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Israel’s Scandalously Deficient Response to Global Anti-Semitic Tsunami: Isi Leibler, Candidly Speaking, Feb. 24, 2015 — Successive Israeli governments have failed miserably to meet the challenge of global anti-Semitism, not providing the leadership demanded of a Jewish state in these turbulent times and leaving Diaspora Jews to their own devices.
Demonizing Israel With False Moral Equivalence: Manfred Gerstenfeld & Jamie Berk, CIJR, Feb. 27, 2015— Rhetoric plays a major role in the demonization process of Israel.
Mike Huckabee, Tour Guide in the Holy Land: William Booth, Washington Post, Feb. 23, 2015 — Whether or not Mike Huckabee becomes president of the United States, the nation of Israel — and especially Israel’s hard-line right wing — has few more devoted fans than the former Arkansas governor, evangelical pastor and gung-ho tour guide to the Holy Land.
A Salute to John Baird: David M. Weinberg, Israel Hayom, Feb. 6, 2014— John Baird, the Canadian foreign minister who announced his retirement from politics this week, was more than a very good friend to the State of Israel.
Remembering Prime Minister Menachem Begin: Breaking Israel News, Feb. 25, 2014
Hear Out Israel’s Leader: Joseph Lieberman, Washington Post, Feb. 22, 2015
US-Israel Ties: The Mutually Beneficial, Two-Way Street: Yoram Ettinger, Jewish Press, Feb. 11, 2015
Candidly Speaking, Feb. 24, 2015
Successive Israeli governments have failed miserably to meet the challenge of global anti-Semitism, not providing the leadership demanded of a Jewish state in these turbulent times and leaving Diaspora Jews to their own devices. The global anti-Semitic tsunami, an unprecedented surge of feral hostility compounded by the Internet, emanates from a combination of factors: rabid Muslim anti-Semitism and violence, demonical anti-Israelism of the Left, and traditional cultural and radical Jew-hatred of the Right. It has impacted on Jewish communities everywhere but ironically is most acute in Europe, the continent drenched with Jewish blood during the Holocaust. It gathered enormous momentum during the recent military confrontation with Hamas, climaxing in France.
The responses by European Jewish leaders differ in various countries. Overall, the French have responded courageously. In contrast, others have behaved like “trembling Israelites,” some remaining in denial and continuing to understate the problem. By and large, Jews in Europe are under great stress and many are despondent about their future. The situation in South America and South Africa has increasingly deteriorated. Even Canada and Australia, whose governments are strongly supportive of Israel, have witnessed an upsurge in anti-Semitism. In the United States, the Goldene Medina, despite the strong public and congressional support for Israel, many Jews are stunned by the anti-Israeli hysteria generated by the Left and some liberal media and shocked by the toxic levels of anti-Semitism displayed on many college campuses.
It is estimated that well over $100 million is invested in various overlapping agencies purporting to combat anti-Semitism. Some play a constructive role but others are useless and sometimes even counterproductive. Yet, despite this, American Jewry’s graying establishment leadership is on the defensive and has become less strident. The caustic and frequently hostile anti-Israeli remarks expressed by President Barack Obama were met with deafening silence — uncharacteristic of the traditionally feisty leaders. The reluctance, despite grass-roots outrage, of leading Jewish organizations — including the Anti-Defamation League — to publicly protest the New York Metropolitan Opera’s performance of the anti-Semitic opera “The Death of Klinghoffer” also exemplifies this trend.
Overall, Diaspora Jews are under enormous stress, confused and frequently divided as how to respond to the upsurge of anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic onslaughts. The global Jewish bodies purporting to combat these vicious trends all have limitations and have proven unable to provide the necessary direction on a global basis. The rejuvenated World Jewish Congress, headed by Ronald Lauder, has been a positive force, especially over the past year, among Jewish communities in Europe and especially in Latin America. Its inherent weakness is the absence of endorsement by the major American Jewish organizations, without which it cannot purport to represent world Jewry.
