Time for the US to Send a Message by Cutting UN Funding: Daniel Flesch, Algemeiner, Jan. 2, 2018— Recent events at the United Nations likely indicate a new tone to deliberations at the international organization.
Trump Should Crack Down on UNRWA, Finally End Fiction of Palestinian ‘Refugees’: Richard Goldberg, New York Post, Dec. 27, 2017— As the UN General Assembly voted to reject America’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, US Ambassador Nikki Haley issued a stern warning…
UNESCO Indulges Anti-Semitism: Sean Durns, JNS, Dec. 12, 2017— In October, the U.S. State Department notified the director-general of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) that America would be withdrawing from the U.N. body.
Aharon Appelfeld, Acclaimed Israeli Novelist and Holocaust Survivor, Dies at 85: New York Times, Jan. 4, 2018— Aharon Appelfeld, a prolific Israeli novelist and Holocaust survivor whose works examined the lost world of European Jews and the new lives they pursued in Israel, died on Thursday. He was 85.
On Topic Links
A Crystal Ball on 2018: David M. Weinberg, Jerusalem Post, Jan. 4, 2018
America Has Sometimes Stood Proudest at the UN When it has Stood Alone: Stephen Daisley, Spectator, Dec. 22, 2017
Nikki Haley Takes on World Government: Seth Lipsky, New York Post, Dec. 20, 2017
Bye UNESCO: Editorial, Jerusalem Post, Dec. 24, 2017
TIME FOR THE US TO SEND A MESSAGE BY CUTTING UN FUNDING
Algemeiner, Jan. 2, 2018
Recent events at the United Nations likely indicate a new tone to deliberations at the international organization. Driven by their frenzied attempt to demonize and delegitimize Israel, many of the UN’s member states improperly injected themselves into a matter of sovereign US policy — and, as a result, tried to humiliate the United States. As a consequence, the US should substantially cut its financial contributions to the United Nations.
On December 18, the US vetoed an Egyptian-drafted UN Security Council (UNSC) resolution that expressed “deep regret at recent decisions concerning the status of Jerusalem.” The “recent decision” was announced in President Donald Trump’s December 6 speech, in which he declared that the United States “officially recognize[s] Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.” The other 14 members of the UNSC all voted in favor of the resolution. Seeking recourse after falling short at the UN’s highest body, on December 20, Yemen and Turkey — as the respective chairs of the Arab Group and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation — brought the resolution before the UN’s General Assembly (GA), where no country can exercise a veto. Although GA resolutions have no enforcement mechanism, they often serve as a litmus test of world opinion. And the resulting vote was unequivocal: 128 in favor and 9 against, with 35 abstentions.
That an anti-Israel resolution passed in the General Assembly is no surprise; Abba Eban, a former Israeli ambassador to the UN, once famously remarked that if Algeria introduced a resolution stating that the world was flat — and that Israel had flattened it — the resolution would pass by a vote of 164 to 13, with 26 abstentions. However, the December 20 resolution should particularly concern the US — not simply because the resolution is anti-Israel, but because it seeks to interfere with a matter of internal US policy. Where a nation decides to locate its embassy is a sovereign act, and one that is not within the purview of the United Nations. In his speech, President Trump rightly noted that every country has the right to choose its own capital. Likewise, every nation has the right to determine the location of its embassies.
The decision to move the US embassy to Jerusalem was first legislated by Congress in the 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Act, which passed with overwhelming bipartisan support. Furthermore, in June of this year, the Senate passed a resolution (90-0) recognizing that “Jerusalem should remain the undivided capital of Israel,” and called on the president to “reaffirm the Jerusalem Embassy Act … and abide by its provisions.”
Far from a reflexive, compulsive act by a non-traditional president, Trump’s decision simply affirmed what has already been American policy for more than two decades; furthermore, it’s a position that enjoys broad support from elected officials on both sides of the aisle. Understood in this context, it is clear that the General Assembly vote was not just an admonition of an American president or an effort to humiliate the US, but a provocative attempt to repudiate the sovereignty of the American people.
Moreover, the UN needlessly inserted itself despite the clear absence of direct, tangible policy consequences. As host to Israel’s parliament, Supreme Court, prime minister and most Israeli government agencies, it is understood that Jerusalem will remain Israel’s capital, irrespective of final parameters of any peace agreement with the Palestinians — including the most generous Israeli peace plan in 2008, which offered eastern Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state. Trump also noted that his decision does not “reflect a departure from our strong commitment to facilitate a lasting peace agreement…that is acceptable to both sides.” In short, it does not change the facts on the ground.
The second notable development is the length to which UN member states went to pass this latest anti-Israel resolution. For comparison, the last time that the US issued its Security Council veto was in February 2011. Then, 79 states co-sponsored a draft resolution that demanded Israel cease building settlements in and around Jerusalem. The resolution failed 14-1, yet not one of the 79 cosponsors sought recourse in the General Assembly, where passage may well have carried significant consequences for Israel. For example, the EU could have increased its campaign to discriminate against, or boycott, products made in the settlements.
In 2017, however, the resolution in question concerns a decision internal to the United States, one that neither affects facts on the ground nor benefits Israel to the detriment of the Palestinians. And yet two different countries did not hesitate to bring Egypt’s resolution before the General Assembly. The obvious purpose of the GA vote was to give certain members of the international community an opportunity not only to reject Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, but to effectively reprimand the United States. The fact that Egypt, which receives $1.3 billion annually in US foreign aid, first authored the resolution makes this blatant display of anti-Americanism all the more egregious. The US must act to disincentivize UN member states from future attempts to neutralize its Security Council veto, and to try to humiliate it in the General Assembly.
The US provides 22% ($4 billion) of the UN’s mandatory contributions — far exceeding the contributions from other major countries — for administrative and programs costs, as well as for peacekeeping operations. The remaining $6 billion in US support are voluntary contributions that fund organizations such as UNICEF, the World Food Program and UNRWA (whose existence likely perpetuates the Palestinian conflict).
On December 24, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley offered an initial response to the resolution: that the US will cut the UN’s 2018-19 fiscal year operating budget by $285 million. Admittedly, this reduction is intended to “increase the UN’s efficiencies while protecting [American] interests.” Though a step in the right direction, more needs to be done to discourage the UN’s recent behavior.
The US, in the world of international relations, cannot always expect an unambiguously causal relationship between financial support and policies it wants. However, when illiberal actors hijack the UN, and pursue extraordinary measures to actively interfere with internal US policies, it is time to impose a consequence: reduced funding to the United Nations.
TRUMP SHOULD CRACK DOWN ON UNRWA,
FINALLY END FICTION OF PALESTINIAN ‘REFUGEES’
New York Post, Dec. 27, 2017
As the UN General Assembly voted to reject America’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, US Ambassador Nikki Haley issued a stern warning: We’ll remember this the next time you come calling for more hard-earned American taxpayer dollars. Most nation-states called her bluff, leaving many to wonder what comes next. If President Trump wants to use his financial leverage at the United Nations to strike at the heart of the anti-America, anti-Israel institutional infrastructure, he should look no further than the agency responsible for Palestinian refugees: the United Nations Relief and Works Agency.
By most definitions, refugees are those forced to flee their country because of persecution, war or violence. Nearly every refugee in the world is cared for by the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees, whose ultimate goal is repatriation, resettlement and integration. The exception? Palestinian refugees. Arab states insisted on a different definition for Palestinian-Arab refugees of the Israeli War of Independence — and a different agency to care for them. Today, millions of people are referred to as “Palestinian refugees” even though the only home they, and in many cases even their parents and grandparents, have ever known is either a refugee camp or an Arab host nation like Jordan.
Rather than use the billions of dollars of international assistance provided since 1950 to resettle and integrate Palestinian-Arab refugees — just as Israel successfully resettled and integrated Jewish refugees from the Middle East, North Africa and the Soviet Union — UNRWA’s mandate has always been to keep Palestinians as perpetual refugees. In truth, it’s not a refugee agency but a welfare agency, which keeps millions of people in a permanent state of dependency and poverty — all while feeding Palestinians an empty promise that one day they’ll settle in Israel.
Yet the United States remains the agency’s largest single-state donor. Unfortunately, every time Congress tries to expose the fiction of “the Palestinian refugee,” it runs up against a State Department fiercely protective of UNRWA and its mythology. In 2012, an amendment to the annual State-Foreign Operations appropriations bill asked the Obama administration a simple question: How many of the Palestinians currently served by UNRWA were personally displaced by the 1948 war? The point was to confirm to the world that there are only a relative handful of true Palestinian refugees still alive who may be entitled to repatriation or compensation. The rest, the descendants, are impoverished Palestinian-Arabs who will either become citizens of a future Palestinian state or be absorbed by Arab host nations.
While an official report was eventually sent to Congress, its contents were kept classified to keep the American public from knowing the truth. The Trump administration can take a giant step toward Middle East peace by declassifying that report, updating it and formally adopting a definition for Palestinian refugees that makes a clear distinction between refugees displaced by the 1948 war and their descendants.
The administration and Congress should work together to change the way America funds UNRWA, making clear to taxpayers how much money goes to refugee assistance and how much subsidizes a culture of welfare and terrorism. Future funding of the agency should be tied to a clear mission of resettlement, integration and economic self-sufficiency. A timetable and work plan should be established for UNRWA’s integration into UNHCR. Conditions should be set in the annual foreign bill, giving Haley the leverage she needs to force changes in the agency’s next biennium budget.
Nations of the world showed their true colors last week. Far too many cared more about castigating Israel than their relationship with the United States. UNRWA is a case study in the institutional bias that America helps fund at the United Nations. Shining a light on this agency and making it a centerpiece of a new reform agenda would be a victory for American taxpayers and a defeat for the international movement to castigate our closest ally in the Middle East.
UNESCO INDULGES ANTI-SEMITISM
JNS, Dec. 12, 2017
In October, the U.S. State Department notified the director-general of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) that America would be withdrawing from the U.N. body. The U.S. cited the need for fundamental reform, mounting arrears and “continuing anti-Israel bias” at the organization. But the problem is much deeper: UNESCO denies Israel’s very right to exist, a fact that its defenders would do well to acknowledge if they’re serious about reforming the agency.
In recent commentaries in The Hill and elsewhere, some have obfuscated UNESCO’s efforts to delegitimize the Jewish state. Commentators such as Dan Wagner, a special adviser to the UNESCO director-general, have minimized the organization’s troubling agenda, stating, “When it comes to Israel and some other hot-button political issues, the majority of UNESCO member nations and the U.S. have sometimes found themselves on opposite sides.” The reason? “Because UNESCO—as the U.S. insisted at its founding—is a fully democratic body that gives each member nation a single vote,” according to Wagner, “the majority truly does rule.” Yet this omits that the majority of UNESCO member nations have engaged in, or passively enabled, efforts to single out Israel. That it was done via “majority rule” hardly makes it any better, as the history of anti-Semitism regrettably illustrates.
UNESCO claims that it aims to “contribute to the building of peace,” and lists “fostering cultural diversity” and “intercultural dialogue” as some of its top objectives. But as the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) and others have documented, UNESCO has engaged in political warfare against Israel, seeking to delegitimize the Jewish state and erase the Jewish people’s historical connection to their ancestral homeland. For example, on April 15, 2016, UNESCO adopted a resolution that removed any Jewish historical ties to the Temple Mount and the Western Wall area in Jerusalem, referring to the former as the “al-Aqsa Mosque/al-Haram al-Sharif” and the latter as “al-Buraq Plaza.” The Temple Mount is the holiest site in Judaism. The existence of both structures—as verified by archaeologists—predates the founding of Islam by hundreds of years. UNESCO not only sought to strip these holy sites of their Jewish identity, but condemned Jewish visits and policing of the sites.
This politically motivated resolution is just one of many in UNESCO’s campaign against Israel. By singling out Israel for opprobrium—including during a period in which Islamists are targeting ancient sites throughout the world—UNESCO shows its bias. In October 2016, UNESCO passed another resolution that omitted mention of any Jewish connection to Jewish holy sites, referring to them only in Arabic and Muslim terms. That resolution charged Israel with being an “occupying power” in Jerusalem—a city that is not once mentioned in Islam’s Quran, but which has been central to Judaism for thousands of years.
As CAMERA Senior Analyst Ricki Hollander has noted, “This historical revisionism and attempted religious suppression is an affront to Jews and Christians alike as these sites are central to both religions.” In doing so, UNESCO blatantly takes the side of the Palestinian Arab leadership, which has sought to expunge any Jewish—and therefore important Christian—connections to Jerusalem’s holy sites. Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas, for example, called the Jewish history of Jerusalem a “delusional myth” in an Aug. 1, 2015, speech that was aired on the official PA TV station. By passing politicized resolutions, UNESCO serves the objectives of the PA and other entities that routinely attack the Jewish state and, in the PA’s case, routinely incite anti-Jewish violence.
Indeed, in the speech noted above, Abbas falsely claimed that Jews held designs to “rid” Jerusalem of the al-Aqsa mosque, located on the Temple Mount. As the Middle East analyst Nadav Shragai has noted, this libel has long been used by Palestinian and Arab rulers to provoke attacks against Jerusalem’s Jewish residents. True to form, Abbas’s remarks were followed shortly thereafter by the so-called “stabbing intifada” in which dozens of Israelis were attacked, and in some instances murdered, with bats, knives, rocks, vehicles and firearms, among other weapons. Worse still, in an April 2016 resolution, UNESCO blamed Israel for the terror attacks that followed Abbas’s speech. By contrast, when Palestinians have been caught—including on camera—desecrating religious holy sites like Rachel’s Tomb, Joseph’s Tomb and the Church of the Nativity, UNESCO is often silent despite its stated goal to protect culturally significant sites. In 2013, for example, more than 200 terror attacks occurred at Rachel’s Tomb, where the Jewish matriarch Rachel is believed to be buried; 119 of those attacks included the use of explosives at the sacred site.
In September 2015, four Palestinian terrorists were arrested for plotting an attack on another Jewish sacred site, Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus—the biblical city of Shechem in Samaria. They planned to set off explosives at the site, but were caught and arrested by Israeli security forces despite the fact that the men lived in areas governed by the PA, which is bound by the 1993 Oslo Accords to apprehend terrorists and prevent attacks. This failed to merit a UNESCO resolution. Simply put, UNESCO does not consider Jewish culture and heritage worthy of protection.
AHARON APPELFELD, ACCLAIMED ISRAELI NOVELIST
AND HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR, DIES AT 85
New York Times, Jan. 4, 2017
Aharon Appelfeld, a prolific Israeli novelist and Holocaust survivor whose works examined the lost world of European Jews and the new lives they pursued in Israel, died on Thursday. He was 85. Writing in Hebrew, the Romanian-born Appelfeld penned more than 40 books and was one of Israel's most widely translated authors. Appelfeld's "Blooms of Darkness", the tale of an 11-year-old boy hidden from the Nazis by a prostitute, won the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize in London in 2012. Appelfeld was also awarded the State of Israel Prize for Literature in 1983 and was a Man Booker International Prize finalist in 2013. Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, on Twitter, expressed sorrow "about the passing of our beloved writer".
Amos Oz, one of Israel's most prominent novelists, said on Army Radio that Appelfed shied away from graphic depictions of the Holocaust, choosing instead to describe its effect on the lives of his characters. "Appelfeld never wrote about gas chambers, never wrote about executions, about mass graves, atrocities and experiments on human beings. He wrote about survivors before and after. He wrote about people who did not know what was about to happen to them and about people who already knew everything but hardly spoke about it," Oz said on Army Radio. "He didn't want, or he was unable, to write depictions of the horrors – he said that too. They are beyond the ability of human language to express them. You have to approach them indirectly, tiptoeing from afar," said Oz, once Appelfeld's student in a kibbutz.
Appelfeld was a young boy when his mother was killed by the Nazis. He and his father were sent to a concentration camp in Transnistria in an area of Ukraine then under control of the German-allied Romanian forces. Aged 10 at the time, he escaped and spent three years hiding in forests in Ukraine. "I survived in the fields and forests. Sometimes I worked as a shepherd or taking care of broken-down horses," he told The New York Times in 1986. "I lived with marginal people during the war – prostitutes, horse thieves, witches, fortune tellers. They gave me my real education."
After the war, he immigrated to Israel – he learned Hebrew beforehand – and when he was 28 he discovered that his father had survived and they were reunited in Israel. "Even though I spent time on kibbutzim that tried to change me, I did not change. I remained, basically, the Jewish refugee child who survived," he said in an interview with Israel's Haaretz newspaper in 2015. American-Jewish author Philip Roth once described Appelfeld as a "displaced writer of displaced fiction, who made displacement and disorientation a subject uniquely his own". Works by Appelfeld translated into English include "Badenheim 1939" (1978), a tale set in a fictional Austrian resort on the eve of World War Two, and "The Immortal Bartfuss" (1988), a fictional portrait of a troubled survivor in Israel.
CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters: Shabbat Shalom!
A Crystal Ball on 2018: David M. Weinberg, Jerusalem Post, Jan. 4, 2018—If you predicted one year ago that America would recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Saudi Arabia would allow women to drive, and Avi Gabbay would become Labor Party leader, most people would consider you crazy.
America Has Sometimes Stood Proudest at the UN When it has Stood Alone: Stephen Daisley, Spectator, Dec. 22, 2017—Outvoted on a resolution on Israel, on the wrong side of international opinion, the United States ambassador responded with an intemperate address to the UN General Assembly.
Nikki Haley Takes on World Government: Seth Lipsky, New York Post, Dec. 20, 2017—Could Nikki Haley emerge as our Joan of Arc in the struggle against the folly of world government?
Bye UNESCO: Editorial, Jerusalem Post, Dec. 24, 2017—Israel will join the United States in removing itself and its funding from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. It’s about time.
David Levy, The Zionist Entity: The Jewish State in the 21st Century. Mazo Publishers, 2015.
“Zionist entity” is a label some critics of Israel use to delegitimize the Jewish State. Its roots lay in the Arab and Muslim anti-Israel propaganda war to deny the Jewish People the right to a nation in their historical homeland in the Middle East. Former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a notorious anti-Zionist and Holocaust denier, once called on the world to "abandon the filthy Zionist entity which has reached the end of the line." Labelling Israel “Zionist entity” emphasizes Zionism as an ideological movement, rather than a nation. The end goal is to delegitimize Israel and facilitate its destruction.
Levy’s book, a strong defence of the Jewish State, unpacks 21st century anti-Zionism through interviews with personal acquaintances, both pro- and anti-Israel, and his own knowledge of the region. The book is not an academic study, but rather a contemporary oral history written in a casual, and, at only 159 pages, sparse style. A lecturer on cinema history, Levy has direct experience with anti-Israel crusaders in the film industry. A cinema conference at Tel Aviv University provides an introduction to the controversial topic of anti-Israel “BDS” boycotts. Although the conference, Cinematic Traces of Things to Come, included an entry by a Cambodian director and film about a massacre that took place in Indonesia in 1965, some academics, Jew and non-Jew, promoted a boycott of the event. Levy concludes that the boycott was not directed at the themes explored in the conference or the films presented, but the venue itself, Tel Aviv University. It wasn’t clear if the boycott endorsers had any knowledge of the films screened or the topics discussed, but for “BDS” advocates these details are irrelevant. In the black-and-white world of Israel boycotts, it’s Israel and its institutions that are on trial.
