:

In Upcoming Book, Controversial Rutgers Professor Accuses Israel of Sparing Palestinian Lives in Order to Control Them
A professor with a history of supporting terrorism against Israelis is publishing a new book accusing the Jewish state of physically debilitating Palestinians in order to control them.

The Right to Maim: Debility, Capacity, Disability, authored by Jasbir Puar — associate professor of women’s and gender studies at Rutgers University — argues in part that the “Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) have shown a demonstrable pattern over decades of sparing life, of shooting to maim rather than to kill.”

According to the Rutgers professor, this “purportedly humanitarian practice of sparing death by shooting to maim” is part of a “logic long present in Israeli tactical calculations of settler colonial rule—that of creating injury and maintaining Palestinian populations as perpetually debilitated, and yet alive, in order to control them.”

The Right to Maim is set to be published by Duke University Press in November 2017, and was the topic of Puar’s lectures at Stanford University and Rutgers University this year. A copy of its introduction can be found at the Duke University Press website.

Puar’s latest claims appear similar to those she shared during a controversial, faculty-sponsored event at Vassar College in February 2016, when she said that Israel “manifests an implicit claim to the right to maim and debilitate Palestinian bodies and environments,” according to a transcript of the talk provided by the Vassar alumni group Fairness To Israel.

During that appearance, Puar repeated allegations that the bodies of “young Palestinian men … were mined for organs for scientific research.” She also asserted that Israel’s actions can be called a “genocide in slow motion,” and said, “we need [the Boycotts, Divestment, and Sanctions movement] as part of organized resistance and armed resistance in Palestine as well. There is no other way the situation is going to change.”
Feminist Writer Claims Zionism Is ‘Built To Uphold White Supremacy’
Mahroh Jahangiri, an editor at, recently published an article in which she claims Zionism is a system "built to uphold white supremacy" (emphasis added):
In case you missed it, women are flooding social media this week to share our stories of sexual assault and harassment, using the hashtag #MeToo to “give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem.” Though this should be obvious, in this moment it bears repeating: gender-based violence does not exist without other systems of violence, especially those built to uphold white supremacy (such as racism, colonialism, zionism, militarism) ...

But just as we acknowledge that rape does not happen in a vacuum and that gender violence comes from our fathers, brothers, friends, and partners, we have also *got to admit* that this violence often specifically comes from people in institutions many amongst us otherwise support: men with badges, those in uniform, people who staff detention facilities across our arbitrary borders and outside of them (in Guantanamo, Iraq, Israel), men who learn harmful stereotypes about women of color from American culture and media, and most importantly, people of all genders who support them.

Unfortunately, Zionism-as-white-supremacy is an argument that’s been tossed around by progressives for quite some time. Those who rail against a Jewish State are either unwilling or unable to understand two very important, and very obvious, facts:
The Jewish people are a minority group who were targeted by white supremacists (see: Nazis) in the 1930s and 1940s, resulting in the brutal execution of approximately 6,000,000 of them via shooting or gas chambers.

Israel is home to a multitude of people of varying ethnicities and faiths — Jews, Christians, Muslims, etc. Even among the Jewish population, there are variant races (see: Ethiopian Jews).

Unsurprisingly, Jahangiri doesn’t expand on her contention that Zionism "uphold[s] white supremacy." Rather, she simply lists it right next to "racism" and "colonialism" as if the notion is obvious.

At first this looks like a heartwarming story from Haaretz:

In First, Yad Vashem to Bestow 'Righteous Gentile' Honor to an Arab
Israel's Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial center will for the first time recognize as “Righteous Among the Nations” an Arab who saved the lives of Jews during the Holocaust. The family of Dr. Mohamed Helmy will accept the award from Israel’s Holocaust memorial and museum in a ceremony in Berlin on Thursday.
Helmy, an Egyptian-born doctor living in Berlin, risked his life when he sheltered four Jews throughout the period of World War II.
But then we read this:

Yad Vashem recognized Helmy, who died in 1982, as Righteous Among the Nations in 2013, but his family initially refused the honor because the institution is Israeli.

“If any other country offered to honor Helmy, we would have been happy with it,” said Mervat Hassan, the wife of Helmy’s grandnephew, told The Associated Press during an interview at her home in Cairo in October 2013. Now, after a four-year search, a relative was found who agreed to accept the award.

Nasser Kutbi, an 81-year-old professor of medicine from Cairo whose father was Helmy’s nephew and who knew him personally, will travel to Berlin to accept the award.
In 2013, when Yad Vashem recognized Helmy and Szturmann as Righteous Among the Nations they tried to locate Helmy’s relatives, and even turned to the Egyptian Embassy in Israel and the press.

The Associated Press located a relative in Egypt who refused to accept the award. Other relatives explained to German historian and journalist Ronen Steinke why they refused: Yad Vashem is political institution representing Israel and has no right to represent Jews everywhere, they said. In addition, Israel was not founded until 1948 and did not exist at the time Helmy carried out his actions, so today Israel has no right to represent the Jewish victims of that period, they added. They also criticized Israeli policy toward Palestinians, saying one of their relatives had died in one of the wars between Israel and Egypt.

Helmy’s relatives feel he saved Anna not because she was Jewish but because she was a human being and the attempt to recognize him for saving Jews is inappropriate, Steinke told Haaretz.

Yad Vashem has recognized some 26,000 Righteous Among the Nations from 44 countries and nationalities so far. A few dozen are Muslims, including from Albania, the Caucasus and the Balkans. But Helmy was the first Arab so recognized.
Ordinary Egyptians refused to accept a huge honor on behalf of their relatives - because, you know, Israel, hand waving, Israel, mumble, Palestinians, 1948, Nakba, Israel.

