Tuesday, July 17, 2018

From Ian:

What Ireland's Boycott Bill Means For Israel
Fiamma Nirenstein, a former member of the Italian parliament and currently a Fellow at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, considers the boycott movement more of a threat due to what she defines as troublesome constituent elements. "On the one hand, BDS is viewed as a way of attacking Israel without being accused of extremism, so in this sense it is a great invention by the Palestinians. On the other hand," she expounded to The Media Line, "the program is connected to the worst anti-Semitic organizations, including terrorist ones."

Nirenstein further highlighted the danger associated with the potential blurring of boundaries. "Boycotting commerce outside of the [1967 borders] interferes with business conducted inside of them, including banking, insurance, etc... So there is a fine line between calling for a boycott of products in [the territories] and advocating for a [blanket] ban of the Jewish state."

As regards the EU, specifically, she considers the body the "mother of the BDS, as it is globalist, anti-religious and totally devoted to the idea of peace whatever the cost may be. By contrast, Israel is a nation-state with religions undertones that must constantly defend itself and Europe cannot forgive that. I do not think that Israel can do anything to change this attitude."

Somewhat paradoxically, though, the law itself is a critical barrier to the implementation of European boycotts on Israeli goods. As noted by numerous economists, should the Irish bill be passed, U.S. companies, for example, might be forced to end their operations in Ireland as American firms are legally prohibited from participating in foreign economic bans not sanctioned by Washington. Such an eventuality would, in turn, render an estimated 150,000 people in Ireland jobless. And the same holds true across the continent, the potential negative ramifications of which have been made evident by ongoing European efforts to negotiate around renewed U.S. sanctions on Iran.

Aside from the legal, economic and moral implications, there is also the long-touted political norm against taking action that could "pre-judge" the outcome of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Increasingly, European countries seem to comprehend that applying uni-directional pressure on Israel is not a recipe for peace, but, rather, serves to push both sides further away from the negotiating table.

Indeed, critics of BDS the movement note its overall limited realization of its raison d'etre to damage the Jewish state diplomatically and financially. Nevertheless, most analysts agree that cases such as the Irish Senate legislation require a fervent Israeli defense, if not measured offensive. Such instances are, in the eyes of Jerusalem and its proponents, more than much ado about nothing, even if the economic sky is not liable to fall.
Ireland, Boycotts, and Israeli ‘Settlement’ Products
Ireland did not extend recognition to Israel until 1963 and did not establish an embassy in Tel Aviv until 1996. Furthermore, Ireland was one of the first European countries to call for a Palestinian state in 1980 and has persistently focused on the Palestinian refugee issue.

Today, despite its subordinate position within the European Union to such larger powers as France and Germany, Ireland has played an outsized role as a voice on matters concerning Israel and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Last year, the Irish parliament passed a symbolic resolution calling on the EU government to recognize Palestinian statehood. Ireland was also the first European country to recognize the Palestine Liberation Organization. At the same time, the BDS movement in Ireland is viewed by many as extremely powerful.

The Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign, which has been at the forefront of anti-Israel sentiment in Ireland, led to Israel banning some 20 activists associated with the Dublin-based group from entering the Jewish state as part of a “blacklist” targeting anti-Israel BDS groups.

As such, Kittrie believes that Israel needs to do a better job improving the country’s image in Ireland.

“Israel has a good story to tell. It needs to do a far better job of telling it to the Irish people,” he said.

“Watching the debate in the Irish Senate, one would think that the lack of peace between Israel and the Palestinians is entirely the fault of Israel. That is just not correct. I think education has a big role to play in improving relations between Ireland and Israel.”

EU: Israel spreads ‘disinformation’ by alleging we fund terror-tied BDS efforts
The European Union is pushing back after an Israeli minister accused Brussels of funding boycotts and even terrorism against Israel.

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini recently complained to Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan, saying a report from his ministry was spreading disinformation in a report accusing the EU of funding anti-Israel groups with ties to terrorists.

EU Ambassador to Israel Emanuele Giaufret also rebuffed the suggestion Tuesday.

