Tag: Delegitimation of Israel


We welcome your comments to this and any other CIJR publication.


The Rage Of The New York Times: Andrea Levin, Andrea Levin, Apr. 8, 2015 — A three-story billboard opposite the newsroom of The New York Times sponsored by CAMERA currently reads “The New York Times Against Israel: All Rant, All Slant, All the Time. Stop the Bias!”

J’Accuse: Globe and Mail Delegitimizes Israel’s Claim to Jerusalem: Mike Fegelman, Times of Israel, Apr. 24, 2015— Despite the Jewish people’s continuous and unbroken physical presence in the land of Israel for over 3 millennia, Jews are routinely presented as foreign occupiers of their own ancestral and biblical homeland.

The Jewish Connection to Lampedusa: Josephine Bacon, Algemeiner, May 11, 2015 — Lampedusa, a tiny island off the coast of Sicily, has been in the news in Europe lately. This is where the boats land that are packed with illegal immigrants from Africa, who often board in Libya.

Love is What Links Us to God: Jonathan Sacks, Algemeiner, May 21, 2015— One of the most amusing scenes in Anglo-Jewish history occurred on 14 October 1663.


On Topic Links


The Latest "Breaking the Silence" Report Isn't Journalism. It's Propaganda.: Matti Friedman, Mosaic, May 14, 2015

CBC Provides New Definition for Balanced Reporting: Diane Weber Bederman, Canada Free Press, May 18, 2015

BBC Conveniently Fails to Report on Rocket Attack From Gaza Strip: Hadar Sela, Algemeiner, Apr. 27, 2015

In Idiotic Editorial, New York Times Prioritizes Iranian Pride and Jobs Over Israeli Concerns: Elder of Ziyon, Algemeiner, Apr. 8, 2015



THE RAGE OF THE NEW YORK TIMES                                                                                    

Andrea Levin                                                        

Jewish Press, Apr. 8, 2015


A three-story billboard opposite the newsroom of The New York Times sponsored by CAMERA currently reads “The New York Times Against Israel: All Rant, All Slant, All the Time. Stop the Bias!” The same message and others dot billboards on expressways in and out of the city as well as avenues in Manhattan, including approaches to tunnels traversed daily by tens of thousands of commuters. Across the metropolitan area, millions of people are reading the messages of the billboards.


The messages are not an overstatement. The unhinged fury of The New York Times over Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his reelection by the people of Israel is only the latest event that points powerfully to underlying attitudes that permeate the publication’s acrimonious obsession with the Jewish state. The editorial tirade against Netanyahu on the occasion of his victory – calling him “craven” and “racist,” a builder of expansive settlements and a duplicitous obstacle to peace – underscores the extreme and factually distorted sentiment about not only the Israeli prime minister but the nation of Israel, sentiment that pervades all too much of the news coverage as well as the opinion pages.


The Times presents Israel continuously as the cause of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the only real actor on the stage. Palestinians and their leadership are foils and backdrop, victims with little or no political or moral responsibility for their own actions. Their own culture, faults, corruption, and human rights issues are almost entirely invisible. They are primarily rung in to denounce Israel in one guise or another. A sampling of reports before and after the vote gives a taste of the bias.


The Times’s indictment of Israel often centers on settlements as the greatest impediment to ending the conflict – despite Palestinian rejection of peace offers entailing Israeli concessions on the issue and despite Israel’s unilateral removal of all settlements from Gaza, a move that, of course, did not reduce tensions there. Thus, among the news stories prior to the election that seemingly aimed to tar the incumbent prime minister was a striking 3,000-plus word, front-page, above-the-fold article on Jewish settlements that appeared on March 13, four days before the election. The piece, by Jodi Rudoren and Jeremy Ashkenas, included an entire two-page spread on inside pages with an enormous photo and aerial images of individual settlements expanding – it was implied – cancer-like over decades. The online version was titled: “Netanyahu and the Settlements.”…


Three times in the first three paragraphs readers were told settlements would impede a “future state” for Palestinians, “threaten prospects of a two-state solution” and complicate “creation of a viable Palestine.” Repeatedly the story came back to this – that Netanyahu’s settlement policies “deepened the dilemma for peacemakers.” Martin Indyk was quoted harshly charging that in the failed 2014 peace negotiations, “Mr. Netanyahu’s ‘rampant settlement activity’ had a ‘dramatically damaging impact.’” (Unmentioned was the fact that Indyk was outed six months ago in the Times itself as a recipient of $14.8 million in Qatari funding to the Brookings Institute where he’s executive vice president. Qatar supports Hamas and al Jazeera and is the largest funder of Brookings.)


There was not a word in the story to convey that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, and before him Yasir Arafat, rejected Israeli peace offers that would have curtailed settlement expansion and removed some outlying settlements. Other basic counterpoints to the story line were also simply omitted. For example, no hint was given that there might not be any impediment to a future Palestinian state if the Palestinians did not insist that their state be Judenrein but rather were open to including Jews and their communities the way Israel includes one and a half million Arabs – over 20 percent of its population.


Pro forma references to international “ire” regarding Jewish settlements were cited but there was no exploration of the contending positions. In 3,000 words there was no mention of any of the core legal issues. There are obviously differing views about the political advisability and future of settlement development, but there are also basic facts that can aid in understanding the merit of each side. For example, as literally hundreds of international jurists have attested, the right of Jews to live in these areas was clearly established by the original League of Nations Mandate for Palestine (1922), which called for “close settlement by Jews on the land, including State lands” of the Mandate. This Jewish right was reaffirmed by Article 80 of the United Nations charter, which preserved the application of the League of Nations Mandate’s stipulations.


The contending argument is that Israeli settlements violate Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention relating to the transfer of populations. Israel disputes the relevance here, arguing the Convention is not applicable because there is no forcible transfer; Jews have moved voluntarily to the disputed areas to establish communities. In a few sentences, the Times could have added to reader awareness about the differing views on this contentious subject. But the thrust of this story was to tar Netanyahu as a settlement zealot, an effort that’s actually made difficult when even the Times’s own charts show the prime minister doing about the same – or sometimes less – than previous Israeli leaders in housing starts in settlements.


In a nod to the obvious reality that statistics regarding settlement building don’t set Netanyahu notably apart from his fellow prime ministers, especially during his second administration, the reporters inject other negative innuendo, charging: “He has taken more heat over settlements than his predecessors, analysts said, in part because of his broader intransigence on the Palestinian issue and the use of construction as a retaliatory tool.” Which “analysts” are leveling these charges? What is their expertise on the topic? What exactly was the “broader intransigence on the Palestinian issue”? What and when was the “use of construction as a retaliatory tool?”…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]               





ISRAEL’S CLAIM TO JERUSALEM                                                                                                    

Mike Fegelman                                                                                                   

Times of Israel, Apr. 24, 2015


Despite the Jewish people’s continuous and unbroken physical presence in the land of Israel for over 3 millennia, Jews are routinely presented as foreign occupiers of their own ancestral and biblical homeland.

The Jewish people’s un-renounced legal and religious claims to their historic and national homeland – a claim recognized by the international community and enshrined in legal instruments by the pre-UN League of Nations and Article 80 of the UN Charter – is routinely met with antipathy by Canada’s journalists and Israel’s detractors.


All too often, Canadian news outlets delegitimize the Jewish people’s historical connection to Jerusalem, Israel’s proclaimed capital. A land Jews have lived in for 3,000 years and the site of ancient Jewish temples. It was only during Israel’s War of Independence in 1948 (an unprovoked pan-Arab attack to destroy the nascent State of Israel) that Jordan captured and occupied the city until 1967, when Israel reunified and retook the eastern portion of Jerusalem. In the 19 years of forced exile, Jewish holy sites and homes were burned and destroyed, and Jews themselves were ethnically cleansed from Jerusalem. Upon liberation, the Jewish quarter of Jerusalem was rebuilt and Jewish life and reverence in Jerusalem resumed and continues to present day.


Israel’s Basic Law of July 30, 1980, declares “Jerusalem, complete and unified, is the capital of Israel. Jerusalem is the seat of the President of the State, the Knesset, the Government, and the Supreme Court.” On December 5, 1949, the Israeli government declared Jerusalem the capital of Israel. Even though some countries, including Canada, don’t recognize Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem, and insist on the “corpus separatum” status of Jerusalem, most accept the validity of Israeli law. Considering the importance of the status of Jerusalem, our media must report accurately and with necessary context. Regrettably, the Globe and Mail, a national newspaper regarded as Canada’s “paper of record”, produced coverage that maligns Israel’s claim to Jerusalem.


In a commentary published by the Globe on March 7, international affairs columnist Doug Saunders erroneously stated the following: “In 1993, the Palestinians recognized Israel as a legitimate state for the first time. In turn, Israel was to recognize the Palestinians’ national ambitions and negotiate a border based on the 1967 lines, beyond which Israeli populations would not extend. Both parties would share Jerusalem and renounce violence. It was a solution based on mutual compromise, ratified in the Oslo accords of 1993 and 1995.” In making this statement, Saunders erroneously claimed there was agreement via Oslo that Israelis and Palestinians would “share Jerusalem”. Instead, the final status of Jerusalem is to be determined by negotiations between the parties. Oslo didn’t prejudice the outcome of Jerusalem and Israel never agreed to this.


Having communicated these concerns to Globe and Mail Public Editor Sylvia Stead on March 13, I received the following reply from Ms. Stead: In the 1993 Oslo agreement, Jerusalem was included in the ‘Final Status Items,’ which is to say that its division between Israel and Palestine, as mandated in the United Nations resolution which created Israel (181(II)). The understanding, during the negotiation and ratification of the Oslo agreements, was that this would lead Jerusalem to be divided between Israeli and Palestinian authorities. In fact, this was guaranteed in a letter sent in 1993 by Foreign Minister Shimon Perez, acting on the prime minister’s authorization, in which the Palestinians were informed that ‘all the Palestinian institutions of East Jerusalem, including the economic, social, educational and cultural, and the holy Christian and Muslim places, are performing an essential task for the Palestinian population… the fulfillment of this important mission is to be encouraged.’ In sum, Oslo ratified an agreement which included the division of Jerusalem as part of its mission.


Contrary to Ms. Stead’s contentions, the 1993 Declaration of Principles (the term “Oslo agreement” is a misnomer), Jerusalem was included in the “Final Status Items.” At the time, Prime Minister Rabin stated that “Jerusalem is the ancient and eternal capital of the Jewish people.” An undivided Jerusalem under Israeli sovereignty, with religious freedom for all, is and remains a fundamental Israeli position. The Declaration did not contain any reference to UNGA 181, and the side letter from FM Shimon Peres means precisely what is written and nothing more. The claim that the DOP in any way committed Israel to shared sovereignty in Jerusalem is entirely and demonstrably false.


In consultation with Dr. Jacques Gauthier, a Canadian international human rights lawyer who is considered to be the foremost expert on the legal status on Jerusalem, Dr. Gauthier confirmed there’s no validity to the Globe’s argument that there was an agreement via Oslo that Israelis and Palestinians would “share Jerusalem”. In Dr. Gauthier’s 2007 thesis entitled “Sovereignty Over the Old City of Jerusalem: A Study of the Historical, Religious, Political and Legal Aspects of the Question of the Old City,” he states the following about the Oslo Accords:


    For a period of eight months in 1993 secret negotiations were pursued by a group of specially appointed Israeli and Palestinian representatives. The Oslo Peace Accords were the products of these secret negotiations.  The Oslo Accords postponed the discussion of the difficult Jerusalem issue until the completion of permanent-status negotiations. The question of Jerusalem was therefore for the first time included on the list of matters for negotiations between the parties. However, the underlying principles of the Oslo Accords comprised the concept of ‘land for peace’ based on the U.N. Resolutions 242 and 338 and the discontinuance of the occupation of Palestinian territories which was interpreted by the Palestinians as including all of East Jerusalem and the Old City. On September 13, 1993, the ‘Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements’ was signed by Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization on behalf of the Palestinian People. These Agreements are often referred to as the ‘Oslo I Accords.’ The Declaration of Principles makes reference to Jerusalem but only in the context of the rights of the Palestinian residents of Jerusalem to participate in municipal elections and of confirmation that the parties accepted the principle that, although the self-governing authority did not have jurisdiction in Jerusalem and the Old City during the interim self-governing phase, the Jerusalem issue would be included in the permanent-status negotiations.


Despite our protestations, the Globe refused to correct its material errors and altogether failed to provide sources (despite repeated requests) to back up its claims…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]   





THE JEWISH CONNECTION TO LAMPEDUSA                                                                       

Josephine Bacon                                                                                                           

Algemeiner, May 11, 2015


Lampedusa, a tiny island off the coast of Sicily, has been in the news in Europe lately. This is where the boats land that are packed with illegal immigrants from Africa, who often board in Libya. Lampedusa is a tiny rocky outcrop, so small that it does not even show up on some maps, but it is now packed tightly with refugee camps. It is so crowded that the cemetery is full, and there is no room to bury the bodies of the many escaping Africans who drowned at sea.


Yet the island of Lampedusa has a Jewish connection. It is an extraordinary story. In June, 1941, Flight-Sergeant Sydney Cohen, a Royal Air Force pilot, was trying to fly back to his base in Malta in his Swordfish bi-plane. He veered off course and was forced to make an emergency landing on Lampedusa. He and his crew decided to surrender to the large Italian garrison, but before they could do so, the garrison of 4,300 Italian troops stationed there rushed out waving white flags! They made Syd the commander of the island! In his own words, “A crowd of Italians came out to meet us and we put our hands up to surrender, but then we saw they were all waving white sheets and shouting, ‘No, no – We surrender!’” And that’s how Sydney Cohen became King of Lampedusa!


Sydney Cohen, a tailor’s cutter from Clapton, a Jewish suburb of London, accepted the Italian surrender (confirmed on a scrap of paper) from the Commandant. Afterward, he flew back to Malta where he delivered the “document of surrender.” The positive propaganda created by the incident was soon relayed back to Britain, where it was widely circulated. In 1941, British morale was at its very lowest, a Nazi invasion being feared daily. One English newspaper, the News Chronicle, carried the headline “London Tailor’s Cutter is now King of Lampedusa.”


This inspired a Yiddish playwright, S.J. Charendorf, to turn the story into a Yiddish musical. “The King of Lampedusa” was staged in 1943, first at the New Yiddish Theatre on Adler Street, and later at the Grand Palais in the Mile End Road. It starred the doyen of London’s Yiddish Theatre, Meier Tzelniker, and his daughter Anna. It had the longest run of any production in Yiddish and was even staged in Palestine. The BBC broadcast an English translation, the hero being played by the famous English-Jewish actor, Sidney Tafler. News of the play reached Germany and attracted the attention of Nazi sympathiser “Lord Haw-Haw” (the Nazi equivalent of Tokyo Rose), who mentioned it in his propaganda broadcasts and even threatened the theatre with a visit from the Luftwaffe (It never happened, but the theatre eventually closed due to lack of support and is now part of Queen Mary College of London University).


The story of the King of Lampedusa ended sadly. After the war was over, Flight-Sergeant Cohen and his plane were flying back home to England but were lost without a trace over the English Channel on August 26, 1946. His body was never recovered. Happily, he had seen the play before he died while on leave in Haifa, Palestine, in 1944. In 2001, rumors circulated that Hollywood had decided to turn the play into a movie, but with a different ending: the survival of Flight Sergeant Cohen and the realization of his dream to emigrate to Australia and become a sheep-farmer. Unfortunately, it hasn’t happened yet.




LOVE IS WHAT LINKS US TO GOD                                                                                          

Jonathan Sacks                               

Algemeiner, May 21, 2015


One of the most amusing scenes in Anglo-Jewish history occurred on 14 October 1663. A mere seven years had passed since Oliver Cromwell had found no legal bar to Jews living in England (hence the so-called “return” of 1656). A small synagogue was opened in Creechurch Lane in the City of London, forerunner of Bevis Marks (1701), the oldest still-extant place of Jewish worship in Britain. The famous diarist Samuel Pepys decided to pay a visit to this new curiosity, to see how Jews conducted themselves at prayer. What he saw amazed and scandalised him. As chance or Providence had it, the day of his visit turned out to be Simchat Torah. This is how he described what he saw:


    And anon their Laws that they take out of the press [i.e. the Ark] are carried by several men, four or five several burthens in all, and they do relieve one another; and whether it is that every one desires to have the carrying of it, I cannot tell, thus they carried it round about the room while such a service is singing … But, Lord! to see the disorder, laughing, sporting, and no attention, but confusion in all their service, more like brutes than people knowing the true God, would make a man forswear ever seeing them more and indeed I never did see so much, or could have imagined there had been any religion in the whole world so absurdly performed as this.


This was not the kind of behavior he was used to in a house of worship. There is something unique about the relationship of Jews to the Torah, the way we stand in its presence as if it were a king, dance with it as if it were a bride, listen to it telling our story and study it, as we say in our prayers, as “our life and the length of our days.” There are few more poignant lines of prayer than the one contained in a poem said at Neilah, at the end of Yom Kippur: Ein shiyur rak ha-Torah ha-zot: “Nothing remains,” after the destruction of the Temple and the loss of the land, “but this Torah.” A book, a scroll, was all that stood between Jews and despair. What non-Jews (and sometimes Jews) fail to appreciate is how, in Judaism, Torah represents law as love, and love as law. Torah is not just “revealed legislation” as Moses Mendelssohn described it in the eighteenth century. It represents God’s faith in our ancestors that He entrusted them with the creation of a society that would become a home for His presence and an example to the world.


One of the keys as to how this worked is contained in the parsha of Bemidbar, always read before Shavuot, the commemoration of the giving of the Torah. This reminds us how central is the idea of wilderness – the desert, no man’s land – is to Judaism. It is midbar, wilderness, that gives our parsha and the book as a whole its name. It was in the desert that the Israelites made a covenant with God and received the Torah, their constitution as a nation under the sovereignty of God. It is the desert that provides the setting for four of the five books of the Torah, and it was there that the Israelites experienced their most intimate contact with God, who sent them water from a rock, manna from heaven and surrounded them with clouds of glory.


What story is being told here? The Torah is telling us three things fundamental to Jewish identity. First is the unique phenomenon that in Judaism the law preceded the land. For every other nation in history the reverse was the case. First came the land, then human settlements, first in small groups, then in villages, towns and cities. Then came forms of order and governance and a legal system: first the land, then the law.


The fact that in Judaism the Torah was given bemidbar, in the desert, before they had even entered the land, meant that uniquely Jews and Judaism were able to survive, their identity intact, even in exile. Because the law came before the land, even when Jews lost the land they still had the law. This meant that even in exile, Jews were still a nation. God remained their sovereign. The covenant was still in place. Even without a geography, they had an ongoing history. Even before they entered the land, Jews had been given the ability to survive outside the land.


Second, there is a tantalising connection between midbar, ‘wilderness,’ and davar, ‘word.’ Where other nations found the gods in nature – the rain, the earth, fertility and the seasons of the agricultural year – Jews discovered God in transcendence, beyond nature, a God who could not be seen but rather heard. In the desert, there is no nature. Instead there is emptiness and silence, a silence in which one can hear the unearthly voice of the One-beyond-the-world. As Edmond Jabès put it: “The word cannot dwell except in the silence of other words. To speak is, accordingly, to lean on a metaphor of the desert.”…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]               


CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters: Shabbat Shalom and Happy Shavuot Holiday!





On Topic


The Latest "Breaking the Silence" Report Isn't Journalism. It's Propaganda.: Matti Friedman, Mosaic, May 14, 2015—Last week, a report by an Israeli group called Breaking the Silence made headlines in the U.S., Britain, and most of Europe, becoming one of the week’s biggest international stories.

CBC Provides New Definition for Balanced Reporting: Diane Weber Bederman, Canada Free Press, May 18, 2015—Last March I once again contacted the CBC regarding their bias-this time against the Harper Government’s response to the Supreme Court ruling allowing the right to wear the niqab during the citizenship ceremony.

BBC Conveniently Fails to Report on Rocket Attack From Gaza Strip: Hadar Sela, Algemeiner, Apr. 27, 2015—With the BBC having sent at least two of its Jerusalem Bureau staff to cover the story of migrants and refugees trying to cross the Mediterranean (Quentin Sommerville has been reporting from Libya and Yolande Knell from Sicily), coverage of events in Israel has been decidedly sparse over the past two weeks.