In other words, by traveling to Israel to accept the award, the relatives would be guilty of the crime of "normalization with the Zionist enemy"  that has been at formal peace with Egypt for 40 years, longer than the two countries were at war. (Arab media accurately noted the reason was "normalization," not the four absurd reasons listed in the article.

This is how relatives of a hero behave today in a country with a peace treaty with Israel, a country that has no interest in real peace but only in the benefits it receives from the peace agreement.

This is yet another reason that true peace is impossible.

(h/t JW)

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The Washington Post markets its “World Views” column as “smart analysis of the most important news,” and when you hover over “Analysis,” a pop-up tells you it means “Interpretation of the news based on evidence, including data, as well as anticipating how events might unfold based on past events.” But Ishaan Tharoor’s recent column about “Palestinian Gandhi” Issa Amro is just lazy journalism promoting the kind of Palestinian propaganda that can be read on countless websites for free: like other journalists before him, Tharoor made do with telling his readers what Amro told him – all backed up by what supporters of Amro would say…

So I decided to do the research Tharoor couldn’t be bothered to do, and you can check out the resulting documentation at Legal Insurrection. It is, admittedly, a longish post, but the title gives it all away: “Issa Amro is no ‘Palestinian Gandhi.’”

As the documentation shows, Amro has longstanding and close relations with several notorious professional anti-Israel activists who earn their living by promoting the 21st century version of the Nazi slogan “The Jews are our misfortune” – which is: “The Jewish state is our misfortune.” Moreover, Amro has apparently never condemned Palestinian terrorism, and he enjoys the full support of activists who are not only outspoken apologists for Hamas, but who have repeatedly voiced support for the terror group. Amro himself has issued repeated predictions and calls for another intifada. Particularly noteworthy is the timing of his call for an intifada in May 2014, just four weeks before the abduction and murder of three teenaged Israeli students by Hamas terrorists from Amro’s hometown Hebron. Back then, Amro boasted about having a ‘secret plan’ for a “smart intifada.” Then there is his reported defense of a member of Hebron’s Qawasmi clan – which is prominently associated with Hamas and includes two of the perpetrators of the 2014 kidnapping and murder case. In addition, there is quite a bit of evidence indicating that Amro’s group Youth Against Settlements (YAS) is supportive of terrorism and is eager to incite Muslim religious passions that are often an important motivation for Palestinian terrorists.

I think it’s unlikely that the Washington Post’s “Foreign Affairs Writer” Ishaan Tharoor would be surprised by any of this. Given the focus of his writings, he is presumably aware of the fact that so-called “pro-Palestinian” activism is more correctly described as anti-Israel activism, because the goal of most groups and campaigns is the replacement of the world’s only Jewish state with yet another Arab-Muslim majority state.
This makes the title of Tharoor’s piece so devious: he pretends to explain “Why a leading Palestinian activist isn’t fixated on a Palestinian state” – but could he name any Palestinian or “pro-Palestinian” activist who is “fixated” on a Palestinian state that would peacefully coexist with a Jewish state of Israel? Indeed, it seems Tharoor didn’t even bother to ask Amro directly if he would support a negotiated two-state solution – or maybe he did, and Amro’s emphatic “no” is reflected in Tharoor’s opening paragraph, where he sneers at the failure of Washington’s “diplomats, politicos and wonks” to realize that “on the ground in the occupied Palestinian territories, the two-state solution is a mirage.” [Bold original]

And of course, it’s all the fault of the “right-wing government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu” and “Israeli settlers” who “continue to expand across the West Bank.” Since Tharoor’s “analysis” is supposedly “based on evidence, including data,” he surely knows that this relentless expansion “across the West Bank” over five decades has resulted in settlements that take up about 2% (according to data) to 4% (estimate) of West-Bank territory.

Then there’s this astonishing passage – with the first sentence bolded in the original:

“The repeated refrain from Netanyahu and other Israeli officials is that the main obstacle to peace is Palestinian violence. But that argument falls short with people like Amro, whose tactics include sit-ins and the monitoring of settlers and Israeli security forces with video cameras. ‘They see us as the main enemy,’ he told me. ‘They don’t know how to deal with nonviolence.’
‘It is particularly people like him that Israel is most uncomfortable with, more than the militant carrying the weapon,’ said Yousef Munayyer, executive director of the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights. ‘People often ask, 'Where is the Palestinian Gandhi?' You’ll often find many of them either in Israeli prisons or shot or killed or otherwise oppressed from engaging in activism.’”

Right, of course: the Palestinians are really a people of Gandhis, all imprisoned or shot or killed for no reason whatsoever by a monstrously vicious Israel  – “evidence, including data,” about Hamas and longstanding broad popular support for terrorism among Palestinians be damned.

So let’s conclude by looking at how Tharoor ends his piece:

“’It’s not about two states. It’s not about peace,’ Amro said, referring to the aims of Netanyahu and his allies. ‘They believe that it’s all for them.’”

Well, here’s a clue about what Amro believes: in a recently posted tweet, Amro’s group YAS claimed that “40,000 Israeli settlers storm into Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron.” They repeated the same claim a day later, linking in both tweets to an article on the Islamist website MEMO, which often serves as a mouthpiece for Hamas.

The article features a photo of a religious Jew accompanied by a few children – which is presumably meant to illustrate how the “40,000 Israeli settlers” storming the “Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron” looked. Why religious Jews with children would want to “storm” any mosque is probably not a question that bothers the audience cheering Amro and YAS; but Amro and his group know of course that long before there was an “Ibrahimi Mosque,” the site was revered by Jews as the Cave of Machpelah (Tomb of the Patriarchs), and it is considered Judaism’s second holiest site after the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Yet, most of the site is controlled by a Muslim body (waqf), while Jewish access to the site is severely restricted.

