Tag: Israel advocacy

THE WEEK THAT WAS: HONOURING A CANADIAN HERO, CALLING FOR JEWISH UNITY, CHANGING “ISRAEL ADVOCACY”, & AVOIDING “CRIME OF SILENCE”

Our Latest Fallen Soldier: Terry Glavin, National Post, Nov. 11, 2015 — “Today they kill us. Tomorrow they kill you.”

A Call for Unity and Expressing Outrage: Isi Leibler, Candidly Speaking, Nov. 11, 2015 — The world is experiencing a clash of civilizations with satanic forces seeking to revert to the Dark Ages.

American ‘Israel Advocacy’ Needs to Change: Gideon Drucker, Times of Israel, Nov. 6, 2015 — 23 years old, after finishing a university degree, becoming professionally licensed in my field, and seeing my long-awaited future becoming a reality, I felt a pull to Jerusalem in my soul whose light could not be diminished.

 

The Crime and the Silence,’ by Anna Bikont: Louis Begley, New York Times, Nov. 4, 2015— On July 10, 1941, in Jedwabne, a town of roughly 3,000 inhabitants in northeastern Poland, a mob of Catholics murdered most of their Jewish neighbors.

 

On Topic Links

 

Kurdish Unit Honours Canadian Who Died Fighting ISIL: ‘We Lost Our Daring and Courageous Companion’: Stewart Bell, National Post, Nov. 8, 2015

You Won’t Hear This on the Evening News About Israel: Jonathan Feldstein, Breaking Israel News, Nov. 9, 2015  

1920. The Year the Palestinian Identity Was Created: Youtube, May 21, 2009

Balfour Declaration was “Legal Birth Certificate” of Israel, says Dershowitz: Jenni Frazer, Jewish News, Nov. 4, 2015

                                                                             

 

OUR LATEST FALLEN SOLDIER

Terry Glavin                                               

National Post, Nov. 11, 2015

 

“Today they kill us. Tomorrow they kill you.” That was one of the more stirring slogans shouted by some of the at least 10,000 marchers in Kabul, Afghanistan, just a few hours before the pipes began trilling and the dignitaries began laying their wreaths for the Remembrance Day ceremonies at the National War Memorial in Ottawa.

 

The Kabul demonstration was a sobering reminder that the gallant cause for which 158 Canadian Forces members gave their lives in Afghanistan was not won when the last contingent returned home last year. Nor did that cause begin for Canadians only 12 years earlier, with the first deployment of Joint Task Force 2 in the weeks following Al-Qaida’s attacks on New York City and Washington, D.C., on Sept. 11, 2001.

 

It’s an older, civilizational struggle. It recognizes no borders and allows no innocent bystanders. It pits the liberty of the individual and the legacy of the Enlightenment against theocratic barbarism and police-state totalitarianism, and it is a rare thing for a Canadian to articulate that understanding of the war now underway around the world with such moral clarity as has 32-year-old John Robert Gallagher from Wheatley, Ont.

 

Gallagher, formerly of the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, was killed last week in Northern Syria while fighting alongside Kurdish partisans against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). In an essay he wrote before setting off for Kurdistan in May, Gallagher explained why he was going. “We are all on the front lines of this conflict, whether we know it or not,” Gallagher wrote. The war is unfolding not only in faraway places, but is also a terror that is enfeebling “cartoonists, satirists, publishers and booksellers, news media and educators” in Western countries.

 

Gallagher took particularly careful aim at “pacifists and the appeasement left,” and ridiculed the faddish preoccupation in Canada with “Islamophobia” as something that is, as often as not, a surrender to the very fearmongering the term’s deployment purports to strike a pose against. It is a posture that reflects “a deep contempt for the character of immigrant Muslims,” rather than the respect that Muslims deserve as individuals capable of making their own rational choices.

 

In Kabul, the massive anti-terror demonstration was only the latest surge in a convulsion of popular Afghan revulsion over a series of recent outrages in Islamist barbarism in that country. The protestors were following a multi-ethnic procession carrying the coffins of seven Hazaras whose beheaded corpses were discovered last weekend in the Taliban-harried province of Zabul, where jihadists have also lately sworn allegiance to ISIL, the scourge of the Kurds in Syria and Iraq.

 

The Hazaras are a Shiite Muslim minority who were subjected to genocidal violence during the days before the overthrow of the Taliban in 2001. Their predicament was not unlike the catastrophe facing the Kurds in their struggle to resist the equally genocidal forces of ISIL.

 

It is worth noticing that popular protest is now possible in Afghanistan only because of a NATO-led intervention that was broadly supported by Afghanistan’s Sunni and Shia Muslims — especially democrats, feminists and secularists — but “progressive” Canadian opinion opposed and recalls even now only with a sneer. Another irony: while Gallagher’s succinct manifesto took particular aim at the privileged 1960s-era “pacifists” who dominate the ranks of Canadian leftists nowadays, he himself comes from an older, sturdier tradition of left-wing internationalism that once set Canada apart from both Europe and the United States.

 

Among the books Gallagher was reading before he set out to volunteer with Kurdish partisans in the spring was George Orwell’s Homage to Catalonia, the memoir the great anti-totalitarian polemicist wrote of his time as a volunteer with the anti-fascist republicans in the Spanish Civil War. As Maclean’s magazine writer Michael Petrou points out in Renegades: Canadians in the Spanish Civil War, the definitive book on the Canadian volunteers in Spain, Canada contributed nearly half the number of anti-fascist volunteers to the Spanish-republican cause as did the United States, even though Canada’s population was only about a 10th of America’s. Britain was five times as populous as Canada but contributed only a few hundred more volunteers. At least 1,700 Canadians sailed off to Spain to fight the Nazi-aligned forces of Spanish General Francisco Franco. More than 400 never made it back home.