“The idea that the EU could support terrorism is entirely unfounded,” he told The Times of Israel on Tuesday. “We’re very determined in our fight against terrorism and remain opposed to the isolation of Israel or the questioning of its legitimacy. That’s why we don’t fund any BDS activity.”

He added that the EU was open to hearing “issues of concern” from Israel.

Mogherini sent a letter on July 5 to Erdan responding to a May report from his ministry that alleged that the EU funds nonprofit groups that campaign for boycotts of Israel or have ties to terror groups.
Knesset passes law barring 'anti-IDF' groups from schools
Education Minister Bennett: If Breaking the Silence wants to change things, it should act at home, not abroad • Breaking the Silence: The law proves how much Bennett fears his own ideology • Delegitimizing groups should be outlawed, right-wing forum says.

The Knesset on Monday passed a legislative proposal designed to keep out of schools nongovernmental organizations that advocate against the Israeli military. The bill passed its second and third readings with a vote of 43 in favor to 23 against.

The law, sponsored by Habayit Hayehudi MK Shuli Mualem-Rafaeli, was dubbed the "Breaking the Silence bill" for a controversial advocacy group dedicated to exposing alleged wrongdoings by the IDF. The group has been excoriated numerous times for encouraging legal action against Israeli soldiers, an allegation its leaders deny.

The legislation expands Section 2 of the Public Education Law and states that public education will teach Israeli youth about performing a meaningful role in the IDF or in national service.

The bill also grants the education minister the power to establish guidelines that will prevent organizations from outside the school system from activity in public schools if their work contradicts the goals and values of the public education system.

  • Tuesday, July 17, 2018
  • Elder of Ziyon


Here is the introduction of a Palestinian Islamic Jihad video celebrating its monthly accomplishments.

Notice the kinds of things PIJ, and its Palestinian audience, is proud of. Stabbings, rockets, bus bombings, rockets.

Anyone who uses the words "Palestinian resistance" is referring to this, whether they realize it or not.

(Notice also that the animated bus that is exploded has the word "Israel" on it, but backwards.)





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From Ian:

The Israel Victory Project: “25 Years Since Oslo, Time for New Thinking”
Launched by the Middle East Forum in Fall 2016, the Israel Victory Project maintains that peace can only be reached when the Palestinians are forced to concede the futility of their century-long rejectionism and accept Israel’s right to exist. To advance this goal, the Forum created an Israel Victory Caucus in both the U.S. Congress and the Knesset, as well as apprised key members of the Trump administration of the concept, in order to promote legislation and policies that will supplant the failed Oslo “peace process” with persistent pressure on the Palestinians to come to terms with Israel’s existence. Such measures can range from stopping financial support to the Palestinian Authority so long as it continues to pay lifetime allowances to families of killed and/or jailed terrorists, to ending the “Palestine refugee” farce, to harnessing the widest international backing behind Israel’s political stance and sustained military effort to defeat Palestinian terrorism.

Gregg Roman, director of the Middle East Forum, was interviewed by Land of Israel podcast host Eve Harrow on July 3rd’s Knesset meeting of the joint US-Israel program, the Israel Victory Caucus.


Palestinian rejectionism is two parts Palestinian, one part international community, and one part lack of Israeli strategy. Palestinian’s rejectionist Waqf-Fiqh mentality (“waqf” is the Islamic holy trust, and “fiqh” is Islamic legal doctrine), with its Islamic concept of never relinquishing lands that were once in Muslim hands, can be challenged by citing the precedent of the Balkans, and ancient Andalusia, now Spain, where Muslims gave up lands in 1492. The second rejectionist idea, “samud,” (steadfastness), encourages Palestinians to wait millenia, if need be, to defeat the Israelis, but Palestinians want to better their lives now and partake in the benefits of Israeli innovation. Third, the international community (and far left) indulge Palestinian “no’s” with donations that perpetuate the rejectionist cycle, but there are organizations working to separate monies for strictly humanitarian concerns apart from the political ones. Fourth and final is the Israeli security apparatus, fearing escalation or increased risk, which prefers keeping the status quo, instead of bringing about a resolution to the conflict on Israel’s terms.


