In anticipation of the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research’s upcoming Sunday, 6 November 2011 International Conference, “Combatting the Delegitimation of Israel,” this week’s Daily Briefings will focus on the global effort to demonize the lone democracy in the Middle East. The series will provide insight into the pervasive, “soft war” being waged against the Jewish State—in the media, in Europe, at the UN, on and off North American campuses, and in Israel itself. It will also convey relevant ways of combatting, and ultimately defeating, this dangerous propaganda campaign.
Highlighting each Briefing will be a selection of articles written by participants in CIJR’s International Conference. A video of the Conference will be posted on CIJR’s website, www.isranet.org. (For registration information call  486-5544 or write Yvonne@isranet.org.)
WHAT GILAD SHALIT TELLS US ABOUT THE RESPECT FOR LIFE
IN EUROPE, ISRAEL AND PALESTINE
Telegraph, October 21, 2011
One of the supreme ironies among the European moral stances has to do with their discourse on the death penalty. It is a standard trope of European contempt for the USA that it still has a death penalty, a sign of its cowboy nature and its retardation in the moral progress of nations.
And yet when that same Europe turns its gaze on the Middle East, the country they have the most contempt for is the only country in the entire region to reject capital punishment, and they have the most admiration for a “country” that among a widespread political culture that extensively uses torture and execution for the maintenance of public order, shows perhaps the most contempt for the lives of its own peoples and its enemies.
Normally, this would not be even worth mentioning. Most people would just roll their eyes while others complain about Zionist imperialists trying to divert attention from their oppression of the Palestinians. But if you want to understand the “hostage-for-prisoner-exchange” that just took place in Israel and the Western media’s coverage of the event, then you need to pay attention to the issue.
Israel first outlawed the death penalty in 1954, thus reversing the Mandate Law, which, in most other instances, Israel took over from the British. They based themselves both on rabbinic precedent (concerns for both respecting the image of God in man and the unattainable burden of proof) and modern liberal sentiment. In doing so, they became the first modern Western democracy to ban the death penalty, followed a decade later by Britain (1965), Sweden (1972), Canada (1976) and France (1981).
Note that Israel passed this law five years after the creation of a polity dedicated to equality before the law for all its citizens, a move that earned them the ferocious hostility of their neighbors in the Arab Muslim world. Normally, when countries attempt these egalitarian revolutions and find themselves surrounded by hostile enemies, they have, by year five, descended into mass executions of their own citizens (French Revolution in their fourth year, Russians, Chinese, Cambodians, almost immediately). Israel, on the other hand, outlawed the death penalty even for Arab terrorists who were captured while killing Israeli civilians. Israel has only executed one person, Adolph Eichmann, held responsible for the extermination of millions of Jews during the Holocaust.…
Palestine, on the other hand, represents almost the polar opposite. This is a place in which killing daughters and wives and homosexuals for shaming the family with (even suspected and loosely interpreted) inappropriate sexual behavior is a regular feature of society, where “collaborators” are summarily executed, where official statistics for executions put the PA at a rate of formal, legal execution that cedes only to China, Iran, N Korea, Yemen and Libya.
The trade of over a thousand Palestinians for one Israeli highlights the radical differences between the cultures. As Hizbullah’s [leader] Nasrullah put it after a prison exchange in 2004: “We have discovered how to hit the Jews where they are the most vulnerable. The Jews love life, so that is what we shall take away from them. We are going to win, because they love life and we love death.”
If a European, concerned about the nature of the aggressive Islam that has begun to crop up in his cities, citing for example Sharia zones, wanted to understand the nature of the Arab-Israeli conflict, he might spend a moment visiting the sites of Palestinian anti-Zionists, where this profoundly perverse culture teems. But of course, that would be politically incorrect. To spend any time pointing out the problems here constitutes the highest level of politically incorrect Islamophobia.
So instead of helping Europeans understand what’s at stake, most of the media and the NGO community have spun this story as one of violations of human rights on “both sides” with a heavy focus on Israeli misdeeds. The prisoners were considered “equal” and Israel primarily held accountable by the Geneva Convention for the treatment of enemy combatants when, in reality, the only one protected under these conditions was Shalit, a uniformed soldier kidnapped on his own soil in non-combat situation, and the thousand Palestinian prisoners where convicted in a court, primarily of crimes related to terror attacks on civilians.
