Friday, August 17, 2018

From Ian:

Caroline Glick: Peter Beinart’s latest publicity stunt
There has been a lot of hand-wringing in official Israel over the brief questioning of anti-Israel author Peter Beinart at Ben-Gurion Airport this week. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a statement on the episode calling it “an administrative mistake.”

Netanyahu added, “Israel is an open society which welcomes all – critics and supporters alike.”

Deputy Minister for Public Diplomacy Michael Oren said Beinart’s questioning is grounds “for an immediate examination of all policy towards the entry of political activists.”

Speaking to Israel National News, Oren said, “Detaining American Jewish reporter Peter Beinart is an example of how acting unwisely causes both strategic and PR damage.

“Beinart is a top-rate American media person. Most of his opinions about Israel disgust me, but he does not support BDS, and in fact defines himself as a Zionist.”

Oren’s position is problematic first and foremost because it is factually wrong.

Beinart is a major supporter of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel. Indeed, he is a central figure in the movement. This mere fact renders Beinart’s protestations of Zionism disingenuous, to put it mildly.
Douglas Murray: What’s the truth about the Manchester bomber’s mosque?
The BBC seems to be getting it from all sides these days. So it should also be praised when it does the sort of journalism which is praise-worthy.

Yesterday, the BBC revealed that they had got hold of a tape recording from a mosque in Didsbury. Not any old mosque, but the mosque that the Manchester Arena bomber – Salman Abedi – attended. The recording is from Friday prayers at the Didsbury mosque just six months before the Ariana Grande concert bombing. It is possible, indeed likely, that the bomber who killed 22 people and gave lifelong injuries to many more was sitting in the congregation during this sermon. Abedi apparently bought a ticket for the Manchester Arena concert just 10 days after the sermon was given.

In it the imam prays for the ‘victory’ of ‘our brothers and sisters right now in Aleppo and Syria and Iraq’ and clearly calls on his listeners to stop using just words and commit to action in the name of what two Muslim scholars who have listened to the tapes confirm to be ‘military jihad’. The imam who gave this sermon – Mustafa Graf – denies that he called for armed jihad. Presumably, once again, in the portion in which he said ‘Jihad for the sake of Allah is the source of pride and dignity for this nation’ he was talking about inner spiritual struggling and by ‘nation’ meant the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

It all brings to mind something that happened in the immediate aftermath of the Manchester attack. I wrote about it here at the time.

‘On Question Time when an audience member, who happened to have the triple disadvantages of being white, male and not being young, waved an anti-Western leaflet he said had been handed out at an open day at the Didsbury mosque where Salman Abedi worshipped. This significant revelation mainly attracted awkward shuffling. By contrast, a young woman in a headscarf in the audience immediately dismissed the man’s leaflet as probably not from the mosque and in any case ‘taken out of context’. Along with the programme’s chair, David Dimbleby, she implied it was possible the man had made the leaflet up himself, leaving the poor man spluttering, waving his leaflet and clearly wondering why he wouldn’t be believed.’
Farrakhan the Fraud
To the Editor:
James Kirchick correctly portrays Louis Farrakhan as perhaps the most popular and dangerous anti-Semite in America (“The Rise of Black Anti-Semitism,” June). While neo-Nazis and white supremacists drummed up a few hundred people at their “national” rally in Charlottesville, Farrakhan’s recent rant in Chicago excited an adoring crowd more than three times that size.

Unlike what happens at alt-right rallies, no toughs will ever shut down a Farrakhan event. And unlike other anti-Semites, Farrakhan has open sympathizers in positions of power—especially inside the black community and on the left. What Louis Farrakhan says about Jews will only reach more and more people.

It may seem difficult for Jews to press liberal and black activists to renounce the Nation of Islam leader given the widely held belief that, his offensive views aside, Farrakhan is a legitimate leader of an oppressed people who gives voice to black liberation and black pride.

That is why it is important to understand precisely how this is untrue: Farrakhan has covered up and sought to deny the enslavement of Africans by Arabs and Muslims. He has been and continues to be an obstacle to their liberation.