In Idiotic Editorial, New York Times Prioritizes Iranian Pride and Jobs Over Israeli Concerns: Elder of Ziyon, Algemeiner, Apr. 8, 2015 —While many, many newspapers, from both the left and the right, are publishing strong reservations about the Iranian nuclear deal, the New York Times is firmly in line with the Obama administration – and even more in line against Binyamin Netanyahu.





We welcome your comments to this and any other CIJR publication. Please address your response to:  Rob Coles, Publications Chairman, Canadian Institute for Jewish Research, PO Box 175, Station  H, Montreal QC H3G 2K7 – Tel: (514) 486-5544 – Fax:(514) 486-8284; E-mail: rob@isranet.org


Will the Real J Street Stand up… For Israel?: Sara Greenberg, Jerusalem Post, Apr. 5, 2014— J Street U, the student-organizing arm of J Street, purports to provide a “political home for pro-Israel, pro-peace Americans” on campus.

Harvard Students Make Time for Arafat, But Not to Honor Terror Victims: Stephen M. Flatow, Algemeiner, Apr. 9, 2014 — The controversy over the Harvard University students who recently posed, smiling, at Yasser Arafat’s grave sent a shot of pain through every one of us who has lost a loved one in the terrorist attacks that Arafat and his allies have waged over the years.

Oppressed by the Ivy League: Wall Street Journal, Apr. 4, 2014 — Academia has been obsessed over identity politics for two generations, so there's some justice in the newest addition to the matrix of oppression: an Ivy League education, according to the Dartmouth College students who this week took over the president's office.

Another Type of Civic Education: Dore Feith & Stu Krantz, The Lion’s Tale, Jan. 29, 2014 — All around the world, schools try to teach about the history and values of their respective countries.


On Topic Links


Pro-Israel Event on New Orleans Campus: Lori Lowenthal Marcus, Jewish Press, Apr. 8, 2014

Northeastern U. Suspends ‘Students for Justice in Palestine’: Ilya Feoktistov, Frontpage, Mar. 18, 2014

Harvard Students’ Visit to Arafat’s Grave “Causing Understandable Concern”: Hillel International

: Jewish Tribune,  Mar. 25, 2014  

Ryerson Student Union Becomes Only the Latest to Support Israel Boycott Campaign: Jen Gerson, National Post, Apr. 4, 2014

California Students Testify About Anti-Semitism on Campus: AMCHA Initiative, Jewish Press, Mar. 27, 2014

Convicted Terrorist to Speak at Tel Aviv University: Jerusalem Post, Apr. 6, 2014



Sara Greenberg                      

Jerusalem Post, Apr. 5, 2014


J Street U, the student-organizing arm of J Street, purports to provide a “political home for pro-Israel, pro-peace Americans” on campus. But is the organization true to their slogan? As a pro-Israel, pro-peace student, I have questions. Anti-Israel activity abounds at American universities. The BDS Movement (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel) openly asserts its opposition to the existence of a Jewish state and often relies on academic institutions and platforms to promote its cause. In early December, the American Studies Association voted to boycott Israeli universities. At the University of Michigan last week, pro-Israel students opposing a student government resolution to divest from Israel allegedly received death threats and were called “kikes” and “dirty Jews” by backers of BDS. This resolution represented just one of 67 attempted divestment resolutions at various universities since 2010. During 2014 alone, eight divestment resolutions were introduced.


Anti-Israel groups utilize other hate-filled tactics to intimidate pro-Israel students on campus. This month at Northeastern University, the school’s chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) posted mock eviction notices on students’ dorm rooms – a tactic used by SJP on many campuses. Allegedly a replica of eviction notices used by Israel, the notices were filled with false accusations including the charge that Israel engages in ethnic cleansing. Subsequently, Northeastern administration suspended the student group responsible for the evictions, citing vandalism of university property and a repeated disregard for university policy.


In this climate, it becomes increasingly important that students be well versed in the facts about Israel and its history. Now, more than ever, pro-Israel students needs the support of pro-Israel campus groups to identify and speak out against inaccuracies and injustices that they may witness on campus related to the Jewish state. But what does it mean to be “pro-Israel” and what role should a “pro-Israel” campus group play? Being “pro-Israel” does not mean that you are in favor of every policy enacted by the Israeli government. It does not mean that you are anti-Palestinian. In simple terms, being pro-Israel means understanding and asserting the Jewish people’s right to self-determination in Israel.


Given the extent of the forces aligned against Israel on campus, you would think that a pro-Israel organization would work to enable and encourage students to stand up against those seeking to delegitimize the very idea of a Jewish state. While J Street U claims to be “pro-Israel,” unlike other pro-Israel organizations, J Street does not educate or equip students to distinguish between anti-Israel propaganda and fact. Instead, J Street U partners with some of Israel’s greatest enemies on campus including BDS activists and anti-Israel faculty. In a recent example from March 6, the J Street U chapter at Smith College co-sponsored an event with Students for Justice in Palestine and Faculty for Israeli Palestinian Peace entitled “A Forum on the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Movement.” At Washington University at St. Louis last week, J Street U initiated and hosted an event promoting a speaker from Breaking the Silence, a group that partners with BDS and claims that the IDF systematically “violate human rights.”


When the Gaza war started in 2008, J Street did not distinguish between terrorists trying to murder Israeli civilians and the Israeli military trying to stop the attacks. J Street asserted that the IDF airstrikes would only “deepen the cycle of violence in the region.” While J Street remained silent while the citizens of Sderot were shelled for eight consecutive years by Hamas rockets, on the first day of the Gaza war, J Street immediately called for a cessation of the hostilities. According to J Street U’s website, “J Street U holds the same policy positions as J Street.” Sadly, J Street seems to focus more on educating its constituents and students about how to defend the agenda of those who seek Israel’s destruction, instead of being honest about the facts on the ground and equipping young people with the tools necessary to stand up for Israel. This is a disservice at best, and a manipulation at worst, of the students who are attracted to J Street’s “pro-Israel, pro-peace” slogan and may sign up to be members of J Street U without knowledge of J Street’s true mission and tactics.


Moreover, instead of informing students about opportunities to support and partner with the multitude of movements within Israel that advocate for peace in the region, J Street encourages students to put pressure on Israel from afar. In a campaign entitled “We Can’t Wait!” on J Street U’s website today, J Street U calls on members of Congress to support the Obama administration’s policies “even when it means publicly disagreeing with both the Israelis and the Palestinians.” American Jews and students can and should be involved in the conversation on the future of the Jewish homeland, but should this include soliciting American pressure on the democratically elected Israeli government? When is it appropriate for an organization to intrude on a sovereign nation’s right to self-rule? The bar should be very high.


Given what we know about J Street and J Street U, does the organization deserve the support and backing of the pro-Israel Jewish community? BDS, most people agree, should not be included or supported by the Jewish community. An anti-Semitic organization that opposes Israel’s continued existence as a Jewish state falls outside the boundaries of our community and should not be welcomed and endorsed. If J Street wants to use and have access to the Jewish community’s platforms and institutions, why do they continue to invite BDS activists to speak at their annual conference and co-sponsor events with anti-Israel activists on campus? It is one thing to debate a BDS activist on neutral turf; it’s another thing to lend a “pro-Israel” organization’s name, legitimacy and resources to promote the BDS cause.


Rather than call attention to the challenges and regional threats Israel faces today – including terrorism and an impending nuclear-armed Iran – J Street spends its time lobbying Congress (and asking its student chapters to do the same) against resolutions condemning incitement in Palestinian schools, opposing the introduction of a Senate bill to impose new sanctions on Iran, and endorsing the Palestinian and Arab effort to condemn Israel in the United Nations Security Council. If an organization is never willing to stand up for Israel, should they still be considered pro-Israel? J Street has a right to say and do what it wishes, but if J Street wants to remain part of the pro-Israel Jewish community, shouldn’t it demonstrate willingness to at times stand up for Israel, not just for its enemies? At a time when students need support to speak up for Israel on campus more than ever, shouldn’t J Street equip and encourage students to understand the reality on the ground and at times defend Israel, not only the opposite?…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link –Ed.]






Stephen M. Flatow

Algemeiner, Apr. 9, 2014


The controversy over the Harvard University students who recently posed, smiling, at Yasser Arafat’s grave sent a shot of pain through every one of us who has lost a loved one in the terrorist attacks that Arafat and his allies have waged over the years. But it must have been particularly awful for Dr. Alan Bauer, a Harvard-educated scientist, to see students from his own school smiling and enjoying their visit to the tombstone of the man responsible for the vicious attack that left Bauer and his 7-year-old son permanently maimed.


Bauer and his son Jonathan were walking on King George Street in downtown Jerusalem on March 21, 2002, when a terrorist from Arafat’s Fatah movement blew himself up. His explosive device was packed with metal spikes and nails, in order to inflict the maximum amount of pain and destruction and the defenseless Israeli civilians walking by. Three passersby were killed, 87 were wounded. Dr. Bauer and Jonathan were hit by multiple metal projectiles. Two of the metal spikes penetrated little Jonathan’s brain.

The attack was in the news for a few days, and then it was out of the public’s sight, and out of the public’s mind. Who today remembers Alan and Jonathan Bauer? Certainly not the 50 or so Harvard students who recently visited Israel and the Palestinian Authority-controlled territories, paid for by Combined Jewish Philanthropies (Boston Jewish’s federation) and Harvard Hillel.


I’m sure Alan, as a Harvard alumnus, would have appreciated a friendly visit to his Jerusalem home and a few words of sympathy from the Harvard students. Apparently the tour organizers never bothered to check on whether there are any Harvard graduates among the terror victims in Israel. But don’t put all the blame on the organizers. These students know how to do a little research on the Internet. In a few minutes, they could have learned about Alan and Jonathan. They didn’t make the time to do that. But they did make the time to pose, grinning, at the gravesite of the man responsible for that Jerusalem bombing and so many other war crimes against the Jewish people. And they were so proud of the photo that they rushed to share it with the world via social media.


I was disappointed to read an article by three Boston Jewish federation officials, declaring that criticism of the Arafat photo-op is “absurd.” The most they would concede is that some of the trip organizers showed “poor judgment,” but they refused to condemn the students’ action. They shouldn’t be treating the students as if they were babies. They are young adults who either knew what they were doing, or should have.


I was equally disappointed to see that Prof. Deborah Lipstadt, on her Facebook page, wrote this about the Jewish officials’ article defending the Harvard students:  “What a thoughtful article. Lucky is the community with such thoughtful leader who know how to keep their heads screwed on straight.” As a Holocaust scholar, Prof. Lipstadt, of all people, should be able to recognize Arafat was engaged in the attempted genocide of Israel’s Jews. She should have been as outraged by the Arafat visit, as she would have been if the Harvard students had visited Afghanistan and posed at the grave of an Al-Qaeda leader, or if they went to South Africa and had a giggle-and-selfie fest at the grave of an apartheid regime police officer who tortured or murdered black activists.


Last week marked the 12th anniversary of the bombing that maimed the Bauers. This week is the 19th anniversary of the Palestinian bombing attack in which my daughter Alisa was murdered. She was a student at Brandeis University, just a few miles down the road from Harvard. The students at Harvard have shown as little interest in Alisa as they have in Alan or Jonathan Bauer. One of the Harvard students, by the name of Kelsey, last week defended her participation in the Arafat grave visit on the grounds that, “Acknowledging one person’s lived experience neither negates nor diminishes another person’s lived experience.” Actually, Kelsey, you have not at all acknowledged Arafat’s “lived experience”—you did not write anything about the mass murders and maimings he perpetrated. And you have indeed negated and diminished “another person’s lived experience”—you have negated and diminished the suffering of his victims and their families. Until you understand that, you have learned nothing from your years of learning in the prestigious halls of Harvard.





Wall Street Journal, Apr. 4, 2014


Academia has been obsessed over identity politics for two generations, so there's some justice in the newest addition to the matrix of oppression: an Ivy League education, according to the Dartmouth College students who this week took over the president's office. On Tuesday Dartmouth's finest seized the main administration building and disrupted college business. The squatters were allowed to remain until Thursday night, when the dean of the college negotiated and signed an exit settlement assuring them the non-dialogue would continue. The demonstrators had a 72-point manifesto instructing the college to establish pre-set racial admission quotas and a mandatory ethnic studies curriculum for all students. Their other inspirations are for more "womyn or people of color" faculty; covering sex change operations on the college health plan ("we demand body and gender self-determination"); censoring the library catalog for offensive terms; and installing "gender-neutral bathrooms" in every campus facility, specifically including sports locker rooms.


We rarely sympathize with college administrators but we'll make an exception for Dartmouth President Phil Hanlon, an accomplished mathematician who for some reason took the job last year. The occupiers filmed their confrontation and uploaded the hostage video to the Web, where Mr. Hanlon can be seen agog as his charges berate him for his "micro-aggressions." Those are bias infractions that can't be identified without the right political training. Mr. Hanlon left after an hour and told the little tyrants that he welcomed a "conversation" about their ultimatums. They responded in a statement that conversations—to be clear, talking—will lead to "further physical and emotional violence enacted against us by the racist, classist, sexist, heterosexist, transphobic, xenophobic, and ableist structures at Dartmouth." They added: "Our bodies are already on the line, in danger, and under attack." If that sounds more like Syria than Hanover, N.H., meet the resurgence of the anti-liberal campus left. The intellectual mentor of the protestors is a history professor named Russell Rickford, who calls Dartmouth "White Supremacy U." Hostile to free expression, open debate and due process, their politics of anger and resentment can't be pacified. Reality is not an admissable defense.


To wit, the most tolerant-to-a-fault places in America are unlikely bastions for white male privilege. Dartmouth's elaborate diversity bureaucracy is designed to accommodate any need or desire. Some 37% of its freshman class comes from a background "of color," and 10% are first-generation college students. Note to any of them taking on loans for the $65,133 annual tuition, room and board: The special locker rooms will be itemized in the next term's invoice. These downtrodden souls also have powerful allies—namely, the U.S. government. Since 2011, the Education Department has used enforcement discretion to expand the legal scope of Title IX (on sex discrimination) and the Clery Act (on campus crime). The civil-rights shop encourages activists to file legal complaints and threatens to withhold federal funding unless schools acquiesce. Dartmouth has been a target of this method for two years, but there are cases against Yale, Stanford, Berkeley, Occidental and others.


Thus it is understandable that nominal authority figures like Mr. Hanlon seem helpless to defend their reputations or maintain discipline and public order. But it is still unacceptable. An institution more confident in its character and mission would defend itself. A college that purports to support free inquiry ought to be able to muster the courage to speak up for its own rules and for debate that respects the rights of others. Mr. Hanlon might have told the kids occupying his office that most of mankind—forgive the micro-aggression—would love to be as oppressed as they are. Few young men and women in the world are more "privileged" than those admitted to the Ivy League. The takeover's benefit to Dartmouth is that it might inspire the small minority of like-minded high schoolers to find another college to terrorize. Most elite U.S. students are well adjusted and grateful for their opportunity.


Dartmouth and any other school in this position should tell the students they have an hour to leave the premises, and if they don't they will be arrested for trespassing and expelled. Since Mr. Hanlon missed that chance, he and the school's trustees should now tell the students that if they are so unhappy they should transfer. Surely the occupiers would be welcomed by at least one of the other 4,431 universities or colleges in the U.S. But they may discover the problem is their own sense of privilege, not Dartmouth's.



ANOTHER TYPE OF CIVIC EDUCATION                                                  

Dore Feith & Stu Krantz                                                                           

The Lion’s Tale, Jan. 29, 2014


All around the world, schools try to teach about the history and values of their respective countries. CESJDS is no different, except it does not just teach about the United States. Israel, too, is on the curriculum. We all understand that there is a difference between proper academic study and propaganda. We want our school – in both its history courses and in its Jewish history courses – to be doing the former, not the latter. At the same time, there is such a thing as civic education that liberal democratic countries, including the U.S., do all over the world. These curricula promote love of country, respect for the country’s institutions and the ability to defend the country against unfair criticism. Beyond this factual education is the hope to give students…both a sense that each of their countries deserves to be defended, and the tools with which they can defend the country against ideological enemies. JDS should be doing the same with regard to Israel.


Unfortunately, we believe that JDS does not adequately prepare its students to defend Israel on college campuses. Among both students and faculties on these campuses, there exists an active ideological war over Zionism and over Israel’s right to exist. It’s not unreasonable to request that Israel classes provide an academic study of the history of the conflict while also presenting both sides of any issue so that students can defend Israel when the time comes. After all, our school’s mission statement includes ahavat yisrael (love of Israel).


We have taken good courses taught by great teachers, but we have noticed an odd bending-over-backwards that we haven’t seen in any other history class. For the sake of open-mindedness, the curriculum has lost sight of its ahavat yisrael goal…we feel that the curriculum currently cultivates the negative rather than the positive. Of course, there is no problem with teaching some criticisms of Israel. But there has to be balance. The Arab-Israeli Conflict course predominantly uses sources that are preoccupied with criticizing Israel rather than defending it, which gives the impression that the goal of the course is to inspire students to criticize Israel.


We were assigned Avi Shlaim’s “The Debate About 1948” as our only academic reading on Israel’s War of Independence. Shlaim’s works are not just strongly critical of Israel, but also highly controversial and in some places factually wrong. In order to escape the charge that we’re being brainwashed to defend Israel, the bending-over-backwards results in the presentation of anti-Israel propaganda. In “The Debate About 1948,” Shlaim claims that the Arab countries’ invasion of the newly established Jewish State was motivated by territorial desires, and not by antisemitism and a hatred of Jews. Because Shlaim’s work was our sole reading on Israel’s War of Independence, some students may have come away thinking that his is the most accurate piece of history. The two of us recall receiving little warning, if any, about Shlaim’s political views before receiving the reading. Instead, we were just told that he was party of the New Historians who, as a group, rejected Israel’s conventional history.


Our teachers have encyclopaedic knowledge and teach in engaging and creative ways. We hope they look at models around the world to teach love of Israel in the way liberal democratic countries teach love of country. We know for a fact that Israel’s enemies are teaching why Israel should be destroyed. It’s time for JDS to teach why Israel is worth defending.


[Dore Feith is editor-in-chief, and Stu Krantz is managing editor, of Lion’s Tale, a high-school newspaper produced by the students of the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School in Rockville, MD.]


Pro-Israel Event on New Orleans Campus: Lori Lowenthal Marcus, Jewish Press, Apr. 8, 2014 —With the help of many friends, on Sunday, March 30, that African American Christian Zionist college student the pro-Israel world has been marveling over for more than a year, Chloé Simone Valdary, pulled off another huge student-led pro-Israel event in New Orleans.

Northeastern U. Suspends ‘Students for Justice in Palestine’: Ilya Feoktistov, Frontpage, Mar. 18, 2014—A young man from Brookline, Massachusetts poses for a photo somewhere inside the Palestinian territories.

Harvard Students’ Visit to Arafat’s Grave “Causing Understandable Concern”: Hillel International: Jewish Tribune,  Mar. 25, 2014 — Hillel International responded to growing criticism over a visit by Harvard University students on a Hillel-sponsored tour of Israel to former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat’s grave near Ramallah.

Ryerson Student Union Becomes Only the Latest to Support Israel Boycott Campaign: Jen Gerson, National Post, Apr. 4, 2014 — Another Ontario university student union has voted in support of the anti-Israel Boycott, Divest and Sanction (BDS) campaign.

California Students Testify About Anti-Semitism on Campus: AMCHA Initiative, Jewish Press, Mar. 27, 2014—Last week the new California Assembly Select Committee on Campus Climate held its first hearing.

Convicted Terrorist to Speak at Tel Aviv University: Jerusalem Post, Apr. 6, 2014 —Tel Aviv University's right-wing student groups will hold a rally in Antin Square on Sunday at noon to protest the scheduled speech by a convicted terrorist to take place on Monday.














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Mr. Prime Minister: Don’t Take Diaspora Jews for Granted: Isi Leibler, Jerusalem Post, Feb. 16, 2014— Under the leadership of the indefatigable Malcolm Hoenlein, the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, a unique umbrella organization, is gathering in Jerusalem this week.

The Dark Side of the War on 'the One Percent': Ruth R. Wisse, Wall Street Journal, Feb. 3, 2014 — Two phenomena: anti-Semitism and American class conflict. Is there any connection between them?Book

Review: 'Genesis,' by John B. Judis: Jordan Chandler Hirsch: Wall Street Journal, Feb. 11, 2014— The library of books on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is vast, and it grows every year.  

