Fall 2018: BDS Returns to Campus and Politics: Alexander Joffe, SPME, Oct. 3, 2018— As the academic year begins, controversy over the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) definition of antisemitism — which includes demonization of Israel — has now spread to the United States.
BDS New Low? Impeding Student Travel to Israel: Jonathan S. Tobin, JNS, Sept. 18, 2018— A teacher writing a letter of recommendation for a student is a commonplace event.
Entertainment Industry Group Works to Thwart the Cultural Efforts of BDS: Shiryn Solny, Algemeiner, Sept. 28, 2018— Since its founding in 2005, the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement has targeted Israeli universities, businesses, and cultural organizations.
Demonizing Israel and the Hijacking of Language: Melanie Phillips, Jerusalem Post, Sept. 14— Not so long ago, freedom and democracy seemed to be on the march in the world, with Turkey and Pakistan, two strategically important Muslim-majority nations, near the front of the parade.
On Topic Links
The True Origins of BDS (Video): Canary Mission, Sept. 3, 2018
Professor Draws Ire After Declining to Help Student Study in Israel: Tamar Lapin, New York Post, Sept. 20, 2018
Bridges, Not Boycotts: David Renzer, Steve Schnur, Jerusalem Post, Sept. 15, 2018
A BDS Lesson in Dishonesty via the New York Times: Daniel Pomerantz, Honest Reporting, Sept. 4, 2018
FALL 2018: BDS RETURNS TO CAMPUS AND POLITICS
SPME, Oct. 3, 2018
As the academic year begins, controversy over the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) definition of antisemitism — which includes demonization of Israel — has now spread to the United States. Following the lead of the Department of State, the US Department of Education has adopted the IHRA guidelines, leading to accusations that it is “censoring” free speech on Israel. One result of the new policy is that a 2014 case from Rutgers University, where Jewish students were charged a different admission fee to an event, is being re-investigated. Protests that the IHRA definition is “dangerously broad” quickly emerged from hostile media outlets and pro-BDS sources.
The IHRA controversy goes beyond semantics: BDS supporters and others now claim that demonizing language, such as calling Israel a “Nazi state,” allegations of dual loyalties, and other accusations are not antisemitic hate speech, but merely exercises of free speech. Overall, the right of Jews to define antisemitism is being removed.
The clash between free speech and protections for Jewish students was also highlighted by reports that a faculty member at the University of Michigan rescinded his offer to write a letter of recommendation for a student after learning that she planned to study in Israel. In his email to the student, the faculty member stated his decision was in conformity with BDS guidelines. The university quickly expressed disapproval and reiterated its policy of no boycott, but refused to sanction the faculty member, as was called for by a coalition of groups. The BDS movement expressed support for the faculty member, while other academics questioned whether providing a letter of recommendation was a professional requirement or open to individual decisions.
The case demonstrates another area where BDS has contaminated the personal relationships between individual students and faculty, going far beyond the classroom. Because individual faculty boycotts are almost always covert, there is no way to know how many BDS supporters have declined to write letters of recommendation for travel abroad, graduate programs, or other seemingly routine things simply because the student had some relationship with Israel.
Systemic responses to the situation are difficult to imagine and unsavory, undermining further the integrity of academic institutions and student-professor relationships. For example, Jewish and Israeli students might be encouraged to investigate the background of professors before taking their classes. Realistically, however, most students are unwilling and unable to undertake this sort of due diligence, and even the suggestion is an infuriating admission that sectors of higher education are increasingly unsafe for Jews and Israelis.
Needless to say, the harsh BDS standard related to study in Israel, and to Israeli or Jewish students supporting Israel, does not apply to students interested in or supporting countries with egregious human rights records, such as Turkey, China, or Qatar. The IHRA’s definition of antisemitism and the question of demonizing Israel are also at the core of the British Labour Party’s ongoing crisis. After a bitter controversy regarding IHRA definition, the party’s executive committee adopted it — but with a “free speech” clause that effectively neutered the guidelines.
In a new development, Labour activists loyal to party leader Jeremy Corbyn have begun to push “deselection” of pro-Israel Members of Parliament as a means of driving them out of the party and politics. A Labour-associated union leader also accused Jewish organizations of “manufacturing” the antisemitism crisis as a means of undermining the party. Critics of Labour antisemitism are regularly assailed as “the lobby,” “right wing,” “Trump supporters,” and more. Meanwhile it was revealed that Corbyn had called for a boycott of the Arsenal football club over a minor Israeli sponsorship, and that Labour’s Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell, had participated in a protest calling for the boycott of all Israeli goods. Corbyn claimed further that describing the creation of Israel as “racist” was not antisemitic.
The crisis reverberated into the Labour Party’s annual conference, where Marxist members handed out pamphlets comparing Israel to Nazis, Palestinian flags were waved, and other members decried the antisemitism-related “witch hunt.” Meanwhile, at least one Jewish party member required a police escort to enter the conference, while others chose not to attend. Corbyn himself announced that were Labour to come to power it would immediately recognize the “State of Palestine,” while the party passed a resolution calling for Britain to institute an arms boycott on Israel. The bizarre centrality of Israel to Labour politics is difficult to explain in terms other than antisemitism. At the same time, polls suggest that the general public is becoming alienated from Labour as a result of the crisis.
Similar antisemitism crises are emerging in the US Democratic Party. The September primary elections were rocked by revelations that a BDS-supporting “democratic socialist” candidate for the New York legislature, Julia Salazar, had lied about being Jewish, foreign born, from an impoverished background, and a college graduate. When her deceptions were exposed, she and her supporters accused the “alt-right” media of conspiring to embarrass her — some at the behest of Israel. She further accused David Keyes, spokesman for Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, of having sexually assaulted her during the brief period when she was a pro-Israel activist…
[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]
BDS NEW LOW? IMPEDING STUDENT TRAVEL TO ISRAEL
Jonathan S. Tobin
JNS, Sept. 18, 2018
A teacher writing a letter of recommendation for a student is a commonplace event. Teachers refusing such requests may also be common, but when it happens, we assume it is because the student is asking for an endorsement they don’t deserve. But what are we to think about a refusal that is based in prejudice, rather than lack of merit?
That’s the upshot of a disturbing incident at the University of Michigan that was revealed this week. John Cheney-Lippold, an associate professor working in Michigan’s Department of American Culture, had promised a student (who chose not to reveal her identity) that he would write a reference required for her to take part in a semester-abroad program in Israel. But a few weeks later, Cheney-Lippold wrote back to tell the student that he had changed his mind. Rather than having misgivings about her qualifications or worthiness for the program, the professor said his refusal was about what he termed “politics.”
He wrote her: “I am very sorry but … as you may know, many university departments have pledged an academic boycott against Israel in support of Palestinians living in Palestine. This boycott includes writing letters of recommendation for students planning to study there. I should have let you know earlier, and for that I apologize. But for reasons of these politics, I must rescind my offer to write your letter. Let me know if you need me to write other letters for you, as I’d be happy.”
Is he within his rights to act in this manner? While the student government at Michigan passed a pro-BDS resolution, the university’s board of regents rejected the measure with six of its eight members. After the student referred Cheney-Lippold’s communication to University president Mark Schlissel, he told The Algemeiner that the criteria used by the professor was wrong. “Teachers shouldn’t have a right to inject their personal viewpoints about this.” Schlissel went on to say that BDS is “false” and “anti-Semitic,” and misrepresents Israel.
He’s right about that, but was Cheney-Lippold breaking the law? According to BDS advocates, he was merely expressing his political opinion. He has a right to “support” “Palestinians living in Palestine” if that’s what he believes in, however amorphous that statement is defined. But as with the debates about anti-BDS laws—one of which happened to have been passed in Michigan—the issue is not the professor’s right to hold an opinion about Israel. His refusal to write a letter that he had already agreed to give her was an act of bias.
Let’s be clear: The professor seems to be perfectly willing to endorse student visits to all sorts of nations governed by tyrants, including the Communists in China and Cuba, or the repressive regimes in Saudi Arabia or the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank. He also seems to think that the one Jewish state on the planet is the only place that ought to be isolated in this fashion. Indeed, if he is a supporter of BDS, it’s likely that his line about “Palestine” is not merely a comment about the territories the Jewish state took in a defensive war in 1967, but a reference to pre-1967 Israel, which BDS advocates consider to be just as much an “occupied territory” as the West Bank.
Anti-BDS laws are legal because they ban commercial conduct—economic boycotts that attempt to discriminate against only the Jewish state and are therefore inherently anti-Semitic—that would be illegal in this country under any other circumstances. But if you were wondering why a professor of American culture is doing seeking to prevent Americans from going to Israel, it’s actually not a coincidence. The American Studies Association (ASA) was one of the first such academic groups to vote to endorse BDS in 2013. That academics supposedly devoted to teaching about American values would support a program designed to eradicate the only Jewish state is bad enough. But it also happens to be illegal.
In passing the boycott resolution, the ASA violated the terms of its corporate charter, which just happened to be approved by Congress when it was founded, and the District of Columbia Non-Profit Corporation Act that requires an organization to operate only within the provisions of its charter. Promoting a campaign to stigmatize Israelis and to deny them access to U.S. institutions and vice versa is not only an act of despicable prejudice, but has nothing to do with the ASA’s purpose of promoting scholarship about American studies.
A number of ASA members have sued the leadership over this violation of its charter that, according to the plaintiffs, was accomplished by underhanded means that also violated the organization’s bylaws approved by Congress. While the litigation over this continues, JNS has asked the federal court presiding over the case to release materials related to this activity that the ASA has been forced to divulge during the discovery process. Among the materials that have already been revealed are documents that show the group has changed the rules governing its endowment that has allowed it to pilfer its funds to finance their defense against the suit, as well as public relations and lobbying activities. This might also be deemed illegal since that sort of political behavior is also prohibited to nonprofit groups like the ASA.
But, like the University of Michigan professor, the ASA leadership is a lot more interested in promoting anti-Semitic attacks on Israel—in this case, through the means of a student merely wanting to travel and learn—than in promoting the study of American history or culture. The perversion of a group that was founded to promote scholarship about America into one that aims at attacking Israel is a scandal.
That applies to both the ASA and Cheney-Lippold’s attempt to stop students from studying in Israel. That the academy has become a bastion of prejudice shows there is something very wrong about a certain sector of intellectual culture of this country. It’s up to the universities and the courts to demonstrate that responsible institutions won’t stand by while anti-Semitic discrimination is passed off as scholarship.
[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]
ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY GROUP WORKS
TO THWART THE CULTURAL EFFORTS OF BDS
Algemeiner, Sept. 28, 2018
Since its founding in 2005, the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement has targeted Israeli universities, businesses, and cultural organizations. Most recently, its efforts against Israel’s music scene have made headlines. The chatter circulated around American singer-songwriter Lana Del Rey, who was attacked by BDS supporters for agreeing to perform at the Meteor Festival in Israel, a decision she originally defended on Twitter with a lengthy statement on August 19.
The “Summertime Sadness” singer said at the time that “music is universal and should be used to bring us together,” and that her “plan” was for the concert to be done with “a loving energy with a thematic emphasis on peace.” But after facing a tremendous amount of pressure to call off the show, Del Rey did just that on September 1, a week before she was scheduled to perform — she said that she will reschedule when she is able to play in “both Israel and Palestine.” Afterwards, 15 or so other artists also cancelled their performances at the Meteor Festival.
Del Rey’s original plan to perform in Israel came less than a year after New Zealand singer Lorde announced her intention to play in Tel Aviv, a move that also prompted an enormous amount of online pressure and resulted in the “Royals” singer canceling her show in late December. At the time, Lorde said her decision was made after an “overwhelming number of messages and letters” from those who opposed her performance. More than a few headlines about Del Rey calling off her concert attributed the cancellation, like Lorde’s, to “BDS pressure.”
“We believe Lana genuinely wanted to postpone her performance, and reschedule concerts for both Israelis and Palestinians. Unfortunately, BDS has made it clear if an artist books in Israel, they will not play in a Palestinian venue,” said Aviva Miller, New York Regional Director of Creative Community for Peace (CCFP), a non-profit group comprised of prominent members in the entertainment industry who are “dedicated to promoting music and the arts as a means to peace and to countering the cultural boycott of Israel,” according to its website. The organization is in no way funded by the Israeli government or backed by any institution in Israel.
As CCFP’s New York director, Miller — an entertainment attorney by trade — is focused on cultivating a group of supporters and creating a “community” of supporters in New York and on the East Coast. The community consists of entertainment executives and other supporters who will become part of a global network. New York City and its surrounding areas account for 40 percent to 50 percent of the entertainment industry in the United States, she said.
CCFP co-founder David Renzer said that the organization offers the support and information artists and their representatives need to “resist boycott pressure when they come across it.” He added that “as an entertainment-industry organization, we utilize our deep network of relationships to reach out to artists to make sure they are receiving a ‘balanced’ view of the [Israeli-Palestinian] conflict, [as] opposed to the misinformation that pro-BDS groups promote. … Artists that boycott are not furthering peace and need to be educated about the true agenda of BDS.”
It was the CCFP who helped Jewish actress Scarlett Johansson in 2014, when she was barraged with requests from BDS supporters to cancel her contract as the global brand ambassador for SodaStream, an Israeli carbonated-beverage company. Johansson’s publicist and manager turned to CCFP and asked for assistance in creating a narrative that allowed the actress to defend her decision to maintain the endorsement deal despite facing pressure from the BDS movement.
“She did not listen to the BDS movement, but the chatter was so loud that it was horrifying,” recalled Miller. “They cut out photos of her sipping from a [SodaStream] glass … and they put it up against these horrifying pictures of people behind barbed wire and dead people — you don’t even know who these people were, but it looks as though she was standing in front of Palestinians who were being murdered and somehow oppressed.”…[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]
DEMONIZING ISRAEL AND THE HIJACKING OF LANGUAGE
Jerusalem Post, Sept. 14
If there’s one refrain which gets me chewing the carpet, it’s the plaintive question, “Why is Israel unable to get its message across?” The naivety behind this question is itself a large part of the answer. It’s not just the fact that – as has now become all too obvious – the demonization and delegitimization of Israel is inextricably linked to the ineradicable poison of antisemitism. More pertinently, Israel has been up against a black propaganda exercise which has inverted truth and lies with devastating effect. Its only equivalent in scale, skill and evil intent is the manipulative mind control practiced by totalitarian regimes.
No coincidence: This strategy of psychological warfare deployed by the Palestinians was devised by Yasser Arafat in cahoots with the Soviets, who knew a thing or two about subverting the values of an entire culture. And the war against the Jews is part of the broader war against the free world and the core tenets of Western civilization. The attempt to counter this by Israel’s defenders has been woefully misjudged. There’s the defensive-crouch response (“Hey guys, why are you dumping on us – can’t you see we’re the victims here?”) which, by responding on the enemy’s own distorted grounds of purported Israeli aggression, is itself halfway to conceding defeat.
Or there’s the attempt to persuade the world of Israel’s elevated standards of ethical behavior (“Hey guys, look at all the Palestinians we’re treating in our hospitals, even including the ones who’ve just tried to murder us!”) Since the one thing the Western world does not want to hear is the perceived moral superiority of the Jews – of which it is pathologically, irredeemably and sometimes murderously jealous – this particular approach turns abject stupidity into an art form.
Given that the demonization of Israel is the key strategy in the war of extermination being waged against it, “getting Israel’s message across” is the equivalent to using a leaky bucket to ward off a tsunami. The essence of such psychological warfare is as simple as it is seismic. It is the manipulation of language. Words have been hijacked so that they come to be understood as the opposite of what they really signify. The importance of this tactic can hardly be overstated.
Many people know little or nothing about the Middle East and have even less interest in finding out. For them, it’s just background noise. But if the language which forms that background noise is hijacked, then the story of the Middle East is hijacked too. Key concepts have been presented as if in mirror writing so that Israel, the victim of aggression, has been turned falsely into the aggressor while its would-be exterminators are transformed into its victims. And that’s been achieved not just by telling lies about what’s going on today or happened in the past. Crucially, those falsehoods have been framed by language which conditions the listener to accept them because the language itself has been turned into a lie.
Consider, for example, the word “colonialism.” In left-wing ideology, colonialism is the crime of crimes that defines Western iniquity: the subjection of indigenous peoples in the developing world by white-skinned westerners who occupied their lands and ruled, enslaved and oppressed them. Left-wingers believe that white, Western Israel has occupied the lands of the indigenous Palestinians whom it is proceeding to rule, enslave and oppress…
CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters: Shabbat Shalom!
The True Origins of BDS (Video): Canary Mission, Sept. 3, 2018—The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement claims to be a grassroots human rights movement but in reality, it is a carefully crafted continuation of anti-Jewish boycotts predating the state of Israel.
Professor Draws Ire After Declining to Help Student Study in Israel: Tamar Lapin, New York Post, Sept. 20, 2018— A University of Michigan professor refused to help a student study abroad in Israel because of an academic boycott against the country — and claims he’s getting death threats for his decision.
Bridges, Not Boycotts: David Renzer, Steve Schnur, Jerusalem Post, Sept. 15, 2018—The Meteor Festival in northern Israel opened on September 6 with dozens of artists from around the world. They included many performers who were pressured to boycott – such as Kamasi Washington, Pusha T, Soulwax, and Mura Masa – but instead created a space where Israeli fans of all backgrounds and opinions could set aside their differences and come together in peace.