 

The Kurdish Peoples’ Protection Units (YPG) guerillas in Northern Syria that Gallagher joined as a volunteer are also strikingly similar in their outlook to Orwell’s libertarian-socialist Partido Obrero de Unificación Marxista (POUM) comrades in Spain, although the YPG has renounced Marxism, leaning instead towards a nearly anarchist model of decentralized, multi-ethnic popular democracy. Even so, Gallagher’s commitments directly descend from the clearest articulations of the causes that Canadians will recall in Remembrance Day commemorations honouring the sacrifices of our soldiers and their families down through the generations. These are commitments that bind Canadians from the First World War through the Second World War, the Korean War, the Cold War contributions in United Nations peacekeeping missions, the UN-mandated Afghan intervention and the minor but brave effort Canada’s Special Operations Regiment is still making in Iraqi Kurdistan.

 

The right of small nations to self-determination and the rights of all people to the rule of law, liberty, democracy, equality and individual freedoms — that is the cause that leaps off the page of Gallagher’s essay, and it is what Canadian soldiers have always fought and died for. No snivelling about “us” imposing “our values” on “them,” no boring appeal to Canadian vanity, no whinging about Canada’s allegedly lost reputation on the “world stage.” Not for Gallagher…

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

 

                                                           

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A CALL FOR UNITY AND EXPRESSING OUTRAGE                                                              

Isi Leibler                           

Candidly Speaking, Nov. 11, 2015

 

The world is experiencing a clash of civilizations with satanic forces seeking to revert to the Dark Ages. In this context, the behavior of the Palestinians has now descended to such barbaric depths that in a rational world, Israel should have the unequivocal support of all civilized people. However, hypocritical global leaders, devoid of moral compass, have abandoned us. They relate to Israel and those seeking its destruction with moral equivalence and opportunistically collaborate with rogue states. Moral relativism has paved the way for a realpolitik in the democratic world, which no longer relates to concepts like good and evil.

 

George Orwell undoubtedly could have devoted another book to the doublespeak adopted in relation to Israel. Global leaders are not merely indifferent to the fact that innocent Israeli citizens are targeted for assassination by youngsters transformed into frenzied religious lunatics by their leaders. They even condemn Israelis for defending themselves. Western leaders refuse to recognize, that in the same way the Nazis successfully transformed Germany into a society endorsing genocide, Palestinian leaders have inculcated children, from kindergarten onward, with the notion that being killed in the process of murdering Jews is the highest form of religious martyrdom.

 

Our “peace partner,” Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, “blesses the blood” shed in killing Jews, glorifies debased murderers, and provides millions of dollars of funds received from foreign governments as monthly salaries to those murderers in jail and pensions for their families. The bloodlust generated by frenzied lies about Jews threatening to destroy Al-Aqsa mosque and substituting it with a Jewish Temple is promoted through the mosques, schools, media and Facebook and via other social media.

 

Yet whilst mayhem prevails as millions of people have been displaced from their homes and hundreds of thousands have been butchered, the European Union carries a resolution effectively paving the way for sanctions against Israeli products produced over the Green Line. It is a shocking reflection on the cynicism of Europeans, whose soil was drenched with Jewish blood during the Holocaust, that they so cravenly betray Israel, the only democratic state in the Middle East — an oasis of tranquility in a sea of barbarism — which is surrounded by neighbors openly baying for its destruction.

 

Even the president of the United States, our purported ally, contributes toward this poison by calling on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Chairman Mahmoud Abbas to reduce the incitement. Israel is on the front lines and must seek more effective means of publicizing the fact that the current Palestinian Authority is a criminal regime that promotes a culture of death — a barbaric society whose feral hatred of Jews and Israel is on a par with Hamas and ISIS.

 

We must repeat again and again that the Arab-Israel conflict is not a dispute between two peoples over land. The reality is that the Palestinian Authority (no less than Hamas) adamantly refuses to recognize Jewish sovereignty, as evidenced when both Yasser Arafat and Abbas even declined to make counteroffers when Prime Minister Ehud Barak and subsequently Prime Minister Ehud Olmert offered 97% of the territories previously occupied by the Jordanians.

 

In order to make the world understand, Israel must focus on two issues — national unity and a far more aggressive presentation of our narrative and exposure of the criminal nature of our adversaries. National unity is crucial and will immensely strengthen us. It is scandalous that in the current circumstances, our government operates on the basis of a hairline majority of one, virtually neutralizing any flexibility of the prime minister.

 

The fact is that today there is a genuine consensus among Israeli Jews, the vast majority of whom believe that to annex the territories and absorb millions of additional Arabs would result in a binational state and the end of the Zionist dream. In addition, with the absence of a peace treaty and security, there is also firm opposition to ceding additional territories to the corrupt Palestinian Authority whose hatred of Israel is indistinguishable from Hamas, which in the absence of the IDF, would in all likelihood have assumed control over territories.

 

Even the prominent left-wing ideologue Professor Shlomo Avineri and one of the key architects of the Oslo Accords, Dr. Yossi Beilin, admit that those proposals no longer apply as the PA’s present leadership has proven to be utterly opposed to the existence of a sovereign Jewish state. There is also a broad consensus concerning the disastrous agreement consummated by the Obama administration with Iran.

 

Under these circumstances, the Zionist political parties should unite to face the challenges. Zionist Union Chairman Isaac Herzog, Yesh Atid head Yair Lapid and Yisrael Beytenu chief Avigdor Lieberman all share ambitions to become prime minister. But now, if they share any concern for the national interest, they should temporarily set aside their personal ambitions and unite. Likewise, Prime Minister Netanyahu should make every effort to enable them to join his government with dignity…

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

                                                                       

 

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AMERICAN ‘ISRAEL ADVOCACY’ NEEDS TO CHANGE

                                       Gideon Drucker                                  

                                                Times of Israel, Nov. 6, 2015

 

At 23 years old, after finishing a university degree, becoming professionally licensed in my field, and seeing my long-awaited future becoming a reality, I felt a pull to Jerusalem in my soul whose light could not be diminished. Despite having no family and few friends in Israel, I moved to Israel to prepare myself for joining the IDF as a combat soldier. As I saw it (and still see it), my brothers and sisters in Israel were on the front lines defending the Jewish people’s right to live free and secure in our eternal Homeland. It was time to honor my history and do my part in protecting the Jewish people’s future.