Arab, Muslim and Pro-Israel: Abdel Bioud, Times of Israel, Feb. 11, 2014 — I know, I know, I know what you’re already thinking: ‘’oh God, not another piece on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, with the same old arguments regurgitated over and over again, for the last 60 years’’. You couldn’t be more wrong. Bear with me.


On Topic Links


Interview: The Sweeper of Dreams, with Alma Deutscher (Video): Youtube, Jan. 3, 2014

Arab Demonization of Jews Is a Historical Anomaly—and Shows the Limits of Today’s Leaders: Aomar Boum, Tablet, Feb. 21, 2014

Hillel Explains When ‘Open Hillel’ Will Result in Disaffiliation: Lori Lowenthal Marcus, Jewish Press, Feb. 20, 2014

Film Exposé of J Street Reveals Decaying Core of Moral Narcissism: Lori Lowenthal Marcus, Jewish Press, Feb. 21, 2014



Isi Leibler                                                                 

Jerusalem Post, Feb. 16, 2014


Under the leadership of the indefatigable Malcolm Hoenlein, the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, a unique umbrella organization, is gathering in Jerusalem this week. Its members, leaders of America’s most prominent Jewish organizations, will be briefed directly by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and senior government ministers. Alas, unless the unexpected happens and the prime minister reads the riot act to his ministers, these American activists will receive mixed messages and are likely to return to the US more confused than when they arrived.

They will be baffled by what they learn about the current round of the so-called “peace negotiations.” It now appears that Israel will accept – with major reservations – the framework accord for negotiations as a non-binding document. In contrast, the Palestinians seem poised to reject it outright. And yet, despite the Palestinian intransigence, Israel will continue to be bombarded by demands to make further concessions.

They will find it difficult to make sense of US Secretary of State John Kerry’s role in the process. Encouraged by a flow of demands and petitions from Jewish liberals urging Netanyahu to be “grateful” to Kerry and “not sit idly by” (whatever that means) and risk forgoing the opportunity for peace, Kerry has displayed a complete lack of evenhandedness in the negotiations. He does not pressure the Palestinians, although he has made multiple threats against Israel, and proposed extreme and dangerous interventions, such as substituting the IDF presence in the Jordan Valley with electronic fences and NATO troops.

Disregarding the fact that he represents Israel’s ally, he has alluded to the “dangers” of boycotts, sanctions and delegitimization unless Israel becomes more accommodating – a thinly veiled threat that we can be sure the Europeans heard. Moreover, it was unconscionable that Kerry failed to relate to the vicious incitement of recent weeks, when released Palestinian killers were sanctified as national heroes and, in many cases, actually recounted their ghoulish murders of innocent civilians on state television.

But ultimately, Netanyahu and his government bear the main burden of responsibility for the bewilderment that Diaspora Jews (and many Israelis) are experiencing over the negotiations. While the prime minister initially robustly rejected key security concessions that Kerry demanded, he subsequently caved in to pressure and papered over the differences. Meanwhile, in absolute contradiction to the position adopted by Prime Minister Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman – the traditional hardliner – then embarked on an “I love Kerry” campaign, preposterously suggesting that the deals proposed were the best Israel could ever expect. If Netanyahu orchestrated this as a “good cop, bad cop” performance, it seriously backfired. On the other hand, if the foreign minister is running his own mini-government, that is totally unacceptable.

This confusion has had major ramifications in the US, particularly for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the jewel in the crown of American Israel activism. But in recent months, its reputation was tarnished and its standing weakened by failed efforts that resulted primarily from mixed signals it received. Despite AIPAC’s strong Iranian sanction campaign (it obtained bipartisan endorsement and the backing of 59 members of the US Senate, just four votes short to carry the vote), it backed down from its effort due to massive pressure from President Barack Obama, who went so far as to misleadingly proclaim that passage of tougher sanctions against Iran was tantamount to a declaration of war. While Prime Minister Netanyahu initially encouraged AIPAC to proceed with its campaign he is also said to have pressured AIPAC to withdraw in order to placate Obama prior to their meeting in March.

AIPAC is also facing problems that are unrelated to Israel’s current lack of strategic clarity. It has become so obsessed with bipartisanship that the withdrawal of a number of Democrats made them fear a breakdown, and this is said to have also contributed to the decision to pull out its support for the initiative. In the process, AIPAC alienated and left some of its key congressional supporters out on a limb with the Republicans defiantly carrying on. With the increasingly aggressive attitudes against Israel emerging from leftist minority groups within the Democratic Party, complex challenges are likely to arise in future which cannot always be subordinated to the interests of bipartisanship. Nonetheless, the AIPAC debacle is symptomatic of the strained relationship between the Netanyahu government and Jewish organizations trying to support it. The government’s impulsive statements and ministers’ irresponsible public criticism and shrill outbursts have understandably exasperated even committed mainstream supporters of Israel and made them lose credibility…

[To Read the Full Article Follow This Link –ed.]




Jordan Chandler Hirsch                  

Wall Street Journal, Feb. 3, 2014


Two phenomena: anti-Semitism and American class conflict. Is there any connection between them? In a letter to this newspaper, the noted venture capitalist Tom Perkins called attention to certain parallels, as he saw them, between Nazi Germany's war against the Jews and American progressives' war on the "one percent." For comparing two such historically disparate societies, Mr. Perkins was promptly and heatedly denounced. But is there something to be said for his comparison—not of Germany and the United States, of course, but of the politics at work in the two situations? The place to begin is at the starting point: with the rise of anti-Semitism, modernity's most successful and least understood political movement.


The German political activist Wilhelm Marr, originally a man of the left, organized a movement in the 1870s that charged Jews with using their skills "to conquer Germany from within." Distinguishing the movement that he called anti-Semitism from earlier forms of anti-Judaism, Marr argued on professedly rational grounds that Jews were taking unfair advantage of the emerging democratic order in Europe, with its promise of individual rights and open competition, in order to dominate the fields of finance, culture and social ideas. Though some of Marr's rhetoric and imagery was based on earlier stereotypes, he was right to insist that anti-Semitism was a new response to new conditions, channeling grievance and blame against highly visible beneficiaries of freedom and opportunity.


These were some of its typical ploys: Are you unemployed? The Jews have your jobs. Is your family mired in poverty? The Rothschilds have your money. Do you feel more insecure in the city than you did on the land? The Jews are trapping you in factories and charging you exorbitant rents. Anti-Semitism accused Jews of undermining Christian authority and corrupting the German legal system, the arts and the press. Jews were said to be rabid internationalists spreading Bolshevism—and ruthless capitalists exploiting for their own gain the nation's natural and human resources. To ambitious politicians seeking office, to rulers of still largely illiterate populations, "the Jews" became a convenient catchall explanation for deep-rooted and sometimes intractable problems.


But though the origins of modern anti-Semitism may be traced to Germany, anti-Semitism itself remains sui generis and cannot be simply conflated with either Germany or Hitler. True, the latter gained power on a platform of anti-Semitism and then proceeded to put his Final Solution into effect, but the modern organization of politics against the Jews is independent of Nazism—and of fascism, since the Italian variant did not specifically target the Jews. Features of anti-Semitism are present in other political movements, on the left fully as much the right.


The parallel that Tom Perkins drew in his letter was especially irksome to his respondents on the left, many of whom are supporters of President Obama's sallies against Wall Street and the "one percent." These critics might profitably consult Robert Wistrich, today's leading historian of anti-Semitism. His "From Ambivalence to Betrayal: The Left, the Jews, and Israel" (2012) documents the often profound anti-Semitism that has affected socialists and leftists from Karl Marx to today's anti-Israel movement of boycott, divestment and sanctions. It was Marx who said, "The bill of exchange is the Jew's actual god," putting a Jewish face on capitalism and accusing both Judaism and capitalism of converting man and nature into "alienable and saleable objects."


Herein lies one structural connection between a politics of blame directed specifically at Jews and a politics of grievance directed against "the rich." The ranks of those harping on "unfairly" high earners include figures in American political life at all levels who have been entrusted with the care of our open society; in channeling blame for today's deep-rooted and seemingly intractable problems toward the beneficiaries of that society's competitive freedoms, they are playing with fire. I say this not only, and not even primarily, because some of those beneficiaries happen also to be Jews. So far, mainstream American politicians and supporters of movements like Occupy Wall Street have confined their attacks to the nameless "one percent," and in any case it is doubtful that today any U.S. politician would be electable on an explicitly anti-Jewish platform.


My point is broader: Stoking class envy is a step in a familiar, dangerous and highly incendiary process. Any ideology or movement, right or left, that is organized negatively—against rather than for—enjoys an inherent advantage in politics, mobilizing unappeasable energies that never have to default on their announced goal of cleansing the body politic of its alleged poisons. In this respect, one might think of anti-Semitism as the purest and most murderous example of an enduring political archetype: the negative campaign. That campaign has its international as well as its domestic front. Modern anti-Zionism, itself a patented invention of Soviet Communism and now the lingua franca of the international left, uses Israel just as anti-Semitism uses Jews, directing grievance and blame and eliminationist zeal against an entire collectivity that has flourished on the world scene thanks to the blessings of freedom and opportunity.


Herein lies a deeper structural connection. On the global front today, the much larger and more obvious beneficiary of those same blessings is the democratic capitalist system of the United States, and the ultimate target of the ultimate negative campaign is the American people. Anyone seeking to understand the inner workings of such a campaign will find much food for thought in Mr. Perkins's parallel.




REVIEW: 'GENESIS,' BY JOHN B. JUDIS                                            

Lance Esplund                                                               

Wall Street Journal, Feb. 11, 2014


The library of books on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is vast, and it grows every year. John Judis's Genesis claims to distinguish itself by focusing on President Harry Truman's efforts "to resolve the conflict between Jew and Arab." Mr. Judis thinks that we can learn from Truman's failures and wants readers "to approach the subject from when the conflict actually began." But Genesis distinguishes itself in another way: It isn't so much a history as an inquisition—one that weighs the moral balance of the conflict from on high and finds Zionism, and its American supporters, guilty.


The author, a senior editor of the New Republic, begins by surveying the 50 years of Jewish-Arab tensions in Palestine that preceded the birth of the Jewish state in 1948. While rehashing the origins of both Zionism and Palestinian nationalism, he casts the movement for Jewish statehood as an inherently colonialist enterprise and the Arabs as its victims. The Zionist pioneers settling in Palestine, the author writes, committed "many of the sins that Western European countries had visited upon native populations," displacing locals and stifling their "natural development." In making this charge, he equates Europe's mightiest powers with its greatest victims, the Jews—a stateless people seeking refuge in their ancient home by legitimately purchasing and cultivating land. Throughout this preamble, Mr. Judis accuses the Zionist movement of rejecting compromise and "social justice." But regarding the most heinous Arab actions—such as the 1929 massacre of the Jewish community of Hebron or the five-country invasion of the nascent state of Israel in 1948, which followed the Arabs' rejection of the first United Nations peace plan—the author is more forgiving. These he largely plays down or characterizes as understandable responses to Jewish provocation.


There is a good reason why this partisan early narrative sounds familiar: It is nearly 200 pages of mostly regurgitated secondary sources. If Mr. Judis were dedicated to telling an original story about Truman, he shouldn't have devoted half of his book to this carbon-copy history. But he isn't primarily concerned with how Truman came to recognize the state of Israel or even, really, with the fate of Palestine. Instead, Mr. Judis is consumed by what he views as the pernicious influence of diaspora Jewish Zionists on the British and American governments. The author traces the sinister sway of Zionism to the drafting of the Balfour Declaration, the 1917 document in which Britain pledged to establish a Jewish national home in Palestine. Chaim Weizmann, a chemist whose scientific discoveries greatly aided the British during World War I, "charmed his way up the ladder of authority until he reached the top," Mr. Judis writes, and then suckered some key British figures into supporting the Zionist cause. When, after the war, others attempted to dilute Britain's commitment to the Balfour Declaration, Zionist activists in Britain consistently "blocked" their efforts.


A running theme is that had these Jews been patriotic Britons, they wouldn't have lobbied for Zionism. Mr. Judis uncritically cites Prime Minister H.H. Asquith receiving a pro-Zionist memo from Herbert Samuel, a Jewish cabinet member, and noting in a private letter that "it is a curious illustration . . . that 'race is everything' to find this almost lyrical outburst proceeding from the well-ordered and methodical brain of [Samuel]." Mr. Judis thus deploys the bigotry of yesteryear to bolster his contemporary arguments.


What British Zionists did in London, Mr. Judis claims, American Zionists would do in Washington. By the end of the 1930s, Zionist activists, apparently not as all-powerful as "Genesis" would have readers think, failed to prevent Britain from decisively abandoning the Balfour Declaration. But as British power in the region receded following World War II, both Zionists and Arabs realized that their fortunes rested with the United States. Truman, who had no Middle East experience, was advised by Britain and by the U.S. Defense and State Departments to side with the Arabs. For three years, he anguished over whether to support Zionism. He weighed Arab sentiment against Jewish plight and political expediency against his sense of morality, while always seeking to uphold U.S. national interests.


"Genesis" reduces this tortuous deliberation into a simplistic tale of Jewish bullying. In its few pages of background on Truman's relationship with Jews and Zionism, the book discards well-documented complexity to insist that the president didn't sympathize with Jewish sovereignty. Truman, Mr. Judis says, was browbeaten by "unrelenting and obnoxious" pressure from Zionist activists. The president would ultimately bow before Zionist advocates "not because he believed in their cause," but out of electoral concerns. Mr. Judis accuses one figure, Abba Hillel Silver, of putting "the Zionist cause above party politics—and, in effect, above any domestic agenda." If a Democrat failed to fully endorse Zionism, Mr. Judis writes, Silver "tried to use the Jewish vote and Jewish contributions against him." Here and elsewhere, "Genesis" treats issue-driven voter lobbying, a staple of American democracy, as if it were high treason.

The author blames Truman's endorsement of a Jewish state—as opposed to a binational state in Palestine—on American Jewish liberals, who are the true targets of "Genesis." Mr. Judis is mystified by the fact that liberals who "supported labor rights, civil rights, and the first amendment," such as Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis, could also support Zionism. In doing so, he says, these otherwise stalwart progressive champions "abandoned their principles." Zionism, for Mr. Judis, is a kind of sin against liberalism. Near the end, he quotes a saying of Jesus: "For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?" and castigates Israel's Jews for having "gained a world of their own, but at the expense of another people." An author who brandishes his liberal commitments at every turn ends up invoking a Christian teaching on greed to condemn the Jews for sacrificing another people at the altar of their own interest.




ARAB, MUSLIM AND PRO-ISRAEL                                         

Abdel Bioud                                                          

Times of Israel, Feb. 11, 2014


I know, I know, I know what you’re already thinking: ‘’oh God, not another piece on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, with the same old arguments regurgitated over and over again, for the last 60 years’’. You couldn’t be more wrong. Bear with me.


I’m Abdel. I was born in Algeria and lived there for a little over a decade. During that time, I had the distinct pleasure to go through a brutal civil war where Islamists (supported financially and morally by Hamas, Iran and Saudi Arabia) where trying to take over the country to impose their worldview on everyone else. Friends and family members of mine were killed and the country almost went down the drain. My parents, who were executives at the time, were also involved politically. Specifically, they were leading political parties who’re trying to get religion out of politics– in the midst of an Islamic insurgency. You can only imagine how more problematic their personal and familial situation became: regular death threats, bullet proof door in our home, different itineraries and time to get to work, et cetera. In sum, it was a living hell. Oh, did I mention that I’m the VP communication for McGill Students for Israel? Now, why? Why does a guy who’s born in a country that does not even recognize Israel come to support it? Below is the case for Israel from the perspective of someone who grew up and lived in a self-proclaimed Arab and Muslim country.


As a libertarian, individual liberty and freedom are values that I cherish very dearly. So, in order for me to understand a situation, I use those two values as guiding principles to shed some light on what is really happening. By applying that freedom filter to the Israeli-Arab conflict, you get the following: All Arab countries are dictatorships. That is, you have ruling gangster families on top, who use their monopoly of violence (via the military) to kill/imprison anyone who questions their business plan.


The business plan is the following:


1. Use force to maintain power and keep disarmed humans living in fear. 2. Send kids to government controlled schools so they can get indoctrinated with four things: The ruling family is great (à la Kim Jung Il). Their country is the greatest. The Palestinian cause is something that is part of their identity. Force feed them Islam so it can be used as a tool to control (I use the term force feed because I was force fed Islam in the Algerian government school since day 1). 3. While people are brainwashed and live in fear, negotiate a percentage on those resource/construction contracts (SNC-Lavalin anyone?). 4. Profit.


It comes as no surprise that the output of such a disastrous mix can only be chaos. On one hand you have the insane families in power who are trying to steal as much money as possible, while using violence against their own people. On the other hand, you have the by-product of this insanity- the Islamists. That is, confused people who had their vision of reality completely distorted by the system they were born in. This vicious cycle has been going on for decades, the result of which was the so-called Arab spring or Arab winter (i.e. the by-product of the system, the Islamists, is taking over). Clearly, this circus will go on for another decade if not more.


Now, what about Israel? If you’re a citizen there, your basic freedoms are respected. You can live peacefully, raise a family, and send your kids to competitive and globally recognized universities. This simple basic respect for human dignity put them light-years ahead of any Arab state. As a human being who seeks to improve himself, Israel is a logical choice. It is the only place in the Middle East where your potential can be fully expressed. Based on the values it stands for and the principles that it was founded on, Israel is a force of good for that region and for the world. And remember, this is not coming from a Jewish or an Israeli individual. It’s coming from someone with a Muslim name and an Arab face (which looks pretty good by the way), who actually lived and was raised in an Arab country. It’s not like I don’t know what I’m talking about and I’m just fantasizing from 5,000 miles away, like most people do.


From an individual and rational perspective, it is hard to argue against what I’ve said above. But even then, even if you drop any rational judgement and go tribal on this issue, the Jewish people are the Arabs’ cousins! If your cousins were being slaughtered and discriminated against all over the world (remember the MS St. Louis, the ship filled with Jewish refugees during WWII, that was turned away by Canada and the U.S. to go back to Europe?), wouldn’t you welcome them with your arms wide open? Jewish people have suffered greatly and the only people in the world that should have welcomed and protected them were their cousins, the Arabs. And it’s not like they had an option to flee to a “Jewish” country like you have for so-called Muslim and Christian ones. They were not welcome anywhere on planet earth. Do you fully realize the magnitude of this? The bottom line is this: this is a historical opportunity to start over but on the right foot this time. An opportunity to write history as it should have been from the beginning. Don’t let this opportunity go to waste; you might not have another one.


[Abdel Bioud is a graduate student at McGill Universitty and the is the vice president of communication for the McGill Students for Israel Association.]


CIJR wishes all its friends and supporters Shabbat Shalom!


Interview: The Sweeper of Dreams, with Alma Deutscher (Video): Youtube, Jan. 3, 2014

Arab Demonization of Jews Is a Historical Anomaly—and Shows the Limits of Today’s Leaders: Aomar Boum, Tablet, Feb. 21, 2014 —In his 1886 best-seller La France Juive, Édouard Drumont—the spiritual father of French anti-Semitism—wrote, “All comes from the Jew, all returns to the Jew.”

Hillel Explains When ‘Open Hillel’ Will Result in Disaffiliation: Lori Lowenthal Marcus, Jewish Press, Feb. 20, 2014 —Over the last few months, Jewish student groups on two American campuses affiliated with the Hillel International Foundation publicly rejected Hillel’s guidelines for partnership.
Film Exposé of J Street Reveals Decaying Core of Moral Narcissism: Lori Lowenthal Marcus, Jewish Press, Feb. 21, 2014 —Is it really possible to get all of the most important information about the no-longer upstart, but still disingenuous J Street into a one hour film, one that provides sufficient background information for the uninitiated to be able to grasp just what could be wrong with the organization that promotes itself as “pro-peace, pro-Israel”?





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Michael Freund

Jerusalem Post, March 7, 2012

Today is Purim, one of the most joyful festivals on the Jewish calendar, when we celebrate the deliverance of our ancestors from a Persian plot to annihilate them. It is a day rife with ritual, from the reading of the Book of Esther to the giving of charity and the delivery of food parcels to friends. But of all the many practices that have come to embody the holiday, few are as inspired as the donning of costumes by young and old alike. For on Purim we disguise ourselves, masquerading as something that we are not, underlining the extent to which many of us spend our lives play-acting rather than being true to what we believe.