  • Friday, August 17, 2018
  • Elder of Ziyon
Weeks after her lies about alleged Israeli crimes were thoroughly debunked, Bishop Gayle Harris has finally issued an apology:

I am very aware of the dismay resulting from my statements on the floor of the House of Bishops at the General Convention in July relating to Israel and Palestine.

For my entire adult life I have maintained that the State of Israel must exist, with safe borders and the establishment of respectful relationships by and with neighboring countries.  I have strongly condemned the actions of extremists and bigots against Jewish people in the United States.  I also hold that within any country's borders justice and the respect for the dignity of every human being is paramount.  I have not, nor would I ever, condemn the whole of any people or ethnic group by criticizing the actions of a few, whether as individuals or as agents of any government.

After reviewing my words in the House of Bishops from a transcription, I now acknowledge that I reported stories which I had heard and unintentionally framed them as though I had personally witnessed the alleged events.  I sincerely apologize.  I now understand how the framing of my words could and did give the wrong impression.  The fault is solely mine.  I acknowledge also that I did not take the opportunity to verify these stories.  I was speaking from my passion for justice for all people, but I was repeating what I received secondhand.  I was ill-advised to repeat the stories without verification, and I apologize for doing so.

Our society is experiencing a rise in public slander, anger and bigotry, where civility and respectful dialogue on different perspectives has been sidelined for invective and condemnation.  In this context, I am now painfully aware that my words in the House of Bishops caused pain for many.  I am committed to share my concerns in ways that do not simplistically demonize others and cut off discussion, and I hope for the same in return.

Again, for the hurt I have caused, I do apologize.  It is my hope, and my commitment centered on our baptismal vows to continue to "strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being" (from The Baptismal Covenant, The Episcopal Church, The Book of Common Prayer).  May there be such equality and respect between Israelis and Palestinians, and may there be among us all justice, in order to bring God's peace.

Shalom and Salaam,
The Rt. Rev. Gayle E. Harris, Bishop Suffragan, Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts

Notice that nowhere does she say that the stories were false, even though the story about the Temple Mount is clearly impossible and the other one was not reported in any media ever.

She doesn't want to alienate her anti-Israel fans by flatly saying that she did investigate and could find no evidence that the stories were true.

The apology is better than nothing, but it is not what it should have been if she really learned her lesson. It isn't enough to admit that she didn't verify the stories - she should admit that they are false.

We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.
  • Friday, August 17, 2018
  • Elder of Ziyon
The Wall Street Journal has a puff piece about UNRWA, which is opening all of its schools next week despite lots of warnings a couple of weeks back that the schools might all be shuttered forever.

The WSJ does not quote a single critic of UNRWA. But it also includes this highly unlikely quote:

Nagham Abu Amra aspires to be a doctor, but she said she is worried she won’t have other options if the schools, which educate about half the students in Gaza, shut early.

If the school closes, how will we acquire knowledge?,” said the 13-year-old, who lives with her family in Deir al-Balah, a town in central Gaza. “We won’t be able to fulfill our dreams,”
Sounds like a perfectly natural thing for a 13 year old to say.

By the way, there are just about as many government-run schools in Gaza as there are UNRWA schools. The public schools are also free (although there are charges for books, which UNRWA gives out for free.)

The world is paying for an entirely separate, parallel school system that uses the same curriculum as in the host countries.  And somehow this is considered a good thing.

We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.
From Ian:

The Jewish State Declares Itself a Jewish State
Israel’s more mainstream left, and the major Jewish organizations who criticized the bill, do say they support Israel as a Jewish state. Livni and others were understandably peeved when Netanyahu called for the left to engage in introspection over its opposition to the new law and implied that it is “embarrassed by Zionism.” This is what led her to accuse Netanyahu of incitement.

To say that mainstream Israeli leftists, like the more centrist Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party and much of Labor, are embarrassed to be Zionists or don’t want a Jewish state does take things way too far. Since its merger with Livni’s party in 2014, the Labor Party is now literally called Zionist Union. And on a less superficial matter, these are people who strongly advocate for a two-state solution, not on the grounds of peace but because they believe that is the only way to keep Israel Jewish in the long run.

