Tag: Gilad Shalit


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


Kidnapped Israeli Teenagers – A Palestinian View: Mudar Zahran, Gatestone Institute, June 25, 2013— While Israel prays for the safe return of three Israel teenagers kidnapped by terrorists last week…

The Names of the Victims: Caroline B. Glick, Jerusalem Post, June 26, 2014— Three families in Israel are in agony.

Don't Succumb to Hamas: Dr. Shaul Bartal, Israel Hayom, June 30, 2013— The publication of the names of two Hamas operatives suspected of kidnapping the three Israeli teens prompted a particularly thunderous response from Hamas spokespeople.

Israel Must Defeat the Tactics of Terrorists: Daniel Greenfield, Frontpage, June 26, 2014— In Jerusalem, Israelis pray for the return of three missing boys and in the West Bank, Israeli soldiers hunt for them and for their captors.


On Topic Links


U.S. Senator: Innocent Israeli Kidnapped Boys and Evil Abductors (Video): Lori Lowenthal Marcus

Jewish Press, June 27, 2014

Hamas Extremism: Jerusalem Post, June 24, 2014

The Fight Against Hamas: The Legal Angle: Pnina Sharvit Baruch, INSS, June 27, 2013

Hamas Kidnappings: History of a Constant Threat: IDF Spokesperson, Jewish Press, June 16, 2014



Mudar Zahran                                                                                                    

Gatestone Institute, June 25, 2014


While Israel prays for the safe return of three Israel teenagers kidnapped by terrorists last week, although Palestinian Authority [PA] President Mahmoud Abbas tepidly defended the search for the teens — comments for which many Palestinians attacked him — the official PA daily wrote that "Israel itself is behind the 'kidnapping'," alleging that the three boys were soldiers when in fact they were students, two in high school, and the kidnappings were celebrated by people, glorifying the kidnappers and passing out sweets. The Fatah Facebook page then published a cartoon showing the three kidnapped teenagers as rats bearing the star of David with the caption "The Master Stroke".


Keep in mind that the PA exerts extreme monitoring and control over social media used by Palestinians in the West Bank. A Palestinian man was jailed for six months for "liking" an anti-PA post on Facebook. The PA, therefore, is fully responsible for encouraging the celebrations of the kidnappings over Palestinian social media. Responses such as these should help the world — which has been trying to force a peace agreement with the PA down Israel's throat — wake up to the reality that the PA is a terrorist organization that has been inciting acts of violence and radicalism, and should be treated as such. Its leaders should be recognized as terrorists who deserve jail rather than a red carpet treatment in Western capitals.


While some argue that freedom of speech is sacred, it seems the only freedom of speech the PA allows is the one that incites terrorism. The first thing the world should remember is that the PA is now officially united with Hamas, a terrorist organization that pledges to destroy a sovereign nation, Israel, and establish a Muslim caliphate. Financing the PA now is therefore financing terrorism. Yet, despite uniting with Hamas, the PA will still apparently be receiving generous financing from the U.S., Canada and Europe. The UK, with the best of intentions, offers an average of $135 million a year to the PA for development; nonetheless, the Guardian newspaper reported that the money, always fungible, was instead being used by the PA to finance terrorist imprisoned in Israeli jails — thus inadvertently financing more terrorism.


In addition, it is no secret that the PA officials have been stealing hundreds of millions of dollars of the aid money intended to improve the livelihoods of my people, the Palestinians, with no sign that Western aid to the PA ever filters down to the Palestinian public. Instead of financing the PA leaders' lavish lifestyles, the world might finally start questioning the PA's institutionalized incitement of terror and hatred to my people which they relay daily through media, education and the religious institutions. Ever since the PA came into existence, it has been keen to mass-produce and institutionalize the hatred of Jews and also the West. With their government-controlled TV shows that teach children how to kill Jews, and textbooks that preach hatred for Israel, the PA and Hamas are directly and fully responsible for each and every terror act committed by Palestinians, including the kidnapping of the three teenagers. Is this what the West is so breathless to support?


Ironically, the PA is claiming no responsibility for the kidnappings, however you cannot be running TV, newspapers and social media encouraging terror and the murdering of Jews and then claim that you are innocent when acts of terror happen. Another reason for kidnapping the three teenagers, of course, is also the regular prisoner-release agreements forced on Israel. Gilad Shalit was kidnapped and held for five years then released in a prisoner exchange agreement for more than 1,000 terrorist prisoners who were let out of jail. Such deals have been openly encouraged and blessed by the PA leader. In other words, the PA encourages the kidnappings of Israelis to exchange them with terror prisoners. The world should therefore understand Israel's position when it recently called off releasing yet more terror prisoners in a deal promoted by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. These releases just encourage the kidnapping of more Israelis.


As a Palestinian, I do not wish for any of my people to be in jail; nonetheless, I cannot sympathize with those who kill children and innocent civilians. I also know that releasing those prisoners in "swaps" sets a bad example, and even encourages more of my people to commit acts of terror: they see they can be released in a few years in a prisoner exchange brokered by the West. Would the U.S. or Europe agree to give its cities and parts of its soil to a terrorist organization to establish a country the way Secretary Kerry has been pushing Israel to give up most of the West Bank and return to pre-1967 borders? Also, if the US or any European country were facing terror attacks from any neighboring country, wouldn't it seek to build a barrier to protect itself from that country? The U.S. already has a fortified wall along parts of its border with Mexico to stop illegal immigration — an offense not by any means close to any of the terrorist acts that have claimed the lives of thousands of Israeli civilians over the years. Therefore, can the world keep blaming Israel for having a security barrier?


Can we Palestinians blame Israel when the barrier never existed before Hamas and the PLO started launching terror attacks on Israel on a daily basis? Yes, the wall looks sad and ugly and depressing, but if Israel's neighbors proclaim every day that their sole desire is to displace Israel, what else — apart from surrender — can Israel do? We Palestinians know that Israel welcomed us with open arms before the PA came and brought terror-preaching with it. And yes, there have always been constant acts of Palestinian terrorism. But PA terror has became a major industry — in which terrorists are pampered, protected, financed, employed, and glorified by the PA — with streets, soccer stadiums and summer camps named after them. And Europe breathlessly joins in.


Israeli measures towards securing the safety of its citizens as well as that of the Palestinians, have been demonized by the world and the so-called Palestinian sympathizers, who choose to ignore the fact that Palestinians' lives have become harder because of the terrorists and not because of Israel. A Palestinian businessman, for instance, who frequently passes illegally into Israel to buy his products, said: "Most people are mad at those who kidnapped the kids…[because] When they commit such acts, we rejoice, celebrate for Israel's suffering, then sit down and worry if we will be allowed into Israel for work and medical treatment. To me, such a kidnapping only destroys the livelihood of my four children. This has to stop, for our own sake."


The Palestinian Authority is a terrorist organization, and its leaders are terrorists who deserve international arrest warrants rather than the red-carpet treatment in Western capitals. The PA has been an inciter of terror; it jeopardizes the safety and livelihoods of Israelis and Palestinians alike. This tragedy should remind the world that the PA — and organizations like it — is a threat to all of us and should not be rewarded with still more funds for terrorist behavior. For the sake of both Israel and the Palestinians, it is not Israel but the PA that should be boycotted, excluded and even dissolved.



THE NAMES OF THE VICTIMS                                                                                

Caroline B. Glick                                                                                                

Jerusalem Post, June 26, 2014


Three families in Israel are in agony. On June 12, when their sons Naftali Fraenkel, Eyal Yifrah and Gil-Ad Shaer were kidnapped by Islamic savages, the Fraenkels, Yifrahs and Shaers entered a new world where every breath they take is filled with devastating guilt – that they breathe free while their sons suffer unknown miseries. Every moment that passes is filled with crushed hope that they will get word that their sons are free, and then the word doesn’t come. And it doesn’t come the next moment, or the next. And so they will live, in agony, until this ordeal has ended. Our hearts go out to these families. Our prayers are continuously directed towards them. And in a profound sense that is uniquely Israeli, the people of Israel share their pain. And with this pain comes a sincere and overpowering desire to do something to bring the captive teenagers home.


What can be done? There are only two ways for Israel to free hostages. The government can devote all necessary resources to gathering actionable intelligence that will lead IDF troops to the boys. Or the government can surrender to the terrorists by freeing thousands of Palestinian terrorist murderers from Israeli prisons. So far, the government is concentrating on Option 1. But Option 2 is lurking around the corner. And we need to confront it now – head on – before it takes center stage. Over the past 30 years, Israel has released thousands of terrorists from its prisons in exchange for hostages. Thousands more have been freed as so-called “confidence building measures,” to appease our supposedly moderate Palestinian negotiating partners into sharing a table with their Israeli counterparts. In every instance, these terrorist releases have led to the murder and abduction of other Israelis.


The clock started ticking down to Naftali, Gil-Ad and Eyal’s abduction on October 19, 2011 when Israel released 1,027 Palestinian terrorists in exchange for IDF Sgt. Gilad Schalit who had been held hostage by Hamas for more than five years. The countdown also began that day for the murder of Baruch Mizrahi, the police officer who was killed in a roadside shooting in April as he drove to a Passover Seder with his wife and children. Mizrahi’s killer was one of the terrorists released for Schalit. Some politicians are trying to take steps to prevent these swaps in the future. Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman told the media he will prohibit all members of his Yisrael Beytenu party from voting in favor of a hostages-for-terrorists swap if one is on offer in the future. The day before Fraenkel, Shaer and Yifrah were kidnapped, the Knesset passed a preliminary reading of a bill sponsored by MK Ayelet Shaked from Bayit Yehudi to constrain the president’s power to commute the sentences of some convicted murderers. The idea is that by passing the law, the Knesset will make it impossible for the government to agree to swap murderers for hostages. But then, to avoid the law, all governments will have to do is release prisoners who weren’t sentenced to life without possibility of parole.


The problem with statements like Liberman’s and bills like Shaked’s is that they miss the point. The problem isn’t the law. The problem isn’t that in past swaps MKs were given the freedom to vote as they pleased. The problem is our media-compliant leadership refuses to act responsibly. The only way to prevent more Israelis from being abducted in the future is to deter the Palestinians from abducting them. Deterrence cannot be achieved by cheap political pronouncements or insufficient legislation. Deterrence can only be built up over time, by behaving consistently in a manner that convinces the other side that it is not in its interest to do something that you don’t want it to do. Since May 1985, when then-prime minister Shimon Peres freed 1,150 terrorists for three IDF soldiers held hostage by Palestinian terror master Ahmed Jibril, Israel’s behavior has consistently encouraged our enemies to take hostages. Through their willingness to release murderers for hostages – and even for hostage bodies – our leaders have told our enemies that they should feel free to steal our children. Their payoff is guaranteed.


Through their willingness to free murderers, our leaders have shown our enemies that they should feel free to murder as many Israelis as they can. They know that once their comrades take another Israeli hostage, (or three), they will go free. And of course, our politicians are not the only ones at fault. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his colleagues and predecessors swim in an acrid stream, where this sort of behavior is required. To their disgrace, our media consistently behave as advocates and lobbyists for hostage-takers and imprisoned murderers against Israeli society. For instance, in the case of Schalit, the media worked hand-in-glove with the Schalit family and its public relations firm to convince the public that we should think of a soldier as a child, and not as any child, but as our child. In more than a thousand media reports, profiles, tear-jerker interviews with Schalit’s kindergarten teachers and siblings, we were told that if we are good and moral people, we must prefer Schalit’s freedom to the continued imprisonment of terrorists who constitute a mortal threat to every other child – and parent – in the country. Public relations agent Tami Shenkman led the campaign for the terrorists’ release. She was the one who put together the sales strategy for convincing us that capitulating to Palestinian extortion is an act of moral courage. For her efforts the media lavished her with fawning, heroic profiles. And for the media’s efforts, three teenagers are now hostages…

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




DON'T SUCCUMB TO HAMAS                                                             

Dr. Shaul Bartal                                                                                                 

Israel Hayom, June 30, 2014


The publication of the names of two Hamas operatives suspected of kidnapping the three Israeli teens prompted a particularly thunderous response from Hamas spokespeople. It could no longer be denied that Hamas was responsible for the kidnapping. The two kidnappers come from families known for their support of Hamas, and the kidnappers themselves have served time in Israeli prison for being members of the group.

What was left for Hamas to say? Hamas spokespeople claimed the publication of the names stemmed from the "failure of the occupation to find the captives and its failure to achieve its goals." Unlike Khaled Mashaal, Hamas spokespeople did not deny that group was behind the kidnapping.


Has Israel in fact failed? Israeli officials have not denied that the purpose of Operation Brother's Keeper is to deal a blow to Hamas and sever the ties between the terrorist group and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. This is well understood. A Fatah website said the objectives of the Israeli operation include "foiling final [Palestinian] reconciliation and creating hostility between different parts of the [Palestinian] people."


There is no doubt that Hamas was unpleasantly surprised by Abbas' speech in which he called for the return of the captives to their families and sanctified security cooperation with Israel. Kidnapping "settlers" for the purpose of an exchange is nothing new for Hamas. Hamas literature dealing with the prisoner issue makes mention of Eliyahu Asheri, a settler from Itamar who also just wanted to return home. Asheri was abducted the same day as Gilad Schalit in June 2006. Imprisoned Hamas terrorists Mahmoud al-Adwan and Ali Shawaneh have written that this kidnapping failed because the abductors were unable to keep Asheri alive long enough. This attack was ordered by the Popular Resistance Committees in Gaza, an organization that includes Fatah and Hamas members and carries out joint actions against Israel.


Following Abbas' speech, a war of words broke out on social networks and the websites of various Palestinian groups. Hamas took a tough stance, the two main components of which were expressed by Mashaal on Al-Jazeera — justifying the kidnapping and condemning security cooperation with Israel. Mashaal said he would be proud if it turned out Hamas operatives were responsible for the kidnapping. Also, Hamas is calling security cooperation with Israel treason. Abbas is being presented as a Zionist agent and, in one photo circulating online, Abbas is seen as a kippah-wearing settler defending Israel.


On the other hand, the Palestinian Authority is defending Abbas' speech. "It is better to make an unpopular speech than a popular one that would cause a massacre of my people," the Fatah website wrote, in a hypothetical quote attributed to Abbas. This is how the Fatah website responded to Hamas official Mahmoud al-Zahar's criticism of the PA for its security cooperation with Israel: "Why should we accept them as martyrs? Why should Gaza die from the blockade? You are destroying Hebron, Nablus and Ramallah and you are returning to destroy the Palestinian population." Fatah asked, with amazement, how Hamas could organize rallies against Abbas in Judea and Samaria while at the same time demanding that the PA pay the salaries of Hamas workers in Gaza. It appears that, in the wake of the kidnapping, the PA has woken up, realizing that it will be its loss if it succumbs to the temptations of Hamas.