 

While seemingly exceptional and a bit bizarre, my story is not unique in the slightest. There are thousands of lone soldiers from every corner of the world who have felt this emotional attachment to a land they have never called home and the need to play their part in a nation at once 4,000 years old and 67 years young. In a broader sense, my story is even less unique. The Jewish people are connected by a bond that has endured over 2,000 years in the most bitter of circumstances; it is this bond that has allowed us to survive and thrive as Jews in the first place. Without this belief that we would one day return home and without this connection to each other, we never would have survived the world’s relentless attempts to destroy us.

 

Our peoplehood, which until the rebirth of Israel remained abstract and indescribable, is how Jews from lands and cultures as far away as Ethiopia, the Soviet Union, and the United States can all feel, improbably, a personal stake in the survival of one another. As Daniel Gordis has written, it this national narrative, this ineffable understanding that we are part of a history greater than ourselves, that has led the Jewish people to overcome unspeakable horrors, achieve magnificent successes, and remain in our hearts and souls “Jews.” King David, Judah Maccabee, Moshe Dayan, and Menachem Begin, while separated by 2,000 years, spoke the same language, toiled the same land, and dedicated their lives to the same purpose. In our hearts, we understand that they are all part of one remarkable story. Our Story. Our History.

 

This is Zionism. This is the story America’s Israel advocates need to be proclaiming for the world to hear: Zionism is Just. Zionism is the return of an indigenous people to its homeland after untold centuries of murder, persecution and oppression. Israel is the national redemption of the Jewish people in the one corner of the Earth that has always served as our national, religious and spiritual home.

 

I did not join the IDF because of Israeli technological genius or because we created the cell phone. Soviet Jews did not feel a pull to Zion because of our medicinal breakthroughs and because Israel is the “Start Up Nation.” The early Zionists did not leave family and friends and endure the hardships they did because of Israeli strawberries and vegetables. And while it is certainly important that Israel is a democracy in a part of the world that treats the idea of freedom like a disease not to be caught, that is not why millions of Ethiopian Jews have come home either.

 

Our country was re-established to serve as a safe-haven for Jews around the world so that the Jewish people could once again return to the forefront of history as the leading actors of our own story. We sweat, bled, and died so that we could regain the responsibility and the difficult choices inherent to having one’s own sovereignty. We envisioned, prayed for, and dreamed about contributing to the world a uniquely Jewish answer to the question: What is our purpose here? We came home so we could be Jews and carry on our story. Our defense of Israel and Zionism around the world has not succeeded because defense never does. Zionism doesn’t need to be defended. It needs to be proclaimed. Zionism is a passionate cry of freedom and redemption. We need to speak in the language of justice, Jewish civil rights, and Jewish history.

 

It is mind boggling to me when my fellow Americans (particularly on college campuses) make our case by pointing to our medicinal and technological achievements, our record on gay rights, women’s rights, our freedom of the press, etc. Our enemies don’t hate us because we aren’t doing a good enough job running our country. Our detractors aren’t nitpicking about the way we govern. They don’t care about that. It’s why we, and not the dozens of countries around the world worthy of international scorn, are targeted for delegitimization. They don’t want us to improve our country. They don’t think we should have one. THEY DON’T THINK WE HAVE THE RIGHT TO EXIST. They think that we are an illegal, foreign colonial entity. They think we are ethnically cleansing the “Native Arab population” of Palestine. They think that we are war criminals and murderers. And our response is to talk about the iPhone and our disaster relief team in Haiti??…

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

                                                                       

                                                                       

Contents                                                                            

   

 

‘THE CRIME AND THE SILENCE,’ BY ANNA BIKONT                                                        

Louis Begley

                      New York Times, Nov. 4, 2015

 

On July 10, 1941, in Jedwabne, a town of roughly 3,000 inhabitants in northeastern Poland, a mob of Catholics murdered most of their Jewish neighbors. Estimates of the number of victims vary, from about 300 men, women and children to as many as 1,600. Whatever the correct figure, very few Jews survived. Using axes, clubs and knives, the mob first killed some 40 Jewish men. The remaining Jews — men, women and children, many of them infants — were herded into a wooden barn on the outskirts of the town. Then, as the jeering crowd watched, the murderers barred the doors, poured gasoline on the structure and lit the fire. Everyone inside died. Plunder of Jewish homes followed. Peasants from neighboring villages, who had begun arriving in Jedwabne at dawn on the day of the massacre, joined in the fun.

 

The Polish journalist Anna Bikont’s beautifully written, devastating and very important book, “The Crime and the Silence” (published in Poland in 2004, and now expertly translated by Alissa Valles), details her painstaking reconstruction of this crime, along with the attempt by families and descendants of the perpetrators, right-wing politicians, historians, journalists and Catholic clergymen to cover it up and deflect blame on the victims.

 

Both the crime and the fact that the perpetrators were Catholic Poles entered the public record at the latest in 1949, when 21 Jedwabne men and one German gendarme were tried for the murders before the district court in Lomza, the seat of the district government. Eleven Polish defendants and the policeman were found guilty; the others were acquitted. The press reported the proceedings, but the coverage doesn’t seem to have created a stir. Sensibilities had been dulled by World War II, when Germans slaughtered some three million Polish Jews and more than two million Polish Catholics. A few years later a monument was erected near the barn where Jews were immolated, but the inscription read: “The site of the martyrdom of the Jewish population. Gestapo and Hitler’s gendarmerie burned alive 1,600 people, July 10, 1941.” The Catholic Poles who had done the killing could rest easy.