Falcon found near Gaza with flammable material attached by string
A falcon was discovered near the Gaza border on Monday with strings attached that contained flammable material.

The falcon was found dead, hanging by the attached string from a burned tree near the Nahal Habesor riverbed.

It was not immediately clear if the bird was launched from Gaza to spark fires in Israel, as Gazans have done hundreds of time in recent weeks with kites and balloons, or if the predatory animal attempted to attack a balloon or kite carrying an incendiary device and became ensnared in its attached strings.

The falcon was found on a day when firefighters battled 15 separate fires started by Gazan kites and balloons in the border region.

Nature and Parks Authority officials who examined the bird said it wore a harness, suggesting it was a trained hunting bird, and strengthening speculation that it was deliberately sent to start fires, the Ynet news site reported.

  • Tuesday, July 17, 2018
  • Elder of Ziyon

On Monday night the joint "Gunpowder/Resistance" festival was held simultaneously and simulcast between Tehran and Gaza City.

Leaders of Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other terror groups gathered in the Commodore Hotel in Gaza City to give speeches, celebrate and encourage terror ("resistance") and denounce Israel.

Ironically, the title of the conference was "Resistance is not Terror."


The speakers said things like Israel was planning to expand from the Nile to the Euphrates. Hamas emphasized that resistance is legitimate "in all its forms"

They also praised Iran, saying that its leaders with its army and its fighters stand with Palestine.

It is clear that Iran is funding Palestinian terror along with Hezbollah and other jihadist groups.




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  • Tuesday, July 17, 2018
  • Elder of Ziyon
Ma'an reports that the Gaza terror group whose aim is to set fires all over Israel has started to weaponize children's pool and bath toys.

They are inflating these toys with helium and attaching flaming materials to them to fly to Israeli forests.

These toys are larger and more sturdy than balloons so they can fly further into Israeli territory.

Ma'an showed photos of the new wave of terrorists filling up an inflatable toy plane with helium and attaching incendiary materials to it.






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  • Tuesday, July 17, 2018
  • Elder of Ziyon
Jerusalem is, as far as I can tell, the only city in history with a "Grand Mufti."

The current person to hold that political position is Sheikh Muhammad Hussein. He was appointed to that position by Mahmoud Abbas and he often makes statements that go completely against the PA's official positions presented to the West, like his fatwa that all of Israel should "liberated."

His incitement continues, as Hussein is now claiming that Israel's archaeological digs in the vicinity of the Temple Mount are really an attempt to destroy and "Judaize" the Umayyad palaces there.

Yet those Umayyad palaces were discovered by Israeli archaeologists in the 1970s. They have been protected by Israel. The only reason the Mufti even knows those palaces ever existed was because  Israel values all archaeology, including that which preserves Muslim heritage.

I once wrote about other Umayyad structures, barely visited by tourists, which are still preserved by Israel a short distance from the Temple Mount. If Israel wanted to destroy Islamic heritage in Jerusalem it could have covered those structures up and built something on top of it, an area that is prime real estate by any definition.

The Mufti called on the Arab and Islamic world, all its countries and governments and UNESCO for urgent action and immediate pressure on Israel to "stop the implementation of these schemes, which are fueling tension in the region as a whole."

The Mufti also warned that any damage from an earthquake would be the result of Israeli excavations, setting the stage just in case there is an earthquake. In the past, Palestinian Muslim officials have charged Israel with working to create artificial earthquakes to destroy the Al Aqsa Mosque.

He is the one fueling tension. Israel cares more about Islamic heritage than he does. His only wish is to destroy Israel.





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Monday, July 16, 2018

From Ian:

Why the Golan Should Remain Israeli
Many international legal scholars oppose US recognition. Some posit that the US has not recognized territory captured by military means since World War II, and such a move would add to a growing trend of America reshaping its relationship with post-World War II norms, possibly prompting more international instability. Eugene Kontorovich, a constitutional law professor at Northwestern University and director of the international law department at Jerusalem’s Kohelet Policy Forum, contends those scholars have short memories. He will testify to that effect before the subcommittee next week in Washington, D.C.