As is to be expected, the MEMO article Amro’s group links to is trying very hard to present the Jews visiting the site to mark the Jewish holiday of Sukkot as desecrating a holy place that rightfully belongs only to Muslims. According to MEMO, “The Director and Head of the Ibrahimi Mosque, Sheikh Hafthi Abu Esnaina, condemned the incursions. He stressed that Israel is encouraging the Judaisation of Palestinian religious sites. ‘The Ibrahimi Mosque will always be a holy site for Muslims only,’ he insisted.”

Sounds an awful lot like “They believe that it’s all for them.”

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From Ian:

Khaled Abu Toameh: The Iran-Hamas Plan to Destroy Israel
Some Palestinian Authority and Hamas officials have recently claimed that Israel was not happy with their "reconciliation" agreement and was doing its utmost to foil it. The truth, however, is that it is Iran and Hamas that are working to thwart the agreement by insisting on maintaining the status quo in the Gaza Strip. Iran's message to Hamas: If you want us to continue providing you with financial and military aid, you must continue to hold on to your weapons and reject demands to disarm.

What is in it for Iran? Iran wants Hamas to retain its security control over the Gaza Strip so that the Iranians can hold onto another power base in the Middle East.

Iran wants Hamas to continue playing the role of a proxy, precisely as Hezbollah functions in Lebanon.

The last thing Iran wants is for the Palestinian Authority security forces to return to the Gaza Strip: that would spoil Tehran's plans to advance its goal of destroying Israel.

Iran's continued support for Hamas stems not out of love for either Hamas or the Palestinians, but from its own interest in consolidating its presence in the Middle East.

Many Palestinians see the "successful" visit of the Hamas officials to Tehran as a major setback for efforts to end the 10-year-long Hamas-Fatah dispute. Similarly, the Egyptians are now wary of the sudden rapprochement between Iran and Hamas and are beginning to ask themselves whether they have been duped by Hamas. An Israeli delegation that visited Cairo on the eve of the signing of the Hamas-Fatah deal is said to have warned the Egyptians that the "reconciliation" would not work unless Hamas disarms and severs its ties with Iran. However, the Egyptians reportedly failed to listen to the Israeli warning.

As for Israel, the US and other Western parties, the lesson to be drawn from the renewal of ties between Hamas and Iran is that Hamas has not changed one iota.

Contrary to delusional hopes, discussed on the heels of the "reconciliation" agreement in Cairo and based on lies and thin air, Hamas is not headed toward moderation and pragmatism. By openly supporting Hamas, Iran is once again demonstrating that it aims to fan the fire in the Middle East and continue to sabotage any prospects for peace.
PMW: Netanyahu compared to Hitler by PA TV hosts
In a show on official PA TV, the hosts compared Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to Hitler. The discussion was about mugs with a picture of Hitler that were “the most popular in Bulgaria” that had been removed from stores by police following a complaint by Israel’s ambassador.

PA TV’s Israeli Affairs Expert Fayez Abbas commented critically about Israel's complaint: “Look what they’ve come to.” The PA TV host responded by comparing Netanyahu to Hitler, and asked what would Israel have done had it been Netanyahu’s picture:
Israeli Affairs Expert Fayez Abbas:“Coffee mugs with Hitler's picture are the most popular in Bulgaria. However, the Israeli ambassador in Bulgaria interfered and submitted an official complaint, and the police seized the mugs from the stores. Look what they’ve come to.”
PA TV host: “If there was a picture of Netanyahu on them...”
Fayez Abbas: “On the contrary, they [Israelis] would be encouraging it.”

[Official PA TV, Palestine This Morning, Oct. 11, 2017]

Official PA media and leaders often compare Israel to Nazis and Netanyahu to Hitler. Palestinian Media Watch documented when the official PA daily published an op-ed, that Netanyahu "imitates Hitler's racism," which he acquired "genetically from the days of the Nazis and the Aryan race."

UNESCO-affiliated scholars slam agency’s anti-Israel bias, plead for rethink
A group of scholars affiliated with UNESCO criticized the agency for recent one-sided resolutions on Jerusalem, calling for a new approach to sensitive holy sites that takes into consideration everyone’s religious sensitivities.

“The UNESCO decisions on the holy sites in Jerusalem have failed to draw on expert scholarship and knowledge,” the scholars said in a joint statement, issued Thursday at the close of a conference in Israel’s capital.

"The reality in Jerusalem is complex. Complexity is the solution, not the problem. To understand the multi-layered situations and to avoid simplistic, inadequate and divisive responses that can, and do, have harmful consequences, scholarly expertise is required.”

The 15 scholars who issued the statement are members of UNESCO’s UNITWIN network for interreligious and intercultural studies. They include experts in intercultural studies from the US, Israel, France, Tajikistan, New Zealand, Russia and India.

Earlier this month, the US administration announced it was quitting UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization). Israel commended Washington for the move, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu saying UNESCO “has become a theater of the absurd” that distorts history instead of preserving it. He ordered the Foreign Ministry to “prepare Israel’s withdrawal from UNESCO in parallel with the US.”

We Jews have been branded (or self-branded) with a number of names.  “People of the Book,” and “The Chosen People” are two of the most popular, although I’ve also heard us described as a “stiff-necked people,” a “people of memory,” as well as a “people that dwells alone.”

But when it comes to verbal jousting with political opponents, I’d like to propose a different title for our side: A people that rise to the bait.