A BDS Lesson in Dishonesty via the New York Times: Daniel Pomerantz, Honest Reporting, Sept. 4, 2018—In a 2,000 word diatribe in the New York Times, Joesph Levine, philosophy professor and a member of the Jewish Voice for Peace Academic Advisory Council, defends BDS, asking, “Is Boycotting Israel ‘Hate’?” He claims, “Opponents of the nonviolent Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement are involved in a dishonest branding campaign.”
A New Approach to Fighting Campus Anti-Semitism: Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, JTA, June 12, 2018 — Campuses today are being challenged by profoundly intolerant behavior…
Why it’s a Big Deal that Argentina Canceled its Soccer Game in Israel: Ben Sales, Times of Israel, June 7, 2018 — Israelis want nothing more than for their country to be considered normal.
Will BDS win Latin America?: Daniel Laufer, Jerusalem Post, June 13, 2018— The cancellation of a World Cup warm-up match in Israel by the Argentine national football team should be a wake-up call.
The Ongoing Myth of BDS Success: Mitchell Bard, Algemeiner, Apr. 29, 2018— Anytime that a student government votes to divest from Israel or a celebrity chooses not to perform in Israel…
Giuliani: Argentina Soccer Team Let Terrorists Win by Canceling Israel Game: Chris Perez, New York Post, June 7, 2018
Talk About a Smoking Gun! BDS Umbrella Group Has Financial Ties to Palestinian Terror Orgs: Aussie Dave, Israellycool, June 4, 2018
Louisiana Becomes 25th US State to Prohibit Business Ties With Anti-Israel BDS Groups: JNS, May 24, 2018
Slew of British Musicians Join BDS Movement: Amy Spiro, Jerusalem Post, May 23, 2018
A NEW APPROACH TO FIGHTING CAMPUS ANTI-SEMITISM
JTA, June 12, 2018
Campuses today are being challenged by profoundly intolerant behavior, whose goal is to prevent some individuals and groups from expressing their opinions, beliefs or identity, or from fully participating in campus life.
For Jewish and pro-Israel students, such behavior has become especially prevalent and challenging. On many college campuses, not only are positive statements about Israel demonized and delegitimized, but individuals who express these opinions are often intimidated, ostracized and literally bullied into silence. In the past few months alone, pro-Israel events have been aggressively disrupted at New York University, Syracuse University, UCLA and the University of California, Irvine; numerous fliers, graffiti and chalking stating “Zionists Not Welcome on Our Campus” were found all over San Francisco State University after an SFSU professor wrote on her department’s Facebook page that welcoming Zionist students on campus was a “declaration of war”; and a formal complaint was filed by Jewish students at Columbia University against anti-Zionist student groups for systematically harassing and silencing them for more than a year.
In the wake of recent controversies involving the disruption and canceling of campus events, many university leaders have adopted the University of Chicago’s statement on freedom of speech—a statement that has become the gold standard on free speech for universities across the country. Not only does the statement commit to upholding students’ rights under the First Amendment, it makes it crystal-clear that to do so, it must ensure students are protected from the harassment and intolerant behavior that directly impedes this right.
In theory, the adoption and implementation of a free speech statement like the one at the University of Chicago should benefit Jewish students enormously. It promises to offer protection from the peer-on-peer harassment that has made it difficult and sometimes impossible for Jewish students to freely express pro-Israel views and fully participate in campus life. In practice, however, such a statement runs the risk of making Jewish students even more vulnerable to those same acts of aggression intended to silence them.
Here’s why. While freedom of speech is constitutionally guaranteed to each and every student regardless of opinion, belief or identity, this is not the case when it comes to freedom from harassment. In fact, federal anti-discrimination law administered by the U.S. Department of Education, which defines “harassment” as behavior that is “sufficiently severe, pervasive or persistent so as to interfere with or limit the ability of an individual to participate in or benefit from the services, activities or privileges provided by any recipient [of federal funds],” only deems such behavior “harassment” if it is directed at individuals because of their race, color, national origin, gender or other federally protected characteristics. Identical behavior directed against students who do not share those protected characteristics is not considered harassment under federal law, and these students are denied the federal protection afforded their peers.
This inequity trickles down to federally funded colleges and universities. For example, at the University of Chicago, protection from harassment is limited to students who are targeted on the basis of their “race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national or ethnic origin, age, status as an individual with a disability, protected veteran status, genetic information or other protected classes under the law.” Although the list is quite long, many University of Chicago students remain unprotected from the harassing and intolerant behaviors that could impede their free speech and full participation in campus life. If, in implementing its free speech statement, the university were to rely on its own harassment policy—using it as a standard for determining when a student’s freedom of expression had been impeded—it would beg the question of whether the university’s commitment to ensuring its students free speech applies to all students or only to those who share certain characteristics.
The same is true on campuses across the country. Take California, for example. Although the state’s two massive university systems—California State University (CSU) and the University of California (UC)—both tout the importance of freedom of speech for all members of the campus community, they also have harassment policies that effectively limit protection from behavior that suppresses speech to only some portion of their student body. At CSU, Executive Order 1074 defines harassment as “unwelcome conduct engaged in because of a Protected Status,” and a CSU student who wishes to file a university complaint form in order to find relief from harassing behavior must indicate “the protected status(es) that was/were the basis(es) of the alleged … harassment.” UC policy on harassment is similarly limited in its scope to protected classes, and so, too, is UC’s online form allowing students to seek redress from harassing behavior.
In theory, federal anti-discrimination law and university harassment policies should afford protection to Jewish students, either by virtue of their ethnicity in the case of federal law or their religion in the case of university policy. But, in practice, Jewish students have been denied protected status in both cases when those same harassing and intolerant behaviors are motivated by anti-Zionism. This is a double whammy for pro-Israel Jewish students. They must not only suffer the routine suppression of their speech and assembly, as well as the freedom to fully participate in campus life, but must also accept the reality that their aggressors—often members of a protected class—will go unpunished and receive a free pass to carry on their unfettered, anti-Zionist-motivated harassment.
For many Jewish students, this has created a sense of egregious inequity and increased vulnerability, which has led to further suppression of their willingness to freely express themselves. It’s relevant to note that there are important efforts afoot to ensure that Jewish students are afforded legally protected status at the federal and state levels. But these efforts will take time.
There is, however, an immediate, easy and equitable solution to the problem. University leaders must make a public pledge that all students will be equally protected from behavior that violates their rights to freedom of expression and full participation in campus life. To be effective, the statement should include a description of all university policies, in addition to state and federal laws that prohibit harassment and discrimination, along with a firm commitment to their equitable enforcement for all students, regardless of identity, opinion or legally protected status.
Harassment is harassment. The effects of this intolerant and exclusionary behavior on students are the same, regardless of the motivation of the perpetrator or the identity of the victim. And the abhorrent behavior that prevents students from an education free from discrimination must be addressed equitably. Students cannot freely express themselves and learn from their professors or each other if they face ongoing and pervasive intolerance, harassment and discrimination, as Jewish and pro-Israel students do now. Only once all students are secure in the knowledge that they will be equally protected from hateful, bigoted behavior can a university guarantee its students freedom of speech and the right to full participation in campus life.
WHY IT’S A BIG DEAL THAT ARGENTINA
CANCELED ITS SOCCER GAME IN ISRAEL
Times of Israel, June 7, 2018
Israelis want nothing more than for their country to be considered normal. That may have to wait. A much-anticipated soccer game between the Argentine and Israeli national teams was canceled Wednesday because, Israeli and Argentine officials say, of physical threats made to the Argentine players — including megastar forward Lionel Messi. The exhibition game was set for Saturday night in Jerusalem, less than a week before the beginning of the World Cup.
Beyond the disappointment of tens of thousands of Israeli soccer fans, the cancellation shows Israelis once again that even seemingly innocuous cultural events, like a soccer match, aren’t immune from the festering Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Israelis want to portray their country as a thriving democracy like any other — violence on the border and the occupation notwithstanding — and a full member of the family of nations.
And they appreciate when other countries treat them that way. Thousands of Israelis lined the streets for the Giro d’Italia cycling race last month, even though it’s not a popular sport in Israel. Celebrating that international sporting event, perhaps the largest to be held in Israel, one of Israel’s leading newspapers ran a full front-page photo with the headline “We’re on the map.”
Last month an Israeli, Netta Barzilai, won the Eurovision song contest, a 43-country competition that this year drew some 186 million viewers. Such signs of normalization are manna for Israelis, and a setback for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, which aims to isolate Israel internationally. So the BDS community seemed ecstatic to claim the Argentines’ decision as a result of their political pressure.
The truth seems murkier. The president of the Argentine Football Association, Claudio Tapia, apologized to Israel and said players had received threats. Protesters outside the team’s practice facility in Barcelona also waved Argentine soccer jerseys covered in fake blood — leaving it up to observers to decide whether the blood was meant to symbolize Palestinians who died or soccer players who might.
This cancellation, nevertheless, cuts especially deep. Israelis feel stung when foreigners cancel appearances because of the conflict. Earlier this year, the singer Lorde canceled a Tel Aviv concert after pressure from pro-Palestinian activists. And Natalie Portman, an American-Israeli, refused to show for a prestigious prize ceremony because of her opposition to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Soccer is Israel’s most popular sport, and Messi’s professional squad, FC Barcelona, is the most popular international team in Israel, according to a recent survey. So watching him face off against Israel’s team on its home turf would have been an especially big deal.
Israelis are outraged — and split on who is to blame. Even if the ultimate decision was not a direct response to BDS pressure, many accuse Culture Minister Miri Regev of inflaming the opposition by politicizing the game. Regev told Israel’s Army Radio that she moved the game from the northern city of Haifa to Jerusalem, specifically to exhibit Israel’s claim to the city. She also linked the game to “our fight over the [United States] embassy moving to Jerusalem,” which happened last month amid objections from Palestinians, the European Union and the United Nations. “From my perspective, the important thing is that Argentina’s national team and Messi are coming to Israel and playing in Jerusalem ahead of the World Cup,” Regev told Army Radio on Monday, two days before the cancellation. “Jerusalem is on the map. In this era — which includes BDS — in this era nothing is more important.”
A Palestinian official also name-checked Regev, and the Jerusalem move, in a letter requesting that the game be canceled. “After political pressure took place from the Israeli government, as it was openly said by Israel’s Minister of Culture and Sports Miri Regev, the match was moved to Jerusalem,” Jibril Rajoub, president of the Palestinian Football Association, wrote in a letter to Tapia obtained by Haaretz. “The Israeli government has turned a regular sports match into a political tool.” Rajoub also called on Palestinians to burn their Messi jerseys in protest of the game. And this isn’t his first foray against Israeli soccer. In 2015, he unsuccessfully tried to get Israel kicked out of FIFA, the international soccer organization.
In an informal online poll conducted by Ynet, a news website that tends to oppose Netanyahu, almost 60 percent of respondents blamed Regev for the match’s cancellation. Ben Caspit, a journalist for the Israeli daily Maariv, tweeted that Messi visited Jerusalem in 2013 without incident “because no one turned the event into a political campaign.” The Jerusalem decision, he wrote, “woke the Palestinians up and awakened the mob.” But Regev is known for being bombastic, and she isn’t backing down. In a fiery statement Wednesday night, she blamed Palestinian terrorism for the cancellation, and compared the threats against Messi to the murders of 11 Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics by the Palestinian Black September terror group. “We’re talking about an old-new terror that scares, deters and frightens players, the same teror that led to the murder of the 11 Munich victims in the 1972 Olympics,” she said. “The true story here is not Haifa and not Jerusalem. The true story here is the threats on Messi’s life.”…
WILL BDS WIN LATIN AMERICA?
Jerusalem Post, June 13, 2018
The cancellation of a World Cup warm-up match in Israel by the Argentine national football team should be a wake-up call. Most anti-BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) efforts usually focus on Europe and North America, but Latin America is emerging as a site of growing, significant anti-Israel activity.
Diplomatically, Latin America is a mixed bag. Many countries are honored with street names throughout Israel for their votes for the UN Partition Plan and subsequent recognition of Israel. But while strong relations continued for decades, Palestinian violence in the early 2000s prefigured a shift as Latin American governments declared solidarity with Palestinians and regularly condemned Israeli responses to terrorist attacks. Several even recognized a Palestinian state.
Still, countries such as Colombia, Mexico and Argentina have substantial economic or security ties with Israel, and a number of countries chose to abstain in the 2017 UN vote to condemn the US for moving its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to Latin America in September 2017 was in many respects proof of Israel’s strong relations with the region’s governments. However, the furious public demonstrations that greeted the Israeli delegation’s arrival highlighted the growing presence of radical anti-Israel activists.
While not yet as severe as in Europe, there are a growing number of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Latin America actively promoting BDS, lawfare, and various other delegitimization campaigns against the State of Israel. These campaigns draw on a mix of religious antisemitism and local neo-Marxist and anti-colonialist ideologies, accompanied by demonizing, antisemitic rhetoric. They do not speak of a Green Line or two states, but instead define Israel’s very existence as a wrong to be righted.
While it appears that these organizations are not supported by area governments, new NGO Monitor research indicates that their campaigns do benefit from significant, constantly increasing assistance from international BDS groups, as well as from Palestinian, Israeli, European and American NGOs. Many of these international NGOs are themselves supported by European governments. An overall lack of transparency among both NGOs and government donors within Latin America reflects a lack of accountability.
In the case of Argentina, the phenomenon matured under the presidency of Cristina Fernández de Kirchner (and earlier, under her husband, Nestor Kirchner), when numerous NGOs – including the Federation of Argentine-Palestinian Entities (FEDERPAL), the Organization of Human Rights for Palestine, and the Palestinian organization Stop the Wall – launched a campaign against the Israeli water company Mekorot.
In January 2011, the governor of Buenos Aires awarded a $170-million contract for a water treatment plant to a business consortium that included Mekorot. Over the next three years, local groups organized against the contract, falsely accusing Mekorot of “criminal actions in Palestine” and denouncing that “public Argentinian money would benefit Mekorot and, through this, finance Israeli apartheid in Palestine.” The fact that the project would improve infrastructure and access was tellingly erased. As a result, the deal was suspended and became a model for other Latin American BDS campaigns, including the one targeting Argentina’s athletes…
THE ONGOING MYTH OF BDS SUCCESS
Algemeiner, Apr. 29, 2018
Anytime that a student government votes to divest from Israel or a celebrity chooses not to perform in Israel, a cry goes out throughout the Jewish world that Israel is in danger and the antisemitic boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaign is winning. But this is untrue. Take the example of celebrity boycotts. When Lorde cowardly gave in to pressure to cancel her Israel concert, the BDS trolls crowed and the pro-Israel activists expressed outrage. What was the impact? A lot of disappointed Israeli fans.
Meanwhile, Jerry Seinfeld, Chris Rock, the Backstreet Boys, Nick Cave, and Bryan Adams were among those who did perform in Israel. Upcoming shows include performances by Foreigner, Ringo Starr, Ozzy Osbourne, and Enrique Iglesias. Yes, some celebrities (mostly B- and C-listers) are shunning Israel, but the BDSers have failed completely in orchestrating a mass artistic boycott.
Perhaps the biggest recent celebrity news was the vigorous attack on antisemites by author J.K. Rowling, a vocal opponent of BDS. After tweeting the definition of antisemitism in response to efforts by some of her followers to contort its meaning, she asked, “Would your response to any other form of racism or bigotry be to squirm, deflect, or justify?” After revealing that Jews on her timeline were bombarded by anti-Jewish comments, Rowling said, “perhaps some of us non-Jews should start shouldering the burden.”
BDSers kvelled over Natalie Portman’s decision not to attend an awards ceremony in Israel. While she gave some comfort to them, her explanation for skipping the gala made one thing clear: “I am not part of the BDS movement and do not endorse it.” Hysteria over the situation on campus is also misplaced. As I’ve written many times, the BDS movement is confined to a very small number of campuses, fewer than 3%. Also, contrary to claims that elite schools are particular targets, fewer than one-third of schools ranked in the top 50 have had a BDS vote in the last 13 years. Only 35 schools in the entire country have passed a divestment resolution and 64% of resolutions have been defeated.
Concern was justified three years ago, when it appeared the BDS movement was gaining momentum. The number of schools considering divestment resolutions jumped from 10 in 2012-13 to 19 in 2013-14 to 27 in 2014-15. Rather than continue that trend, however, the number of votes has declined. Last year, only 18 votes were held. And this academic year, which is nearly over, has seen only 11. Remember all the publicity about BDS activity on University of California campuses, such as Berkeley and Irvine? There has been only one vote this year, at UC Riverside, which failed. Last year Riverside was the only UC school to pass a divestment resolution. Irvine and Berkeley have not had votes in the last four years. School is still in session in California, so resolutions may emerge, but we will not see anything like the eight votes in 2013-14.