ISRAEL MUST DEFEAT THE TACTICS OF TERRORISTS                                

Daniel Greenfield           

Frontpage, June 26, 2014


In Jerusalem, Israelis pray for the return of three missing boys and in the West Bank, Israeli soldiers hunt for them and for their captors. But in the midst of all this, it is important not to lose sight of the larger conflict. Israel made one tragic mistake with the Gilad Shalit deal. That deal, aside from already costing the life of one Israeli, is what led to this kidnapping. One kidnapping turned into three. It can easily become many more.


Defeating terrorist tactics can be more important than defeating terrorists. It is not that hard for a modern nation to kill a terrorist. Drones allow us to kill enemies from a distance at the push of a button. But drones cannot protect the morale of a nation. Conventional armies use tactics to defeat enemy forces and seize territory. Terrorists however use tactics to take over mental territory. A suicide bomber is not out to take over a particular block. He is out to change how people think about that city block and the larger conflict.


Terrorism has succeeded in accomplishing that goal in Israel. The scale of terrorism turned every piece of land into a mathematical equation. How many lives was this village in Gaza worth? How many lives is this West Bank town worth? How many lives is East Jerusalem worth? However terrorists are not trading an end to violence for a village or a town. They are calculating how many deaths it will take to force Israel to abandon that village or town. And once they have that town, they will use it to inflict more terror on another town or village.


Israelis were convinced that a price in lives had been put on Gaza and that if they withdrew, the killing would end. But Gaza was just the beginning. Not the end. Terrorists try to create the perception that the winning side is losing. This perception can be so compelling that both sides come to accept it as reality. Terrorists manufacture victories by trapping their enemies in no-win scenarios that wear down their morale. That is what has been happening to Israel. The entire carrot and stick of the peace process and the suicide bombing, the final agreement that never comes and the final solution that is coming, were designed to wear down Israelis, to make their leaders and people chase down empty hopes. The last few decades were meant to create a sense of helplessness among Israelis. Taking hostages is one form of the no-win scenario. If the winning side can’t cut the Gordian Knot by rescuing the hostages, it faces a choice between releasing terrorists or having to watch its own people held captive or killed. Either one creates a sense of helplessness and defeat. Terrorists are not attacking land or buildings. They are targeting morale. Their goal is to destroy the mental and spiritual resistance of a people by wearing it down with acts of terror, tying it down with moral and legalistic debates, and finally finishing it off with negotiations that are also designed to wear down the other side without ever concluding a final agreement.


As important as it is to defeat terrorists, it is even more important to defeat their tactics. The first and best way to defeat terrorist tactics is to refuse to negotiate with terrorists. Terrorist tactics work best when they create complicity on the other side. The first wave of complicity comes from leftist activists and sympathetic terror lawyers making human rights arguments. But the second wave of complicity has to come from the authorities for terrorism to be successful. Negotiating with terrorists makes the negotiators complicit in whatever plans the terrorists have. Once negotiations begin, the terrorists will force the negotiators to violate their own side’s values and to sell out portions of their own population or those of allied countries. These tactics allow the terrorists to divide and conquer the enemy. A terrorist group that seizes hostages from Country X in exchange for Country Y freeing prisoners has managed to turn two of its enemies against each other. If Country Y frees the prisoners, the terrorists win. If Country Y doesn’t free the prisoners, they still win because Country X will now blame Country Y, rather than the terrorists, for what happened. Swap the two countries for two groups of people inside a country and it becomes easier to understand what the terrorists are trying to accomplish by taking hostages.


Israelis were convinced that they could buy their way out of the problem by betraying their fellow citizens living in the West Bank and Gaza. European leaders are convinced that they can have peace in their time by pressuring Israel and restraining America. American leaders are convinced that peace will come if they can pressure the Europeans and Israelis to stop offending Muslims. This is classic divide and conquer. The greatest danger of fighting terrorists is falling into a reactive pattern. The more you react to what terrorists do, the more they set the agenda. Taking hostages is the ultimate reactive trap. The kidnapping of three Israeli boys has sent Israel into the same predictable pattern, rounding up the usual suspects, making temporary arrests and a public outcry that, like the one surrounding Gilad Shalit, can easily be turned into a campaign to pay any price to free them. The only way to defeat a terrorist tactic is to invalidate it. The act of invalidating it is often painful, but it’s less painful than not doing it. Refusing to negotiate with terrorists cripples their ability to set the agenda. It’s hard to divide and conquer people who won’t talk to you. Human shields proliferate because they work. The only way to invalidate them as a tactic is by reacting to terrorists the same way whether or not they are using a human shield. Hostages are taken because the terrorists have a realistic expectation of striking a deal. Eliminate the deal and the hostage taking ends…

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



On Topic


U.S. Senator: Innocent Israeli Kidnapped Boys and Evil Abductors (Video): Lori Lowenthal Marcus, Jewish Press, June 27, 2014 U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R. Tex) spoke on the floor of the U.S. Senate on Thursday, June 26. He spoke about the three kidnapped Israeli teenagers, Gilad Shaar, Naftali Frenkel and Eyal Yifrach, and their abductors.

Hamas Extremism: Jerusalem Post, June 24, 2014 Blessed be the hands that captured them,” Khaled Mashaal, head of Hamas’s political bureau, told Al Jazeera on Monday, referring to those who kidnapped the three boys Naftali Fraenkel, Gil-Ad Shaer and Eyal Yifrah.

The Fight Against Hamas: The Legal Angle: Pnina Sharvit Baruch, INSS, June 27, 2013Following the abduction of three teenagers on June 12, 2014, Israel launched a campaign against Hamas in the West Bank that involves intensive activity on the ground, including searches, arrests, interrogations, confiscation of property, and other actions.

Hamas Kidnappings: History of a Constant Threat: IDF Spokesperson, Jewish Press, June 16, 2014 Last week’s Hamas abduction followed dozens of attempts to kidnap innocent Israelis. Since the beginning of 2013, Israel has foiled 64 planned abductions, many of them at the hands of Hamas terrorists.















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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.)


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.)



Richard Landes
Telegraph, October 21, 2011

One of the supreme ironies among the European moral stances has to do with their discourse on the death penalty. It is a standard trope of European contempt for the USA that it still has a death penalty, a sign of its cowboy nature and its retardation in the moral progress of nations.

And yet when that same Europe turns its gaze on the Middle East, the country they have the most contempt for is the only country in the entire region to reject capital punishment, and they have the most admiration for a “country” that among a widespread political culture that extensively uses torture and execution for the maintenance of public order, shows perhaps the most contempt for the lives of its own peoples and its enemies.

Normally, this would not be even worth mentioning. Most people would just roll their eyes while others complain about Zionist imperialists trying to divert attention from their oppression of the Palestinians. But if you want to understand the “hostage-for-prisoner-exchange” that just took place in Israel and the Western media’s coverage of the event, then you need to pay attention to the issue.

Israel first outlawed the death penalty in 1954, thus reversing the Mandate Law, which, in most other instances, Israel took over from the British. They based themselves both on rabbinic precedent (concerns for both respecting the image of God in man and the unattainable burden of proof) and modern liberal sentiment. In doing so, they became the first modern Western democracy to ban the death penalty, followed a decade later by Britain (1965), Sweden (1972), Canada (1976) and France (1981).

Note that Israel passed this law five years after the creation of a polity dedicated to equality before the law for all its citizens, a move that earned them the ferocious hostility of their neighbors in the Arab Muslim world. Normally, when countries attempt these egalitarian revolutions and find themselves surrounded by hostile enemies, they have, by year five, descended into mass executions of their own citizens (French Revolution in their fourth year, Russians, Chinese, Cambodians, almost immediately). Israel, on the other hand, outlawed the death penalty even for Arab terrorists who were captured while killing Israeli civilians. Israel has only executed one person, Adolph Eichmann, held responsible for the extermination of millions of Jews during the Holocaust.…

Palestine, on the other hand, represents almost the polar opposite. This is a place in which killing daughters and wives and homosexuals for shaming the family with (even suspected and loosely interpreted) inappropriate sexual behavior is a regular feature of society, where “collaborators” are summarily executed, where official statistics for executions put the PA at a rate of formal, legal execution that cedes only to China, Iran, N Korea, Yemen and Libya.

The trade of over a thousand Palestinians for one Israeli highlights the radical differences between the cultures. As Hizbullah’s [leader] Nasrullah put it after a prison exchange in 2004: “We have discovered how to hit the Jews where they are the most vulnerable. The Jews love life, so that is what we shall take away from them. We are going to win, because they love life and we love death.”

If a European, concerned about the nature of the aggressive Islam that has begun to crop up in his cities, citing for example Sharia zones, wanted to understand the nature of the Arab-Israeli conflict, he might spend a moment visiting the sites of Palestinian anti-Zionists, where this profoundly perverse culture teems. But of course, that would be politically incorrect. To spend any time pointing out the problems here constitutes the highest level of politically incorrect Islamophobia.

So instead of helping Europeans understand what’s at stake, most of the media and the NGO community have spun this story as one of violations of human rights on “both sides” with a heavy focus on Israeli misdeeds. The prisoners were considered “equal” and Israel primarily held accountable by the Geneva Convention for the treatment of enemy combatants when, in reality, the only one protected under these conditions was Shalit, a uniformed soldier kidnapped on his own soil in non-combat situation, and the thousand Palestinian prisoners where convicted in a court, primarily of crimes related to terror attacks on civilians.

Thus, The New York Times’s Robert Mackee could speak glibly about the “joy of parents on both sides” at the return of prisoners, and the UN could voice its concern that the prisoners Israel released might be subject to illegal forced transfer: “Returning people to places other than their habitual places of residence is in contradiction to international humanitarian law.” The UN’s concern for the full exercise of free will by convicted mass murderers illustrates the problem. Humanitarian discourse has been turned on its head to protect the ugliest players in this particular game…all the while implying that Israel, in its haste to get its own soldier back, trampled their rights and violated humanitarian law. Not surprisingly this led Ban Ki Moon to a moment of moral vertigo where he denounced the violation of everyone’s rights.…

In acquiescing with a narrative in which hatred and murder are considered legitimate expressions of “resistance” to “occupation,” Western human rights activists—including many journalists—have degraded humanitarian language at the same time as they have allowed into the public sphere a discourse of genocidal hatred. They have excluded any sympathy for Israelis who defend themselves from the onslaught they have shut out from their and their audiences’ consciousness.

It may seem cost-free to Westerners, but it’s not. In misreading the nature of the threat Israel faces, in adopting a degraded language of human rights to protect the greatest enemies of human rights on the planet, in adopting a corrupted advocacy journalism that masquerades as empirically accurate, they embrace all the kinds of techniques that put them in danger when faced with the same enemy.

(Richard Landes, an Associate Professor in the Department of History at Boston University,
is presenting a paper at CIJR’s November 6th Montreal International Conference.)


Joseph Klein
FrontPage, October 31, 2011

The “international community” is always quick to blame Israel for any reprisals it takes against Palestinian terrorists. Accusations of “collective punishment,” “disproportionate force,” and “extrajudicial targeted assassinations” are regularly hurled at Israel from the chambers of the dysfunctional Human Rights Council and other United Nations bodies, including the UN Security Council. Yet when Israel seeks even the mildest of rebukes from the Security Council for continued rocket attacks launched against Israeli civilians from Hamas-controlled Gaza, it is met with stone-faced silence.

Israeli UN Ambassador Ron Prosor has just sent yet another letter dated October 29, 2011 to the Security Council calling “attention to a very serious escalation of rocket fire from the Gaza Strip.” On that very day, wrote Ambassador Prosor, major cities throughout southern Israel were bombarded with a barrage of dozens of rockets and mortars launched from the Gaza Strip. These attacks killed one Israeli civilian and injured a number of others.…

“The scenes coming out of Southern Israel today should shock and appall the international community and all decent people,” wrote the Israeli ambassador. “There is no question that the terrorists who carried out these attacks intended to deliberately target innocent civilians.”

Ambassador Prosor’s latest letter came just two days after he had sent a letter to the Security Council complaining of rocket attacks that had been launched from Gaza on October 26th, which struck near Ashdod. The letter fell on deaf ears, which is the most likely fate of his most current letter as well.

“Two days ago, I wrote to the Security Council and expressed my Government’s concern about the escalating violence emanating from Gaza, alerting the international community about the dangerous potential for civilian casualties,” Ambassador Prosor reminded the Council in his October 29th letter. “The Council did not utter a single word of condemnation. Today one Israeli civilian was murdered and others lay injured in hospitals this evening as a result of the escalating rocket fire—and we still only hear silence from the Security Council.”

Indeed, as Ambassador Prosor pointed out, the Security Council has failed to take any steps to ensure compliance with the provisions of Security Council Resolution 1860, passed on January 9, 2009, that called for a cease-fire in Gaza and an end to “illicit trafficking in arms and ammunition.…”

At a time when Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is trying to convince the Security Council that he represents a government worthy of becoming a member state of the United Nations, he remains silent as terrorist attacks continue to be launched from a Palestinian territory he is utterly incapable of controlling.…

Before the Security Council proceeds to a final decision on the Palestinians’ application for UN member state status, it should respond affirmatively to Israeli Ambassador Prosor’s plea to “act with a common purpose against the escalating violence flowing from Gaza” and to condemn continued Palestinian terrorism against innocent Israeli civilians. Ambassador Prosor has put the Security Council and the Palestinians on notice. There will be “serious consequences for continued rocket fire,” he said. “Israel has exercised and will continue to exercise its right to self-defense, as appropriate, and will take all necessary measures to protect its citizens.”

If the Security Council puts its head in the sand as expected, it will bear full responsibility for the consequences.


Catherine Chatterley
National Post, March 3, 2011

Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW)…is a Canadian invention. The first event was held at the University of Toronto in 2005. The following year, it included Montreal and Oxford. In 2007, it grew to eight cities; in 2008, to 24 cities; in 2009, to 38 cities; last year, to over 40 cities. This year, IAW [was] held in over 55 cities worldwide.

While the event is new, the ideology at the heart of IAW is not. The accusation that Zionism is racist and imperialist by nature is as old as Israel. The Soviet Union was a leading proponent of this conception of Zionism; and it drew on the long history of leftist antisemitism, identifying Jewish nationalism and capitalist imperialism with Judaism and the Jewish bourgeoisie.

Within a year of Israel’s establishment, Stalin began to see Zionism as a serious threat to the Soviet Union. Zionism was perceived to be working in tandem with American imperialism, both in the Middle East and as a conspiracy inside the U.S.S.R.. From 1949 until his death in 1953, Stalin engaged in a full assault on the Jews of the Soviet Union, who were then considered “bourgeois nationalists” and a Zionist fifth column. Following the Six-Day-War in 1967, Soviet anti-Zionist rhetoric regularly used Nazi analogies, accusing Israel of behaving like Hitler.…

In his most recent history of anti-Semitism, entitled A Lethal Obsession, Robert Wistrich illustrates how the Soviet strategy to isolate and delegitimize Zionism precipitated UN Resolution 3379 in 1975, which stated that “Zionism is a form of racism and racist discrimination.” Two years earlier, UN Resolution 3151 had condemned “the unholy alliance between South African racism and Zionism.”