To show you what I’m talking about, look at the comment section of last week’s Divest This bit on Elder (which discussed tactical options for fighting the campus wars in an era of intersectionality).  On the surface, I should have been thrilled that the piece triggered over 60 discussion comments.  But if you look those comments over, you’ll see that what triggered them was not my original argument but one of those run-of-the-mill accusations Israel haters routinely throw into other people’s comment sections, regardless of the original topic covered.

In this case, our visitor reached for the old “Israel as US-aid welfare queen” chestnut, and no sooner had he posted than dozens of supporters of the Jewish state rushed to debunk the accusation, presenting facts and arguments that explained the true nature of American aid to the Jewish state, while also trying to turn the slur back on the original accuser. 

While this defense was both able and passionate, no one involved in it seemed to realize that (1) they were fighting on terrain chosen entirely by our enemies; and (2) no matter what facts and arguments were presented, the original accuser simply ignored them and continued on with the pointing finger.

It’s no accident that a culture, like ours, which values disputation and argument births defenders eager to mix it up with opponents.  But when we rise to someone else’s bait (which we do time and time again), it never seems to occur to us that this gives our foes the power to decide what we get to talk about.  

Even as we man the barricades to show our accusers how wrong and misguided they are, notice that they will never budge an inch from their original position.  And if (usually when) their original attack has been smashed, they will either (1) bring up a new accusation, ignoring everything that’s been said before; or (2) slip away and start the whole shtick over again in the next venue they hijack for their own purposes.

Given this dynamic, why should we bother making new and fresh arguments in the first place if we’re willing to let any bozo dedicated to ignoring them dictate to us the terms of debate?

By endlessly accusing opponents and demanding a response while never responding to the points of those opponents, Israel’s foes want to place us in the lose-lose position of either rising to their bait (and thus handing them control over debate) or saying nothing and letting the opposition’s accusations stand unchallenged.

I wish I could offer a no-fail way of handling such situations (which have arisen dozens of times during my many years of blogging).  One useful technique is to promise an opponent an immediate answer to their challenge once they either respond to the original blog post or admit (either directly or through silence) they are in full agreement with my original points.  Another is to point out the dynamic described above and insist that the accuser’s days of acting as prosecutor, judge, jury and hangman are over. 

Whatever you choose to do, always keep in mind that once you’ve moved the discussion to a topic of your opponent’s choosing, you have already limited the best-case scenario to not losing, rather than winning the argument.  

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  • Monday, October 23, 2017
  • Elder of Ziyon

Last week there was a bombshell in the Israeli political scene:
Israel does not necessarily need to evacuate any West Bank settlements in a future peace deal with the Palestinians, Labor party leader Avi Gabbay said Monday.

The left-wing party leader made the statement in an interview with Israel's Channel 2, after having been asked whether the Eli or Ofra settlements would have to be evacuated.

"If you make a peace deal, solutions can be found that do not necessitate evacuations," Gabbay said. "If a peace deal is made, why do we need to evacuate? I think the dynamic or the terminology that we have become accustomed to, that if you make a peace deal you evacuate, is not actually true."
The statement shocked members of Labor and its partner, Zionist Union, and was widely criticized, but mostly privately, out of fear of public infighting in the beleaguered leftist party.

Gabbay himself clarified a day later, and the media completely missed that his clarification was not based on a rightist view - but that of  a liberal:

Gabbay elaborated on his comments on Tuesday, saying that "we must not look at the evacuation of 80,000 Jews casually."
One rock-solid rule of modern international law is the illegality of the forcible transfer of populations except for extreme security reasons. In almost all circumstances, forcibly transferring a group of people against their will is regarded as a war crime, the only exception being for security reasons.

Among the many international instruments against forced transfer:
Pursuant to Article 7(1)(d) of the 1998 ICC Statute, “[d]eportation or forcible transfer of the population”, “when committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population, with knowledge of the attack,” constitutes a crime against humanity.

Under Article 8(2)(a)(vii) of the 1998 ICC Statute, “[u]nlawful deportation or transfer” constitutes a war crime in international armed conflicts.

Under Article 8(2)(e)(viii) of the 1998 ICC Statute, “[o]rdering the displacement of the civilian population for reasons related to the conflict, unless the security of the civilians involved or imperative military reasons so demand”, constitutes a war crime in non-international armed conflicts.

Article 3(1)(a) of the 2009 Kampala Convention provides that States Parties shall: “[r]efrain from, prohibit and prevent arbitrary displacement of populations”.
States Parties shall respect and ensure respect for their obligations under international law, including human rights and humanitarian law, so as to prevent and avoid conditions that might lead to the arbitrary displacement of persons. [P]rohibited categories of arbitrary displacement include but are not limited to: b. Individual or mass displacement of civilians in situations of armed conflict, unless the security of the civilians involved or imperative military reasons so demand, in accordance with international humanitarian law;h. Displacement caused by any act, event, fact or phenomenon of comparable gravity … and which is not justified under international law, including human rights and international humanitarian law. 

The 1998 Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement provide:
Principle 5All authorities and international actors shall respect and ensure respect for their obligations under international law, including human rights and humanitarian law, in all circumstances, so as to prevent and avoid conditions that might lead to displacement of persons.Principle 61. Every human being shall have the right to be protected against being arbitrarily displaced from his or her home or place of habitual residence.2. The prohibition of arbitrary displacement includes displacement:(b) in situations of armed conflict, unless the security of the civilians involved or imperative military reasons so demand;

The right of people to continue to live where they have lived is considered in nearly all circumstances to be sacred under international law, and under international humanitarian law, the only real exception being  for urgent security reasons.