One of Levy’s interviewees, a retired sociology professor named Ben, fully supported the boycott. Ben represents what the author calls a “Jihadi Jew,” A.K.A. “self-hating Jew,” an unusual phenomenon of hard-left Jewish anti-Israel activist. In the polarized world of the “Jihadi Jew,” Levy explains, there is no middle-ground. Ben had never been to Israel and knew virtually nothing about the country except for a handful of biased, pro-Palestinian articles he had read. And this, in a nutshell, is a big part of the problem. Many hard-core critics of Israel have never visited the country or read any nuanced interpretations of Israel’s politics and history. Levy suggested that Ben should read Ari Shavit’s My Promised Land, a balanced, non-partisan depiction of the Jewish State. Nonetheless, Ben, like many critics of Israel are too intellectually lazy to read books that challenge their own biases and political viewpoints. Never mind that Shavit, a journalist for the left-wing Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz, has been critical of Israel’s policies vis-à-vis the Palestinians and the so-called occupation. Shavit’s crime is to be a Zionist, the “absolute lowest form of humanity” for “Jihadi Jews.”
Although Israel continues to have its enemies in the Arab and Muslim world, the Jewish State’s contemporary detractors are often found among Western liberals. Levy asks how is it that Israel has become the “bête noir” of our time. 21st century Anti-Zionism is assumed to be a result of a “perverse left-wingism in league with a rising tide of anti-Semitism and some formidable and persistent Big Media bias.” But even more baffling is the phenomenon of Western leftists who, in the name of “social justice” and “human rights,” are unyielding in their critique of Israel — the only true democracy in the region — where religious freedom, racial equality, women’s rights, and freedom of sexual orientation are championed.
As a Canadian non-Jew, I am perplexed by the ongoing and shameful negativity towards Israel, particularly among self-identified liberals. I think that by visiting Israel, critics of the Jewish State should realize that the situation is not as black-and-white as they perceive and the socio-political life of the “Zionist entity” is complex. Those without the means for the trip should read a balanced analysis of Israel, such as Levy’s, for a view of the region free of anti-Israel spin so pervasive in Western media.
Rob Coles is the Publications Manager at the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research
What’s Behind the Rash of Anti-Semitic Incidents?: Ian Tuttle, National Review, Feb. 23, 2017— On Monday, for the fourth time since the beginning of the year, bomb threats shut down multiple Jewish Community Centers across the country.
Israel Does Not Cause Anti-Semitism: Alan M. Dershowitz, Algemeiner, Feb. 22, 2017— In a recent letter to the New York Times, the current Earl of Balfour, Roderick Balfour, argued that it is Israel’s fault that there is “growing anti-Semitism around the world.”
Jews Under Assault in Europe: Robbie Travers, Gatestone Institute, Feb. 22, 2017— Antonio Tajani, the new President of the European Parliament, has made a bold opening statement of intent: "No Jew should be forced to leave Europe."
Why a New Academic Discipline of Post-Holocaust Studies Should Be Established and What Its Content Should Be: Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld, JCPA, Feb. 22, 2017— Scholarship about the Holocaust has come a long way…
The Disturbing History of Vandalizing Jewish Cemeteries: Kayla Epstein, Washington Post, Feb. 21, 2017
What’s Behind Wave of Anti-Semitic Violence in US? Jewish Rabbi Explains One Possible Theory: Jon Street, The Blaze, Feb. 13, 2017
If You Want to Understand Why the Arab World is Such a Disaster you Better Watch This (Video): Israel Video Network, Jan. 31, 2017
Anti-Semitic Incidents in the U.K. Reached All-Time Highs in 2016: Report: Jonathan Zalman, Tablet, Feb. 2, 2017
WHAT’S BEHIND THE RASH OF ANTI-SEMITIC INCIDENTS?
National Review, Feb. 23, 2017
On Monday, for the fourth time since the beginning of the year, bomb threats shut down multiple Jewish Community Centers across the country. The calls are the latest in a series: Sixty-nine threats have been called into 54 Jewish Community Centers in 27 states and a Canadian province since January 1, according to the JCC Association of North America. Meanwhile, also on Monday, vandals toppled nearly 200 tombstones at a Jewish cemetery in St. Louis.
Anti-Semitism has been on the rise in Europe for several years. In April 2015, Jeffrey Goldberg penned a long essay for The Atlantic entitled “Is It Time for the Jews to Leave Europe?” In the final paragraph, he wrote: “I am predisposed to believe that there is no great future for the Jews in Europe, because evidence to support this belief is accumulating so quickly.” But the prospect of rising anti-Semitism in the United States, which does not share Europe’s tragic history, seems different — and perhaps, for that reason, even more troubling.
Taking that increase for granted, commentators have been quick to pin the blame on Donald Trump. After a visit to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture on Tuesday, Trump said in prepared remarks: “The anti-Semitic threats targeting our Jewish community and community centers are horrible and are painful, and a very sad reminder of the work that still must be done to root out hate and prejudice and evil.” This, according to Vox’s Dara Lind, is not nearly enough. “It was a fairly rote condemnation of an attack on a minority group, the sort of thing that presidents do all the time,” Lind wrote. “But despite his claim that he denounces anti-Semitism ‘whenever I get a chance,’ until this point, Trump simply hasn’t.” Lind points to Trump’s dalliance with the alt-right, his initial refusal to disavow former KKK leader David Duke, and his White House’s Holocaust Remembrance Day statement (which made no mention of Jews) to suggest a pattern of silence that has encouraged anti-Semitic violence.
But the extent of the increase — let alone Donald Trump’s role in it — remains unclear. The most reliable data on hate crimes comes from the FBI, which shows that the number of people victimized for their religion declined dramatically from 2010 to 2014: from 1,552 victims to 1,140 victims, or by 36 percent. The number of victims of anti-Jewish bias declined similarly: from 1,039 to 648 victims, or by 38 percent. The FBI then records an uptick in 2015, to 1,402 total victims and 730 victims of anti-Jewish bias.
The FBI has not released statistics for 2016, without which it is difficult to determine whether we are seeing a trend or a temporary blip, and other indicators further complicate the picture. The Anti-Defamation League, which keeps its own statistics (on “anti-Jewish incidents,” a metric broader than the FBI’s) reported 941 incidents in 2015, a 3 percent increase over 2014. But 2014’s 912 incidents represented a 21 percent increase over 2013. The Gaza war was responsible for much of that surge; the two months of the 2014 military engagement saw 255 separate incidents, compared with 110 during July and August 2013. The sharp spike in anti-Semitic incidents during the Gaza war is noteworthy. It both supports and cuts against the charges being leveled against Trump. The episode reinforces the notion that that short-term news events can occasion violence. But the majority of perpetrators of anti-Semitism during the Gaza war were not the Trump-supporting white supremacists upon whom the recent violence is being blamed.
One final set of data is worth considering. In New York City, 28 anti-Semitic hate crimes were reported by the NYPD Hate Crime Task Force between January 1 and February 12, 2017 — more than double the number reported over the same period last year (13). Last year, the city saw a 31 percent increase in hate crimes between January 1 and the beginning of December, including a 115 percent increase in the three weeks following Election Day (43, compared with 20 during the same period the previous year). Mayor Bill de Blasio has not hesitated to blame the president: “You can’t have a candidate for president single out groups of Americans, negatively, and not have some ramifications for that,” de Blasio said in December. “It’s obviously connected to the election.” The number of total hate crimes is likely to hover around 400, which would be the largest total since at least 2008. However, the numbers have fluctuated wildly before this. From 2011 to 2012, hate crimes increased by 54.5 percent (from 242 to 375). Obviously, Donald Trump had nothing to do with this.
The parallel ascent of Donald Trump and vile elements of right-wing politics has, indeed, been alarming. Long before the mainstream media became interested, conservative opponents of Trump found themselves targets of a repulsive fringe. A recent report by the Anti-Defamation League, released in October, identified 2.6 million tweets “containing language frequently found in anti-Semitic speech” between August 2015 and July 2016. The top ten most-targeted journalists — among whom were Ben Shapiro, Jonah Goldberg, and Bethany Mandel — accounted for 83 percent of those tweets. I have written on multiple occasions about the moral rot of the alt-right, and lamented the way Trump indulged it. That he chose as his closest adviser Steve Bannon, whose Breitbart trafficked in racial divisiveness, is deeply worrying.
However, the hard evidence is not yet in, and responsible commentators would do well to be patient. Regrettably, many on the left have leapt on the news for partisan purposes. Taking a cue from de Blasio and Vox, Keith Ellison, the Minnesota congressman and prospective Democratic National Committee chairman, recently tweeted: “Why has it taken [Donald Trump] so long to even say the word ‘anti-Semitism?’ Perhaps it has something to do with placating his base?” Likewise, some have thrilled to the pronouncement of the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect that “the Antisemitism coming out of this Administration is the worst we have ever seen from any Administration.” Its director, Steven Goldstein, called Trump’s statement “pathetic” during a CNN interview on Tuesday evening.
Few have bothered to note that the Anne Frank Center describes itself as “a progressive voice for social justice”; that Goldstein has spent the bulk of his career heading Garden State Equality, New Jersey’s statewide organization promoting same-sex marriage; or that the Center has never played any significant part in Holocaust-remembrance activities in the U.S. Likewise, the denunciations of Keith Ellison — who was a longtime member of Louis Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam, from which he did not distance himself until he ran for Congress in 2006 — ring hollow, as do those from progressives who cheer Linda Sarsour (an organizer of January’s Women’s March who has championed anti-Israel terrorism) or the grotesqueries of the Boycott, Divest, Sanctions (BDS) movement…
[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]
ISRAEL DOES NOT CAUSE ANTI-SEMITISM
Alan M. Dershowitz
Gatestone Institute, Feb. 21, 2017
In a recent letter to the New York Times, the current Earl of Balfour, Roderick Balfour, argued that it is Israel’s fault that there is “growing anti-Semitism around the world.” Balfour — who is a descendant of Arthur Balfour, the British Foreign Secretary who wrote the Balfour Declaration 100 years ago — wrote the following: “the increasing inability of Israel to address [the condition of Palestinians], coupled with the expansion into Arab territory of the Jewish settlements, are major factors in growing anti-Semitism around the world.” He argued further that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “owes it to the millions of Jews around the world” who suffer antisemitism, to resolve the Israel-Palestine conflict.
This well-intentioned but benighted view is particularly ironic, in light of the fact that the Balfour Declaration had, as one of its purposes, to end antisemitism around the world by creating a homeland for the Jewish people. But now the scion of Lord Balfour is arguing that it is Israel that is causing antisemitism. Roderick Balfour’s views are simply wrong, both as a matter of fact and as a matter of morality. Anyone who hates Jews “around the world” because they disagree with the policy of Israel would be ready to hate Jews on the basis of any pretext. Modern-day antisemites, unlike their forbears, need to find excuses for their hatred, and anti-Zionism has become the excuse de jure.
To prove the point, let us consider other countries: Has there been growing anti-Chinese feelings around the world as the result of China’s occupation of Tibet? Is there growing hatred of Americans of Turkish background because of Turkey’s unwillingness to end the conflict in Cyprus? Do Europeans of Russian background suffer bigotry because of Russia’s invasion of Crimea? The answer to all these questions is a resounding no. If Jews are the only group that suffers because of controversial policies by Israel, then the onus lies on the antisemites rather than on the nation-state of the Jewish people.
Moreover, Benjamin Netanyahu’s responsibility is to the safety and security of Israelis. Even if it were true that antisemitism is increasing as the result of Israeli policies, no Israeli policy should ever be decided based on the reaction of bigots around the world. Antisemitism, the oldest of bigotries, will persist as long as it is seen to be justified by apologists like Roderick Balfour. Though Balfour does not explicitly justify antisemitism, the entire thrust of his letter is that Jew-hatred is at least understandable in light of Israel’s policies.
Balfour doesn’t say a word about the unwillingness of the Palestinian leadership to accept Israel’s repeated offers of statehood. From 1938 through 2008, the Palestinians have been offered and have repeatedly rejected agreements that would have given them statehood. Even today, the Palestinian leadership refuses to accept Netanyahu’s offer to sit down and negotiate a final status agreement without any pre-conditions. Nor does Balfour mention Hamas, Hezbollah and other terrorists groups that constantly threaten Israel, along with Iran’s publicly declared determination to destroy the state that Lord Balfour helped to create. It’s all Israel’s fault, according to Balfour, and the resulting increase in antisemitism is Israel’s fault, as well.
Roderick Balfour ends his letter by essentially joining the boycott movement against Israel. He has declared his unwillingness to participate in the Centenary Celebration of the Balfour Declaration, until and unless Israel takes unilateral action to end the conflict. So be it. I am confident that the author of the Balfour Declaration would have willingly participated in this celebration, recognizing that no country in history has ever contributed more to the world – in terms of medical, technological, environmental and other innovations — in so short a period of time (69 years) than has Israel. Nor has any country, faced with comparable threats, ever been more generous in its offers of peace, more committed to the Rule of Law or more protective of civilians who are used as human shields by those who attack its own civilians.
So let the Celebration of the Balfour Declaration go forward without the participation of Roderick Balfour. Let Israel continue to offer a peaceful resolution to its conflict with the Palestinians. And let the Palestinians finally come to the bargaining table, and recognize Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people in the way that the Balfour Declaration intended.
JEWS UNDER ASSAULT IN EUROPE
Gatestone Institute, Feb. 22, 2017
Antonio Tajani, the new President of the European Parliament, has made a bold opening statement of intent: "No Jew should be forced to leave Europe." While this is an admirable position to hold, it sadly could not be farther from the truth. The poison of anti-Semitism festers in Europe once again. Europe is seeing yet again another rise in the number of Jews leaving the continent. Jonathan Boyd, Executive Director of the Institute of Jewish Policy Research (IJPR), notes that the number of Jews leaving France is "unprecedented."
The results of the study show that 4% of the French and Belgian Jewish populations had emigrated those countries to reside in Israel. The IJPR attributes this demographic transformation to the inflow of migrants from the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia. Is this really surprising? Sadly, when individuals come from nations that have culturally a high dislike of Jews, many of these immigrants might hold anti-Semitic views that eventually get spread.
In France, anti-Semitic incidents more than doubled between 2014 and 2015, from 423 reported incidents to 851. From January to July, anti-Semitic incidents in the UK increased by 11% according to the UK's Common Security Trust. And this prejudice is increasing. With such spikes in Jew-hatred, is it surprising that Jews are leaving Europe? Equally concerning is Europe's blindness to this anti-Semitism.
Recently, a German court decided that the firebombing of a synagogue in Wuppertal was only the expression of "anti-Israeli sentiment." Really? Why, then, was not the Israeli embassy attacked rather than a synagogue whose worshippers presumably were not Israeli? The worshippers were German. What happened in the German court was pure Nazi-think: the most undisguised anti-Semitism: that Jews supposedly are not Germans. The old wine of pure anti-Semitism is now dressed up in new "politically correct" bottles of criticism of Israel. At heart, however, it is your grandmother's same old Jew-hate, much of it still based on racist tropes. The Jews in that firebombed synagogue were German nationals and may have had absolutely no links to Israel. They do however, have a connection to Judaism.
The German court actually ruled that attacking a place where Jews worship is somehow different from attacking Jews. Your pet slug would not believe that. Meanwhile, another German Court again rejected an action against your friendly neighborhood "sharia police." In Germany, it seems, burning down synagogues is merely "anti-Israeli" even if there are no Israelis there, but "police" who use Islamic sharia law — without legal authority and within a system of law that persecutes women, Christians, Jews and others — are acceptable and legal. And people cannot understand why Jews are leaving Europe?
Even though German authorities evidently struggle to identify anti-Semitism, the Israeli government claims there has been a 50% increase in anti-Semitic incidents in Germany just since 2015. Jew-hatred in Europe is spreading to the workplace and the hubs of supposedly enlightened discourse: universities. At Goldsmith's University, students scrawled on a public feedback board that they wanted "No more David Hirsch, no more Zionism — a bitter Jew." The message and tone here is clear: Jews are not welcome. The suggestion that academics would also not be welcome because of their religion is deeply worrying and should be unacceptable.
Goldsmith's have since condemned the action, but it is telling that someone felt he could comfortably post such anti-Jewish abuse. The anti-Semitism facing Jews at UK universities led the Baroness Deech to declare British University campuses "no-go zones" for Jews. Students at Exeter University wear T-shirts glorifying the Holocaust; the Labour Party Chair at Oxford University commendably resigned over members calling Auschwitz a "cash cow" and mocking the mourners of the Paris terrorist attacks; SOAS University is under investigation for lectures likening Zionism to Nazism and delusionally arguing that it was Zionists who were conspiring to increase anti-Semitism to encourage Jews to leave the UK and go to Israel.
The Israeli government also believes there was an increase in anti-Semitic incidents in Britain by 62%. While it is praiseworthy that UK Prime Minister Theresa May has backed and adopted a new definition of anti-Semitism to attempt to deal with the rising hate crime, simply defining and identifying anti-Semitism is only the start. It is also necessary to start tackling the anti-Semitic attitudes of Islamic communities across Europe and the attitudes of immigrants coming to our nations. What needs to be made clear is that you are welcome here as long as you respect Jews, Christians and all others, as well.
WHY A NEW ACADEMIC DISCIPLINE OF POST-HOLOCAUST STUDIES
SHOULD BE ESTABLISHED AND WHAT ITS CONTENT SHOULD BE
Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld
JCPA, Feb. 22, 2017
Scholarship about the Holocaust has come a long way since Gerhard Reitlinger wrote in 1953 The Final Solution: The Attempt to Exterminate the Jews of Europe, 1939-1945 and since Raul Hilberg wrote his 1961 seminal book The Destruction of the European Jews. It took several decades after the end of World War II until scholars realized that there was a need for a new multidisciplinary area of study called Holocaust studies or Holocaust research. By now this scholarly field has been consolidated for at least twenty-five years. Previously there had been individual publications on various aspects of the Holocaust in several disciplines. These included history, politics, theology, law, ethics, psychology, literature, and many others. However, for many years the study of the Holocaust was not viewed as a single multidisciplinary area.
Describing and analyzing the Holocaust, a unique genocide, requires many disciplines. A full understanding of how to interpret the events of the Holocaust, however, is obtainable only when these studies are combined into a single field of scholarship. Nowadays, whether standing alone or combined with genocide studies, Holocaust research is a well-established international field of study, most certainly among its practitioners. It has become an academic discipline in itself. There is also a wide range of books and studies in many fields on the impact of the Holocaust on postwar societies. Some of these are considered part of Holocaust studies, others not necessarily. It is my recommendation here that post-Holocaust studies become a new field of research.
There are also very significant individual impacts of the Holocaust in the post-Holocaust era. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is a direct result of the Holocaust as is the United Nations Genocide Convention. Admittedly the two areas of Holocaust studies and post-Holocaust studies are linked and somewhat interwoven. Their overlap, however, is far smaller than what separates them. Presenting an overview of post-Holocaust studies is at this stage impossible. The best one can do is offer a synopsis of issues that could be included in the post-Holocaust field. The hope is that such an approach will help initiate the systematic study of the area. Furthermore, due to the huge number of more or less isolated publications in the field of post-Holocaust studies, any article on the overall subject at this stage is likely to be fragmented as well as very incomplete. Nor can it pretend to be a critical analysis. That will require many years of focused research.
One prominent multidisciplinary subject that belongs to post-Holocaust studies concerns survivors and their experience in postwar societies. The wartime history of survivors is part of Holocaust studies. Yet their postwar migration, how survivors were accepted in the societies they returned to or where they lived as immigrants, the way in which they rebuilt their lives, the degree to which they came back from the abyss, their contribution to these societies, the treatment of their traumas, and the description of the organizations that collect their testimonies are all topics whose place is in post-Holocaust studies.
Other topics in this broad category include the study of child survivors. These – and I am one of them – have become the last witnesses of Nazi persecution. Many of the pupils of postwar Jewish schools in countries occupied by the Germans were child survivors. As a result, it is likely that the atmosphere in Jewish schools in the postwar period differed significantly from other schools in those countries – even more so than in the case of Jewish schools before the war. Children who lived in German camps for Displaced Persons had a very different youth from German children. It is somewhat ironic that children in DP camps went to an entirely Jewish school when outside these camps hardly any Jews remained in Germany.