UN Resolution 3379 was annulled in 1991, the same year that the Soviet Union collapsed, but its echoes were heard again at Durban I, the World Conference Against Racism, held in 2001 under UN auspices. Charged with discussing a number of controversial subjects including slavery and reparations, much of the conference was dedicated to the so-called racist crimes of Zionism. Iran and Syria inserted six references to Zionism as a form of racism into the draft documents produced before the official conference (which were eventually removed). The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion was distributed to delegates by the Palestinian Solidarity Committee of South Africa.

Four years after Durban I, in 2005, Israeli Apartheid Week was born in Toronto. That July, 170 Palestinian civil-society organizations released an official call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (better known as BDS) against Israel. The document clearly stated that the call was modelled on the example of the South African struggle against Apartheid.…

This is the model chosen by pro-Palestinian activists today to dismantle so-called “Zionist racism” in the Middle East. By framing Israel as a racist apartheid state, BDS is presented as an entirely appropriate and morally correct plan of action. If Israel can be characterized as the new South Africa, it will have fewer and fewer supporters.…

As with the original anti-apartheid movement, the goal of IAW is explicitly political. And yet the rhetoric of IAW is left open enough to incorporate: (1) critics of Israel who still support a two-state solution; (2) those who support the dismantling of the current Jewish State and its replacement with a single (highly theoretical) secular democratic state; and (3) those who support the destruction of Israel by any means necessary. All three camps are included amongst supporters of IAW and the BDS campaign, and therefore the lines are often blurred between harsh criticism of the state of Israel, outright condemnation of its continued existence, and calls for its eradication. This is a serious problem, and one that appears to be designed quite consciously by IAW and the BDS movement.…

What we need, in response, is high-quality academic programming on university campuses that both unpacks and counters Israel Apartheid propaganda, and that actually engages with the difficult reality of the conflict. I would suggest that it is fundamentally irresponsible to allow IAW and its supporters to re-define Zionism as a racist form of European colonialism when in actual fact it is an emancipatory movement for Jewish self-determination—one that developed a new urgency and legitimacy with the wholesale systematic annihilation of Jewish Europe by a real form of racist European imperialism, better known as National Socialism.

(Catherine Chatterley, founding director of the Canadian Institute for the Study of Antisemitism (CISA), will be presenting a paper in Montreal at CIJR’s November 6th International Conference.)


Dr. Yasser Dasmabebi
FrontPage, October 26, 2011

I have come to realize just how difficult it may be to decipher news about the Middle East, Islam, Israel, the Arab World, and all these powerful and explosive issues of our times for those who rely on such media stalwarts as The New York Times, The Washington Post, theLos Angeles Times, the major television networks, cable news, etc. for their information. For example, how is a person to ascertain whether the slayer of a family is a terrorist or a militant or a gunman or an assailant or an activist or a freedom-fighter?

So, purely as a public service, I have organized the following glossary of the most pertinent terms and expressions, as typically used in the above-mentioned news sources. I hope,insha’allah, the reader will find it helpful to unravel the Gordian Knot of language that is today’s (and yesterday’s and tomorrow’s) Middle East!

Aggression: Killing people who are trying to kill you.

Al Qaeda: the terrorist group that, according to American security sources, embodies the world-wide Islamist movement, and that is either “significantly degraded” or is still “extremely dangerous,” depending on which government official is doing the talking.

Apartheid: The political/social system of the one and only country in the Middle East that integrates Jews, Beduins, Arabs, whites, blacks, Muslems, Ethiopians, Russians, Christians, Greek Orthodox, Russian Orthodox, Bahai, et al.

Apes & Pigs”: See “Jew” below.

Arab Emir: Military dictator.

Arab King: Military dictator.

Arab President: Military dictator.

Arab Prime Minister: Military dictator.

Arab Spring: Replacement of one dictatorship with another, with the help of Western money and media cheerleading.

Arab Street: Enraged mobs chanting and screaming their hatred, determined to annihilate Israel and the Jews. They can often be seen burning American and Israeli flags, passing out candies and firing guns into the air in response to successful murders of Westerners (closely related to):

Arab Humiliation: The pervasive feeling on the Arab street generated by their failure to annihilate Israel and the Jews in several wars. Many opinion-makers, Middle East experts and op-ed writers argue that Arab humiliation is at the root of the Middle East conflict; i.e., “If only the Jews would let themselves be destroyed, the Arab street would feel better about themselves, and then there would be peace.”

Ayatola: Persian dictator. Spiritual leader of that faith that desires to ignite nuclear holocaust in order to bring about the arrival of the Mahdi. (See “Mahdi” below.)

Bias: An expression of support for the existence of Israel.

Caliphate: The unification of lands ruled in the name of Islam, ruled by a Caliph. (See “Arab King,” “Arab President,” etc. above.)

Compromise: To give something palpable, such as land, in return for a promise not to keep on trying to annihilate you.

Developing Country: A country that is not developing.

Disproportionate Response: Winning.

Diversity: The condition in which all cultures are viewed as equally and inherently virtuous, except for the culture of the West, which is viewed as evil by virtue of imperialism, colonialism and endemic racism (see “Racist” below).

Emergency Laws: The law.

Father of the Palestinian People: An Egyptian man, raised by his uncle, Hitler’s buddy, and one of the world’s most successful kleptocrats. (See “PLO” below.)

Fatwa: A pronouncement of a mullah that sanctions murder, but only of disagreeable people, like inadequately covered women, Salman Rushdie, etc.

Female Genital Mutilation: That ritual of which Western feminist organizations seem, by virtue of their silence, to approve.

Hamas: The democratically elected government of Gaza whose founding charter calls for genocide.

Hezbollah:The democratic group whose purpose is saving Lebanon from Israeli aggression, and whose founding charter calls for genocide.

History: Having nothing whatsoever to do with what has actually happened, but rather being what has come to be called “narrative,” i.e., “storytelling.” For one example, allusions to the “Ancient Nation of Palestine;” and for another, almost all the Muslem accomplishments President Obama enumerated in his momentous Cairo speech (also see “Rewriting History” below).

Holocaust: That genocide that did not happen, but that the Jews orchestrated in order to steal Arab land, and that of which the Jewish presence in Palestine is worse than.

Honor Killings: The cultural imperative to murder one’s daughter/sister/niece for humiliating male members…(see “Shariah” below).

Human Rights: The credo by which murder committed by a person from a country which used to be called “Third World” (now considered racist terminology) is good (see “Resistance” below); retaliatory killing by a person who is either from a developed country, a white person or most especially a Jew, is bad (see “Agression” above).

Human Shields: Integral part of Hamas & Hezbollah military strategy.

Islamic Republic: Military dictatorship.

Israel: Occupied territory (see “Zionist Entity” below).

Israeli Prime Minister: Hawkish, right-winger, hard-liner.

Jerusalem: City holy to Islam in which the Jews have no history.

Jew: The source of all decadence and evil in the world; descendent of apes and pigs.…

[For a continuation of this text please see On Topics below—Ed.]


Media-o-crity of the Week


We have concerns regarding reports that hundreds of Palestinian prisoners from the West Bank may be released to the Gaza Strip or abroad.… This may constitute forced transfer or deportation under international law.”—Rupert Colville, spokesman for UN High Commissioner for Human Rights NaviPillay, voicing the UN’s concern that as part of the Giald Shalit prisoner-swap deal Israel may be releasing Palestinian criminals to foreign locations “without their free and informed consent.” (Reuters, October 18.)

Weekly Quotes


I am happy to see Gilad Shalit begining to return to [his] routine.”—Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, praising the return of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. Shalit, who was released from Hamas captivity yesterday, has started his recovery after having slept in his home in Mitzpe Hila for the first time in more than five years. Noam Shalit, Gilad’s father, said that his son was feeling well and that the family was working on getting back to normal. (Jerusalem Post, October 19.)


We thank God for your return and your safety. You are freedom fighters and holy warriors for the sake of God and the homeland. We hope soon to see…every prisoner freed.”—Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas, at a rally in Ramallah, welcoming home the hundreds of Palestinian “martyrs” released from Israeli jails in the first phase of the Gilad Shalit prisoner-swap deal. Amidst the thousands of Palestinians gathered in the West Bank to celebrate the deal, chants of “The people want a new Schalit” could be heard. (Haaretz & Jerusalem Post, October 18.)


Abu Mazen [Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas] was negotiating a million years and has not achieved such a deal.… We invite Abu Mazen to enter into elections to see the extent of his popularity in the Palestinian street.”—Senior Hamas official, Mahmoud Zahar, claiming that Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas would not have been able to bring about the release of Palestinian prisoners, and challenging Abbas to test his popularity in elections. Zahar’s comments underline the widely held perception that the Shalit deal was a political victory for Hamas. (Jerusalem Post, October 19.)


Bassam Nasser’s op-ed in yesterday’s paper is a must read for every citizen of the world. Nothing could better illustrate the truth about the Palestinian society.… Nasser argues that it’s just not fair that we Israelis view the prisoners released in exchange for Gilad Schalit as terrorist murderers.… We should understand that they are heroes, a source of pride and honor to their parents and families, the most eligible bachelors desired by every young Palestinian woman.… They are not deviants of society, but rather society itself.…”—Marc Belzberg, in “Words Of Truth Amidst A World Of Lies,” describing Palestinian society as “one of the most despicable and detestable societies in the history of man,” and condemning Bassam Nasser’s recent Jerusalem Post op-ed, in which Nasser asserted that Palestinian “prisoners are seen as heroes in all sectors of Palestinian society.” The Jerusalem Post reported today that Hamas prime minister Ismail Haniyeh has awarded $2,000 to the families of all prisoners released as part of the Gilad Shalit deal.(Jerusalem Post, October 19.)


The children of Kafar Qaddum commenced the trial of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu—the symbolic trial which convicted him of carrying out war crimes against humanity in the Palestinian territories, confiscation and theft of land and building settlements on it.… Thus the people and children of Kafar Qaddum…sentence[d] him to death by hanging.…”—Excerpts from a news report broadcast on Palestinian Authority TV, describing the mock trial and hanging of Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu, which took place during an event organized by Fatah for the youth of the village Kafar Qaddum in the West Bank. (Independent Media Review and Analysis, October 9.)


The experience that we amassed in the kidnapping of soldiers leads us to talk about continuing with kidnappings. There are another 7,000 prisoners in prison and they also have to be freed.”—Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Zahar, in an interview with Yediot Ahronot, confirming that Hamas will continue to target Israeli soldiers for abduction. (Independent Media Review and Analysis, October 16.)


Sooner or later, Israel will learn the name of its next Gilad Shalit. Sooner or later, too, it will learn that the better course is to give its enemies reasons to think twice before taking hostages in the first place.”—Wall Street Journal editorial board, in “Israel’s Unequal Exchange,” proclaiming strong deterrence as Israel’s most effective measure to ensure the security of its soldiers against future kidnapping attempts by Hamas. (Wall Street Journal, October 17.)


The United Nations has been calling for (an end to) the unacceptable detention of Gilad Shalit and also the release of all Palestinians whose human rights have been abused all the time.”—United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon, in an interview with Reuters, drawing a moral equivalence between the illegal captivity of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit and the lawful imprisonment of Palestinian terrorists. In response, executive director of UN Watch, Hillel Neuer, called on “Mr. Ban to recognize that those who masterminded and carried out terrorist attacks against women and children are despicable criminals, not innocent victims, and that their detention is a moral and security obligation rather than a so-called violation of human rights.” (UN Watch, October 18.)


Throughout the five years of Shalit’s captivity in Gaza, during which every human rights obligation was blatantly violated, organizations such as the UN Human Rights Council, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network (EMHRN), Gisha, and the International Red Cross demonstrated very little interest. Similarly, the report of the UN Fact-Finding Commission on the Gaza War, headed by Judge Richard Goldstone, downplayed Shalit’s captivity in blatant violation of international law. This moral stain will never be erased.”—Professor Gerald M. Steinberg, president of human rights watchdog NGO Monitor,arguing that the Gilad Shalit prisoner swap deal highlights the continued erosion of international legal principles, and further exposes the moral bankruptcy of international human rights mechanisms. (NGO Monitor, October 12.)


To be Jewish is not just to be part of a religion or a nation, it’s to be part of a family. The Book of Genesis tells a story of a family, the family of Abraham and Sara, the family that ultimately gave birth to the Jewish people.… Genesis goes on at length about this family’s dynamics, telling all about feuds and competition and love and forgiveness. It does so, because Genesis isn’t merely the prologue to Jewish history, it is the foundation of Jewish History. The lesson of Genesis is that even when the family evolves into being a nation, the nation never stops being a family.… And that’s why I had tears in my eyes upon hearing of Gilad’s release. Even though we don’t know each other, Gilad is still part of our family; and even though we haven’t met, Gilad is still my brother.… So, welcome home Gilad. Your thirteen million brothers and sisters have been waiting for you.”—Rabbi and CIJR Board Member, Chaim Steinmetz, welcoming home Gilad Shalit on behalf of the Jewish people. (Chaim Steinmetz Blog, October 11.)


Sinai is our land, and we do not need permission to increase our forces on our land.”—Egypt’s Air Force chief, General Reda Hafiz, confirming that Egyptian warplanes have been patrolling the Sinai without Israel’s consent, despite the 1979 peace treaty limiting Egypt’s military presence in the peninsula. (Ynet News, October 13.)


Canada is required by its international obligations to arrest and prosecute former president Bush given his responsibility for crimes under international law including torture.… A failure by Canada to take action during his visit would violate the UN Convention Against Torture and demonstrate contempt for fundamental human rights.”—Amnesty International representative, Susan Lee, accusing former US president George W. Bush of authorizing “torture” when he directed the U.S.-led war on terror, and calling on Canadian authorities to arrest and prosecute Bush during his upcoming October 20 visit to British Columbia. In response, Canada’s Immigration and Citizenship Minister,Jason Kenney, criticized Amnesty International, saying the organization “cherry picks cases to publicize based on ideology. This kind of stunt helps explain why so many respected human rights advocates have abandoned Amnesty International.” (National Post, October 12.)


Short Takes


SAUDI ARABIA TAKES ASSASSINATION PLOT TO THE UN—(Jerusalem) Saudi Arabia’s permanent mission to the United Nations has formally requested that UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon notify the Security Council of Iran’s “heinous plot” to assassinate Adel al-Jubeir, the Saudi Ambassador to the United States. Saudi officials released a statement expressing Riyadh’s “deep concern and anger,” and describing the plot as a violation of international laws and UN resolutions, adding that those involved must be brought to justice. The United States also submitted a letter to Ki-Moon, insisting that elements of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard were directly involved in the assassination attempt. (Independent Media Review and Analysis, October 16.)