Indeed, the custom has become so popular that none other than Barack Obama himself decided to join in the fun this year, posing for the past few days as a staunchly pro-Israel president. Obama’s Purim costume was as adept as it was inspired. After all, it did not require a wig, eye-liner or even baggy pants. All that was necessary was for the president to pad his AIPAC speech with some soothing words about Iran and refrain from growling before the cameras when he greeted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House. Like any good costume, Obama’s had the intended effect, initially making one forget the real person beneath.

At the AIPAC Conference in Washington, the US president spoke of the “unbreakable bonds” and “partnership” between the United States and Israel, insisting that his administration’s “commitment to Israel’s security has been unprecedented.” He even talked tough to the ayatollahs, warning that, “Iran’s leaders should understand that I do not have a policy of containment; I have a policy to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.…”

For the uninitiated, it was almost enough to make one swoon. Obama invoked all the right themes, pledging to stand by the Jewish state and strongly hinting that he would not shy away from the use of force against Tehran. Gee, doesn’t he sound like someone we can really trust? But when you start to peer behind the mask, and look beneath the surface, a different and more accurate picture quickly begins to emerge.

Take, for example, his assertion that “Because of our efforts, Iran is under greater pressure than ever before.” Why, it was just three months ago that Obama was trying to convince Congress to soften sanctions on Iran. As Reuters reported on December 6, 2011, Obama administration officials lobbied against a bipartisan Senate proposal to slap penalties on foreign financial institutions doing business with Iran’s Central Bank. Obama’s obstructionism on the issue was so brazen it even led Democratic Senator Robert Menendez, a cosponsor of the bill, to slam the administration.… So for the president now to take credit for the tightening economic vise around the Iranian regime is both disingenuous and misleading.

Similarly, Obama has repeatedly asserted of late that Israel has the sovereign right to defend itself.… Yet, in practice, he has been energetically trying to prevent Israel from doing just that. Last month, Obama reportedly sent his National Security Adviser, Tom Donilon, to Jerusalem to deliver a stern message to the Israeli government: don’t attack Iran. And he has marched out a parade of senior officials in recent months to cast doubt on the efficacy of any such action by Israel.

Barely 48 hours after speaking to AIPAC, Obama adopted a different tone at a press conference held on Tuesday. Asked by a reporter about Iran, the president said rather ominously that a premature Israeli strike would have “consequences” for the United States.… “It is not just an issue of consequences for Israel if action is taken prematurely, there are consequences for the United States as well,” [Obama said].

At first glance, that may not sound all that menacing. But when the president of the United States issues such a warning, it is far more than just an analytical remark. It suggests that should Iran retaliate against the US because of any action taken by Israel, it is the Jewish state that can and will be blamed.

And this is the guy who says he has “got our back”? Obama is clearly in election mode, and he is looking to November with an eye on the Jewish vote. Fearful of losing Jewish support in critical states such as Florida, the president is now trying to position himself as an unqualified backer of Israel. But don’t let Obama’s Purim costume fool you.… In this case, what it cloaks is frightening indeed.

Barbara Kay

National Post, February 28, 2012

George Orwell once said, “England is the only great nation whose intellectuals are ashamed of their country.” Orwell never met Israeli intellectuals.

As the National Post noted in [a recent] editorial, Israel Apartheid Week (IAW) is declining in vigour on North American campuses. But at Israel’s four secular universities—Hebrew University, University of Haifa, Tel Aviv University (TAU) and Ben Gurion University (BGU)—robust anti-Zionism continues to flourish, as it has for decades.

Since the 1967 Six-Day War, and with mounting stridency, the majority of Israel’s already leftist intelligentsia have identified themselves with enemies sworn to their nation’s annihilation. Every day, anti-Zionist literature pours forth from Israel’s tenured radicals. Every week, an article condemning Israel as an apartheid nation appears. Every month, Israeli academics attend conferences expanding on the evils of the occupation and the moral bankruptcy of the Jewish state. Every year, Israeli historians make their annual pilgrimage to IAWs all over the world, including one at TAU.

The tone of their attacks can’t be rivalled outside Israel for viciousness. Under the auspices of the University of Haifa, for example, anti-Semitic discourse is distributed by ALEF, an anti-Israel chat forum. It includes endorsements of terrorism, calls for the extermination of Israel and even support for Holocaust deniers.

Occasionally, desperately seeking an original optic in the rabid pursuit of Israeli culpability, an academic arrives at a pathological summit of moral inversion. A 2007 Hebrew University PhD thesis in sociology identified the fact that Israeli soldiers don’t rape Palestinian women (even though Palestinian propaganda routinely accuses them of it) as a form of racism: “In the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it can be seen that the lack of organized military rape merely strengthens the ethnic boundaries and clarifies the inter-ethnic differences—just as organized military rape would have done.” This ludicrous libel was awarded a prize by the writer’s department.

Off-campus, Israeli elites join in the self-condemning chorus. Amnon Rubenstein, considered the father of Israeli constitutional law, calls for European courts to be given the authority to overturn Israeli law. Celebrated novelist David Grossman opines that the potential terrorism of Israelis is more grievous than the actual terrorism of Arabs. The sensitive, globe-trotting poet and novelist A. B. Yehoshua suggests Jews will only become “normal” by converting to Islam or Christianity.

One of Israel’s misfortunes was the premature birth of an intellectual class. Uniquely amongst the nations, Israel had its own university—Hebrew University—20 years before statehood. Many of the European intellectuals who formed its professoriat were already infected with anti-Zionism through their discipleship to philosopher Martin Buber, who spun utopian fantasies of a binational state with Arabs and Jews united in civic harmony.

For decades, these thinkers vented their spleen without opposition. That began to change in 2001, when a U.S.-based publication called the Middle East Quarterly…ran a major exposé of anti-Israel academics in Israeli universities, titled “Israel’s Academic Extremists.” A pent-up flood of indictment followed.

The issue was brought to a dramatic public head when pugilistic Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz received an honorary doctorate at TAU in 2010. In his address, Dershowitz denounced the monolithic domination of Israeli universities by homegrown Israel-bashers. He said teachers that intimidate students who disagree with them ideologically are no better than sexual harassers. The speech inflamed the intelligentsia. TAU academics, who brooked no limitations on their own freedom of speech, shrilly challenged Dershowitz’s right to criticize them, with alarmist references to history’s “dark regimes.”

But the speech had a salutary, galvanizing effect on patriotic non-academics. Public figures, journalists, students, university alumni and donors shook off their long, tolerant torpor. They began challenging the totalitarian grip of far-left anti-Zionists on Israel’s major universities.

Most encouraging was the development of a pro-Zionist youth group called Im Tirtzu—“If you will it”—referring to Zionist movement founder Theodore Herzl’s famous dictum, “If you will it, it is no dream.” Im Tirtzu is a vigorous presence today on most Israeli campuses, successfully documenting and disseminating such indecencies as leftist students at a BGU campus rally giving Heil Hitler salutes to pro-Zionist students.

To students of Jewish history, with its one constant feature of internal divisiveness, it is not at all surprising that both the world’s most passionate Zionists and anti-Zionists should be found…in Zion. There is truth in the old joke that Jews are exactly like everyone else—only more so.

Gerald M. Steinberg

Jerusalem Post, February 20, 2012

‘Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.” This adage might have occurred to the officials, donors and supporters of the New Israel Fund (NIF) when they learned that an official from Adalah—one of their major grantees—was scheduled to speak at this year’s “Apartheid Week” at an event sponsored by BDS Geneva.

NIF officials should not have been surprised by Adalah’s ongoing role in promoting BDS (boycotts, divestment and sanctions) and other forms of political warfare. The organization has made no secret of its agenda, including the participation in the infamous NGO Forum of the 2001 UN Durban Conference. The NGO Forum’s “Final Declaration,” which is still posted on Adalah’s website, calls for the “complete and total isolation of Israel as an apartheid state.”

Expanding on this theme, Adalah’s so-called “Democratic Constitution” (2007) called for replacing the Jewish state with a “democratic, bilingual and multicultural” framework and for a redefinition of the “symbols of the state.” Jewish immigration would be restricted solely for “humanitarian reasons.” And following the publication of the Goldstone Report, Adalah joined Palestinian NGOs in urging governments to “re-evaluate their relationship with Israel.”

Such activities are in direct contradiction of NIF’s recently adopted funding guidelines and principles, which explicitly exclude groups that “work to deny the right of the Jewish people to sovereign self-determination within Israel” and other forms of anti-Israel demonization. But for some reason, the NIF funding for Adalah—$475,950 authorized in 2010—has continued.

For many years, the organization has had trouble implementing “red lines,” and in a number of cases, has been embarrassed and forced to backpedal before taking action. In 2004, the NIF awarded a fellowship to Shamai Leibowitz, who went to the US and promoted BDS, among other activities inconsistent with NIF’s declared objectives. (Last week, a current NIF fellow, Moriel Rothman, noted in an op-ed, “I have become deeply frustrated by the political manipulation of the Holocaust to distract from Israel’s crimes against Palestinians.”) NIF also provided seed funding for a radical NGO known as ICAHD, which violates nearly all of NIF’s guidelines and principles, only ending funding after the damage had been done.

More recently, it took two years for NIF to finally end support for the Coalition of Women for Peace (CWP), which is centrally involved in the BDS campaigns. Another group—Mada al-Carmel—which is also a major source of delegitimization and advocates for a “one-state” solution, was still listed in NIF’s latest published budget (for 2010), although incoming president Brian Lurie has stated that the funding has now ended.…

Although, or perhaps because, NIF is an extremely powerful political institution, with an annual budget of over $30 million, whose policies and activities affect the lives of all Israelis, its leaders are out of touch and very slow to react.…

When the contrast between NIF’s promotional claims and the reality of its political activities and funding is noted, they lash out angrily. For an organization claiming a “liberal and progressive” agenda, the NIF is particularly hostile to any form of criticism. When caught, as in each of the examples cited above, NIF’s public relations team resorts to vicious personal attacks against whistle-blowers.…

The “fool me” adage stops after the second occurrence, but NIF is now well beyond this.… Instead of lashing out, NIF has the opportunity to demonstrate that its guidelines are serious. Given the extensive public evidence of Adalah’s true agenda, if NIF chooses to not sever ties with the NGO, one would have to assume that NIF is knowingly being fooled and is happy to go along for the ride.

(Gerald M. Steinberg is president of NGO Monitor.)

David Harris

Jerusalem Post, March 7, 2012

The name Avi Shlaim may not be widely known on the street, but in the United Kingdom, and particularly in academic settings, it is. An emeritus professor of international relations at Oxford University, he has been a prodigious writer on the Middle East.

When it comes to Israel, where he once lived, Shlaim can barely contain himself, throwing any semblance of scholarship to the wind and working himself into a lather at its mere mention. Take, for example, his op-ed in The Independent, a British daily, earlier this week. Entitled “Obama Must Stand Up To Netanyahu,” and published on the day that President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu met in the White House, Shlaim breathlessly mined the English language for ever more vituperative things to say about Israel.…

Here are some of the results: Benjamin Netanyahu is “a bellicose, right-wing Israeli nationalist, a rejectionist…and a reactionary.” His government is “the most aggressively right-wing, diplomatically intransigent, and overtly racist government in Israel’s history.” It is a government of “militant nationalists.” It “is in danger of drifting towards fascism.” He is “a jimcrack politician.” He is “the war-monger in chief.”

Isn’t that the same Netanyahu who, whatever his other alleged faults might be, has moved his Likud Party to accept a Palestinian state, introduced a partial freeze on settlements as a goodwill gesture to restart peace talks with the Palestinians, and played a part in the economic revival of the West Bank and security cooperation with the Palestinian Authority?

Oh, and Ehud Barak, Israel’s defense minister, according to Shlaim, “regards diplomacy as the extension of war by other means.” Moreover, he is a “bitkhonist, a security-ist, who wants 100 percent security for Israel which means zero security for the Palestinians.” Isn’t that perchance the same Barak who, as prime minister, collaborated with President Clinton to offer Yasir Arafat a viable Palestinian state and the chance for enduring peace?…

Now, again, please bear in mind that we’re not just talking about anyone here, but about an emeritus professor at Oxford University. He has taught countless students from around the world and supervised who-knows-how-many dissertations. And we’re also talking about a widely-read newspaper in Britain that opted to publish this—let’s call it by its proper name—screed.

At a time when the U.S. and Israeli leaders meet in Washington to discuss the ominous challenge of Iran’s nuclear program, Shlaim assails Israel for every alleged misdeed, yet, oddly, or perhaps tellingly, fails to address the Iran question. Well, not exactly. He does claim Israel is trying “to drag America into a dangerous confrontation,” but doesn’t offer any solution of his own.

That might suggest he either doesn’t believe Iran has a nuclear program—which would put him at odds with the U.S. and European governments, not to mention the International Atomic Energy Agency—or he doesn’t feel it poses a threat to anyone. Wait, there is one more possibility. He might actually welcome the program as a response to the reviled Israel. Which is it?…

Isi Leibler

Jerusalem Post, February 20, 2012

In June 2011, Peter Beinart, a former editor of the staunchly pro-Israel New Republic, published a controversial essay in the left-wing New York Review of Books headlined: “The Failure of the American Jewish Establishment.” The article was a scathing condemnation of Israeli policies which he alleged were undermining democracy and violating human rights. He accused American Jewish leaders of slavishly toeing “extreme right-wing Israeli positions” and “refusing to defend democracy in the Jewish state.”

Beinart’s essay transformed him overnight into a darling of the left-liberal establishment and media, which abhor the Netanyahu government. He was feted as a courageous Jewish writer willing to stand up and castigate both Israeli and American Jewish leaders.… [Now he] has expanded his essay into a book based on the standard stereotypes and fallacies shared by most hostile far-left and “liberal” critics of Israel. Titled The Crisis of Zionism, it is scheduled for release next month.

Beinart is convinced that Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians is the “great Jewish question of the age” and his central call is for American Jews to join the choir condemning Israel. He informs us that he loves Israel and would teach his children to love it. Yet in the same breath he unequivocally condemns the Jewish “apartheid” state for breaching human rights, depriving Palestinians of dignity, and describes Israel’s settlement policy as a futile effort to retain occupation in a post-colonial age. He accuses the Israeli government of denying human rights to Palestinians “simply because they are not Jews,” comparing their treatment to that of African Americans before segregation was banned.…

The most demagogic aspect of Beinart’s distorted approach to Israel is his repeated depictions of Israel as a country consistently abusing human rights and undermining democracy. Yet despite facing existential threats from the day of its birth and harboring a substantial minority of Arabs whose radical extremists, including Knesset Members, ally themselves with terrorists and our genocidal enemies, the Jewish state remains one of the most vibrant democracies in the world—an especially stark contrast to the tyrannical Islamic states surrounding it.…

The greatest flaw in Beinart’s thesis is the constant repetition of the lie that “the mass of American Jews are to the left of organizations that speak in their name and almost always oppose US pressure on Israeli leaders and blame the Palestinians almost exclusively for the lack of Middle East Peace.” The reality is that American Jews may be liberal and traditionally inclined to vote for the Democratic Party, but at the grassroots level, in recent months they displayed far greater agitation than their leaders against President Obama’s biased diplomacy against Israel.

Beinart’s mantra, chanted repeatedly by the left-liberal media, is that…American Jewish youngsters have become alienated from Israel.… [However], one need only examine the annual American Jewish Committee opinion polls and the important recent Mitchell survey undertaken by the American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise and The Israel Project. They reveal that 89 percent of American Jewish youngsters strongly support Israel, endorse decisions adopted by the democratically elected government of Israel and oppose the public criticism of Israel which Beinart advocates.…

The reality is that “liberals” who feel alienated from Israel are running against the grain of grassroots American Jews. They may get more media attention, but they represent a small albeit highly vocal minority. This is exemplified by the marginal impact of the primarily Soros-funded J Street.… Not surprisingly, J Street embraces Beinart and will be launching his book at their forthcoming national conference.

Reality on the ground and the flawed premises upon which Beinart bases his thesis will not detract from the praise he will receive from the left-liberal media whose hostility against Israel has regrettably become endemic. His book, like that of Walt and Mearsheimer, the maligners of the Israel lobby, will be another addition to the growing number of volumes demonizing the Jewish state.…


Adam Kirsch

Tablet, January 18, 2012

When John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt’s The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy was published in 2007, it launched a thousand essays and op-eds, upset many Jewish readers, and sold a very respectable number of copies. What it did not do, to judge by the reviews, was convince anyone of its central argument: that an all-powerful “Israel lobby” had hijacked American foreign policy using illegitimate means, and that a small but committed group of American Jews was steering the country into disaster to satisfy their parochial interests. Yet judging from a recent spate of articles in some of the country’s most respectable mainstream publications, including the Atlantic, the New York Times, and Time, it seems that, while Walt and Mearsheimer lost the policy battle, in the long term they are winning the war on the most important battleground of all: that of ideas and language.

To look back on The Israel Lobby’s reception today is to see a remarkable unanimity of rejection, from the New York Times (“mostly wrong…dangerously misleading”) and Foreign Affairs (“written in haste, the book will be repented at leisure”) to The Nation (“serious methodological deficiencies…a mess”). There was also a general recognition that in their insinuations about secret Jewish power, Mearsheimer and Walt—professors at the University of Chicago and Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, respectively—had given a respectable imprimatur to old and sinister anti-Semitic tropes.

Michael Gerson, an evangelical Christian adviser to President George W. Bush, wrote in the Washington Post: “Every generation has seen accusations that Jews have dual loyalties, promote war, and secretly control political structures. These academics might not follow their claims all the way to anti-Semitism. But this is how it begins. This is how it always begins.” Alert to the same danger, George Shultz, Ronald Reagan’s secretary of State—who should know about how foreign policy is made—went so far as to write the foreword to The Deadliest Lies, a book by Abraham Foxman refuting the Walt-Mearsheimer thesis. “Jewish groups are influential,” Shultz wrote. “But the notion that these groups have anything like a uniform agenda, and that U.S. policy on Israel and the Middle East is the result of their influence, is simply wrong.” Case closed, it would seem.…

But if The Israel Lobby has not changed American politics, it has had an insidious effect on the way people talk and think about Israel, and about the whole question of Jewish power. The first time I had this suspicion was when reading, of all things, a biography of H.G. Wells. In H.G. Wells: Another Kind of Life, published in the U.K. in 2010, Michael Sherborne describes how Wells’ contempt for Nazism went along with a dislike for Judaism and Zionism, which he voiced in deliberately offensive terms even as Nazi persecution of Jews reached its peak. “To take on simultaneously the Nazis…and the Jewish lobby may have been foolhardy,” Sherborne writes apropos of Wells in 1938.

There’s no way to prove that Sherborne’s “Jewish lobby” is the intellectual descendant of Walt and Mearsheimer’s “Israel lobby,” but the inference seems like a strong one. Wells, the term suggests, was not attacking Jews, a group that in the Europe of the 1930s was conspicuous for its absolute powerlessness in the face of the evolving Nazi genocide. Instead, he was bravely standing up to a powerful “lobby,” an organization designed to punish critics of the Jews, and whose influence was on a par somehow with that of the Nazis.

What is disturbing in the Sherborne example is the way Walt and Mearsheimer’s conception of Jewish power is projected into a historical moment when it could not have been less accurate. In France during the Dreyfus Affair, it was common for anti-Semites and anti-Dreyfusards to speak of a Jewish syndicate that secretly ruled the country. Now, in the 21st century, it has once again become possible to speak of a Jewish “lobby” that it would be foolish to cross.…

Walt and Mearsheimer, of course, fill their book with denials that they are talking about a secret syndicate: “The Israel lobby is not a cabal or conspiracy,” they write in the introduction. But the book itself, with its lists of Jewish organizations and journalists, and its tone of moral outrage, works to give exactly this impression. In fact, you don’t even have to read the book to get the impression: Looking at the cover is enough. In 2002, when the British magazine the New Statesman ran a cover story titled “The Kosher Conspiracy” with an image of a gold Star of David pressing down on a Union Jack, it was roundly criticized for copying imagery that would have been familiar in the Nazi periodical Der Sturmer. Yet The Israel Lobby, published by America’s most prestigious house, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, bore a cover image of the American flag rendered in the blue and white of the Israeli flag—an unmistakable visual shorthand for Jewish domination. All by itself, this image nullified Walt and Mearsheimer’s repeated insistence that they were not describing the Israel lobby as a cabal.

So the floodgates were opened: What we have witnessed in the five years since is a blithe recuperation of dangerous, vicious imagery and ideas, with no apparent compunction about their origins or consequences. In 2010, [journalist] Lee Smith investigated the way certain bloggers—including Walt himself—amassed large anti-Semitic readerships through their conspiratorial denunciations of Israel and the Israel Lobby. Quoting the comments sections of such blogs, Smith found them rife with unbridled anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, such as “It seems to me that it is no exaggeration to say roundly that the USA in its entirety is under Jewish control of one variety or another.”