Thus, The New York Times’s Robert Mackee could speak glibly about the “joy of parents on both sides” at the return of prisoners, and the UN could voice its concern that the prisoners Israel released might be subject to illegal forced transfer: “Returning people to places other than their habitual places of residence is in contradiction to international humanitarian law.” The UN’s concern for the full exercise of free will by convicted mass murderers illustrates the problem. Humanitarian discourse has been turned on its head to protect the ugliest players in this particular game…all the while implying that Israel, in its haste to get its own soldier back, trampled their rights and violated humanitarian law. Not surprisingly this led Ban Ki Moon to a moment of moral vertigo where he denounced the violation of everyone’s rights.…
In acquiescing with a narrative in which hatred and murder are considered legitimate expressions of “resistance” to “occupation,” Western human rights activists—including many journalists—have degraded humanitarian language at the same time as they have allowed into the public sphere a discourse of genocidal hatred. They have excluded any sympathy for Israelis who defend themselves from the onslaught they have shut out from their and their audiences’ consciousness.
It may seem cost-free to Westerners, but it’s not. In misreading the nature of the threat Israel faces, in adopting a degraded language of human rights to protect the greatest enemies of human rights on the planet, in adopting a corrupted advocacy journalism that masquerades as empirically accurate, they embrace all the kinds of techniques that put them in danger when faced with the same enemy.
(Richard Landes, an Associate Professor in the Department of History at Boston University,
is presenting a paper at CIJR’s November 6th Montreal International Conference.)
THE UN’S INDIFFERENCE TO DEAD JEWS
FrontPage, October 31, 2011
The “international community” is always quick to blame Israel for any reprisals it takes against Palestinian terrorists. Accusations of “collective punishment,” “disproportionate force,” and “extrajudicial targeted assassinations” are regularly hurled at Israel from the chambers of the dysfunctional Human Rights Council and other United Nations bodies, including the UN Security Council. Yet when Israel seeks even the mildest of rebukes from the Security Council for continued rocket attacks launched against Israeli civilians from Hamas-controlled Gaza, it is met with stone-faced silence.
Israeli UN Ambassador Ron Prosor has just sent yet another letter dated October 29, 2011 to the Security Council calling “attention to a very serious escalation of rocket fire from the Gaza Strip.” On that very day, wrote Ambassador Prosor, major cities throughout southern Israel were bombarded with a barrage of dozens of rockets and mortars launched from the Gaza Strip. These attacks killed one Israeli civilian and injured a number of others.…
“The scenes coming out of Southern Israel today should shock and appall the international community and all decent people,” wrote the Israeli ambassador. “There is no question that the terrorists who carried out these attacks intended to deliberately target innocent civilians.”
Ambassador Prosor’s latest letter came just two days after he had sent a letter to the Security Council complaining of rocket attacks that had been launched from Gaza on October 26th, which struck near Ashdod. The letter fell on deaf ears, which is the most likely fate of his most current letter as well.
“Two days ago, I wrote to the Security Council and expressed my Government’s concern about the escalating violence emanating from Gaza, alerting the international community about the dangerous potential for civilian casualties,” Ambassador Prosor reminded the Council in his October 29th letter. “The Council did not utter a single word of condemnation. Today one Israeli civilian was murdered and others lay injured in hospitals this evening as a result of the escalating rocket fire—and we still only hear silence from the Security Council.”
Indeed, as Ambassador Prosor pointed out, the Security Council has failed to take any steps to ensure compliance with the provisions of Security Council Resolution 1860, passed on January 9, 2009, that called for a cease-fire in Gaza and an end to “illicit trafficking in arms and ammunition.…”
At a time when Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is trying to convince the Security Council that he represents a government worthy of becoming a member state of the United Nations, he remains silent as terrorist attacks continue to be launched from a Palestinian territory he is utterly incapable of controlling.…
Before the Security Council proceeds to a final decision on the Palestinians’ application for UN member state status, it should respond affirmatively to Israeli Ambassador Prosor’s plea to “act with a common purpose against the escalating violence flowing from Gaza” and to condemn continued Palestinian terrorism against innocent Israeli civilians. Ambassador Prosor has put the Security Council and the Palestinians on notice. There will be “serious consequences for continued rocket fire,” he said. “Israel has exercised and will continue to exercise its right to self-defense, as appropriate, and will take all necessary measures to protect its citizens.”
If the Security Council puts its head in the sand as expected, it will bear full responsibility for the consequences.