Another related topic concerns organizations that have been established to provide support for second-generation Holocaust survivors. An example is the Sons and Daughters of Jewish Deportees established by French lawyer Serge Klarsfeld. Comparable organizations exist in several other countries. Yet is what Elie Wiesel said about the second generation true – that by listening to witnesses one becomes a witness? And if so, are some memories of child survivors what they lived through or what they heard?…
The Disturbing History of Vandalizing Jewish Cemeteries: Kayla Epstein, Washington Post, Feb. 21, 2017—The vandalism of a Jewish cemetery in Missouri has caused an uproar after more than 170 headstones were toppled at the historical burial site. There had been several waves of bomb threats made against Jewish community centers in recent weeks, but the recent acts against the cemetery have raised serious alarm and garnered the most prominent media attention yet.
What’s Behind Wave of Anti-Semitic Violence in US? Jewish Rabbi Explains One Possible Theory: Jon Street, The Blaze, Feb. 13, 2017—In the last month alone, at least 27 Jewish Community Centers in cities across the country, spanning 17 states, received calls with bomb threats, forcing them to evacuate their facilities and disrupting their day-to-day lives. Then, earlier this week, New York City subway passengers noticed anti-semitic graffiti scrawled onto the walls and doors of at least one train.
If You Want to Understand Why the Arab World is Such a Disaster you Better Watch This (Video): Israel Video Network, Jan. 31, 2017—Why is the Arab world sliding into an even deeper abyss of hatred and corruption? Hatred of Israel by the Arab world is based on a deep-seated mindset of anti-semitism. Bret Stephens points out brilliantly that social and political decline follow massive anti-semitic laws enacted in a country. Even Hitler may very well have won the race to build the bomb had he not exiled or killed all of the Jewish scientists. Anti-Semitism has a boomerang effect on the people who practice it.
Anti-Semitic Incidents in the U.K. Reached All-Time Highs in 2016: Report: Jonathan Zalman, Tablet, Feb. 2, 2017—A troubling and perhaps unsurprising report from a British anti-Semitism watchdog released Thursday shows that 1,309 anti-Semitic incidents occurred in 2016, a high since Community Security Trust began recording and compiling these reports, in 1984.
Problematic Candidates for France’s Presidency: Manfred Gerstenfeld, Jerusalem Post, Feb. 7, 2017— The four main candidates in the upcoming presidential elections in France have all taken problematic positions concerning Israel, the country’s Jews, or both.
The French Inquisition: Yves Mamou, Gatestone Institute, Feb. 7, 2017— An important red line in France has just been crossed.
A German Court Rationalizes an Attack on a Synagogue: Joseph Bottum, Weekly Standard, Jan. 26, 2017— On January 13, 2017, a German regional court ruled that a lower court had been correct to find no anti-Semitism in the attempt by a group of Muslim men to burn down a synagogue in the city of Wuppertal.
An Answer to Paris: The ‘Gentile Aliya’ Epidemic: Nathan Lopes Cardozo, Jerusalem Post, Jan. 23, 2017— Israel will be facing an unprecedented crisis that will shake its very foundations.
Poisoning Palestinian Minds (Interview With Hillel Heuer): Wall Street Journal, Feb. 8, 2017
British Prime Minister May Calls On Opposition Leader Corbyn to Join Her in Denouncing Muslim Discrimination Against Israeli Passport-Holders: Barney Breen-Portnoy, Algemeiner, Feb. 1, 2017
Testing Europe’s Values: Editorial, New York Times, Feb. 3, 2017
Beautiful Friendship: Caroline Glick, Jerusalem Post, Feb. 9, 2017
PROBLEMATIC CANDIDATES FOR FRANCE’S PRESIDENCY
Jerusalem Post, Feb. 7, 2017
The four main candidates in the upcoming presidential elections in France have all taken problematic positions concerning Israel, the country’s Jews, or both. The first round of the elections will take place on April 23. If no candidate obtains the majority, the two candidates with the highest votes will have a run-off in the second round on May 7.
Polls for the past months indicate that Marine Le Pen, the leader of the extreme right-wing National Front Party, will pass to the second round. This is a rather safe prediction, as polls show that many of those intending to vote for her are unlikely to change their opinion before the election. Yet, at the same time, polls also indicate that the other candidate who makes it to the second round, whether it is former prime minister Francois Fillon of the right-wing Republican Party, or the independent centrist Emanuel Macron, will easily defeat Le Pen.
Marine Le Pen stresses that her party’s positions have evolved since she has taken charge. Her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, the founder of the party, is a notorious Holocaust distorter and antisemite. He has repeatedly called the gas chambers “a detail of history.” Marine Le Pen has distanced herself from him and had him expelled from the party in August 2015. She has also condemned a terrorist attack in Jerusalem and has come out against anti-Israel boycotts. Yet in 2010 she criticized the Israeli blockade of Gaza. Furthermore, in 2012 when calling for a ban on Muslim headscarves in public, she said that kippot should also be included. She repeated that statement this month.
The Jewish community has maintained its long-term negative attitude toward the FN. Then president of the Jewish umbrella organization CRIF, Roger Cukierman, said in 2015 that there was no cause to reproach Le Pen herself. He remarked, however, that “behind her are all the Holocaust-deniers, the Vichy-adherents and the followers of [Nazi collaborator] Petain.” He concluded that the FN “was a party to avoid even if it did not commit violence.”
Fillon, the Republican candidate, is under pressure because the satirical weekly Le Canard Enchaine published that his wife Penelope has received 900,000 euros over the years as his parliamentary assistant. The claim is that she has done little to justify these payments. A poll showed that the great majority of French do not believe Fillon, who says that she produced value for money. As his support in polls declines, Fillon may well withdraw his candidacy. Fillon attacked Halal and kosher slaughter in 2012. He said that Jews and Muslims must drop their ancestral traditions of slaughter, which are not very relevant nowadays. The Jewish umbrella organization CRIF came out against him on this issue.
Centrist Macron was economics minister from 2012 to 2014 in the Socialist government of prime minister Manuel Valls. He has said that more and more parents send their children to religious schools, which teach them hatred of the [French] republic. He added that they teach mainly in Arabic or elsewhere the Torah without teaching basic knowledge. The large French Jewish Social Organization (FSJU) came out with a press release saying that Macron’s statement was “profoundly offensive, incorrect and a caricature.” Its president, Ariel Goldman, said that “private Jewish education follows the school program established by the national ministry of education.”
The FSJU also pointed out that the growth of enrollment in Jewish schools is the result of the increased antisemitism in public schools. Macron’s staff claimed that his words had been wrongly interpreted. Macron has visited Israel and said afterwards: “In Israel there is a culture of risk, which sometimes has been forgotten in France’s genes. There should be a capacity to revive this taste for risk. Without it we cannot do anything. We should go fast because our country cannot wait.”
The Socialist candidate, Benoit Hamon, who defeated Valls in primaries, is in fourth place in the polls. He was, for a short time, education minister and belongs to the extreme Left of the party. Hamon is the most negative candidate as far as Israel is concerned. He has a substantial record of anti-Israel remarks. After the Gaza flotilla, he accused Israel of having caused a bloodbath. He was one of the main instigators of the recognition of the Palestinian state in the French parliament in 2014. Most recently, he expressed his happiness about the anti-Israel UN Security Council resolution 2334. There have been several additional anti-Israel statements over the years. Hamon’s position can be summarized as: being anti-Israel is a very good way to recover French Muslim voters lost during the Hollande presidency.
The current Socialist government frequently takes pro-Palestinian positions. It initiated the useless Paris Middle East Peace conference and aggressively condemns building in the territories, including east Jerusalem. From an Israeli viewpoint, a hypothetical president Hamon is far worse than a president Le Pen. Yet the Israeli government avoids contact with the FN party. It does not want to legitimize a far-right movement with fascist origins. From the above, it can also be seen that the candidates’ attitudes toward Israel and toward local Jews are not necessarily parallel. In the long term, this may create a rift between Israel and a portion of France’s Jews. Overall, as said, all candidates are problematic, which reflects the general situation for Jews in France and the attitude of its governments toward Israel.
THE FRENCH INQUISITION
Gatestone Institute, Feb. 7, 2017
An important red line in France has just been crossed. In true dhimmi fashion, in a move reminiscent of both the Inquisition and the Dreyfus Trial, all of France's so-called "anti-racist" organizations have joined a jihad against free speech and against truth. On January 25, 2017, France's "anti-racist" organizations — all of them, even the Jewish LICRA (International League against Racism and anti-Semitism) — joined the Islamist CCIF (Collective against Islamophobia) in court against Georges Bensoussan, a highly regarded Jewish historian of Moroccan extraction, and an expert on the history of Jews in Arab countries. Not only did the Islamist CCIF and the Jewish LICRA unite against him, but also the French Human Rights League, SOS Racism and MRAP (Movement against Racism and for Friendship with People).
Bensoussan is being prosecuted for remarks he made during a "France Culture" radio debate, about antisemitism among French Arabs: "An Algerian sociologist, Smaïn Laacher, with great courage, just said in a documentary aired on Channel 3: It is a shame to deny this taboo, namely that in the Arab families in France, and everyone knows it but nobody wants to say it, anti-Semitism is sucked with mother's milk."
The documentary that Bensoussan was referring to was called "Teachers in the Lost Territories of the Republic," and was aired in October 2015, on Channel 3. In this documentary, Laacher, who is a French professor of Algerian origin, said: "Antisemitism is already awash in the domestic space… It… rolls almost naturally off the tongue, awash in the language… It is an insult. When parents shout at their children, when they want to reprimand them, they call them Jews. Yes. All Arab families know this. It is monumental hypocrisy not to see that this anti-Semitism begins as a domestic one."
No complaint was filed against Laacher. But as soon as Bensoussan, in the heat of a radio debate, referred to Arab anti-Semitism as "sucked in with mother's milk", CCIF, followed by all anti-racist associations, brought Bensoussan to supposed justice. Their accusation was simple: "mother's milk" is not a metaphor for cultural anti-Semitism transmitted through education, but a genetic and "essentialist" accusation. It means: "all Arabs are anti-Semitic" — in other words, Bensoussan is a racist. Professor Smaïn Laacher, of the University of Strasbourg, denied the quote and told the website Mediapart. "I have never said nor written that kind of ignominy". He filed a complaint against Bensoussan, but later withdrew it. Judgment will be rendered March 7.
This witch-hunt against Bensoussan is symptomatic of the state of free speech today in France. With the leading Islamist CCIF stalking "Islamophobia", intellectual intimidation is the rule. Complaints are filed against everyone not saying that Muslims are the main victim of racism in France. In December 2016, Pascal Bruckner, a writer and philosopher, was also brought to court for saying in 2015, on Arte TV, "We need to make the record of collaborators of Charlie Hebdo's murderers". He named people in France who had instilled a climate of hatred against Charlie: the entertainer Guy Bedos, the rap singer Nekfeu, anti-racist organizations like The Indivisibles, or the journalist Rokhaya Diallo and the supremacist movement for "people of color" known as Les Indigènes de la République ("The Indigenous of the Republic").
It was not the first time that Islamists filed complaints against people they dislike. Charlie Hebdo was twice brought to court by Islamist organizations. Twice, the accusations of Charlie's Islamist accusers were dismissed. But with the Bensoussan trial, we are entering in a new era. The most venerable, the most authentic anti-racist organizations — some of them are older than a century — are, shamefully, lining up with Islamist organizations.
This tipping point was initiated in the 1980s by with SOS Racism. This organization, founded to organize young Muslims and help them to assimilate into French society rapidly, became a political movement, manipulated by the Socialist Party. SOS Racism and its slogan, "Don't hurt my buddy", rapidly became a new direction to the working class. With the working class attracted by the far-right party Front National, the Socialist party needed a new "clientele". They chose Muslims, especially young Muslims, as the new revolutionary labor class. It did not matter that most of them were unemployed: they were "victims"…
[To Read the full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]
A GERMAN COURT RATIONALIZES AN ATTACK ON A SYNAGOGUE
Weekly Standard, Jan. 26, 2017
On January 13, 2017, a German regional court ruled that a lower court had been correct to find no anti-Semitism in the attempt by a group of Muslim men to burn down a synagogue in the city of Wuppertal. The failed firebombing attack had occurred in 2014, during the Israeli conflict with Hamas in Gaza. In 2015 the lower court found that the men had intended their actions as a protest against Israel—with the result that the adults in the group deserved to have their sentences suspended, freeing them from jail time. And now, after review by a superior court, the German legal system has affirmed that German synagogues are legitimate targets of protest against Israel.
Remember this moment, for the German courts have exposed the mechanism by which opposition to Israel proves indistinguishable from opposition to Jews. Perhaps at one point, a distinction between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism was notionally possible. But those days have been gone for many years, lost in the mists. And now, even the attempt to make the distinction becomes a way of insisting on a Jewish difference. "Anti-Zionism is the new dressing for the old passion of anti-Semitism," as the French writer Bernard-Henri Lévy tried to tell a New York audience on January 11—and it is perhaps worth noting that the synagogue in Wuppertal was built on the site of a previous synagogue, destroyed by the Nazis on Kristallnacht in 1938.
To see the logic at play, suppose that three white men had attacked a traditionally black church in Birmingham, Alabama, scrawling graffiti and trying to set the church on fire. Caught and convicted, they were sentenced to a year in jail—with the jail time suspended. Yes, the judge explained, they had been unlawfully violent and thus deserved to be convicted. But he suspended their sentences because their purpose in attacking the African-American church had not been to harm Americans but to protest the failure of the Nigerian government to halt the kidnapping of schoolgirls by the radical African militia Boko Haram.
Or suppose something similar, but this time in Manila. After a court in the Philippines convicted several citizens of defacing a local mosque, the judge suspended their sentences—on the grounds that, however illegally they had behaved, they were engaged in legitimate political protest over the oppression of Christian guest workers by the Islamic government in Saudi Arabia. And then suppose that three men in Germany were arrested for throwing a Molotov cocktail at a synagogue. After their conviction, however, their sentences were suspended—again on the grounds that their admittedly illegal violence was motivated by a desire not to hurt German Jews but by a legitimate wish to protest the policies and actions of the foreign state of Israel. They were, as the court explained, trying to draw "attention to the Gaza conflict" and so had not been motivated by anti-Semitism.
Only the last of these three events is true, of course. But more to the point, only the last is even imaginable. Black citizens of the United States are never taken as symbolic representatives of African governments. For that matter, imagine the outcry if a judge condoned violence against the places of worship of native citizens who happened to be Muslim—because a distant government was doing something objectionable. And then we have the Jews. If trying to set fire to a local synagogue is merely a criticism of Israel, then every Jewish house of worship is a symbolic embassy of a foreign power: a stand-in for the nation-state of Israel. And Germans prove not to be Germans when they attend a synagogue. The salient fact is instead that they are Jews.
AN ANSWER TO PARIS: THE ‘GENTILE ALIYA’ EPIDEMIC
Nathan Lopes Cardozo
Jerusalem Post, Jan. 23, 2017
Israel will be facing an unprecedented crisis that will shake its very foundations. No, it won’t be caused by the recent Paris Conference or other forms of blatant antisemitism that are overtaking Europe. It’s much worse than that. World leaders are completely oblivious to it, and even the Israeli government has no clue. Israel will soon have to expand its borders far beyond its wildest dreams – not for the benefit of the Jews, but at the request of millions of Europeans, and possibly many other gentiles who will wish to come on aliya.
As Europe is disintegrating before our very eyes, it’s only a matter of time before more and more Europeans will be seeking safer havens. And where else would they want to go but Israel? It is obvious that such emigration is drawing near. Since the Holocaust, Europe has been going downhill. It allowed the murder of six million Jews, thereby destroying many of its most dedicated citizens, a large part of its culture and some of its most gifted physicians, scientists, artists, thinkers and business people who contributed to its flourishing culture as well as to its domestic and international trade. Millions of its gentile inhabitants were wiped out as well, and what remained was an impoverished and miserable continent. There is merit to the claim made by some that Europe died in Auschwitz.
In its attempt to rebuild itself, Europe worked hard to revive its economy and reinvent its culture. It tried to turn the tide and remove from its midst any form of racist ideology. To accomplish this, it had to become multicultural and put nearly no limits on its immigration quota. With noble intentions, Europeans have accepted many emigrants from war-torn and impoverished countries, thus unwittingly allowing Islamic State (ISIS) and other radical organizations to settle in their cities and organize terrorist attacks with the clear goal of bringing Europe to its knees. Motivated by panic and fear of retaliation, European leaders have lost all sense of proportion and are now doomed to pay the price.
Paris suffered a series of terrorist attacks in November 2015, Amsterdam and London will soon face their own onslaughts, and no European will be able to walk the streets safely. Just over a year ago, Brussels shut down its metro system, shops and schools, warning people to avoid crowds because of a “serious and imminent threat of coordinated, multiple attacks by terrorists.” Five months later, in April 2016, its airport and a metro station were targeted in three coordinated bomb attacks. Clubs, cafes and restaurants closed their doors. It won’t be long before we see large army battalions walking through every major city in Europe, followed by the shutting down of airports and other major public venues.
Eventually, all normal life will be disrupted, and societies will no longer be able to function. The United States did not learn its lesson from 9/11 and has paved the way for the Iranian nuclear bomb. Only several days before the Paris attacks, president Barack Obama informed the world that ISIS was contained, if not totally defeated. The most astonishing fact is that the Israeli government has been alerting the world for years that this would happen. It warned that if terrorist organizations such as Hamas, Hezbollah and others in the Middle East were not completely neutralized, their lethal intentions would be carried out in Europe and the United States, after which they would spread their deadly tentacles to all corners of the earth.
But instead of heeding these words, many world leaders have decided that the only way to stop the terrorists is for Israel to cease building a few housing projects in Judea and Samaria. Were it not so tragic, with catastrophic consequences, it would be laughable. These leaders refuse to admit that the Palestinians would have had their state years ago had they simply stopped indoctrinating their children with hate against Jews and accepted the tiny, peaceful State of Israel that dwells in their midst. On top of that, Europe has decided to boycott Israeli products coming from what it refers to as “the occupied territories.” Fooling themselves into believing that this is the solution to all the devastatingly lethal global problems, they use it as a pretext to cover up their own horrendous mistakes, and it has now become standard procedure. It doesn’t seem to bother the Europeans in the least that their boycotts harm the Palestinians working in the West Bank more than they harm the Israelis.
Europe continues to live in peace by tranquilizing itself – this time, by hiding behind the Paris conference. Out of a desperate need to deny the truth, it has utterly misconstrued the nature of its enemies and has by now exposed its countries to dangers so deadly that it will be impossible to stop them by any means. Unfortunately, Europe will not fight back, no matter how many times they announce their intentions to create a so-called “global front.” Everyone knows that once things calm down – nothing more than a tactic on the terrorists’ part – they will decide that no further action is necessary and will return to their former comatose state, only to be awakened when disastrous events, much greater than the ones they have experienced until now, suddenly befall them, shocking their leaders and overwhelming all of them by causing heavy casualties.
When that happens, Europeans will throw up their hands in despair and look for an alternative place to live. They will come to the conclusion that of all the Western countries in the world, only in Israel will they find the tranquility they desperately desire. The reason is obvious: Israel is the only country possessing the combination of know-how and willingness to fight its enemies head-on and is prepared, if necessary, to go all the way. Precisely because of Israel’s long and ongoing experience with terrorism, there is a smooth-running synergy between its citizens and security forces when terrorists strike. With rare exceptions, people maintain equilibrium under immense pressure. For this reason, Israel is safer than many other countries.