Compare this with Thomas Friedman’s Dec. 14, 2011 column in the New York Times, where he wrote about Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech before Congress: “I sure hope that Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, understands that the standing ovation he got in Congress this year was not for his politics. That ovation was bought and paid for by the Israel lobby.” Criticized for this remark, he replied to New York’s Jewish Week that “In retrospect I probably should have used a more precise term like ‘engineered’ by the Israel lobby—a term that does not suggest grand conspiracy theories that I don’t subscribe to.” But of course, “engineered” suggests exactly the same thing as “bought and paid for.” Decades ago, the right-wing commentator Pat Buchanan was widely denounced for referring to “Israel’s amen corner.” Today, an establishment pundit like Friedman can suggest even more crudely that Congress is bought and paid for by a foreign government with the sense that he is simply voicing conventional wisdom.

Similarly, Joe Klein of Time recently wrote apropos of a possible American conflict with Iran: “It’s another thing entirely to send American kids off to war, yet again, to fight for Israel’s national security.” After being challenged…to name a single instance when American troops have fought for Israeli security, Klein went on to apologize for his misuse of commas—it was the sending off to war that was “yet again,” not the fighting for Israel. But if this was a misreading, it was a natural one, given Klein’s earlier writing and, especially, given the way it aligns with the words of Walt and Mearsheimer, who wrote that “Israel’s enemies get weakened or overthrown…and the United States does most of the fighting, dying, rebuilding, and paying.” Once a far-left conspiracy theory, the idea that the Iraq War was fought at the behest of Jews for Israel’s interest had drifted so far to the center that it could appear under the aegis of Time.

It would be easy to dismiss these statements…except that they have proven to be anything but isolated. Take for example Mearsheimer’s recent endorsement of The Wandering Who?, a book by a psychotically anti-Semitic ex-Israeli named Gilad Atzmon.… Mearsheimer lent his academic prestige to Atzmon’s poisonous ravings, praising the book for unveiling, yes, unscrupulous Jewish power: “Panicked Jewish leaders, [Atzmon] argues, have turned to Zionism (blind loyalty to Israel) and scaremongering (the threat of another Holocaust) to keep the tribe united and distinct from the surrounding goyim.…”

In the current Atlantic, a profile of Mearsheimer by Robert D. Kaplan casts the Atzmon episode, and the Israel Lobby debate generally, as unfortunate distractions from the achievements of a great foreign-policy thinker. “The real tragedy of such controversies, as lamentable as they are, is that they threaten to obscure the urgent and enduring message of Mearsheimer’s life’s work, which topples conventional foreign-policy shibboleths and provides an unblinking guide to the course the United States should follow in the coming decades,” Kaplan writes.…

This is not quite adequate to the situation. Indeed, the more one accepts Kaplan’s premise that Mearsheimer is a great sage, the more disturbing it becomes that the foreign-policy expert has lent his name to the legitimization of anti-Semitic discourse. In his article, Kaplan continues to bolster Mearsheimer’s self-image as a brave heretic paying a price for crossing the Jews. “Within media ranks, The Israel Lobby has delegitimized Mearsheimer,” Kaplan writes. Here is the neat rhetorical power of the Israel Lobby idea, which it shares with anti-Semitism in general: If you are taken to task for attacking the Jews, you become a martyr to the very Jewish power you denounced.

“Say what you will about The Israel Lobby,” Kaplan writes, but—in the words of an expert he quotes—“It changed the debate on Israel, even if it did not change the policy.” Indeed, I give the book even more credit: It is possible today to see the publication of The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy as an intellectual landmark, one of those rare books that succeed in altering the intellectual climate. Without it, it is hard to imagine Friedman and Klein and others casually writing as they did.

In this sense, Walt and Mearsheimer offer a case study in the old truth that ideas have consequences. Language is the most intangible of things, yet the language we use determines the boundaries of the thinkable and, ultimately, the shape of the world we live in. Now we live in a world where it is possible to say in leading publications, without fear of censure, that Jews buy and pay for the U.S. Congress and American troops are sent to die in Israel’s wars. For that, Walt and Mearsheimer deserve their fair share of credit.

Bruce Bawer

FrontPage, January 26, 2012

The only thing worse than having the biases of the mainstream media inflicted upon you on a daily basis is having to subsidize it. For Americans, to be sure, the rip-off isn’t so terrible: the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which funds PBS and NPR, gets $430 million a year from the federal government, which comes to only a couple of bucks per household. In [Canada], by contrast…the CBC receives more than $1.5 billion a year from the Canadian government, which amounts to upwards of $100 per household.

And what, exactly, are Canadian taxpayers paying for? That’s the question asked—and very illuminatingly answered—by a new documentary, This Hour Could Have 10,000 Minutes: The Biases of the CBC, produced by James Cohen and Fred Litwin. (The title is a reference to “This Hour Has 22 Minutes,” a long-running CBC series specializing in political satire.) Focusing on two main topics—anti-Israel bias and anti-conservative bias—the documentary consists almost entirely of CBC clips in which we can see these biases in action. To judge by this compilation, the CBC is perhaps even more slanted than the infamously partial BBC—and, perhaps, even more brazen about it.

Take the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In the documentary we see excerpts from a CBC report on the second Gaza “Freedom Flotilla” that consists entirely of interviews with flotilla participants—all of whom represent it as a virtuous and innocuous aid mission and condemn Israel’s actions against the previous flotilla as absolutely unjustified. At no point does the CBC provide even a brief reminder that there is, in fact, another side to the story. (As the documentary asks: “Is this reporting? Or stenography?”)

In one report, the CBC describes the Jewish Defense League, untruthfully, as a terrorist group that’s banned in Canada. In another report, on Hamas’s struggle with Fatah and takeover of Gaza, the CBC includes file footage of Israeli soldiers firing at terrorists—images that have nothing to do with the story in question. In both cases, the CBC was compelled to issue on-air apologies. (This documentary, in fact, is packed with on-air apologies for this sort of thing.)

We’re shown a clip in which an interviewer lets nutty ex-Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, a 9/11 Truther, rant away about Israel—and doesn’t challenge her when she accuses Israel of committing a “massacre” of “unarmed humanitarian activists.” And we’re shown another clip in which the despicable George Galloway is treated with fawning respect by interviewer George Stroumboulopoulos, who describes him as being banned from Canada (he’s not) and who agrees with Galloway that it’s “ridiculous” to consider him a terrorist. (To clarify this issue, the documentary makers show a clip from Arab TV in which Galloway is seen handing money over to Hamas—and bragging about it.)

Not only is the CBC systematically anti-Israeli and pro-Palestinian. Its journalists introduce Israel and “Palestine” into stories that are utterly unrelated to Israel and Palestine, comparing aggressors with Israel and victims with Palestinians, the more firmly to fix in viewers’ minds the notion that Israelis are, indeed, the incarnation of evil and Palestinians as pure as the driven snow.

In a story about Somalis fleeing from belligerent Islamists in North Africa, for example, a CBC reporter says that “the Somalis are becoming the Palestinians of Africa.” In a story about Egypt’s use of its emergency laws to quell uprisings, another CBC reporter, in an apparent effort to make Egypt’s actions sound less harsh, points out that “Israel has an emergency law too,” which he proceeds to describe at length—even though those laws have nothing whatsoever to do with the events he’s reporting on.

The CBC, as the documentary points out, “can use any story to show how awful Israel is.” In a report on the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, the CBC manages to work in an absurd comparison between the Soviets’ wall and Israel’s security fence: “For some people, the Berlin anniversary is a reminder of their own divisions. Today a group of Palestinian activists took down a slab of the security barrier that separates Israel and the West Bank.” (The report also describes the barrier as an “electronic fence,” which it isn’t.…)

The CBC is, of course, also hostile to Canada’s own Conservative Party. The documentary showcases a shameless piece of trickery by the network, in which a clip of Conservative prime minister Stephen Harper is taken out of context to make it look as if he’s putting down Canada’s Muslim community. After showing us the CBC version of Harper’s statement, Cohen and Litwin present us with the uncut version, which makes it clear that Harper was making a respectful comment about both Jews and Muslims. On this occasion, too, the CBC was forced to apologize.…

This Hour Could Have 10,000 Minutes was first shown in Ottawa last November and was followed by a panel discussion among several journalists and media critics. That discussion is included on the DVD.… [A] panelist notes that even though the CBC’s viewership numbers keep going down, its government subsidies continue to climb.…

Michael Freund

Jerusalem Post, February 8, 2012

Last week, [Israeli] Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar announced the launch of a profoundly important Zionist educational initiative, one that will have a transformative effect on Israel’s youth. Speaking in the Knesset, Sa’ar said that a pilot program enabling students to visit Hebron and the Cave of the Patriarchs will soon be expanded to include schools from across the country.

Previously, the outings, known as “heritage tours,” had been limited to students from the Jerusalem area on a trial basis. In the past year, approximately 3,000 Israeli high school teens, two-thirds of whom attend secular schools, took part. This is an invaluable undertaking and Sa’ar deserves praise for pushing it through. It will go a long way toward inculcating Israeli youth with a greater appreciation for our link to this land.…

Indeed, it is widely acknowledged that Israel’s educational system desperately needs a strong injection of Zionist and Jewish values. Israeli students must gain a deeper understanding of our past, and there is no better place for them to do so than in Hebron, the burial place of our Biblical patriarchs.

Anyone who is exposed to the heroic story of the return of the Jewish people to Hebron cannot help but be moved by the faith and perseverance which it embodies. Walking through the ancient streets of the city where King David ruled, and offering a silent prayer while standing beside the tomb of our father Abraham, are powerful and emotive experiences which should be part of every Israeli child’s education.

Not surprisingly, however, the proposed plan elicited howls of protest from the extreme Left, which cannot seem to tolerate the idea that Israeli youth should learn about their heritage. When the pilot program was first launched last year, Meretz Chairman MK Haim Oron blasted it as “brain-washing” while MK Ahmed Tibi said that “requiring students to visit occupied territory is ideological coercion.”

This past Sunday, after the expansion of the program was announced, more than 200 teachers took Sa’ar to task when they signed a joint letter declaring that they would refuse to participate in what they deemed to be a “manipulative” effort. Some of the teachers, in interviews with the press, actually went so far as to criticize him for trying to promote Zionist and nationalist values, as though there was something inherently wrong in doing so.

What they seem to have forgotten is that schools exist not merely to teach the mechanics of math or the structure of a sentence, but the qualities of good citizenship too. And to be a good citizen means to appreciate and understand one’s nation, its history, legacy and traditions.

The Land of Israel is a living curriculum, with a wide array of sites that impart our people’s story and evoke pride in its very special saga. We are blessed with so many evocative symbols, from the Western Wall to the Cave of the Patriarchs to Rachel’s Tomb, which far too many Israelis no longer go to see.…

As the 18th-century political philosopher Baron de Montesquieu once pointed out, the promotion of love for one’s country “ought to be the principal business of education.” That must become our motto as well.

Charles Bybelezer

According to Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird, “Canada does not stand behind Israel; Canada stands shoulder to shoulder with Israel.” And he’s right. Under Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s leadership, Canada has unquestionably assumed the mantle, previously held by the U.S., of “Israel’s best friend.”

This stems primarily from the fact that Canada’s current government fundamentally understands, and sympathizes with, Israel’s reality and the threats it faces. This was made clear by Mr. Baird’s latest trip to Israel (his third), during which he:

1. Reaffirmed that Canada “believes passionately in Israel’s right not only to exist, but to exist as a Jewish state and to live in peace and security;” 2. “Recognized the long and unbroken history of antiSemitism,” and correctly described as the new antiSemitism the “constant barrage of rhetorical demonization, double standards and delegitimization [of Israel];” 3. Acknowledged that “Israel, today, is a country whose very existence is under attack, both literally and figuratively;” 4. Labeled as “profoundly wrong” the Palestinians’ unilateral attempt to obtain statehood recognition at the United Nations; 5. Reiterated that “[Canada] has no interest in interacting with Hamas. It is a terrorist organization;” 6. Admitted that “it would be easier to…engage[e] in anti-Israeli rhetoric…but Canada will not ‘go along to get along.’”

From Israel’s perspective, Canada “gets” it.

Mr. Harper, for his part, has an equally impressive record. During his tenure, Canada has repeatedly supported Israeli positions in various forums: by infusing a much-needed counterweight to the overwhelming anti-Israel discourse in the UN by routinely casting the lone vote against anti-Israel resolutions, and by twice being the first country (preceding even Israel) to announce a boycott of the UN’s anti-Israel Durban Conference; by slashing its contribution to UNRWA, the organization founded to perpetuate the Palestinian “refugee” crisis; by steadfastly supporting Israel’s legitimate “blockade” of the Gaza Strip, and, in 2006, by becoming the first country to cut off financial aid to the “democratically” elected Hamas government; and by refusing to criticize Israeli “settlement” construction in the Jewish people’s biblical heartland.

More recently, at a summit last summer in Deauville, France, Mr. Harper defied the overwhelming pressure exerted upon him by seven of the world’s most powerful countries and refused to include in the G8 leaders’ final communiqué any reference to an Israeli withdrawal to the 1967 borders (not as a stipulation for signing an “historic” peace agreement with the Palestinians, mind you, but rather as a precondition for jump-starting negotiations). In the words of one European diplomat, “The Canadians were really very adamant, even though [US President Barack] Obama expressly referred to 1967 borders.”

Furthermore, Mr. Harper’s government in November became the first country to sign the Ottawa Protocol on Combating AntiSemitism, the guiding principles for which were developed at a summit held in Canada in 2010. At that time, Mr. Harper delivered what is likely the most impassioned speech ever by a foreign head of state on behalf of Israel: “When Israel, the only country in the world whose very existence is under attack, is consistently and conspicuously singled out for condemnation, I believe we are morally obligated to take a stand.… Whether it is at the United Nations, or any other international forum, the easy thing to do is simply to just…go along with this anti-Israeli rhetoric…and to excuse oneself with the label of ‘honest broker.’ There are, after all, a lot more votes, a lot more, in being anti-Israeli.… But, as long as I am Prime Minister…Canada will take that stand, whatever the cost.”

Fitting, then, was Mr. Baird’s assertion on January 30 at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial museum in Jerusalem that “Israel has no greater friend in the world than Canada.” Less fitting, however, is that in spite of Canada’s remarkable and deeply rooted support for Israel, neither Mr. Baird, nor his country, officially recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Given the current strength of the Canada-Israel relationship, the possibility of moving the Canadian embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem should at the very least be reintroduced into the public discourse. Such a gesture would be Mr. Harper’s ultimate legacy to the Jewish people and the Jewish state of Israel.

(Charles Bybelezer is Publications Chairman for the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research.)


Herb Keinon

Jerusalem Post, January 31, 2012

Israel has no greater friend in the world than Canada, Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird said during a warm address at the opening of the 12th-annual Herzliya Conference on Monday night. Ottawa stood with Israel because it was a Canadian tradition “to stand for what is principled and just, regardless of whether it is popular, convenient or expedient,” Baird said. The Canadian government supports Israel so strongly…because it embodies the values Canada holds dear…and because Israel is “a beacon of light in a region that craves freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law.”

Slamming the “constant barrage of rhetorical demonization, double standards and delegitimization” of Israel, Baird characterized this as the new anti-Semitism. “Harnessing disparate anti-Semitic, anti-American and anti-Western ideologies, it targets the Jewish people by targeting the Jewish homeland, Israel, as the source of injustice and conflict in the world, and uses, perversely, the language of human rights to do so,” he said. “We must be relentless in exposing this new anti-Semitism for what it is.…”

Asaf Romirowsky & John R. Cohn

Jerusalem Post, January 30, 2012

A self-proclaimed National Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Conference is set to take place at the University of Pennsylvania, an Ivy league institution in the heart of Philadelphia, during the weekend of February 4. Last held in 2009, according to the organizers, the BDS movement intends to focus on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by demonizing Israel while propagating the Palestinian victimhood status in order to gain global sympathy. They believe that if universities, companies and even countries boycott, divest from and sanction Israel it will pressure the government to change its so-called “hard nosed” policies toward the Palestinians and in addition to give up land Israel supposedly “stole” from the Palestinians in 1948 and 1967.

A closer look at the BDS movement and its methodology shows not legitimate criticism but actually a racist and anti-Semitic program. In a world where refugees have been created and resettled by the tens of millions, including over 900,000 Jews that fled Arab states, BDS targets only Israel. Its stated goals vary but all include the “right” for descendants of Palestinian “refugees” to “return” to a country they have never seen, thus bringing about the end of Jewish Israel. The movement takes care to give the impression that ending specific Israeli policies such as the “occupation” or “apartheid” will also bring an end to efforts to ostracize Israel. Their maximalist demand—the elimination of Israel as a Jewish state—is carefully hidden but readily apparent to a careful examiner.

It is a matter of great concern that respected universities lend their space and name to such conferences in addition to the participation of their faculty and others from around the country. In North America, whatever goes on in a classroom is deemed protected by “academic freedom,” whether it is academic or not.… Gradually, campuses have become an “academic freedom” zone where protests and other activities now qualify as academic “speech.” This freedom to critique is, predictably, directed mostly at the twin Satans, Israel and America, although efforts to curtail speech that academics find unpleasant and unacceptable have been longstanding in the form of “speech codes” and restrictions on “hate speech.” Clearly academic freedom is a one-way street; only those having the correct opinions may claim it.…

[Accordingly], universities which should be bastions of critical thinking and opposition to fallacies of argument have become fertile ground for myth, fantasy and lies about history. North American college campuses have been suffering from a significant increase in anti-Israelism. This new situation has demonstrated the need for a clear and inclusive definition of anti-Semitism and an answer to the question of whether anti-Israelism constitutes anti-Semitism.

The apparent dilemma has been that anti-Israelism itself is not blatantly or even necessarily anti-Semitic but rather may appear merely critical of “Zionist policies,” thus distinguishing between Jews and Zionists. This well-worn distinction has enabled the anti-Israeli camp to pose as legitimate critics. What has actually emerged, in effect, is a new form of anti-Semitism, because the state of Israel acts as a proxy for Jews at large.…

In the US, politicized writing and teaching have often displaced scholarship, and academic freedom has been redefined as the liberty to dispense with academic standards. In response, hiring token Israeli Jews who subscribe to the anti-Israel narrative and support the BDS movement has become common practice on American campuses, thereby eliminating debate while providing the illusion of balance and using their Jewishness as a carte blanche to criticize Israel and question it existence.

Combating BDS has become complicated and confusing especially for those who want to believe that there is room for debating the “facts” presented by the BDS movement. What makes this battle so arduous for the pro-Israel community and so attractive for the antagonizers of Israel is the umbrella of academic freedom.…

On a positive note, the racist nature of the BDS movement has redrawn the lines of acceptable discourse. We are now seeing a sure but steady understanding of the real threats BDS and its sympathizers represent to not just the pro-Israel community but to honest academic discourse on the Middle East. The hope is that rejection of their hateful message will catch on.

Sara Dogan

FrontPage, January 20, 2012

What do the administrators at the University of Pennsylvania know about the 2012 National Conference of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement about to take place at Penn and when did they know it?

“BDS,” as this virulent anti-Israeli hatefest is commonly called, is coming to the Penn campus on February 3-5, but university officials have hid from the implications of hosting such an event. They say that the university is on record as not supporting this movement, yet they let the event go forward, providing space and possibly funding, despite the fact that the sponsors may not meet school requirements as a recognized group and that their anti-Semitic message is deeply hostile to academic freedom and basic human decency. The university appears to be bending rules that would be rigidly enforced for sponsors of another cause.

U Penn’s willingness to enable the BDS conference is particularly inexplicable given the fact that this growing movement to boycott Israel and Israeli-produced goods, force divestment from any companies that do business with Israel, and establish sanctions against Israel due to its supposed violations of human rights, was created by nations and groups seeking to delegitimize and destabilize Israel such as the terrorist-sponsoring nation of Iran and the terrorist groups Hezbollah, and Hamas. As Harvard professor Alan Dershowitz has noted, the BDS movement abets terrorism: “People who advocate boycotts and divestiture will literally have blood on their hands,” he said. “They encourage terrorism and discourage the laying down of arms.…”

Among the scheduled speakers at the upcoming conference is Anna Baltzer, a “Jewish American Palestinian human rights activist,” who summarizes the line of attack on Israel when she bluntly states that its polices of “ethnic cleansing and apartheid must be stopped.” These terms are not arguments; they are knowing lies designed to weaken the Jewish State.… The insidious segregation of “apartheid” does not exist in Israel. Arabs are granted full civil rights under Israeli law.… Israeli Arab citizens vote in national elections, have representatives in the Israeli Parliament…and sit on the benches of Israeli courts (including the Israeli Supreme Court). They have more rights, and enjoy more freedom, education, and economic opportunity than the Arabs of any Arab state.