 

So matters stood until 2000, when a ­Polish-born American academic, Jan T. Gross, published in Poland a Polish-­language book that told the real story of the massacre. The following year it was issued in the United States, in English, as “Neighbors: The Destruction of the Jewish Community in Jedwabne, Poland.” According to Anna Bikont, the relative quiet that reigned after the publication of Gross’s book in Polish turned into a media storm once the realization sank in that “Neighbors” would expose to the American public an incident shockingly at odds with the image Poles presented of themselves as a martyred but heroic and noble people. “Neighbors” was attacked as libelous and inadequately documented, and as part of a Jewish effort to extract compensation for the lives taken during the Jedwabne pogrom. There was an orgy of denials of responsibility, including claims that the killing had been done by German SS and gendarmes — because if it had been just Poles (the reasoning went), the Jews would have resisted. Another argument said the victims were killed not because they were Jews but because they had collaborated with the Soviet occupation. (Jedwabne was part of the Polish territory assigned to the Soviet Union by the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, breached by Germany in June 1941.) The fact that infants were among the victims was callously ignored.

 

Gross claimed 1,600 Jews had been killed. Except with respect to that number, his version of the events in Jedwabne has been fully vindicated. In September 2000, the Institute of National Remembrance (I.P.N.), an entity established by the Polish Parliament, began investigating the massacre. Three years later it announced the case had been closed because no living perpetrators could be identified. However, its examination of the case, including a review of the 1949 judicial proceedings and a new investigation by the special prosecutor, had led to the conclusion that while the crime was inspired by Germans, “insofar as the participation of the Polish population in the execution of the crime is concerned, it is necessary to accept that it played the determinative role in the execution of the criminal plan. . . . The perpetrators of these crimes, as the executors sensu stricto, were the Polish inhabitants of Jedwabne and the surrounding area.” Finally, on July 10, 2004, the spokesman of the Polish Press Agency declared that no appeals had been filed challenging the investigation’s ­conclusions…

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

 

 

CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters: Shabbat Shalom!

                                                                           

 

 

 

On Topic

 

Kurdish Unit Honours Canadian Who Died Fighting ISIL: ‘We Lost Our Daring and Courageous Companion’: Stewart Bell, National Post, Nov. 8, 2015—A Canadian volunteer fighter killed in Syria last week died in a “suicide attack” carried out under the cover of darkness, according to a condolence letter the Kurdish armed group he fought with has sent to his family.

You Won’t Hear This on the Evening News About Israel: Jonathan Feldstein, Breaking Israel News, Nov. 9, 2015 — Last Wednesday, my family’s WhatsApp group was buzzing. Daughter No. 1, away at college, heard news of a terrorist attack near our home.
Read more at https://www.breakingisraelnews.com/53427/you-wont-hear-this-on-the-evening-news-about-israel-opinion/#wXWfIIscAkIX6Cw2.99

1920. The Year the Palestinian Identity Was Created: Youtube, May 21, 2009—Since October 1, 1948, when the mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin Husseini, stood before the Palestine National Council in Gaza and declared the existence of an All-Palestine Government, there have been many declarations of a Palestinian state.

Balfour Declaration was “Legal Birth Certificate” of Israel, says Dershowitz: Jenni Frazer, Jewish News, Nov. 4, 2015 —Britain’s 1917 decision to support the establishment of a Jewish homeland was effectively a “legal birth certificate” held by almost no other nation, declared Professor Alan Dershowitz this week.

 

 

 

Charles Bybelezer: Center For Israel, Jewish Affairs’ Misguided Policy

 

 

Originally Published in the Jerusalem Post, October 10, 2012 21:31
http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Op-EdContributors/Article.aspx?id=287333

…The Center for Israel and Jewish Affairs, formerly The Canadian Council for Israel and Jewish Advocacy, is the by-product of a major revamping in mid-2011 of Canada’s Israel advocacy community, which saw a diverse spectrum of pro-Israel organizations consolidated into one body.

According to its previous website, CIJA’s primary function prior to the overhaul was to “coordinate the advocacy work of established Jewish organizations – among them: Canada- Israel Committee (CIC), dedicated to strengthening and supporting all aspects of the Canada-Israel relationship; Quebec-Israel Committee (QIC), dedicated to communicating issues of Jewish concern to all parts of Quebec society; Canadian Jewish Congress (CJC), working to promote civil discourse and address incidents of anti-Semitism and all issues affecting the quality of Jewish life in Canada.”

The word “coordinated” is somewhat misleading, however, as historically the CIC, QIC and CJC operated independently in accordance with their respective, long-established directives. The Canadian Jewish Congress, for example, pursued its own agenda since its founding in 1919.

However, this status quo was shattered last year when these organizations were abolished to make way for the Center for Israel and Jewish Affairs. As a result, CIJA is now uniquely positioned to set its own, uncontested policies vis-à-vis Canadian Israel advocacy.

This massive centralization was done unilaterally and in virtual secrecy, and stimulated a public outcry from a multitude of stakeholders in the Israel-advocacy community.

One needs only to consider CIJA’s conceptualization of its work to understand the backlash.

CIJA’s mission statement was drafted by its leadership upon its inception in 2004. The resulting internal document, colorfully coined the “The 10 Commandments,” summarizes CIJA’s ideology and modus operandi.

Below are four of CIJA’s “commandments:” #5: Do not directly attack or assign blame to the Palestinians or their leadership; #6: Do not ask Canadians to pick a side in the [Israeli-Palestinian] conflict; #7: Do not ask the government of Canada to appear – or be – more favorable to Israel; #9: Do not attack the media for being biased against Israel.

As a result, CIJA, which commands a budget of approximately $11 million per annum and which now constitutes the Canadian Jewish community’s lone “official” body tasked with defending Israel, operates under an ambiguous mandate whose fundamentals contradict the very essence of pro-Israel advocacy.