IRAN, SAUDI ARABIA TENSIONS SPUR FEARS OF A PROXY WAR—(New York) Rising tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran are raising concerns that a renewed proxy war between the two countries could break out in Iraq, where the withdrawal U.S. military troops at the end of the year is expected to leave a power vacuum. One of the side effects of the Arab Spring has been the upending of a regional equilibrium between Saudi- and Iranian-backed governments and political actors. Riyadh blames Tehran for much of the political instability on its borders in Bahrain and Yemen, while Iranian officials have watched its popular support in the region falter due to Iran’s involvement in Syria’s crackdown on anti-regime protesters. Iraq, a border state for both Saudi Arabia and Iran, is likely to become a new battleground for such a confrontation given the two powers’ current drive to shore up political and military might. (Wall Street Journal, October 17.)


TO ISOLATE IRAN, U.S. PRESSES INSPECTORS ON NUCLEAR DATA—(Washington) In response to an Iranian plot to assassinate Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the United States, President Obama is pressing United Nations nuclear inspectors to release classified intelligence information showing that Iran is designing and experimenting with nuclear weapons technology. In an effort to further isolate and increase pressure on the Islamic Republic, administration officials are also mulling a ban on financial transactions with Iran’s central bank as well as an expansion of the sanctions on the purchase of petroleum products sold by companies controlled by the Iran’s elite military force, the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps. In September, Yukiya Amano, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, publicly discussed for the first time the possibility of publishing delicate data suggesting Iran is developing nuclear triggers and warheads. (NY Times, October 15.)


FREED PALESTINIAN TELLS KIDS TO BE LIKE HER—(Gaza) A would-be Palestinian suicide bomber freed by Israel in the prisoner swap for Gilad Shalit has told schoolchildren in the Gaza Strip she hopes they will follow her example. “I hope you will walk the same path we took and G-d willing, we will see some of you as martyrs,” Wafa al-Biss told dozens of children who came to welcome her home. Biss was traveling to Beersheba’s Soroka hospital for medical treatment in 2005 when Israeli soldiers at the Erez border crossing noticed she was walking strangely. They found 10 kilograms (22 lbs) of explosives sewn into her underwear; Biss said she had planned to blow herself up at the checkpoint but her detonator malfunctioned. After she spoke, the children cheered and waved Palestinian flags and chanted: “We will give souls and blood to redeem the prisoners. We will give souls and blood for you, Palestine.” (Reuters, October 19.)


TURKEY SEEKS ISRAELI ARRESTS OVER FLOTILLA RAID—(Jerusalem) According to CNN Turk, a Turkish prosecutor is seeking the arrest of 174 Israelis allegedly involved in the last year’s Mavi Marmara flotilla incident. The news organization has confirmed that Istanbul state prosecutor Mehmet Akif Ekinci has written to the Justice Ministry calling for the arrest of those who carried out the raid and those who ordered it. Turkish-Israeli tensions continue to escalate, with Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan saying last month that Turkish warships could be sent to the Eastern Mediterranean at any time and that Israel could not do whatever it wants there. Turkey has already downgraded diplomatic ties with Israel and halted defense trade after the Jewish state reiterated it would not apologize for the Mavi Marmara raid. (Ynet News, October 13.)


VIOLENCE SHARPENS SYRIAN CONFLICT—(New York) The uprising against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is increasingly breaking into armed clashes that activists and diplomats worry could escalate beyond a point of no return. Roadside bombings, assassinations and other attacks have risen to new levels despite efforts by Syria’s opposition leaders to keep protests nonviolent. Last week, the Arab League held an emergency meeting on Syria, which resulted in the 22-member body calling on Assad to hold talks with the opposition in Cairo and come to a cease-fire agreement within 15 days. Syria’s government rejected the initiative. According to the UN, the death toll in Syria now exceeds 3,000. (Wall Street Journal, October 19.)


GILAD SHALIT’S EGYPTIAN TV INTERVIEW COMES UNDER FIRE IN ISRAEL—(Jerusalem) Israeli officials have harshly criticized an Egyptian television interview with Gilad Shalit minutes after Hamas militants freed him in a prisoner swap, saying the questioning was inappropriate and insensitive. In the interview aired on Egyptian state television, a pale, uncomfortable looking Shalit appeared to struggle to speak at times, and his breathing was noticeably labored as he awkwardly answered questions. Armed Hamas militants appeared during the interview, with one standing behind Shalit’s chair, wearing a black face mask and a green headband of the Qassam brigades, Hamas’ military wing. Only after the interview was Shalit handed over to Israeli officials and given a medical examination. (Haaretz, October 18.)


EGYPT COURT BARS OPPOSITION HOPEFUL—(Cairo) An Egyptian court has ruled that Ayman Nour, a leader of Egypt’s revolution, is not eligible to participate in presidential elections because of a prior conviction on trumped-up charges that he forged the signatures required to form his political party. The exclusion of a prominent pro-democracy activist like Mr. Nour, while politicians from the former ruling National Democratic Party register unimpeded for parliamentary elections, strikes many activists as a blow to secular-minded politicians and another signal of a failing revolution. In recent weeks, Egyptian politicians have sharply criticized the interim military council for not doing enough to accelerate the transition to democracy, sparking concerns that the military leadership is hoping to extend its authority. (Wall Street Journal, October 17.)


EGYPT INTERCEPTS LIBYAN SURFACE-TO-AIR MISSILES IN SINAI—(Jerusalem) Egyptian security officers have confirmed the interception of Gaza-bound surface-to-air missiles smuggled from Libya through the Sinai Peninsula. Weapons smuggling from Libya has increased since the fall of former Libyan despot Muammar Gaddafi, who held weapons caches throughout the country. “Weapons are available in Libya as a result of the unstable situation there, and Hamas has exploited it to buy weapons from Libyan smugglers,” Deputy Prime Minister Moshe Ya’alon affirmed. Both Israel and the US have put pressure on Egypt to beef up security in the Sinai, used by terrorists this past August to launch a terrorist attack on Southern Israel, and where militants have blown up the natural gas pipeline running from Egypt to Israel six times since the ousting of former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak. (Jerusalem Post, October 14.)


ARAB RALLY: REDEEM AL-AQSA WITH BLOOD—(Jerusalem) Approximately 30,000 Arab Israelis have taken part in a rally titled “Al-Aqsa Mosque in Danger,” vowing to “redeem” the holy Muslim site in Jerusalem “with blood.” The event was organized by the northern branch of the Islamic Movement in the town of Umm al-Fahem. Participants chanted “Allahu Akbar” and “we shall redeem you with blood and spirit, oh al-Aqsa.’“ Referring to the Shalit prisoner swap, the Islamic Movement’s deputy chief, Sheikh Kamel Khatib, said: “The Shalit deal is a historic revolution that comprises the entire Palestinian people—from Jerusalem and from Gaza.” During the rally, thousands of participants called for the release of more Arab Israelis in the framework of the Shalit deal. (Ynet News, October 14.)


PALESTINIAN OFFICIAL IN CANADA SENDS OUT OFFENSIVE “TWEET”—(Toronto) A Palestinian envoy in Canada, Linda Sobeh Ali, has received an official rebuke for disseminating a video which shows a tearful Palestinian girl reciting a poem that calls on millions to join “a war that raze[s] the injustice and oppression and destroy[s] the Jews.” In response, Ottawa has lodged a formal complaint with the Palestinian Authority, with Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird saying “Canada expects the Palestinian Authority to appropriately deal with this serious transgression. We have taken the decision to limit communication with this official until a replacement is selected.” (JTA, October 19.)


ANTI-SEMITISM TAINTING “OCCUPY WALL STREET” PROTESTS—(Jerusalem) Several anti-Semitic incidents have been reported during the ongoing “Occupy Wall Street” demonstrations in New York, with Jews being blamed for the turmoil in America’s financial markets. The “Emergency Committee for Israel” has published a video clip depicting the attack on Jews and the Jewish state [Please see “On Topics” below to view the video—Ed.]. Signs that have been seen at the protests include, “Gaza supports the occupation of Wall Street,” “ Jews Control the Banks,” and “Hitler’s Bankers”. In response, the Anti-Defamation League released a statement urging “organizers, participants and supporters of these rallies to condemn such bigoted statements clearly and forcefully.”(Ynet News, October 16 & Contentions, October 18.)


ISRAEL LAW CENTER HOTLINE TO MONITOR CAMPUS ANTI-SEMITISM—(Jerusalem) The Israel Law Center (Shurat Hadin) has launched a hotline which will allow Jewish students to report incidents of anti-Semitism and anti-Israelism on US college campuses. According to attorney Kenneth A. Leitner, the Law Center’s director of American affairs, the Law Center will use the information collected to take legal action against colleges believed to be breaching Jewish students’ legal rights. “It is time for us to go on the legal offensive,” said Leitner, who noted that the trend of campus anti-Semitism is growing. US colleges will also receive a “report card” grading them according to their commitment to providing Jewish students with a safe and welcoming learning environment. Students in the US can call the Israel Law Center Campus Hotline at (718) 907-9258.(Jerusalem Post, October 16.)


Joshua Mitnick

Wall Street Journal, October 18, 2011

Israel and Hamas carried out an unprecedented prisoner swap on Tuesday, freeing Israeli Sgt. Gilad Shalit after five years in captivity in return for some 477 Palestinian prisoners that were released to the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and to Egypt.… [Israel has agreed to release an additional 550 Palestinian prisoners in two months time as part of the deal—Ed.]

Looking weak and thin, and dressed in a black baseball cap and a plaid shirt, Sgt. Shalit emerged from imprisonment at the Egyptian side of the Rafah border crossing.… “I’m happy,” he said in an interview with an Egyptian reporter before returning to Israel.…

After army doctors pronounced [Shalit] to be in good health, he flew by helicopter to the Tel Nof military base in central Israel where he was reunited with his family.… At a ceremony to welcome Sgt. Shalit back, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Israeli negotiators succeeded in getting Hamas to compromise on their demands, but acknowledged that he paid a “heavy” price of the release of militants who had killed Israelis in terrorist attacks.…


Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, October 18, 2011

“Citizens of Israel, today we are all united in joy and in pain.

Two-and-a-half years ago, I returned to the Prime Minister’s Office. One of the principal and most complicated missions that I found on my desk, and which I set my heart to, was to bring our abducted soldier Gilad Shalit back home, alive and well. Today, that mission has been completed.

It entailed a very difficult decision. I saw the need to return home someone whom the State of Israel had sent to the battlefield. As an IDF soldier and commander, I went out on dangerous missions many times. But I always knew that if I or one of my comrades fell captive, the Government of Israel would do its utmost to return us home, and as Prime Minister, I have now carried this out. As a leader who daily sends out soldiers to defend Israeli citizens, I believe that “mutual responsibility” is no mere slogan—it is a cornerstone of our existence here.

But I also see an additional need, that of minimizing the danger to the security of Israel’s citizens. To this end, I enunciated two clear demands. First, that senior Hamas leaders, including arch-murderers, remain in prison. Second, that the overwhelming majority of those designated for release either be expelled or remain outside Judea and Samaria, in order to impede their ability to attack our citizens.

For years, Hamas strongly opposed these demands. But several months ago, we received clear signs that it was prepared to back down from this opposition. Tough negotiations were carried out, night and day, in Cairo, with the mediation of the Egyptian government. We stood our ground, and when our main demands were met—I had to make a decision.

I know very well that the pain of the families of the victims of terrorism is too heavy to bear. It is difficult to see the miscreants who murdered their loved ones being released before serving out their full sentences. But I also knew that in the current diplomatic circumstances, this was the best agreement we could achieve, and there was no guarantee that the conditions which enabled it to be achieved would hold in the future. It could be that Gilad would disappear; to my regret, such things have already happened.

I thought of Gilad and the five years that he spent rotting away in a Hamas cell. I did not want his fate to be that of Ron Arad. Ron fell captive exactly 25 years ago and has yet to return. I remembered the noble Batya Arad. I remembered her concern for her son Ron, right up until her passing. At such moments, a leader finds himself alone and must make a decision. I considered—and I decided. Government ministers supported me by a large majority.

And today, now Gilad has returned home, to his family, his people and his country. This is a very moving moment. A short time ago, I embraced him as he came off the helicopter and escorted him to his parents, Aviva and Noam, and I said, ‘I have brought your son back home.’ But this is also a hard day; even if the price had been smaller, it would still have been heavy.

I would like to make it clear: We will continue to fight terrorism. Any released terrorist who returns to terrorism—his blood is upon his head. The State of Israel is different from its enemies: Here, we do not celebrate the release of murderers. Here, we do not applaud those who took life. On the contrary, we believe in the sanctity of life. We sanctify life. This is the ancient tradition of the Jewish people.

Citizens of Israel, in recent days, we have all seen national unity such as we have not seen in a long time. Unity is the source of Israel’s strength, now and in the future. Today, we all rejoice in Gilad Shalit’s return home to our free country, the State of Israel. Tomorrow evening, we will celebrate Simchat Torah. This coming Sabbath, we will read in synagogues, as the weekly portion from the prophets, the words of the prophet Isaiah (42:7): ‘To bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison-house.’ Today, I can say, on behalf of all Israelis, in the spirit of the eternal values of the Jewish people: ‘Your children shall return to their own border [Jeremiah 31:17].’

Am Yisrael Chai! [The People of Israel live!].”


Isi Leibler
Jerusalem Post, October 16, 2011

The liberation of Gilad Schalit on the holiday of Succot after five cruel years of incarceration is the outcome of a major conflict between the heart and the mind in which turbulent emotions triumphed. That the nightmare was ending sent waves of euphoria and relief throughout the nation. Each of us, including those bitterly opposed to the agreement consummated with Hamas, identifies with Schalit, not so much as a hero but as though he were our own son.

The deal…reflects the humanity and concern for one another that has personified the Jewish people over years of persecution and isolation. No other country would conceivably act in this manner and it reveals the compassion Israelis share and the lengths they will go to not to forsake their sons on the battlefield.

The popularity of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu—in the short term—will undoubtedly rise dramatically. Despite vociferous critics, the deal was enthusiastically endorsed by the vast majority of Israelis, whose emotional frailties had been incessantly laid bare by our irresponsible media.

Netanyahu inherited the problem from Ehud Olmert, who at one stage had conceded most of the ground to Hamas but ultimately got cold feet and backed out. Thus the task fell to Netanyahu, who had to cross the very red lines he himself had drawn and vowed never to breach. Nobody can envy the agonizing ordeal Netanyahu must have undergone before making such a fateful judgment that ran diametrically counter to his basic principles.

Although we universally rejoice and celebrate the end of this long and painful national trauma, as with so many aspects of life in Israel there are bitter as well as sweet aspects to the outcome. Not the least of which is the unbearable agony inflicted on the families of those murdered as they witness the vile, unrepentant butchers of their loved ones being “liberated” and hailed as heroes.

If we are to undertake remedial steps to avert similar situations from arising in the future, which could inflict even more severe dilemmas of this nature, we must first be willing to face up to the consequences of this capitulation to Hamas.