The BDS conference at Penn will feature, in addition to Baltzer, a cavalcade of anti-Israel speakers, including founder of the Electronic Intifada Ali Abunimah, whose views are summed up when he says, “Israel is a society where virulent anti-Arab racism and Nakba denial are the norm although none of the European and American leaders who constantly lecture about Holocaust denial will dare to admonish [Israeli Prime Minister] Netanyahu for his bald lies and omissions about Israel’s ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians.”

The BDS National Conference at U Penn is by no means a stand-alone event. In fact the BDS movement shares radical political DNA (and personnel) with the international “Israel Apartheid Weeks” and “Palestine Awareness Weeks” scheduled to take place on campuses around the country this spring. The goal of these events, designed by the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated organizations Muslim Students Association (MSA) and Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), is to garner support for the Palestinian Authority and Hamas who seek to “push the Jews into the sea” and annihilate the Jewish state. These “weeks” have regularly sought to intimidate Jewish students, occasionally through acts of physical violence, and have become frequent occurrences at campuses like the University of California, Irvine.…

Despite the intention of the BDS conference to preach three days of systematic ethnic hatred against Jews that the university would not countenance if it were directed, say, at Muslims, U Penn officials have turned a blind eye (and a deaf ear) to the growing public outcry about the conference, claiming that it is solely a student matter and that, to stretch credulity, the university literally has no information regarding the conference, its funding, its sponsors, or its arrangements to use university facilities.

As a concerned Jewish-American citizen…I made several calls to university officials to see if I could uncover the truth about Penn’s sponsorship or funding of or cooperation with the BDS conference. I first spoke with Executive Director Karu Kozuma at the Office of Student Affairs and hit a brick wall. Kozuma claimed that all funding decisions are handled by students themselves and he did not have any information on whether PennBDS receives student funds either in general or for the upcoming conference.… A week after my initial call Kozuma responded by email to clarify that PennBDS had only recently become a recognized student organization and as such was not eligible to receive student activities funds..…

Many observers and critics of the PennBDS conference and movement note that it appears to have sprung up overnight out of thin air. Yet Penn does have rules and regulations governing how long a student organization must be in existence before it may be officially recognized by the University and thereby be eligible to use university facilities free-of-charge. The Student Activities Council (SAC) website notes that…“All groups seeking SAC recognition must have been in existence for at least one year.… The group must also demonstrate an appeal to a reasonable portion of the Penn Community.”

I once again emailed Kozuma to inquire whether PennBDS had met these criteria—in particular, whether the group had existed for a full year prior to its recognition by the Student Activities Council. My inquiries met with no response, raising questions about whether the Student Activities Council and the administrators who oversee it may have bent the rules for PennBDS. Attempts to contact PennBDS directly to ask these questions were also ignored.…

This unconcern and lack of transparency on the part of Penn…is disturbing. The BDS movement is steeped in hatred and anti-Semitism, yet Penn has taken the stance that it has no authority to forbid such hatred access to its property or even to oversee basic details regarding the organization’s use of university facilities and resources. Would Penn take the same line if the conference was being sponsored not by BDS but by the Aryan Brotherhood or the KKK?…

Caroline B. Glick

Jerusalem Post, January 27, 2012

European and American perfidy in dealing with Iran’s nuclear weapons program apparently has no end. This week we were subject to banner headlines announcing that the EU has decided to place an oil embargo on Iran. It was only when we got past the bombast that we discovered that the embargo is only set to come into force on July 1. Following its European colleagues, the Obama administration announced it is also ratcheting up its sanctions against Iran—in two months. Sometime in late March, the US will begin sanctioning Iran’s third largest bank.

At the same time as the Europeans and the Americans announced their phony sanctions, they reportedly dispatched their Turkish colleagues to Tehran to set up a new round of nuclear talks with the ayatollahs. If the past is any guide, we can expect for the Iranians to agree to sit down and talk just before the oil embargo is scheduled to be enforced. And the Europeans—with US support—will use the existence of talks to postpone indefinitely the implementation of the embargo. There is nothing new in this game of fake sanctions. And what it shows more than anything is that the Europeans and the Americans are more concerned with pressuring Israel not to attack Iran’s nuclear installations than they are in preventing Iran from becoming a nuclear power.

Obama has a second target audience—American Jews. He is using his fake sanctions as a means of convincing American Jews that he is a pro-Israel president and that in the current election season, not only should they cast their votes in his favor, they should sign their checks for his campaign.… As to American Jewry, the jury is still out.

In truth, American Jewry’s diffidence towards taking a stand on Iran, or recognizing Obama’s dishonesty on this issue specifically and his dishonesty regarding his position on US-Israel ties generally is not rooted primarily in American Jews’ devotion to Obama. It isn’t even specifically related to American Jewry’s devotion to the political Left. Rather it has to do with American Jewish ambivalence to Israel.… As the US and the EU have given Iran at least another six months to a year to develop its nuclear bombs unchecked, it is worth considering the nature and influence of this ambivalence.

Today’s principal form of Jew-hatred is anti-Zionism.… The problem that anti-Zionism poses for American Jewry is that it forces them to pay a price for supporting Israel. This is problematic because Zionism has never been fully embraced by American Jewry.… Unlike every other Diaspora Jewish community, the American Jewish community has always perceived itself as a permanent community rather than an exilic community. American Jews have always viewed the United States as the new Promised Land.…

In a recent op-ed in Haaretz, Hebrew University political science professor Shlomo Avineri contrasted world Jewry’s massive mobilization on behalf of Soviet Jewry in the 1970s and 1980s and their relative silence today in the face of Iran’s Holocaust denial and open calls for the annihilation of the Jewish state. Avineri is apparently confounded by the disparity between Western Jewry’s behavior in the two cases. But the cause of the disparity is clear.

Supporting the right of Soviet Jews to emigrate was easy. Unlike Israel, Soviet Jews were powerless. As such, they were pure victims and supporting them cost Diaspora Jews nothing in terms of their position in their societies. Just as important, the cause of freedom for Soviet Jewry was perfectly aligned with the West’s Cold War policies against the Soviet Union.… In contrast, supporting Israel, and the cause of Jewish freedom and self-determination embodied by Zionism, is not cost-free for Diaspora Jews. At root, to support Israel and Zionism involves accepting that Jews have inherent rights as Jews. To be a Zionist Jew in the Diaspora means that you embrace and defend the notion that the Jews have the right to their own interests and that those interests may be distinct from other nations’ interests. That is, to be a Zionist involves…embracing the fact that Jews require national independence and power to guarantee our survival. And this can be unpleasant.

Pro-Israel American Jews have historically tried to tie their support for Israel to larger, more universal themes, in order to extricate themselves from the need to admit that as Jews and supporters of Israel they have a right and a duty to support Jewish freedom even if it isn’t always pretty. Again, for Israel’s first several decades, it was about helping poor Jews and refugees. In recent years, the predominant defense has been that Israel deserves support because it is a democracy.

Certainly, these are both reasonable reasons for supporting Israel. But neither support for Israel because it was poor nor support for Israel because it is free is a specifically Zionist reason for supporting Israel. You don’t have to be a Zionist to support poor Jewish refugees and you don’t have to be a Zionist to support democracy. You do have to be a Zionist however, to defend the Jews in Israel and throughout the world in a coherent manner when the predominant form of Jew-hatred is anti-Zionism.

You have to be willing to accept and defend the right of the Jewish people to freedom and self-determination in our national homeland against those who deny that right.… And you have to be a Zionist to realize that since Jewish survival is dependent on Jewish power, and anti-Zionists reject the right of Jews to have power, that anti-Zionists seek to bring about a situation where Jewish survival is imperilled.…

Since 2007, the US government has effectively ruled out the use of force against Iran’s nuclear weapons program and embraced a policy of pursuing negotiations with ayatollahs while enacting impotent sanctions to quell congressional pressure.… [Therefore], to oppose Iran’s nuclear program effectively, American Jews are required to oppose these strongly supported US policies. And at some point, this may require them to announce they support Israel’s right to survive and thrive even if that paramount right conflicts with how the US government perceives US national interests.…

In a speech this week at the Knesset, [Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin] Netanyahu…embraced Zionism’s core principle: “With regard to threats to our very existence, we cannot abandon our future to the hands of others. With regard to our fate, our duty is to rely on ourselves alone.” We must hope that world Jewry will recognize today that the fate of the Jewish people in Israel and throughout the world is indivisible and rally to Israel’s side whatever the social cost of doing so. But even if they do not recognize this basic truth, the imperatives of Zionism, of the Jewish people, remain in place.


The Canadian Institute for Jewish Research sincerely thanks all those, presenters and audience members, who participated in yesterday’s (Sunday, November 6, 2011) remarkable and highly successful International Conference, “Combatting the Delegitimation of Israel.”


The event brought together nine respected academics from a variety of fields to analyze, and devise strategies to overcome, the global propaganda “soft war” being perpetrated against the democratic Jewish state. An edited video of the Conference will be up shortly on CIJR’s website.


The following “Action Points” summarize the Conference’s themes and provide guidance to those now asking themselves: “What Can I Do to Help?”


Anti-Delegitimation Action Points


1. The existence of Israel-focused antisemitism is a reality, and all ideologies with an anti-Jewish or anti-Israel component must be systematically and carefully analyzed, without illusions.


2. We must combat the use of an inverted human-rights narrative that uses pseudo-liberal language stigmatizing Israel as an “apartheid,” “racist” state. Israel is in fact a thriving democracy governed by the rule of law, which bestows upon all its citizens, both Israelis and Arabs, Jewish and non-Jewish, equal rights and opportunities. We must seek out the liars, expose their lies, and convey the truth to the public, Jewish and non-Jewish.


3. We must oppose the insidious Boycotts, Divestments, Sanctions (BDS) movement, through grassroots mechanisms—like purchasing goods at, precisely, boycotted stores—mobilizing both Jewish and non-Jewish citizens.


4. We must constructively critique the “fifth column” amongst us—those uninformed Jews who have internalized and promoted the false anti-Israel narrative. We must try to engage such individuals in discussion in order to communicate the facts to them, particularly as regards the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.


5. We must reaffirm our commitment to Jewish values, which foster Jewish pride. Placating the “other” at our own expense is not a legitimate strategy. We must redefine the meaning of “victory” over our enemies, seeking strong deterrence rather than passive appeasement.



CIJR again thanks Mme. Ginette Auger and Mr. Yves Archambault, owners of Montreal’s Le Marcheur shoestore, for their steadfast refusal to submit to the ongoing and vicious Boycotts, Divestments, Sanctions (BDS) campaign targeting their business, due to its sale of Israeli-made products. Below, please find the text of the presentation made to Mme. Auger and Mr. Archambault by CIJR “Israel Student-Advocacy Program” intern Sandro Angelo de Thomasis at yesterday’s Conference:


Prior to awarding the Golden Magen David Award, I would like to advise all present that the intention behind this symbolic gesture is by no means political.


To politicize this award would play into the hands of the extreme-left member of the Quebec National Assembly heading the boycott campaign against the award’s recipients. He is a man who promotes, on wholly specious political grounds, opposition to a 25-year-old business in his own borough because less than 2% of the shoes sold there come directly from Israel.


The anti-Zionist boycott demonstrations against Le Marcheur are conducted with the aim of both intimidating its clientele, and getting the media to pick up their delegitimation propaganda depicting Israel as an “apartheid” state.


The truly deserving recipients of this award, Ginette Auger and Yves Archambault, describe themselves as apolitical. Nevertheless, being apolitical does not necessarily mean being without principles. It is these very principles that we wish to honour here today. Mrs. Auger and Mr. Archambault did not let themselves be intimidated; they refused to bow down in the face of aggressive intimidation. Their courage and resiliency deserves recognition, and demonstrates that Quebecers will not cave to intimidation. And it forges a bond of common values with Quebec society, something of which all Quebecers should be proud.


I am therefore proud to present CIJR’s Golden Magen David Award to Ginette Auger and Yves Archambault.




Dear Fred Krantz,

Congratulations on a well conceived and well executed conference!

Prof. Ira Robinson, Montreal


Hi Fred, Baruch, Charles & Yvonne,

Again allow me to congratulate you and your team on the very interesting conference and the efforts you invested to make it happen. Yishar Koach.

Jack Kincler, Montreal


Dear CIJR,

Congratulations to all for a job well done!!!

Abigail Hirsch, CEO, AskAbigail Productions


Dear CIJR,

Mazel Tovto all those involved with organizing the conference and to the outstanding panelists. It was a success on all fronts. A special thank you to the very hard-working CIJR staff—and, of course, Fred!

Howard Bokser, Montreal


Dear Professor,

I commend you for your hard work in organizing today’s wonderful conference. CIJR seems to be the only organization in Montreal that is actually trying to do something to combat the delegitimation of Israel and educate the public, and you are to be congratulated. We were particularly impressed by your thoughtfulness in honouring the owners of Le Marcheur shoestore.

May you continue from strength to strength.

Peggy Bybelezer, Montreal


Jonathan Kay
National Post, November 4, 2011

Gone are the days when Canada’s mainstream English-language media would casually spout slurs against Israel. Much of the credit for this lies with HonestReporting Canada (HRC)…whose mission is to ensure that Canadians get a balanced picture of the Middle East. Beginning in 2003, HRC started calling out the Toronto Star, Globe & Mail, CBC and other outlets on stories they believed were unfair. As a result, the English media landscape has been greatly improved.

Unfortunately, the French-language media still has its stubborn Israel-haters. One of them is Stephane Gendron, host of the V-network morning talk show Face à Face.

“The [Canadian] Minister of Foreign affairs, John Baird, decided not to make further contributions to UNESCO,” Mr. Gendron declared [last] Wednesday. “Why? Because the U.S. decided to cut its funding. Why? Because Palestine dared to be admitted to UNESCO. This is appalling! It is an affront to peace! Do you know what Israel did? In revenge for the admission of Palestine to UNESCO, they decided to build 2,000 homes in areas that do not belong to them, the occupied territories, so they are going to bulldoze people, kill people, they will give them five minutes to get out and then they’ll run people down with bulldozers. And Canada supports this.”

In the past, there have indeed been confrontations over disputed land involving bulldozer-equipped Israelis: This much is true. But the idea that Israel has a plan to “bulldoze people, kill people” is a vicious libel. (Mr. Gendron is no doubt thinking of one particular episode—the death of Rachel Corrie, a member of the militantly pro-Palestinian International Solidarity Movement, in 2003. That accident occurred because Ms. Corrie intentionally stood in the way of the bulldozer, and was outside the driver’s field of vision.) It is of a piece with the other casual lies people tell about the Jewish state—such as the idea that Israeli soldiers intentionally slaughter Palestinian children, or that Israel committed a “massacre” in Jenin.

In the past, Mr. Gendron has accused the Jews of “invent[ing] terrorism,” and compared the Gaza Strip to the Warsaw Ghetto. He also has accused Israel of conducting a “genocide.” And he has described Israelis as “les Nazis des temps modernes.” Mr. Gendron’s views comprise a blot on Canada’s French-language media, and cast a shadow on those outlets that choose to air them.


Below is the email exchange between CIJRsupporter David M. Sherman (Toronto) and Diane Patenaude, Director of Communications for V Interactions, following Stephane Gendron’s anti-Israel tirade.


David Sherman writes on November 4, 2011:

It has been reported that your host Stephane Gendron stated (translated): “The Minister of Foreign affairs, John Baird, decided not to make further contributions to UNESCO, why? Because the U.S. decided to cut its funding, why? Because Palestine dared to be admitted to UNESCO. This is appalling! It is an affront to peace! Do you know what Israel did? In revenge for the admission of Palestine to UNESCO, they decided to build 2000 homes in areas that do not belong to them, the occupied territories, so they are going to bulldoze people, kill people, they will give them 5 minutes to get out and then they?ll run people down with bulldozers. And Canada supports this.?

If this report is correct, it is a horrendous libel against Israel that has no place on Canadian airwaves, and I am utterly appalled. Israel does not “run people down with bulldozers”. Indeed, Israel has offered the Palestinians a state, but the Palestinians refuse to negotiate, because that would require accepting Israel’s existence, while the Palestinian leadership still seeks to destroy Israel.

You should not tolerate such false vitriol on your network.

Yours truly,

David M. Sherman, LLB, LLM


Diane Patenaude responded on November 7, 2011:

Mr. Sherman,

We received the e-mail you sent to Maxime Remillard last week concerning the opinions expressed by Stephane Gendron during the November 2nd broadcast of Face a Face on the V television network.

Face a Face is a public affairs show that touches on numerous topics of interest and aims to provoke debate and discussion. This program is neither a news telecast nor a news magazine, and its hosts are not journalists. The opinions expressed on the program are those of the individual hosts or their guests. As such, they do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the V television network or its management.

Following the broadcast of the November 2nd episode of Face a face, the management of V has spoken to the production team responsible for the program. In order to avoid repeating a similar occurrence in the future, we have reiterated the need for the program to adhere to the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council’s guidelines.

We deeply regret if the comments expressed on one of our programs were offending to you.


Diane Patenaude, Director of Communications for V Interactions


David Sherman wrote in response on November 7, 2011:

Ms. Patenaude:

Thank you for your email. If I understand your response correctly, if one of your hosts had said that all Black people are trash who should be deported from Canada, or that Homosexual people carry AIDS and shouldn’t be given medical care in Canada, you would respond with a simple disclaimer that “they do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the V television network or its management” and that you have “spoken to the production team”, and that’s it? No consequence for inflicting a horrendous libel against Israel and the Jewish people? No plan to broadcast a correction to explain that this statement was libellous, incorrect and inflammatory against Jews?

I am appalled.

David M. Sherman, LLB, LLM

Alan Dershowitz

New Republic, November 4, 2011

As the discourse about Israel on university campuses continues to degenerate, there is growing concern that some of Israel’s most vocal detractors are crossing a red line between acceptable criticism of Israel and legitimizing anti-Semitism. The recent endorsements by several internationally prominent academics—including John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago and Richard Falk of Princeton—of an overtly anti-Semitic book written by a notorious Jew-hater illustrate this dangerous trend.

The book in question is entitled The Wandering Who? and was written by Gilad Atzmon, a British jazz musician. Lest there be any doubt about Atzmon’s anti-Semitic credentials, listen to his self-description in the book itself. He boasts about “drawing many of my insights from a man who…was an anti-Semite as well as a radical misogynist” and a hater of “almost everything that fails to be Aryan masculinity” (89-90). He declares himself a “proud, self-hating Jew” (54), writes with “contempt” of “the Jew in me” (94), and describes himself as “a strong opponent of…Jewish-ness” (186).…

Throughout his writings, Atzmon argues that Jews seek to control the world:  “[W]e must begin to take the accusation that the Jewish people are trying to control the world very seriously.” “American Jewry makes any debate on whether the ‘Protocols of the elder of Zion’ [sic] are an authentic document or rather a forgery irrelevant. American Jews do try to control the world, by proxy.” Atzmon expands on this theme in The Wandering Who?, repeatedly conflating “the Jews” and “the Zionist”: He calls the recent credit crunch “the Zio-punch” (22) and says it was not “a Jewish conspiracy” because “it was all in the open” (30). Paul Wolfowitz, Rahm Emmanuel, and other members of “the Jewish elite” remain abroad instead of moving to “Zion” because they “have proved far more effective for the Zionist cause by staying where they are” (19). The American media “failed to warn the American people of the enemy within” because of money (27).

Atzmon has written that Jews are evil and a menace to humanity: “With Fagin and Shylock in mind Israeli barbarism and organ trafficking seem to be just other events in an endless hellish continuum.” “The Homo Zionicus quickly became a mass murderer, detached from any recognised form of ethical thinking and engaged in a colossal crime against humanity.” Atzmon rehearses many of these ideas in The Wandering Who?: “[T]o be a Jew is a deep commitment that goes far beyond any legal or moral order” (20) and this commitment “pulls more and more Jews into an obscure, dangerous and unethical fellowship” (21). If Iran and Israel fight a nuclear war that kills tens of millions of people, “some may be bold enough to argue that ‘Hitler might have been right after all’” (179).