The most resonant argument for a two-state solution is the “demographic threat.” If Israel and the Palestinians don’t separate from each other, the thinking goes, there will eventually be an Arab majority, and Israel will cease to be either Jewish or democratic. The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), the IDF unit implementing government policy on civilian matters in the West Bank, reported this year that there is population parity between Jews and Arabs between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean. Many dispute these numbers, pointing out that they are based on the Palestinian Authority’s data, and even the COGAT representative speaking in the Knesset admitted that there is evidence that the PA is inflating the figures. The concern of many on the mainstream left with the demographic threat is a mark of seriousness about Israel’s Jewishness; they are willing to concede a large, strategic swath of land and provoke an almost certain threat to the country’s security in order to maintain it.

And yet they have aligned themselves with a group of lawmakers who openly disdain the Zionist vision of a Jewish state, in order to state their opposition to the idea that Israel is the Jewish state.

Zionist leftists’ focus on equality and civil rights is admirable, and in general, their role as a loyal opposition is important in a democracy. They keep the government in check. But in this case, they need to take a step back and realize that this law is not what their fellow travelers are making it out to be.
The Misrepresentation of Israel’s Democracy
Denying Arab agency is a longstanding habit of Israel’s critics. And that is what’s noteworthy about these often-hysterical reactions to the nation-state law: The stories use the legislation merely as a jumping-off point for larger complaints about Israel’s Jewish character. For these writers, this isn’t a debate over the Israeli flag. It’s a debate over Jewish nationalism and a proxy for the Israeli–Palestinian conflict.

In a July 24 “Ideas” piece for Time, Ilene Prusher wrote, “It’s not clear that the equality outlined in the founders’ vision statement”—that’s progressive-speak for “Declaration of Independence”—“remains a goal. It’s certainly far from reality.” Prusher continued, “The new law provides legal teeth for discrimination that is currently de facto” and, citing a left-wing law professor at Hebrew University, “essentially makes discrimination constitutional.”

No, it doesn’t, actually. Rather than speculate, the nation-state bill’s opponents might try examining the actual text, which says absolutely nothing about discrimination. As Eugene Kontorovich of Northwestern University said during a recent episode of the Jewish Leadership Conference podcast, “Anything can be perverted—but that does not mean everything is perverse.”

The truth is that democracy is thriving in Israel. So are many of the values one normally associates with (egad!) the New York Times. Last I checked, Israel is the one country in the Middle East where you can attend an LGBT Pride parade. Noah Ephron, a critic of the nation-state law, points out that the proportion of women serving in the Knesset is higher than in the U.S. Congress or average EU parliament. There is universal health care. “Alone among Western democracies,” Ephron adds, “labor unions have grown bigger and stronger in Israel over the past decade.” Minority citizens are guaranteed the same rights as Jewish ones. And it is precisely these achievements that are sustained by Israel’s Jewish character and traditions.

The Times quoted Avi Shilon, a historian at Ben-Gurion University, who said dismissively, “Mr. Netanyahu and his colleagues are acting like we are still in the battle of 1948, or in a previous era.” Judging by the fallacious, paranoid, fevered, and at times bigoted reaction to the nation-state bill, however, Bibi may have good reason to believe that Israel is still in the battle of 1948, and still defending itself against assaults on the very idea of a Jewish State.
If Israel has such bad PR, why does it remain so popular?
The first mention in JTA of the Hebrew word “hasbarah” was in 1988, at the height of the first intifada. The article focused on Israelis and American Jews and their deep concern that the media were distorting the unrest and showing the Israeli military in a bad light.

The answer, interviewees agreed, was better “hasbarah” — a Hebrew word, explained the author (OK, it was me), “whose meaning falls somewhere between information and propaganda.”

“Israel has never actually looked at hasbarah as an integral part of policymaking,” said Dan Pattir, a former press secretary to prime ministers Yitzhak Rabin and Menachem Begin.

Fast forward 30 years. Writing last week in the Los Angeles Times, Noga Tarnopolsky makes a convincing case that Israel’s public diplomacy efforts are flawed, unprofessional, scattershot and out of touch. Critics tell her that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu relies too much on social-media videos to defend Israel. They say its military spokespeople are ill prepared to answer questions about controversial events, like May’s deadly riots on the border with Gaza.

““There is … no single authority that coordinates and supervises these various activities,” complains Michael Oren, who is (wait for it) Israel’s deputy minister in charge of public diplomacy.