The exchange of 1,027 terrorists, including the most cruel and barbaric mass-murderers and masterminds of major terrorist attacks plus six Israeli Arab terrorists, in return for one Israeli soldier, is not merely a stunning victory for Hamas and global terrorism. It also conveys a number of other disconcerting messages that will undoubtedly return to haunt us.

First, Hamas can now show conclusively that murder and terror are infinitely more effective than negotiation. The exchange will embolden terrorists throughout the world and encourage them to intensify their efforts. Indeed, former Mossad chief Meir Dagan has repeatedly stated that past precedents demonstrate that the release of these killers will have deadly future consequences and undoubtedly facilitate the murder of many other Israelis. In fact, Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal explicitly boasted that “those released will return to armed struggle. It is a great national achievement.…”

Second, by exposing the “soft” side or “Achilles’ heel” of an otherwise tough Israeli adversary, Hamas (and Fatah) share a clear incentive to exert every effort and make every sacrifice to kidnap additional Israeli hostages in order to impose new demands.

Third, it will be much easier to recruit terrorists who believe that no matter how many Israelis they kill, if apprehended there is every likelihood that they will be released.

Fourth, Hamas has undoubtedly displaced the PA and demonstrated that it was able to force Israel and other states to negotiate and thus provide itself with legitimacy. Indeed, Hamas, which remains adamantly committed to terrorism and the total destruction of Israel, has now emerged as the dominant face of a future Palestinian state.

Fifth, this is also a victory for the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas’s parent organization, which is emerging as the principal power broker in Egypt. The new Egyptian government will therefore impose far greater pressure on Israel in relation to Hamas than was the case during the Mubarak era. Israel must also factor in Turkey, which in addition to Iran has now emerged as a vociferous supporter of Hamas.

Fortunately, the IDF has sufficient deterrent power to discourage direct hostilities. But there will be greater diplomatic pressure, and a rejuvenated Hamas as well as other terrorist groups can be expected to invest enormous efforts in intensifying their war against us at all levels.

In such an environment the government must gird itself for the future. We must never again permit the deliverance of one Israeli—either soldier or citizen—to jeopardize our national security. We must revisit the judicial committee initiated by former Supreme Court president Meir Shamgar in mid-2009, which called for regulations designed to ensure that future hostage deals do not become prey to the passions and media frenzy that drove this deal. The findings had been shelved because of the emotions surrounding Schalit. Now would be an appropriate time to try to formulate these principles in a more objective and rational environment and if possible have them written into law by the Knesset.

We must recognize that the concept that “we must pay any price” is unsustainable. A state under siege must not allow itself to be subjected to blackmail and extortion by terrorists. There is simply no end to such behavior. These barbarians’ lust for blood is insatiable. Continuing to capitulate to their excessively disproportionate demands will inevitably culminate in greater disasters.


Jerold S. Auerbach
American Thinker, October 16, 2011

In Haifa eight years ago, Asaf Zur was returning home from school. Along the way, his fellow bus passenger, a Hamas suicide bomber, blew himself up and killed seventeen Israelis, mostly school children like 17-year-old Asaf.

The bomb belt worn by the terrorist was made by Mawaz Abu Sharach and Majdi Amro. They trained him, planned his deadly assault, and drove him to his target. For their heinous cruelty they received seventeen life sentences. Interviewed from an Israeli prison on British television for a program called “Inside the Mind of a Suicide Bomber,” they said: “We will be released before our sentences’ time; we will go back to terror because we must kill more Jews.”

Sharach and Amro are among the 1,027 terrorists who will be released by Israel in return for Sgt. Gilad Shalit, 19 years old when he was abducted during a cross-border raid from Gaza more than five years ago. Held captive and incommunicado by Hamas ever since, his outside contacts have been limited to three letters, a DVD, and an audio tape—granted only in return for the release of 20 female Palestinian prisoners.

Shalit’s cruel confinement mobilized his family and their many supporters. Gilad’s father Noam worked relentlessly to secure his son’s release. Mass prayers have been held at the Western Wall. Ten thousand Israelis joined in a protest march, organized by Shalit’s parents, to the Prime Minister’s residence in Jerusalem. A tent was erected nearby for family and friends to maintain vigil and to press for Gilad’s return—at any price.

Few issues galvanize Israelis, and evoke their sense of themselves as a national family, like the capture of soldiers. Gilad became “a son to all of us,” whose return home would heal the deep family wound. News of his imminent release, in exchange for the Palestinian terrorists (nearly 300 of whom are convicted murderers serving life sentences), electrified the country. A substantial majority of Israelis, who have supported such disproportionate prisoner exchanges in the past, enthusiastically approve.…

But not Yossi Zur, father of Asaf. He knows the history and consequences of vastly disproportionate prisoner exchanges. During the past thirty years, 7,000 Palestinian prisoners incarcerated for brutal terrorist actions have been released in exchanges for 19 Israelis (and 8 bodies). Since 2002, 182 Israelis have been killed by the released terrorists. Based on these numbers, dozens of Israelis are likely to die at the hands of prisoners who will be exchanged for Gilad Shalit.…

A decade ago fifteen-year-old Malka Chana Roth was one of fifteen Israelis murdered in a horrific Palestinian terrorist bombing in the Sbarro pizzeria in downtown Jerusalem. The suicide bomber was escorted to the restaurant by Ahlam Tamimi, a 20-year-old university student who was disguised as a Jewish tourist. Sentenced to 16 life sentences, she said, “I’m not sorry for what I did. I will get out of prison and I refuse to recognize Israel’s existence.” Ahlam Tamimi was prescient: she is on the list of prisoners to be exchanged for Shalit.

When Frimet Roth, Malka’s mother, heard the news she responded: Tamimi has been “handed a life to live—the life of a hero, an inspiration. And the government that prosecuted this monstrous woman has agreed to the satanic transaction.”

It is difficult to imagine that Israeli solidarity can be forged from Noam Shalit’s joy and the bitter sorrow of Yossi Zur, Frimet Roth, and the families of hundreds of other innocent victims whose Palestinian murderers will be free to murder again.

According to President Shimon Peres, the Shalit exchange demonstrates that the Jewish state has fulfilled its “top moral value—to save one soul in Israel.” But to save one soul by virtually assuring the deaths of others is, at least, morally questionable. The imprisoned 13th century Rabbi Meir of Rothenburg refused the huge ransom of 23,000 silver marks raised by his loyal followers lest it encourage the incarceration of other rabbis. He died in prison seven years later.

As Yossi Zur realized, “since the names and faces of the future victims are not known, it is permissible to ignore all signs and past experience, and fantasize that nothing will happen.” For Israelis, sadly, history suggests otherwise.


Alan M. Dershowitz
Jerusalem Magazine, October 16, 2011

The Israeli government has agreed to release hundreds of properly convicted Palestinian terrorists in exchange for one illegally kidnapped Israeli soldier. This decision, understandable as it is emotionally, dramatically illustrates why terrorism works. By agreeing to this exchange, Israel has once again shown its commitment to saving the life of even one kidnapped soldier, regardless of the cost. And the cost here is extremely high, because some of the released terrorists will almost certainly try to kill again.

Leaders of terrorist groups, such as Hamas and Hezbollah, fully understand this cruel arithmetic of death. As Hassan Nasrallah, the head of Hezbollah, put it: “We are going to win because they love life and we love death.” Democratic societies that value the life of each citizen are more vulnerable to emotional blackmail than societies that are steeped in the culture of death. Terrorists understand what history has shown: that democratic societies, regardless of what they say about not negotiating with terrorists, will, in the end, submit to emotional blackmail. They will release their terrorist prisoners in order to obtain the release of their own kidnapped or hijacked citizens. Accordingly, the threat of deterrence against terrorists is weak, because every terrorist knows that regardless of the prison sentence he receives, there is a high likelihood that he will be released well before he has served it. This not only encourages more terrorism, but it also incentivizes kidnappings and hijackings that provide the terrorist with hostages to exchange for captured terrorists.

Accordingly, from a pure cost-benefit perspective, it may well be wrong to agree to such disproportionate exchanges. But democracies do not operate solely on a cost-benefit basis because the families of kidnapped or hijacked citizens have a right to present their emotional case in the court of public opinion, as Gilad Schalit’s family, especially his mother, so effectively did. They can influence policy against a simple cost-benefit calculation and in favor of a more humanistic approach. Israeli’s know Gilad Schalit. He is everyone’s son. They do not know those who may someday be killed by the released terrorists. They are faceless and nameless statistics—at least for now. The pleas of the Schalit family resonate with every Israeli who loves their children.

Contrast the pleas of the Schalit family with the plea of Zahra Maladan. Maladan is an educated woman who edits a women’s magazine in Lebanon. She is also a mother, who undoubtedly loves her son. She has ambitions for him, but they are different from those of most mothers in the West. She wants her son to become a suicide bomber. At the funeral for the assassinated Hezbollah terrorist Imad Mugniyah—the mass murderer responsible for killing 241 [US] marines in 1983 and more than 100 women, children, and men in Buenos Aires in 1992 and 1994—Ms. Maladan was quoted in the New York Times offering the following admonition to her son: “If you’re not going to follow the steps of the Islamic resistance martyrs, then I don’t want you.”

Nor is Ms. Maladan alone in urging her children to become suicide murderers. Umm Nidal, who ran for the Palestinian Legislative Council, “prepared all of her sons” for martyrdom. She has ten sons, one of whom already engaged in a suicide operation, which she considered “a blessing, not a tragedy.” She is now preparing to “sacrifice them all.”

It is impossible, of course, to generalize about cultures. There was genuine joy among many in Gaza when the deal was announced and when it became evident that their loved ones, despite their terrorist activities, would be returned. All decent people love their children and want them to live good lives. It is their leaders who prefer death (though not their own) over life and who make their followers feel guilty for not acting on that perverse preference. Democratic leaders, on the other hand, urge their citizens to act in the interests of life and who see death as a necessary evil in fighting against even greater evils.

While the preference for life over death may appear to be a weakness in the ability of democracies to fight against terrorism, in the end it is a strength. It is a strength because it signals a democracy’s commitment to value the life of every single one of its citizens. Israeli and American soldiers go into battle knowing that their countries will do everything in their power to rescue them, even if it means taking extraordinary risks. Nations that are committed to such humanistic values tend to have superior armies, as the United States and Israel do.

An important goal of terrorists is to force democracies to surrender their humanistic values. Israel’s values include never leaving a soldier behind, whether he is alive, as Schalit is, or dead, as have been other soldiers whose bodies have been exchanged for prisoners. Israel, by agreeing to exchange hundreds of terrorists for one soldier, has shown the world that it will not compromise on its value system which proclaims that “he who saves one human being, it is as if he has saved the world.”


ISRAELI CABINET APPROVES DEAL: SHALIT TO RETURN HOME—(Jerusalem) Exactly 1,934 days after Hamas kidnapped Gilad Shalit near Kerem Shalom on the border with Gaza, the Israeli cabinet met in a dramatic meeting Tuesday night, approving a deal for his release. The cabinet vote brings an end to a saga that tortured the Shalit family—and the country—for more than five years, and which made the kidnapped soldier, now 25, a household name in large parts of the world. In return for Shalit, Israel will release 1,027 prisoners, some 400 of them serving long sentences for some of the worst terrorist atrocities in Israel’s history. Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) head Yoram Cohen said that the organization would be able to deal with those terrorists returning to Gaza the West bank. Cohen, as well as the heads of the Mossad and the IDF all expressed support for the prisoner exchange deal. (Jerusalem Post, October 11.)

Weekly Quotes


Today, the Government [has approved] a deal that will bring Gilad Shalit home alive and well; bring him home to his parents Aviva and Noam, his brother Yoel, his sister Hadas, his grandfather Zvi, and the entire people of Israel.

Two and a half years ago, when the government was formed, I took upon myself, as my first priority, to bring Gilad home to his people, to his family—to bring him home safe and sound.… To that end we held long and tough negotiations through the German mediator. These negotiations were based on a framework outlined by the previous government. They were long and exhausting and despite all our efforts, a deal was not reached.

I must point out that not a day went by without us trying various ways to bring Gilad home, any way possible, and that didn’t work either. In the last few weeks, the negotiations were renewed in Cairo, this time with the Egyptian government as mediator. My instructions to the team were to adhere to the principles and framework that are important for the security of the State of Israel.… There is an inbuilt tension between the desire to bring back an abducted soldier, or citizen, and the need to maintain the security of the citizens of Israel. This is my dual responsibility as Prime Minister.

The deal…expresses the right balance between all of these considerations. I do not wish to hide the truth from you—it is a very difficult decision. I feel for the families of victims of terror, I appreciate their suffering and distress, I am one of them. But leadership must be examined at moments such as this, being able to make difficult, but right, decisions.

I believe that we have reached the best deal we could have at this time, when storms are sweeping the Middle East. I do not know if in the near future we would have been able to reach a better deal or any deal at all. It is very possible that this window of opportunity, that opened because of the circumstances, would close indefinitely and we would never have been able to bring Gilad home at all. Therefore, for all of these reasons, I instructed the team to put their initials on the deal last Thursday, and today it was finalized and signed by both sides.…

This morning I invited Noam Shalit to my residence, and I spoke on the phone with the mother Aviva and the grandfather Zvi. I told them that I am keeping my promise and I’m bringing their son and grandson home. I told them, ‘I’m bringing your boy back.’ I am happy that I succeeded in fulfilling the Jewish decree of redeeming captives, and if all goes as planned, Gilad will be back in Israel in the next few days with his family and his people.

The Nation of Israel is a unique people. We are all mutually responsible for each other, as our Sages said: ‘He who saves one soul, it is as though he saved an entire world.’ Tonight, I bring the Government a proposal to save Gilad Shalit, to finally bring him home to Israel after five years.”—Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, announcing to the nation of Israel that Gilad Shalit will return home to his people after more than five years of captivity. (Independent Media Review and Analysis, October 11.)


How fitting it is that a prisoner-exchange deal for the release of Gilad Shalit was announced just before Succot. The succa reminds us of the temporary structures in which the Children of Israel stayed during their 40 years of wandering in the Egyptian desert following the Exodus. Ultimately, they reached the Promised Land, and that is where Gilad must be, the sooner the better.… There are undoubtedly those in Israel, especially some victims of terror, who will strongly oppose the release of Palestinian terrorists, and even murderers. This is understandable, and their voices should be heard and not judged.… Yes, in an ideal world, Israel shouldn’t negotiate with terrorists. Yes, the released prisoners could easily return to terror. Yes, there is no justice in freeing murderers instead of forcing them to serve their sentences in full. And yes, exchanging 1,000 prisoners for one Israeli is hardly fair. But the alternatives are even worse. That Gilad Shalit could become another Ron Arad, the navigator who went missing in 1986 and whose fate is still unknown. Or that he could be slain by his captors, as has happened to abducted soldiers in the past.… We can only hope, beyond hope, that during his captivity since June 25, 2006, Gilad has remained sane and will emerge as unscathed as possible.… Despite the sharp differences of opinion in our society over a release of security prisoners, Israelis should join together in their succot this week, pray that Gilad will soon be reunited with his family and celebrate his imminent return home.”—Jerusalem Post editor-in-chief, Steve Linde, in “A Cause for Celebration,” praising “Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his government…for having the courage to reach an agreement,” and reinforcing an“overriding principle [that] must not be forgotten: Israel and the IDF cannot abandon Israeli soldiers, citizens and prisoners, wherever they are.” (Jerusalem Post, October 12.)