Make no mistake, the campus climate on the 63 schools that have had BDS campaigns is toxic. Jewish students often feel under siege and, not surprisingly, those campuses often have displays of antisemitism. Besides poisoning the environment, the drumbeat of attacks on Israel erode Israel’s image. Interestingly, students do not become pro-Palestinian, but they are more skeptical of Israel’s commitment to human rights, treatment of Arabs, and desire for peace. Worse, on many campuses the BDS advocates have succeeded in building coalitions with other student groups that buy into their propaganda. At NYU, 51 student groups pledged to boycott Israel, two pro-Israel campus organizations, and a group of off-campus pro-Israel groups…
Giuliani: Argentina Soccer Team Let Terrorists Win by Canceling Israel Game: Chris Perez, New York Post, June 7, 2018—Rudy Giuliani called out Argentina’s national soccer team on Thursday for canceling their exhibition match against Israel — saying “you should never succumb to fear induced by terrorists.”
Talk About a Smoking Gun! BDS Umbrella Group Has Financial Ties to Palestinian Terror Orgs: Aussie Dave, Israellycool, June 4, 2018—Regular Israellycool readers will know that so many members of the BDS movement are supportive of palestinian terrorists and what they do. I have time and again shown just how many BDS-holes love themselves a terrorist – Jew haters have this terrible habit of wanting Jews dead, after all (go figure).
Louisiana Becomes 25th US State to Prohibit Business Ties With Anti-Israel BDS Groups: JNS, May 24, 2018—Louisiana Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards issued an executive order on Tuesday prohibiting his state government from doing business with companies that boycott Israel.
Slew of British Musicians Join BDS Movement: Amy Spiro, Jerusalem Post, May 23, 2018—A number of British musicians and bands announced their support for the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against Israel this week. In a coordinated push by the Artists for Palestine UK group, several musical acts expressed support for BDS on social media on Tuesday, including Portishead, Wolf Alice and Shame.
Zionism and the Wedge Between US and Israeli Jews: Dr. Asaf Romirowsky, BESA, May 24, 2018— In Mandatory Palestine, Jews began to accumulate power – economic, political, and military – which caused other Jews to immediately question the enterprise itself.
The Disintegration of American Jewry: Isi Leibler, Arutz Sheva, May 1, 2018 — American Jewry, apart from the Orthodox and a minority of committed non-Orthodox, is demographically imploding.
Why Do You Hate Israel?: Brendan O’Neill, Spiked, Apr. 11, 2018— Why do you hate Israel more than any other nation? Why does Israel anger you more than any other nation does?
Bernard Lewis: Editorial, Jerusalem Post, May 23, 2018— One of the most influential Middle East scholars, Bernard Lewis, died Saturday, two weeks short of his 102nd birthday, in Voorhees Township, New Jersey.
Bernard Lewis, Influential Scholar of Islam, Is Dead at 101: Douglas Martin, New York Times, May 21, 2018
An Open Letter to Natalie Portman: Amichai Shikli, Jerusalem Post, May 21, 2018
Why the Left Buys Into Every Anti-Israel Smear: Gil Troy, New York Post, May 20, 2018
Cornell Student Presents Senior Thesis In Her Underwear: Dennis Prager, Townhall, May 15, 2018
ZIONISM AND THE WEDGE BETWEEN US AND ISRAELI JEWS
Dr. Asaf Romirowsky
BESA, May 24, 2018
In Mandatory Palestine, Jews began to accumulate power – economic, political, and military – which caused other Jews to immediately question the enterprise itself. Old anti-Semitic tropes came to the fore, like the notion that a Jewish state would be based on “exploitation” or even Zionist “world domination”. The prospect of a Jewish state generated non-Jewish hostility and, among a Jewish minority, feelings of guilt. Decades before the state was founded, Judah Magnes anxiously said: “It is not only the end which for Israel must be desirable, but what is of equal importance, the means must be conceived and brought forth in cleanliness.”
But no state has or could achieve that desired level of purity, particularly one surrounded by implacable enemies. Powerlessness was the preferred – even the ideal – situation, and the rootlessness that accompanied it.
A century after Balfour, the strength of his declaration is grounded in the political understanding that Jews are indeed a nation. Zionism is thus Jewish nationalism in its purest form. Yet today, the word Zionism is unique. No other term for a national movement evokes such a visceral reaction. No other word has been infamously defined in the UN as “a form of racism and racial discrimination” by a coalition of racists led by the Soviet Union, as occurred in 1975. No other national movement has a global boycott movement aimed against it that positions itself on a moral pedestal and strives to rewrite history and control the definition of Zionism itself.
Among the most pernicious consequences of the BDS movement is the wedge that has been driven between Israel and liberal Americans, including liberal American Jews. The relentless misappropriation of human rights and anti-racist discourse, the slanderous talk of Israeli “ethnic cleansing” and “genocide,” and the bitter ad hominem attacks on Israelis, their international supporters, and the peace process itself have taken a severe toll on American civil discourse.
Jews and Israelis are now called upon to demonstrate their “moral fiber” by using their own Jewish identity as a vehicle to question Israel and its legitimacy. More perverse are the use of Jewishness to passionately make pleas for the Palestinian cause and the assertion that Jewishness is somehow based on pro-Palestinian beliefs as a “progressive” value. For Jews on the far Left, as for Arab Palestinians, the events of 1948 are the original sin.
Seen through a colonialist prism, Western powers implanted a Jewish state in the Middle East to control the region. Jews, the true indigenous population, are cast as doubly illegitimate. Jewish apathy, religious ignorance, and the deliberate substitution of “social justice” for traditional Jewish liturgy account for the decline – and show the danger of placing antipathy towards the Jewish state of Israel at the center of religious belief.
Historically, from before 1948 all the way through the aftermath of the 1967 Six Day War, there was an appreciation of Israel – not only as the fulfillment of the ancient longing for return, but also as a haven. In the aftermath of the Holocaust the threat of annihilation was understood to be real. Moreover, Zionism was viewed as part and parcel of American Jewish identity, especially in the years leading up to 1967. There was no contradiction between being a liberal American and a Jew.
Justice Louis Brandeis expressed this well: “Let no American imagine that Zionism is inconsistent with patriotism…There is no inconsistency between loyalty to America and loyalty to Jewry. The Jewish spirit, the product of our religion and experiences, is essentially modern and essentially American…Indeed, loyalty to America demands rather that each American Jew become a Zionist. For only through the ennobling effect of its striving can we develop the best that is in us and give to this country the full benefit of our great inheritance.”
Albert Einstein had a similar appreciation for Zionism and the Jewish State: “Zionism springs from an even deeper motive than Jewish suffering. It is rooted in Jewish spiritual tradition, whose maintenance and development was for Jews the raison d’être of their continued existence as a community. In the re-establishment of the Jewish nation in the ancient home of the race, where Jewish spiritual values could again be developed in a Jewish atmosphere, the most enlightened representatives of Jewish individuality see the essential preliminary to the regeneration of the race and the setting free of its spiritual creativeness.”
Both Brandeis and Einstein clearly understood the need to maintain and incorporate Zionism within their Jewish identity even if they did not agree with certain policies of the State of Israel and its leadership. The Zionism of 1948-1967 is not the Zionism of 2018; each generation needs to find its own form of Zionism. But eliminating Zionism in the name of Judaism negates Jewish history instead of embracing and remembering it. As Yigal Allon correctly stated, “Zionism is, in sum, the constant and unrelenting effort to realize the national and universal vision of the prophets of Israel.” Many of the problems faced by Israel at 70 are manifested within the Jewish community, above all a false distinction between anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism. At the end of the day it will have to be understood that hatred of Israel can no longer be separated from loathing of Jews, even by Jews themselves.
THE DISINTEGRATION OF AMERICAN JEWRY
Arutz Sheva, May 1, 2018
American Jewry, apart from the Orthodox and a minority of committed non-Orthodox, is demographically imploding. Paradoxically, this is taking place at a time when support for Israel among the American people is at an all-time high and traditional anti-Semitism is at its lowest level. Jewish education among non-Orthodox Jews is catastrophic with widespread ignorance of Judaism and understanding about Israel. Assimilation is rampant with intermarriage levels reaching 70%.
Although right-wing racist anti-Semitism has made headlines, the real threat emanates from the viciously anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic Left and the growing numbers of Muslim extremists. Under normal circumstances, a proud Jewish community supported by most Americans could neutralize these negative elements. However, the crisis is largely internal. In the past, American Jews, with valid historical justifications, have always had a penchant for liberalism. Their attachments to Israel and Judaism were synonymous and liberal political forces were Israel’s strongest supporters, while conservatives were less inclined to support the Jewish state.
However, over the past two decades, the far Left has become viciously anti-Israeli, even supporting terrorist groups like Hamas and Hezbollah and depicting Israel as an imperialist occupier. This trend reached a climax under U.S. President Barack Obama, who made overtures to the Iranians and treated Israel politically as a rogue state. Aside from ZOA head, Morton Klein, not a single mainstream Jewish leader had the courage to stand up and protest Obama’s bias against Israel and his constant bracketing of Israeli defensive actions as morally equivalent to the actions of terrorists.
Despite this, incredibly, aside from African-Americans, the Jews remained consistently Obama’s greatest supporters. When Donald Trump was elected president, the hatred manifested against him from the bulk of the Jewish leadership reached hysterical levels. Many of the so-called leaders intensified the anti-Israeli hysteria by falsely accusing Trump of fascism and even anti-Semitism – despite his Jewish friends and family members and outstanding support for Israel. In fact, the administration’s wholehearted ongoing support for the Jewish state even seemed to intensify their anti-Israeli inclinations.
The Anti-Defamation League, headed by Jonathan Greenblatt, relinquished any pretense of being apolitical. It continuously lashed out against the administration and behaved like an extension of the extreme anti-Trump opposition. The ADL frequently seemed more inclined to defend Muslim extremists than Jews, maintaining that organizations like Canary Mission, which exposes anti-Semitism on college campuses, are Islamophobic and racist. It also ignored or dismissed much of the left-wing anti-Semitism and soft-pedaled its criticism of Black Lives Matter, an organization that accused Israel of ethnic cleansing and exaggerated the influence of far-right radicals, seeking to link them to Trump. The ADL also took upon itself to repeatedly condemn Israeli policies and the so-called “occupation.”
The Reform movement leader, Rabbi Rick Jacobs, behaved similarly, usually with the support of leaders of the Conservative movement. Jacobs initially even condemned Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. In this environment, the anti-Israeli-government J Street was absurdly promoted by sectors of the establishment as a moderate and a legitimate vehicle to soften the more delusional Jewish groups openly seeking the demise of Israel and even defending Hamas.
By remaining silent and appealing for tolerance even toward groups castigating Israel like Jewish Voice for Peace, the Jewish establishment created a defeatist climate, paving the way for the chaos currently prevailing in the Jewish community. This has impacted on large numbers of Jews, especially youth with virtually no Jewish education and for whom Israel has already become a marginal factor. In turn, this has strengthened the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement and created an atmosphere in which it is chic for unaffiliated Jews to distance themselves from, or in some cases even publicly condemn, Israel.
Twenty years ago, it would have been inconceivable to have any other than delusional Jewish fringe groups attacking Israel. Today, especially on campuses, it requires courage to even stand up against these perverted anti-Israeli Jews. These self-hating Jewish deviants have combined with Muslim extremists and the far Left to intimidate Jews committed to Israel, making life for them unbearable particularly on campuses. They are at the forefront of the BDS movement, deny Israeli spokesmen the right to speak, disrupt their lectures and support the depiction of Israel as an “apartheid state.” The extent of the madness is reflected in groups of Jewish radicals publicly reciting kaddish for Jihadist Palestinians killed by Israeli soldiers defending their borders.
Sadly, many Jewish leaders urge supporters of Israel to be tolerant of these hostile Jewish groups and, rather than confronting them, entreat them to engage in dialogue. Regrettably, many Hillel groups encourage and provide venues for such dialogue. It is hardly surprising that, in such an environment encouraged by the anti-Israeli media and the radical wing of the Democratic Party, whereas in the past Jewish support for Israel was almost a given, today the preponderance of liberal Jews – especially their leaders – feel awkward supporting Israel. Wishing to conform to their self-image as “enlightened,” in most cases they feel comfortable publicly condemning the Israeli government.
The current, almost unprecedented unity of the Israeli people transcends politics over issues such as war and peace, defense of the borders and deterring terrorism, including the violent efforts by Hamas to breach Israel’s borders. This is ignored by many liberal American Jews living in an atmosphere in which they not only feel the need to conform and condemn Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his democratically elected government but in many cases, go even further, castigating the IDF for allegedly responding disproportionately to terrorists who use human shields as a tactic in their warfare…
WHY DO YOU HATE ISRAEL?
Spiked, Apr. 11, 2018
Why do you hate Israel more than any other nation? Why does Israel anger you more than any other nation does? Why do Israel’s military activities aggravate you and disturb your conscience and provoke you to outbursts of street protesting or Twitter-fury in a way that no other state’s military activities do? These are the questions that hang darkly over today’s so-called progressives. Which eat away at their self-professed moral authority, at their claims to be practitioners of fairness and equality. They are the questions to which no satisfactory answer has ever been given. So they niggle and fester, expertly avoided, or unconvincingly batted away, a black question mark over much of the modern left: why Israel?
The question has returned in recent days, following violent clashes on the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel. Like clockwork, with a predictability that now feels just mostly depressing, these clashes that resulted in the deaths of many protesting Palestinians magically awoke an anti-imperialist, anti-war instinct among Western observers that was notably, stubbornly, mysteriously dormant when Turkey recently laid waste to the Kurdish town of Afrin or during any of the recent Western-backed Saudi barbarism visited upon the benighted people of Yemen. A member of the IDF raises his gun and suddenly the right-minded of the West switch off Spotify, take to Twitter, engage their emotional fury, and say: ‘NO.’ Their political lethargy lifts, their placards are dusted down, and they remember that war and violence are bad. They even go on to the streets, as people did in London and across Europe in recent days. This is evil, they declaim, and that question rises up again, silently, awkwardly, usually ignored: why is this evil but Turkey’s sponsored slaughter of hundreds of Kurdish civilians and fighters in Afrin was not? Why Israel?
Israeli activity doesn’t only elicit a response from these campaigners where Turkish or Saudi or Syrian activity does not – it always elicits a visceral response. The condemnation of Israel is furious and intense, the language used about it is dark, strikingly different to the language used about any other state that engages in military activity. Israel is never just wrong or heavy-handed or a country that ‘foolishly rushes to war’, as protesters would say about Tony Blair and Iraq, and very occasionally about Obama and Libya, and, if they were pressed for an opinion, would probably say about the Turks and the Saudis, too. No, Israel is genocidal. It is a terrorist state, a rogue state, an apartheid state. It is mad, racist, ideological. It doesn’t do simple militarism – it does ‘bloodletting’; it derives some kind of pleasure from killing civilians, including children. As one observer said during the clashes at the Gaza border, Israel kills those whose only crime is to have been ‘born to non-Jewish mothers’. Israel hates. This Jewish State is the worst state, the most bloodthirsty state.
Following the deaths of 18 Palestinians on the Gaza border, Glenn Greenwald denounced Israel as an ‘apartheid, rogue, terrorist state’, like a man reaching for as many ways as possible to say ‘evil’. One left-wing group says Israel’s behaviour at the Gaza border confirms it is enforcing a ‘slow genocide’ on the Palestinians. The ‘scale of the bloodletting’ is horrifying, says one radical writer. Israel loves to draw blood. A writer for Al-Jazeera says the clashes are a reminder that Israel has turned Gaza into ‘the biggest concentration camp on the surface of the Earth’, and that question, that unanswerable, or certainly unanswered, question, rises up once more: why is Gaza a concentration camp but Yemen, which has been subject to a barbaric sea, land and air blockade since 2015 that has resulted in devastating shortages of food and medicine, causing famine and the rampant spread of diseases like cholera, is not? By any measurement, the blockade on Yemen is worse than any restrictions that have been placed on Gaza. People in Gaza are not starving to death or contracting cholera in their tens of thousands, as Yemenis are. Yet Gaza is a concentration camp while Yemen, when they can be bothered to comment on it, is a war zone…
Jerusalem Post, May 23, 2018
One of the most influential Middle East scholars, Bernard Lewis, died Saturday, two weeks short of his 102nd birthday, in Voorhees Township, New Jersey. Lewis, who will be buried at the Trumpeldor Cemetery in Tel Aviv on Thursday, had a major impact on US foreign policy, particularly under the presidency of George W. Bush. He briefed vice president Dick Cheney and defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld before the invasion of Iraq in 2003. His phrase, “the clash of civilizations,” was made famous by American political scientist Samuel Huntington, who argued that cultural and religious identities would be the primary source of conflict in the post-Cold War era.
Lewis attributed the 9/11 attacks to a decaying Islamic civilization that enabled extremists such as al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden to conduct an international terrorist campaign. The solution to the growing problems of fundamentalist Islamic ideology was, in a word, democracy. “Either we bring them freedom, or they destroy us,” Lewis wrote. In many ways he was a modern-day prophet, although he was sometimes wrong and was often accused by his academic colleagues of being Eurocentric. “For some, I’m the towering genius,” Lewis told The Chronicle of Higher Education in 2012. “For others, I’m the devil incarnate.” He warned in 2006 that Iran had been working on a nuclear program for some 15 years. But he wrongly predicted that Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad could be planning an apocalyptic attack, perhaps against Israel, on August 22, to coincide with Muhammad’s night flight to Jerusalem.