Atzmon regularly urges his readers to doubt the Holocaust and to reject Jewish history: “It took me years to accept that the Holocaust narrative, in its current form, doesn’t make any historical sense.… If, for instance, the Nazis wanted the Jews out of their Reich (Judenrein—free of Jews), or even dead, as the Zionist narrative insists, how come they marched hundreds of thousands of them back into the Reich at the end of the war?” “[E]ven if we accept the Holocaust as the new Anglo-American liberal-democratic religion, we must allow people to be atheists.” Atzmon reprises some of this language in The Wandering Who…?: “The Holocaust religion is probably as old as the Jews themselves” (153). The history of Jewish persecution is a myth, and if there was any persecution the Jews brought it on themselves (175, 182).…

Hard-core neo-Nazis, racists, anti-Semites and Holocaust deniers…have happily counted Atzmon as one of their own. David Duke, America’s premier white supremacist, has posted more than a dozen of Atzmon’s articles on his website over the past five years and recently praised Atzmon for “writ[ing] such fine articles exposing the evil of Zionism and Jewish supremacism.” Kevin MacDonald, a professor at Cal State Long Beach whose colleagues formally disassociated themselves from his “anti-Semitic and white ethnocentric views,” called Atzmon’s book “an invaluable account by someone who clearly understands the main symptoms of Jewish pathology.” Israel Shamir, a Holocaust denier (“We must deny the concept of Holocaust without doubt and hesitation”) who argues that Jews ritually murdered Christian children for their blood and that “The rule of the Elders of Zion is already upon us,” refers to Atzmon as a “good friend” and calls Atzmon one of “the shining stars of the battle” against “the Jewish alliance.”

Atzmon’s well-established reputation for anti-Semitism [and] the copious anti-Semitic filth that fills The Wandering Who? have also not deterred Professors John Mearsheimer and Richard Falk from actively endorsing Atzmon’s work. Mearsheimer, the Harrison Distinguished Service Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, calls The Wandering Who? a “fascinating” book that “should be read widely by Jews and non-Jews alike.” Falk, Milibank Professor of International Law Emeritus at Princeton University and United Nations Special Rapporteur on “human rights in the Palestinian territories,” calls The Wandering Who? an “absorbing and moving” book that everyone who “care[s] about real peace” should “not only read, but reflect upon and discuss widely.” Falk’s endorsement appears prominently on the cover of Atzmon’s book. Mearsheimer’s endorsement is featured on its first page. These professors are not merely defending Atzmon’s right to publish such a book; they are endorsing its content.

These endorsements of Atzmon’s book are the best evidence yet that academic discourse is beginning to cross a red line, and that the crossing of this line must be exposed, rebutted, and rejected in the marketplace of ideas and in the academy. (Another evidence of this academic trend in Europe appeared recently on Atzmon’s website, where he brags that he has been invited to “give a talk on ethics at the Trondheim University” in Norway. This is the same university whose faculty refused to invite me to speak about the Arab-Israel conflict.)

Accordingly, I hereby challenge Professors Mearsheimer and Falk to a public debate about why they have endorsed and said such positive things about so hateful and anti-Semitic a book by so bigoted and dishonest a writer.

(Alan Dershowitz is a professor at Harvard Law School.)

John R. Bolton

Weekly Standard, November 14, 2011, Vol. 17, No. 09

The Palestinian Authority succeeded last Monday in becoming a member state in the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The vote was 107 in favor, 14 opposed, and 52 abstaining, with France, Spain, Austria, and India among those supporting PA admission. Two of [the US’] closest allies, the United Kingdom and Japan, abstained. Because of a 1990 federal law, supplemented in 1994, the State Department announced a few hours after the vote that the United States was ceasing its contribution to UNESCO.

The applicable statute, proposed in 1989 by Senator Bob Kasten, was a corollary to President George H.W. Bush’s efforts to prevent the Palestine Liberation Organization (predecessor of the PA) from joining U.N. agencies including the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNESCO. Back then, the PLO was trying to create “facts on the ground” in the Middle East peace process by working the U.N.’s corridors. Because only states are eligible for membership in the U.N. system, becoming a member of U.N. bodies, in the PLO/PA’s idiosyncratic view, would prove it was a state and therefore equivalent to Israel.

Europeans in particular were reluctant to oppose the PLO. In part, they dismissed as pro forma the Bush administration’s warnings that Congress would retaliate financially if the PLO joined WHO; they assumed this stance was purely for domestic consumption, to appease “the Jewish lobby,” which Europeans believed in even before professors Walt and Mearsheimer unearthed it.

Those of us in the administration working to block the PLO realized we needed to take much stronger steps. Accordingly, Secretary of State James Baker issued a statement that he would recommend to the president eliminating all U.S. contributions, assessed or voluntary, to any U.N. organization that granted the PLO full membership or changed its observer-state status. Everyone understood that Bush 41 would accept Baker’s suggestion.

The effect was dramatic. PLO membership was defeated in May 1989 during a boisterous WHO meeting in Geneva that saw Libyans, Cubans, and Nicaraguan Sandinistas stand on their chairs denouncing American imperialism. Immediately afterwards, I flew from Geneva to Paris to meet with UNESCO’s executive board. Ever since Ronald Reagan withdrew the United States from UNESCO in 1984 (along with Thatcher’s Britain and Singapore), U.S. contributions to UNESCO had been minimal, so defunding was irrelevant. Instead, I delivered an equally stark message: You can have us or the PLO. The United States will never rejoin if the PLO is admitted. Different words, same music, same effect.

Some people might call this the exercise of smart power. Twenty-plus years later, however, confronted with a resurrected Palestinian U.N. membership campaign, Team Obama stumbled badly. Initially, there was even speculation, since denied, that the president might not order a Security Council veto of a PA application to the United Nations. (Applications to U.N. agencies are decided individually by their respective governing bodies.)

In the context of the financial crises since 2008, there are often calls for governments to use a “big bazooka,” a really dramatic step to signal their willingness to take strong measures and thereby reassure global markets. Obama’s hesitancy, embarrassment, and unwillingness to fire up a big-bazooka defunding threat undoubtedly contributed to last week’s UNESCO defeat. Without question, the PA sensed this weakness and exploited it. Comments by State Department officials before and after the vote betrayed their displeasure with the statute, in effect blaming Congress for making them do something they didn’t really want to do. Had they enthusiastically endorsed turning off the U.S. spigot to UNESCO, they would likely have succeeded, as the Bush administration did in 1989.

The difference between Obama and Bush 41 is that Bush understood America had higher priorities than funding U.N. agencies. He and Baker were not afraid to order, over the usual cries of doom and gloom, strong diplomacy to achieve our objectives. And their muscular strategy prevailed. U.S. Middle East policy was not derailed by politically incontinent Palestinian leadership, and the U.N. system was not deprived of any funding. Under Obama, the opposite is happening on both counts.

George W. Bush decided to rejoin UNESCO in 2003 under the mistaken impression he could thereby stem criticism of his administration’s unilateralism. Predictably, however, the “international community” pocketed the U.S. return while continuing its unrelentingly hostile appraisal of Bush and his policies. For the privilege of continuing to be abused, Washington resumed payment of its assessed share of UNESCO’s annual budget; the U.S. share reached approximately $80,000,000 this fiscal year.

The State Department’s prompt announcement last week that it was cutting off funding to UNESCO was its savviest action in this affair to date. State thus followed the Bush 41 administration’s Plan B, namely, to cauterize the wound within the U.N. system caused by the PA’s victory. Our theory in 1989 was that, even had we failed to stop the PLO from joining WHO, the traumatic prospect of a system-wide funding cut-off would bring the rest of the U.N. entities to their senses, minimizing the damage.

We will now see whether the Obama administration, having failed to implement Plan A effectively, can handle Plan B.… One thing is certain after the administration cut-off of UNESCO funding: We are at least $80,000,000 closer to solving this year’s federal deficit problem. In fact, the entire episode provides strong arguments for moving toward voluntary funding, rather than assessed or mandatory contributions, across the entire U.N. system. Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen has introduced legislation, recently reported to the House floor, to do just that. Her timing couldn’t be better.


In anticipation of the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research’s upcoming Sunday, 6 November 2011 International Conference, “Combatting the Delegitimation of Israel,” this week’s Daily Briefings will focus on the global effort to demonize the lone democracy in the Middle East. The series will provide insight into the pervasive, “soft war” being waged against the Jewish State—in the media, in Europe, at the UN, on and off North American campuses, and in Israel itself. It will also convey relevant ways of combatting, and ultimately defeating, this dangerous propaganda campaign.

A video of the Conference will be posted on CIJR’s website, www.isranet.org. (For registration information call [514] 486-5544 or write Yvonne@isranet.org.)



Gerald M. Steinberg
Jerusalem Post, November 1, 2011

While ‘apartheid’ can have broader meaning, its use is meant to evoke the situation in pre-1994 South Africa. It is an unfair and inaccurate slander against Israel, calculated to retard rather than advance peace negotiations.

These important words were published Tuesday in The New York Times by former South African judge Richard Goldstone, who was centrally involved in the transition from the real evil of apartheid in his native country.… His carefully considered and strongly written condemnation of the political war against Israel is a significant blow to those who groups and individuals who seek to demonize Israel, and to deny the right of the Jewish nation to sovereign equality.

The apartheid “slander,” to use Goldstone’s term, is central to these campaigns. Essentially, it represents the Durban strategy adopted in 2001 by the NGO Forum of the UN Conference Against Racism. The absurd and immoral analogy is also a key component of the BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) movement. The Durban conference and the BDS movement are not about human rights. Rather, they are aimed at the complete international isolation of Israel by falsely painting Israel as a “racist,” “genocidal,” and “criminal” state.

What makes Goldstone’s statement particularly significant is the fact that this represents a major and wrenching about-face for him. In 2009, Goldstone presided over another UN-orchestrated anti-Israel assault, in the form of a pseudo fact finding mission on the Gaza war. The resulting report was a farce: Goldstone’s committee did its job in pronouncing Israel guilty of deliberate killing of civilians and war crimes, while ignoring thousands of Palestinian rocket attacks—every one a war crime.

As a result of this indictment, Goldstone was embraced by the leaders of the anti-Israel campaigns, including Ken Roth of Human Rights Watch and his counterparts in the NGO community. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, who was appointed by upstanding human rights stalwarts such as Ghaddafi’s Libya, Assad’s Syria, Cuba, Pakistan, and China, also touted the report. Dozens of smaller NGOs, including al-Haq, Adalah, and B’Tselem—many of which receive funding from the New Israel Fund (NIF) and European governments—promoted the report and have been spreading this false apartheid analogy.

The most rabid anti-Israel ideologues, people like Naomi Klein and Ali Abunimah, exalted Goldstone as their patron saint, publishing a collection of essays praising the UN report as the ultimate “proof” of Israeli war crimes and apartheid. They are now exposed for their rhetoric that contributes to anti-Jewish hatred and stands in sharp contrast to the moral foundations of universal human rights.

To his credit, Goldstone gradually realized that the allegations that formed the bulk of his report were copied largely from NGO claims, including from Human Rights Watch, and were not credible or clearly invented, and that his name and seal of approval were being abused to wage a very dirty war against Israel. Beginning in September 2010, Goldstone’s campus presentations and other speeches began to reflect a cautious doubt and misgivings on these central issues. This led to his April 2011 op-ed in the Washington Post in which he admitted, “If I had known then what I know now, the Goldstone Report would have been a different document.”

In some respects, Goldstone’s metamorphosis from a central participant in the political assault against Israel’s legitimacy into a front-line defender is reminiscent of the about face made by Robert Bernstein, the founder of Human Rights Watch. Both are strongly committed to universal human rights, and both eventually realized that many of their former allies in promoting these goals had become chronically infected by an anti-Israel ideology that is entirely inconsistent with these principles. After many years of attempting to fight this disease from the inside, in 2009 Bernstein denounced HRW’s role in the campaigns to turn Israel into a pariah on the pages of the New York Times. He then created a new group called Advancing Human Rights.

The timing of Goldstone’s latest article is also significant, appearing just a few days before the scheduled opening of the so-called Russell Tribunal on Palestine in Cape Town, South Africa. There, with the participation of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a kangaroo court will begin its inquisition designed to restart the flagging apartheid analogy that is repeated at every BDS and “Israel apartheid week” event. Goldstone has now confronted Tutu and his other former allies from the real anti-apartheid movement in South Africa who have become leading Israel-haters, denouncing their role in “pernicious and enduring canard,” which is “calculated to retard rather than advance peace negotiations.…”

Some people will continue to criticize Judge Goldstone for the damage caused to the Israelis who were libeled in his UN report on the Gaza war, and for the damage that report caused to universal human rights. Some of this damage is irreversible, despite Goldstone’s subsequent “reconsideration.” But taken together with his denunciation of the Russell Tribunal farce, and linked with Bernstein’s turn-about, as well as other exposes of the moral corruption among influential “human rights” frameworks, Goldstone should be congratulated…for having done the right thing.

(Gerald M. Steinberg is president of NGO Monitor.)


Elliot Jager
Jerusalem Post, October 30, 2011

For all the theological, ritualistic and institutional differences separating the Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform movements, for all their divergent approaches to revelation, halacha and communal decision-making, what distinguishes the groups in the minds of many ordinary American Jews comes down to branding.

Orthodoxy is on the Right, Reform on the Left. In the middle stands Conservative Judaism. If the new crop of Conservative rabbis has anything to say about it, Conservatism may not occupy the center for very long. That, at least, is the message of a recent report by the movement’s Jewish Theological Seminary, based on a survey of political views among “Generation Y” rabbinical students—born in the mid-1970s to mid-1990s—and the seminary’s somewhat older rabbinical alumni, ordained since 1980.

At first blush, the report purports to show what one would hope to find among the rabbinate: a solid Jewish identity and strong attachment to Israel. On closer examination, however, this identity appears increasingly filtered through a universalistic and liberal political perspective.

Among American Jews as a whole, according to the Pew Forum, 38 percent identify themselves as liberal; 39% call themselves moderate. In contrast, 58% of the Conservative rabbis surveyed—and 69% of the rabbinical students—called themselves liberal. It’s hard to defend the center when you’re not in it.

These rabbis and rabbinical students are “pro-Israel,” but they are redefining what “pro-Israel” means. As liberals, they hold an optimistic view of human nature: Though Palestinian leaders see their conflict with Israel as a zero-sum game, it seems hard for the rabbis to acknowledge this grim fact. Instead, they get their understanding of events in Israel from ideologically reinforcing Left-oriented sources: liberal media outlets, Facebook posts, and Haaretz.

These sources help explain the conspicuous disconnect between the next generation of Conservative rabbis and mainstream American Jews on the subject of the Arab-Israel conflict. More than three-quarters of American Jews, according to the latest American Jewish Committee survey, believe that the Arabs’ goal is not merely the return of the “occupied territories” but the actual “destruction of Israel.” Only 30% of the JTS rabbinical students agreed with a similar statement.

Indeed, fully 12% of the rabbinical students are “uncomfortable” with Israel’s being a “Jewish state.” To individuals with this universalistic bent, moral relativism comes more naturally. Most of the future rabbis—all of whom have studied in Israel—do not see Palestinian leaders as their enemies. A majority, 56%, say the Palestinian side is no “more to blame” than Israel for the ongoing conflict. Sure, Hamas dominates Gaza. Yes, the West Bank Fatah leadership refused to negotiate with the Netanyahu government during a ten-month settlement freeze. Even so, a majority of the rabbis want an Israeli withdrawal to the 1967 borders, with “land swaps” and a freeze on any “expansion of settlements in the West Bank.”

Compare these views with the position of most American Jews in the face of unremitting Palestinian intransigence: 55%, according to an AJC poll, oppose a Palestinian state. In equally stark contrast, most Israelis, regardless of their political views, simply do not believe that today’s Palestinian leadership is capable of making peace with Israel.…

No Israeli would suggest [Israel] is beyond criticism. But 30% of Reform rabbinical students return from Israel feeling “hostile” or “indifferent” toward the Jewish state; now we learn that 53% of JTS rabbinical students are “sometimes” or “often” ashamed of Israel.…

The JTS report concludes that the younger cohort of rabbinical students is “no less connected” to Israel than its elders. Yet, for many, this connection seems compromised by the felt need to reconcile their attachment with uncritically assimilated universalist ideals and, in extreme cases, Left-liberal dogma that is anti-Zionist. No amount of redefining what it means to be pro-Israel can paper over the predicament facing Conservative Judaism’s future leaders.…

(Elliot Jager is a former Jerusalem Post editorial page editor.)


Evelyn Gordon
Contentions, November 3, 2011

Reading the New York Times op-ed pages recently, one can’t help thinking the paper has launched a deliberate smear campaign against Israel. Consider just two examples:

This week, it published a piece called “In Israel, Press Freedom Is Under Attack” by Israeli journalist Dimi Reider. Reider lambastes the 4.5-year sentence a court just imposed on Anat Kamm, claiming the former soldier has been punished “for leaking documents containing evidence of what she suspected might be war crimes committed by her commanders.” Since journalists worldwide rely on whistleblowers, he charged, this undermines press freedom:

“The verdict sends several chilling messages. To young soldiers it says: shut up, even if you suspect your commanders of violating the law; they will go unpunished and you will go to jail if you leak. To the source it says: no one will protect you; don’t be a self-sacrificing fool. And to the journalist it says: know your place; cover what we tell you to cover, print our news releases, and keep within your bounds.”

But here’s what the court said actually happened, as reported by the very newspaper [HaaretzEd.] to which Kamm gave the documents: Over the course of her army service, Kamm betrayed her oath as a soldier by “systematically” stealing everything she could get her hands on—2,085 documents in all, including “plans for military operations, information on troop deployments, summaries of various internal discussions, military targets and intelligence assessments.” For similar crimes in America, WikiLeaks source Pfc. Bradley Manning now faces life in jail. She then gave 1,500 documents to Haaretz journalist Uri Blau, who sorted through and found a handful that, in his opinion, showed the army was violating Israeli Supreme Court guidelines on assassinating terrorists. But as Reider himself admits, Israel’s attorney general—presumably a greater legal expert than journalists Reider and Blau—reviewed the material and concluded otherwise.

All this was widely reported in Israel’s English-language media, so the facts were easily checkable. But the Times preferred printing an anti-Israel smear.

Two months earlier, the Times published an op-ed by Israeli professor Carlo Strenger entitled “Netanyahu’s Partners, Democracy’s Enemies.” Strenger accused the Knesset of having “proposed and passed laws that seriously endanger Israel’s identity as a liberal democracy,” including “a law forbidding public commemoration of” the Nakba (literally, “catastrophe,” the Palestinian term for Israel’s establishment) and a “demand for all new Israeli citizens to swear a loyalty oath to a Jewish and democratic country.”

I’ve argued before that the proposed loyalty oath is no different than the pledge of allegiance required of American immigrants. But in any case, the bill died in the Knesset: Lacking a parliamentary majority, it wasn’t even brought for a vote. As for the Nakba proposal, the Knesset itself concluded (correctly) that the original bill was undemocratic. Hence the law actually passed merely prohibited state funding for public commemorations of the Nakba. And while democracies must permit offensive speech, no democratic principle requires a state to finance public calls for its demise.

Again, all this was widely reported in Israel’s English-language media, so the facts were easily checkable. But the Times preferred printing an anti-Israel smear.

There’s been much talk lately about liberal American Jews “distancing” themselves from Israel. But that’s really not surprising when you consider that most liberal American Jews get their (dis)information about Israel from The New York Times. Hence American Jewish leaders concerned about this trend must start challenging the Times on these smears. And they must also start educating their public not to believe everything they read in its pages.


Douglas J. Feith

Wall Street Journal, November 2, 2011

Pro-Israel organizations have long been active in American politics, promoting friendly relations between the U.S. and Israel. Jewish groups, in particular, have helped ensure that candidates’ attitudes toward Israel would be an important element in congressional and presidential elections. Yet now, two venerable Jewish organizations, the American Jewish Committee (AJC) and the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), are saying that it is improper to do this in the case of [US] President [Barack] Obama. They have taken the initiative to shield Mr. Obama from the political consequences of his cold treatment of Israel.