Which brings us to the statement CIJA issued recently.

On September 2, CIJA’s national leadership met with King Abdullah in Jordan. In its account to the Canadian public, CIJA conveyed two main messages: Jordan needs money to provide for Syrian refugees, and Israel must make peace with the Palestinians in order to enhance its ability to deal with the Iranian nuclear threat.

With respect to the latter, according to CIJA, “King Abdullah expressed the belief that achieving peace on the Israel-Palestinian front will make immeasurably easier the task of confronting other – even existential – challenges facing the region, including the ability to garner support from other Arab nations in relation to the Iranian nuclear threat.”

It is one thing for the Center to promote the resumption of the peace process, which is the official position of Israel’s government; however, doing so by invoking the Jordanian monarch, whose repression of Palestinians is rampant, is at best ignorant, and at worst deceitful.

Instead, the Center should have questioned Abdullah’s motives, given that his country regularly strips Palestinians of their Jordanian citizenship and that his legislature recently passed a law limiting Palestinian parliamentary representation to eight percent, despite Palestinians comprising as much as 60% of the population.

Coupled with Abdullah’s purported concern for Syrian refugees, the Center also should have inquired as to why Jordan refuses to allow any Palestinian refugees from Syria enter the country.

In this regard, it is inappropriate to begin with for a pro-Israel advocacy group unconditionally to abide by Jordan’s request for financial aid while Abdullah persists in his policy of restricted diplomatic relations with Israel. The correct course of action would have been to convey the Center’s readiness to solicit funds on Jordan’s behalf, on condition that Abdullah immediately name and dispatch a Jordanian Ambassador to Israel, a position that has remained vacant for more than two years.

Lastly, it is completely unsuitable for a pro- Israel body to propagate the canard that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the Middle East’s central dispute and that solving it will somehow cure the region’s ills. To do so in the context of the Iranian nuclear threat is inexcusable.

Does the Center really believe that the “Arab Spring,” or resulting “Islamic Winter,” had anything to do with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; or that Syrian President Bashar Assad is murdering his people in droves because of Israel’s alleged “occupation” of the West Bank; or that Iran would forgo its nuclear ambitions if only the Palestinians could be persuaded to make peace with Israel? Moreover, Israel already has the tacit approval of the region’s Sunni governments to strike Shi’ite Iran’s nuclear facilities – and this has nothing to do with “Palestine” and everything to do with the region’s primary conflict, the Sunni-Shi’ite divide.

By ignoring Abdullah’s hypocrisy; by assuming his positions uncritically; and by not raising important issues, CIJA’s mission to Jordan effectively served Abdullah’s interests above and beyond Israeli and Jewish interests.

And herein lies the essential problem: Irrespective of intent, CIJA often fails in its chief duty to serve Israeli and Jewish interests.

This past June, CIJA sent a delegation to Ramallah to meet with Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas and other top-ranking Palestinian officials; this despite the PA’s refusal for the past three years to negotiate with Israel’s elected leadership, and at a time when the PA was threatening to renew its unilateral bid to achieve statehood recognition at the UN.

According to CIJA CEO Shimon Fogel, “the rationale for us to meet with [the] Palestinian leadership… was to update ourselves on the positions and concerns of the Palestinians as they relate to Israel, and the potential for a return to direct negotiations.”

Yet less than a month before CIJA’s meeting in Ramallah, Abbas sent a widely publicized letter to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu reiterating his conditions for returning to peace talks; namely, that Israel recognize the 1967 borders as the basis for negotiations, halt all settlement construction and release Palestinian prisoners. Israel, by contrast, as well as the Middle East Quartet, has repeatedly called for a resumption of negotiations without preconditions.

Apparently, though, CIJA did not get the memo. Instead, its visit served to legitimate Abbas’ intransigent demands.

Another example of CIJA’s objectionable judgment is an article published in July in The Jerusalem Post by Richard Marceau, a senior adviser to CIJA. Entitled “Israel: An inspiration for smaller nations,” Marceau’s main point was that French-speaking residents of the Canadian province of Quebec, who on whole are markedly anti-Israel, should no longer view the Jewish state negatively, but rather use the country’s success at nationbuilding as a template for their own efforts to promote sovereignty for Quebec. In Marceau’s words, “for a Quebec nationalist, Zionism and its creation of the State of Israel are awe-inspiring.”

At first glance, the article seems well-intentioned – to bridge the Quebec-Israel/Jewish divide. But upon closer inspection, it is apparent that the article is subversive, as it undermines a core domestic interest of Canadian Jewry.

The vast majority of Canadian Jews opposes Quebec’s secession from Canada. In fact, in the last referendum held in Quebec in 1995, more than 97 percent of the Jewish population of Montreal, where nearly all of the province’s Jews reside, voted “No” to Quebec’s separation from Canada. This led former Quebec premier and Parti Quebecois leader Jacques Parizeau famously to attribute the referendum’s loss to the “ethnic vote,” widely interpreted at the time as a reference to the province’s Jews.

That CIJA would employ as senior counsel an avowed separatist – in defiance of the interests of Canadian Jewry, in general, and Canada’s second largest Jewish community, in particular – is destructive. That CIJA allowed Marceau’s article to appear under its auspices only six weeks before Quebec’s September 4 election – which again brought the nationalist Parti Quebecois to power – is unconscionable.

These three examples – Jordan, Ramallah and Quebec – which only cover the past 10 weeks, are representative of why many Canadian Jews opposed last year’s overhaul of the Israel advocacy community, and why they remain skeptical of CIJA’s ability to effectively promote pro-Israel and pro-Jewish positions.

Accordingly, it is unacceptable that CIJA continue to be given carte blanche to set, unilaterally, Canada’s Israel advocacy policy. In this respect, it is imperative that checks and balances be introduced, in particular as regards CIJA’s funding, to ensure CIJA’s accountability to the full spectrum of Canada’s diverse and staunchly pro-Israel Jewish community.