As Israel deliberates again whether to recognize the Armenian Genocide, it is timely to recall that in the first editions of his well-known book, The Emergence of Modern Turkey, Lewis described that genocide as “the terrible holocaust of 1915, when a million and a half Armenians perished.” In later editions, he changed the text to “the terrible slaughter of 1915, when, according to estimates, more than a million Armenians perished, as well as an unknown number of Turks.” Critics accused him of “historical revisionism.” In a visit to The Jerusalem Post in 2007, the London- born Lewis eloquently discussed the situation in an interview with then-editor David Horovitz and reporter Tovah Lazaroff. He predicted that one way for Muslims to alleviate their growing rage would be “to win some large victories, which could happen. They seem to be about to take over Europe.”
Lewis was asked what that meant for Jews in Europe. “The outlook for the Jewish communities in Europe is dim,” he replied. “Soon, the only pertinent question regarding Europe’s future will be, ‘Will it be an Islamized Europe or Europeanized Islam?’” In reviewing Lewis’s 2010 collection of essays – Faith and Power: Religion and Politics in the Middle East – Post International Edition editor Liat Collins pertinently noted a line of thought appearing throughout the essays was that the Western concept of separating church and state was not compatible with Islam.
“The emergence of a population, many millions strong, of Muslims born and educated in Western Europe will have immense and unpredictable consequences for Europe, for Islam and for the relations between them,” Lewis wrote. Collins commented: “I don’t want to hear a ‘Told you so’ so much as an update in the wake of the current mass migration to Europe’s shores.” Although he didn’t get everything right – who can? – Collins added that his special touches are well-worth noting, such as this classic quotation: “In America one uses money to buy power, while in the Middle East, one uses power to acquire money.”…
Bernard Lewis, Influential Scholar of Islam, Is Dead at 101: Douglas Martin, New York Times, May 21, 2018—Bernard Lewis, an eminent historian of Islam who traced the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, to a declining Islamic civilization, a controversial view that influenced world opinion and helped shape American foreign policy under President George W. Bush, died on Saturday in Voorhees Township, N.J. He was 101.
An Open Letter to Natalie Portman: Amichai Shikli, Jerusalem Post, May 21, 2018—It would take more than one infuriating statement to make me lose my deep affection for Natalie Portman. She’s talented, gorgeous and genteel – but in the present case, she happens to be wrong and misleading. I’m not bothered by the fact that she’s given BDS – a movement that has lost its momentum and vitality and is doomed to failure – further ammunition with which to attack Israel.
Why the Left Buys Into Every Anti-Israel Smear: Gil Troy, New York Post, May 20, 2018—Eight armed Hamas terrorists fought Israeli troops last Monday. All were killed — then counted in the day’s death toll of “60 protesters.” Hamas itself identified 50 of the 60 “martyrs” as Hamas members and admitted to “terminological deception,” because it was deploying “peaceful resistance bolstered by a military force.”
Cornell Student Presents Senior Thesis In Her Underwear: Dennis Prager, Townhall, May 15, 2018—The most remarkable thing about the title of this column, “Cornell student presents senior thesis in her underwear” is that not one reader thinks it’s a joke. That, my friends, is further proof of the low esteem in which most Americans hold our universities.
Calm, Poised and a Steady Hand: Yaakov Katz, Jerusalem Post, Apr. 5, 2018— May is going to be quite the month for US President Donald Trump.
Trump and the Fading Ghost of an Illusion.: Amir Taheri, Gatestone Institute, Apr. 1, 2018— Does the appointment of John Bolton as National Security Adviser indicate President Trump’s determination to formally renounce the so-called “nuclear deal” concocted by his predecessor Barack Obama?
The Return of Imperialism: The Islamic Republic of Iran: Prof. Hillel Frisch, BESA, Apr. 4, 2018— After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Francis Fukuyama, in a widely publicized book, announced the ultimate triumph of liberal democracy and with it the strong prospect of a longstanding democratic peace.
Iran’s Role in the Boycott Israel Campaign: Asaf Romirowsky & Benjamin Weinthal, National Interest, Mar. 15, 2018— The Boycott, Sanctions and Divestment movement, better known by the acronym BDS, targeting Israel has largely been viewed as a Palestinian- and Western European-driven campaign with the alleged goal of advancing Palestinian statehood.
US Pro-Iran Lobby’s Attack on NSA Pick John Bolton Highlighted by Tehran Regime’s Official Media: Ben Cohen, Algemeiner, Mar. 23, 2018
Can the Iran Deal Be Fixed? And Should it Be?: Omri Ceren, Commentary, Mar. 15, 2018
Iranian Nuclear Weapons and ‘Palestine’ — Twin Dangers for Israel: Louis René Beres, Algemeiner, Mar. 29, 2018
Saudi Crown Prince, on U.S. Visit, Urges Tough Line on Iran: Ben Hubbard, New York Times, Mar. 27, 2018
CALM, POISED AND A STEADY HAND
Jerusalem Post, Apr. 5, 2018
May is going to be quite the month for US President Donald Trump. At some point in the coming weeks, he is expected to sit down for a historic tête-à-tête with North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un. Around the same time, on May 12, he will come up against the deadline for the Iran nuclear deal.
And then there is the planned transfer of the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem on May 15 as well as a proposal to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict the White House has been working on for the past year. While the Palestinians’ recent anti-American rhetoric made it seem like the proposal had been shelved, the administration is claiming that the plan is still in the works. When will it be presented? That remains to be seen.
Even for Trump – a man who prides himself on being a brilliant deal-maker – this is a lot to handle. Most presidents would choose one or two massive foreign policy challenges of similar scale to tackle throughout their entire presidency, let alone in the span of just a few weeks. For Israel, the issue of utmost concern right now is Iran. On the one hand, there is complete agreement within Israel’s defense and political echelons that the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran is bad. It gave the Iranians astounding financial breaks and left them with almost all of their nuclear infrastructure in place. Once the deal’s sunset clauses kick in, Iran’s breakout time to a bomb will be just a few weeks.
On the other hand, there is no arguing the fact that the deal has given Israel a respite. Just a few years ago, the government appeared on the verge of ordering an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities. With that threat postponed, the IDF has been able to spend the last few years honing its capabilities ahead of an eventual confrontation while investing in other fronts and needs.
While Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is a vocal proponent of seeing America pull out of the nuclear deal, the question is whether he – or anyone for that matter – knows what will happen the day after. Trump is trying to use the threat of America’s pending withdrawal from the accord as leverage to negotiate a newer and better agreement that will, for example, place restrictions on Iran’s ballistic missile program, its regional aspirations and the problematic sunset clauses. The Europeans warn that the chances of that happening are slim. The French and German foreign ministers came to Jerusalem recently to explain to Netanyahu that Iran will not agree to a new deal and that if America pulls out, so will Iran.
If that happens, they warned, the only way left to stop Iran will be with military force, and who has the appetite for that? What Europe might not be taking into account though is the possibility that Netanyahu has received assurances from Trump that he will attack Iran if it leaves the deal and begins racing toward a bomb. It is possible that if Iran withdraws and begins enriching uranium to military grade levels, the “fire and fury” Trump once threatened North Korea with, will be diverted to Iran.
But what if that doesn’t happen? What if Trump decides to nix the deal but then fails to follow through with tough negotiations or the threat of military force? Is Israel better off with the deal gone and Iran an even greater threat, or not? What if Trump connects the peace process to the nuclear deal and tells Netanyahu that he will happily take care of Iran, but only if Israel ensures progress on the Palestinian track? This would be the revival of the famous “Bushehr-for-Yitzhar” deal – Bushehr is the site of some of Iran’s nuclear reactors, and Yitzhar is a settlement in Samaria – that Barack Obama reportedly offered Netanyahu in late 2009. Under that deal, Obama was supposed to ensure that Iran’s nuclear program would be stopped, and Israel would, in exchange, facilitate the establishment of a Palestinian state.
The deal, of course, never materialized. A Palestinian state was never established and the 2015 nuclear deal failed to completely stop Iran’s race to the bomb. Is Trump planning such linkage between Iran and the Palestinians? It remains to be seen, although the timing of how this all plays out could be a sign of what is coming. Just days after making a decision on Iran, the US will hold a ceremony marking the moving of its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Some security cabinet members are nervous of what will come next. As one member told me recently: “Even between friends, there never really is a free lunch.”
Whatever happens, Trump is going to have his hands full in the coming weeks. For any of these efforts to work – North Korea, Iran or the Israel-Palestinian peace process – the president will need to be personally involved, become intimately familiar with all of the details, and be prepared to use the full weight of his office when necessary. Israel is just one piece on the presidential chessboard. It might seem that Israel and the US are aligned as never before, but Netanyahu will need to be careful to ensure Israel’s interests are not disregarded. As demonstrated by Trump’s surprising and off-the-cuff announcement last week that he plans to withdraw US forces from Syria, Netanyahu already knows that, with this president, anything is possible…
[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]
TRUMP AND THE FADING GHOST OF AN ILLUSION
Gatestone Institute, Apr. 1, 2018
Does the appointment of John Bolton as National Security Adviser indicate President Trump’s determination to formally renounce the so-called “nuclear deal” concocted by his predecessor Barack Obama? The common answer of the commentariat is a resounding yes. Long before Trump promised to tear-up the deal, Bolton was on record denouncing it as an ugly example of appeasement.
Thus, next May, when the “deal” comes up for its periodical renewal, President Trump’s idea of “tearing up a bad deal” is likely to have broader support in his administration. And that seems to be exactly what Tehran is expecting. In fact, just days after Bolton’s appointment, the spokesman for Iran’s Atomic Energy Agency, Behruz Kamalvand, broke a year of silence to boast about ambitious new plans for speeding up and expanding the Islamic Republic’s nuclear project. The buzz in Tehran is that the ruling establishment expects Trump to refuse to sign another waiver linked to the “deal” and, perhaps order a tightening of the existing sanctions. However, Tehran seems determined to continue its formal commitment to the “deal” as part of a strategy to drive a wedge between the Europeans and a Trump administration already unpopular in the old continent.
Tehran’s calculation is that the mid-term elections in the US may deprive Trump of crucial Congressional support and pave the way for his defeat in the following presidential election. Thus the wisest course is to keep everyone focused on the nuclear issue that the Europeans, and part of the political establishment in the US, believe they have solved thanks to the “deal,” while the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) continues its 20-year long equivocation on the issue. Only Iran really knows its own intentions on that score.
Iran is right in saying that it is not producing nuclear weapons. What Iran is doing is to set up all the technical, industrial and material means needed to produce such weapons, if and when it decides to do so. While not producing nuclear weapons now, Iran has a program designed to make such weapons within months. It is like a chef who brings in all that is needed for making a soup but does not actually start the cooking until he knows when the guests will be coming.
In the past three decades Iran has trained and deployed the scientists and technicians needed, built the research centers required, and set up structures for a complete nuclear cycle, from raw materials to the finished product. Part of the Iranian national defense doctrine is based on the capacity to produce and deploy nuclear weapons within a brief time span. Before the 1979 Islamic revolution, Iran regarded its northern neighbor, the nuclear “super-power” Soviet Union, as the sole serious threat to its national security. The assumption was that in case of a Soviet invasion, Iran should be in a position to use tactical nuclear weapons while waiting for the great American ally to ride to the rescue.
After the mullahs seized power, Iran’s national defense doctrine was based on the assumption that it will, one day, fight a war with the United States plus its Arab allies and/or Israel. The central assumption of Iranian strategists is that the US cannot sustain a long war. It is, therefore, necessary to pin down its forces and raise the kill-die ratio to levels unacceptable by the American public. In the meantime, Iran would put its nuclear-weapons program in high gear, and brandish the threat of nuclear war as a means of forcing the US to accept a ceasefire and withdraw from whatever chunk of Iranian territory they may have seized.
Former President Hashemi Rafsanjani publicly evoked the possibility of using nuclear weapons against Washington’s regional allies, especially Israel. “In a nuclear duel in the region, Israel may kill 100 million Muslims,” Rafsanjani said in a speech in Tehran in October 2000. “Muslims can sustain such casualties, knowing that, in exchange, there would be no Israel on the map.” Iran’s top military commanders also speak about a military clash with the United States as the only serious threat to the Khomeinist regime in Tehran.
They believe they have three trump cards to play. The first is that Iran has a demographic reserve of some 20 million people of “fighting age” and is thus capable of sustaining levels of casualties unthinkable for Americans. The second is that Iran is already the missile superpower of the Middle East and could target all of Washington’s allies in the region. Iran’s third trump card is its nuclear program. Without it, the other two cards will not have the desired effect, especially if the US unleashes its new generation of low-grade nuclear weapons designed for battlefield use.
The real issue, as far as US and its allies are concerned, is that the regime in Iran has been, is and most likely will remain, a threat with or without nuclear weapons. Iran did not seize the US diplomats as hostages with nuclear weapons; nor did it massacre 241 US Marines in Beirut with an atomic bomb. The mischief that Iran is making in Syria, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen and Bahrain is not backed by nuclear power either.
So the real question is: How to deal with a maverick power that has built its strategy on fomenting discord and instability not only in the Middle East but anywhere else it gets a chance? Washington hawks, among them Bolton perhaps, believe that the only realistic policy towards Iran is one of regime change before the Khomeinists build their nuclear arsenal. They believe that could be achieved with a mixture of military and diplomatic pressure, combined with moral and material support for a pro-democracy movement in Iran.
The Europeans, however, fear that any attempt even at soft regime-change may push the Khomeinists on the offensive in Afghanistan, the Persian Gulf, Iraq, the Caucasus, Lebanon, and the Palestinian territories. Could a realistic policy be developed through a sober assessment of both positions? If yes, that would requires far more sophistication than the “to waiver or not to waiver” debate over what is; in fact; the fading ghost of an accord wrought from dangerous illusions.
THE RETURN OF IMPERIALISM: THE ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF IRAN
Prof. Hillel Frisch
BESA, Apr. 4, 2018
After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Francis Fukuyama, in a widely publicized book, announced the ultimate triumph of liberal democracy and with it the strong prospect of a longstanding democratic peace. He called it, in a moment of hubris, the end of history.
The wars in the Balkans (the first to take place in continental Europe since WWII) and the wide-scale ethnic and religious massacres that accompanied them, followed by the 9/11 attacks in New York and Washington DC, severely dented this vision. It was probably laid to rest altogether with the rise of Putin in 1999 and the return of geopolitics on Europe’s fringes in the war with Georgia in 2009, Putin’s assault on eastern Ukraine in 2014, and his troops’ bold annexation of Crimea the same year.
Putin has contributed greatly towards pulling the world back to the twentieth century after the illusions it harbored about what the 21st century was likely to be. The same can be said of Beijing as its policy of peaceful engagement gave way to an assertion of power in in the China Seas. Both Russia and China have seriously alarmed their neighbors and other states. It seems, however, that the world might be reverting further backward than one century. It is regressing back to the Age of Imperialism, only this time the major catalyst is eastern, not western; Muslim, not Christian; Shiite, not (predominantly) Protestant; “radical”, not conservative.
The Islamic Republic of Iran, which ranks only 17th in terms of economic output in the world, is hardly a major power. It hovers somewhere around the same score in terms of scientific contributions (barring patents, which it largely keeps in-house for military purposes). Yet it is demonstrating almost daily its imperialist reach in Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, and Gaza, and is developing ballistic capabilities to threaten Europe. The reader may be puzzled. How is Iran different from Russia, China, and the US? The answer lies in focus, capabilities, and responsibility. China’s and Russia’s assertions of power are focused on land and seas contiguous to their borders. Relative to its capabilities, Russia’s recent foray in Syria is a minor affair justified in some sense by a desire to fight jihadists, many of whom came from the Caucuses, which are part of the Russian Federation.
Russia is also a player in the great power game. If the US felt compelled to fight ISIS, Russia had to take part to check American power in the area. All three powers, especially the US and China, have far-flung interests that necessitate a presence worldwide. It is the role of the US in preserving the freedom of the seas, so indispensable to global trade, that leads to tensions between China and the US and its allies. These powers have the responsibility and capabilities (one hopes) to resolve their many issues of contention. Iran is different in that it is the only country whose focus is on political, military, and terrorist intervention and involvement in areas beyond its contiguous borders against states that have not struck the homeland.
Israel, the state it vows to destroy, never wanted a fight with the Islamic State of Iran. Not only is it not in the Jewish tradition to tell other states how they should be ruled, but a strong lobby within Israel believed for many years that Iran would renew ties for mutual benefit, as it did in the days of the Shah. So strong was this conviction that Israel allegedly sold weapons to Iran during its protracted war with Iraq. Yet it was the Islamic Republic of Iran that created Hezbollah in faraway Lebanon to fight Israel and which today threatens the Jewish state with 100,000 missiles. It has placed its launching sites in the homes of Lebanese villagers and townspeople. Naturally, these villagers, along with the Israeli civilian population, are at great risk.