The Jewish Agency is headed by the charismatic Natan Sharansky, who possesses a full intellectual grasp of the problem. Unfortunately, he appears to have been diverted, channeling most of his energies toward fundraising, the bureaucratic management of an old and ailing organization, and concentrating primarily on non-contentious issues such as promoting Jewish identity. His absence of leadership was especially notable following the recent tragic events in France when he actually distanced the Jewish Agency from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s call on French Jews to consider aliyah. Alas, today the Jewish Agency is no longer regarded as a major force in leading and coordinating with Diaspora Jews.
The World Zionist Organization (WZO), once a major body with active constituents throughout the world, is today utterly moribund, and has negligible impact as evidenced by its hibernation during the recent anti-Semitic upheavals in France. A few weeks ago, the WZO suddenly emerged from its slumber with a childish questionnaire to constituents inquiring whether they felt that anti-Semitism was growing. Incredibly, it was accompanied by a primitive video seeking to depict Belgian anti-Semitism. It highlighted a Rabbi Menachem Margolin of the Association of European Jews (not to be confused with the European Jewish Congress) who the previous week had castigated Netanyahu for his “Pavlovian calls for aliyah after every terror attack.” Former WZO leaders must be turning in their graves at the degeneration of this formerly respected body. Chairman Avraham Duvdevani should consider officially dissolving the organization which disgraces its remaining constituents in the U.K., Australia and South Africa who continue to be engaged in important Zionist activity.
Over a decade ago, Israel’s Foreign Affairs Ministry, in conjunction with the Diaspora Affairs Ministry, created the Global Forum for Combating Anti-Semitism. It was enthusiastically supported and endorsed by major Jewish communal organizations and activists throughout the world. Sadly, due to lack of funding and personnel, it was unable to create a meaningful secretariat to maintain operations between the intermittent international conferences and therefore failed to provide the vital ongoing leadership and framework for consultation for which it was created. Ironically, despite the explosion of anti-Semitism, aside from a parliamentary offshoot, this organization is dormant. Its last conference was in 2013, with a follow-up meeting of 20 representatives held in February last year that was a nonevent. However, only recently, in a letter signed by Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Diaspora Affairs Minister Naftali Bennett, the Global Forum invited Diaspora Jewish leaders and activists to participate in the fifth conference, scheduled for May 2015. That ministers, whose sole contribution to the organization comprised an opening statement to conferences, could launch a meeting scheduled for a date when they may no longer be in office, highlights how politicians with a penchant for exploiting platforms to aggrandize their political status have hijacked this area…
[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]
Manfred Gerstenfeld & Jamie Berk
CIJR, Feb. 27, 2015
Rhetoric plays a major role in the demonization process of Israel. Besides the use of lies, the dissemination of false arguments is prevalent among the major demonization techniques. It is thus important that those who publicly defend Israel are trained to see through such tactics. One prominent technique used against Israel is false moral equivalence. It is based on the deceitful claim that there is no difference between two greatly dissimilar actions.
Comparisons by nature easily lend themselves to abuse. Examples abound and only some of the most frequent ones can be mentioned here. Several go beyond the realm of common sense. A prominent one is the perverse claim that Israel’s behavior is equivalent to that of Nazi Germany or the Nazis. This example of false moral equivalence is widespread throughout Europe. Five studies covering nine European countries show that about 40% of Europeans think that Israel is a Nazi state. Another version of this falsehood is that Israel is exterminating the Palestinians. This is also widespread as found in European polls. Yet another variant of this false comparison is that “Zionism is fascism.” When speaking at the Fifth Alliance of Civilizations Forum in Vienna in February 2013, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayipp Erdogan stated, “Just like Zionism, anti-Semitism and fascism, it becomes unavoidable that Islamophobia must be regarded as a crime against humanity.” This statement was immediately criticized by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Since false comparisons are so easily made, a great variety of them are used against Israel. The false moral equivalence of Zionism and racism was a tactic created by the Soviet Union to justify its refusal to condemn anti-Semitism. This political strategy was initially used in an attempt to expel Israel from the United Nations in the 1960s. Although it failed, the Soviet Union, its satellite states and its Arab allies eventually succeeded in 1975 in passing UN resolution 3379. It determined that “Zionism is a form of racism and racial discrimination.” Yet another example of false moral equivalence frequently used to demonize Israel is labelling Israel an apartheid state. Former U.S president Jimmy Carter is among those who made this false comparison in the title of his 2006 book, Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid.