“America recognized Vietnam as being the sole country in the Vietnamese peninsula. How did that happen under international law if there used to be a South Vietnam that was taken over militarily by North Vietnam?” Kontorovich said in a telephone interview. “Not to mention the State Department has expressed openness and sympathy to leaving West Sahara under Moroccan sovereignty, and Morocco got that by invading and conquering in 1975 and that wasn’t a defensive war, like the Six Day War.”

To support their position on the Golan, international law experts cite the October 1970 UN General Assembly Resolution 2625, which says: “no territorial acquisition resulting from the threat or use of force shall be recognized as legal.”

Here too, Kontorovich finds a weak link in their arguments. “Based on my research, it is very hard to find clear recognition of such a norm in fighting a defensive war, so I can’t see this applying to Israel retroactively.”

The standards for Israel are always different, of course. Also, the Trump administration may be hesitant to grant Israel another unilateral prize following the May embassy move to Jerusalem, so as not to prejudice Arab reaction to its own upcoming framework on Arab-Israeli peace.

However, Kontorovich contends he sees no downside for the US if it were to recognize Israeli sovereignty on the Golan Heights. “It’s easy to say the whole Arab world will be angry, but most of the Arab world is against the Iranian axis, of which Syria is part, and I think they would support anything that makes that axis weaker.”
Congress Wants Recognition of Israeli Sovereignty Over Golan Heights
Congress is renewing efforts to press the Trump administration into recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the contested Golan Heights region on Israel's northern border with Syria, bucking efforts by GOP leadership to kill the effort, according to conversations with lawmakers.

The House's National Security Subcommittee, led by chairman Rep. Ron DeSantis (R., Fla.) will hold a hearing Tuesday to examine how recognizing Israel's sovereignty over the territory could bolster U.S. national security efforts to stem the flow of terrorists in the Jewish state and elsewhere in the region by giving the Jewish state unilateral control over the Syrian territory, where Iranian-backed fighters and other jihadists have been spotted since the start of a bloody civil war.

The push to have the Trump administration formally recognize Israel's sovereignty over the territory comes following a Monday afternoon press conference between President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladamir Putin, where the two leaders discussed efforts to decrease tension in Syria.

When DeSantis and other Republicans pushed a congressional resolution recognizing Israeli control over the Golan Heights in May, it was nixed by GOP leadership who were seeking to prevent such a vote on the heels of the Trump administration's successful effort to relocate the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

The resolution had won support from Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas) and others.

DeSantis expressed disappointment at the time in comments to the Free Beacon.

"I don't know why my Golan Heights amendment was not made in order and thus denied a vote," DeSantis said. "It was a germane amendment that would have provided the House with a chance to add clarity to the broader U.S. policy vis-a-vis Syria. How could we even contemplate supporting anything other than the application of Israeli sovereignty to such a strategically significant area, especially given the plethora of malevolent forces that undermine security in the region?"
MEMRI: Columnist In Kuwaiti Daily: 'The Jews Are Known For Loathsome Traits... Deeply Rooted In All Jews, Forever And Ever'
In an antisemitic column published January 10, 2018 in the Kuwaiti Al-Anba daily, Bassem Al-Shati, who is also a lecturer at the Religious Faith and Preaching department at Kuwait University, quoted extensively from the Quran to prove, he said, that the Jews are cheating, corrupt, miserable, aggressive, and envious murderers of the prophets and are also responsible for all the corruption and licentiousness in the world. He added that the Muslims must protect themselves against these traits in the Jews.

The following are highlights from his column:
"The Jews are known for loathsome traits, mentioned by Allah in His Book [i.e. the Quran]. These traits are deeply rooted in all the Jews, forever and ever, and the Muslims must protect themselves from them. These traits include fraudulence, treachery, and violating contracts and agreements. Allah said: 'So for their breaking of the covenant, We cursed them and made their hearts hard. They distort words from their [proper] usages... [Quran 5:13].' History attests that they have violated contracts and agreements. They violated the contract with the Messenger of Allah [Muhammad] and more than once attempted to kill him. The last time [they tried this], they served him poisoned lamb as an offering. He chewed a piece of it, and then suffered years from this poison."