And so, to everyone’s surprise, Israel will be the destination. As when an epidemic strikes, people will want to pack their bags and move here. But this will require a major shift in the European attitude toward Jews. Instead of hating us, Europeans will investigate their lineage and by hook or crook will suddenly “find” that they are actually of Jewish descent, as in the case of the many anusim (conversos) today in Spain and Portugal. Millions will apply to Israeli embassies and claim that on the basis of the Law of Return they have a right to live in Israel. Even committed antisemites will “discover” their Jewish ancestry, and an entire black market of Jewish pedigree documents will appear…Paris can make its recommendations, or even try to force Israel into an impossible settlement policy. But when many of its own citizens and others Europeans will actually arrive in Israel, they will ask for more Israeli land on which to build their future. The world will be shocked, the Jews will smile and the Israeli gentiles, fighting to prove that they are Jewish, will laugh with delight.
Nathan Lopes Cardozo is a CIJR Academic Fellow
Poisoning Palestinian Minds (Interview With Hillel Heuer): Wall Street Journal, Feb. 8, 2017—UN Watch Executive Director Hillel Neuer on how a rogue U.N. agency turns a blind eye to terror.
British Prime Minister May Calls On Opposition Leader Corbyn to Join Her in Denouncing Muslim Discrimination Against Israeli Passport-Holders: Barney Breen-Portnoy, Algemeiner, Feb. 1, 2017—British Prime Minister Theresa May called on Wednesday on Opposition Leader Jeremy Corbyn to join her in denouncing the discrimination displayed by some Muslim-majority countries against Israeli passport-holders.
Testing Europe’s Values: Editorial, New York Times, Feb. 3, 2017—When the European Union and Turkey reached a deal last year to lessen the flow of refugees into Greece, the priority was on defending borders, not the humanitarian crisis. Sadly, that remains Europe’s priority as it turns its attention to halting the flow of people from Libya to Italy.
Beautiful Friendship: Caroline Glick, Jerusalem Post, Feb. 9, 2017—Less than a week after he was inaugurated into office, President Donald Trump announced that he had repaired the US’s fractured ties with Israel. “It got repaired as soon as I took the oath of office,” he said. Not only does Israel now enjoy warm relations with the White House. When Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrives in the US capital next week, he will be greeted by the most supportive political climate Israel has ever seen in Washington.
US Funding of UN Disproportionate: Clifford D. May, Israel Hayom, Feb. 2, 2017 — This may come as a shock…
Trump and the UNRWA Farce: Sol Stern, Israel Behind the News, Feb. 8, 2017— After President Obama greased the wheels for the UN Security Council resolution condemning Israel’s settlements policy, then President-elect Trump tweeted that “things will be different after January 20th.”
When Will the UN Make the Palestinians Uphold Their Commitments?: Thane Rosenbaum, Algemeiner, Feb. 2, 2017— Welcome to Israel’s world of ethereal expectations — the standard of moral perfection to which it is routinely held, and the dizzying array of double standards to which it is casually subjected.
How the UN is Trying to Sneak its unCanadian ‘Values’ into Canadian Schools: Geoffrey Clarfield, National Post, Jan. 5, 2017 — Millennials are enamoured by the United Nations. Consider the young undergrad, Antonio Soriano who is the UNESCO Delegate for the Harvard National Model United Nations of 2017.
Is UNRWA Anti-Semitic? (Video): Dr. Asaf Romirowsky, CIJR, Dec. 14, 2016
Report: UNRWA Teachers Incite Terrorism & Antisemitism: UN Watch, Feb. 2, 2017
Report: UNRWA Employees Praise Hitler, Promote Anti-Semitism on Social Media: The Tower, Feb. 7, 2017
Has the Time Come for Amexit From the UN?: Kenneth L Marcus, Algemeiner, Jan. 23, 2017
US FUNDING OF UN DISPROPORTIONATE
Clifford D. May
Israel Hayom, Feb. 2, 2017
This may come as a shock: It's possible a committee of officials from the Defense, State and Justice departments, as well as the National Security Council, will conduct a review of the disproportionate funding the United States provides to the United Nations and come to the conclusion that American taxpayers should spend less on an organization that is inefficient, corrupt and inimical to American interests.
Nikki Haley, the newly confirmed U.S. ambassador to the U.N., hinted at this radical departure from tradition when she said on Jan. 18 that while she would oppose "slash and burn cuts" to the U.N., she did want to ensure that the U.S. "gets what it pays for." One week later, The New York Times reported that it had "obtained" (in other words, someone in the government had leaked) copies of a "draft" executive order (in other words, an unapproved working document) that would "clear the way to drastically reduce the United States' role in the United Nations and other international organizations."
A serious question: Is the Times correct to assert that paying less would mean playing a reduced role? The U.S. gets one vote on the Security Council, just as Russia and China do. The U.S. gets one vote in the General Assembly, just as Iran and Venezuela do. How much money it forks over won't change that. The Times warned that such cuts "could severely curtail the work of United Nations agencies, which rely on billions of dollars in annual United States contributions for missions that include caring for refugees."
A second serious question: Are there no other nations that could pick up the slack when it comes to funding efforts to care for refugees? No European nations, no members of the Arab League or the Organization of Islamic Cooperation? The British Guardian jumped into the controversy, reporting that "U.S. allies have reacted with a mix of alarm and skepticism." An unnamed "senior European diplomat" said: "It would potentially be brutal." No one should be so cynical as to think that unnamed senior European diplomats would throw such terms around lightly. Should the president sign the draft order, funding could be terminated to any international agency that contributes to systematic violations of human rights, is controlled by a state that sponsors terrorism, supports activities that circumvent U.S. sanctions against Iran or North Korea, gives full membership to the Palestinian Authority, or funds abortions.
Third serious question: Based on the results of the last election, why should such organizations and activities continue to be funded by Washington? The U.N. was founded, in the immediate aftermath of World War II, by statesmen with the best of intentions. Its charter sought to "reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small."
A fourth serious question: Can anyone seriously argue that the U.N. is achieving these goals? Among the recently elected members of the U.N. Human Rights Council are China, Cuba, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela. The U.N. has never taken any serious action against genocide, as occurred in Cambodia, Rwanda, the Balkans, Sudan and Syria, nor against states that support terrorism, including Iran. Demonizing and delegitimizing Israel appears to be its main occupation.
Since the 1990s, there have been serious allegations of U.N. peacekeepers sexually abusing women and girls in the Central African Republic, Bosnia, Liberia, Cambodia, and other countries. Studies have identified U.N. peacekeepers as the source of the cholera outbreak that killed more than 8,000 people in Haiti a few years ago. Reports of mismanagement, corruption and fraud throughout the organization have been numerous. Calls for reform and transparency have been unavailing. Does this really sound like a good investment for ordinary taxpayers?
Which raises a fifth serious question: How much are we paying? According to estimates by Heritage Foundation scholar Brett D. Schaefer, the U.S. shells out "approximately $8 billion a year in mandatory payments and voluntary contributions to the United Nations and its affiliated organizations." That's more than is contributed to the U.N. by 183 of the U.N.'s 193 members combined. There's also this: Under U.N. rules, the 129 member states that contribute less than 1.3% can pass budgets over the objections of the U.S. and other nations that contribute much more. Schaefer writes: "This explains why so many member states are blase about increases in the U.N. budget. The financial impact on them is miniscule and undermines incentives for them to fulfill their oversight role."
It is telling that not one of the articles I've read in the major media lamenting the possibility of cuts by the U.S. to the U.N. bothers to mention how much the U.N. spends or how much the U.S. pays. A piece in the Times does note that the U.S. provides the lion's share of the funding for U.N. peacekeeping operations, adding: "At least one of these, the operation in southern Lebanon, directly serves Israeli interests by protecting the country's northern border, though the draft order characterizes the funding cuts as serving Israeli interests."…[To Read the full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]
TRUMP AND THE UNRWA FARCE
Israel Behind the News, Feb. 8, 2017
After President Obama greased the wheels for the UN Security Council resolution condemning Israel’s settlements policy, then President-elect Trump tweeted that “things will be different after January 20th.” I didn’t vote for Trump, but for the sake of restoring some sanity to America’s Middle East policies, I fervently hope he fulfils that promise.
To make a real difference, our next president needs to understand how the United Nations’ hostility to the Jewish state is rooted in perverse institutions that have been abetted by previous US administrations. The most glaring example of this is the inaptly named United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). With its US$1.3 billion budget (30% of which comes from US taxpayers), this agency actually perpetuates the refugee problem it was created to solve, while promoting Palestinian rejectionism and Jew hatred. Trump will soon have the means to drain the UNRWA swamp. If he does so, he would increase the chances of peace between Palestinians and Israelis.
The United Nations created UNRWA with the noblest of intentions. By the time an armistice agreement ended the first Arab-Israeli war in 1949, roughly 700,000 Palestinians had fled (or were driven) from the territories governed by the new State of Israel. The prevailing view at the time was that refugee problems produced by war were best solved through resettlement in the countries to which the refugees had fled. In the aftermath of World War II, 7 million ethnic Germans in Central and Eastern Europe were the victims of brutal ethnic cleansing campaigns approved by the victorious allied powers. On the Indian subcontinent another 3 million people were uprooted in the violent creation of India and Pakistan. These destitute refugees had to make do in their new host countries with virtually no outside aid. Yet, within a decade, there was no longer a refugee problem in Europe or Asia.
Unfortunately, the surrounding Arab countries that launched a war of conquest against the Jewish state – Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Egypt and Iraq – refused to accept any responsibility for the welfare of their Palestinian brothers who were the big losers in the conflict. That’s when the UN – led by the United States – generously stepped in. The 1949 General Assembly resolution establishing UNRWA called for “the alleviation of the conditions of starvation and distress among the Palestine refugees.” Yet the resolution also stated that “constructive measures should be undertaken at an early date with a view to the termination of international assistance for relief.” In other words, the new refugee agency’s mission was to be temporary.
Flash forward 66 years. The original 700,000 Palestinians leaving Israel have now been magically transformed into a mini-state of 5.6 million “refugees” registered with UNRWA. The “temporary” UN agency has been transformed into a bloated international bureaucracy with a staff of 30,000, almost all of whom are Palestinian refugees themselves. Less than 5% of UNRWA’s clients ever lived in Israel, but the agency’s regulations state that all patrilineal descendants of the original displaced persons shall retain their refugee rights in perpetuity. Nor does UNRWA seem to be troubled by the fact that 40% of its camp residents are citizens of Jordan and Lebanon, and shouldn’t even be considered refugees under accepted international law.
The unchecked growth of UNRWA is a classic case in international politics of the economic principle of “moral hazard”. By providing a social welfare safety net, the UN enables the Palestinian leadership to undermine efforts to solve the underlying conditions that created the refugee problem in the first place. Palestinian rejectionism is thus rendered risk-free. In turn, UNRWA nurtures Palestinian extremism, yet never is held accountable by the agency’s donor nations.
The original sin was the world body’s unprecedented decision to create a single agency dedicated to dealing exclusively with one national group of refugees. Only the Palestinians who left Israel, a mere trickle of the post-World War II refugee flood, were designated as specially approved victims deserving of aid and support by the international community. To paraphrase Marx, this misguided policy created an historic tragedy, with elements of farce. It’s not only the billions of dollars and millions of lives that have been wasted over the past half century in the squalid refugee camps. It’s also that the easily solvable problem of the 1948 refugees was allowed to fester and then become the single greatest obstacle (no, President Obama, it’s not Jewish settlements on the West Bank) to a peaceful solution of the Israel-Palestine conflict.
In the 59 UNRWA refugee camps on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, a daily drama of redemption and return is played out. The Palestinian Nakba narrative (i.e. the 1948 “catastrophe”) and the myth of eventual “return” are nourished under the approving eyes of UNRWA teachers and social workers. Generations of Palestinian children have learned in UNRWA schools that their totally innocent forbearers were driven out of their homes by the conquering Zionists. Yet they are also told never to lose hope, because the day is not far off when they will be returning in victory to their ancestral homes in Jaffa, Haifa, Acre, and the other places throughout the Jewish state where their people lived in peace and harmony.
An extraordinary documentary produced by Israeli journalist David Bedein graphically illustrates how this destructive culture of the Nakba is actively promoted in the UNRWA camps. In the video, children at an UNRWA summer camp can be seen chanting that they will soon be returning to the villages from which their ancestors were driven by the Jews. They sing martyrdom songs and praise suicide bombers. An UNRWA teacher promises a classroom of children as young as ten: “We will return to our villages with power and honour. With God’s help and our own strength we will wage war. And with education and Jihad we will return.” Speaking to the camera, a teenage Palestinian girl announces: “I dream that we will return to our land and with God’s help Abu Mazen [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas] will achieve that goal and we will not be disappointed.”…
WHEN WILL THE UN MAKE THE PALESTINIANS
UPHOLD THEIR COMMITMENTS?
Algemeiner, Feb. 2, 2017
Welcome to Israel’s world of ethereal expectations — the standard of moral perfection to which it is routinely held, and the dizzying array of double standards to which it is casually subjected. This is all the more tragically absurd when compared with the zero standards by which the world judges the Palestinians. When it comes to holding Palestinians accountable for their misdeeds or noncompliance, the international community merely shrugs and offers them the proverbial “Palestinian pass.”
Take, for instance, the miserably misguided UN Security Council Resolution 2334. Setting aside its many contradictions from UN Security Council 242, which for decades stood as the basis upon which the exchange of land for peace would end the Middle East conflict, this new resolution directly indicts Israeli settlements as a “major obstacle” to the two-state solution. The resolution claims that these settlements have “no legal validity,” but it also has something to say about terrorism and violence.
Resolution 2334 calls for “immediate steps to prevent all acts of violence against civilians, including acts of terror, as well as all acts of provocation.” Unfortunately, it castigates no particular party, as if terrorism is an Israeli preoccupation — as if Israeli children are being taught that Palestinian children are pigs and monkeys, instead of the other way around. The resolution specifically condemns Israel for its settlements; Palestinians, however, are blamed for nothing in particular. If one didn’t know better, or simply wished to remain in an alternate reality, he might believe that terrorism is Israel’s fault, too. No one should be surprised by this omission of responsibility. When it comes to the Palestinians, the international community always looks the other way. Even Resolution 242 instilled a legacy of focusing on Israeli withdrawal from territories, and treading more gently on what is expected of Arabs in return. Specifically, under Resolution 242, Israel must withdraw from territories, but there must also be a “termination of all claims or states of belligerency,” mutual recognition, and “the right to live in peace within secure boundaries.”
Whenever someone self-righteously points to UN resolutions and expresses moral outrage that Israel still “occupies” the West Bank, he is, unwittingly at best, and maliciously at worst, applying obligations against Israel unilaterally — while ignoring the mutually reinforcing obligations that these UN resolutions imposed on the Arab world. Where is the Palestinian “termination of all claims”? Surely the “right of return,” or the shrill, genocidal chanting of “from the river to the sea,” is not suggestive of a people who understand that Israel is under no duty to surrender any land unless Palestinians are faithful to the terms that apply to them.
Similarly, where is the mutual recognition of Israel in the PLO and Hamas charters? A determination to kill all Jews is not the kind of good faith that these resolutions contemplated. And, finally, when Israeli civilians are tormented by terrorism, and rockets from Gaza, how exactly is Israel’s “right to live in peace within secure boundaries” being honored? It’s not. And yet the world still calls for Israeli withdrawal. The hard gaze is always on the land; meanwhile, the joint exchange for peace, which is no less of an essential requirement, is treated as an illusory promise that no Palestinian is ever obligated to fulfill.
The day after passage of Resolution 2334, the Palestinian Authority celebrated the news with a cartoon on its Facebook page showing a bloody knife thrust into a map of Israel. Clearly, ending violence and incitement is not part of the Palestinian agenda. Indeed, through Palestinian eyes, Resolution 2334 was interpreted not as imposing an affirmative obligation on the Palestinians, but rather granting them an additional license to kill — as if they required any further motivation.
HOW THE UN IS TRYING TO SNEAK ITS
UNCANADIAN ‘VALUES’ INTO CANADIAN SCHOOLS
National Post, Jan. 5, 2017
Millennials are enamoured by the United Nations. Consider the young undergrad, Antonio Soriano who is the UNESCO Delegate for the Harvard National Model United Nations of 2017. He writes: “Dear Delegates, Welcome to Harvard National Model United Nations 2017! My name is Antonio Soriano, and it is my honour to serve as the Director of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)…UNESCO aims to establish peace that is built not only on political and economic agreements but also on humanity’s morality and the concept of intellectual solidarity…Don’t hesitate to email me with any question.”
So here is my question for Soriano, “How well does UNESCO do its job?” The answer is not very well. Despite its penchant for making bizarre announcements about Zionism, or things like its now defunct, “new world information order,” the core business of UNESCO is actually the conservation of natural and cultural sites around the world. Most UNESCO heritage sites do not have management plans, budgets and priorities. The rush to bestow a site in a developing country with the UNESCO cachet very often creates unsustainable mass tourism. The ancient temple complex of Angkor Wat is a case in point. This formerly isolated archaeological gem in the jungles of Cambodia is now surrounded by 300 hotels. The sheer volume of visitors is destroying the site itself. But this is not the concern of UN bureaucrats. It does not matter to them if their programs fail or succeed.
Consider the sad case of the majestic pre-Columbian ruins of Monte Alban in Mexico’s southwestern state of Oaxaca. The civil unrest of 2006 triggered looting and site destruction. Although the site has been on the UNESCO World Heritage list since 1987, somehow it has not made it to UNESCO’s “endangered list.” One must ask why? Indifference, incompetence or what? Then there is the case of Toshiro Nakamura, a wealthy Japanese businessman who lobbied to have an old Japanese mine site turned into a UNESCO heritage site. Before the site was registered it attracted 15,000 visitors a year. The year after it was registered, this remote area of Japan was overwhelmed by one million tourists. Despite all this, every year the governments of Canada and the U.S. still continue to give millions of our taxpayers’ dollars to UNESCO.
The most recent and high-profile failure of UNESCO has been in Syria and Iraq. It is the express goal of the Islamic State to destroy as much of the pre-Islamic architectural past as possible. ISIL’s most spectacular act of archaeological vandalism was when it destroyed the classical remains of Palmyra (a UNESCO World Heritage site) in Syria in October 2015. Its archaeological director, Khaled al Asaad, was recently beheaded by ISIL for refusing to show him where he had hidden pre-Islamic antiquities. Another high-profile UNESCO failure involves Jerusalem: Following lobbying by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, UNESCO now claims that there are no ancient Jewish monuments in Jerusalem.
Having failed to successfully and “sustainably” to protect the world’s wild places and architectural heritage, UNESCO has now entered a new field called “intangible cultural heritage.” This includes music and the field of ethnomusicology. If UNESCO takes over this field, we can be sure that in the spirit of political correctness not all music will be treated equally. Will King David’s Psalms, written in Jerusalem and still sung in the synagogues of Jerusalem and at the Western Wall (of the ancient Jewish Temple in Jerusalem) be labelled colonial, imperialist, historical and musicological fictions?
UNESCO has plans for Canada and other Western countries. It would like to put itself in charge of the education of our children, if we let it. This is not a “Model UN.” It is the UN muscling in on our schools and curriculum. If you go to the Canadian UNESCO website you will find ASPNET, its “associated schools project network.” These schools in various provinces in Canada are supposed to endorse UNESCO’s “values” and apparently adjust their curricula accordingly. On its website we read: “Build support and commitment to the values, work and principles of UNESCO from the school administration, the school district administration, the staff, the student body and parents…This includes designating a key contact for UNESCO activities at the school level, and where possible, at the student level.”
More than 80 schools across Canada have joined this network. They would like hundreds if not thousands more to join them. I am hoping that if any of the supporters of ASPNET read this article, they will do their homework and write to Soriano. However, they should, first of all, pull their schools out of the ASPNET network and share with Soriano the realities of UNESCO; it is just another useless and grossly inefficient UN organization. Canada’s $10-million-a-year UNESCO subsidy could be better spent within our own borders educating Canadian students about what really goes on at UNESCO, among other things. The UN is no model; nor should we encourage model UNs.