The critics, however, don’t make a convincing case why any of this matters.

Complaints about Israel’s hasbarah efforts are as regular and ritualistic as the Jewish holidays. Without answers from a strong PR campaign, the theory goes, the litany of anti-Israel charges gains traction.

  • Friday, August 17, 2018
  • Elder of Ziyon
Here's how the world media reported the story this week:

Here's the truth, from Tomer Ilan (I modified it slightly in point 4 to conform with Haaretz' reporting):
A small story showing how world media twists facts and propagates anti-Israel propaganda, generating more and more hatred towards Israel.

In the last few days, the world’s leading media outlets are engulfed by the headline “Palestinian mail blocked by Israel arrives eight years late”.

Originally released by the French news agency AFP, it has been published again and again in BBC News, New York Times, NBC News, The Guardian, The Independent, Daily Mail and many others.

The article make it look like Israel has cruelly blocked *all* Palestinian mail from being delivered for 8 years and highlights that the “blocked” mail includes a wheelchair, showing just how evil these Israelis are, even towards people with disabilities. While blaming Israel, the article says the mail had been held in Jordan, but never explains how it got there in the first place. All these outlets just republish the AFP article.

Here’s the full story:

1. As agreed in the Oslo Accords with the Palestinians, international mail to the Palestinian Authority must be sent via Israel’s Postal Service.

2. Mail is delivered to the PA from all countries of the world without any problem, except mail from Arab countries that boycott Israel’s Postal Service and sent it to Jordan instead.

3. Jordan was not authorized to transfer mail to the PA, so any mail that was sent to the PA via Jordan was stuck there.

4. Israel, Jordan and the PA have negotiated since 2009 on an agreement to allow Jordan to transfer mail to the PA. In 2016 an MOU was signed and while there hasn't been a full agreement yet, according to Haaretz, Israel allowed the 10 tons of mail stuck in Jordan to finally be delivered as a goodwill gesture while negotiations continue.

The PA confirms the above. Hussein Sawafta, director of the Palestinian postal service, told Haaretz that “Israel held up the mail because it was not properly addressed to the Israeli postal service”.

So world media makes it looks like all mail was blocked, not just mail from Arab countries.

And instead of blaming Arab countries who caused the whole problem by refusing to use Israel’s Postal service, they blame Israel.

And just to make sure hatred to Israel will be generated, they put a wheelchair into the story.

Comments on Facebook show just how successful this propaganda is.

For example on BBC News Facebook page, 1500 comments were posted, 99% of which are hateful to Israel.

We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.
  • Friday, August 17, 2018
  • Elder of Ziyon

In The Palestine Papers, the PLO officially argued against the existence of the Jewish people:

Recognizing the Jewish state implies recognition of a Jewish people and recognition of its right to self-determination. Those who assert this right also assert that the territory historically associated with this right of self-determination (i.e., the self-determination unit) is all of Historic Palestine. Therefore, recognition of the Jewish people and their right of self-determination may lend credence to the Jewish people’s claim to all of Historic Palestine.
Palestinians have made this lie into a major theme. For example, earlier this year the editor of Ma'an wrote, "The Jews are not a people and they are not a nation.....If we say that the Jews are a people, then there is no place for the Palestinian people on the land of Palestine."

However. Mahmoud Abbas once admitted that the Jews were a nation - when talking to an Israeli newspaper and defending himself against his Holocaust-denying book written in 1984.

In 2003, in an interview with Akiva Eldar in Haaretz, Abbas said, "The Holocaust was a terrible, unforgivable crime against the Jewish nation, a crime against humanity that cannot be accepted by humankind. "

So is there a Jewish people and a Jewish nation, or not, according to Abbas?

Unfortunately, there are very few reporters willing to ask him about his contradictions and lies, of which there are many - including about the Holocaust itself, where he called the murder of six million Jews a "myth" and "a fantastic lie" before condemning it to Israeli reporters.

We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.
  • Friday, August 17, 2018
  • Elder of Ziyon

Today, Hamas is scheduling the 21st weekly "return" protest along the Gaza border. The theme today is "Revolution for Jerusalem and Al Aqsa."