Prior to the Syrian civil war, the Assad regime – while allied with Iran – placed limitations on an Iranian military presence in Syria. Now that the Assad regime has been weakened, Iran is exploiting the new dynamic to transform Syria into another Lebanon. Imported Shiite militias under Iranian Revolutionary guidance and command create missile sites similar to those in Lebanon. Terrorist activity is being increased, and munitions factories and forward bases are being established inside Syria and along the border of the northern Golan. Israel vows to stop Iran and is probably behind the “unidentified” air attacks, the most recent a massive one, to prevent Iran from realizing its immediate objective…
[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]
IRAN’S ROLE IN THE BOYCOTT ISRAEL CAMPAIGN
Asaf Romirowsky & Benjamin Weinthal
National Interest, Mar. 15, 2018
The Boycott, Sanctions and Divestment movement, better known by the acronym BDS, targeting Israel has largely been viewed as a Palestinian- and Western European-driven campaign with the alleged goal of advancing Palestinian statehood. Yet the Islamic Republic of Iran’s key role in stoking the BDS movement has increasingly become a key factor in economic warfare against the Jewish state.
All of this helps to explain why it is often important, as a counter-terrorism project, to decipher the BDS movement. Take, for example, Iran’s efforts to promote genocidal anti-Israel sentiment in Europe: the annual al-Quds Day rallies, which were called into global action in 1979 by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder of Iran’s theocracy, urges individuals to support the BDS movement and the destruction of Israel. Al-Quds Day rallies blanket European cities such as Berlin, London and Vienna. Iranian-backed Islamists have no qualms about marching together with an amalgam of neo-Nazis, German political leftists and supporters of the U.S.- and EU-designated terrorist entity the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.
The Iranian regime-owned Islamic Center of Hamburg charters buses with Iranian regime and Hezbollah supporters to travel to Berlin to march in the al-Quds Day rally. Since 1996, there have been twenty-one al-Quds Day marches in the German capital. Hamidreza Torabi, an Iranian religious leader who has called for Israel’s elimination at the rallies, heads the Islamic Academy of Germany—part of the Iranian regime-owned Islamic Center of Hamburg. At the 2016 rally, he held a poster urging the “rejection of Israel” and calling the Jewish state “illegal and criminal.” The Berlin government has made half-hearted efforts to rope in the pro-Iran regime mini-movement by banning Hezbollah flags at the rallies. Berlin’s state government refuses to outlaw all of Hezbollah. It is worth recalling that the United States, Israel, the Arab League, Canada and the Netherlands have outlawed all of Hezbollah. The European Union has merely proscribed Hezbollah’s so-called military-wing as a terrorist organization, leaving the organization free to recruit, raise funds and otherwise operate in most of the EU. Hezbollah—a wholly-owned Iranian subsidiary—uses its organizational presence to expand the BDS movement in Europe.
Iran’s grassroots campaign to shape European and American opinion is not limited to demonstrations. In 2016, the Bavarian city of Bayreuth awarded 10,000 euros to a U.S.-based activist group—Code Pink—that supports a boycott of the Jewish state and has participated in a conference in Iran with Holocaust deniers. The women’s organization Code Pink has gone to great lengths to defend Iran’s regime. In January, the Israeli government banned representatives of Code Pink and an additional nineteen BDS organizations from entering the country because of their campaign to dismantle Israel. A second NGO—the International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL)—an entity set up by the now-defunct Soviet Union—supports the BDS movement while providing a legal defense for the Iranian regime’s controversial nuclear program.The U.S.-based bank Comerica terminated the bank account of the IADL after its connections to Iran and the BDS movement were exposed in the media.
Moreover, on the grassroot donor involvement front, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund (RBF) has played a role in promoting the nuclear deal with Iran, especially since Stephen Heintz became its president in 2001 and looked to involve RBF in “peace building/making” through fostering ties between Washington and Tehran. RBF at large has been a staunch supporter of the BDS movement with its support of the organizations Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) and Breaking the Silence. It is worth to note that JVP has been designated as one of the groups that are forbidden from entering Israel today given their work to destroy the country…
US Pro-Iran Lobby’s Attack on NSA Pick John Bolton Highlighted by Tehran Regime’s Official Media: Ben Cohen, Algemeiner, Mar. 23, 2018—An Iranian official news agency on Friday highlighted the furious response of a Washington, DC-based pro-Tehran lobbying organization to the announcement that John Bolton will replace Gen. H.R. McMaster as President Donald Trump’s national security adviser.
Can the Iran Deal Be Fixed? And Should it Be?: Omri Ceren, Commentary, Mar. 15, 2018—President Trump and his administration are approaching a make-or-break May deadline for deciding whether to stay in the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. Lawmakers, analysts, and journalists have been struggling to reestablish something approaching a healthy debate in the aftermath of the factitious salesmanship of the Obama “echo chamber.”
Iranian Nuclear Weapons and ‘Palestine’ — Twin Dangers for Israel: Louis René Beres, Algemeiner, Mar. 29, 2018—Although difficult to calibrate or measure, Iranian nuclearization and Palestinian statehood are likely progressing at roughly the same pace. To be sure, this coincident or near-simultaneous progression is proceeding without any dint of conscious intent or coordinated design.
Saudi Crown Prince, on U.S. Visit, Urges Tough Line on Iran: Ben Hubbard, New York Times, Mar. 27, 2018—Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia has renewed his attack on the Iran nuclear deal during a visit to the United States, saying the agreement would delay but not prevent Tehran from acquiring nuclear weapons.
The Speech in Which Abbas Dug His Own Grave: Dr. Mordechai Kedar, Arutz Sheva, Jan. 15, 2018 — Mahmoud Abbas, chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization, has delivered a speech triggered by his rage at the President of the United States Donald Trump…
Having Missed the Boat, Palestinian Authority Is Sinking: Charles Bybelezer, The Media Line, Jan. 15, 2018— Given the turbulent political climate, one wonders whether Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has any regrets and, if so, if he would gladly roll back time a decade.
The Anti-Israel BDS Movement Seeks the Destruction of Israel, Not a Two-State Peace with Palestinians: Patrick Dunleavy, Fox News, Jan. 18, 2018— The anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement pretends to be working toward peace between Israel and the Palestinians, but in reality many of its supporters want to destroy Israel as a Jewish state.
Middle East Studies Association (as Usual) Singles Out Israel for Attack, Excuses Palestinian Perfidy: Mitchell Bard, Algemeiner, Jan. 3, 2018 — The Middle East Studies Association gave up all pretense of being a scholarly organization when it was taken over by the followers of Edward Said in the 1980s…
99 Percent of “Palestine Refugees” Are Fake: Daniel Pipes, Jewish Press, Jan. 17, 2018
How a U.S. Quaker Group That Won the Nobel Peace Prize Ended Up on Israel's BDS Blacklist: Allison Kaplan Sommer, Ha’aretz, Jan. 8, 2018
Professor Claims Antisemitism and ‘Islamophobia’ Are Equal Threats: Cinnamon Stillwell, Algemeiner, Jan. 11, 2018
Academic Freedom Goes on Trial: George F. Will, Washington Post, Dec. 29, 2017
THE SPEECH IN WHICH ABBAS DUG HIS OWN GRAVE
Dr. Mordechai Kedar
Arutz Sheva, Jan. 15, 2018
Mahmoud Abbas, chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization, has delivered a speech triggered by his rage at the President of the United States Donald Trump, going so far as to hurl the most bitter curse in the Arabic language at the POTUS: "May your house be destroyed." This imprecation does not merely relate to someone's present home, but to all the members of his family being thrown into the street to lead lives of destitution, humiliation and shame. Only someone familiar with Middle Eastern culture understands the real significance of this curse.
The question that naturally rises is what happened that brought Abbas to the point where he is willing to burn his bridges with the US President and deliver a speech whose import is the severing of relations with the country which serves as chief funder of UNRWA, also pushing the US president towards a negative stand on the "Palestinian Issue."
"Jerusalem, Capital of Palestine," is an idea created after the Six Day War and further developed after the Oslo Accords were signed in September 1993. Arafat turned it into a mantra, while official Israel – Shimon Peres, Yossi Beilin, Alon Liel and their cohorts – did nothing to stop him. They told us that the expression is meant for a Palestinian Arab audience, i.e. for "internal use" only. "Millions of shahids are on the march to Jerusalem!!" Arafat shouted day and night, but they told us to ignore it, that these were empty words, merely a pipe dream.
The world, led by Europe, went along with this Palestinian house of cards, financing it with billions of dollars over the years in the hopes of turning it into a real concrete structure, simply ignoring reality. Europe supported the establishment of a "Palestinian peace-loving state alongside Israel" while forgetting the fact that the PLO ideology calls for destroying the Jewish State and that its logo includes the map of that "Palestine" reaching from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River.
The world perpetuated the "Palestinian refugee problem" despite the fact that not one refugee remains of all the others who existed in the 1940s. Even Germany, which absorbed and rehabilitated the Sudetenland residents expelled from Czechoslovakia, did not demand that the Arab world do the same and absorb the "Palestinian refugees," whose problem was created as a result of the Arab armies' invasion of Israel one day after the Jewish State declared its independence. Europe saw Germany as the party responsible for the Sudeten refugee problem and its solution, but did not do the same for the Arab states and the Palestinian refugees. That double standard is what perpetuated the Palestinian Arab refugee problem, turning it into a central bargaining chip in negotiations between Israel and its neighbors, reaching the point where Ehud Barak agreed (in the Taba talks of 2001) to a "symbolic return" of tens of thousands of those refugees – and he was not the only one to agree to this idea.
The world did not recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital and allowed Jerusalem to turn into another major bargaining chip in the "Peace talks" whose only purpose – at least according to the Arab side – was to weaken and shrink the State of Israel and bring it to a state of collapse that would make the Jews lose hope and leave the region for the countries they had lived in before they came to rebuild their ancient homeland.
Enter Donald Trump, a businessman who deals with construction – not houses built of cards, but the kind meant to last for generations. He understood that the Palestinian structure is made of cards, left standing only because of the world's going along with European leadership, American liberal circles, the Arab states and a few Israelis suffering from burn-out. Trump understood that the Palestinian ideological structure is full of holes and decided to pull two foundational cards out of the ephemeral structure: the Jerusalem card and the refugee card.
From the minute Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital the Palestinians – both Hamas and the PLO – began engaging in frenzied activities, disturbances on the ground and political maneuvering in international corridors. They understood that Jerusalem as Israel's capital is an insurance policy of sorts for the Jewish state. To the Jews, Jerusalem is real, backed up by history and the Jewish religion, while it is nothing but "fake news" for the Arab and Muslim world. Jerusalem, however, is still not the capital of a non-established "Palestine" and remains a theoretical bone of contention, so that it could be pulled out of the Palestinian house of cards without Abbas burning his bridges with the United States.
And then Trump pulled the refugee card from the house of cards by announcing that he would cease to fund, support and perpetuate it. That act is a thousand times worse than recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital, because the refugee issue has been capitalized on for seventy years, with billions of dollars poured into it, all going to waste. UNRWA operates a massive system of wage-earners, schools and aid services running on American money, whose cessation is sure to limit the organizations' ability to breathe life into the "refugee problem". Without adequate funding, the "refugees" are liable to spread out and be absorbed in the areas to which they move on, within the Arab world and outside it. The "refugee problem" and its threat to Israel might even disappear…
HAVING MISSED THE BOAT, PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY IS SINKING
The Media Line, Jan. 15, 2018
Given the turbulent political climate, one wonders whether Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has any regrets and, if so, if he would gladly roll back time a decade. In 2008, the PA boss was firmly entrenched in Ramallah despite a year earlier having been unceremoniously—that is, violently—ejected by Hamas from Gaza in an internecine war. Nevertheless, the world was seemingly at Abbas’ doorstep, his Muqata compound the address where kings, heads of state and a never-ending parade of diplomats flocked to with a view to solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, considered at the time by many as the central malaise plaguing the Middle East.
It was within this context that then-Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert offered Abbas a fully comprehensive peace deal that would have created a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders, with only minor land swaps, and with east Jerusalem as its capital. A limited—read: symbolic—number of Palestinian refugees would have been allowed to “return” to Israel. But when Olmert, after a score of meetings, urged Abbas to sign on the dotted line, the PA leader said he needed to consult with other officials but never got back to the Israeli premier.
Sometime later, Abbas was the first of his colleagues to receive a phone call from newly-inaugurated U.S. President Barack Obama, who vowed to put “daylight” between Washington and Jerusalem. This manifested in pressuring Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to implement an unprecedented ten-month construction freeze in Jewish communities located in the West Bank. But Abbas still refused to negotiate for the first nine months of the building suspension and, when he finally did, demanded that the policy be renewed indefinitely. It was an untenable political situation for Netanyahu precluding the possibility of talks getting off the ground. This pattern repeated itself during Obama’s second term, when a new initiative, spearheaded by then-secretary of state John Kerry, forced Netanyahu to release, in four tranches, more than 100 terrorists from Israeli jails. But once again Abbas found a pretext to walk away from the peace process.
By then, the Middle East had descended into total chaos in the wake of the so-called Arab Spring, while Shiite Iran was flexing its muscles throughout the region. The outbreak of wars in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and beyond had little to do with Israel or solving Palestinian “problem,” effectively marginalizing the conflict. This confluence of events, in turn, stimulated a rapprochement between Sunni Muslim nations and the Jewish state, which share a desire both to curb Tehran’s expansionism and potential nuclearization and counter the threat posed by terrorist groups such as the Islamic State. As the geopolitical situation slowly changed, countries that previously supported the Palestinians unconditionally no longer viewed matters in shades of black and white, but, rather, increasingly in blue and white; this, prompted by a growing acknowledgment that Israel, as opposed to the PA, has much to offer to regimes that likewise view the Islamic Republic as an existential threat.
Enter U.S. President Donald Trump, who is perhaps the least ideological—and unpredictable—American leader in history. While his White House has invested political capital into jump-starting the peace process, President Trump is not to be beholden to any preconceived notions nor does he appear willing to pander to Palestinian sensibilities. This was made stark by his recognition in December of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, to which the Palestinians reacted with unhinged fury. Instead of accepting the new playing field and adapting, the PA adopted a scorched-earth policy, effectively boycotting Washington and threatening to withdraw recognition of Israel, thereby abrogating the Oslo Accords. This, notwithstanding the apparent tacit acceptance by Arab states of President Trump’s Jerusalem declaration, and while the U.S. Congress moves to cut-off aid to the PA over its “pay-for-slay” policy of disbursing salaries to Palestinian prisoners.
Domestically, the situation is not much better, with a recent survey showing that some seventy percent of Palestinians want Abbas to resign. Under his rule, the PA has lost legitimacy within the eyes of its people, who near-uniformly view the leadership as a corrupt kleptocracy unable to advance their interests. Specifically, the West Bank economy is completely underdeveloped and the territory lacks almost all of the basic infrastructure of a functioning state despite the tens of billions of dollars in foreign aid that have flooded into the PA’s coffers. Moreover, the Palestinians remain divided between the West Bank and Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, with the latest attempts to forge national unity, like those before them, having thus far amounted to nothing.
According to Maj. Gen. (ret.) Amos Gilead, formerly the director of policy and political-military affairs at the Israeli Ministry of Defense, the PA leader does not believe that his positions are being adequately considered, leading to increased inflexibility as his days become numbered. “This may be the last call, as Abbas is very old and has said he may not be here next year. So it looks like there is no hope for the peace process. “Abbas may not take any concrete steps moving forward,” Gilead expounded, “but he does not have to. He is telling us what his legacy will be. As such, Israel should reconsider its positions and try to find way to forge a peace agreement with him or it may need to abandon the process entirely. Nobody knows who or what will come after Abbas and whether they will have the legitimacy to deal with Israel. It is bad news that it appears as though he will be leaving no options for peace.” Abbas has found himself stuck between a rock and a hard place, and while European nations, along with Russia and China, may agree to step in and fill part of the vacuum left by the U.S., without the firm backing of Sunni countries, who are closely aligned with Washington, there appears little chance for the PA to secure a soft landing.
“Abbas appears to be desperate,” Dr. Anat Kurz, Director of Research at Israel’s Institute for National Security Studies and a former member of track-II Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, told The Media Line. “He is shooting in all directions and acting as if there is nothing to lose with the American administration or in terms of resuming talks with Israel. The Palestinians feel as though they have lost the ability to influence the course of developments,” she elaborated, “not only because it appears the international community is exhausted after years of failed efforts to forge a settlement, but also because of what has happened in the region, mainly the ongoing tensions between the Sunni Gulf monarchies and Shiite Iran. “There are also the wars going on throughout the Middle East,” Kurz concluded, “which has lessened the importance of the Palestinian issue. Given all of these elements, Abbas does not know who to turn to or how to proceed.”…
[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]
THE ANTI-ISRAEL BDS MOVEMENT SEEKS THE DESTRUCTION
OF ISRAEL, NOT A TWO-STATE PEACE WITH PALESTINIANS
Fox News, Jan. 18, 2018
The anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement pretends to be working toward peace between Israel and the Palestinians, but in reality many of its supporters want to destroy Israel as a Jewish state. For this reason, BDS has attracted support from terrorists, convicted killers and anti-Semites in the U.S. and abroad. In fact, at many of BDS demonstrations – like ones filmed by the Investigative Project on Terrorism – demonstrators make no secret of their aims. “And the people of Palestine will wipe the Zionist entity (Israel) off all the world maps” one demonstration leader shouts on the IPT-recorded video.