Israeli left-wing journalist Benjamin Pogrund’s book, Drawing Fire has as its subtitle Investigating the Accusations of Apartheid in Israel. The author says in a personal note in the book: I was treated for stomach cancer at one of Israel’s leading hospitals, Hadassah Mt Scopus in Jerusalem. The surgeon (he was the head surgeon) was Jewish, the anesthetist was Arab. The doctors and nurses who cared for me were Jews and Arabs. During four and a half weeks as a patient, I watched Arab and Jewish patients get the same devoted treatment. A year or so later, the head surgeon retired; he was replaced by a doctor who is an Arab. Since then, I’ve been in hospital clinics and emergency rooms. Everything is the same for everyone. Israel is like apartheid South Africa? Ridiculous.
Another popular false moral equivalence used is the idea that Israel represents a colonial power in the Middle East. Historian Richard Landes exposed the hypocrisy of this moral equivalence. He wrote about the benign nature of Zionist settlements in Ottoman and British Palestine, sharply contrasting from the imperial aspirations of European powers at the time. “Rather than arrive as zero-sum military victors, the Zionists arrived as positive-sum neighbors.” Yet another use of false moral equivalence is comparing the Holocaust to the Naqba. Many have adopted this false moral equivalence. The Holocaust and Naqba are far from similar, however. The Holocaust was a planned genocide of industrial extermination. The Palestinian Naqba was a direct result of the refusal of Palestinians to accept the existence of Israel, which led to their major military defeat.
Another category of moral equivalence implies that the intended murder of innocent civilians is equivalent to the accidental deaths of civilians in military actions. In March 2012, European Union Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton compared the deaths of innocent people like the Jewish children killed in Toulouse, France by serial killers and brutal dictators, like Syria’s Bashar al-Assad, to the accidental deaths of civilians due to Israeli retaliatory actions in Gaza. Justice Minister Tzipi Livni reacted by saying, “There is no similarity between an act of hatred or a leader killing members of his nation and a country fighting terror, even if civilians are harmed."…
[To Read the Full Article With Footnote Click the Following Link—Ed.]
Washington Post, Feb. 23, 2015
Whether or not Mike Huckabee becomes president of the United States, the nation of Israel — and especially Israel’s hard-line right wing — has few more devoted fans than the former Arkansas governor, evangelical pastor and gung-ho tour guide to the Holy Land. The man is just nuts about Israel. Huckabee has been a regular visitor to Israel for 42 years, he says. Some years, he comes three or four times. He can’t remember how many trips exactly. Lots.
Among the many hats that Huckabee wears — he is also a former Fox news personality — the hat he has worn the longest is leader of the “Israel Experience With Mike Huckabee.” He’s led dozens of tours. Huckabee said he believes that “Americans support Israel, but until they see it, they don’t get it.” He’s not hot on the idea of two states for two peoples. But he is passionate about visiting the places where the Bible comes alive for him, such as the green hills now covered in wildflowers on the Mount of Beatitudes in the Galilee, where tradition says Jesus gave the sermon that called upon his followers to turn the other cheek, rather than take an eye for an eye.
Though busy preparing for another run for the White House, Huckabee is currently shepherding his flock of 253 paying guests around Israel for 10 days. That’s six busloads — a lot more people than may follow some candidates around New Hampshire in February next year. The Huckabee entourage includes Christian music hall-of-famer Al Denson, violinist and evangelical minister Maurice Sklar and country western star Larry Gatlin, who came off the bus here at Masada sporting a burnt-orange cap with a stitched-on pistol and the words “Texas: We Don’t Call 911” — which is kind of appropriate if you know the story of Masada. The price is $5,250, including round-trip airfare from New York, five-star hotel accommodations, all meals, deluxe motor-coach transport, licensed guides and all fees, tips and taxes. Huckabee’s wife, Janet, said they tell guests they can bring a $20 bill and come home with the change.