It is for the "49th anniversary of the burning of Al Aqsa Mosque by Zionist gangs." They are referring to the burning of the pulpit of the mosque in 1969 by a crazed Australian Christian.

Ma'an reports that Israeli officials are calling today a "test day" to see if Hamas is serious about a truce.

An Israeli military official said that Hamas was interested in maintaining calm, saying that the Israeli army would not intervene if the protests were held away from the border with no one going up to the fence.

It is unclear how Israel would respond to flaming kites and balloons launched during the protest.

The protests are scheduled from 3-7:30 PM, which is an indication that the Gaza side is attempting to tamp down the violence without losing face by abandoning the protests altogether.

It is notable that the spokesman for the weekly protests Ahmad Abu Rutema, recently said that "we have lost the battle for public opinion in the Return March," and that "there is nothing wrong with a tactical withdrawal" when it makes sense.

Right now, it is the Arab sense of "honor" keeping the weekly protests going. The only question is whether that will manifest itself with violence.

We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

From Ian:

Israel vs. BDS
Brig.-Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser led the Israeli government's efforts against the BDS movement until 2014. He now works for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. He headed the research division of IDF military intelligence during the Second Intifada, has good Arabic, and was appointed director general of the Ministry of Strategic Affairs in 2009.

Kuperwasser says the threat BDS poses to Israel is very real. "The core issue is not whether they are going to boycott us or not boycott us. The core issue is whether they are going to be successful in implanting in the international discourse that Israel is illegitimate as a Jewish state."

"The Palestinians are taking a very big risk," he said. "Because, in my mind, there is a good chance that the world will deny their conceptual framework. People will say: 'This is what the Palestinians want?! We are totally against it. They are crazy; they want Israel to disappear.'" In Kuperwasser's view, the BDS movement and the Palestinian leadership share the same goals; the differences between them are merely a matter of tactics.

"Abu Mazen [Abbas] understands more than the BDS movement that you have to be subtle." The PLO's acceptance of a two-state solution was merely a subterfuge designed to obtain a West Bank-Gaza state, which would then serve as a launching pad for continued struggle. "The Palestinian idea of struggle is so deeply embedded in their mind that they cannot actually think about the possibility of giving up the struggle in order to make peace."

"We are saying there is no difference between a settlement boycott and a boycott of Israel. If you want to promote the boycotting of Israel, any part of Israel, you are not a friend of Israel. You are actually an enemy of Israel."

Kuperwasser was confident that Israel was taking the right approach and would succeed, as it had against past assaults: "We won the war on the conventional battlefield. To start with, our chances were very slim. We won the war on terror. Again, it wasn't easy."

"I remember when we went to the big battle - the Second Intifada - and many generals around the world were telling me, 'Listen, Kuper, you're wasting your time: nobody ever won a war against terrorism,' citing Vietnam and other cases. And I said: 'No, we shall win this war as well. We are innovative and determined enough. And unlike many other battles, we don't have a second option, an alternative. We have to win.' The same goes here. We shall win."

Naftali Bennett [NYTs]: Israel Is Proud of Who We Are
We Israelis are proud of who we are. We are proud of our Jewish traditions and identity, and we are proud of the equality and freedoms for all our people. Last month our government passed the Nation State Law, which reaffirms the centrality of the Jewish identity and nature of the State of Israel. Our self-identification as a Jewish homeland will never change. It is a central tenet of Zionism.

Some critics argue that somehow the addition of such a law to Israel's robust judicial system, and political checks and balances, poses a threat to the future of the Jewish people and to Jews the world over. This is preposterous.

Keeping Israel as the Jewish nation-state does not threaten the future of the Jewish people; it safeguards it. Protecting Jewish traditions, just as they safeguarded our people through two millenniums of exile, is the only way to be sure that Israel can continue to be a strong and vibrant democracy in a very difficult region.
Caroline Glick: Left Pushing Fake News to Smear Israel's Nation-State Law
In his [Netanyahu's] words, as quoted by the Times of Israel, “Yesterday we saw PLO flags in the heart of Tel Aviv. We heard the calls: ‘With blood and fire we will redeem Palestine.’ Many of the demonstrators want to abrogate the Law of Return [which gives Jewish immigrants automatic Israeli citizenship], cancel the national anthem, fold up our flag and cancel Israel as the national state of the Jewish people and turn it – as their spokespersons said – into an Israeli-Palestinian state, and others say: A state of all its citizens.”