Is UNRWA Anti-Semitic? (Video): Dr. Asaf Romirowsky, CIJR, Dec. 14, 2016—Dr. Asaf Romirowsky is the Executive Director of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East
Report: UNRWA Teachers Incite Terrorism & Antisemitism: UN Watch, Feb. 2, 2017—Before a joint subcommittee hearing today of the U.S. Congress concerning the U.N., Israel, and the Palestinians, the director of the independent monitoring group UN Watch will testify and present a new report showing 40 alarming new cases of UNRWA school teachers in Gaza, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria whose Facebook pages incite to Jihadist terrorism and antisemitism, including by posting Holocaust-denying videos and pictures celebrating Hitler.
Report: UNRWA Employees Praise Hitler, Promote Anti-Semitism on Social Media: The Tower, Feb. 7, 2017—The United Nations Relief Works Agency (UNRWA), which provides aid to Palestinian refugees, has frequently been criticized for employing teachers and utilizing textbooks that promote anti-Semitism, as well as the fact that the terror organization Hamas has sometimes used its schools to hide its weapons.
Has the Time Come for Amexit From the UN?: Kenneth L Marcus, Algemeiner, Jan. 23, 2017—As British Prime Minister Theresa May plans a Brexit from the EU, Americans may soon ask what kind of exit we want from another international institution.
The World Turned Upside Down: Victor Davis Hanson, Real Clear Politics, Jan. 26, 2017— Legend has it that the British played "The World Turned Upside Down" after their unforeseen and disastrous defeat at the Battle of Yorktown.
President Trump vs. the Department of State: Yoram Ettinger, Jewish Press, Jan. 24, 2017— In order to avoid the failed Middle East track record of all US Presidents, since 1948, President Trump should refrain from – rather than repeat – the systematic errors committed by his predecessors.
The Myth of America's Invincible Military: Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry, The Hill, Jan. 11, 2017— Today, with the long benefit of hindsight, France's stunning collapse in the face of Nazi invasion looks almost unsurprising.
Israel, Globalism and Nationalism: Douglas Altabef, Jerusalem Post, Jan. 25, 2017— Volumes have been filled on trying to understand the position of Israel in the world today, particularly its cold friendship with the Obama-led United States and its varying degrees of hostility with the European Union.
Not A Muslim Ban: Lee Smith, Weekly Standard, Jan. 29, 2017
The New Arab–Israeli Alliance: Michael J. Totten, World Affairs, 2017
North Korea and the Middle East: Dr. Alon Levkowitz, BESA, Jan. 10, 2017
Facing Future Wars: Ancient Lessons on Strategy for President Trump: Louis Rene Beres, Breaking Israel News, Jan. 26, 2017
THE WORLD TURNED UPSIDE DOWN
Victor Davis Hanson
Real Clear Politics, Jan. 26, 2017
Legend has it that the British played "The World Turned Upside Down" after their unforeseen and disastrous defeat at the Battle of Yorktown. Such topsy-turvy upheaval characterizes the start of Donald Trump's presidency. Everything is in flux in a way not seen since the election of 1932, in which Franklin D. Roosevelt defeated Herbert Hoover. Mainstream Democrats are infuriated. Even Republicans are vexed over the outsider Trump.
Polls, political pundits and "wise" people, guilty of past partisan-driven false prognostications, remain discredited. Their new creased-brow prophesies of doom for President Trump are about as credible as their past insistence that a "blue wall" would keep him out of the White House.
The media collusion with the Clinton campaign was endemic in the WikiLeaks email trove. The complicity blew up any lingering notion that establishment journalists are disinterested and principled, as they now turn from eight years of obsequiousness to frenzied hostility toward the White House. In the media's now radically amended progressive dictionary, Senate filibusters are no longer subversive, but quite vital.
Executive orders are no longer inspired, but dangerous. Bypassing Congress on treaties and overseas interventions, or refusal to enforce existing laws, is no longer presidential leadership. If Trump follows Obama's example of presidential fiats, he will be recalibrated as seditious. Protests against a sitting president are no longer near treasonous, but patriotic. Media collusion with the president is no longer natural, but unprofessional and dishonest. Cruel invective against the president and his family is no longer racist, but inspired.
The successful Obama electoral matrix of ginning up political support through identity politics may have been an atypical event, not a wave of the future. His two victories were certainly non-transferrable to most other liberal but non-minority candidates. Obama's legacy is the near-destruction of the Democrats as a national party, leaving them in a virtual civil war while most of his own initiatives will be rendered null and void — and perhaps soon forgotten.
Where do Democrats go now? Do they double down by going further leftward with Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren? Or do they reluctantly pivot to win back the clingers, deplorables and irredeemables whose defections cost them the big Rust Belt states? On Nov. 7, "experts" were forecasting a Republican civil war: a disgraced presidential candidate, a lost Senate and a liberal Supreme Court for the next 30 years. Two days and an election later, the world flipped. Republicans — with majorities in both houses of Congress, overwhelming majorities in the state legislatures and with governorships, and a likely slew of Supreme Court vacancies — haven't been in a better position since the 1920s.
Just as importantly, former Sen. Harry Reid and President Emeritus Barack Obama weaponized Trump by respectively eroding the Senate filibuster and green-lighting presidential fiats by "pen-and-phone" executive orders. For his Cabinet picks, Trump ignored Washington-establishment grandees, think-tank Ph.D.s, and academics in general. He owes no allegiance to the Republican pundits who despised him or to the big-name donors who chose not to invest in what they saw as a losing candidacy.
His style is not Washingtonian, but is born out of the dog-eat-dog world of Manhattan real estate. Trump's blustering way of doing business is as brutal as it is nontraditional: Do not initiate attacks, but hit back twice as hard — and low — once targeted. Go off topic and embrace obstreperousness to unsettle an opponent. And initially demand triple of what is eventually acceptable to settle a deal. Trump's inaugural address was short, tough and nationalistic, reflecting his don't-tread-on-me pledges to his supporters to fight both Washington and the world abroad to restore the primacy of the middle classes…
The world has been flipped upside down abroad as well. Weeks ago, analysts were offering Dr. Strangelove doomsday warnings of a no-fly zone in Syria imposed by a likely President Hilary Clinton on another nuclear power's air force. But now, Russian strongman Vladimir Putin is talking about joining American planes to destroy ISIS. Who is friend, foe or neutral? Could Trump coax Putin away from his Iranian and Syrian support, or will Trump appease his newfound friend's aggressions? No one quite knows.
An American president now talks to Taiwan, doubles down on support for Israel, questions the reason to remain loyal to both the United Nations and European Union, and forces changes in NATO. Not just policy, but the way policy is made, remains uncertain. Up is down; down up. The future is blank.
PRESIDENT TRUMP VS. THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Jewish Press, Jan. 24, 2017
In order to avoid the failed Middle East track record of all US Presidents, since 1948, President Trump should refrain from – rather than repeat – the systematic errors committed by his predecessors.
They were misguided by the political correctness and conventional “wisdom” of the US State Department, which courted Saddam Hussein until the 1990 invasion of Kuwait, embraced Ayatollah Khomeini, betrayed the Shah of Iran, identified with Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, deserted Mubarak, heralded Arafat as a messenger of peace, facilitated the Hamas takeover of Gaza, and welcomed the Arab Tsunami as “Arab Spring, a transition toward democracy.” The State Department has sacrificed the 1,400-year-old complex, disintegrating, unpredictable, volcanic, violently-intolerant and frenzied Middle East reality on the altar of well-intentioned, but oversimplified and futile attempts to reset the Middle East in accordance with a Western state-of-mind and values.
Largely ignored by the State Department, the conflict-stricken Arab Middle East has adopted the norm that “on words one does not pay custom,” especially when aimed to mislead, confuse and defeat the “infidel” Christian, Buddhist and Jew. Thus, Western establishments attribute much credibility to the philo-Palestinian Arab talk, while failing to examine the Arab/Palestinian walk.
Contrary to the State Department worldview, Arab policy-makers have never considered the Palestinian issue a top priority, nor a core-cause of regional turbulence, nor the axis of the Arab-Israeli conflict. All Arab leaders have been preoccupied with domestic, regional, intra-Arab and intra-Muslim lethal challenges – such as the threats posed by the megalomaniacal Ayatollahs and Islamic terrorism – which are unrelated to Israel’s existence and the Israel-Palestinian dispute.
Unlike the State Department, Arab leaders have accorded critical weight to the subversive/terrorist Palestinian walk (track record) in Egypt (1950s), Syria (1966), Jordan (1968-1970, Lebanon (1970-1983) and Kuwait (1990). Therefore, they have always showered the Palestinian issue with lavish talk, but never with financial or military walk; certainly not during the Israel-Palestinian wars in Lebanon (1978, 1982-83), Judea, Samaria (1988-1990, 2000-2002) and Gaza (2009, 2012, 2014).
Unlike the State Department, Arab leaders do not consider the Arab-Israeli conflict “the Middle East conflict.” They are aware that the raging Arab Tsunami – which triggered violent regime change in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain, Iraq and Syria – is totally independent of the Arab-Israeli conflict and Israel’s existence. The boiling Arab Tsunami has pro-US Arab leaders to an unprecedented counter-terrorism cooperation with Israel, which they perceive as a regional stabilizing force, contrasted with the unreliable Palestinians.
While Foggy Bottom believes that an Israeli retreat to the pre-1967 ceasefire lines would produce an Israel-Arab peace, Arabs have been unable to produce intra-Arab peace during the last 1,400 years. Is it realistic to assume that a dramatic Israeli concession would induce the Arabs to accord the “infidel” Jewish state that which they have denied each other – intra-Arab peaceful coexistence?! Is it reasonable to assume that an unprecedented Israeli concession would convince the Arabs to depart from a major tenant of Islam (Waqf), and recognize an “infidel” entity in the Middle East, which is designated by Islam to be divinely and exclusively-ordained to the “believers”?!
In contrast to State Department policy, the reconstruction of Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria (since 1967) has never been the cause of the anti-Jewish terrorism (since the 1920s) and the Arab-Israeli wars (since 1948). Middle East reality documents that the real cause of these wars has been the existence – not the size – of the Jewish state in an area which is, supposedly, part of “the abode of Islam.”
Ignoring Middle East reality, and insisting on US – and sometimes international – mediation, the State Department has generated a litany of Israel-Arab peace initiatives. All the initiatives failed, while further radicalizing Arab expectations and demands, reducing Arab incentive to negotiate directly with Israel, intensifying US-Israel and US-Arab tension, undermining US clout and the prospects of peace. On the other hand, two Israeli initiatives of direct negotiation produced two peace accords with Egypt (which was initially opposed by President Carter) and Jordan (which was encouraged by President Clinton).
US involvement is critical during advanced – not early – stages of direct Israel-Arab negotiation. Contrasting the Palestinian-driven State Department order of priorities in the Middle East, US national security, mutually-beneficial US-Israel cooperation and US-Arab relations dramatically transcend the limited role of the Arab-Israeli conflict and the Palestinian issue in shaping/shaking the region…
[Yoram Ettinger will be one of the keynote-speakers at CIJR’s 29th Anniversary Gala, “Israel’s Contributions, Biblical & Modern, to Western Civilization.” Sunday, March 26, 2017, at Beth Zion Congregation (Montreal). For more information click the following link—ed.]
THE MYTH OF AMERICA'S INVINCIBLE MILITARY
The Hill, Jan. 11, 2017
Today, with the long benefit of hindsight, France's stunning collapse in the face of Nazi invasion looks almost unsurprising. But at the time, it stunned the world. France was one of the preeminent superpowers of the day. It had one of the world's biggest land armies, navies, and second-biggest colonial empire in the world. Moreover, as France had led the Allies in World War I, a war that was orders of magnitude more terrible than anything anyone had ever known, it had a reputation for military invincibility. When in 1923 Germany delayed paying back war reparations, France invaded, occupied, and easily steamrolled the Weimar Republic's puny military.
And this reputation for military invincibility was one of the things that held the world order together. There are countless causes for why the world backslid into World War II, but an underrated one was the sense that if Hitler really got out of hand, the French and the British together would crush him.
Today, global peace rests on many things, but one of them is the assumption that the United States military is invincible. We justly fill our headlines with reports of casualties in Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan, but what is striking in our current era is just how little conflict there is. And one reason for that is that no contemporary military can hope to match the United States', so countries that might want to mess with the U.S. or its allies either don't, or do so through comparatively much less destructive and unconventional means, like hacking.
But just like France's invincibility on the eve of World War II, America's military invincibility may just be waiting to be toppled by anyone clever and gutsy enough to give the right shove. Here are three very worrying ways in which America's conventional war machine is being outclassed.
1. Supercarriers: He who rules the seas rules the world. It was true in the time of the Greeks, and it's true today. And on paper, America's dominance looks total. The United States has 10 aircraft carriers. Russia can barely field just one. China only just recently got one, a retrofitted old Soviet clunker. And in some way, this undersells America's advantage: America produces supercarriers which are on the order of twice as large as anything else on the sea, and nuclear-powered, which means they can stay at sea much longer (the only other country with a nuclear carrier is France). Carriers are the dominant means of "force projection" (translation: going out and kicking someone's ass), and have been since World War II, when they and their planes proved much more destructive than the old battleships.
But here's the thing: Just like France's outdated tactics were obsoleted by German Blitzkrieg, carrier strike groups, a technology and formation from the mid-20th century, are probably obsolete. As an excellent article by David W. Wise convincingly argues, aircraft carriers are probably extremely vulnerable to a number of new technologies, from asymmetric warfare to super-quiet submarines to advanced ballistic missiles. In military exercises, U.S. aircraft carriers keep getting sunk. Up until very recently, America's overwhelming carrier advantage meant that any attempt, say, by China to invade Taiwan, looked like folly. Now it practically looks like an invitation: With its anti-ship ballistic missiles, China could sink half the U.S. Navy before it even got within range of the island.
It increasingly looks like the Navy of the future will mostly consist of drone- and missile-launching submarines (manned and unmanned), which hold a number of decisive advantages over carriers. But these are areas in which the Navy, despite some interesting experiments, is under-investing — partly because its budget is being eaten up by a frenzy to build and maintain ever-more expensive supercarriers.
2. Stealth fighters: Like naval power, air power is absolutely crucial in war. He who controls the skies controls the fight. Observers and historians often joke that Israel's Six-Day War should really be called the One-Day War; Israel was able to crush vastly superior enemies on two fronts at once because it destroyed their air forces in a masterful preemptive strike, making the rest of the war a formality. Every single conventional military victory by the United States since the end of the Cold War has been premised on, and enabled by, total dominance of the skies. So making sure that, in any conventional war, the United States can establish and maintain air dominance is front and center for all the strategic planners at the Pentagon.
Thankfully, they have a silver bullet: stealth! All of the United States' fighter jets will be stealthy. And when you can't even show up on the enemies' radar screens and you can shoot at them with impunity, you're going to crush them very quickly, right? Billions and billions (and billions) were poured into projects such as the F-35 and F-22 (and crucial design tradeoffs were made) so that those planes could have "stealth technology."…
ISRAEL, GLOBALISM AND NATIONALISM
Jerusalem Post, Jan. 25, 2017
Volumes have been filled on trying to understand the position of Israel in the world today, particularly its cold friendship with the Obama-led United States and its varying degrees of hostility with the European Union. There have been explanations touching upon particular Israeli policies and personalities, and of course the combination of the two. Settlement construction, opposing the Iran deal, insufficient concessions to the Palestinians, brazen attempts to court public and legislative support, the list goes on, and the bill of particulars is long.
But what the Brexit vote in England, the stirrings of similar feelings in several continental European countries, and above all, the recent dramatic upset election of Donald Trump in the US all underscore is the reality that the quandary that Israel has been in is largely not one of its own creation. Rather, there is an existential or definitional problem. Israel is rooted in the ideology of Zionism, the movement for Jewish sovereign national self-determination. Zionism is a nationalist movement, pure and simple. It is all about carving out the one place in the world that Jews can live in the condition of sovereignty, enjoying the untrammeled freedom to chart their own course in a Jewish state.
Zionism has been a uniquely successful national movement, producing a vibrant, successful state that has extended to a great extent its benefits and freedoms to its non-Jewish citizens. Perhaps it is that very success that has been its problem. The State of Israel was born just as Europe was emerging from the 30-year-long disaster of two world wars (historians are likely to see this as one conflagration with a tenuous interregnum), a major lesson of which was the destructive nature of nationalism. As a new state beset by mortal enemies, Israel’s nationhood was more than just an idea. It was a tenuous, vulnerable physical reality requiring vigilance and determination, with a strong emphasis on security. These needs, together with the Zionist vision, as well as the lessons of the Holocaust, made Israel a highly self-aware nationalistic society, where the concept of the Jewish self determination of Zionism was seamlessly meshed into the newly sovereign reality of the State of Israel.
It is important to remember that the nationalism of Israel in no way represents the nationalism that pummeled Europe, and to which it developed a post-war loathing. Israel has no designs on other countries and doesn’t measure itself by their successes or failures. Israel’s nationalism is the impetus to provide the full blossoming of the immense potential of the Jewish People and of the great gifts of Judaism and Jewish tradition. Ironically, it is through the particularity of Jewish nationalism that Israel has sought to be a Light unto the Nations, providing aid and solace to other countries in need, and standing with outstretched hand to all those who would reciprocate.
Unfortunately, globalists are not so discerning in their assessment of the different flavors of nationalism, and Israel’s rankles considerably. Compounding this ill perception is the fact that such nationalism is seen to be the vehicle for continuing “occupation” of the Palestinians, and the impediment to a peace agreement with them. Quite simply, historic, religious and spiritual connections to Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria or anywhere else do not engender a great deal of sympathy. Quite the opposite; they are seen to be outdated, anachronistic and counterproductive remnants of an ancient, and therefore no longer relevant reality.
Ironically, it is the global nature of Israel’s economy that has protected its nationalistic orientation. As an immensely innovative purveyor of cutting-edge technology, Israel continues to attract and grow its trade relations. Its state-of-the-art products in so many areas virtually assure continued – indeed, growing – trade relationships, despite political qualms about Israel’s againstthe- grain focus on maintaining its Zionist vision. Having endured the growing anger of both the EU and the Obama administration, Israel might now see a significant wind shift for the better. The Brexit vote exposed the deep reservations over the creeping, non-accountable globalism of the EU. Any number of continental nations, especially in eastern Europe, are seeing similar sentiments rise to unprecedented levels.
More significantly, the election of Trump in the US has been a nationalist gauntlet thrown onto the ground of assumed ever-greater globalism. One reason I suspect Trump likes Israel so much is that he respects its desire to maintain and protect its sovereignty. Trump values patriotism, and he sees in Israel and Israelis a tenacious willingness to embrace and honor the nationstate. The rift between globalism and nationalism is the reigning schism in the Western world, replacing the Cold War’s ideological confrontation of capitalism and communism. This is a rift being fought on the margins, as it were, since no country is without global ties or national impulses. The momentum in that confrontation is now favoring nationalism, and that is likely to benefit Israel. Not that Israel is looking to pick a fight on this score. It has an export driven economy and a strong desire to forge better international relations…
Not A Muslim Ban: Lee Smith, Weekly Standard, Jan. 29, 2017—The White House seems to be backing away from aspects of President Trump's executive order on immigration. Chief of staff Reince Priebus explained Sunday morning that green card holders from the seven countries specified in the order—Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen—would not be prevented from returning to the United States.
The New Arab–Israeli Alliance: Michael J. Totten, World Affairs, 2017—During the early years of the Obama administration, conventional wisdom in Washington held that the Israeli–Palestinian conflict trumped everything else in the Middle East, that no problem could be resolved until that one was out of the way. “Without doubt,” former president Jimmy Carter said, “the path to peace in the Middle East goes through Jerusalem.” The reason, said his former national security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski, now a professor of foreign policy at Johns Hopkins University, is because, “The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the single most combustible and galvanizing issue in the Arab world”.