To view a MEMRI TV clip of a version of this story told to children, click here or below:

"What is happening to our brothers in Palestine is the greatest witness to the Jews' violation of contracts. There is no use in signing contracts or agreements with the Jews, because they recognize only the language of force...

"They [the Jews] are murderers of the prophets, peace be upon them. They killed Yahya,[1] Zacharia, and other prophets and messengers. Allah said: 'They have been put under humiliation [by Allah ] wherever they are overtaken, except for a covenant from Allah and a rope from the Muslims. And they have drawn upon themselves anger from Allah and have been put under destitution. That is because they disbelieved in the verses of Allah and killed the prophets without right. That is because they disobeyed and [habitually] transgressed [Quran 3:112]'.

"The imam Ahmad said in his collection of traditions [of the Prophet Muhammad] according to a hadith by Abdallah bin Mas'oud[2] that the Prophet said: 'The one who will be punished with the harshest possible punishment on Judgment Day are those who were killed by a prophet or killed a prophet [that is, the Jews].'
WATCH: Ocasio-Cortez Attacks Israel Then Admits She Has No Idea What She's Talking About
New York socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez attacked Israel in a recent interview on PBS's "Firing Line," calling them the occupiers of Palestine and later admitting that she has no idea what she is talking about regarding Israel.

Ocasio-Cortez's remarks came in response to a question from host Margaret Hoover, who asked her to explain comments she made about Israel after she attacked them for defending themselves against an attack from Hamas terrorists.

Ocasio-Cortez, who called the shooting a "massacre," said that she thinks that Israel has the right to "exist," adding, "but I also think that what people are starting to see, at least, in the occupation of Palestine, is just an increasing crisis of humanitarian condition. And that, to me, is just where I tend to come from on this issue."

Hoover then pressed Ocasio-Cortez, "You use the term 'the occupation of Palestine.' What do you mean by that?"

The 28-year-old socialist struggled, "Um... I think what I meant is ... like ... the settlements that are increasing in some of these areas and places where Palestinians are experiencing difficulty in access to their housing and homes."

Hoover: "Do you think you can expand on that?"

Ocasio-Cortez fumbled, "Yeah... I mean, I think ... I'd ... also just— I am not the expert on geo-politics on this issue."


  • Monday, July 16, 2018
  • Elder of Ziyon
From Palestine Today, here is a video of a Hamas drone that was released over the weekend.


The video intersperses footage of the drone on the ground with airborne footage that clearly is not of the same drone and probably taken from the Internet, since the airborne drone has rockets. It is unclear how functional the Hamas drone is altogether.

Nevertheless, the size of the Hamas drone indicates it can cause damage if it actually can fly - it can be filled with explosives and be aimed to crash into a target, for example.  Or perhaps it can drop small firebombs.

The problem will only get worse.




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  • Monday, July 16, 2018
  • Elder of Ziyon


UNRWA workers in the West Bank protested announced job cuts by UNRWA today. 956 employees in Gaza and 194 employees in the West Bank were supposed to be cut.

The spokesman for the Arab Workers' Union in UNRWA, Mohammed Shalabi told Wafa that UNRWA was delaying the opening of the new school year, causing parents to register their kids in other schools.

He noted the number of students in UNRWA schools declined by 5,000 students during the past five years.

Which brings up a basic question:

If the parents have other options besides UNRWA schools, then why does the world need to finance UNRWA schools in the territories?



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From Ian:

PMW: Fatah: Teach children about Palestinian terror
Abbas' Fatah is encouraging Palestinian parents to teach their children about a terror bombing in which 15 Israelis were murdered and over 60 wounded in 1975.

In a post on Facebook, Fatah writes about the terror attack in which terrorist Ahmad Abu Sukkar filled a refrigerator with explosives and had it driven to the center of Jerusalem where it was detonated:
"Share so that our children will know about it."
Fatah for years has glorified this murderous attack as the "refrigerator operation."