The Israel Experience tour focuses on the sacred, but there’s plenty of the political. On past trips, Huckabee and his guests have met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon. They get an earful in evening lectures, too. On this trip, they’ve heard from speakers such as the philanthropist and venture capitalist Kenneth Abramowitz, president of American Friends of Likud, Netanyahu’s party. Abramowitz has been quoted calling for shutting down the United Nations. During this trip, Huckabee said, Abramowitz spoke to his group about the myths of the Middle East, “such as if Israel gives up land, it will get peace, which is a complete myth.”
The Huckabeeans also heard from Morton Klein, national president of the Zionist Organization of America, who explained to the group, according to Huckabee, that there’s really no such thing as the “Palestinians.” “The idea that they have a long history, dating back hundreds or thousands of years, is not true,” Huckabee said. The tourists didn’t hear from the Palestinians themselves on this matter. Huckabee said he hasn’t met with the leadership in Ramallah. On this tour, the group didn’t go to Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus, across the Israeli separation barrier in the West Bank, though they looked at it from one of the Jerusalem neighborhoods. “I’ve been a bit outspoken,” Huckabee said. “I’m not sure they’d be delighted to see me.”
They started this trip in Jerusalem’s Old City, bowed their heads at the Western Wall, slipped a note between the cracks in the great stones, strolled the Roman-era Cardo Maximus and took in the inspiring view from the Mount of Olives. They knelt where tradition says Jesus prayed in his moment of doubt and pain in the Garden of Gethsemane, hours before his crucifixion, his anguish so great that, according to Luke 22:44, “his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” Don’t know your Bible verses? The participants on this tour do. As one of Huckabee’s guests joked, “Scripture will be quoted.” “It’s like the Bible in color,” Janet Huckabee said.
Here atop a high red butte in the Negev desert, towering above the Dead Sea, stands the mountain redoubt of Masada, built by King Herod just before the time of Jesus and occupied, as a kind of last-stand Jewish Alamo, by the Zealots who rebelled against Roman rule in 66 A.D. It is one of Huckabee’s favorite places in the world, and here the soon-to-be aspiring presidential contender gathered his people on Thursday. As the visitors stood beneath flapping blue, green and yellow banners — denoting the separate buses — and with the sun fighting with dark snow clouds above, Huckabee explained why. “One cannot understand the psyche of the Israelis, the heart and soul of Israel, without visiting two places,” Huckabee said: the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem and Masada. He called the latter “a God-made fortress” in the middle of the desert.
During the Great Revolt of the Jews, the rebels, known as the Sicarii because of their long, curved daggers, fled to Masada. The Roman 10th Legion laid siege to the mountaintop — 10,000 soldiers against 960 rebels, including women and children. Quoting the account left by Josephus Flavius, a Jewish leader turned Roman citizen who wrote “The Wars of the Jews,” Huckabee told his audience that in the hours before the gates were breached by the Romans, the rebel leader Eleazar Ben Yair told his people it was better to take their own lives than live as slaves to Rome. And that they did, with 10 men slaying all, and the last killing himself, Huckabee said. Huckabee compared their zeal for liberty to that of the American Founding Fathers and said the Jews on Masada fulfilled the New Hampshire license-plate motto, “Live Free or Die.” He said the Jews “reflect the values upon which our country was founded upon,” a love for freedom. He compared the Jewish Zealots to American men and women serving in the armed forces. He called the Jews “the only people who ever had this as their homeland” and said that when young recruits begin their service in the Israel Defense Forces, “they vow that Masada will never fall again — and they mean it.” “Amen,” the audience said….