North Korea and the Middle East: Dr. Alon Levkowitz, BESA, Jan. 10, 2017—Kim Jung-un's new year declaration that North Korea will test its new ICBM this year (2017) poses a further challenge to the incoming Trump administration. It is truly a “rogue state” – a country that conducts nuclear tests in defiance of the UN Security Council, and that is willing to sell conventional and non-conventional weapons to other rogue regimes, including Israel's enemies. The nuclear cooperation between North Korea, Syria and Iran forces Israel into new alliances to counter this threat.
Facing Future Wars: Ancient Lessons on Strategy for President Trump: Louis Rene Beres, Breaking Israel News, Jan. 26, 2017—“For by wise counsel, thou shalt make thy war.” (Proverbs) President Trump comes into office with a clear determination to “win” all ongoing and future American wars. Nothing unusual about this. After all, such determination seems plainly ordinary, traditional, even indisputable.
Not All the News That’s Fit to Print: Richard L. Cravatts, Frontpage, Dec. 7, 2016— When Elmer Davis, director of FDR’s Office of War Information, observed that “. . . you cannot do much with people who are convinced that they are the sole authorized custodians of Truth and that whoever differs from them is ipso facto wrong” he may well have been speaking about editors of college newspapers…
Fixing ‘News That’s Fit to Print’: Jerold Auerbach, Algemeiner, Oct. 31, 2016 — Rami Nazzal is a Palestinian resident of east Jerusalem who guides tours “freely and safely across borders,” providing “a window into the reality of Palestine.”
The Führer and the Fourth Estate: Sean Durns, Times of Israel, Nov. 23, 2016— There can be no higher law in journalism than to tell the truth, and to shame the devil,” U.S. commentator Walter Lippman once said.
The End Game: Machla Abramovitz, Michpacha, Dec. 2017— They believe in the coming of a messianic epoch, one in which humanity will unite and peace and justice will reign.
One Thing Voters Agree On: Better Campaign Coverage Was Needed: Liz Spayd, New York Times, Nov. 19, 2016
Author of New York Times Magazine Jerusalem Article Signed Pro-Boycott Petition: Ira Stoll, Algemeiner, Dec. 6, 2016 Maclean’s Photo Essay Is Pure Palestinian Propaganda : Honest Reporting, Nov. 7, 2016
Western Media Confused After Discovering Israel Not Involved in Most Middle East Conflicts: Rube Silverhill, Mideast Beast, Dec., 2016
NOT ALL THE NEWS THAT’S FIT TO PRINT
Richard L. Cravatts
Frontpage, Dec. 7, 2016
When Elmer Davis, director of FDR’s Office of War Information, observed that “. . . you cannot do much with people who are convinced that they are the sole authorized custodians of Truth and that whoever differs from them is ipso facto wrong” he may well have been speaking about editors of college newspapers who have purposely violated the central purpose of journalism and have allowed one ideology, not facts and alternate opinions, to hijack the editorial composition of their publications and purge their respective newspapers of any content—news or opinion—that contradicts a pro-Palestinian narrative and would provide a defense of Israel.
The latest example is a controversy involving The McGill Daily and its recent astonishing admission that it is the paper’s policy to not publish “pieces which promote a Zionist worldview, or any other ideology which we consider oppressive.” “While we recognize that, for some, Zionism represents an important freedom project,” the editors wrote in a defense of their odious policy, “we also recognize that it functions as a settler-colonial ideology that perpetuates the displacement and the oppression of the Palestinian people.”
A McGill student, Molly Harris, had filed a complaint with the Students’ Society of McGill University’s (SSMU) equity committee. In that complaint, Harris contended that, based on the paper’s obvious anti-Israel bias, and “a set of virulently anti-Semitic tweets from a McGill Daily writer,” a “culture of anti-Semitism” defined the Daily—a belief seemingly confirmed by the fact that several of the paper’s editors themselves are BDS supporters and none of the staffers are Jewish. Of course, in addition to the existence of a fundamental anti-Semitism permeating the editorial environment of The Daily, there is also the core issue of what responsibility a newspaper has to not insert personal biases and ideology into its stories, and to provide space for alternate views on many issues—including the Israeli/Palestinian conflict—in the opinion sections of the paper
At Connecticut College, Professor Andrew Pessin also found himself vilified on campus, not only by a cadre of ethnic hustlers and activists, but by fellow faculty and an administration that were slow to defend Pessin’s right to express himself—even when, as in this case, his ideas were certainly within the realm of reasonable conversation about a difficult topic: the conflict between Israel and Hamas. Central to the campaign of libels waged against Pessin was the part played by the College’s student newspaper, The College Voice.
In August of 2014, during Israel’s incursions into Gaza to suppress deadly rocket fire aimed at Jewish citizens, Pessin, a teacher of religion and philosophy, wrote on his Facebook page a description of how he perceived Hamas, the ruling political entity in Gaza: “One image which essentializes the current situation in Gaza might be this. You’ve got a rabid pit bull chained in a cage, regularly making mass efforts to escape.” That image of a pit bull did not sit well with at least one Connecticut College student, Lamiya Khandaker, a pro-Palestinian activist, who complained publicly about Pessin’s old Facebook post; he thereupon deleted the offending Facebook entry, and even proffered an apology, but Pessin’s apology was insufficient for the ever-suffering moral narcissists on his campus.
In fact, editors of The College Voice insisted that Pessin’s thoughts were “dehumanizing” to Palestinians and had “caused widespread alarm in the campus community.” The paper’s editor, Ayla Zuraw-Friedland, initiated a campaign of lies against Dr. Pessin, contending that his post “caused widespread alarm in the campus community,” that the college community could and should “identify racism when we see it,” and that the very students viciously attacking Pessin for his thoughts were themselves “victims of racism.” In March 2015, the College Voice even ran three op-eds, beginning on the paper’s front page, that condemned Pessin and accused him of racism and comparing Palestinians to rabid dogs.
The Wesleyan University community also underwent collective apoplexy over a 2015 opinion submission in the school’s student newspaper, The Argus, which critically examined the Black Lives Matter movement. The thoughtful, relatively-benign op-ed, written by sophomore Bryan Stascavage, a 30-year-old Iraq veteran and self-described “moderate conservative,” questioned if the behavior of some BLM supporters “cheering after [a police] officer is killed, chanting that they want more pigs to fry like bacon” showed a moral and ideological flaw in the movement, leading him to wonder, “is the movement itself actually achieving anything positive? Does it have the potential for positive change?”
That opinion was apparently more than many of the sensitive fellow Wesleyan students could bear, and the newspaper’s staff was inundated with denunciations of the implicit racism of the offending op-ed and the “white privilege” demonstrated by its author, demands that apologies be issued by the paper’s editors, the widespread theft of The Argus around campus, and calls for sensitivity/social justice training for staffers. College students have now taken a new, misguided approach in their attempt to suppress speech whose content they do not approve of, as they seem to have done at Wesleyan. On college campuses, to paraphrase George Orwell, all views are equal, but some are more equal than others…
[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]
FIXING ‘NEWS THAT’S FIT TO PRINT’
Algemeiner, Oct. 31, 2016
Rami Nazzal is a Palestinian resident of east Jerusalem who guides tours “freely and safely across borders,” providing “a window into the reality of Palestine.” He identifies himself as “a fixer for journalists, writers, photographers, film producers.” Surely his most prominent “fixee” is The New York Times.
By now a bevy of Times reporters have been the beneficiaries of his tours. He led former Jerusalem bureau chief Jodi Rudoren to a group of Palestinian musicians, who created an “intifada soundtrack” that featured such hits as “Stab the Zionist and say God is great” and “Say hello to being a martyr.” He guided science reporter James Glanz to “the violent east Jerusalem slum” of Issawiya, filled with the “acrid stench of burning trash.” There, to the reporter’s surprise, Palestinian residents were raising “exquisitely groomed Arabian horses,” an affection that “helps them to endure life under Israeli occupation.”
Nazzal’s journalistic tour de force came in May, when he led Glanz to the sparkling new Palestinian Museum in Birzeit, north of Ramallah. In nearly 1,000 words, they described the Palestinian struggle “to build political and civic institutions while resisting Israel’s occupation;” recounted the story of the (ousted) director who planned to feature “artistic interpretations of things like keys and photographs that Palestinians around the world have kept from the homes they fled or were forced from in what is now Israel;” and anticipated the imminent “high-profile opening ceremony a few days after the 68th anniversary of what Palestinians call the Nakba, or catastrophe” of Israel’s founding. Gazing at the sparkling new building, “rising above a terraced garden with carefully selected trees,” a museum sponsor exulted: “It’s as if the building is coming out of the womb, the Palestinian Mother Nature.”
The museum, Glanz and Nazzal enthused, would “have almost everything: a stunning, contemporary new building; space to celebrate and redefine Palestinian art, history and culture; an outdoor amphitheater; a terraced garden.” There was, however, a conspicuous omission: “One thing the museum will not have,” they wrote, “is exhibitions.” But, the museum’s chairman explained, Palestinians were “so in need of positive energy” that it seemed “worthwhile to open even an empty building.” Glanz and Nazzal did not contemplate what an empty museum might reveal about the content of Palestinian history and culture.
Inevitably, Peter Baker, the new Times Jerusalem bureau chief, was also taken for a ride by Nazzal. In Tulkarm, on the western edge of the West Bank, they met with Shifa al-Qudsi, “a Palestinian hairdresser driven to anger, despair and hopelessness” by the Israeli occupation. Seeking “revenge” for “her beleaguered people,” she had intended to pretend to be pregnant, wearing a suicide belt beneath her maternity dress, with full awareness that it would “rip her from limb to limb” (and leave her daughter an orphan). But, “with luck,” it would also kill many Israelis. Her own luck expired with her pre-attack arrest. Convicted of “conspiracy to commit premeditated killing and possession of explosives,” she spent six years in an Israeli prison.
There, Baker and Nazzal recounted in a front-page story (October 29), she “transformed herself from a would-be deliverer of death into a messenger of peace.” Offering “a window into the world of terrorism” that has recently inspired young Palestinians to launch the “stabbing intifada,” she explained “the kind of thinking that makes sacrificing oneself seem like a rational response to deep feelings of grievance.” After all, Israelis “occupy your home, your land, they kill your relatives and your people.” The only option is “to seek revenge.” The beguiled Times reporters did not care to provide a statistical update on the stabbing intifada: 3,635 Palestinian attacks (2,188 against civilians); 26 Israelis killed and 511 wounded. The reformed Ms. Qudsi is now a member of Combatants for Peace. It joins peace-seeking Palestinians and Israelis – former fighters and soldiers — in a new “jihad”: “The world must know the Palestinians’ land is occupied.” Now that yet another Times reporter has partnered with self-described “fixer” Rami Nazzal, her message is news fit to print.
THE FÜHRER AND THE FOURTH ESTATE
Times of Israel, Nov. 23, 2016
There can be no higher law in journalism than to tell the truth, and to shame the devil,” U.S. commentator Walter Lippman once said. How then, did the U.S. media cover a man responsible for some of the most evil and heinous acts in recorded history: Adolf Hitler? Press coverage of the German dictator defies a simple and neat summary, as the U.S. media was not, and has never been, a monolithic entity and coverage of Hitler naturally changed over time. Nonetheless, some patterns can be discerned from a cursory glance at the early years of Nazi rule.
Upon Hitler’s ascension to power in 1933, some U.S. news outlets did not see a devil, but rather, much needed stability being brought to a country that had been in economic and social upheaval since before the Great War. Hitler and the Nazis were providing a “dark land a clear light of hope,” according to a 1933 dispatch by the Christian Science Monitor that was cited by the American historian Dr. Rafael Medoff (“The American Papers That Praised Hitler,” The Daily Beast, Dec. 20, 2015). CSM praised, at its outset, Nazi rule for bringing order; quite literally for making the trains arrive “punctually.”
The U.S. press baron William Randolph Hearst was quoted by Putzi Hanfstaegnl, an early Hitler backer, about his purported views on the Nazi rise to power. According to the Aug. 23, 1934 issue of The New York Times, Hearst said that Hitler’s “Germany is battling for her liberation from the mischievous provisions of the Treaty of Versailles…This battle, in fact, can only be viewed as a struggle which all liberty-loving people are bound to follow with understanding and sympathy.” Although Hearst’s publications initially published articles by Hitler and his fellow fascist Benito Mussolini, the businessman, and the empire at his disposal, would eventually become a critic of Nazi rule and an advocate for their Jewish victims.
Other U.S. newspapers, despite evidence to the contrary, including the virulent antisemitism easily discerned in Hitler’s writings and speeches, nonetheless sought to look for moderation in the new Nazi regime. As Medoff has pointed out, the Berlin bureau chief for The New York Times, Frederick Birchall, claimed that there was a “new moderation” in the political atmosphere after Hitler took power. Similarly, The Philadelphia Evening Bulletin stated in a Jan. 30, 1933 report that “there have been indications of moderation” by Hitler.
Elsewhere, some journalists displayed a tendency to underestimate the objectives of the new authoritarian regime. The Pulitzer Prize winning American journalist, Hubert Knickerbocker, was one of the more perceptive members of the press to cover Nazi Germany. As detailed in Andrew Nagorski’s 2012 book Hiterland, Knickerbocker—in contrast to many of his colleagues—was one of the first to record rising anti-Semitism and to note it’s centrality to Nazi ideology. Yet, when it came to Nazi war aims, in 1933 Knickerbocker believed that, “The odds are too great against Germany for anyone but a mad German to consider making war now against France and her allies. Contrary to a considerable body of opinion abroad, it may be positively asserted that there are no madmen running Germany today.”
But as Ian Kershaw noted in his two-volume biography of the German dictator, Hitler’s rhetoric and Nazi ideology itself had begun to emphasize the need for Lebensraum (living space) from the late 1920s onwards. Some outlets had been misreading Hitler long before he came to power. For example, The New York Times, in a Nov. 21, 1922 article claimed, “Hitler’s anti-Semitism was not so genuine or violent as it sounded.” “He was,” they assured readers, “merely using anti-Semitic propaganda as a bait to catch masses of followers and keep them aroused, enthusiastic and in line for the time when his organization is perfected and sufficiently powerful to be employed effectively for political purposes.” What The Times missed of course, was that anti-Semitism was central to the Nazi movement’s “political purposes.”
Long after Hitler became the Führer—after he enacted the Nuremberg Laws, dispossessed Jews and opened concentration camps—The New York Times would, in at least one article, proceed from the minimization of his ideology to outright hagiography. As my CAMERA colleague Gilead Ini pointed out, a 1939 New York Times Magazine article entitled “Herr Hitler At Home In The Clouds,” failed to critically detail Hitler’s policies, opting instead to record that the dictator “makes no secret of being fond of chocolate,” that he “likes an after-breakfast stroll on his mountain” and, perhaps most absurdly, that “Hitler can be a good listener.”…
THE END GAME
Michpacha, Dec. 2017
They believe in the coming of a messianic epoch, one in which humanity will unite and peace and justice will reign. Their enemies are conservatives and traditionalists, or those who fail to comprehend the arc of history and humanity’s final destiny. No, they’re not an apocalyptic cult hatching a plot in a South American jungle hideout, but modern progressives who subscribe to the idea of “millennialism.”
Richard Landes, a former professor of Medieval Studies at Boston University, and currently the senior fellow with the Center of International Communication at Bar Ilan University, is one of their leading critics. For decades, Landes has been studying the phenomenon of millennialism, or the belief that a messianic era of justice, peace, and abundance is coming soon, often preceded by a massive disruptive event. Now, with the election of Donald J. Trump and the protests that have exploded nationwide, the world is witness to the expression of millennialism.
“Those who are protesting his election are not only criticizing Trump, but his supporters, who they dismiss as undereducated ‘deplorables’ who love their guns and their religion,” says Landes, who came to observant Judaism as an adult. “[To their way of thinking, Trump supporters] are mere offshoots of the Middle Ages, whereas Hillary Clinton supporters have advanced beyond that.” Were it only an academic meme, this kind of millennialism wouldn’t much concern the Jewish community. But in the 21st century, messianic progressives have joined their fellow millennial dreamers, the Muslim jihadis, and embraced a common apocalyptic narrative with an ultimate enemy – Israel.
“BDS is essentially a cognitive war (cogwar) campaign of Caliphaters — active, cataclysmic (apocalyptic) millennialists who believe that Islam will dominate the world under one global caliphate — that have teamed up with the global progressive left, who have been duped into thinking that Israel is the cause of the world’s woes,” said Landes, who recently delivered the keynote address at the Montreal-based Canadian Institute of Jewish Research’s (CIJR) conference on “BDS and the Campus Delegitimization of Israel.”
“That’s the folly of the progressives: to side with the most regressive messianic movement on the planet against the most progressive country in the world. Morally speaking, it’s just breathtaking.” Landes is perhaps best known as the man who helped expose the al-Durah hoax and coined the term “Pallywood” (Palestinian Hollywood). At the start of the second intifada, a young Palestinian named Mohammed al-Durah was allegedly shot to death by the Israeli army and died in his father’s arms. His death throes were captured by France 2 TV and became an iconic image of Palestinian victimhood. “This image represented the moment when Islamic apocalyptic discourse about the genocidal Israelis who intentionally kill Palestinian children, was mainstreamed in the Western media,” says Landes, who also serves as the chairman of the council of scholars for Scholars for Peace in the Middle East. “This sentiment was all the more horrendous given that Mohammad’s death was a fake. When I looked into it, I was amazed by the widespread use of footage staged by Palestinians, run as news by Western journalists.”
The son of Professor David Landes, a renowned Harvard economic historian, Landes’ personal journey marked a departure not only from the secular intellectualism of his youth toward observant Judaism (he was inspired by Rabbi Joseph Leibowitz in the 1980s, while living in Berkeley, California), but later departed from former friends and colleagues within academia. This mindset, Landes acknowledges, continues to affect his relationships with friends and colleagues. “Since 2000, there has been a steady decline in the number of academics I talk with, work with, and exchange ideas with.” Of late, Landes has focused on educating university-aged students on the cognitive war that is currently being waged on today’s campuses – a war for which he feels they are woefully unprepared.
The concept of millennialism — the belief in a coming Utopia — features greatly in your work. Heaven on Earth, deals comprehensively with this subject. Please explain what this is and why it is such an important subject for today’s university students to understand and appreciate?
Millennialism is the idea that there will come a time when things will get better; therefore, we have to put factors in motion that will transform over generations. Its concepts, for the good and the bad, permeate our culture in multiple ways, which needn’t be religious. Western progressivism is based on a millennialist idea. When not revolutionary, it tends toward transformational millennialism, that is a gradual, nonviolent change that occurs because people’s awareness changes. Modern progressives start from what Pirkei Avos tells us: the toil is long and it’s not up to us to relinquish it, or finish it. For them, this is the time to finish it.
“What we witness today is a marriage between pre-modern sadism (the jihadists who hate the infidels) and post-modern masochism (the ones who klap al cheit),” says Professor Landes. “Trump had disappointed their millennial expectations” This millennialism activated by a sense of apocalyptic imminence can get darker. Fueled by a sense that the world is unbearably evil and corrupt, they believe that now is the time for evil to vanish from the earth. For many apocalyptic millennialists, the process will be cataclysmic: vast destruction of evil precedes the victory of good. In passive scenarios, like Christian Rapture, G-d is the major agent of this destruction: in active ones, like global Jihad, the believer is the major agent, G-d’s weapon of destruction.