Fatah also honored the terrorist himself by posting three photos of him:
Posted Text: "38 years since the refrigerator operation, which caused the death of 13 Israelis (sic., 15) in Jerusalem's markets
Share so that our children will know about it From the memory:
The refrigerator bomb operation, Jerusalem, 1975
The Palestinian National Liberation Movement - Fatah
The operation was carried out by Ahmad Jabarah Abu Sukkar, born in July 1936. He was taken captive long after the operation and sat in the Israeli prison for 27 years."
[Official Fatah Facebook page, July 5, 2018]
Seized archive shows Iran nuke project was larger than thought, had foreign help
The archive of Iranian nuclear documents seized by the Israeli Mossad from a Tehran warehouse in January shows that Iran’s program to build nuclear weapons “was almost certainly larger, more sophisticated and better organized” than was suspected, unnamed nuclear experts were quoted as saying in the New York Times on Sunday, after being shown selected documents from the haul by US reporters.

One of the Iranian documents specifies plans to build a first “batch of five weapons” and discusses sites for possible underground nuclear tests, the Times reported, after one of its reporters was given limited access to the haul last week, along with a reporter from the Washington Post, and another from the Wall Street Journal.

“None were built, possibly because the Iranians feared being caught, or because a campaign by American and Israeli intelligence agencies to sabotage the effort, with cyberattacks and disclosures of key facilities, took its toll,” said the Times.

“It’s quite good,” Robert Kelley, a nuclear engineer and former inspector for the UN’s nuclear watchdog, the IAEA, told The Times dryly, after being shown some of the documents. “The papers show these guys were working on nuclear bombs.”

The documents also reinforce Israel’s contention that Iran remains determined to attain a nuclear weapons archive, despite its commitments under the 2015 nuclear deal (the JCPOA), the US reporters noted.

The materials they were shown include documentation that names current Iranian President Hassan Rouhani as a member of the “Council for Advanced Technologies” that approved the rogue nuclear weapons program, the Washington Post said, and indicate “a supporting role by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, as well as the Quds Force.” Previously released documents indicate that the Iranian army was charged with overseeing the conversion of low-enriched uranium to weapons-grade fuel suitable for nuclear bombs.
NYTs [$]: How Israel Stole Iran's Nuclear Secrets
The Mossad agents moving in on a warehouse in a commercial district of Tehran on Jan. 31 knew they had exactly 6 hours and 29 minutes to disable the alarms, break through two doors, cut through dozens of giant safes and get out of the city with a half-ton of secret materials. When time was up, they fled for the border, hauling 50,000 pages and 163 compact discs of memos, videos and plans.

Last week, at the invitation of the Israeli government, three reporters were shown key documents from the trove. Many confirmed that Iran had worked in the past to systematically assemble everything it needed to produce atomic weapons. "The papers show these guys were working on nuclear bombs," said Robert Kelley, a nuclear engineer and former inspector for the International Atomic Energy Agency.

American and British intelligence officials, after comparing the documents to some they had previously obtained from spies and defectors, said they believed the trove was genuine.

The Iranian program to build a nuclear weapon was almost certainly larger, more sophisticated and better organized than most suspected in 2003, according to outside nuclear experts consulted by The Times. The documents detailed the challenges of integrating a nuclear weapon into a warhead for the Shahab-3, an Iranian missile.

Clearly, the Israelis had inside help. They had learned which of the 32 safes held the most important information. They studied the alarm system, so that it would appear to be working even though it would not alert anyone when the agents arrived.

Among the most fascinating elements are pictures taken inside key facilities in Iran, before the equipment was dismantled in anticipation of international inspections. One set of photos shows a giant metal chamber built to conduct high-explosive experiments, in a building at the Parchin military base near Tehran.