The AJC and ADL are jointly promoting a “national pledge for unity on Israel.” Its essence is that “America’s friendship with Israel…has always transcended politics” and that “U.S.-Israel friendship should never be used as a political wedge issue.” Explaining this effort, ADL chief Abraham Foxman lamented that presidential candidates have recently “challenged their opponents’ pro-Israel bona fides” and “questioned the current administration’s foreign policy approach vis-à-vis Israel.”

True, every political movement wants unity in support of the common cause. But since when have American supporters of Israel believed that a candidate’s attitudes toward Israel should be kept out of electoral politics? Since never.

In 1984, pro-Israel groups exerted themselves to block the re-election of Illinois Republican Sen. Charles Percy, the prominent chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee who was an outspoken critic of Israel and champion of U.S. engagement with the Palestine Liberation Organization. Percy lost and, in an election night interview, attributed his defeat to the Israel lobby. Other politicians who met a similar fate include Reps. Paul Findley (R., Ill.) and Cynthia McKinney (D., Ga.).

When running against President George H.W. Bush in 1992, Bill Clinton took full advantage of Mr. Bush’s testy relationship with Israel. As the New York Times reported in March 1992: “Some leaders of American Jewish groups predicted today that President Bush would pay in the November election for his demand that Israel freeze settlements.” One such leader spoke of the “anger and dismay in Jewish communities over Bush Administration policy that is increasingly perceived as one-sided and unfair against Israel,” adding “I imagine it will be translated into an unwillingness to vote for this Administration or contribute funds.” By the way, the speaker was Jess Hordes, Washington director of the ADL.

President Obama came into office determined to distance the U.S. from Israel and to portray Israel as the impediment to Middle East peace. He insisted on an unprecedented Israeli settlement freeze.… Meanwhile he offered “engagement” to Israel’s Iranian and Syrian enemies, a vain policy that failed as the courted regimes rebuffed the offer and brutalized their own pro-freedom demonstrators. Mr. Obama also orchestrated a public imbroglio with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, walking out of a White House meeting with him in 2010 and refusing to be photographed with him. Quarrels between the men this year have been openly bitter.…

When Mr. Netanyahu addressed Congress in May, most Democrats, including the leadership, joined in the numerous standing ovations that were obviously intended to contrast the affection for Israel on Capitol Hill with the bad feeling emanating from the White House.

So anyone truly intent on preserving unity among Israel’s friends could do so by building on the substantial bipartisan opposition to Mr. Obama’s policies on Israel. Instead, the AJC and the ADL are working to protect Mr. Obama. These organizations exist in large part to defend the Jewish state from unfair criticism, pressure and attacks. But they are defending President Obama from well-grounded charges that he has subjected Israel precisely to that.…

[Instead], they are claiming to uphold a venerable (though previously unheard of) principle of unity that precludes criticism of a president’s position on Israel.…

(Mr. Feith, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute,
served as under secretary of defense from 2001 to 2005


In anticipation of the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research’s upcoming Sunday, 6 November 2011 International Conference, “Combatting the Delegitimation of Israel,” this week’s Daily Briefings will focus on the global effort to demonize the lone democracy in the Middle East. The series will provide insight into the pervasive, “soft war” being waged against the Jewish State—in the media, in Europe, at the UN, on and off North American campuses, and in Israel itself. It will also convey relevant ways of combatting, and ultimately defeating, this dangerous propaganda campaign.

Highlighting each Briefing will be a selection of articles written by participants in CIJR’s International Conference. A video of the Conference will be posted on CIJR’s website, www.isranet.org. (For registration information call [514] 486-5544 or write Yvonne@isranet.org.)



Mike Cohen
Jewish Tribune, October 11, 2011

During the past two decades the Montreal-based Canadian Institute for Jewish Research (CIJR) has attracted a following around the world. Its Daily Briefings on Israel are sent out to more than 40,000 subscribers worldwide. So, with the help of today’s internet technology, a much anticipated all-day international conference in Montreal on Combatting the Delegitimation of Israel, will not only be held on Sunday, Nov. 6 at Congregation Chevra Kadisha B’nai Jacob Beit Hazikaron (5237 Clanranald Ave.), but also will be viewable online at http://www.isranet.org.

“We have just revamped our website and added new video components,” said Professor Fred Krantz, director and founder of CIJR.… “We will have it [the Conference video] uploaded and ready for viewing. People should check our website closer to the date to learn more.”

A number of internationally renowned academics and specialists on Israel will be presenting papers including: Daniel Pipes (Hoover Institution/MEF); Efraim Karsh (U. London/Middle East Forum); Catherine Chatterley (U. Manitoba); Barbara Kay (National Post); Richard Landes (Boston U./Paliwood); Mordechai Nisan (Hebrew U.); Asaf Romirowsky (Middle East Forum); Charles Small (New Haven); and Sally Zerker (York U.)

“The delegitimation of Israel is a key weapon in the ongoing pro-Palestinian struggle against the democratic Jewish state,” Krantz explained. “It is occurring in Europe, at the UN, on and off campuses in North America, and in Israel itself.”

Bankrolled by Saudi Arabian and other Arab sources, West European governments, and various church and NGO groups and foundations, the campaign is affected by anti-Israel NGOs, anti-Zionist academics and left-wing student groups, including some Jewish students.

“There are Israeli Apartheid Week activities on many university campuses. This is all done to try to weaken and destroy Israel. Why is this not happening to places like Syria and Sudan?”

Krantz notes that the hallmark of this propaganda campaign is its inverted use of traditional human rights, free speech, and democratic-liberal language and values, as well as the misrepresentation of Holocaust memory and historical truth generally.

Founded 23 years ago, the CIJR is an independent Israel—and Jewish—issues-centric think-tank, focused on Middle Eastern foreign policy and international relations. Current topics studied include Judaism, Islam, the Arab world, antisemitism, the Arab-Israeli conflict, Iran and nuclear weapons, Holocaust and Holocaust denial, and Egypt and the Arab rebellions.

CIJRalso works closely with students on and off campus, supporting their unique Dateline: Middle East journal and administering the innovative Student Israel-Advocacy Program, training students in responding to anti-Israel and antisemitic issues and events on campus.…

“CIJR’s Student Israel-Advocacy Program is designed to take back the campus by empowering Jewish and interested non-Jewish students through the acquisition of crucial historical-political knowledge concerning the Jewish people, Zionism and the state of Israel in its Middle East context,” said Joseph Shier, national CIJR chair.

To register for the Nov. 6 conference, visit www.isranet.org, call (514) 486-5444 or email cijr@isranet.org.


Richard J. Goldstone

NY Times, October 31, 2011

The Palestinian Authority’s request for full United Nations membership has put hope for any two-state solution under increasing pressure.… So it is important to separate legitimate criticism of Israel from assaults that aim to isolate, demonize and delegitimize it.

One particularly pernicious and enduring canard that is surfacing again is that Israel pursues “apartheid” policies.… While “apartheid” can have broader meaning, its use is meant to evoke the situation in pre-1994 South Africa. It is an unfair and inaccurate slander against Israel, calculated to retard rather than advance peace negotiations.

I know all too well the cruelty of South Africa’s abhorrent apartheid system, under which human beings characterized as black had no rights to vote, hold political office, use “white” toilets or beaches, marry whites, live in whites-only areas or even be there without a “pass.” Blacks critically injured in car accidents were left to bleed to death if there was no “black” ambulance to rush them to a “black” hospital. “White” hospitals were prohibited from saving their lives.…

In Israel, there is no apartheid. Nothing there comes close to the definition of apartheid under the 1998 Rome Statute: “Inhumane acts…committed in the context of an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any other racial group or groups and committed with the intention of maintaining that regime.” Israeli Arabs—20 percent of Israel’s population—vote, have political parties and representatives in the Knesset and occupy positions of acclaim, including on its Supreme Court. Arab patients lie alongside Jewish patients in Israeli hospitals, receiving identical treatment.… In Israel, equal rights are the law, the aspiration and the ideal; inequities are often successfully challenged in court.

The situation in the West Bank is more complex. But here too there is no intent to maintain “an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group.” This is a critical distinction.… South Africa’s enforced racial separation was intended to permanently benefit the white minority, to the detriment of other races. By contrast, Israel has agreed in concept to the existence of a Palestinian state in Gaza and almost all of the West Bank, and is calling for the Palestinians to negotiate the parameters.…

The mutual recognition and protection of the human dignity of all people is indispensable to bringing an end to hatred and anger. The charge that Israel is an apartheid state is a false and malicious one that precludes, rather than promotes, peace and harmony.

(Richard J. Goldstone, a former justice of the South African Constitutional Court,
led the United Nations fact-finding mission on the Gaza conflict of 2008-9.)


Joseph Klein
FrontPage, November 1, 2011

In its own special version of a Halloween “trick or treat,” the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) became the first UN agency to admit Palestine as a full member since the Palestinians launched their full court press for total recognition as a UN member state. The final UNESCO vote tally was 107 votes in favor, 14 against and 52 abstentions. The United States, Canada and Germany voted against Palestinian membership in UNESCO. France joined the countries that voted in favor. Britain abstained.…

The Palestinian bid for full membership in the United Nations as a whole is currently before the Security Council, where it is not expected to succeed this year. However, by piling up individual UN agency memberships, which can be approved by those agencies even for non-members of the entire United Nations system, the Palestinians are hoping to create momentum towards achieving their ultimate objective. The chain reaction will start with Palestinian bids to gain membership in the World Intellectual Property Organization, the UN Industrial Development Organization (in which the United States is not a member), and the UN Conference on Trade and Development, which admit entities that belong to another specialized UN agency such as UNESCO.

Sabri Saidam, adviser to Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, declared: “This is a historic moment, a moment of jubilation on route to full recognition of Palestinian independence and self-determination, that’s equally a call for reconsideration of positions to those wavering on the Security Council vote. It is also a foundation stone for what’s to come at the (Security Council) and other international organizations.”

UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova, speaking after the vote, said the “admission of a new member state is a mark of respect and confidence.” Bokova falsely believes that a government which lacks the basic prerequisites of statehood under international law deserves membership in her organization.… Abbas’s government does not control all the territory it purports to represent, and there are no internationally recognized borders negotiated with Israel in accordance with Security Council Resolution 242. Moreover, a government contemplating “unity” with Hamas, a terrorist organization dedicated to the destruction of a member state of the United Nations, deserves neither the respect nor confidence of the international community.

UN Ambassador Susan Rice, piercing through the nonsense coming from UNESCO, tweeted: “Today’s vote to grant Palestinian membership in UNESCO is no substitute for direct negotiations, but it is deeply damaging to UNESCO.” David Killion, the U.S. permanent representative to UNESCO, said the United States “cannot accept the premature Palestinian admission for membership in a United Nations specialized agency such as UNESCO.” Under U.S. law, the Obama administration must cut off funding for UNESCO, as acknowledged by State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland.

“The United States will refrain from making contributions to UNESCO,” Nuland said. This action stems from a provision of the U.S. code that states: “No funds authorized to be appropriated by this Act or any other Act shall be available for the United Nations or any specialized agency thereof which accords the Palestine Liberation Organization the same standing as member states.” The Palestine Liberation Organization is technically the Palestinian entity that represents the Palestinians in the United Nations.

The U.S. cut-off of funding will blow a big hole in UNESCO’s budget since the U.S. has been paying 22% of its budget—approximately $80 million in annual funding. A $60 million payment to UNESCO due in November will be the first casualty of the cut-off.…

UNESCO is reverting to the same kind of irresponsible behavior that led to a U.S. boycott for almost two decades until it was finally ended by President George W. Bush in 2003. In November 2010, UNESCO had already foreshadowed its pro-Palestinian agenda by adopting several proposals by Arab states reclassifying Jewish historical landmarks as “Palestinian sites.” This attempt to use the UN’s cultural agency to blur or obliterate the Jewish people’s historical connection to their homeland reinforces Abbas’s oft-repeated refusal to recognize Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state. A little more than a week ago, he proclaimed that “I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I will never recognize the Jewishness of the state, or a ‘Jewish state.’” Yet he points to the UN General Assembly partition resolution (Resolution 181), which explicitly recognizes a “Jewish State,” as a legal justification for his bid for Palestinian UN member state status.

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, had it right when she said the UNESCO cut-off of funding should be just the beginning. “Congress must pass pending U.N. reform legislation to cut off funding to any U.N. entity that grants any upgraded status to ‘Palestine,’” said Rep. Ros-Lehtinen.…

Rash actions must have significant consequences or the rash actions will simply multiply. The United Nations has been misusing American taxpayers’ money for too long. It is time to push back.


Jason Edelstein & Naftali Balanson
Jerusalem Post, October 25, 2011

On Tuesday, October 18, as Gilad Schalit returned home, Israelis took to the streets in a bittersweet celebration—the joy of a son coming home tempered by the release of convicted murderers and other terrorists. Similar to the annual transition of Remembrance Day to Independence Day, the Schalit celebrations felt uniquely Israeli.…

At the center of the five-year ordeal to free Schalit was an abject failure of justice and international law. The hundreds of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that operate in this region—and claim in some manner to promote human rights—never adopted the Schalit cause as a raison d’etre. On the contrary, since his captivity began, organizations such as Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network (EMHRN), B’Tselem, Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, Gisha, and Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) did not conduct sustained, coordinated campaigns on his behalf. Gilad Schalit was simply not a priority for these NGOs.

Instead, NGOs used this issue to condemn Israeli responses to terror from Gaza. The few statements released by NGOs in the past five years drew moral equivalence between Schalit, who was illegally held incommunicado and without access to the International Red Cross, and Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli prisoners according to international legal standards.

During the week preceding Schalit’s return, these same NGOs continued to display moral bankruptcy. Not a single NGO condemned the extortion exacted by Hamas on Israel, resulting in freedom for hundreds of terrorists who were tried and convicted according to due process of law.…

The failure is particularly severe for Israeli NGOs, which proudly claim to uphold human rights for all Israelis and frequently appear before the Supreme Court in pursuit of their own agendas on Gaza. In contrast, they were nowhere to be seen when the families of the terror victims made their case in court.

Similarly, if they had acted with moral consistency, B’Tselem, similar NGOs, and foreign governments, would have used their close connections to UN and other bodies to make Gilad Schalit’s case a serious issue internationally, as they did regarding both the blockade of Gaza and Palestinian prisoners. Would Schalit have returned home sooner if Israeli NGOs had used their influence in these forums? Or if Human Rights Watch had held a press conference in Jerusalem’s American Colony hotel, as they have done for so many reports critical of Israeli policies?…

(The writers are communications director and managing editor of NGO Monitor.)


Efraim Karsh
Jerusalem Post, October 10, 2011

Sari Nusseibeh has done it again. In an article titled “Why Israel Can’t be a ‘Jewish State,’” published on the Jewish New Year of all dates, the supposedly moderate president of al-Quds University goes to great lengths to explain why Jews, unlike any other nation on earth, are undeserving of statehood.

“[T]he idea of a ‘Jewish State’ is logically and morally problematic because of its legal, religious, historical and social implications,” he wrote. “The implications of this term therefore need to be spelled out, and we are sure that once they are, most people—and most Israeli citizens, we trust—will not accept these implications.”

Not that this should have come as a surprise. For decades, Nusseibeh has tirelessly advanced the “one-state solution”—a euphemistic formula that proposes the replacement of Israel by a country, theoretically comprising the whole of historic Palestine, in which Jews will be reduced to the status of a permanent minority.

This advocacy of the destruction of a long-existing state, established by an internationally recognized act of national self-determination, has hardly dented Nusseibeh’s “moderate” credentials. That can be partly explained by the desperate yearning among Jews and their supporters worldwide for Palestinian and Arab peace partners. That desire dates back to the 1920s and the 1930s, despite countless setbacks and disillusionments. It is also a corollary of the narcissist and patronizing mesmerization among educated westerners with the “noble savage” in general, and the Westernized native in particular. With his posh Jerusalem high school education, his Oxford and Harvard degrees and impeccable western demeanor, Nusseibeh, like cultured Arabs and Muslims before him, represents the ultimate product of the “white man’s civilizing mission.…”

I was personally privy to this feting during a London meeting in the spring of 1989. I was then a senior fellow at Tel Aviv University’s Jafee Center for Strategic Studies, and like many well intentioned Israelis at the time and since, we aspired to lay the ground for Israeli-Palestinian reconciliation through secret talks with Palestinian interlocutors, including members of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, then an outlawed organization in Israel. The group we met was headed by Faisal Husseini, then the PLO’s most senior official in the disputed territories, flanked by Nusseibeh and a few prominent London-based Palestinian academics.

The meeting was pleasant and informative enough, with the courteous British hosts going out of their way to keep their Palestinian guests sweet. Yet I was taken aback when Nusseibeh, the celebrated epitome of Palestinian moderation, turned out to be the most extreme member of the group. Dismissing out of hand the two-state solution—Israel and a Palestinian state in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip—he sang the praise of the “one-state paradigm,” demanding the incorporation of the West Bank and Gaza population into the Jewish state as full-fledged citizens, to be followed by Palestinian “refugees” from the neighboring Arab states and beyond.

In subsequent years, Nusseibeh would pay customary lip service to the two-state solution while consistently questioning the very legitimacy of the state with which he ostensibly wished to make peace. On a few occasions he even let the mask drop, unveiling his true agenda. In the late 1990s, for example, he told an old Oxford friend that “one day, in the near or further future, all this [Israel and Palestine] will be one binational state. It’s just a question of how we get there.”

In an April 2005 debate at Dartmouth College, Nusseibeh advocated the creation of a bi-national state as the only viable solution to the Israeli-Palestinian dispute.… In a 2007 political memoir Nusseibeh missed no opportunity to denigrate and delegitimize the Jewish state through sharp, short, often subtle yet always false readings of history.

He does this in spades in his latest article. A Jewish state cannot exist, he argues, because “no state in the world is—or can be in practice—ethnically or religiously homogenous.” But the Jewish state that has existed for over 63 years has never been, nor aspired to be, totally homogenous: unlike the Palestinian Arab leadership which, since the early 1920s to date, has insisted on a Judenrein Palestine. Rather, Israel has been home to diverse religious and ethnic minorities accounting for nearly 20 percent of its total population.

As David Ben-Gurion told the leadership of his own (Mapai) party in 1947, the non-Jews in the Jewish state “will be equal citizens; equal in everything without any exception; that is, the state will be their state as well.”

Nusseibeh claims that a Jewish state must by definition be either a theocracy or an apartheid state, and that its Jewish nature opens the door to legally reducing its substantial non-Jewish minority (whose very existence he previously denied) “to second-class citizens (or perhaps even stripping them of their citizenship and other rights).” This, too, flies in the face of Israel’s 63-year history, where Arabs have enjoyed full equality before the law, and have been endowed with the full spectrum of democratic rights—including the right to vote for and serve in all state institutions.

In fact, from the designation of Arabic as an official language, to the recognition of non-Jewish religious holidays as legal resting days for their respective communities, to the granting of educational, cultural, judicial, and religious autonomy, Arabs in Israel enjoy more formal prerogatives than ethnic minorities anywhere in the democratic world.

Small wonder that whenever an Israeli politician proposes the inclusion of some frontier Israeli-Arab settlements in the future Palestinian state, as part of a land exchange within the framework of a peace agreement, the residents of these localities immediately voice their indignation. Moreover, recent surveys show that more Palestinians in east Jerusalem, who are entitled to Israeli social benefits and are free to travel across Israel’s pre-1967 borders, would rather become citizens of the Jewish state than citizens of a new Palestinian one.

But Nusseibeh is not someone to be bothered by the facts. His is the misconception, prevalent among Arabs and Muslims, that Jews are a religious community and not a nation deserving of statehood. Hence, instead of insisting on being accepted for what it has been for 63 years, or what the UN partition resolution envisaged it to be, Israel should shed its Jewish identity and become “a civil, democratic, and pluralistic state whose official religion is Judaism” like many of its Arab neighbors which have Islam as their official religion “but grant equal civil rights to all citizens.” This of course is the complete inverse of the truth.

The Jewish state is a civil, democratic and pluralistic society, something that none of its Arab neighbors can stake a claim to. On the contrary, precisely because Islam is enshrined as state religion throughout the Middle East, the non-Muslim minorities have been denied “equal civil rights” and have instead been reduced to the historic dhimmi status whereby they can at best enjoy certain religious freedoms in return for a distinctly inferior existence, and at worst suffer from systematic persecution and oppression.

And this is the “one-state paradigm” offered by Nusseibeh to Israel’s Jewish citizens.

(Efraim Karsh, a professor at King’s College London and director of the Middle East Forum,
is presenting a paper in Montreal at
CIJR’s November 6th International Conference.)