ISIS is a Sunni Muslim millennialist cult. They believe in the establishment of a global caliphate and are willing to kill and be killed to establish it. Some Shiites also share this desire to bring on this messianic age. Iranian President Ayatollah Khamenei actually believes he is paving the way for the “hidden Imam” to emerge. And when that doesn’t happen on its own, apocalyptic zealots are not averse to suicidal action that will force the hand of G-d, in this case the Mahdi to come to their rescue. So when Secretary of State John Kerry states that the Iranian leaders are rational and would never do anything to bring on their own destruction (like nuke Israel) he doesn’t understand their motivating ideology…
Machla Abramovitz & Richard Landes are CIJR Academic Fellows
One Thing Voters Agree On: Better Campaign Coverage Was Needed: Liz Spayd, New York Times, Nov. 19, 2016—There is a group of 10 friends in Charlotte, N.C., all women, all in their 50s, all white. They’re college educated with successful careers, and they have a message for The New York Times: Come visit us. They voted for Donald Trump and don’t consider themselves homophobic, racist or anti-Muslim. But now, they say, thanks to The Times and its fixation on Trump’s most extreme supporters, most people think they are. They would like a chance to show otherwise, and one of them, Cindy Capwell, wrote my office to extend the invitation.
Author of New York Times Magazine Jerusalem Article Signed Pro-Boycott Petition: Ira Stoll, Algemeiner, Dec. 6, 2016 —Concern and questions are mounting as additional details emerge about an article in Sunday’s New York Times magazine highlighting what the article described as squalid conditions in a Jerusalem refugee camp.
Maclean’s Photo Essay Is Pure Palestinian Propaganda : Honest Reporting, Nov. 7, 2016—Re: Maclean’s Magazine: David Sherman, Toronto: Your photo essay shows destruction, but fails to explain why there was “Israeli shelling” and “the Israeli-Gaza conflict that destroyed much of Beit Lahiya,” leaving the uninformed reader to draw conclusions that Israel attacked Gaza for no reason, leaving misery in its wake. The photo essay should have provided some context, and should have described Israel‘s actions as a defensive war against thousands of rockets and dozens of tunnels aimed at Israeli civilians. Describing and showing the destruction without context merely reinforces the false narrative sold to the public that Israel is at fault.
Western Media Confused After Discovering Israel Not Involved in Most Middle East Conflicts: Rube Silverhill, Mideast Beast, Dec., 2016— Due to escalating tensions in Middle Eastern countries, arriving Western journalists were shocked to discover that the Middle East has a ton of conflicts, and very few are even remotely related to Israel. “I always write about the ‘Middle Eastern’ conflict being Israelis vs. Palestinians, but it turns out, the Middle East is a huge, complex, messed up region,” a BBC journalist exclaimed. “Who knew?”
UNESCO Votes: No Connection Between Temple Mount and Judaism: Jerusalem Post, Oct. 13, 2016 — In a 24-6 vote, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization on Thursday gave preliminary approval to a resolution that denies Jewish ties to its most holy religious sites: the Temple Mount and the Western Wall.
Is the Tide Turning for Israel?: Jonathan S. Tobin, Commentary, Oct. 13, 2016 — The headline out of Geneva is as familiar as it is depressing and disgraceful.
Same Old, Same Old . . .: Victor Davis Hanson, National Review, Oct. 14, 2016— Every time the Clinton campaign hits a rough patch…
The Paradox of Sukkot: Finding Joy in Uncertainty: Nathan Lopes Cardozo, Algemeiner, Oct. 14, 2016 — When contemplating the festival of Sukkot, we are confronted with a remarkable paradox.
Sukkot For Our Time: Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, Jewish Press, Oct. 14, 2016
Palestinians Suffer Defeat at UNESCO, Losing France, EU, India, Africa: Hillel Neuer, UN Watch, Oct. 14, 2016
After Elections, Will Obama Betray Israel at UN?: Breaking Israel News, Oct. 14, 2016
At the U.N., Only Israel Is an ‘Occupying Power’: Eugene Kontorovich & Penny Grunseid, Wall Street Journal, Sept. 13, 2016
UNESCO VOTES: NO CONNECTION BETWEEN
TEMPLE MOUNT AND JUDAISM
Jerusalem Post, Oct. 13, 2016
In a 24-6 vote, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization on Thursday gave preliminary approval to a resolution that denies Jewish ties to its most holy religious sites: the Temple Mount and the Western Wall. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu slammed the vote stating: “The theater of the absurd continues at the UN.” “Today UNESCO adopted its second decision this year denying the Jewish people’s connection to the Temple Mount, our holiest site for more than 3,000 years,” he said. “What’s next? A UNESCO decision denying the connection between peanut butter and jelly? Batman and Robin? Rock ‘n’ roll?”
Twenty-six nations abstained from the vote and two were absent. The six countries that voted in support of Israel were the United States, Great Britain, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Germany and Estonia. A senior US administration official chastised the vote taken by UNESCO’s 58-member Executive Board and told The Jerusalem Post that the US “will not hesitate to use our vote at the current board meeting to oppose these resolutions.”
The Palestinian Authority, however, welcomed the results. The official spokesman of the Palestinian Presidency Nabil Abu Rudeinah said on Thursday evening that the continued international decisions against the occupation and its policy including that of UNESCO regarding Jerusalem and the al-Aksa Mosque form a clear message from the international community that it does not agree with the policies that protect the occupation and contribute to the creation of chaos and instability.
In 2015, the Palestinians, who have been recognized by UNESCO as a member state since 2011, began a drive to change the language with which that international body refers to the Temple Mount area, known to Muslims the Al-Haram Al Sharif (the Noble Sanctuary). Initially they tried and failed to have it declared a solely Muslim site. Since then, they have submitted resolutions on Jerusalem at every possible UNESCO meeting, that uses only the Muslims terms for the Temple Mount area and its adjacent Western Wall.
UNESCO’s Executive Board passed such a resolution last April and its 21-member World Heritage Committee had been poised to do so again in July in Istanbul. That vote was delayed until October 24-26, when the failed Turkish coup, cut the meeting short. Since then a sentence has been inserted into the text that mentions that Jerusalem and its Old City walls are holy to all three religions; Judaism, Islam and Christianity. The Western Wall is mentioned twice in quotes. Otherwise it was referenced in the text by its Muslim name of the Buraq Plaza.
Thursday’s vote was taken by UNESCO’s 58-member Program and External Relations Commission in advance of its ratification next Monday or Tuesday by the UNESCO Executive Board, which is made up of the same member states. UNESCO outgoing director-general Irina Bokova has spoken against such resolutions, but ultimately the matter lies in the hands of the member states.
In the aftermath of Thursday’s UNESCO vote, both Israel’s Ambassador to UNESCO Carmel Shama-Hacohen and outgoing Foreign Ministry director- general Dore Gold focused on the changes in the voting roster since the executive board last approved such a resolution in Paris in April. Shama-Hacohen and the Foreign Ministry had worked hard in advance of the vote to lobby member states to stand with Israel. Gold, who resigned his position on Thursday effective immediately, said that the UNESCO vote was a “going away present.”
Ten countries which voted for the resolution the last time it came before UNESCO for a vote, abstained this time around, Gold said. What that means, he said, is that more countries voted for Israel or abstained, than voted against Israel. The 10 countries which switched their vote from last time were France, Sweden, Slovenia, Spain, Argentina, India, Sri Lanka, Togo, Guinea and Ghana. Gold signed documents over the summer with Guinean officials formally reestablishing diplomatic ties. He also noted the significance of India and Argentina switching their votes and not voting against Israel, as they have traditionally done.
“What this indicates is that things are shifting for Israel,” Gold said. “You are not going to get a total re-definition about how states are going to vote in the UN system in a matter of a few months, but a new trend is clear, which I hope Israel can build upon in the months and years ahead.” Gold noted that none of the European countries voted for the resolution.
Asked how getting four European countries to abstain can be considered a victory, inasmuch as the resolution detaches any Jewish connection from Jerusalem, Gold said the drafters of the resolution included a sentence saying that the city is important to all three monotheistic faiths. Those countries that abstained – rather than vote against it – could point to that wording as not erasing completely Jewish ties to the capital. “We appreciate the shift of 10 countries in the direction of abstaining,” he said. Gold added that this is not a binding UNESCO resolution, and that UNESCO director-general Irina Bokova said that since there was no consensus around the resolution, she will not implement it.
The PA’s Foreign Ministry said, “We regret that few countries succumbed to the PR bullying orchestrated by Israel, which shifted the focus from Israel's illegal and colonial actions in occupied East Jerusalem to issues irrelevant to the content and objectives of the resolutions, which aims to put an end to Israel's dangerous and illegal actions against holy sites in Jerusalem and Palestinian rights, including the right to worship. “Palestine will continue to defend the rights of our people through all available legal and diplomatic avenues, including UN organizations. Our peaceful agenda will not be derailed by propaganda, nor will our tolerance and adherence to international law be altered by fallacies and cynical spin,” the PA Foreign Ministry said.
Netanyahu suggested that the Bible aside, UNESCO members should visit the Arch of Titus in Rome. “On it one can see what the Romans brought back to Rome after they destroyed and looted the Second Temple on the Temple Mount 2,000 years ago.
There, engraved on the Arch of Titus, is the seven-branched menorah that is the symbol of the Jewish People, and I remind you, is also the symbol of the Jewish state today,” he said. “Soon, UNESCO will say that the Emperor Titus engaged in Zionist propaganda,” Netanyahu said. “To say that Israel has no connection to the Temple Mount and the Western Wall is like saying that China has no connection to the Great Wall of China or that Egypt has no connection to the pyramids. By this absurd decision, UNESCO has lost what little legitimacy it had left,” Netanyahu added…
The votes broke out in this way. Those who supported the motion included Algeria, Bangladesh, Brazil, Chad, China, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Iran, Lebanon, Malaysia, Mauritania, Mexico, Morocco, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Russia, Senegal, South Africa, Sudan and Vietnam.
Nations that abstained from the vote were: Albania, Argentina, Cameroon, Cote de’Ivoire, El Salvador, Spain, France, Ghana, Greece, Guinea, Haiti, India, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Nepal, Uganda, Paraguay, South Korea, St. Kits and Nevis, Slovenia, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Togo, Trinidad and Ukraine.
Absent countries included Serbia and Turkmenistan; Those who opposed the resolution were: the US, Great Britain, the Netherlands, Lithuania, Germany and Estonia voted against the motion.
IS THE TIDE TURNING FOR ISRAEL?
Jonathan S. Tobin
Commentary, Oct. 13, 2016
The headline out of Geneva is as familiar as it is depressing and disgraceful. UNESCO—the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization—voted again today to claim that Judaism and the Jewish people have no ties to Jerusalem’s Temple Mount and the Western Wall. The vote, just the latest example of the UN’s anti-Semitic bias is a brazen attempt to deny history aimed at promoting the delegitimization of Israel. But the Palestinians and their supporters who sponsored this pathetic show shouldn’t be celebrating. The vote at the UN agency went against Israel but, for the first time, more nations abstained than supported the vicious assault on truth. While the mere fact that UNESCO is being used in this fashion illustrates its moral bankruptcy, the decline in support for the Palestinians’ big lies shows that their campaign against the Jewish state is actually losing ground.
The vote at the UNESCO council was lopsided, with 24 nations supporting the resolution denying Jewish ties to the holiest sites in Judaism and supporting efforts to force Jews out of their capital and only six (the United States, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Germany, Lithuania, and Estonia) opposed. But this time, a total of 26 countries abstained. Among the abstainers were France, Sweden, Slovenia, India, Argentina, and Togo, which had all previously announced their support for the smear. In all, ten nations that had voted for a similar resolution in the past abstained this time. Not a single European nation backed the Palestinians on this, the key symbolic plank in their effort to isolate the Jewish state and deny it legitimacy.
The shift to a majority opposing or abstaining on the Palestinian’s Jerusalem resolution reflects the growing success of Israeli diplomacy throughout the world. Efforts to isolate Israel in the Third World are finding increasing resistance in both Africa and Asia as many nations are realizing that supporting the Palestinians’ outrageous claims serves no purpose other than to make peace even less likely. Others are seeking closer ties to Israel—both openly and sometimes covertly—because they appreciate what the Jewish state has to offer in terms of security cooperation at a time when the threat from Islamist terror looms larger around the globe. They are also reading the signals from some of the most vicious enemies of Israel, such as Saudi Arabia, which have recently demonstrated that they fear Iran and look to the Jewish state as a potential ally. Though all continue to pay lip service to the Palestinian cause, backing their obsessive and pointless war against Israel does no one much good–least of all the Palestinian people, who continue to labor under the misrule of both Fatah in the West Bank and Hamas in Gaza.
But while Prime Minister Netanyahu and Israel’s diplomats should be forgiven for expressing some satisfaction at the lower than expected vote total for this act of historical denial, the resolution’s passage is still a matter of deep concern. The manipulation of UNESCO by the Israel-haters is a warning to the world that the Palestinian goal isn’t really a fair-minded two-state resolution, which peace process advocates say is the only possible way to resolve the conflict. The Palestinian Authority’s diplomatic offensive on Jerusalem is a companion piece to their effort to gin up public opinion against Israel by promoting canards about Israel’s supposed plans to harm the Temple Mount mosques. That incitement has fueled the latest round of terrorist murders called the “stabbing intifada.” The point of this hate isn’t to build support for the independent Palestinian state they claim to want but rather to make clear their intent to deny Jewish rights and history and ultimately force Jews out of Jerusalem, if not the rest of the country.
The Palestinians may content themselves with resolutions that encourage them to believe they may achieve their goal of ridding Jerusalem of its Jewish majority. But this effort demonstrates that Palestinian opposition to coexistence and anti-Semitic incitement is a far bigger obstacle to peace than anything Israel has done. As the lower vote total at UNESCO shows, their problem is not just that Israel refuses to disappear. It is that much of the rest of the world is also beginning to understand their true goal.
SAME OLD, SAME OLD . . .
Victor Davis Hanson
National Review, Oct. 14, 2016
Every time the Clinton campaign hits a rough patch — the Clinton Foundation disclosures, the State Department e-mail scandals, Hillary’s health crisis, the “deplorables” smear, the WikiLeaks releases — it lets off an IED, from the staged theatrics of the Khans and the Venezuela beauty queen to the Access Hollywood tape and the groper accusations.
Clinton, Inc. assumes, so far consistently correctly, that the toady media will obsess with Trump’s frothing and screaming about being hit. That defense will eat up about three to four days of the campaign calendar, and likely cost him a three- to four-point dip in the polls. After the IED goes off, a wounded Trump recalibrates and inches up more slowly than after the last explosion — only to step on another land mine and blow himself up all over again.
Of course, Trump should not take the bait, and should instead offer, if the charges are indeed false, a two-minute denial followed by a ten-second simple “I am not a perfect person and am sorry for some things in my past,” and then focus on Hillary’s dismal public record while publishing a new version of something like a Contract with America — ten or so initiatives he would promise to get into law during his first 100 days of office. But that is like training your cattle-dog Queensland Healers not to bite ankles, while somehow being resigned to the fact that they can’t help themselves from such inbred snapping.
Somehow Trump, the supposedly astute businessman, cannot envision that inside the Clinton campaign there are shelves and shelves of stacked Trump IEDs, an inventory all primed with the media and fused to go off the minute Hillary hits another crisis.
Clinton’s greatest fear — the logical conclusion from the WikiLeaks trove thus far — is that the campaign will hinge on the dismal economy, record debt, a war against police, Islamic terrorism, newly emboldened enemies abroad, illegal immigration, the Obamacare disaster, and her past ineptitude in office. With less than a month left, her campaign is now reduced to the easy enough gift narrative of Trump as pervert and creep, followed by three to four days of furious Trump denials — and then on to the next exploding land mine.
It would be as redundant to say Trump’s past vulgarity and detour rants (what the media calls “temperament”) made him uniquely a plodding target as it is banal to drag up again old Heraclitus (“character is fate”). But, in fact, it is a little more complicated than that. Is an imploding Target Trump all that new? George W. Bush lost the popular vote in 2000 largely because of a late IED about a DUI that went off five days before the election. John Kerry and the media almost blew Bush up in 2004 with a forged National Guard document. John McCain in 2008 was reduced to a senile plutocrat and alleged adulterer. Romney in 2012 was an unimpeachable candidate, but then we learned that he had hazed in prep school, was a financial vulture who picked over the carcasses of the defenseless poor, tortured dogs, slandered nearly half the non-income-tax-paying electorate, had a callous “binder” of women, and was married to an equestrian wife with an elevator in their home.
THE PARADOX OF SUKKOT: FINDING JOY IN UNCERTAINTY
Nathan Lopes Cardozo
Algemeiner, Oct. 14, 2016
When contemplating the festival of Sukkot, we are confronted with a remarkable paradox. As is well known, the Sukkah visualizes our life span in the world. For what is a Sukkah? It is a frail structure in which we need to dwell for seven days. Many commentators remind us that these seven days represent man’s average life span, which is about 70 years. This was well stated by King David when he wrote, “The span of his years are seventy and with strength eighty years.” (Tehilim 90:10)
Indeed, under favorable circumstances, we may prolong our stay in this world into our eighth day; this is symbolized by Shemini Chag Atzereth, (a separate festival immediately following the seven days of Sukkot). Nevertheless, it’s a wonder how frail our life is — not only short, but also unreliable. As long as we live under favorable and healthy circumstances, life is a pleasant experience, and just like the Sukkah, it seems to protect us and make us safe. But once life gives us serious problems or turns against us, we realize how unstable our lives really are. Like the Sukkah, it is far less reliable than we had imagined.
Perplexing, however, is the fact that the festival of Sukkot is seen as the highlight of joy and happiness. Speaking specifically about Sukkot, the Torah states: “And you shall be happy on your festival” (Devarim 16-14). This means that we should experience the most exalted form of happiness at a time when we have to dwell in a structure that is far from secure. In fact, Jewish law makes it utmost clear that the Sukkah must be built in such a way that it is not able to stand up against a strong wind, that its roof must be leaking when it starts to rain and that it must contain more shadow than sunlight. These conditions should make us feel distressed, because the Sukkah seems to represent the vulnerability of man. So why command us to be joyful precisely at the time when we are confronted with all that can go wrong in life?
Here another question comes to mind. Since the Sukkah teaches us about life’s handicaps, we would expect that Jewish law would also require the interior of the Sukkah to reflect a similar message. As such, the Sukkah should be empty of all comfort. It should just contain some broken chairs, an old table and some meager cutlery with which to eat one’s dry bread.
Yet Jewish law holds a great surprise. It requires that the Sukkah’s interior should reflect a most optimistic lifestyle. Its frail walls should be decorated with beautiful art, paintings and other decorations. The leaking roof, made from leaves or reeds, should be made to look attractive by hanging colorful fruits down from it. One is required to bring one’s best furniture into the Sukkah, to put a carpet on the ground, have nice curtains hanging in front of its windows, etc. One should eat from the most beautiful plates and use one’s best cutlery. Meals should be more elaborate, including delicacies. Singing should accompany those meals. All this seems to reflect a feeling that this world is a most pleasant place made for our enjoyment and recreation.
So why sit in a frail hut? The message could not be clearer: however much the outside walls and the leaking roof reveal man’s vulnerability and uncertainty, inside these walls one needs to make one’s life as attractive as possible and enjoy its great benefits and blessings. This should not be lost on us. Instead of becoming depressed and losing faith in life after the great tragedies that befall us, we should continue to approach life with the optimistic note that is conveyed to us by the beautiful interior of the Sukkah. True, the ongoing guerrilla attacks on Jews in the land of Israel and the collapse of the Twin Towers in the heart of the US prove how vulnerable modern man really is and how shaken the outer walls of his “Sukkah” are. But this should not hold us back from enjoying life as much as possible. To be happy when all is well is of no great significance. But to be fully aware of the dangers that surround us and simultaneously continue our lives with “song and harp” is what makes humans great and proud.
We should therefore discourage people from speculating about “the end of days” or reading kabbalistic and other sources informing us that the messianic days are very close and that the wars preceding his coming are imminent. There is no way of knowing. Just as in the days of Shabbatai Zvi, such speculations, however tempting, could cause a great backlash and do a lot of harm. Instead we should stay planted with our feet on the ground, and make sure we live up to our moral and religious obligations.