Champions of legislation in Ireland calling for a boycott against Israel (and Israel alone) for the crime of “Occupation” struggled to craft a measure that would define “occupation” so narrowly as to exclude every other dispute in the world (from China’s domination of Tibet to Turkey’s conquest of half of Cyprus) where one nation is in control of another’s territory.
While the legal response to Ireland’s boycott legislation has interesting ramifications, the attempt to create law specifically to punish one nation for an alleged crime that could easily be directed at many others, and justify this injustice using the language of “international law,” got me thinking about whether the concept of international law truly exists. 
In previous postings, I’ve written about how BDS supporters would like to turn the Middle East conflict from a political dispute to a legal one since political disputes can only be solved via compromise (which they’re not interested in) while legal ones require no such compromise but simply the demand that anyone acting illegally stop doing so.
But to get beyond the politics to the core of the matter, we must look first not at international law, but at law itself.  And the first thing we need to recognize is that rule of law rests on two critical principles: consent and enforcement. 
As Hobbes pointed out centuries ago in his Leviathan, agreeing to live under the rule of law requires one to give up a certain amount of freedom in exchange for important benefits (such as the ability to live free from anarchy).  And given the anarchy of the religious wars in Europe that Hobbes was living through, he felt it necessary to give up nearly all individual freedoms to live under a state that could keep the law of the jungle at bay.
We seem to have reached a point in history when the freedoms we must relinquish to live at peace are not so all-encompassing.  But they are our freedoms, which is why members of a society must consent to live together under a set of rules (laws) for a law-based society to function.  Now one can make the case that a child born into a society of laws doesn’t get the chance to make such a choice him or herself.  But the pact described above is a multi-generational one in which citizens agree not just to live by certain laws but to raise their children believing that living under these laws is the right thing to do.
Enforcement is the other requirement for the rule of law to function, specifically the existence of an entity with a monopoly on the right to use violence to enforce the law as well as sufficient power to exercise this monopoly.  Absent an entity to take on this role as sole enforcer of the law, you end up back with the aforementioned anarchy (or, at best, a society where the blood feud becomes the means of seeking legal redress).
Despite various historical attempts to prove otherwise, one cannot have a law-based society based solely on consent without an enforcing power.  Attempts at creating such consent-based societies (such as various communal experiments) either degenerated into violent struggles for power (i.e., the law of the jungle), petered out over time, or existed (and may even continue to exist) as novelties under the protective umbrella of the state.
Interestingly, one can have a law-based society based only on enforcement (not on consent).  But these tend to be tyrannies where the rules that are harshly enforced originate from the caprice of the rulers (be they kings or Politburo members), rather than by consent of members of the state.
I mentioned states in the last two paragraphs since, in our modern age, the only institutions that have been able to effectively implement the rule of law are nation states.  In democratic societies, both consent and enforcement exist together, while in totalitarian states the rule of law is implemented by enforcement alone.  But outside of a cohesive political entity within defined borders and a citizenry that understands themselves to be members of a society within those borders, how one defines the rule of law becomes much less clear.
This becomes particularly apparent when you start to discuss international law which neither emerges from the consent of the governed nor exercises (or even possesses) the kind of enforcement mechanism needed to implement its judgments.
So in an era when nation states are still the primary political actors on the world stage, what are the origins and what is the significance of what we call international law?

To be continued…




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  • Monday, July 16, 2018
  • Elder of Ziyon


The Carter Center recently published a 128-page book called "Countering the Islamophobia Industry: Toward More Effective Strategies."

The title itself reeks of bias. While there are indeed plenty of anti-Muslim people and some groups in the US, it is hardly an "industry" that is endangering Muslims in America.

Jimmy Carter himself wrote the forward.

The most problematic article was written by Rabab Abdulhadi, the San Francisco State University professor who said that Zionists should not be welcomed on campus, and who bitterly complained when SFSU's president disagreed.

This was one of the people that the Carter Center chose as qualified to write about Islamophobia, and she did not disappoint.

Her abstract:

This policy paper reflects on the structural character and history of Islamophobia arguing that the Islamophobia industry corresponds to and overlaps with a powerful Israel lobby industry, a network of Zionist groups that is well-funded and politically well-connected. The goal of this Islamophobia/ Israel lobby industry is to utilize racism and fearmongering relying on their powerful funders and political connections to silence, intimidate and bully scholars, educators and advocates for justice in/for Palestine in McCarthyist-style attacks against dissenting voices.