On the same video demonstrators chant: “We don’t want no two-state, we want 48,” referring to 1948, before Israel was created from the British colony of Palestine. And for good measure, they chant: “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” meaning a new Palestinian state will go from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea and swallow up all of Israel. And yet other chants: “Death to the peace accords,” “smash the settler Zionist state,” and “there is only one solution, intifada revolution.”
Law enforcement officials in the U.S. should keep a close eye on demonstrators like these, knowing that inflammatory anti-Semitic and anti-Israel rhetoric often leads to violence. The New York City Police Department and other law enforcement agencies have investigated a number of plots directed specifically at Jewish citizens and institutions. BDS seeks to isolate Israel from world, ostensibly to protest Israel’s presence in the West Bank and to call for creation of a Palestinian state. BDS seeks: a worldwide boycott against Israeli products, universities and cultural institutions; divestment from companies that provide equipment to the Israeli military; and international economic sanctions against Israel.
The willingness of young leaders of many BDS-supporting groups, such as the Blacks for Palestine, to look to violent terrorists for support exposes BDS’s claim of a commitment to nonviolence as a fraud. Several U.S. domestic terrorists who are now serving life prison sentences for killing law enforcement officers have announced their support for BDS with the goal of destroying Israel. Inmates such as Herman Bell, Anthony Bottom, Mumia Abu-Jamal, and Clark Edward Squire – who were members of the Black Liberation Army – as well as the Weather Underground’s David Gilbert, have posted statements calling for the end of “US/Zionist Imperialism in Palestine.” They also have encouraged the use of any means necessary – including violence – to achieve the goal of “driving the Zionist oppressors out of your land.”
Gilbert, incarcerated for killing two police officers and a Brinks security guard in 1981, has received visits from several advocates for the Palestinian Solidarity Movement, now known as the International Solidarity Movement. While the movement states that it is nonviolent, it goes on to say: “our nonviolent approach does not mean that we have the right to dictate to Palestinians how to resist military occupation and apartheid.” In other words, we don’t condone violence. But if you use it we’re OK with it. Another of Gilbert’s prison visitors is a leader in the Syracuse Peace Council, which has advocated for the BDS movement’s campaign to isolate Israel economically and politically…
MIDDLE EAST STUDIES ASSOCIATION (AS USUAL) SINGLES
OUT ISRAEL FOR ATTACK, EXCUSES PALESTINIAN PERFIDY
Algemeiner, Jan. 3, 2018
The Middle East Studies Association gave up all pretense of being a scholarly organization when it was taken over by the followers of Edward Said in the 1980s, and began propagating Orwellian interpretations of Middle East history and politics to advance a political agenda that promotes or rationalizes Islamism, parrots Palestinian propaganda, and engages in unbridled attacks on Israel’s legitimacy and the West. Nowhere was this more evident than last month’s annual conference of the Middle East Studies Association (MESA) in Washington, DC, at the overflow panel, “Thinking Palestine Intersectionally,” featuring Sherene Seikaly, Noura Erekat, Samera Esmeir, Judith Butler and Angela Davis.
I don’t recall hearing the word “scholar” in the introductions and discussion, but the word “activist” was repeatedly used to describe the participants and their work. The panel was organized by Seikaly, a historian from UC Santa Barbara, who is a co-founder and co-editor of Jadaliyya, “an independent ezine produced by the Arab Studies Institute.” If you visit the site, you will be invited to sign up for a newsletter and will be requested to choose your country. It appears that every country in the world is listed except one — Israel. One country that does not exist — Palestine — is listed.
Noura Erekat, a co-editor of Jadaliyya, is a law professor who admits that she is an activist. A gifted speaker, Erekat rattled off the standard leftist clichés about Israeli occupation, militarism, racism and settler colonialism. She displayed her ignorance of basic history by claiming armed groups took control of the PLO in 1968.Erekat denounced Israeli actions in Gaza, omitting any reference to the Hamas rocket bombardment that precipitated the IDF operations, lauded convicted liar and terrorist Rasmea Odeh as a freedom fighter who empowered Arab women, and defended the virulent Israel-hater Linda Sarsour. Perhaps the best example of her extremism was repeating the big lie that Israel murdered Yasser Arafat.
Before getting to the predictable bashing of the Trump administration, Erekat labeled US support for Israel “emblematic of everything that is wrong with the United States.” She praised the Black Lives Matter movement for doubling down on support for Palestinians because of their shared opposition to “structural racialized violence.” The audience laughed when she ridiculed a feminist whose New York Times op-ed expressed concern that “my support for Israel will bar me from the feminist movement” because, inter alia, the International Women’s Strike platform called for the “decolonization of Palestine” as part of “the beating heart of this new feminist movement.” Erekat bragged that the Palestinian cause is rising, while support for Israel declines. As evidence, she cited a Pew survey revealing Democrats as less sympathetic to Israel and more supportive of Palestinians than Republicans. But one poll is hardly a trend and, as I’ve written elsewhere, Democratic support for Israel is actually at the same level that it was in the 1970s.
Panelist Judith Butler, whose field is comparative literature rather than Middle East studies, might be more aptly called a specialist in contortion studies, given her effort to redefine antisemitism to exclude BDS. Butler claimed that critics of Israel are not antisemitic, but Zionists could be antisemitic if they support Israel. Angered that people she finds abhorrent, such as Steve Bannon, would be lauded as pro-Israel, she was nostalgic for the day when the UN voted to equate Zionism with racism, and was unhappy with its 1991 repudiation. As part of her jujitsu interpretation of BDS, Butler maintained that BDS advocates, as supporters of social justice, must oppose antisemitism, as if there is no contradiction in supporting a campaign denying Jews the right to self-determination in their homeland while condemning antisemitism. Her explanation? One should oppose racism and colonialism, but the boycott targets only Israeli “institutions,” not Jews or Israelis. Setting aside her ignorance of “colonialism,” and Zionism’s historic opposition to it, who does she imagine that BDS will harm other than the Jews and Israelis who staff these “institutions”?…
99 Percent of “Palestine Refugees” Are Fake: Daniel Pipes, Jewish Press, Jan. 17, 2018—In the words of a veteran Washington hand, the problem of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), the main UN agency dealing with Palestinians, is always important but never urgent.
How a U.S. Quaker Group That Won the Nobel Peace Prize Ended Up on Israel's BDS Blacklist: Allison Kaplan Sommer, Ha’aretz, Jan. 8, 2018—A Quaker organization that received the 1947 Nobel Peace Prize for its work assisting and rescuing victims of the Nazis is among the blacklisted groups whose senior activists have been barred from entering Israel. Peace activists in Israel who have worked with the group expressed surprise at the decision.
Professor Claims Antisemitism and ‘Islamophobia’ Are Equal Threats: Cinnamon Stillwell, Algemeiner, Jan. 11, 2018—Are “Islamophobia” and antisemitism comparable? Reza Zia-Ebrahimi, a senior lecturer in history at King’s College London, maintains that the answer is yes.
Academic Freedom Goes on Trial: George F. Will, Washington Post, Dec. 29, 2017—Wisconsin’s Supreme Court can soon right a flagrant wrong stemming from events set in motion in 2014 at Milwaukee’s Marquette University by Cheryl Abbate. Although just a graduate student, she already had a precocious aptitude for academic nastiness.
For a PDF of Israfax 294 click the following link
EDITORIAL: AS CAMPUS BDS INANITIES CONTINUE HERE,
SERIOUS EVENTS IN THE M.E. MAY INDICATE
RADICAL ISRAEL U.S. REORIENTATION
This Hanukkah issue of ISRAFAX confronts the sad descent of our university campuses into the vicious inanities of antisemitic and anti-Israel BDS campaigns. Sustained by “speech codes” and so-called “diversity” quotas. pro-Palestinian propaganda, in fact, violates core academic values like free speech, free thought, and individual rights.
Insofar as such well-funded campaigns have a practical purpose, it is to delegitimate the Jewish state and so prepare it for destruction. (So far, thankfully, this purpose has been without any practical consequence.)
Yet at this very moment serious events involving real issues and power politics are underway in the Middle East, which may throw the heinous, and ultimately inconsequential, campus shenanigans into high relief. The outcome of moves currently underway may well result in a marked strengthening of Israel’s real regional strength and position.
As we go to press, President Trump is about to make good on campaign promises and recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital (whether the Embassy will actually be moved there at this point remains moot). The fact of an impending move is confirmed by the squeals of protest and threats already issuing from P.A. head Abbas, Hamas, Hezbollah and the Arab League.
This move, in turn, reflects an improved Saudi Arabian Israel-Palestinian peace plan, issuing from the ascendancy of the reformist Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (“MBS”), First Deputy Prime Minister, president of the Council for Economic and Development Affairs., and the youngest minister of defense in the world.
This plan, while reinforcing Israel’s current, defensible, borders and reportedly recognizing Jerusalem as its capital, would create a Palestinian statelet by combining some West Bank areas, Gaza and, innovatively, territory in northern Sinai
Under MBS, Saudi Arabia has embarked on an aggressive, anti-Iranian foreign policy. Movement on Jerusalem and the Saudi-backed peace process should, therefore, be seen in conjunction with several other recent developments. Saudi-supported Lebanese President Saad Hariri, responding to Saudi pressure, first “resigned”, and then agreed to be recalled to office, calling in the process for an end to Iranian-backed Hezbollah’s domination of Lebanon and its interventionist role in Syria. Simultaneously, Israel—after warning Teheran not to build permanent bases–has attacked several suspected new Iranian military sites in that country with missiles.
Meanwhile, the situation of the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen has deteriorated, after they assassinated their erstwhile ally, former President Ali Abdullah Saleh. Saleh, who aligned with Iran-backed Houthi rebels against Yemeni President Abd–Rabbo Mansour Hadi, had recently called for opening “a new page” with the Saudi-backed Hadi. This earned him the title of “traitor” and led to his recent murder by the Houthis. (Saudi-backed Hadi has now called for unity in the battle against the Houthis and their Iranian backers.)
The common denominator connecting these recent events seems to be U.S.-led and Saudi- and Israeli- (and, indirectly, Egyptian- and Jordanian-) pushback against hitherto unopposed Iranian expansion in the Middle East. Having defeated the IS terrorist caliphate in Iraq (Mosul) and Syria (Raqqah), the US-backed coalition may finally be turning to deal with Iran.
This Israel-supported Sunni political-military force has obvious implications not only for Iran’s Shiite-related imperialism but also for the Iranian nuclear project. Obama’s Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action not only licensed ultimate Iranian nuclear and missile development, it also agreed to, and indirectly funded, Iran’s regional political expansion.
Now, this is under attack, and behind it too lies the deepening North Korean crisis. Here direct action against either Teheran or Pyongyang (who have helped one another in both nuclear and missile development) can have practical, sobering, and reciprocal consequences for both rogue states.
A resumed and more realistic Saudi/Egyptian-backed peace process, conjoined with consistent pushback against, and blockage of, Iran’s expansionism, will also negatively affect three of the other major players in the region—Russia and Turkey, and Iraq.
Russia and Turkey have backed Assad and excluded the US from their Syrian “peace talks” in Astana, and both have played ball with Iranian expansionism. And a weak Shiite-dominated Iraq has fallen under Iranian domination. Russia acts like, but in fact is no longer, a Great Power, while Turkey–increasingly Islamist and authoritarian (and economically unstable)–has alienated its former ally, the U.S.
A defeat of Iranian expansionism in Syria and Yemen, conjoined with a successful Israeli-Palestinian peace initiative and a clipping of Hezbollah’s Lebanese wings, would isolate and weaken both Russia and Turkey, and increase American influence in Iraq.
Although the Middle East is ever unstable and often disappoints projections, it is possible that we are looking at the beginning of a profound re-ordering of the region. If so, events there will throw into high relief the utopian dimensions of the BDSers’ dream of playing a role in Israel’s destruction. What may work here in ivory towers isolated by student ignorance, faculty hypocrisy, and administrative cowardice has little to do, ultimately, with the power relationships and civilizational values marking the “real” world.
North American society, unlike some of our campus play-pens, is deeply pro-Israel, and temporary Russian and Hezbollah-Iranian gains in the Middle East may well be erased as the US recovers the world and regional leadership roles formerly played during and after World War II and the Cold War.
And insofar as Israel’s, and the Jewish people’s, enemies are concerned, on campuses as well as in the Middle East, it is well for them to understand that propaganda lies, “safe spaces”, and "magical thinking" are not political facts. And that Jews, since 1945 and the re-founding of the state of Israel in 1948 are, like their Maccabean forebears who defended Jewish freedom against the Greeks, not powerless.
(Professor Frederick Krantz [Liberal Arts College, Concordia University] is Director of the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research and Editor of its ISRAFAX and Daily Isranet Briefing journals.)
The Rise of Anti-Semitism in the 21st Century: Philip Carl Salzman, FCPP, Nov. 14, 2017— At one of Canada’s elite universities, McGill University in Montreal, a series of disturbing anti-Semitic incidents have drawn wide attention and unsettled Jewish students and faculty members.
A New Anti-Semitism is Growing in America and We Must Unite Against It: Rabbi Abraham Cooper and Harold Brackman, Fox News, Nov. 24, 2017 — Hatred of Jews is an ancient cancer of the soul that refuses to die.
Antisemitism As a Gateway to Terrorism: Ramy Aziz, ISGAP, Nov. 27, 2017— Antisemitism is one of the most lethal diseases of hatred that has ever faced humanity…
Amid Celebrations of Martin Luther, Some Want to Talk About His Anti-Semitism: Verónica Zaragovia, Tablet, Oct. 31, 2017— Is the war in Syria won?
Alberta Professor Accused of Anti-Semitic Views Reinstated: J.W. Schnarr, Lethbridge Herald, Nov. 23, 2017
Roger Waters Hits Another Wall, Losing German Broadcasters’ Backing Because of His Support for BDS: Liel Leibovitz, Tablet, Nov. 29, 2017
France Submits to Terrorism, Muslim Anti-Semitism: Guy Millière, Gatestone Institute, Nov. 28, 2017
The Plame Truth About Antisemitism in America: Gary C. Gambill, The Jewish Exponent, Nov. 1, 2017
THE RISE OF ANTI-SEMITISM IN THE 21ST CENTURY
Philip Carl Salzman
FCPP, Nov. 14, 2017
At one of Canada’s elite universities, McGill University in Montreal, a series of disturbing anti-Semitic incidents have drawn wide attention and unsettled Jewish students and faculty members. There have been repeated campaigns to “Boycott, Divest, and Sanction”(BDS) Israel, the homeland of the Jewish People. The McGill Daily student newspaper has an established policy of rejecting any article supporting or defending Zionism, the national movement of the Jews, or presenting Israel in any but a negative fashion. Most recently, in response to the failure of the BDS movement to be validated at McGill by the Student Society Judicial Board , disappointed supporters voted down three nominated members of the Student Society Board of Directors, one Jewish and two not, on the grounds that their ties to Jewish organizations and/or their supportive attitudes toward Israel made them biased.
Some Canadian Jewish organizations have raised concern about this, and, for its own part, the McGill Administration, which does not support the BDS movement, and favours inclusiveness, has launched an investigation. Anti-Semitism is not a new phenomenon. For two thousand years there was an element of anti-Semitism in Christianity, with Jews being blamed for rejecting the Messiah and even for the death of Jesus. Anti-Jewish texts can be found among both Roman Catholics and Protestants, most notably in the (work) of Martin Luther and other reformers. But over the years, traditional Christian anti-Semitism gradually declined in Western Europe and most of North America, although not in much of Eastern Europe and not in Quebec. After World War Two, and the Holocaust, anti-Semitism because less fashionable in Western Europe and North America Nonetheless, in both the U.S. and Canada, hate crime against religion has traditionally overwhelmingly targeted Jews.
In the 21st century, anti-Semitism has taken a new form, hatred of the Jewish people in their collective representations, particularly hatred of Israel. This is not a matter of criticism of government policies of Israel, as one might make of policies of the U.S., Russia, or China. Rather, this hatred is reflected in the demand and intention that Israel be destroyed. We hear this regularly from Iran, Palestinian Hamas, Hezbollah, and, more stealthfully from Palestinian Fatah and the Palestinian Authority, as well as from the European, Canadian, and American supporters of these organizations.
Hatred of Jews is also manifested in identifying Jews as a cause of evil in the world, which is common among Imams during mosque sermons, as well as in the intention to cleanse the world of all Jews: “the Islamic Resistance Movement aspires to the realisation of Allah’s promise, no matter how long that should take. The Prophet, Allah bless him and grant him salvation, has said: ‘The Day of Judgement will not come about until Moslems fight the Jews (killing the Jews)….’” This hatred is seen in the double standard applied to Israel, in which it is uniquely condemned for crimes against humanity, without ever considering other states, such as Iran, China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, North Korea, Syria, for their crimes against humanity. But, of course, for anti-Semites, only Israel in all the world is to be condemned.