The writer recently made aliya from Canada and is former Publications Editor at CIJR

SPECIAL FRIDAY BRIEFING ISSUE: FOR BARRY RUBIN — SUPPORTING A COURAGEOUS FIGHTER, FOR ISRAEL AND AGAINST PERSONAL ADVERSITY

WHY I'VE ALWAYS WRITTEN SO MUCH WITH SUCH INTENSITY
AND WHY I WON'T STOP NOW.

Barry Rubin

Rubin Reports, August 4, 2012

 

Nothing is stranger than having a normal life and then within a few hours knowing that it might end at almost any moment. That’s what happened to me when I was just diagnosed with what is called inoperable lung cancer. I am still waiting final results of the tests and the choice of therapies.

 

I have no desire to make this my focus but it’s been suggested that I write something about it that might be of broader interest.

 

First, for those of us whose understanding of cancer is based on past information, it is very important to understand that a lot has changed. That diagnosis twenty or thirty years ago would have given a person only a few months to live. Today, with many of the new therapies invented, one has a fighting chance. Still, it is tough to have your life expectancy lowered from around twenty years to a minimum of two within moments.

 

People always asked me why I wrote so much and so intensively. I never told them one of the real reasons: I always expected my life would be limited. My grandfathers died, respectively, at 42 and 44, both of things that could have been cured today. My father died of a heart attack at 62, and his life probably could have been extended many years today by all the new tests and drugs available. But I felt that once I passed that birthday, less than a year ago, I might be living on borrowed time.

 

They say that when you are fighting cancer that becomes a full-time job in itself. Supported by my truly wonderful family, I’m working on it. Right away one starts paring things down: unsubscribing to lots of things; knowing that I will never again have time for hobbies. The decision to start reading a book is like a major life choice.

 

And I know I won’t be going canoeing down the Jordan River with an old friend in August. In fact, having passed out briefly about a half-dozen times—though we think we’ve solved that problem—I’ll probably never drive again nor, after cancelling two trips, travel internationally. In fact, the way things are going at the moment, I might never eat solid food again.

 

The best thing to do is to accept everything calmly—bargaining, hysteria, rage, won’t do any good–and then decide that one is going to fight with the object of beating the disease. Unlike much of political life, this is not caused by malevolent forces.

 

This is not, however, the only transformative event I’ve had this week. I don’t want this to come out wrong but I have been touched and encouraged by an outpouring of emails from friends, acquaintances, and readers about how much they appreciated my work. Up until now, I’ve really thought that my articles have gone into a void.

 

As you know, we live in an era where many ideas, much truth, and certainly the kind of things that I think are largely barred from the most prestigious (although daily less so) media and institutions.  We are either ignored or vilified. Now, though, the counter-audience has grown so long and people are so hungry for accuracy and cutting through the nonsense that our ranks have grown into the millions. When someone tells you that you’ve helped them, informed them, encouraged them, or even changed their lives it is an immeasurable feeling.

 

And while I wouldn’t go so far as to say that the cost has been worth receiving these messages, it is closer than one might ever believe.

 

There are some constructs I’ve come up with that I find comforting. Briefly:

 

Every living thing that has ever existed has died, at least in terms of being on this earth. If they could do it I can do it.

I feel like I have been captured by an enemy force (you all can insert specific names) and they want to execute me. I hope to escape or to be rescued by my friends.

 

Even if I didn’t have this disease, I could leave life on any day due to many causes without warning.

 

 For 2000 years my ancestors dreamed of returning to their homeland and reestablishing their sovereignty. I have had the privilege of living that dream. How amazing is that?

 

We have to judge ourselves by whether we’ve lived up to our ideals and done our best. Not by the accumulation of power, wealth or fame; not for failing to achieve the impossible.

 

A famous Jewish story about that is the tale of Rabbi Zosia who said that he did not expect God to berate him for not having been Moses—who he wasn’t—but for not having been Zosia.

 

To me, that means we must do the best to be ourselves while trying to make ourselves as good as possible. I’ve really tried to do that. I don’t have big regrets, nor bitterness, nor would I have done things very differently.

 

And I’ve discovered the brave community of those who are supporting and encouraging each other in the battle against this disease.

 

Finally, I find myself identifying with a poem by a Turkish writer named Ilhami Bekir that goes like this:

 

“Neither vineyards, nor gardens

Do I ask.

Nor horses, nor sheep.

Don't take my soul away,

O God!

I am curious. 

I must see how this game ends!”

 

The game, of course, doesn’t end and I don’t expect to live to see utopia realized. But it would be nice to live long enough to see America and the world pass out from this current dreadful era, to see some restoration of sanity and reality, some kind of victory for goodness, some kind of restoration of intellectual standards, and a higher level of justice.

 

 Some friends tell me they think we’ve turned the corner and that there’s real hope of beating the terrible forces that have messed up our societies and insulted our intelligence and tried to sully our reputations.

 

 That’s something worth living for and fighting for. I hope to do it with you people as long as possible.

________________________________________________________

 

Barry:

 

I want you to know how much you mean to me and to everyone who works with the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research, here in Montreal and Canada and in the US and Israel.  You can probably tell from our repeated use of your materials in our publications that we think you are the best thing going in the Israel-Middle East-US foreign policy arena. We have always enjoyed and valued your visits to us, the seminars and presentations at our conferences and Galas, and the cut-and-thrust of post-talk coffee discussion. 

 

Yours is a unique, and uniquely effective, Israel-advocacy voice, an inestimably effective force for sanity and truth and persistent critical intelligence, and very importantly a powerful role-model (for once this over-used term makes sense) for the kinds of intellectually-oriented students and young scholars we work with and try to develop, and who are our future.