If there had been a better deal or viable military operation we would have chosen it.… It is not simple to release 280 murderers. Hamas will be strengthened by this and Fatah will likely be weakened and this might even increase motivation for more attacks and kidnappings.”—Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) chief Yoram Cohen, confirming that Israel made “the best deal possible” given the circumstances, while acknowledging the associated risks. (Jerusalem Post, October 12.)


We know from our experience that hundreds of people will pay with future terrorist attacks, and that [Hamas will] organize more kidnappings.”—Head of the Almagor Terror Victims Association, Meir Indor, slamming the Shalit prisoner-swap deal, and affirming that “The Shalit family wins and the state loses. It’s a victory for terror and Hamas.” According to Almagor, since 2004, 183 Israelis have been killed in attacks carried out by terrorists who were released from prison. (Jerusalem Post, October 12.)


This [prisoner-swap] deal is a national achievement.”—Head of Hamas’ Political Bureau, Khaled Meshaal, conveying his “appreciation to Ezzedeen Al Qassam Brigades and the Palestinian factions which managed to capture the Israeli soldier Shalit,” and giving his “promise [to] the rest of the Palestinian detainees to liberate them soon.” (Independent Media Review and Analysis, October 11.)


More of Shalit’s kind are coming.”—Senior Hamas lawmaker, Ismail al-Ashqar, vowing that “efforts to kidnap [Israeli] soldiers will continue,” as they are “needed” as bargaining chips “until all Palestinian prisoners are freed.”. (Ynet News, October 4.)


According to reports, Israel will free up to 1,000 Palestinian prisoners in return [for captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit]—a lopsided arithmetic that finds precedent in similar Arab-Israeli deals in the past. Whatever one may think about the wisdom of dealing with terrorists, this 1,000:1 ratio implicitly lays bare the relative value that the two sides, Israel and Hamas, place on their countrymen’s lives.”—National Post editorial board, in “Freeing Gilad Shalit Shows Israel’s Regard for Life,” highlighting the Jewish state’s supreme belief in the sanctity of human life. (National Post, October 11.)


Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu recently agreed to the initiative to renew talks along the lines proposed by the Quartet, but the problem is the Palestinians refuse to accept the elementary demand to recognize the State of Israel as a Jewish State.… The efforts of the international community are focused on the establishment of a Palestinian state and less on ensuring the survival of the State of Israel.… I am sorry to say that despite many long years of struggle, the survival of the State of Israel is not yet assured.”—Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin, in an address to the European Parliament in Brussels, explaining that the core element of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the Palestinians’ ongoing refusal to recognize Israel’s legitimacy, and affirming that Israel “will not agree to the establishment of a Palestinian state bordering on a ‘state of all citizens’—the Palestinians must declare that if there are two states, one will be Jewish.” (Jerusalem Post, October 11.)


For those of us who have placed great hopes in your leadership to transform the path of the Palestinians, your words and actions over the past year, culminating in your speech to the United Nations on September 23, have been disillusioning. You miscast Israel’s understandable desire to be recognized as a Jewish state, a recognition which should not be a big matter if the goal is two states living side-by-side in peace and security.…”—Anti Defamation LeagueNational Director, Abraham H. Foxman, in an open letter to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas,accusing Abbas of seeking to deligitimize Israel in his UN speech by using “code words and phrases that provoke Israel’s isolation from the world community.” Foxman also called on the PA president to stop “demonizing” Israel and to resume peace talks without delay so as to prove that the Palestinians have “given up their long-held goal to continue the conflict anyway they can until the Jewish state disappears.” (Jerusalem Post, October 6.)


The Palestinians’ actions at UNESCO negate both the bilateral negotiations route and the Quartet’s proposal for continuing the diplomatic process. Their actions are a negative response to Israel’s and the international community’s efforts to promote the peace process. UNESCO’s responsibilities address culture, science and education. UNESCO has remained silent in the face of significant change across the Middle East yet has found time during its current meeting to adopt six decisions about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The decision to grant the Palestinians membership of UNESCO will not advance their desire for an independent state whatsoever. Israel thanks the United States, Germany, Latvia and Romania who opposed the decision.”—Statement released by the Israeli Foreign Ministry, condemning UNESCO’s decision to hold a vote on the admission of “Palestine” into the UN body. Both US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and top congressional appropriator, U.S. Rep. Kay Granger, warned UNESCO that granting the Palestinians full membership could mean a cut-off in U.S. funding for the body.(Independent Media Review and Analysis, Jerusalem Post & JTA, October 6.)


“American diplomats who arrived in Ramallah this week were greeted by angry Palestinian protesters who shouted anti-US slogans and hurled shoes…at their armored vehicles. The message that the Palestinian Authority is hoping to [convey to]…the Americans and others: If you do not endorse our position and if you cut off financial aid, we will turn against you. In one word, it is called extortion.… Apparently, [Western governments] like being blackmailed. Instead of demanding changes in [Palestinian] behavior, then paying only after the changes have been successfully completed, governments always seem to pay up front with no demands, and then look surprised when there are no changes and each time the ransom goes up.…”—Khaled Abu Toameh, describing a Palestinian assault on US diplomats during a visit to Ramallah, and asserting that the “incident [should] come as no surprise in wake of the Palestinian Authority’s increased condemnation of President Barack Obama” and the PA’s propensity to “encourage Palestinians to stage anti-US demonstrations and rallies to condemn Washington’s ‘bias’ in favor of Israel.” (Hudson Institute, October 7.)


An Italian-Libyan Jew, by his mere presence in Libya, has provoked an outburst of latent anti-Semitism, cultivated for over 40 years by the Gaddafi regime. David Gerbi’s simple act of devotion in cleaning out the filth of an abandoned, decaying synagogue in Tripoli and asserting his right as a Jew to pray there for the High Holy Days, is being used to justify an angry protest rally that will take place in Tripoli’s main square Friday evening, coinciding with the onset of Yom Kippur. It has been announced as a threefold protest against Gerbi’s very presence as a Jew, against the reopening of a closed synagogue, and against the return of Jews to Libya.”—Lisa Palmieri-Billig, in “Libyans Protest Jew Attempting To Reopen Synagogue,” describing the latent anti-Semitism prevalent throughout Libyan society, which has induced widespread protests against the re-opening of a synagogue in Tripoli. David Gerbi, who was exiled with his family to Rome in 1967 at the age of 12, returned to Libya last month to join the rebels in overthrowing the Gaddafi dictatorship. He affirmed that “Respect for religious liberty and human rights in general is an essential basis for democracy. Many Libyans are ready for a new society, but if they permit anti-Semitism to rear its ugly head again, all will be lost.” (Jerusalem Post, October 7.)


Egypt is currently passing through a critical period and on the brink of bankruptcy. [Egypt’s] losses are growing day by day. Either we band together and change the current situation, or let Egypt be destroyed.”—Egypt’s Minister of Manpower and Immigration, Ahmed al-Borai, at a business symposium titled “Problems Faced by [Egypt’s] Private Sector,” describing Egypt’s intensifying financial crisis. (Independent Media Review and Analysis, October 6.)


I am telling this to Europe and the United States: We will set up suicide attackers who now live on your land in case you bomb Syria or Lebanon.”—Syria’s highest Sunni Muslim clergyman, Mufti Ahmed Badereddine Hassoun, threatening to order suicide attacks in the United States and Europe if NATO should intervene in Syria as it did in Libya. Last week, Syrian President Bashar Assad said he would “transfer hundreds of rockets and missiles to the Golan Heights to fire them at Tel Aviv” if foreign forces attacked the protest-ridden country. (Haaretz, October 10.)


Any country seeking to launch a military aggression against Iran would see Turkey in front of itself.No one can make a move against Iran from the Turkish soil and no one can defend Israel from this country’s soil either.”—Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, in a meeting with Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Mohammad Ali Fathollahi, stressing that Turkey would side with Iran against any future attacks, and reinforcing Turkey’s growing disdain for Israel. (Independent Media Review and Analysis, October 8.)


Short Takes


PRISON SERVICE PREPARING RELEASE OF PALESTINIAN PRISONERS—(Jerusalem) Israel’s Prison Service has started preparing for the release of Palestinian criminals as part of a prisoner-exchange deal for kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit. A total of 1,027 Palestinian prisoners will be released in the deal, in two stages. In the first stage, 477 prisoners will be released, 280 of whom are serving life sentences. According to the agreement, Shalit will then be sent home to Israel, at which point a further 550 Palestinians will be released. (Jerusalem Post, October 12.)


IRAN “DIRECTED” WASHINGTON, D.C., TERROR PLOT, U.S. SAYS—(New York) According to US officials, FBI and DEA agents have disrupted an attempt to commit a “significant terrorist act in the United States” tied to Iran. The officials said the plot included the assassination of the Saudi Arabian ambassador to the United States, Adel Al-Jubeir, and subsequent bomb attacks on the Saudi and Israeli embassies in Washington, D.C. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder confirmed that the plan was “conceived, sponsored and was directed from Iran” and called it a “flagrant” violation of U.S. and international law. An Iranian representative in Washington, D.C., said the U.S. government’s story was “fake.” (ABC News, October 11.)


MAN INDICTED FOR ALLEGEDLY PLOTTING ATTACK ON PENTAGON, U.S. CAPITOL—(Boston) A federal grand jury in Boston has indicted a 26-year-old man for allegedly plotting to use model airplanes filled with C-4 plastic explosives to attack the Pentagon and U.S. Capitol. According to authorities, Rezwan Ferdaus, a U.S. citizen from Ashland, Massachusetts, began planning a violent “jihad” against America in early 2010, supplying FBI undercover agents with explosive materials intended to kill U.S. soldiers overseas. Government officials believe he was radicalized by watching videos on the internet. (CNN, September 29.)


EGYPT CLASHES WIDEN DIVISIONS AHEAD OF ELECTIONS—(Cairo) At least 26 Christians have been killed in Egypt during the country’s worst outbreak of sectarian violence since the uprising that ousted President Hosni Mubarak in February. The clashes raged over a large section of downtown Cairo, where Christians had been staging a peaceful protest over the military’s reluctance to prosecute Islamists who attacked two churches in Upper Egypt. The chaotic scene included armored military cars ramming groups of protesters, and security forces firing live ammunition at activists. The violence in Egypt came just days after U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta traveled to Cairo to press Egyptian officials to lift the state of emergency ahead of the upcoming parliamentary elections, and after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she expected the military rulers “to fulfill the promises” they made to Egyptians. (Wall Street Journal, October 11.)

AFGHANISTAN MAKES ARRESTS IN ALLEGED PLOT TO KILL KARZAI—(Kabul) Afghanistan’s intelligence service has reportedly foiled a plot by the Pakistan-based Haqqani network and al Qaeda to assassinate President Hamid Karzai. A presidential bodyguard and five other men trained in Pakistan were arrested in Kabul, according to Lutfullah Meshaal, the spokesman for Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security. Two Arab nationals based in Pakistan had recruited the six alleged conspirators, who included college students and a university professor. The arrests come after U.S. and Afghan officials accused Pakistan in recent weeks of supporting the Haqqanis, blaming the group for last month’s attack on the U.S. Embassy in Kabul and a spate of high-level assassinations. Pakistan has denied the claims. (Wall Street Journal, October 6.)


UN RAISES DEATH TOLL IN SYRIA UNREST—(Jerusalem) The UN’s human rights office has raised its tally of people killed during seven months of unrest in Syria to over 2,900, an increase of at least 200 since the beginning of September. Rupert Colville, a spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, confirmed the figure is based on “reliable sources” inside and outside the country. Last week, Russia and China vetoed a UN Security Council resolution that threatened sanctions against Syria if it didn’t immediately halt its military crackdown against civilians. (Ynet News, October 6.)


BID TO ARREST TZIPI LIVNI BLOCKED—(London) Britain has blocked an attempt by a Palestinian civilian to arrest visiting Israeli opposition leader Tzipi Livni for alleged war crimes. Livni, foreign minister during Israel’s Operation Cast Lead in 2008, is the first senior Israeli figure to visit the UK since the government changed its controversial universal jurisdiction law, that had allowed private complaints of war crimes to be lodged against Israeli military personnel and other officials.Britain’s Crown Prosecution Service said prosecutors had not taken a decision on the most recent request when the government intervened, informing them that Ms. Livni was on a “special mission” to Britain, effectively granting her diplomatic immunity. (National Post, October 7.)


LIEBERMAN: “ARBEL LEAK WAS SERIOUS BLOW TO STATE SECURITY”—(Jerusalem) Israel’s deputy ambassador to Washington, Dan Arbel, has been suspended for allegedly leaking sensitive information to a Haaretz reporter in 2009. According to Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, Arbel confessed to the leak during an investigation and accepted responsibility. Lieberman said the suspension was the result of a “serious blow to state security” and that it will take a lot of effort to repair damage done by the leak. The foreign minister explained that there are legal restrictions on government workers speaking to the media and that some people in sensitive positions are not allowed to speak to journalists at all. (Jerusalem Post, October 6.)


TWO ARRESTED FOR THROWING STONE THAT KILLED ASHER PALMER—(Jerusalem) The IDF and Israel Police have arrested two Palestinians from the village of Halhul near Hebron, who allegedly threw the stone or rock that hit Asher Palmer last month, killing him and his son as they drove near Kiryat Arba. According to officials, the two Palestinians confessed to throwing the rock toward Palmer’s car on September 23, which caused Palmer to run off the road and flip over. During the investigation, three additional Palestinians were arrested, who admitted to passing by the car and stealing Palmer’s sidearm after the fatal crash. Initially, the IDF denied that stones had been thrown at the scene of the accident, but after an investigation, the Defense Ministry recognized Palmer and his son as terror victims. (Jerusalem Post, October 6.)


FRENCH SUBURBS BECOMING ‘SEPARATE ISLAMIC SOCIETIES’—(New York) According to a major new study that examines the spread of Islam in France, the country’s suburbs are becoming “separate Islamic societies” cut off from the state. The 2,200-page report, “Banlieue de la République” (Suburbs of the Republic), commissioned by the influential French think tank L’Institut Montaigne, shows that France, which has between five and six million Muslims, is on the brink of a major social explosion because of the failure of Muslims to integrate into French society. The report also found that Muslim immigrants are increasingly rejecting French values, and warns that Islamic Sharia law is rapidly displacing French civil law in many parts of suburban Paris. (Hudson Institute, October 10.)