No one, and I mean no one, demands that populations be forcibly removed from occupied territories in Turkey’s occupation of northern Cyprus since 1974; Morocco’s occupation of Western Sahara since 1975; Armenia’s occupation of parts of Azerbaijan including Nagorno-Karabakh since 1994; Russia’s occupation of Georgia’s Abkhazia and South Ossetia since 2008; and Russia’s occupation of Ukraine’s Crimea since 2014. In fact, the human rights of "settlers" is considered obvious in all cases - except Israelis. 

It is self-evident that forcibly removing populations is inconsistent with modern, liberal interpretations of international law. The previously accepted "population transfers" from the first half of the twentieth century (for example, India/Pakistan) are no longer considered to be legal by anyone.

Gabbay's statement was not "rightist"- it was liberal and entirely consistent with the Labor Party's leftist philosophy.

The so-called liberals who are upset at Gabbay are the ones who are advocating a policy that is reminiscent of fascism. Anyone who cares about human rights cannot create an exception for a single group of people, and all those who criticize him for his statements from the Left are simply hypocrites.

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  • Monday, October 23, 2017
  • Elder of Ziyon

From this week's Sunday Herald (Scotland) by Philippa Whiteford:

Having worked with Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) as a surgical volunteer in Gaza for a year and a half in 1991 and 92, I returned last year for the first time in 25 years to see how we could contribute to the improvement of breast cancer treatment there and in the West Bank and, then again, just a few weeks ago.

What struck me once I made my way through checkpoints at Erez crossing was how crowded and claustrophobic the Gaza Strip is after 10 years of virtual siege. The spread of Gaza City outwards to accommodate the population of almost two million people, squashed into a strip of land 8 by 40 kilometres, is eating into the arable land within the strip, while the Israeli security wall and associated no-man’s land shrinks it around the edges. The pervasive smell of sewage as a result of the near doubling of the population and refusal of Israeli permission to expand the sewage treatment plant, means raw sewage is just pumped out into the sea; one of Gaza’s most important resources.
 Israel has not refused to expand any sewage treatment plant. On the contrary, Israel is keenly interested in Gaza's sewage treatment to work properly. As Haaretz reported only last week, a new sewage treatment plant is being built - but there are no funds from the international community to run it.

The construction work for northern Gaza’s new sewage treatment plant is scheduled to be completed by the end of this year, but funding has not yet been secured to allow for the facility’s operation and maintenance — putting at risk water in Israel as well.
Without suitable funding, the sewage will not be treated and will continue to  threaten water sources.
Gaza sewage is also threatening Israeli water supplies and beaches.

Whitehead is a liar.

The external security wall and a decade of blockade impact on every aspect of daily life, including cancer treatment. For those requiring chemotherapy, it is not always possible to maintain an unbroken course of treatment and there are always chronic drug shortages - WHO report that 35% of all essential medicines are out of stock in Gaza.
Israel does not restrict medicines to Gaza. The Palestinian Authority does. 

Whitehead is a liar.

I can't comment directly on this claim:
In the UK, we would use a combination of blue dye and a radiocolloid injected into the breast to identify the first nodes in the axillary lymph chain, i.e. the most likely to have any cancer deposits. Unfortunately, the Israeli authorities do not allow the import of radiocolloid into the OPT - describing it as a security threat, despite the fact that Technitium has a half-life of a mere 4 hours which means the radioactivity is essentially gone the following day.
But I can tell you that COGAT has told me directly that  some materials that are banned from being imported to Gaza that are necessary for medical reasons are often approved on a case by case basis. Did Whiteford attempt to go through channels? Or did she simply want to use this as a reason to bash Israel?

Given her other outrageous lies, as well as her not mentioning anything about why Israel blockades Gaza, anything about Egypt's responsibility for its border, anything about how Hamas and the PA have clashed to bring electricity in Gaza down far less than it was earlier this year - it is apparent that Whiteford is more interested in bashing Israel than helping Gazans.

Like all good hypocrites.

(h/t Ellis Simpson)

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Sunday, October 22, 2017

  • Sunday, October 22, 2017
  • Elder of Ziyon
Earlier this month, Knesset MK Hanin Zoabi said that Jews are not a people and therefore have no right to self-determination, although Palestinians, mysteriously, do.

That may not be the most outrageous thing she said this month.

Over the weekend, at a symposium on the Balfour Declaration held in the Tubas on the West Bank, Zoabi said, "We [Arabs] are the legitimate owners of the homeland, and the Nakba is a product of the Balfour Declaration, which expelled the Palestinians from their lands, and the right of return is a Palestinian demand that can not be waived."

She isn't calling for a Palestinian state on the territories. She is saying that the state whose parliament she is a member of is illegitimate altogether and should be replaced with another Arab state.

Zoabi was suspended from Knesset for six months back in 2014. Why she wasn't banned altogether is unexplainable. No nation in the world would tolerate a lawmaker openly advocating the destruction of the state.

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  • Sunday, October 22, 2017
  • Elder of Ziyon
I reported last week on an article that (not very accurately) described 10 "Jewish" foods that Arabs enjoy. Among those foods were some that are generally considered to have had Arab origins before Israeli Jews adopted them as favorites, like falafel and shakshuka.

Predictably, there has been backlash. Some of the sites that published the article have removed it, with this apology:

This article was deleted because it violated the rule of objectivity and failed to put the story in its comprehensive context, which was stated in the editorial policy of the Post politicians. It adopted a single perspective to see the issue at hand, without taking into account another perspective.
The newspapers that removed the article (not all of them did) added an article about how Israelis stole everything from Palestinians, even their Dabke dance.