All of our tragedies should encourage people to be more united and to show more sensitivity to each other’s needs. They should encourage Jew and gentile to build strong family ties and create, just as in the case of the Sukkah, strong and pleasant homes. They should inspire people to go to synagogue and church and create strong communities, because these are some of the decorations in our lifelong Sukkah. The walls of our world may be shaking, but let us not forget that we have an obligation to decorate the interior.
CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters Shabbat Shalom!
No Daily Briefing Will Be Published on Monday
Sukkot For Our Time: Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, Jewish Press, Oct. 14, 2016—Of all the festivals, Sukkot is surely the one that speaks most powerfully to our time. King Solomon’s Kohelet, which we read on Sukkot, could almost have been written in the twenty first century. Here is the ultimate success, the man who has it all, and yet who, surveying the totality of his life, can only say, in effect, “Meaningless, meaningless, everything is meaningless.”
Palestinians Suffer Defeat at UNESCO, Losing France, EU, India, Africa: Hillel Neuer, UN Watch, Oct. 14, 2016—Despite the outrageous denial of Jerusalem’s historic Jewish and Christian ties implied by the Palestinian-drafted Islamist resolution adopted today by UNESCO’s executive board—detailed here by UN Watch—the fact is that the Palestinians suffered a significant defeat in the international arena.
After Elections, Will Obama Betray Israel at UN?: Breaking Israel News, Oct. 14, 2016—WikiLeaks recently exposed an email written by former White House official Stuart Eisenstadt that discussed the Obama administration’s deteriorating relationship with Israel and warned, “There is a distinct possibility that the Administration may seek a new U.N. Security Council resolution embodying the two-state, with [pre-] 1967 lines and agreed land swaps, and some vague statements about Jerusalem.”
At the U.N., Only Israel Is an ‘Occupying Power’: Eugene Kontorovich & Penny Grunseid, Wall Street Journal, Sept. 13, 2016—The United Nations began its annual session this week, and Israel will be prominent on the agenda. Many fear the Security Council may consider a resolution setting definite territorial parameters, and a deadline, for the creation of a Palestinian state.
York University: It’s More Than Just a Mural: Danielle Shachar, Times of Israel, Feb. 10, 2016 — In North American universities, the right to a “safe space” free from dissenting or controversial ideas is, regrettably, becoming sacrosanct.
Anti-Semitism, Not Academic Content, Fuels University Boycotts: Winfield Myers, Miami Herald, Feb. 6, 2016— In the aftermath of the American Studies Association’s (ASA) December 2013 vote to support the boycott/divestment/sanctions (BDS) movement against Israeli universities and scholars, the heads of 250 American universities voiced their opposition to both the ASA’s decision and to academic boycotts in general as violations of academic freedom.
On Israel, Vassar College Teaches Make-Believe: Ziva Dahl, Algemeiner, Feb. 5, 2016— I recently attended a Vassar College event sponsored by the “Dialogue and Engagement Across Differences” program, established by the president of the college to help students and faculty discuss contentious issues.
Professor Who Praises Jihadis Still Teaches, Jihad Critic Doesn't: Noah Beck, IPT, Jan. 27, 2016 — To understand just how depraved today's college campuses are, compare the treatment of two professors – one defending a Western, pro-American democracy (Israel) and the other suspected of supporting this century's most gruesome Islamist terror organization, the Islamic State ("ISIS").
In Latest Blood Libel, US Prof Accuses Israel of Harvesting Arab Organs, Assassinating Teenagers: Ahuva Balofsky, Breaking Israel News, Feb. 10, 2016
Anti-Israel Fanaticism on Oberlin Campus Creating Hostile Environment for Jews, Says Active Alumnus: Algemeiner, Jan. 18, 2016
From BDS to Ferguson: Columbia U. Panel Takes Aim at Israel: Mara Schiffren, Frontpage, Jan. 13, 2016
The Ugly PC Race to be the ‘Victimiest’ Victim: Carrie Lukas, New York Post, Jan. 29 2015
YORK UNIVERSITY: IT’S MORE THAN JUST A MURAL
Times of Israel, Feb. 10, 2016
In North American universities, the right to a “safe space” free from dissenting or controversial ideas is, regrettably, becoming sacrosanct. Speech is policed for any statement that could be construed as insensitive or politically incorrect. In light of the widespread tendency to censor even the most innocuous of statements, it is critical to distinguish between speech that merely offends and speech that clearly incites.
At York University, where I am a student, the York Federation of Students (YFS) adheres to politically – based censorship with draconian zeal, earning a “F” grade on the 2015 Campus Freedom Index. Though the YFS might justify its infringement of academic freedom on the basis of upholding diversity, tolerance and acceptance, these values are applied with glaring double standards when it pertains to Jewish and pro-Israel students.
Case in point: the mural in the York University Student Centre that is behind media mogul Paul Bronfman’s decision to end his support of York’s film program. The mural depicts a man in a keffiyeh holding two rocks in his hands. His scarf is adorned with the Palestinian flag and a map that fails to demarcate the borders between Israel, Gaza and the West Bank. The words “peace” and “justice” appear below in multiple languages. Why do Bronfman and Jewish students find this mural so disturbing?
While artists must be free to criticize the state of Israel, this does not mean that academic freedom acts as a shield for the incitement of violence and hatred. Hundreds of Israeli civilians have been injured or murdered by Palestinian stone throwers. Maps that show Palestinian sovereignty over the entire Israel-Palestine region are used by terrorist groups like Hamas to show that the annihilation of the Jewish state is the only way to achieve real “justice” and “peace”. When Gayle McFadden, Vice President of Operations for the YFS, was asked about the possibility that the mural might be interpreted as something against Israel as the Jewish state and not just against the government politics of Israel, she answered “It’s not my place to tell Palestinians how to resist an occupation”. However, one might note that it is the place of Canadian law to dictate what constitutes acceptable “resistance” and neither stone throwing nor the elimination of Israel from the map fall under that category.
The mural is just one in a long list of complaints that Jewish students have against the YFS. The President of the YFS posted an image on social media that included the Jewish star alongside the instructions to “Smash Zionism”. The YFS partners with ‘Students Against Israeli Apartheid’, a club whose members have denigrated the genetic impurity of European Jews and hosted events with Holocaust deniers. One of these events was promoted by Palestine House, an organization whose board member, Nazih Khatatba, publicly praised the 2014 slaughter of Jewish worshippers – including York alumnus Howie Rothman – in a Jerusalem synagogue. When the Israeli flag was vandalized with red paint in its Student Centre, the YFS refused to issue a condemnation. The YFS’s annual “Expression against Oppression” programming educated students about every conceivable form of oppression – Islamophobia, anti-black racism, homophobia, and ableism – but notably omitted anti-Semitism. When a Jewish student submitted a motion at the YFS annual general meeting, members of the YU Divest coalition (of which the YFS is a partner) used his religion as justification to defame him for being a “murderous extremist” and a “racist”.
The insistency of the YFS to frame the mural as a free speech issue and to posture themselves as victims of censorship becomes even more hypocritical when considering the ways in which the union has promoted anti-Israel extremism at the cost of academic freedom. For example, the YFS supports the boycott of Israeli academics and institutions – a move which has angered free-speech proponents and left many Jewish students scared to freely express their support of Israel. Most ironically, the YFS was a co-signatory of an open letter that urged Victor Phillip Dahdaleh to retract his 20 million dollar donation from York unless the university divested from Israel. How does the YFS reconcile this letter with their anger at Paul Bronfman’s decision to pull his funding over the anti-Israel mural? Where is the consistency?
This brings us to the outrageous lack of fairness that shepherded the hanging of the mural in the first place. Progressives at York would never dream of treating any other religious, national, or sexual minority with the same insensitivity as they do the Jews. Can anyone imagine that a mural of a Ku Klux Klan member wearing a scarf of the Confederate flag and holding a noose in his hands would be displayed at any university in the country? If not, why is a mural of a man poised to throw rocks and a map that eliminates Israel any different?…
ANTI-SEMITISM, NOT ACADEMIC CONTENT,
FUELS UNIVERSITY BOYCOTTS
Miami Herald, Feb. 6, 2016
In the aftermath of the American Studies Association’s (ASA) December 2013 vote to support the boycott/divestment/sanctions (BDS) movement against Israeli universities and scholars, the heads of 250 American universities voiced their opposition to both the ASA’s decision and to academic boycotts in general as violations of academic freedom. Typifying their stance was that of Brown University president Christina Paxson, who said that such action “would be antithetical to open scholarly exchange and would inhibit the advancement of knowledge and discovery.”
Yet in failing to address the odiousness of singling out Israel for boycott, such reactions ignore the black heart of BDS: its profound anti-Semitism hiding under the guise of anti-Zionism, anti-colonialism or any cause de jour. A university president harboring intensely anti-Israel or anti-Semitic beliefs could still oppose BDS on academic freedom grounds while leaving unaddressed this key moral issue.
Former Harvard president Larry Summers made this point in a recent video interview with Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol in which he said he was “disappointed by the response of university presidents,” because they “framed the argument almost entirely in terms of their distaste for academic boycotts rather than anything about the specific substance.” If boycotting Israeli universities is an offense to academic freedom rather than an act of overt anti-Semitism — i.e., if there are no moral reasons beyond standing for “the advancement of knowledge and discovery” to dissuade one from supporting BDS — one might ask if there are any circumstances under which a nation’s universities should be boycotted?
Judging by the standards applied by American academic leaders to German universities during Hitler’s reign, the answer might be a resounding No. Following the Nazis’ implementation of their “cleansing process,” which legalized the expulsion of Jews and political opponents from the formerly great German universities by instituting racial and political tests for university appointments, many American universities maintained, and in some instances even strengthened, their ties with their German peers. James Conant and Nicholas Murray Butler, presidents of Harvard and Columbia, respectively, entertained representatives of the Nazi government and brooked no opposition from objecting faculty or students.
Behind this shameful display in the 1930s lurked not a commitment to academic freedom at any price, however, but a blatant anti-Semitism stoked by the nativism then widespread in American society. Relations with German universities were warm in spite of their persecution of Jewish faculty and students precisely because most of those affected were Jews. A prejudice acceptable among American elites was unlikely to spark outrage when practiced overseas.
That same bigotry is at work today among supporters of the BDS movement who share with elite administrators of 80 years ago a conviction that Jews are uniquely deserving of censure and isolation. Put differently, the same hostility or, at best, indifference that allowed Conant and Butler to ignore the singling out of Jews for persecution motivates those persecuting the Jewish state today.
This point is important because boycotts, per se, are not inherently wrong-headed. The West’s unwillingness to object to Nazi policies targeting Jews during the 1930s, before the onset of war and the Holocaust, remains among its most abject moral failures. In the shadow of this history, Summers was surely correct when he told Kristol, “I’m not sure that boycotting Hitler’s universities would actually have been such a terrible thing.”
A sweeping condemnation of boycotts in the name of academic freedom, as proffered by many university leaders today, provides cover for those who feel compelled to publicly oppose BDS, but don’t wish to be seen as supporting Israel — a controversial stance in academe that invites much more backlash than casting their position as a principled defense of academic freedom. Ignoring the immorality at the heart of BDS — the singling out of Israel for opprobrium from among all the nations — university leaders appear to seize the moral high ground of defending academic freedom while lending a veneer of legitimacy to the invidious attacks on Israel from BDS proponents. Summers is right to be disappointed — and likely to be so for a long time to come.
ON ISRAEL, VASSAR COLLEGE TEACHES MAKE-BELIEVE
Algemeiner, Feb. 5, 2016
I recently attended a Vassar College event sponsored by the “Dialogue and Engagement Across Differences” program, established by the president of the college to help students and faculty discuss contentious issues.
The chosen topic, “Conversation About Israel/Palestine,” is one that, in the real world, generates striking differences of opinion. The underlying assumption of a “dialogue across differences” is that participants hold different opinions. However, the two speakers, Hartford Seminary’s Professor Yehezkel Landau and Duke University’s Turkish Imam Abdullah Antepli, differing in nationality, religion and life history, espoused the same opinions, i.e., that although Israel has a right to exist, it is an oppressive human rights abuser of innocent, victimized Palestinians. Landau and Antepli called each other “soul brothers” and their message represents the prevailing campus narrative about Israel. Their views are well known at the Poughkeepsie college, and predictably, their conversation was a duet rather than a dialogue.
Vassar described this program, before and even afterwards, as a model for dealing with conflict, despite the absence of any discernible conflict between the speakers. To comprehend how intelligent college administrators could promote such a sham, one needs to understand the current condition of higher education on elite liberal arts college campuses like Vassar.
Traditionally, a liberal arts education sought truth by exposing students to a marketplace of ideas, studying the past for insights into the present. However, over the last half century, the university has undergone an astounding revolution. Rather than using the past to understand the present, academics today create their own conclusions about the present and use the past selectively to achieve a political objective. Under the guise of “social justice” (redistribution of wealth and power), these academics look at the world through the lenses of power and oppression, blaming all inequities on the moral failures of Western civilization and demanding equality of results rather than equality of opportunity.
They insist that victims of these societal failures deserve compensation for past and current injustice. This philosophy is called “post-colonialism,” a narrative of good and evil legitimized by pointing to examples in history, literature, and even science. Those who reject this orthodoxy, intentionally or otherwise, will not only be bullied into admitting their error, but also be subjected to “sensitivity training” about incorrect speech or thought, the undeserved benefits of “white privilege,” and the victimization of gays, women and people of color. While faculty laud diversity in gender, class, sexual preferences, race and national origin, there is, in fact, no diversity in political views and opinions on campuses today. Freedom of thought has morphed into indoctrination of thought.
Post-colonialists, mired in politically correct multiculturalism, argue that it is important not only to respect the political rights of others, but also to accept their cultures and value systems. Believing that all world cultures have equal value and that non-Western societies have suffered as a result of Western colonialism, they see no conflict in empathizing with and championing Middle Eastern countries that treat women as chattel and murder gays. To them, these people can’t be expected to adhere to Western moral standards, especially since those standards are fundamentally flawed.
This worldview significantly impacts the narrative about the Israel-Palestinian situation, where the constant drumbeat of anti-Western propaganda inevitably leads to an anti-Israel climate on campuses. At Vassar, the “dialogue across differences” event represents a classic example of groupthink, where conflict is minimized, disagreement with consensus views is strongly discouraged, and where harmony is valued above accurate analysis and critical evaluation. Vassar’s “Conversation about Israel/Palestine” was a charade contextualized by negative foundational assumptions of Western imperialism. The ideological message about Israel included only selective historical references, with both speakers blaming Israel for the lack of peace, holding the Palestinians blameless, and insisting that Israel sacrifice to repair the situation.
There was no mention of the multiple Palestinian rejections of generous Israeli peace proposals. Absent was consideration that the conflict is a religious war in which the Arabs will not tolerate Jews in their midst. There was no acknowledgement of Israel’s legitimate security needs. Discussion of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was framed as oppressor versus victim. To add another element to the spurious discourse, Vassar’s director of Religious and Spiritual Life asserted that the Palestinian “struggle for dignity and justice” is linked to the racial and economic injustice in the US. The speakers advocated that successful dialogue about the conflict must eliminate polarization, avoid the black-and-white perspective and the “villains-and-victims” mentality. But they contradicted themselves by talking about Palestinian victims and Israeli villains in the context of good versus evil. Their presentation was replete with divisive terms such as “illegal occupation,” “expulsion of the Palestinians,” “Nakba” and the reference to Israel as a hyphenated “Israel-Palestine.”
Vassar and other elite liberal schools create the world as they wish it to be, not as it is, viewing the Israeli/Palestinian issue as they view all issues, through an anti-Western prism, with Israel as the foreign Western colonialist established by Western imperialism victimizing the “indigenous” Palestinian “people of color.” To Vassar progressives, Zionism is a nationalistic movement imposing a collective injustice on one people to rectify a worldwide injustice to another, rather than the liberation movement of the Jewish people, espousing the return of an ancient people to its historic homeland…
PROFESSOR WHO PRAISES JIHADIS STILL TEACHES,
JIHAD CRITIC DOESN'T
IPT, Jan. 27, 2016
To understand just how depraved today's college campuses are, compare the treatment of two professors – one defending a Western, pro-American democracy (Israel) and the other suspected of supporting this century's most gruesome Islamist terror organization, the Islamic State ("ISIS"). Julio Pino, an associate history professor at Kent State University, is under investigation by the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security for potential ties to ISIS. Pino's jihadist leanings and virulently anti-Israel rants on social media include possible threats against the U.S. government. In 2002, he praised a teenage Palestinian suicide bomber who had killed two people in Jerusalem, saying that the teen had "died a martyr's death in occupied Jerusalem, Palestine."
In a 2014 open letter to "academic friends of Israel," Pino published an unhinged and anti-Semitic invective: "I hold you directly responsible for the murder of over 1,400 Palestinian children, women and elderly civilians over the past month…[w]hile The Chosen drain the blood of innocents without apologies you hide behind the mask of academic objectivity, nobility of research and the reward of teaching to foreign youth – in a segregated university, of course." Pino closed the letter with: "Jihad until victory!"
Despite decades of hateful and extremist rants, Kent State reportedly gave Pino multiple awards, including the Faculty Excellence Award in 2010, 2003, 2000 and 1996, along with the Professional Excellence Award in 1999 and 1997. Kent State remains comfortable with him in the classroom despite the over-the-top rhetoric and news of a federal investigation. The Kent Stater, the university's student newspaper, provided him with a video platform to defend himself, and the editorial board wrote that "it is too soon to make a judgment on the investigation…"
Contrast Pino's case with Connecticut College's treatment of professor Andrew Pessin for defending Israel in its 2014 war with Hamas (a State Department-designated terrorist organization). Over half a year after Pessin's Facebook post critiquing Hamas, the student newspaper at Connecticut College launched a surprise character assassination by publishing three editorials condemning Pessin (including on the front page), without giving him a chance to defend himself against libelous accusations of racism.
In a reportedly packed auditorium Connecticut College President Katherine Bergeron said that she was "disappointed by the language" of Pessin's post, which "seemed to show poor judgment," and she praised "the valor of the students who responded to these incidents by exercising their own right of free speech with confidence and intellectual acuity." These statements by Bergeron (as of this writing) continue to appear on the college's web site, long after a Washington Post column cited available evidence to make a compelling case that the allegations against Pessin were politically motivated lies.
More absurdly, Bergeron promised to "review our social media policies to ensure they include appropriate advisory language about respectful expression," even as her administration continues to allow the school's student newspaper to host libels against Pessin alongside anti-Semitic rants. As if public condemnation of Pessin weren't enough, the administration continues to display statements from scores of academic departments, school officials, student associations, and other college affiliates, denouncing Pessin on the official Connecticut College website. As of this writing, no other issue or speech is similarly scrutinized or condemned on the school's official web site.
At the same public forum last March, Bergeron also promised to update the school's "protocol for bias incidents so that those who come forward under these circumstances are well served by the process." Too bad her lofty commitments proved empty after the bias incidents against Jewish students at the school last December, when Conn Students in Solidarity with Palestine ("CSSP") placed posters around campus bashing Birthright, a program that helps young people travel to Israel. The CSSP posters call the program a form of "settler colonialism" and demonize Israel. As Phyllis Chesler reported, the administration's spinelessly neutral response was to "recognize CSSP's right to share its perspective [and] the right of members of the community to express their disagreement with the posters' characterization of the Birthright program."
Anti-Israel sentiment is therefore welcome on bulletin boards throughout Connecticut College's campus, regardless of whether it is true. But the "poor judgment" Andrew Pessin showed in a Facebook post merits his absence from campus for at least a year, especially in comparison with "the valor of the students" who refused to accept his apology and his immediate clarification that he was speaking only about the Hamas terrorists in Gaza…
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