More bad news for the dwindling number of flotilla activists hanging around the ports of Greece. The now completed UN Inquiry on last year’s Gaza flotilla incident aboard the Mavi Marmara found that Israel’s blockade of Hamas-ruled Gaza is legal and the Israeli government owes no apology or reparation to Turkey.

The UN investigative committee, headed by former Prime Minister of New Zealand and internationally renowned jurist, Geoffrey Palmer, actually criticizes Turkey for not doing enough to prevent the flotilla from setting sail and for also providing a somewhat anaemic and lacking investigation into the events of May 2010.

Now the part that is going to really take the starch out of the flotilla activist’s kafiyehs is that…the Turkel Committee’s report—the committee conducting Israel’s official investigation—conclu[ded] that the Israeli investigation (in stark contrast to Turkey’s) was conducted in a professional and independent manner.…

The Palmer UN inquiry has exposed the singular defining characteristic of the flotilla activists and those who support and fund them; it’s not about human rights, it’s all about an idiotic campaign to bully and delegitimize Israel. They’re failing, and miserably.(National Post, July 8, 2011.)




Hadar Sela

Pajamas Media, July 3, 2011


Since its inception the organizers of the Freedom Flotilla 2—a group of ship-borne activists seeking to break Israel’s partial sanctions on the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip—have encountered a broad range of largely unrelated technical, legal, bureaucratic, and political difficulties.

While participants claim that they are undertaking a humanitarian mission, since the flotilla is largely organized by radical Islamists and anti-Israel activists at a time when sanctions have shrunk to the minimum designed to limit the weapons and military power of Gaza’s rulers—it seems more of a Hamas support group.

Initial announcements that a 15 to 20 vessel flotilla—including two large passenger ships—carrying 1,500 activists from 100 countries would set sail dwindled, as of the time this article is written, to 327 passengers (over 10% of whom were journalists) from 20 countries sailing on 9 small boats. Lack of funds and public interest may have played a role…but undoubtedly the major factor was the sudden and unexpected pull-out of the vessel the “Mavi Marmara” (which also took part in the 2010 flotilla) in mid-June.

The IHH is a radical Islamist group based in Turkey with ties to terrorist groups. In the first flotilla, IHH activists armed with iron bars attacked Israeli soldiers and kidnapped two of them. An Israeli rescue attempt resulted in nine of the Turks being killed.

While the IHH cited technical problems as the reason for the refitted ship’s withdrawal, there is reason to believe that diplomatic pressures and internal Turkish political factors as well as difficulties in obtaining insurance for the voyage may have played a part. Having just won the parliamentary elections, the Turkish government has no need to provoke a major new crisis with Israel and antagonize a U.S. government that seems content to tolerate its other policies.

The UN secretary general’s appeal to the governments of countries in the Mediterranean region to use their influence to discourage the flotilla and the announcement that the UN’s investigation into the previous flotilla has concluded that the naval blockade of Gaza is in keeping with international law no doubt encouraged the European Union and the many individual Western governments which issued subsequent statements dissuading their citizens from participating in the project. Such concerns were not raised prior to the previous flotilla.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton went further and described the intended voyage as “not helpful” and provocative after the State Department had issued repeated official warnings to the 36 American participants that they should not attempt to make the journey to the “dangerous and volatile” region, together with reminders regarding penalties under U.S. law for providing support to foreign terrorist organizations.

Legal problems facing the flotilla organizers included severe difficulties in securing insurance for the boats due to major insurers having been approached by the NGO Shurat HaDin (Israel Law Center), which also filed a complaint with the Greek coast guard regarding the suspected lack of seaworthiness of seven of the boats comprising the flotilla. In addition, Shurat HaDin approached the maritime communications company Inmarsat, warning of the potential for damages suits and charges of aiding and abetting terrorism.…

Public exposure of the connections of some of the flotilla’s organizers to Hamas also caused significant problems for its organizers. Just Journalism detailed the alleged Hamas connections of the European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza official Mohammed Sawalha, and four Dutch journalists pulled out of the flotilla after having discovered the extent of involvement of the Hamas-linked activist Amin Abou Rashed in the organization of the Dutch-Italian boat.…

The internal economic and political crisis situation in Greece, where most of the flotilla’s boats had grouped, brought about a general strike which contributed to the delay in the flotilla’s departure as ports and marinas closed down as a result. In addition, a possible case of sabotage to the propeller of the Swedish-Norwegian boat in Greece and a similar (though disputed) incident concerning the Irish boat in Turkey incurred heavy expense for repairs and necessitated further postponement of departure.…

By the beginning of July, some of the journalists had openly stated their intention to abandon the project rather than spend an unknown additional amount of time waiting.

This factor presumably contributed to the decision made by the flotilla organizers to set sail on the afternoon of July 1 with the U.S. boat—the “Audacity of Hope”—despite not having secured the relevant permissions. The journey was brought to an abrupt end by Greek authorities after some 25 minutes at sea when the Hellenic coast guard, aided by Greek commandoes, turned the boat back to a naval port near Athens.…

On July 1, the Greek cabinet banned all the vessels comprising the flotilla from leaving port. Apparently some of the flotilla movement’s organizers have now expressed pessimism not only regarding the ability of the current flotilla to get underway, but as to the future of the movement as a whole.


George Jonas

National Post, July 6, 2011


Adam Shapiro, a board member of the Free Gaza Movement that sponsors the floating insult to human intelligence its organizers call Freedom Flotilla, was addressing supporters in New Jersey. As quoted by the British commentator Melanie Philips, Shapiro felt no need to mince words.

“Free Gaza is but one tactic of a larger strategy,” he explained, “to transform this conflict from one between Israel and the Palestinians…to one between the rest of the world and Israel.”

While it’s hardly news that the flotilla’s purpose is to de-legitimize Israel, rather than to relieve human suffering, it’s nice to have it confirmed by Mr. Shapiro. A flotilla is not required to bring food or medicine to Gaza. The blockade, in place since 2007, is to keep out things that go bump in the night. Israel is trying to reduce the flow of war material: the stuff of which rockets, mortars, bombs and underground tunnels are made.

The Free Gaza Movement is misnamed, unless it wants to free Gaza from Hamas. The strip’s inhabitants need to be liberated only from corrupt and dysfunctional fanatics who mask their own inability to govern with stubborn efforts to wipe Israel off the map, or goad it into acts of self-defence that make its bad press worse and increase its isolation.…

Israel has to be very, very careful. It’s the one country that isn’t quite entitled to defend itself. Never mind bad press. Israel could get in trouble with Judge Richard Goldstone or one of his brethren. Its defenders could face war crime charges faster than you can say International Criminal Court.

Israel’s dilemma is a bit like a homeowner who is confronted by a home invader in a country like Canada. If the homeowner does nothing, the intruder gets his silver; if he pulls a gun, the police get him for improper storage of a firearm—or worse. “You chambered a round, sir? You keep your ammunition in the same room as your weapon?”

This is how civilization ends up protecting barbarity. But if the law is a genie, ready to serve anybody who lets it out of the bottle, it occurred to a bright group of Israeli lawyers that they can rub a bottle as well as the next guy. They founded Shurat HaDin (Israeli Law Centre) whose motto is “bankrupting terrorism—one lawsuit at a time.…”

Accordingly, in a Manhattan court two weeks ago, a suit was launched by an American victim of a Palestinian suicide bomber to confiscate 14 seafaring vessels, which were allegedly outfitted by funds illegally raised in the United States, contrary to 18 U.S.C. section 962. What’s that section? Never mind. The legal jungle is littered with bottles, and any one may contain a genie.

One of the plaintiff’s attorneys, the founder of Shurat HaDin, described the case as the first of its kind. “We intend to seize the Gaza Flotilla ships and turn them over to a victim of Palestinian terrorism,” Nitsana Darshan-Leitner was quoted as saying.…

Then, on June 6, the U.S.-based global satellite company Inmarsat was put on notice that it may be liable for “massive damages and criminal prosecution,” if it provided communication services to the blockade runners.

Shurat HaDin’s lawyers were rubbing the bottles and, lo and behold, genies started emerging. Some insurers bowed out. Greek authorities stopped ships from setting sail to the Gaza Strip last Sunday.…

Our times are savagery plus paperwork. We set out for hostile shores as readily as Viking raiders, except the style of Erik the Red wouldn’t be cramped by his inability to obtain insurance, and ours might be. Lawfare is clever, but before we applaud dressing politics in judicial robes, we should remember that, just like warfare, it’s a game two can play.

Living by the law carries the same caveat as living by the sword. One must be prepared to perish by it.


Margaret Wente

Globe & Mail, July 7, 2011


I regret to report that this year’s Freedom Flotilla to Gaza is a bust. The hardy band of activists—including a couple of dozen Canadians and the novelist Alice Walker—failed to break Israel’s…blockade and deliver their cargo of humanitarian relief to the suffering Gazans. In fact, they barely made it out of port. The Canadians’ boat, the Tahrir (Arabic for “liberation”) was immediately intercepted by the Greek coast guard. An early alert that the boat might be sinking proved to be a false alarm. It was merely gouged when the coast guard took it back to the marina and ran it into the dock.

The Canadians didn’t really expect that their effort to run the blockade would succeed. They hoped for something better—martyrdom, perhaps. Maybe there would be a repeat of last year’s debacle, when Israeli forces killed nine people on the Mavi Marmara. “We’re expecting to be tasered,” said Kevin Neish, a white-haired B.C. activist who enjoys volunteering as a human shield. Mary Hughes Thompson, another white-haired activist who co-founded the Free Gaza Movement, was serene. “If anything should happen to me—if I should die—I can’t think of a better cause,” she told the CBC.

Despite their best efforts, nothing happened.…

This year’s useful idiots included the usual aging peaceniks, left-wing university types, a few Jewish radicals, and the kind of people who show up to protest against logging and genetically modified foods. It doesn’t seem to bother them that Gaza is controlled by Hamas, widely regarded as a terrorist group. Hamas is dedicated to the destruction of Israel. It endorses The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a notorious anti-Semitic forgery that describes Zionist plans for world domination. (Too bad the journalists didn’t ask about that.…)

Israel’s blockade exists to stop rampant weapons-smuggling into Gaza. But the activists are unruffled by the Hamas connection. To them, the terrorists are all in Israel. They regard the suffering of Gazans as equivalent to the suffering of southern U.S. blacks under segregation, and the Gaza flotilla as the moral equivalent of freedom marches in Alabama. One of the passengers aboard the Tahrir was David Heap, a university professor whose father took part in the civil-rights movement. Mr. Heap says his father, too, was “ridiculed when he went to Selma to join Martin Luther King.…”

Gaza is a wretched place. But Gazans are not the most wretched of the Earth. Flat-screen TVs, new cars, lavish weddings, and Israeli mineral water are abundant. If the activists really cared about people in desperate need of humanitarian relief, they’d be sailing to North Korea or Sudan. If they really cared about murderous dictatorships, they’d be protesting against Bashar al-Assad. Instead, they’d rather martyr themselves to enable terrorists. They wouldn’t be the first, or the last.


Benny Morris

National Interest, July 8, 2011


Back in the 1950s, Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion adopted what came to be known as the “Peripheral (or Peripheries) Policy” regarding Israel and the Middle East.

In 1948 the surrounding Arab states had invaded the newborn Jewish state. In the latter stages of that war and in its immediate aftermath, Israel tried to make peace with them on the basis of the post-war territorial status quo. But Egypt, Syria, Jordan and Lebanon, and the other Arab states beyond, and their societies, refused to agree to peace principally because they continued to oppose a Jewish state, whatever its territorial configuration.

So Ben-Gurion, to reinforce Israel’s security and political standing, resolved to reach out to and forge alliances with the region’s non-Arab or non-Islamic states and groups, including Iran and Turkey, and the Druse of Syria, the Kurds of Iraq, the Christians and animists of southern Sudan, and the Maronites of Lebanon. These states and groups, on the “periphery” of the Muslim Arab world, all had conflicts with Muslim Arab states and groups.…

Here lay the origin of the Israeli-Turkish relationship. In 1949 Turkey, with a tradition of bad relations with the Arabs, was the only Muslim country to extend de jure recognition to the State of Israel and in the 1990s the ties burgeoned into a special relationship, with full diplomatic relations and hefty defense ties running into billions of dollars annually.…

[But] the rise of the Islamist government under Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the massive growth of the Turkish economy resulted in a radical reshaping of Turkey’s foreign policy. While still officially a member of NATO and while still officially seeking membership in the EU, the country has steadily distanced itself from the West…include[ing] a steady erosion of Turkey’s ties with Israel (but not to the point of formally severing diplomatic relations) a steady growth of its ties, political and economic, with Syria and Iran and very public patronage of the Palestinian national cause.

This was the background to the dispatch last year, from Turkish harbors, of the first “humanitarian aid flotilla” to the Gaza Strip, besieged by Israel since its 2007 takeover by the Islamist Hamas Party. The flotilla tried to break the naval blockade of Gaza’s coastline and Israeli naval units responded by boarding the boats. On the flotilla’s “flagship,” the “Mavi Marmara,” the Israeli commandos killed nine Turkish activists who had attacked them with crowbars, knives and bottles.…

A second flotilla, largely based this time in Greek ports, was due to set sail last week for Gaza, but most of the boats remain in harbor and it is not clear at the moment whether the flotilla will ever set out. In part, this is due to mechanical failures on at least two of the boats…which an Irish activists’ spokesman was quick to attribute to Israeli saboteurs.…

But the chief reason for the hold-up or cancellation of the flotilla is undoubtedly the realignment of political forces in the Eastern Mediterranean during the past year or two. Last week the Greek Government officially prohibited the boats from sailing to Gaza and proposed that the cargo of food and medicine they intended to convey be transferred to Greek government ships, which would offload the cargo in Ashdod, Israel, or El Arish, Egypt, for eventual trans-shipment to Gaza. Indeed, the Greek coast guard even chased after an American vessel, “The Audacity of Hope,” that set sail from Piraeus without permission and forced it to return to Greece after arresting its captain.

Over the past year, Netanyahu, extending, as it were, Ben-Gurion’s Peripheral Policy, possibly with some assistance from Washington (which is unhappy with the turn Turkey has taken in recent years), initiated this realignment, with Israeli interest and favor shifting from Ankara to Athens. Israeli-Greek relations, traditionally extremely cool—Greece was the only European democracy to have voted with the Arabs in 1947 against the UN General Assembly partition resolution, which endorsed the establishment of a Jewish state, and Greece only established full diplomatic relations with Israel in 1990—have now warmed considerably, with Netanyahu and Georgios Papandreu exchanging visits last year and with Israeli tourism to Greece rising from 100,000 in 2009 to 250,000 in 2010 (the Israelis who commonly sojourned in vast numbers in Turkey now boycott that country). Israeli-Greek military cooperation and joint exercises have similarly increased.