A HISTORY OF ISRAELI APARTHEID WEEK
National Post, March 3, 2011
Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW)…is a Canadian invention. The first event was held at the University of Toronto in 2005. The following year, it included Montreal and Oxford. In 2007, it grew to eight cities; in 2008, to 24 cities; in 2009, to 38 cities; last year, to over 40 cities. This year, IAW [was] held in over 55 cities worldwide.
While the event is new, the ideology at the heart of IAW is not. The accusation that Zionism is racist and imperialist by nature is as old as Israel. The Soviet Union was a leading proponent of this conception of Zionism; and it drew on the long history of leftist antisemitism, identifying Jewish nationalism and capitalist imperialism with Judaism and the Jewish bourgeoisie.
Within a year of Israel’s establishment, Stalin began to see Zionism as a serious threat to the Soviet Union. Zionism was perceived to be working in tandem with American imperialism, both in the Middle East and as a conspiracy inside the U.S.S.R.. From 1949 until his death in 1953, Stalin engaged in a full assault on the Jews of the Soviet Union, who were then considered “bourgeois nationalists” and a Zionist fifth column. Following the Six-Day-War in 1967, Soviet anti-Zionist rhetoric regularly used Nazi analogies, accusing Israel of behaving like Hitler.…
In his most recent history of anti-Semitism, entitled A Lethal Obsession, Robert Wistrich illustrates how the Soviet strategy to isolate and delegitimize Zionism precipitated UN Resolution 3379 in 1975, which stated that “Zionism is a form of racism and racist discrimination.” Two years earlier, UN Resolution 3151 had condemned “the unholy alliance between South African racism and Zionism.”
UN Resolution 3379 was annulled in 1991, the same year that the Soviet Union collapsed, but its echoes were heard again at Durban I, the World Conference Against Racism, held in 2001 under UN auspices. Charged with discussing a number of controversial subjects including slavery and reparations, much of the conference was dedicated to the so-called racist crimes of Zionism. Iran and Syria inserted six references to Zionism as a form of racism into the draft documents produced before the official conference (which were eventually removed). The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion was distributed to delegates by the Palestinian Solidarity Committee of South Africa.
Four years after Durban I, in 2005, Israeli Apartheid Week was born in Toronto. That July, 170 Palestinian civil-society organizations released an official call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (better known as BDS) against Israel. The document clearly stated that the call was modelled on the example of the South African struggle against Apartheid.…
This is the model chosen by pro-Palestinian activists today to dismantle so-called “Zionist racism” in the Middle East. By framing Israel as a racist apartheid state, BDS is presented as an entirely appropriate and morally correct plan of action. If Israel can be characterized as the new South Africa, it will have fewer and fewer supporters.…
As with the original anti-apartheid movement, the goal of IAW is explicitly political. And yet the rhetoric of IAW is left open enough to incorporate: (1) critics of Israel who still support a two-state solution; (2) those who support the dismantling of the current Jewish State and its replacement with a single (highly theoretical) secular democratic state; and (3) those who support the destruction of Israel by any means necessary. All three camps are included amongst supporters of IAW and the BDS campaign, and therefore the lines are often blurred between harsh criticism of the state of Israel, outright condemnation of its continued existence, and calls for its eradication. This is a serious problem, and one that appears to be designed quite consciously by IAW and the BDS movement.…
What we need, in response, is high-quality academic programming on university campuses that both unpacks and counters Israel Apartheid propaganda, and that actually engages with the difficult reality of the conflict. I would suggest that it is fundamentally irresponsible to allow IAW and its supporters to re-define Zionism as a racist form of European colonialism when in actual fact it is an emancipatory movement for Jewish self-determination—one that developed a new urgency and legitimacy with the wholesale systematic annihilation of Jewish Europe by a real form of racist European imperialism, better known as National Socialism.
(Catherine Chatterley, founding director of the Canadian Institute for the Study of Antisemitism (CISA), will be presenting a paper in Montreal at CIJR’s November 6th International Conference.)
GUIDE FOR THE PERPLEXED
Dr. Yasser Dasmabebi
FrontPage, October 26, 2011
I have come to realize just how difficult it may be to decipher news about the Middle East, Islam, Israel, the Arab World, and all these powerful and explosive issues of our times for those who rely on such media stalwarts as The New York Times, The Washington Post, theLos Angeles Times, the major television networks, cable news, etc. for their information. For example, how is a person to ascertain whether the slayer of a family is a terrorist or a militant or a gunman or an assailant or an activist or a freedom-fighter?