It quotes Joseph Massad of Columbia University as saying that the "Zionist" claim that these foods came from Jews who were expelled from Arab countries is false, because, Massad says:
This, however, flies in the face of the facts that there are very few Syrian, Palestinian or Lebanese Jews in Israel (the majority of Syrian and Lebanese Jews immigrated to the United States and Latin America, especially Mexico, while there are very few Palestinian Arab Jews left anywhere). The vast majority of Arab Jews in Israel come from Morocco, Iraq and Yemen, countries where hummus and falafel are not eaten.
Massad, another academic fraud, is lying. There are more Syrian Jews (115,000) in Israel than in the US or any other country. And how many 700,000 Jews who lived in Palestine before 1948 moved away? Unless Massad is saying that they don't count, and the only "Palestinian Jews" are the religious Jews in Jerusalem and Tzfat before 1900.

Furthermore, falafel is part of Iraqi cuisine. 

More importantly, it was brought to Israel by Yemeni Jews in the 1950s, where falafel is also popular, contrary to Massad's lie that it is simply not eaten in Yemen.

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From Ian:

In Syrian barrage, a confident message signed by Iran and Russia
It’s not clear if the sudden barrage of rockets “bleeding” into Israel from Syria Saturday had anything to do with the presence in Damascus of Iran’s defense chief. But given Iran’s seemingly unstoppable drive to entrench itself militarily in the region, the Syrian regime’s newfound confidence, and some other suspicious factors, it’s likely the volley was more than just an accident.

Though inadvertent fire has hit Israel in the past, this incident doesn’t fit that mold, and seems more like a Syrian attempt to send a message. First, there’s the timing — around 5 a.m. Most of the fighting in the Syrian civil war has taken place in the daylight hours, certainly not before the crack of dawn. Second, none of the previous inadvertent volleys consisted of five consecutive rockets.

Indeed, the incident appears to be connected to the anti-aircraft fire Syria directed at Israeli jets flying a reconnaissance mission over Lebanon last week, and a more aggressive recent tone from Damascus.

These developments are evident of the boost in self-confidence the Syrian regime is experiencing. Just Saturday, Assad’s army captured the Christian town of Qaryatayn, which had previously been taken by Islamic State and used as a base for the terror group. Assad may feel that victory in the civil war is within his reach thanks to having Tehran by his side, along with Shiite militias from Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan, and 8,000 well-armed Hezbollah fighters. So maybe he considers this a good time to send Israel a defiant message.

It doesn’t hurt that the same day, Iranian defense chief Mahmoud Bagheri signed a memorandum of understanding with his Syrian counterpart, Ali Ayyoub.
JPost Editorial: Peace conditions
Hamas has apparently failed its own recent reality test, which caused it finally to admit its utter failure in governing Gaza since it defeated Fatah for the privilege in a bloody 2007 coup. Weary of the task of rationing electricity and drinking water to its subjects, Hamas is now willing to let the PA do the dirty work of governance, while the most it apparently is willing to “sacrifice for the sake of its people’s freedom” is a transparently false pledge to refrain from terrorism – in the West Bank – while maintaining a Hezbollah- like presence alongside Fatah there and in Gaza.

This Lebanonization of the West Bank is a total non-starter, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Jordan Valley settlers on Thursday. The prime minister declared that, while Israel wants to resolve the conflict, it would not conduct negotiations with the irredentist Hamas.

“We want peace. We want a genuine peace and because of this we will not conduct negotiations with a terrorist organization in diplomatic disguise,” Netanyahu said.

What Netanyahu left unsaid was the undeniable truth that, after all, one cannot negotiate with an irrational subject, and Hamas’s persistent delusion that it is capable of destroying Israel is clearly proof of that.

PLO Executive Committee member Ahmad Majdalani noted that the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah was aware of the similarities of statements from Greenblatt and the Israeli security cabinet on the latest attempt at Palestinian reconciliation. He pointed out that, if a unity government is indeed formed with Hamas, it would have to follow the policies of the PLO, which recognizes Israel and supports ending the conflict through peaceful means – which apparently do not include inciting terrorism.

The security cabinet, in its declaration a day before Greenblatt’s, included the humanitarian condition that Hamas must return the bodies of Israeli soldiers as well as the two Israeli citizens it holds. Even if Hamas decides to demonstrate that it can act rationally and meet this request as a gesture of good faith, the continued belligerence toward Israel – as expressed this week by Sinwar – is the truest sign that the terrorist organization cannot be a partner for peace.
Point of No Return: Prickly discussion on the 'Right of Return' for Palestinians
Haaretz has been carrying an interesting exchange on the Palestinian 'right of return' for refugees. The radical leftist Uri Avnery breezily ignores the rights of Jewish refugees in the discussion. While a rebuttal letter in response mentions Jewish refugees, the author makes the mistake of demanding an equal right of return for Jewish refugees to Arab lands.

My comment: Uri Avnery is wrong to assume that a 'right of return' is a sacrosanct principle of international law. Article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights has never applied to Palestinian refugees. A 'right of return' was added at the last minute and was intended to underscore the rights of hostage populations to leave their countries. Besides, the Palestinian refugees were never citizens of Israel.

The Arab states rejected UN res 194, which also called for compensation and resettlement, while Israel did take back around 50,000 refugees in the 50s and paid some compensation.
The Arab states have violated international law by refusing to resettle their own refugees, and refusing to compensate Jewish refugees.

Besides, Avnery is wrong to say that the Arab refugees were 'ethnically cleansed'. They fled a war zone. The Jews, on the other hand, were banished from areas which fell to the Jordanians and Egyptians. The question remains - whether anything should be owed to a population who violated international principles by waging a war of aggression.

Grinblat is right that the definition of refugee should only apply to the actual refugees and not their descendants, but is wrong to even to entertain the idea of return for 100,000.