[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]
David M. Weinberg
Israel Hayom, Feb. 6, 2015
John Baird, the Canadian foreign minister who announced his retirement from politics…was more than a very good friend to the State of Israel. Baird is proof positive that it is possible to engage in moral diplomacy in a cynical world. He demonstrated that it is possible to be solidly pro-Israel and simultaneously gain a respected role on the international stage and maintain excellent ties with the Arab world. No country has been as trailblazing in its support of Israel in recent years as Canada. Baird and his boss, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, have spoken out and acted to defend Israel, without apologies or hesitations. They have never felt the need to be politically correct and to "balance" their statements with (im)moral ambiguities about the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Canada was the first country in the world to cut ties with and aid to the Gaza government when Hamas seized power in 2006; the first country to withdraw its support from the infamous anti-Israel U.N. conferences known as Durban II and III; the first country to robustly defend Israel in the four wars it has been forced to fight in recent years against Hezbollah and Hamas; and a leading voice in defense of Israel at the G-8, G-20, U.N. Human Rights Council, and International Atomic Energy Agency. Over three years that it sat on the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva, Canada stood alone in defense of Israel, eight times casting the only "no" vote against unfair condemnations of Israel. Canada would not, Baird said, "go along, just to get along" with politically correct, but morally perverse, de rigueur condemnations of Israel. Baird personally cast Canada's vote against U.N. recognition of Palestinian statehood, with Canada being one of only nine countries that voted against the proposal. "We took a principled stand," Baird said. "We believe that statehood is a product of peace with Israel, and the Palestinian Authority is trying to go around Israel to the U.N. to get what they couldn't get at the negotiating table." Canada also has led the world in expressing deep skepticism of the interim agreements between the P5+1 and Iran, and in insisting that the scope of the talks must be broadened to include Iran's sponsorship of terrorism and its systemic violation of human rights.
The importance of the moral stances that Harper and Baird have taken in recent years must not be underestimated. They have emerged as voices of critique, courage and principle in a world that is in danger of losing its conscience about Jews and Israel. In a recent interview, Baird said the Harper government does not support Israel to win votes — he pointed out there are more Muslims and Arabs than Jews in Canada — but rather "because it is the right thing to do. I think when you do the right thing, in the end you will meet with success." "In our view, liberal democracies and international terrorist groups are not equal. They do not deserve equal treatment. True friends are measured by whether they are there for you when you need them most, when that support is steadfast, even when it's not popular or expedient," he said. "Just as communism and fascism were the great struggles of previous generations, terrorism is the great struggle of ours. And far too often the Jewish state is on the frontline in our struggle, and its people are the victims of terror. Canada will not accept or stay silent when the Jewish state is attacked for defending its territory and its citizens."…
The upright Canadian stance paves the way toward two important conclusions. First, Canada's leadership suggests that the cynical, often amoral calculations that characterize so much of modern diplomacy — especially when it comes to Israel — need not reign supreme forever. World leaders need not bow to the demonization or to the Orwellian twisting of language and history that increasingly pertains to Israel. On the contrary, Baird's record demonstrates that in the long run, moral stances are possible and can become the basis for pragmatic diplomacy. Second, Baird has demonstrated that you can be solidly pro-Israel and simultaneously gain a respected role on the international stage and maintain excellent ties with the Arab world. Never before has Canada held a more prominent role on the international stage, on issues ranging from the Ukraine to Iran, and from supporting human rights to fighting terrorism. Furthermore, it is demonstrable that Canada's role and stature in the Middle East have been enhanced, not hampered, by the Harper government's close ties with Israel…
[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]
CIJR Wishes All Our Friends and Supporters: Shabbat Shalom!
Remembering Prime Minister Menachem Begin: Breaking Israel News, Feb. 25, 2014—“I am not only a follower of Menachem Begin, but I’m an admirer,” says Prof. Moshe Arens, recalling the Prime Minister’s legacy in an exclusive interview with VOI’s Ernie Singer on the 23rd anniversary of the leader’s death.
Hear Out Israel’s Leader: Joseph Lieberman, Washington Post, Feb. 22, 2015 —Last week, 23 House Democrats asked Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) to postpone Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s address to a joint meeting of Congress scheduled for March 3.
Citing “Existential” Threat, Dermer Praises U.S.-Israel Ties, Defends PM’s Speech to Congress: Tower, Jan. 26, 2015—In a speech Sunday night, Israel’s ambassador to the United States, Ron Dermer, praised the U.S.-Israel relationship and explained the importance of the invitation of House Speaker John Boehner to Israel’s Prime Minister of Israel to speak before a joint session of Congress on March 3.
US-Israel Ties: The Mutually Beneficial, Two-Way Street: Yoram Ettinger, Jewish Press, Feb. 11, 2015—Conventional wisdom suggests that US-Israel ties constitute a one-way-street: The US gives and Israel receives.
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