There are two main sources of contemporary anti-Semitism, particularly of hatred of the Jewish People and of their homeland, Israel. One source is the “progressive” left, which dominates higher education, especially in the social “sciences,” humanities, social work, and education. Remarkably, after Marxism failed in many places in the world, having mainly produced despotism, poverty, and death, it was wholeheartedly adopted by Western academics as the new Truth. Marxism-Leninism became the framework through which most Western academics viewed the world. After celebrations of the classical Marxist class struggle which never arrived, attention turned to Lenin’s imperialism theories, and became the dominant model, under such labels as “political economy”, “globalization”, “political ecology”, and, most popular, “postcolonialism”.
This approach is applied to the Jewish state, arguing that Israel was a colony of the West, that it was an imperialist settler state, oppressing and supplanting the” “indigenous” Palestinians, and, in the last weeks, that it is a white, supremacist state. This is the account of Israel taught by many professors in Western colleges and universities. In my own faculty, for example, dozens of professors from Anthropology, Political Science, Islamic Studies, History, and other departments published a letter announcing that they took this particular view of Israel and they supported BDS. In the BDS vote held last year by the American Anthropological Association, almost half of the Anthropoligists voting, voted in favour of boycotting Israel. In contrast, no boycotts were proposed in any BDS supporting academic organization for boycotting China, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Turkey, Syria, or even the Islamic State.
Nothing in the Marxist, postcolonial model actually fits Israel. As is well known, Jews occupied the entire area of ancient Judea and Israel, and were the only people there when the Romans invaded prior to the birth of Christ. It was, after all, the Romans who renamed the territory “Palestine,” to erase the memory of the Jews who fought against them for two centuries.
As for modern Israel, no Western country sent Jews as a colonial force to their ancient homeland in Palestine; rather, Europeans, especially the British, did everything possible to keep Jews from emigrating to Palestine. As for being Western and white, half of all Israeli Jews are of mizrahi or of Sephardic origin, that is, of Middle Eastern ethnic background. This does not include the Israelis from East Asian, South Asian, and Ethiopian origins, who add to population of non-European Jews in Israel. Arabs came relatively late to Palestine, initially in the 7th century, replacing the Roman Byzantines. Today, Arabs represent around 20% of Israelis, most of whom are Israeli citizens, and of whom around 80% are Muslims. All citizens of Israel, Jews, Christians, and Muslims, have the same legal status. All can vote in the only democracy in the Middle East. As well, Arabs and Muslims have positions in all professions and institutions, governmental and civilian. Accusations of apartheid are risible…
[To Read the Full Article With Footnotes Click the Following Link—Ed.]
A NEW ANTI-SEMITISM IS GROWING IN AMERICA
AND WE MUST UNITE AGAINST IT
Rabbi Abraham Cooper and Harold Brackman
Fox News, Nov. 24, 2017
Hatred of Jews is an ancient cancer of the soul that refuses to die. For thousands of years, successive generations of bigots have embraced it, each trying to sell anti-Semitism in a new and more attractive way, with new lies and slanders. One of the most prominent peddlers of this vile doctrine in America today is Palestinian-American Linda Sarsour. And now, in a supreme irony, Sarsour has been invited to head a panel discussion Tuesday at the New School for Social Research in New York City on combating anti-Semitism. This makes as much sense as inviting a Ku Klux Klan leader to head a discussion on combating racism, or inviting disgraced filmmaker Harvey Weinstein to head a discussion on combating sexual misconduct.
Sadly, Sarsour is just one of many enablers and inciters of a troubling new anti-Semitism growing in America today, especially on college campuses, where it is poisoning young minds. Like a wolf in sheep’s clothing, this new anti-Semitism seeks to disguise itself – often by posing as a progressive movement supporting human rights of Palestinians. But like the wolf that masquerades as a sheep, the modern-day Jew-haters are what they are, regardless of how they seek to cover it up.
Sarsour gained instant media celebrity status as co-chair of the National Women’s March protesting in Washington against President Trump the day after his inauguration. She was warmly embraced by many as a leader of the so-called “resistance” to our new president. Speaking to the Islamic Society of North America in July, Sarsour said that Muslims are “struggling against tyrants and rulers not only abroad in the Middle East or on the other side of the world (she means Israel), but here in these United States of America where you have fascists and white supremacists and Islamophobes reigning in the White House.”
And Sarsour is also a strong supporter of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel. The movement compares Israel to South Africa under its former white minority government that discriminated against nonwhites. BDS seeks to isolate Israel from the world as an international pariah, calling for the end to investment, trade, cultural and academic ties with the Jewish State. The BDS movement echoes the boycott of Jewish businesses ordered by Adolf Hitler after he became the dictator of Germany in 1933. The Star of David was painted on the doors and windows of businesses owned by Jews, along with anti-Semitic slogans and signs saying “Don’t Buy from Jews.”
And while Sarsour asserts she is not against the existence of Israel, her claim is absurd. She wants to replace Israel with a “one-state solution” in which the culture and identities of over 6 million Jewish citizens would be extinguished and subsumed under a nation combining Israel, the West Bank and Gaza that would quickly have an Arab majority. Making Jews a minority in the land of Israel, which was created to be the only Jewish state on Earth, would turn the country into yet another Arab-majority Mideast nation. From Morocco to Iraq, those nations drove out most of their Jewish citizens decades ago and have a long record of discrimination against the few who remained. Israeli Jews would meet a similar fate, or worse.
Sarsour is a symptom of worsening anti-Semitism in America. In 2016, despite constituting under 2 percent of the U.S. population, Jews were the targets of 684 of the 1,273 anti-religion incidents tallied by the FBI – more than double all other anti-religious attacks combined. Most of the incidents involved damage or vandalism against synagogues and cemeteries. But 238 involved ugly intimidation on our nation’s campuses. FBI findings are echoed by an Anti-Defamation League report that shows anti-Semitic incidents in the U.S. surged by more than one-third in 2016, and by an astounding 86 percent in the first quarter of 2017. This includes a doubling of anti-Semitic bullying and vandalism at schools.
Fortunately, there is no indication that most Americans have embraced anti-Jewish attitudes. A 2017 Pew Poll shows that 67 percent of Americans have “warm” views about Jews. However, there are troubling signs. For example: Anti-Semitic incidents on America’s top college campuses from 2014 to 2015 are increasing. Most involve intimidation of Jewish students who support Israel, pressure to disinvite or silence pro-Israel speakers, and the de-legitimization of Israel by a double standard applied to no other nation; The BDS movement is growing on college campuses, supporting by vicious lies alleging Israeli atrocities against Palestinians. Some professors support this movement and its lies; Vandalism continues at synagogues and Jewish cemeteries. Jewish institutions are forced to spend large sums on security measures, fearing attacks like the recent murderous rampage at a church in Texas…
ANTISEMITISM AS A GATEWAY TO TERRORISM
ISGAP, Nov. 27, 2017
Antisemitism is one of the most lethal diseases of hatred that has ever faced humanity; it led to the Holocaust, a horrific and premeditated tragedy of human history, which resulted in the murder of millions of innocent lives and erased thousands of towns and villages from the map. Yet, despite centuries of antisemitism, this genocidal ideology still exists today. In fact, it is increasing at alarming rates, both in the East and in the West. In fact, antisemitism has become one of the most common tools used by political Islamist terror groups as a way of gaining sympathy and support, spreading extremism, and recruiting new members. This process is carried out using different methods, depending on the receiving audience. As demonstrated below, terrorist groups market extremist ideologies differently in the East and in the West.
In the West, specifically in Europe, terrorists and extremist groups, such as the Muslim Brotherhood, Hezbollah, and Hamas — a designated terrorist organization according to the European Court of Justice— are working under the cover of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and student unions, thereby engaging in clear and severe violations of European laws, while simultaneously taking advantage of European freedom and democracy. These extremist groups exploit their presence in universities and other social and political circles to promote lies, falsify facts, and present a distorted narrative of the ongoing conflict between Israel and terror organizations. They solicit empathy by using the rhetoric of “resistance” in order to gain the support of young people and the European community, who remain unaware of the nuances and context of the Arab-Israeli conflict or the destructive role of terrorist organizations in the Middle East.
These terrorist groups cooperate with other factions of political Islam that have been gaining traction in Europe in order to organize events that urge Europeans to put pressure on their governments and parliamentary and economic institutions to boycott Israel. They use speech that is loaded with hatred and violence against the Jews, presenting an outrageous picture of antisemitism in Europe, the continent that bore witness to one of the most terrible crimes in human history.
Today, antisemitism in Europe has reached dangerous levels, enabling prominent European politicians, such as Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the British Labour Party, to call for removing terror organizations, including Hamas and Hezbollah, which he calls ”friends,” from both the British and European lists of terrorist organizations. This shows how many young Europeans and politicians have moved to support terrorism from the gateway of antisemitism, which remains deeply rooted in European societies until today.
In the East, terrorist and extremist groups, such as Hamas, Hezbollah, the Muslim Brotherhood, and others, depend on the principle of Jihad against the Jews and the restoration of the Al-Aqsa Mosque to recruit Muslim youth and use them to carry out various terrorist activities. To perform this task, these groups use religious texts and interpretations, which present Jews as the enemy of Islam and promote the idea that God has ordered Muslims to kill Jews “wherever you may find them.”
Extremist Islamic currents are competing to use antisemitism and the fight against the Jews as a way of gaining legitimacy and attracting the largest number of supporters and fighters to their ranks. The Muslim Brotherhood has used this ideology since its establishment, as is evident in many of the organization’s writings, most notably in Muslim Brotherhood leader Sayyid Qutb’s book, Our Battle with the Jews. Hamas also uses antisemitic propaganda, based on the same doctrinal interpretations, in order to raise funds to execute terrorist operations, under the banner of Jihad against the Jews, while also attempting to gain support in an effort to displace Fatah, its main political rival…
AMID CELEBRATIONS OF MARTIN LUTHER,
SOME WANT TO TALK ABOUT HIS ANTI-SEMITISM
Tablet, Oct. 31, 2017
In Wittenberg, Germany, right now, walking around without a city map in one hand and camera in the other makes you stand out. The Protestant Reformation began, one could argue, 500 years ago this month, and tourists have been coming in droves to its birthplace. Martin Luther did not begin the Reformation but gave it a major kick in the pants here, and just about everything here is named after him, including the city’s official name, which in 1938 became Lutherstadt Wittenberg…
According to legend, on Oct. 31, 1517, Luther nailed a copy of his 95 Theses to the wooden doors of the Castle Church in Wittenberg. In his theses, Luther criticized the pope and Catholic Church practices like the selling of indulgences for redemption (when in reality, Luther wrote, the money was for renovations of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome). The doors burned down in 1760, but because of the printing press’s advent, copies of Luther’s work went viral, and he helped splinter the Catholic Church. But Luther wrote more than just the 95 Theses. He’s also the author of a corpus of virulent anti-Jewish writings. Over the next 30 years, as Protestantism took root, Luther evolved from being tolerant of Jews, hopeful they could become good Christians, to being disgusted with them. He described Jews as blasphemous, contaminators and murderers who should be expelled by Protestant authorities.
Helena Fuentes, a nun with the Evangelical Sisterhood of Mary in Darmstadt, near Frankfurt, wants people to acknowledge this dark side of Luther before celebrating the Reformation. On Wednesdays, she joins other members of the Sisterhood who stand by Wittenberg’s main square with Pastor Thomas Piehler of the Andreas Church in Leipzig. Together, they’ve been hosting silent vigils calling for an anti-Semitic stone relief on a historic Wittenberg church to come down. The relief is called a Judensau, or Jewish sow, high up on an exterior wall of St. Mary’s Town Church, a UNESCO World Heritage Site where Luther preached. “Praise of God and Jew hate do not belong together,” Piehler added. He and the nuns hold banners with statements, in German, like “Luther used the Judensau for his anti-Semitism” and “Let’s call it Luthersau. Then would you take it down?”
Luther wrote about this relief in 1543 in On the Schem Hamphoras. The title of his work refers to the nonsensical name of the Wittenberg relief, apparently a play on the Hebrew term shem ha-meforash, which refers to God’s name. Luther describes the rabbi as looking under the sow’s tail into the Talmud, insinuating that the ancient writings on Jewish law and tradition were in her bowels. Earlier this year, the Wittenberg city council voted to keep the Judensau on the church, arguing that to do so preserves history. Piehler, though, hopes the attention paid to this Judensau could renew the debate. “So many articles have been published in Germany and this question has once again come to the table,” Piehler said. “That is very important to me—that the discussion does not stop there, and of course, our hope is that the Judensau is taken down in the Jubilee year.”
Historian Mirko Gutjahr, of the Luther Memorials Foundation, points out the downside of taking it down. Gutjahr is a curator of the Wittenberg exhibit “Luther 95 Treasures 95 People,” which includes pieces related to Luther’s anti-Judaism. If a museum displays the Judensau within its walls, only people “coming to the museum to learn things,” would see this stone relief, Gutjahr said. He doesn’t think that’s an effective way to combat anti-Semitism. Instead, everyone should have access to the Judensau. It should stay exposed in the city “like an open wound,” Gutjahr said. But he, like Piehler, believes the topic, and Luther’s anti-Judaism more generally, should be debated. “Parts of the world are taking up ideas which we thought would be now in the backdrops of history again,” Gutjahr said, referring to current anti-immigrant sentiment—in medieval Germany, a Judensau was supposed to deter Jews from settling in an area. You should not leave it out, he believes, “since it’s part of the history as well, part of the Reformation and part of Martin Luther.”
Another question, still unresolved, is how much to blame Luther for Nazism, centuries later. Julius Streicher, who published some of the most hateful propaganda against Jews in his anti-Semitic newspaper, Der Stürmer, brought up Luther during his trial before the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg. “Dr. Martin Luther would very probably sit in my place in the defendants’ dock today if this book had been taken into consideration by the prosecution,” Streicher said in the morning session on April 29, 1946. “In the book The Jews and Their Lies, Dr. Martin Luther writes that the Jews are a serpent’s brood, and one should burn down their synagogues and destroy them…” Later that year, the tribunal convicted him of crimes against humanity, and he was hanged. Others ask whether this is an anachronistic reading of history. Luther certainly was not the only one of his time to bash Jews. Plus, Luther also attacked Turks, Islam, and the papacy. “This is precisely the opportunity to ask those kinds of questions,” said Dean Bell, professor of history at Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership in Chicago, who’s been speaking at and attending recent events on Luther…
Alberta Professor Accused of Anti-Semitic Views Reinstated: J.W. Schnarr, Lethbridge Herald, Nov. 23, 2017—A professor accused of espousing anti-Semitic views has been reinstated at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta.
Roger Waters Hits Another Wall, Losing German Broadcasters’ Backing Because of His Support for BDS: Liel Leibovitz, Tablet, Nov. 29, 2017—When activist Malca Goldstein-Wolf learned that former Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters was slated to play Lanxess Arena in Cologne, Germany next June, and that the concert will be sponsored by the public broadcast Westdeutscher Rundfunkshe (WDR), she took to Facebook to protest against using taxpayer money to fund a man she labeled a “Jew-hater.”
France Submits to Terrorism, Muslim Anti-Semitism: Guy Millière, Gatestone Institute, Nov. 28, 2017—In Bagneux, France, on November 1, 2017, a plaque placed in memory of Ilan Halimi, a young Jew murdered in 2006 by a "gang of barbarians", was destroyed and covered with graffiti. When a few days later, another plaque replaced it, the French government issued a statement that "hate will not win".
The Plame Truth About Antisemitism in America: Gary C. Gambill, The Jewish Exponent, Nov. 1, 2017—No one born into this world makes it very far without developing subconscious prejudices of one kind or another.
Two Resistances: Victor Davis Hanson, National Review, Sept. 6, 2017 — The quiet resistance — the one without black masks and clubs — is the more revolutionary force, and it transcends race, class, and gender.
Leftism Is Not Liberalism. Here Are the Differences: Dennis Prager, Daily Signal, Sept. 12, 2017— What is the difference between a leftist and a liberal?
Liberals' Addiction to Identity Politics Bad for Parties, Political Life: Robert Fulford, National Post, Aug. 25, 2017— Since the ignominious failure of the 2016 election, the Democrats have been searching their souls.
Israeli “Occupation”: The BIG LIE: Sally F. Zerker, CIJR, Sept. 15, 2017— The time has come to tell the world’s “liars”, boldly and forthrightly, that Israeli “occupation” is the BIG LIE of our age.
9/11 Sixteen Years Later: Lessons Put Into Practice?: John Bolton, Algemeiner, Sept. 11, 2017
Cultural Approbation: Weekly Standard, Sept. 04, 2017
The New Manichaeans: Michael Knox Beran, National Review, Aug. 28, 2017
The Coming Terror: Mark Steyn, Jewish World Review, Sept. 5, 2017
Victor Davis Hanson
National Review, Sept. 6, 2017
The quiet resistance — the one without black masks and clubs — is the more revolutionary force, and it transcends race, class, and gender. After the election of Donald Trump, there arose a self-described “Resistance.” It apparently posed as a decentralized network of progressive activist groups dedicated to derailing the newly elected Trump administration.