 

Everyone has the same day to live, and to use; no one knows what comes after that day. You are right,  this isn't the  pre-modern medical world, much can, and is, being done, every day, such that hope today is, thankfully, far from an empty term.  And you are a fighter, the same courage that has marked your work will, I am sure, will come into play as you fight the illness. Yours is a crucial voice that has not been, that will not, and must not be, easily stilled.

 

Your CIJR friends and colleagues, and your readers the world over, continue to count on your vision. We deeply value your commitment to truth, to scholarship as a kind of morality, and this tied to a deep love for Israel and the Jewish people, its history, suffering, and achievement.  And, yes, your toughness of character, intolerance for the vicious and  ignorant anti-Israelism too often masquerading as "objective" analysis.

 

Barry, please be as well as can be, do everything you can not to let this get you down, keep on fighting and, above all, keep on writing.  All of us in this complicated, too often jealous and divided pro-Israel advocacy  community badly need you, now more than ever.

 

With deepest affection and respect,

 

Fred

___________________________________________________

 

Thanks very much for this heartfelt and moving letter which gives me much encouragement.

Barry

___________________________________________________

 

Barry,

You are a fighter! Keep fighting! Don’t give up! All of us at CIJR are with you! Be strong!

With respect & affection,

 

Baruch Cohen

Research Chairman, CIJR

___________________________________________________

 

Dear Barry,

 

 We met for the first time last fall.  Shirley Anne Haber suggested that I arrange for a lecture for you in Montreal and without hesitation I obliged.  You were our guest here for a lecture at the Spanish Portuguese Synagogue. We all benefitted from your eloquent analysis and words of wisdom.

 

It was my first opportunity to meet you in person and exchange some ideas and information about Israel and Middle East politics. We all felt a deep sense of solidarity for a noble cause and were looking forward to a future of collaboration in the face of adversity.

 

After reading your message below and Fred’s answer, I draw further strength and energy from your personal battle which we all mortals feel  is our own battle to win. As well , when you declare that our cause is something worth fighting for and that you won’t stop writing now, it steels our determination to carry on and reach out. All of us in the pro Israel and Zionist community look up to you as, a one of a kind, role model.  

 

 Barry, I wish you, from the bottom of my heart, victory, in overcoming this disease and knowing you, there is a good chance you’ll succeed.

 

 Warm Regards and in solidarity,

 

 Jack Kincler, Chairman, CIJR

 

 N.B. I assumed the role of National Chair of CIJR last spring and together we plan to expand the family of those seeking a higher level of justice in an unfriendly world.

___________________________________________________

 

WHY IS ISRAEL MORE PROSPEROUS THAN THE PALESTINIANS?

Barry Rubin

PJMedia, August 9, 2012

 

In almost 40 years of studying these issues, I’ve never seen a better case study of mass media bias and knee-jerk narrowness than an aspect of the current flap about what presidential candidate Mitt Romney said during his trip to Israel. I’m going to focus on a single point because it brings this problem into sharp focus.

 

If you truly understand what you are about to read, I don’t see how you can accord most of the mass media any credibility when it comes to Israel ever again. Briefly, Romney mentioned the gap between the Israeli and Palestinian economies — ironically, he vastly understated the gap — and attributed it to “culture,” by which he meant, as Romney has said elsewhere, such things as democracy, individual liberty, free enterprise, and the rule of law.

 

But I’m not talking about Romney here or the media’s critique of him. What is interesting is this: How do you explain the reason why Israel is so more advanced in terms of economy, technology, and living standards? The media generally rejected Romney’s explanation and pretty much all made the same point. To quote the Associated Press story, that was:

 

    Comparison of the two economies did not take into account the stifling effect the Israeli occupation has had on the Palestinian economy in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem—areas Israel captured in 1967 where the Palestinians hope to establish a state.

 

    In the West Bank, Palestinians have only limited self-rule. Israel controls all border crossings in and out of the territory, and continues to restrict Palestinian trade and movement. Israel annexed east Jerusalem in 1967, but has invested much less heavily there than in Jewish west Jerusalem.

 

Or, in other words, it’s all Israel’s fault. Yet in choosing to blame Israel, the media generally showed no interest at all in additional factors which are equally, or far more, valid.

 

I’m not suggesting that journalists and editors thought through the following list of factors and deliberately decided not to mention them. I think that these things never entered their minds. Yet how can that be? Some of these points require knowledge of the situation on the ground and its history. Still, many should be obvious to those who have read past newspaper accounts or just use logic, not to mention research.

 

Consider the points made below. You might count them for less, but anyone honest should admit that they add up to a compelling case:

 

1. The most devastating problem for the Palestinian economy has been the leadership’s refusal to make peace with Israel and to get a state. Most notably, the opportunities thrown away in 1948, 1979, and 2000 doomed both countries to years of suffering, casualties, and lower development. Today, in 2012, both Palestinian leaderships — Fatah and Hamas — continue this strategy.

 

2. Statistics show major advances in the West Bank and Gaza Strip during the period of Israeli occupation. A lot of money also came in from Palestinians working in Israel (or to a surprising extent on the Jewish settlements).

 

3. The media should be expected to explain why Israel interfered at all once, by around 1994, almost all West Bank and Gaza Palestinians were under Palestinian rule. The reason, of course, was Palestinian violence against Israel and Israelis. If there had not been such attacks, Israeli forces would not have set foot in Palestinian-ruled areas. Stability would have encouraged development and foreign investment. There would be no roadblocks. Incidentally, roadblocks and restrictions on travel have changed constantly and at times of relative quiet became almost non-existent. Of course, Israel maintained control of the borders to prevent weapons from coming in.

 

4. There was a large transfer of funds (as provided in the Oslo agreement, but PA behavior did not make Israel violate the agreement) from Israel to the PA regarding refunds on customs duties and workers’ fringe benefits.

 

5.The well-documented incompetence and corruption of the Palestinian Authority. For example, there is no reliable body of law that a company could depend on there. Bribes determine who gets contracts. Literally billions of dollars have been stolen and mostly ended up in the European accounts of Palestinian leaders.