Drawing on my scholarship in Arab, Muslim, and Palestine studies and critical race theory and my lived experience as Director and Senior Scholar of the Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diasporas Studies program at San Francisco State University,7 I offer here an anatomy of this industry, its connections and funding, as well as its goals. I do so to illustrate that this Israel lobby industry is not a grass-roots movement but rather a well-planned, well-connected, and powerful force that intentionally utilizes multiple forms in its racist and xenophobic arsenal to weaponize attacks against Muslims and Arabs, including Palestinians. I then focus on the Islamophobic, anti-Arab and anti-Palestinian framing that grounds this industry and highlight in particular the gendered and sexualized Orientalist imagery enlisted by this industry to promote its agenda.
To say that the "Israel Lobby" (which she purposefully conflates with any pro-Israel organization) is inherently Islamophobic is scurrilous and false.

Abdulhadi also conflates anti-Palestinian speech with Islamophobia.

So throughout her essay she uses the phrase "Islamophobia/Israel lobby industries" dozens of times,  a classic method of propaganda where the reader automatically associates the two together no matter how tendentious her arguments. And her arguments are absurd, taking as a given that someone like Daniel Pipes is an Islamophobe (he is most certainly not, and I once went through dozens of "examples" of his supposed Islamophobia sent to me by a Muslim correspondent and showed that literally every one was taken out of context.)

She shows supposed links between people like Pipes and any pro-Israel organization to smear literally every Zionist organization in America, and to imply that these Islamophobes are highly connected in the government. This one paragraph shows how her entire "research" is to find tenuous connections that have nothing to do with any actual Islamophobic positions.

This structure of the industry also makes clear the overlapping network of Islamophobia and Israel lobby industries. This network is made up of a small number of individuals who sit on each other’s boards and rotate positions. For example, Daniel Pipes, named as a leading Islamophobe by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), sat on the board of Scholars of Middle East Peace. The co-founders of AMCHA also served on that board. Pipes was connected to the Clarion Project, on whose board Frank Gaffney served. Pipes acted as an intermediary, parsing out funding while receiving funds from eight of the 11 major donors cited by the IJAN Report. While the Islamophobia and Israel lobby industries cannot be classified as a grass-roots movement, the resources placed at these industries’ disposal makes their impact quite devastating in their campaigns to destroy careers and create a chilling effect among academics and campus advocates. In addition to their funding, the Islamophobia and Israel lobby industries are well connected politically to the highest echelons of the U.S. government. For example, Shelden [sic] Adelson is a major donor to the Israel lobby industry to the tune of $50 million and was the largest individual donor to the Donald Trump presidential campaign to the tune of $100 million. During the 2017 presidential inauguration, Adelson sat a few feet away from Donald Trump. Trump has appointed several supporters of Israeli settlements and right-wing government to his administration, including his son-in-law, Jared Kushner; the U.S. ambassador to Israel, David Friedman; and his special representative to the Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations, Jason Greenblatt.
This is tin-foil hat level conspiracy theory, that should be enough by itself to cause SFSU to consider whether they want to employ someone with so little regard for actual research.

And she is only getting started. She accuses the liberal, politically correct New York Times of Islamophobia as well:

The coverage, including that of the New York Times, the main U.S. paper of record, of the execution-style murder of three Arab Muslim youths — Deah Barakat, a Syrian, and two Palestinian women, Yusor Abu Salha and Razan Abu Salha — in Chapel Hill, N.C., in February 2015, presented the killer, Craig Stephen Hicks, as a forward-thinking man who supported abortion rights and as an advocate of gay and women’s liberation. The implicit subtext was that of a renaissance man who could not be perceived as a white supremacist killer. Combined with the news reporting that the killing was a result of a parking dispute, the media message directs readers toward empathy with Hicks and away from seeing him as an Islamophobic killer or from understanding Islamophobia as a structural societal context that allows such crimes to occur.
The New York Times article did no such thing. It quoted his wife about his support for liberal causes, and it quoted Muslims about how he was a cold blooded bigot. It also quoted the police as saying that it appeared to be a parking dispute. Perhaps new facts were uncovered after that article, but at the time there was nothing wrong in its coverage - yet the Carter Center is happy publishing that the New York Times is Islamophobic, when not one NYT editor would ever consider publishing anything close to that.

As mentioned, this is only the most egregious example of poor scholarship in this publication. But it shows how little The Carter Center, and by extension Jimmy Carter, cares about truth or fairness.

(h/t Mitchell)



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