“It is for precisely this that we passed the nation-state law. We are proud of our state, our flag and our national anthem. Israel is a Jewish and democratic state. The individual rights of its citizens are anchored very well in the basic laws and other laws. Now it is clearer than ever that the nation-state law is also necessary… to ensure the future of the State of Israel as the national state of the Jewish people. We passed this law and we will uphold it.”

In other words, the protest movement that the center Left politicians instigated against the law that codified Israel’s national foundations has placed the Netanyahu government in the position of defender of Israel’s very existence. The political opposition, from the center-Left to pro-Hamas Arab factions, is united in its opposition to the law that does nothing more than state the obvious.

The overwhelming majority of Israelis are hardcore patriots. They do not take well to people who undermine Israel’s national identity. Indeed, every leftist government in Israeli history has been elected by running on right-wing platforms. The battle the center-Left parties have led against the Jewish Nation State law has potentially doomed them to the political desert for the next generation.

This brings us back to Trump.

Israel’s current fight over the Nation State Law shows that as the Left throughout the Western world becomes ever more radicalized, Trump’s confrontational strategy for contending with the phenomenon is proving itself not only politically wise, but also vital for preserving the free nations of the Western world as a whole.

By Forest Rain

At the Munich Olympics of 1972, less than three decades after the Holocaust, Jews were murdered on German soil – because they were Jews. Because they were Israelis.

The Olympics has historically been a place of peace where even warring nations could come together and compete in the sports arena, rather than on the battlefield. On September 5th, 1972 that changed with the first ever international terrorism spectacle that unfolded on live tv as frightened people around the world watched.

PLO Black September terrorists broke into the Olympic Compound, taking 11 Israeli athletes hostage. During the 22 hour standoff the hostages were beaten. Champion weightlifter Yossef Romano who had tried to fight off the terrorists and save his friends, was shot, castrated and left to bleed to death in front of the other, helpless, hostages.   

The German authorities failed to rescue the hostages and, in the end, came the words of Jim McKay, the anchor for ABC’s Olympics Coverage:

“When I was a kid my father used to say ‘Our greatest hopes and our worst fears are seldom realized.’ Our worst fears have been realized tonight. They have now said there were 11 hostages; two were killed in their rooms yesterday morning, nine were killed at the airport tonight. They're all gone.”

Repeated attempts to give the athletes the recognition they are due have fallen on deaf ears. In 2012, in honor of the 40th anniversary of this tragic event, organizations, communities, families from around the world sought recognition of this event by requesting that the International Olympic Committee approve 1 minute of silence in their memory at the opening ceremony of the 2012 games. The request was denied.

That’s why the Israel Forever Foundation created the Munich Memory Project.

It cannot be that this picture has become iconic

While the faces and names of these men are forgotten:

It is up to us to make sure this event is not swept under the carpet of history.

When UK’s Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn honors terrorists that committed this atrocity saying “he was present but not involved at a wreath-laying”, it is not up to us to change Mr. Corbyn. At the same time, it is up to us to question what is happening in the UK that enables antisemites to take on prominent political roles. It is up to us to wonder, to ask, to demand answers why so many British feel it appropriate to elect such a man.

It is up to remember the athletes, to learn their names, to honor their legacy. It is up to us to make sure it is known, that like the Israelis of today who use their own bodies as human shields to protect friends and loved ones from terrorists, the Israeli athletes in Munich also fought to save their friends, endangering themselves to save others.

In Munich it was Moshe Weinberg who, sensing the danger, threw himself up against the door, screaming at his friends to escape before the terrorists could enter. Gad Zavarj survived because Moshe blocked the terrorists, giving him enough time to jump out of the window. Yossef Gutfreund did the same, blocking the door so his roommates could escape.

Their legacy is not the ugly death at the hands of vile terrorists, their legacy is the sublime gift of life they gave their friends.

It is up to each and every one of us to remind first ourselves, and then the rest of the world that Munich was the beginning, not the end of terrorism spectacles. First came Munich, then came hijackings, then came 9/11, bombings, car rammings and knife attacks. London, Paris, Bali, India, Mombasa and Russia. What terrorists did to their victims in the Bataclan is what they learned from what the Black September terrorists did to Yossef Romano.  