Israel has no obligation to allow Arab refugees to return 70 years after they left.
The existence of an equal number of Jewish refugees for whom return to Arab countries is dangerous should put paid to this notion, once and for all.

The point he should be making is that an irrevocable exchange of refugees took place. Neither set should be allowed to return.

I am Free from Reem's Racist Stupidity!

Michael Lumish

Reem Assil and her malicious, anti-Zionist friends challenged the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States and promptly got their legalistic butts kicked.

{Good for them.}

Anyone who followed the story of Assil's extremist and terrorist-admiring restaurant at the Fruitvale BART Station in Oakland knows that her attorneys dismissed her malicious "lawfare" action against Bob Pave, Robin Dubner, and myself.

This was due to the insightful work of Mitch Danzig, Evan Nadel, and Paul Huston of the law firm, Mintz Levin.

Speaking strictly for myself, I owe those gentlemen a significant debt of thanks.

There are, however, a few loose ends dangling that I want to tie up.

The first is that I owe an apology to StandWithUS, particularly Randy Kessler, Executive Director of the Northwest chapter.

And I owe a big tip 'o the kippa to Yael Lerman, Director of the SWU legal department.

{Were I her I do not know that I would have been quite so nice to me.}

When, during the vigils, it looked as if we would get zero support from the larger San Francisco Bay Area Jewish community, I lambasted that organization and stormed into Kessler's Facebook space with a self-righteous fit.

It was inappropriate, unfair, and I was wrong to do it.

Nonetheless, despite my bad manners, SWU did more to help the ongoing vigils at Reem's than any synagogue or other Bay Area Jewish organization.

After coming out of this nonsense, however, I have one significant message.

It is this:

The western-left is not a friend to the Jewish people and "intersectionality" as expressed within left-leaning politics is racist.

This is my "takeaway" from all of this mishigas.

There are plenty of self-identified progressives and "liberals" who are, indeed, great friends of the Jewish people and of the State of Israel. I do not mean to insult or castigate my progressive friends, but the obvious fact is that the western-left, in general, is unfriendly toward Israel.

According to recent Pew polling 40 percent of "liberal Democrats" support Palestinian-Arabs over the Jews in the Middle East, while only 33 percent favor the Jews.

Those who stood up with me against Reem's racist restaurant included members of the LGBT community and a survivor of the Warsaw Ghetto, yet we were called both homophobes and White Supremacists by the "progressives" who opposed us.

This is what the Left has descended into.

The people who confronted our vigil and who outnumbered us by a factor of at least three-to-one were entirely from progressive-left organizations and pro-Palestinian groups.

Despite all the evidence that is available - as Professor William Jacobson from the Cornell University Law School readily demonstrates - they still prefer to believe that Rasmea Odeh's confession was beaten and raped out of her over twenty-five days, despite the fact that the records show she admitted her guilt on the day immediately following her apprehension by the Israeli authorities.

We even have Aisha Odeh, Rasmea's partner, boasting of the murders and implicating Rasmea on Palestinian Authority television many years later.

The International Red Cross observed the trial and found it to be fair.

What more can anyone want?

Intersectionality and the Killing of Oscar Grant

It should also be noted that on the mural of Rasmea Odeh at Reem's bakery-cafe is a button or badge reading "Oscar Grant."

Oscar Grant was the young black man shot dead by Oakland police on New Year's Eve 2009 on the platform of the Fruitvale  BART Station within spitting distance of Reem's joint. The shooting sparked riots in Oakland and Reem Assil is trying to associate Rasmea Odeh with Oscar Grant for the purpose of associating Palestinian-Arab antisemitic anti-Zionism with the movement for "social justice" in the United States.

She is exploiting that movement and, in the process, is suggesting a sort-of ideological kinship between Grant, who was a victim, and Odeh, who is a murderer of innocent people. It seems to me that the Black community should be unhappy at the implied comparison.

In any case, the fundamental idea behind the intersectionalist trend is that just as African-Americans are said to be oppressed by the powerful "white patriarchy" in the United States, so Palestinian-Arabs are said to be oppressed by the powerful "Jewish white patriarchy" in Israel. The notion is that Zionism, like White Supremacy, is an oppressive system of dominance that must inevitably crush the Palestinian-Arabs under an iron boot.

These separate forms of alleged injustices are all thought of as sewn from the same racist and rapacious ideological cloth.

Needless to say, progressive-left anti-Zionism and intersectionality leave Jewish people out of the progressive-left Good Guys Club. Jews are considered "white" and "whiteness" is considered a predatory form of consciousness.

Meanwhile, the idea that Jewish nationalism must be crushed while Palestinian-Arab nationalism must be celebrated is racist, yet this is precisely what Assil is promoting by shoving Rasmea Odeh into the face of anyone who happens into her place. Since Odeh is a murderer in the cause of antisemitic anti-Zionism the message is that violence toward Jews - even to the degree of blowing people to smithereens - is honorable.

This is shades of 1930s Berlin and every Jew who passes that mural on the way into the Fruitvale BART Station has been put on notice.

Western-left intersectionality and the related identity politics, as practiced today, dockets people according to a racialized and gendered hierarchy of victimhood. The value of the individual depends on where they fall within the hierarchy. Jewish people, and particularly Jewish men, are at the very bottom of the hierarchy - along with men of European descent - and thus killing Jewish people is considered understandable under the toxic logic of progressive-left intersectionality and identity politics.

Within progressive-left identity politics the murder of Jews is simply an expression of the Palestinian-Arab "resistance" to Jewish oppression. Assil and her friends consider Odeh innocent not because of the evidence - which clearly demonstrates her guilt - but merely because they want her to be innocent. And even if she is not, her actions were fully justified as a matter of the "liberation" of the Palestinian-Arabs.