Democrats and progressives borrowed their brand name from World War II French partisans. In rather psychodramatic fashion, they envisioned their heroic role over the next four years as that of virtual French insurgents — coming down from the Maquis hills, perhaps to waylay Trump’s White House, as if the president were an SS Obergruppenführer und General der Police running occupied Paris. Vanity Fair and Rolling Stone wrote admiringly about the furious Resistance’s pushback against Trump, with extravagant claims that his agenda was already derailed thanks to a zillion grass-roots and modern-day insurgents. Hillary Clinton belatedly announced that she too had joined up with the Resistance (“I’m now back to being an activist citizen and part of the Resistance”), apparently in approbation of both its methods and agendas.
Appropriating the name of heroic World War II fighters to characterize a loosely formed alliance of Trump resisters has since proven a mockery of history — and creepy as well. Powered by Resisters of various sorts have made use of repugnant assassination pornography: a Shakespearean troupe ritually stabbing Trump-Caesar every night, a widely viewed Trump decapitation video, loud boasts by Hollywood’s stars such as Robert De Niro and Johnny Depp of their desires either to beat Trump to a bloody pulp or to do a John Wilkes Booth hit on him, street demonstrations where the likes of multimillionaire exhibitionist Madonna dream out loud off blowing up the White House, while various state legislators, professors, and activists talk of presidential assassination. Is there a new division at the Secret Service whose sole task is solemnly informing the media that it is “investigating” the latest celebrity’s threat?
In more mainstream fashion, Democrats in Congress have often stalled Trump’s appointees, blocked Obamacare reform, and talked of removing Trump through impeachment or the 25th Amendment or the Emoluments Clause. The Resistance has gone from melodramatic charges of Trump’s collusion with the Russians, to amateur diagnoses of his mental incapacity, to fear-mongering about his supposed wild desire for a Strangelovian nuclear war with North Korea, to castigating him for his apparently callous and uncaring reactions to Hurricane Harvey victims.
The Democratic National Committee leaders in their speeches resort to scatology to reflect their furor at Trump’s victory. The media, led by CNN in its visceral hatred of Trump, has given up past pretenses of disinterested reporting. Indeed, a number of journalists have sought to ratify their prejudices by claiming that Trump is so toxic that old-style protocols of fairness can no longer apply. Street brownshirts such as those of Antifa (too rarely and belatedly disowned by a few mainstream Resistance leaders) justify their anti-democratic and anti-constitutional violence on the grounds that Trump is found guilty of being a Nazi — and therefore those alleged to be Nazis have to be resisted by any anti-Nazi means necessary.
In the olden days, demonstrators decked out in black, with masks and clubs, would have been deemed sinister by liberals. Now are they the necessary shock troops whose staged violence brings political dividends? Antifa’s dilemma is that its so-called good people wearing black masks can find almost no bad people in white masks to club, so they smash reporters, the disabled, and onlookers alike for sport — revealing that, at base, they perversely enjoy violence for violence’s sake. As the cowardly Klan taught us in the 1920s and 1960s: Put on a mask with a hundred like others, and even the most craven wimp believes he’s now a psychopathic thug.
For the most part, the Resistance leadership is not the modern version of a group of grass-roots idealistic outsiders living hand-to-mouth between missions in the scrub. Their announced leaders, such as Hillary Clinton, are often the embodiment of the status quo rich, influential, and elite America. The Resistance sees nothing incompatible in attacking Trump while working out of a townhouse in Georgetown, living in a Malibu compound, flying in a private jet, making a quarter-million a year as a university-endowed professor or a Southern Poverty Law Center grandee, or being a life-time Washington fixture or corporate CEO.
Indeed, anti-Trump activism and privilege may be symbiotic. If one were to look at a county map of the United States calibrated by average income, the Resistance leaders could be identified by their homes clustering in the nation’s most affluent enclaves on the two coasts. They are most certainly not resisting the market capitalism, Washington-establishment politics, and old-boy networking that so empowered them.
Nor is it very brave to loudly announce one’s membership in the Resistance, given that the powerful organs of popular culture and the American status quo — both the Republican and Democratic intellectual establishments, the foundations, universities, Silicon Valley, Hollywood, Wall Street — are, in orthodox fashion, anti-Trump. Which of the following is a smarter career move at Google, at an Aspen Institute colloquium, on the set of Disney, in a CNN newsroom, at a Citibank retreat, in the Yale faculty lounge, on the beach at Martha’s Vineyard, while sunning on David Geffen’s yacht, or talking on a panel at the National Press Club: to admit to voting for Donald Trump, or to proudly proclaim you are a member of the Resistance?… [To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]
LEFTISM IS NOT LIBERALISM. HERE ARE THE DIFFERENCES
Daily Signal, Sept. 12, 2017
What is the difference between a leftist and a liberal? Answering this question is vital to understanding the crisis facing America and the West today. Yet few seem able to do it. I offer the following as a guide. Here’s the first thing to know: The two have almost nothing in common. On the contrary, liberalism has far more in common with conservatism than it does with leftism. The left has appropriated the word “liberal” so effectively that almost everyone—liberals, leftists, and conservatives—thinks they are synonymous. But they aren’t. Let’s look at some important examples.
Race: This is perhaps the most obvious of the many moral differences between liberalism and leftism. The essence of the liberal position on race was that the color of one’s skin is insignificant. To liberals of a generation ago, only racists believed that race is intrinsically significant. However, to the left, the notion that race is insignificant is itself racist. Thus, the University of California officially regards the statement, “There is only one race, the human race,” as racist. For that reason, liberals were passionately committed to racial integration. Liberals should be sickened by the existence of black dormitories and separate black graduations on university campuses.
Capitalism: Liberals have always been pro-capitalism, recognizing it for what it is: the only economic means of lifting great numbers out of poverty. Liberals did often view government as able to play a bigger role in lifting people out of poverty than conservatives, but they were never opposed to capitalism, and they were never for socialism. Opposition to capitalism and advocacy of socialism are leftist values.
Nationalism: Liberals deeply believed in the nation-state, whether their nation was the United States, Great Britain, or France. The left has always opposed nationalism because leftism is rooted in class solidarity, not national solidarity. The left has contempt for nationalism, seeing in it intellectual and moral primitivism at best, and the road to fascism at worst. Liberals always wanted to protect American sovereignty and borders. The notion of open borders would have struck a liberal as just as objectionable as it does a conservative.
It is emblematic of our time that the left-wing writers of Superman comics had Superman announce a few years ago, “I intend to speak before the United Nations tomorrow and inform them that I am renouncing my American citizenship.” When the writers of Superman were liberal, Superman was not only an American but one who fought for “truth, justice, and the American way.” But in his announcement, he explained that motto is “not enough anymore.”
View of America: Liberals venerated America. Watch American films from the 1930s through the 1950s and you will be watching overtly patriotic, America-celebrating films—virtually all produced, directed, and acted in by liberals. Liberals well understand that America is imperfect, but they agree with a liberal icon named Abraham Lincoln that America is “the last best hope of earth.”
To the left, America is essentially a racist, sexist, violent, homophobic, xenophobic, and Islamophobic country. The left around the world loathe America, and it is hard to imagine why the American left would differ in this one way from fellow leftists around the world. Leftists often take offense at having their love of America doubted. But those left-wing descriptions of America are not the only reason to assume that the left has more contempt than love for America. The left’s view of America was encapsulated in then-presidential candidate Barack Obama’s statement in 2008. “We are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America,” he said. Now, if you were to meet a man who said that he wanted to fundamentally transform his wife, or a woman who said that about her husband, would you assume that either loved their spouse? Of course not.
Free speech: The difference between the left and liberals regarding free speech is as dramatic as the difference regarding race. No one was more committed than American liberals to the famous statement, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” Liberals still are. But the left is leading the first nationwide suppression of free speech in American history—from the universities to Google to almost every other institution and place of work. It claims to only oppose hate speech. But protecting the right of person A to say what person B deems objectionable is the entire point of free speech.
Western civilization: Liberals have a deep love of Western civilization. They taught it at virtually every university and celebrated its unique moral, ethical, philosophical, artistic, musical, and literary achievements. No liberal would have joined the leftist Rev. Jesse Jackson in chanting at Stanford University: “Hey, hey. Ho, ho. Western civ has got to go.” The most revered liberal in American history is probably former President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who frequently cited the need to protect not just Western civilization but Christian civilization. Yet leftists unanimously denounced President Donald Trump for his speech in Warsaw, Poland, in which he spoke of protecting Western civilization. They argued not only that Western civilization is not superior to any other civilization but also that it is no more than a euphemism for white supremacy.
Judaism and Christianity: Liberals knew and appreciated the Judeo-Christian roots of American civilization. They themselves went to church or synagogue, or at the very least appreciated that most of their fellow Americans did. The contempt that the left has—and has always had—for religion (except for Islam today) is not something with which a liberal would ever have identified. If the left is not defeated, American and Western civilization will not survive. But the left will not be defeated until good liberals understand this and join the fight. Dear liberals: Conservatives are not your enemy. The left is.
LIBERALS' ADDICTION TO IDENTITY POLITICS
BAD FOR PARTIES, POLITICAL LIFE
National Post, Aug. 25, 2017
Since the ignominious failure of the 2016 election, the Democrats have been searching their souls. How could a once-great party have fallen so low? Was it the lacklustre campaign of their presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton? Was it the failure of the Democrats to grasp Donald Trump’s vote-getting power? Was it a complete breakdown of the party’s national machine? Mark Lilla, a widely praised social critic and Columbia professor, believes he has the answer. He delivers it in The Once and Future Liberal: After Identity Politics (Harper/Collins), a sharply intelligent and highly persuasive book.
He deals with American politics, but his perceptions also apply to Canada. A large part of our public life is conducted through identity politics. Canadians anxious to better the lives of Indigenous people, for example, increasingly tend to express themselves in issue-specific organizations rather than through political parties. A long-time leftist, Lilla claims that the Democrats have become addicted to pressure groups that slice the public into ethnic, national and sexual elements. These slices have together overwhelmed the Democratic Party itself and rendered it irrelevant. The left has now balkanized the electorate and invested its energies in social movements rather than party politics.
Lilla yearns for the big-tent appeal of the old Democrats. He looks back in history to Roosevelt’s New Deal as a golden age of liberalism. He wants public life to emphasize “what we all share and owe one another as citizens, not what differentiates us.” He calls for an end to movement politics. “We need no more marchers. We need more mayors. And governors, and state legislators, and members of Congress.” He imagines a healthier form of politics that transcends identity attachments. Organizations claiming to speak for repressed Americans are usually given the benefit of the doubt by the public. Lilla isn’t so generous. A few days after the 2016 election he wrote in a New York Times article that “Liberals should bear in mind that the first identity movement in American politics was the Ku Klux Klan. Those who play the identity game should be prepared to lose it.”
Born in 1956, Lilla grounds his account of identity politics in what he knows of the 1960s and its effects. From 1965 or so, war and the rise of feminism together left many of the young dissatisfied with conventional politics. To side with the Democrats was to embrace Lyndon Johnson’s Vietnam policy. That was okay for parents, but the furious young needed something different.
In the early stages of revived, second-generation feminism, women with leftish inclinations wanted a more specific approach. In 1970 a slogan arose, “the personal is political.” It raced through women’s discussions and found a permanent place in the rhetoric of feminism. It was a time when women met in groups for “consciousness-raising,” which meant sharing various forms of dissatisfaction with their condition as women. Encouraged to confess or complain, women turned their meetings into variations of therapy groups or prayer meetings. They expressed themselves (as the literature on the subject demonstrates) in purely personal terms. In trying to research the subject, they turned inward, examining their own feelings. A sense of identity took hold, setting the pattern for scores of later movements, fundamentally altering the structure of liberal politics.
As Lilla says, a young woman of today “may come from a comfortable, middle-class background” but “her identity confers on her the status of one of history’s victims.” Now she has claims to make—not claims for the whole of society but claims for her particular slice. Her politics will be based on this self-definition. If she’s in college she may join a women’s organization. Soon her views on women’s issues become non-negotiable. Her teachers, always ready to identify and endorse popular new ideas, become willing mentors….
ISRAELI “OCCUPATION”: THE BIG LIE
Sally F. Zerker
CIJR, Sept. 15, 2017
The time has come to tell the world’s “liars”, boldly and forthrightly, that Israeli “occupation” is the BIG LIE of our age. We’ve all seen the propaganda effectiveness of “the big lie” many times before, and this one too is working its indecorous distortion of the truth.
The truth is that Jews cannot be occupiers of the Biblical lands, which include present-day Israel, Judea, Samaria, and some of the country of Jordan. The term occupation is meant to signify larceny, theft of others’ property, abuse of the Other, cheating, immorality, and dreadful deeds. Obviously, this is a very offensive concept. But Jews are not, and cannot be guilty of these crimes, for two reasons. One, Jews are the extant aboriginal people of this land, and two, Jews have international legal rights to this territory. These two concepts, historical and legal, require elucidation.
What defines Jewish indigenousness is the consistency of modern Jews with their ancestors of thousands of years ago. They live in a country with the same name, Israel, as that which existed in 1312 B.C.E. Today’s Israelis speak the same language that was spoken by Jews in that land more than 3000 years ago. We do not need a Rosetta stone to understand ancient Hebrew scripts because the language and letters are the same as current Hebrew. Israelis chant from the same biblical texts that their ancestors did millennia past. Their Jewish law presently is derived from that found in their Talmud which was originally oral and later written down about twenty-five hundred years ago. Their Temple, which was destroyed by invaders twice, can be archaeologically located in their original site in Jerusalem. And Jerusalem which was founded by their biblical King David, still stands as the centre of Jewish sovereignty, as it did when King David ruled the Jews.
In reality, the Jewish people established a distinct civilization in their ancient homeland approximately 3500 years ago, and the roots of that civilization are still much of the source of Jewish life in Israel right now. And, despite a series of conquests and expulsions over the centuries, (Roman, Muslim, Crusaders), Jews retained and rebuilt communities in Jerusalem, Tiberius, Rafah, Gaza, Ashkelon, Jaffa, Caesarea, Safed and elsewhere. Years before the Zionist migrations began in the 1870s, Jews lived continuously over time throughout the land of Israel.
Anthropologist Jose Martinez-Cobo, a Special Rapporteur for the UN who studied the place and condition of indigenous peoples and nations, defined such communities as those that have continuity, with the land, with shared culture in general, such as religion, lifestyle etc., with intrinsic language, with common ancestry, and other relevant factors. By that respected definition of indigenousness, it is irrefutable that Jews are indeed the indigenous people of the land of Israel.
On the other hand, there were no Muslims in existence until almost 2000 years after Jews had already settled in Israel, because Islam was the religion that Mohammed founded. Arabs, who are the ethnic peoples out of the Arabian Peninsula, had not come to the region through their conquests until after Mohammed’s death in 632 ACE. It is important to understand that no independent Arab or Palestinian state has ever existed in this region, which came to be called Palaestina, after the Romans so renamed it in the second century. The Romans purpose for this alteration was to break the link of the Jews with their past, after they had crushed the Jewish revolt in ACE 135. Thus, when the Arabs did conquer and occupy parts of the land, they did so as occupiers of previously settled territories by Jews.
As for more recent Arab settlers, if one looks at the period when Jews began to immigrate to the region in large numbers in 1882, there were fewer than 250,000 Arabs living in the region, and the majority of these had arrived in recent decades. According to many observers and authorities, the vast majority of the Arab population in the early decades of the twentieth century were comparative newcomers, either late immigrants or descendants of persons who had immigrated into the territory in the previous seventy years. BDS supporters, who accept the premise that the Palestinians are indigenous and oppressed by white colonialists have it backward according Barbara Kay, columnist for the National Post (Canada). “It is the (non-white) Mizrachi Jews in continuous habitation in Israel from time immemorial who were oppressed under a series of imperial regimes, up to and including the British Mandate.”…
Dr. Sally F. Zerker is Professor Emerita, York University,
and Academic Co-Chair of CIJR’s Toronto Chapter.
9/11 Sixteen Years Later: Lessons Put Into Practice?: John Bolton, Algemeiner, Sept. 11, 2017—Today marks the 16th anniversary of Al Qaeda’s 9/11 attacks. We learned much on that tragic day, at enormous human and material cost. Perilously, however, America has already forgotten many of September 11’s lessons.
Cultural Approbation: Weekly Standard, Sept. 04, 2017—The Delta Sigma Phi fraternity chapter at the University of Michigan had what it thought was a delightful theme—antiquity on the Nile—for a party kicking off the school year. They invited guests to come as a “mummy, Cleopatra, or King Tut, it doesn’t matter to us. Get your best ancient Egyptian robe and headdress and be ready to party in the desert.”
The New Manichaeans: Michael Knox Beran, National Review, Aug. 28, 2017—In November 2016, Mark Lilla, the humanities scholar, published an essay, “The End of Identity Liberalism,” in the New York Times. “In recent years,” he wrote, “American liberalism has slipped into a kind of moral panic about racial, gender and sexual identity that has distorted liberalism’s message and prevented it from becoming a unifying force capable of governing.”
The Coming Terror: Mark Steyn, Jewish World Review, Sept. 5, 2017—Most of the news bulletins I'm exposed to are on the radio, as I'm tootling around hither and yon. So it took me a while to discover that what the media call "peace activists", "anti-racists" and "anti-Nazis" are, in fact, men and women garbed in black from head to toe, including face masks.