So, purely as a public service, I have organized the following glossary of the most pertinent terms and expressions, as typically used in the above-mentioned news sources. I hope,insha’allah, the reader will find it helpful to unravel the Gordian Knot of language that is today’s (and yesterday’s and tomorrow’s) Middle East!
Aggression: Killing people who are trying to kill you.
Al Qaeda: the terrorist group that, according to American security sources, embodies the world-wide Islamist movement, and that is either “significantly degraded” or is still “extremely dangerous,” depending on which government official is doing the talking.
Apartheid: The political/social system of the one and only country in the Middle East that integrates Jews, Beduins, Arabs, whites, blacks, Muslems, Ethiopians, Russians, Christians, Greek Orthodox, Russian Orthodox, Bahai, et al.
“Apes & Pigs”: See “Jew” below.
Arab Emir: Military dictator.
Arab King: Military dictator.
Arab President: Military dictator.
Arab Prime Minister: Military dictator.
Arab Spring: Replacement of one dictatorship with another, with the help of Western money and media cheerleading.
Arab Street: Enraged mobs chanting and screaming their hatred, determined to annihilate Israel and the Jews. They can often be seen burning American and Israeli flags, passing out candies and firing guns into the air in response to successful murders of Westerners (closely related to):
Arab Humiliation: The pervasive feeling on the Arab street generated by their failure to annihilate Israel and the Jews in several wars. Many opinion-makers, Middle East experts and op-ed writers argue that Arab humiliation is at the root of the Middle East conflict; i.e., “If only the Jews would let themselves be destroyed, the Arab street would feel better about themselves, and then there would be peace.”
Ayatola: Persian dictator. Spiritual leader of that faith that desires to ignite nuclear holocaust in order to bring about the arrival of the Mahdi. (See “Mahdi” below.)
Bias: An expression of support for the existence of Israel.
Caliphate: The unification of lands ruled in the name of Islam, ruled by a Caliph. (See “Arab King,” “Arab President,” etc. above.)
Compromise: To give something palpable, such as land, in return for a promise not to keep on trying to annihilate you.
Developing Country: A country that is not developing.
Disproportionate Response: Winning.
Diversity: The condition in which all cultures are viewed as equally and inherently virtuous, except for the culture of the West, which is viewed as evil by virtue of imperialism, colonialism and endemic racism (see “Racist” below).
Emergency Laws: The law.
Father of the Palestinian People: An Egyptian man, raised by his uncle, Hitler’s buddy, and one of the world’s most successful kleptocrats. (See “PLO” below.)
Fatwa: A pronouncement of a mullah that sanctions murder, but only of disagreeable people, like inadequately covered women, Salman Rushdie, etc.
Female Genital Mutilation: That ritual of which Western feminist organizations seem, by virtue of their silence, to approve.
Hamas: The democratically elected government of Gaza whose founding charter calls for genocide.
Hezbollah:The democratic group whose purpose is saving Lebanon from Israeli aggression, and whose founding charter calls for genocide.
History: Having nothing whatsoever to do with what has actually happened, but rather being what has come to be called “narrative,” i.e., “storytelling.” For one example, allusions to the “Ancient Nation of Palestine;” and for another, almost all the Muslem accomplishments President Obama enumerated in his momentous Cairo speech (also see “Rewriting History” below).
Holocaust: That genocide that did not happen, but that the Jews orchestrated in order to steal Arab land, and that of which the Jewish presence in Palestine is worse than.
Honor Killings: The cultural imperative to murder one’s daughter/sister/niece for humiliating male members…(see “Shariah” below).
Human Rights: The credo by which murder committed by a person from a country which used to be called “Third World” (now considered racist terminology) is good (see “Resistance” below); retaliatory killing by a person who is either from a developed country, a white person or most especially a Jew, is bad (see “Agression” above).
Human Shields: Integral part of Hamas & Hezbollah military strategy.
Islamic Republic: Military dictatorship.
Israel: Occupied territory (see “Zionist Entity” below).
Israeli Prime Minister: Hawkish, right-winger, hard-liner.
Jerusalem: City holy to Islam in which the Jews have no history.
Jew: The source of all decadence and evil in the world; descendent of apes and pigs.…
[For a continuation of this text please see On Topics below—Ed.]