Such a view is nothing more, nor anything other, than genocidal racism toward the Jewish people. 

A Dash of Jewish History

For thirteen centuries the Jews of the Middle East suffered under the heel of Arab-Muslim imperial rule, along with the Christian population, within the system of dhimmitude as we call it in the West.

Although dhimmitude varied from century to century, and within the various areas of Arab-Muslim dominance, it was never better than Jim Crow at its worst. 

Jewish people were not allowed to repair synagogues. They were not allowed to hold a position of authority over any Arabs. They were generally not allowed to ride horses or defend themselves in the streets. They were not allowed to possess homes that overlooked the homes of the dominant majority Arab population. Speaking ill of the prophet Muhammad was punishable by death, as was Jewish sexual relations with Muslim women. In some places Jews were not even allowed outside during a rainstorm lest their Jewish filth run into the streets, thereby contaminating the dominant majority population.

And we had to pay the jizya, otherwise known as "protection money." The formal process of that payment was designed to be a humiliating experience for the purpose of reinforcing our lowly place within Arab-Muslim culture.

{See, Martin Gilbert, In Ishmael's House: A History of Jews in Muslim Lands, Yale University Press, 2010.}

Furthermore, the Palestinian-Arabs have turned down every single offer for statehood from the Peel Commission of 1937 until this moment and the greater Arab nation, which outnumbers the Jews of the Middle East by a factor of 60 or 70 to 1, have never ceased trying to destroy Israel and thereby reduce the Jews who survive back to the second and third-class non-citizenship.

And, yet, intersectionality in the mouths of western-leftists blames the Jewish people for the never-ending Arab-Muslim, Koranically-based hostility toward us.

When I attended the first vigils at Reem's restaurant my grievances with the progressive-left were largely theoretical. It seemed clear to me that by embracing various forms of racism - such as anti-white racism, antisemitic anti-Zionism, and what Manfred Gerstenfeld dubbed "Humanitarian Racism" - and through their growing opposition to freedom of speech, that the Left was (and is) shedding its liberalism and, thereby, hollowing-out its very reason to be.

{Progressivism without liberalism is authoritarianism, after all.}

Now, however, the criticisms have moved from the theoretical to the personal because Assil and her supporters tried to drag me into court for the purpose of shutting down my freedom of speech. People have suggested to me that this was a test case designed to challenge the American commitment to freedom of speech.

From where I sit, despite the howling of precious snowflakes from UC Berkeley to Columbia University, the First Amendment to the Constitution remains strong.

Now if only we could somehow get more Jewish people, and friends of Jewish people, to understand that the mural of Rasmea Odeh at Reem's remains an ongoing call to violence against the tiny Jewish minority wherever we may be in the world.

What does it say about a political movement that it venerates a genocidal Jew murderer in the name of "social justice"?

In the name of fundamental human decency, the mural of Rasmea Odeh should be removed from Reem's racist restaurant.

I have been in touch with Terry Joffe Benaryeh who has a piece in the Times of Israel concerning the murder Edward Joffe entitled, The day joy vanquished my terror. 

Terry is Edward's niece.

My guess is that she and her family would heartily agree.

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 The New York Times:

This time around, Hamas has so far refused to consider disarming its fighters and has insisted that it remains dedicated to liberating Palestine, not embracing Mr. Abbas’s project of a two-state solution — despite a new document of principles it released in the spring that accepted the idea of a provisional Palestinian state, without renouncing future claims to the land that is now Israel.
While the newspaper will often put scare quotes around the word "terrorist," claiming that the definition of that term may be interpreted differently by different parties, it has no problem saying that Hamas' goal is "liberating Palestine."

The implication that the Times is giving by not choosing to use those scare quotes is that "Palestine" is  a land that deserves to be liberated - from Jewish rule.

Of course, Hamas' goal is destroying Israel and expelling its Jewish residents, not "liberating Palestine.". It says this explicitly; one example comes from a press release last month:
Palestine is a holy land that can not be bargained for, and only its people and its martyrs will live there.
The NYT use of "liberating Palestine" without scare quotes is not a one-off. In 2011 the NYT published an op-ed that used that phrase in reference to Hezbollah's aims, as well as an article about an anti-Israel Facebook page taken down:

Facebook began closely monitoring the page after numerous complaints in the last couple of weeks, including a letter last week from Israeli Cabinet Minister Yuli Edelstein to the chief executive officer, Mark Zuckerberg. Mr. Edelstein asked for the page to be removed because of concern that it was calling for the killing of Jews and of “liberating” Jerusalem through violence.
The managers of the page could not be reached for comment. In the information box, they described the purpose of the page as liberating Palestine. “After the Tunisian intifada and the Egyptian intifada and the Libyan intifada comes the Palestinian intifada.”
In this example, by not using the scare quotes, The New York Times is explaining the meaning of a "Palestinian intifada" as being the liberation of Palestine.

But in 2010, referring to Hamas, the newspaper did put the word "liberating" in quotes, noting accurately that it meant destroying Israel, an explanation that was not made clear in this latest case.

Newspapers, especially prominent papers like The New York Times, have style sheets and guides on consistent use of phrases. It seems unlikely that this phrase has been mistakenly kept in its reporting without an editor having made a clear decision to allow it is be used without the scare quotes.

By using the term "liberating Palestine" as a matter of fact phrase and not a quote by Israel's enemies, the NYT is telling the world that a nation that never existed is in need of being "liberated" from Israel, meaning the destruction of Israel.

That is about as anti-Israel as it gets.

(h/t Gary Weiss)

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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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