 

6. And where did those billions of dollars come from? They came from foreign donors who showered huge amounts of money on a relatively small population. Yet, even aside from theft, the money was not used productively or to benefit the people.

 

7. Because of the risks and attacks on Israel, the country stopped admitting Palestinian workers except for a far smaller number. Tens of thousands thus lost lucrative jobs and the PA could not replace these.

 

8. The unequal status of women in the Palestinian society throws away up to one-half of the potential labor and talent that could otherwise have made a big contribution to development.

 

9. And then there are the special factors relating to the Gaza Strip. Under the rule of Hamas, a group committing many acts of terror and openly calling for genocide against Israel, the emphasis was not put on economic development but on war-fighting. The shooting of rockets at Israel created an economic blockade. Note also, however, that Hamas also alienated the Mubarak regime in Egypt which also had no incentive to help it, instituting its own restrictions that were as intense as those of Israel.

 

10. The Palestinian leadership generally antagonized Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and other oil-rich Arab states that were consequently not interested in helping them develop.

 

11. Also, compare the Palestinians to the Egyptians, Jordanians, Syrians, or Lebanese. In those places the excuse of “it’s all Israel’s fault” is hard to sustain, yet the Palestinians have done as well or better than those other Arabs who share a very similar political culture.

 

12. And incidentally, remember that Israel also had to cope with war, terrorism, and defense needs unequaled by the burden faced by any other democratic state in the world. Moreover, it could not trade for most of its history with any of its neighbors — and commerce is still limited — or any of the countries in the Arabic-speaking world that surround it. In addition, it has almost no natural resources. So while Israel received a lot of U.S. aid, most of that went into defense and not economic development. In other words, Israel’s has handicaps as impressive (or almost as marked) as the Palestinian ones.

 

My goal here was not so much to present these twelve points but to ask the question: Why is it that these factors were barely mentioned or not mentioned at all in the media analyses of Romney’s statement?

 

The answer, of course, is that most of the media is set on the blame-Israel argument. Yet even given this truth, why do they have to do so virtually 100 percent of the time with nothing about the other side of the issue? This applies to dozens of other questions, such as why peace hasn’t been achieved. And in this as in many other cases, they virtually take the PA’s talking points as their themes and facts.

 

Often, one suspects there are a lot of people in the mass media and academia who are totally uninterested in presenting anything other than an anti-Israel narrative. This article doesn’t mean to generalize about everyone, of course, but you who are doing that know who you are, and you readers know who they are!

 

THE MEANING OF THE EGYPT-ISRAEL CROSS-BORDER ATTACK

Barry Rubin

Rubin Reports, Aug. 7, 2012

 

A 35-man seemingly bedouin terrorist team invaded an Egyptian army base in eastern Sinai, stole a truck and armored personnel carrier, and tried to crash the Israel border gate. They killed about 16 Egyptian soldiers but those who tried to cross the border — at least five — were quickly wiped out by Israeli forces.

 

You will be reading a lot of accounts of this event mostly saying the same things. But what’s really important?

 

● The incompetence of the Egyptian military. That a whole platoon size unit of terrorists — one of the largest such forces every assembled for such an attack — could plan, organize, and come together without warning for the Egyptian army speaks poorly for its intelligence capability. That they could break into a base doesn’t bode well for the Egyptian military’s competence. Presumably one reason why they wanted Egyptian vehicles — as happened with uniforms on a previous occasion — is to make Israeli soldiers hesitate to shoot or to end up getting Israelis to mistakenly kill Egyptians and set off a wider conflict.

 

● The attack was probably carried out by an al-Qaida type group allied with counterparts in the Gaza Strip. These organizations don’t care about the well-being of Hamas or the Muslim Brotherhood. By hitting Israel they seek to promote their image to carry out their goals. Yet the more they make enemies of the Muslim Brotherhood branches the more incentive those forces have to suppress them.

 

● To what extent, however, do these groups have backing from Egyptian Salafist forces or the Palestinian equivalent, Islamic Jihad? Such an alliance could greatly raise the level of violence and internal conflict, especially within Egypt. Is there a chance for the Brotherhood and Salafists to work together or will they clash?

 

● The Brotherhood immediately blamed Israel for engineering the attack. This means something quite different when the Brotherhood was just an opposition group in Egypt. It is now the government. Consider what this means: the organization governing Egypt has accused Israel of launching an attack on Egyptian soil and killing a lot of Egyptian soldiers. Isn’t that a just cause for war? That’s not going to happen but situations like this will arise repeatedly in future and one day can lead to war.

 

● The Brotherhood will not even condemn al-Qaida. For example, the new government could have taken a different approach: These extremists are enemies of the Egyptian people because they endanger the state’s stability and economic success. It won’t even do that. So no matter how many cross-border attacks are staged from Egypt and Israel, Egypt will just deny responsibility and blame Israel. What likelihood is there that they will try to vigorously block them?

 

● Israel has now gotten to the point where it can protect itself from cross-border attacks. We are dealing here with open country where it is hard to sneak up on the border and well-distributed Israeli defense forces that can get to any point on the frontier very quickly.

So in strategic terms, such attacks are not a huge threat but on geopolitical terms the danger is rising steadily.

 

The U.S. government response is to offer to help train and assist Egypt’s army and government. But the government is not part of the solution but rather part of the problem.

Some Salafist demonstrators chased President al-Mursi away from the Egyptian soldiers’ funeral. In effect, they were saying: These people were not heroes, they were getting in the way of the jihad against Israel.  

 

The implication is: you better get out of the way, too. But other demonstrators took the army’s side and blamed the Brotherhood for getting Egypt into unnecessary violence.  The Egyptian air force hit jihadist camps, so aren’t they like the Mubarak-era army protecting Israel or are they protecting Egyptian national interests? That’s the point.