Without doubt, the current, deep Greek economic crisis, in which Greece needs support from Washington and Western investments, is also playing a part in the improved Greek-Israeli relationship as is the prospect of Israel turning in the coming decade into a major natural gas exporter, following the recent discovery of vast natural gas fields off the Israeli coastline. Greece’s “friendship” with the Arabs during the past sixty years was largely a function of its need for Arab oil.


Caroline B. Glick

Jerusalem Post, June 27, 2011


…The media could have a reporter spend an hour researching the Israeli and international self-described human rights community’s silence on [Gilad] Schalit’s plight and the shameless absence of any concerted demand by the self-proclaimed human rights community for his immediate release. Over the weekend, Israeli and international “human rights” groups B’Tselem, Amnesty International, Israel; Bimkom; Gisha; Human Rights Watch; International Federation for Human Rights; Palestinian Center for Human Rights, Gaza; Physicians for Human Rights, Israel; Public Committee Against Torture in Israel; and Yesh Din all got together to release a statement about Schalit. They failed to call for his immediate release.

Certainly a banner headline reporting this outrage would have sold papers. All of these stories and journalistic stunts are low-cost and would sell newspapers. And at a minimum, none of them would harm Schalit’s chances of getting released.

Yet the media have opted to sell the tale of the government’s culpability for his suffering due to its failure to bow to Hamas’s ever-escalating demands.

The media’s behavior is puzzling not merely because they have options besides supporting Hamas. It is puzzling because their obsessive coverage of Schalit arguably hurts their tireless efforts to sell the public on the notion that it is a terrific idea to give Judea and Samaria and parts of Jerusalem to Schalit’s captors. By reminding the public of Schalit, the media are also reminding the public that the Palestinians are not interested in peace and that they use the land Israel gives them to attack us. That is, their Schalit campaign undermines their appeasement campaign.

Finally, their demand that Netanyahu “release” Schalit is alienating their readers. In the face of their intense campaign, “for Gilad” according to a poll published last month by Maariv, only 41 percent of the public agrees with their surrender at all cost strategy and 51 percent opposes it.

So by any rational measure, the media are acting against their own interests by pushing the pro-Hamas line. The only explanation that remains is irrational. But it is also consistent with the media’s serial irrationality on everything concerning Israel’s relationship with the Arab world generally and the Palestinians in particular.

The explanation is that like the rest of the Left—in Israel and worldwide—the media hold Israel responsible for Hamas’s imprisonment of Schalit because they perceive the Arabs generally and the Palestinians specifically as objects rather than actors. The only actors they see are Israel and the US.

Just as the international Left sends ships to aid and comfort Palestinian terrorists in Gaza to fight the so-called “occupation” which ended six years ago, so the Israeli media says the government is holding Gilad Schalit hostage. In both cases, the Palestinians are invisible, and inert.

To its credit, after five years of inaction, last Thursday, the Red Cross finally asked Hamas to prove Schalit is still alive. Gazans reacted to the move by attacking the Red Cross office in Gaza. This major story received little mention in the media. And that makes sense. How can they cover a story about a group of people they can’t be bothered to notice?





Kathryn Blaze Carlson
National Post, March 8, 2011


It has been 1,717 days since Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit was captured by Hamas, and Karnit Goldwasser is counting. Ms. Goldwasser—the stalwart widow whose two-year fight for the release of her kidnapped husband, Ehud, ended only when his body was returned in a 2008 Israeli-Hezbollah prisoner swap—is counting because she cannot stop, will not stop.

Her petite frame and freckled face lend an appearance younger than her 34 years, but her voice ages her as she describes the ongoing task of ensuring that Gilad Shalit, like her late husband, is not forgotten. “‘All for one and one for all’ is not just a statement in Israel, it’s a way of life,” Ms. Goldwasser said at a café in midtown Toronto, where she will spend the next two days encouraging Canadians to take up Mr. Shalit’s cause. “For me, this is the same as if someone was injured during combat and he is lying there in the middle of a firefight. Someone must go out there and help him.”

Mr. Shalit, who was 19 when he was captured at the Kerem Shalom border crossing and whose whereabouts in the Gaza Strip are still unknown, was kidnapped three weeks before Ms. Goldwasser’s husband and another Israeli soldier, Eldad Regev, fell into the hands of Hezbollah—the Lebanon-based Muslim group supported by Iran and Syria.

Later that summer, once the 2006 Lebanon-Israel conflict mostly subsided, the three families met at the law offices of Ya’akov Ne’eman, the current Israeli Minister of Justice, to pool their energies and foster a plan.… “The point of the meeting was not to hug each other and say everything would be alright—you don’t have time to be emotional,” Ms. Goldwasser said.… “The point of the meeting was to work together, to think together.…”

Ms. Goldwasser’s tenacity led to meetings with now-U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former U.S. president Bill Clinton, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, and the Pope, all in the hopes that maybe—just maybe—she could convince them to lean on the Red Cross to demand a visit with her husband.

In 2007, she snuck into a press conference in New York and faced off with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, insisting to know why he would not allow the Red Cross to see…her husband.… The incident garnered international attention and, although the Red Cross never did visit [Ehud], she hopes the outcome will be different for Mr. Shalit and his family. “If someone could go and visit Gilad Shalit, and then go back to his mother, Aviva, and say, ‘I saw your son, he looks good. He’s quite sad, but he’s okay. He’s asking you not to worry’—try to imagine what that would mean for his mother,” said Ms. Goldwasser.… “Imagine what it would mean for Gilad Shalit, who is sitting alone over there and no one has yet visited him. Imagine if someone went to him and said, ‘From here, I am going to see your mother and I’m going to tell her that you’re OK’.”

Ms. Goldwasser said she is not under the illusion that a rally or a media interview will secure the release of Mr. Shalit, but she said that if enough people become “ambassadors for Gilad”—that is, if enough people speak “loudly and clearly,” and “keep Gilad on the agenda”—then maybe the pressure will culminate in a visit from a non-governmental organization. “It has been 1,716 days that he has been in captivity, and I worry that he thinks we have forgotten him,” she said. “Who knows if he’s aware that we’re fighting for him.”

It has been more than two years since her husband’s coffin was returned to her, and Ms. Goldwasser has certainly not forgotten.… “This issue has changed me, I have become different—it has changed my personality, maybe I am more mature,” said Ms. Goldwasser.… “I paid a very, very high price for my country, so it’s more hurtful to me now when something bad happens in Israel.”

Since [her husband’s body was returned in the] July 16, 2008 prisoner swap, [Ms. Goldwasser has visited the Shalit family at their protest tent next to the Prime Minister’s house in Jerusalem on several occasions. “They are sitting, and they are waiting.… They are there to remind the government of their son.…”

But the return of Mr. Shalit is about far more than the return of one man, Ms. Goldwasser said: Young men and women join the Israeli army every single day, and they must be confident that the Israeli government is their greatest protector—that its politicians will do whatever it takes to secure their return. “No matter how [we get] Gilad, we’re going to bring back our values and our self-confidence,” she said.… “It’s about the message and our confidence in our country.”


Dina Kraft
NY Times, February 27, 2011


One of the mysteries that scholars have puzzled over for centuries is the exact shade of blue represented by “tekhelet,” which the Bible mentions as the color of ceremonial robes donned by high priests and ritual prayer tassels worn by the common Israelite.

What [is] known about tekhelet (pronounced t-CHELL-et) is that the Talmud said it was produced from the secretion of the sea snail, which is still found on Israeli beaches. Traditional interpretations have characterized tekhelet as a pure blue, symbolic of the heavens so that Jews would remember G-d. Not so, according to an Israeli scholar who has a new analysis: tekhelet appears to have been closer to a bluish purple.

The scholar, Zvi C. Koren, a professor specializing in the analytical chemistry of ancient colorants, says he has identified the first known physical sample of tekhelet in a tiny, 2,000-year-old patch of dyed fabric recovered from Masada, King Herod’s Judean Desert fortress, later the site of a mass suicide by Jewish zealots after a long standoff against the Romans. “It really is majestic,” Dr. Koren said of the shade, which he said remained close to its original hue and appeared to be indigo.…

The fabric he examined was one of many items discovered at Masada in the 1960s and stored at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. It came to his attention when a British historian, Hero Granger-Taylor, who specializes in ancient weaves, asked him to analyze some textiles. Dr. Koren said he was the first researcher to make the connection between the fabric and the snail dye. He found that the dye used in the Masada sample, a piece of bluish-purple yarn embroidery, came from a breed of Murex trunculus snail familiar to modern Israelis. Such shades on textiles are rare finds since they were typically worn exclusively by royalty or nobility.

Determining what exactly tekhelet would have looked like in its day has been the subject of conjecture and curiosity among rabbis, religious commentators and scientists for centuries; it is considered the most important of the three ritual colors cited in the Bible. The other two are argaman, a reddish purple, and shani, known as scarlet. “It’s especially exciting for religious Jews who place great importance on this color,” said Daniella E. Bar-Yosef Mayer, a University of Haifa archaeologist specializing in mollusk shells.

Some time after the Jews were exiled from Israel in A.D. 70, the knowledge of how to produce the tekhelet dye was lost. The dye was also prohibitively expensive to make: hundreds of snails were used to make even a small batch, and some in ancient times claimed it was worth 20 times its weight in gold.…

In modern Hebrew, “tekhelet” is the word for light blue.… The blue of the Israeli flag was inspired by tekhelet.… [However], even though [the new finding suggests that tekhelet] is not [sky blue], Dr. Koren said, the traditional notion of tekhelet—meant to serve as a reminder of the heavens—still fits. “Tekhelet is the color of the sky,” Dr. Koren said in his laboratory. “It’s not the color of the sky as we know it; it’s the color of sky at midnight.” He paused and added, “It’s when you are all alone at night that you reach out to G-d, and that is what tekhelet reminds you of.…”


Moshe Arens
Haaretz, February 22, 2011


Moshe Arens’ Jews’ Connection to the Land Must Not Be Severed, Even in Hebron, is a critique of Gideon Levy’s Haaretz editorial, entitled How school trips to Hebron resemble visits to Auschwitz. Below, please find excerpts of Levy’s piece, followed by Mr. Arens’ full article.

Gideon Levy writes:

“More than half of Jewish school children in Israel have visited Auschwitz; each year more than 10,000 go on a trip to Poland or on the March of the Living, a pilgrimage to the death camps. They come back shocked and nationalist. These tours mislead the weeping students for a moment as they wrap themselves in the [Israeli] flag.… These programs bring back thousands of teens who have learned nothing.… Just more and more blind faith in strength, xenophobia, fear of the other and inflamed passions.…

Now Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar wants to add a tour to the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron. Thousands of teens will be taken in armored buses to the danger zone, accompanied by soldiers and armed bodyguards.… The students will be hurried into the ancient site that is believed to be the Cave of Machpelah—the tombs of the patriarchs and matriarchs who are probably not buried there.… Their guides, the most violent and atrocious of the settlers in the territories, will not tell them what they have done. They will discuss the history of the place with Zionist selectivity.…

Here, too, as at Auschwitz, they will only scare them more and more. At Auschwitz they will make them frightened of the Poles and in Hebron of the Arabs. Everyone always wants to annihilate us. They will return from Hebron excited at having touched the ancient stones.…[but] they will see nothing and learn nothing. As at Auschwitz, they will come home even more nationalist: Hebron forever, and the force of arms.…


Moshe Arens writes:

Who are the people, including the editorial writers of this newspaper, who have gone ballistic over the education minister’s announcement that students should be taken on heritage trips to the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron? Are they Zionists, non-Zionists, post-Zionists or anti-Zionists? Have their roots in the Land of Israel withered over the years, or have they lost hold of their senses in these tumultuous times?

They seem to have forgotten the very foundation of Zionism: that the Jewish State is located in the Land of Israel just because it is the ancient homeland of the Jewish people, and that the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron and Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem are the icons of the Jewish connection to the Land of Israel—constant reminders to one and all that the Land of Israel is the ancient homeland of the Jewish people, who have returned after 2,000 years in exile.

They seem to have fallen under the spell of the “1967 borders.” They are infatuated by the “Green Line” drawn like a scar across the Land of Israel. West of this line Israel is kosher, not an occupier of another people, but east of that line, you had better watch out. These, they hold, are occupied territories where Israel rules over another people, and no Jew should be living there, or G-d forbid, be allowed to settle there.

So what is this sacrosanct Green Line? It is nothing more than the armistice line agreed between representatives of Israel and Jordan at Rhodes on April 24, 1949. It was never intended to be a border between two nations. It simply represented, with some modifications, the line where the fighting during Israel’s War of Independence ceased. The British-officered and -equipped Jordanian Arab Legion that had invaded the newborn state of Israel on May 15, 1948 had reached the point during the fighting where its commander, Glubb Pasha, realized that unless Jordan agreed to a cease-fire, the Israeli army was going to advance to the Jordan River and his army would be powerless to stop it.

The armistice left the biblical heartland of ancient Israel, the mountains of Samaria and Judea, the major historical and biblical sites of the Jewish people, east of the armistice line. The War of Independence brigade commanders Moshe Dayan and Yosef Tabenkin had urged the Israel Defense Forces’ General Staff to allow them to capture the Old City of Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Hebron, but they were halted by the cease-fire of October 22, 1948.

With Jordan in control of these areas, not only were Jews not allowed to live there, but during the 18 years of Jordanian occupation, Jews were denied access to the Western Wall, the Tomb of the Patriarchs and Rachel’s tomb. Masada, a site visited over the years by almost all Israelis, young and old, came under Israeli control only in March 1949, when IDF units moving from Be’er Sheva reached the Dead Sea at Sodom and Ein Gedi. One can imagine that had this “last-minute” operation not taken place, the very same people who now complain about students visiting the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron would be arguing against visits to Masada, located in “occupied territory.”

This perverse objection by some to visits east of the March 1949 armistice lines seems to be part of a wider boycott movement of the whole area. Whether it is Ariel or Hebron, these rootless Israelis will not set foot there. They give credence to the frequently heard Arab propaganda that the Jewish claim of a historic connection to this land is nothing but fiction.

The supporters of the “two-state solution,” who insist that Israel withdraw to the 1949 armistice lines and consider Judea and Samaria to be occupied territory, seem to give no thought to assuring contact between the Jewish people and these sites if such a withdrawal were to take place. Was this even on the agenda in the negotiations between Ehud Barak and Yasser Arafat, or between Ehud Olmert and Tzipi Livni and the Palestinian Authority?

Perhaps [these] supporters…would prefer to sever the connection between the Jewish people and the sites that are reminders of the Jewish people’s connection to the Land of Israel. That might be one explanation for the objections voiced to visits by Israeli students to the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron.

Note: Mr. Moshe Arens is a former Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs, and has also served as Israeli Defense Minister on three separate occasions. Mr. Arens will be the keynote speaker at CIJR’s upcoming Gala, scheduled for Wednesday, June 15, 2011.