What starts with the Jews does not end with the Jews.

The horror of the Munich Massacre is not an Israeli problem or even a Jewish problem. It’s a human problem.

All decent people should be able to easily say that kidnapping, torture and abuse is wrong. All decent people should be able to easily say that there is no place for politics (or terror tactics meant to influence politics) in sports.

But what happens is not up to “all people”, it is up to each and every one of us, as individuals to choose if and how we will respond.

I’m pleased to be a part of the Israel Forever Foundation where we have chosen to honor the legacy of the murdered – as athletes, friends, family stolen from our people.

We will stand for them – even if no one else will.

Remembering Munich isn’t just about commemorating a past tragedy, it’s about protecting our future. It’s a statement that murdering Jews just because they are Jews, just because they belong to the Nation of Israel is totally unacceptable. It’s a statement that the Jewish right to life is the human right to life.
Please visit the Munich Memory Project and make sure others remember too:

We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.

 Vic Rosenthal's Weekly Column

I recently got an email from a liberal Jewish friend in America. He’s a Zionist, he’s interested in Jewish issues, and he’s not dumb. To my horror, he highly recommended the op-ed published in the NY Times on Sunday by Ronald Lauder, President of the World Jewish Congress, billionaire heir to the Estée Lauder fortune, former US Ambassador to Austria, and the ultimate American Jewish macher.

Lauder suggests that the State of Israel is defective from a moral point of view. He suggests that Israel has changed for the worse in recent years, and blames Israel’s government for “[undermining] the covenant between Judaism and enlightenment,” so as to “crush the core of contemporary Jewish existence.”

The article – like a previous piece of his about the “two-state solution” published in March – is a sloppily constructed collection of talking points of the Israeli Left, the overall thrust of which is that Israel is turning into an undemocratic theocracy. The implication is that the “right-wing” government of Benjamin Netanyahu, which has become a tool of the ultra-Orthodox factions, must be replaced.

This thesis was promulgated back in 2016 in a piece by Ha’aretz editor Aluf Benn, which I examined here, and found to be the kvetching of a left-wing elite whose electoral strength evaporated after it almost destroyed the country, and which has been striving to come back ever since. Lauder makes similar arguments, but his examples are tuned to resonate with the liberal American public.

Lauder says that “we cannot allow the politics of a radical [ultra-Orthodox] minority to alienate millions of Jews worldwide.” If indeed that is what is going on, then one would expect that the majority of Israelis, who are also not ultra-Orthodox, would also be alienated from the government, and would not elect the Likud and Benjamin Netanyahu again and again. But as a matter of fact, despite the recent actions of the government, especially the passage of the Nation-State Law, support for it has never been higher.

Could it be that the view from Israel is different from the view from America? I think it is.

Take the first issue that Lauder cites, the failure of the government to keep its promise to the Reform and Conservative movements in connection with mixed-gender prayer at the Western Wall. This is something that only a tiny minority of Israeli Jews wants, and in a country on the verge of a two-front war with tens of thousands of missiles aimed at its population centers, one can understand why the PM chose to avoid the coalition crisis threatened by the ultra-Orthodox parties over this.

The Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) in America blew its top over this “insult to diaspora Jewry.” But the URJ is closely associated with the progressive wing of the Democratic Party which has strongly opposed the Netanyahu government; the Obama Administration even tried to influence the 2015 election against it. URJ President Rick Jacobs, a former activist in the left-wing J Street and New Israel Fund organizations, seems to be looking to pick fights with it. Many Israelis feel that the outrage over this and similar issues is manufactured for political purposes.

Lauder says that Israel passed a “law that denies equal rights to same-sex couples.” What he is referring to is a change to the law governing the benefits paid by the national health system for surrogate mothers. Benefits previously available only to male-female couples were extended to single women, but not to gay men, due to religious opposition. Maybe when the US has a national health system of any kind, not to mention one that pays for surrogate mothers for anyone, he can complain.

He also mentions the idiotic arrest of a Conservative rabbi on the complaint of a religious court for violating an equally idiotic law forbidding anyone to perform a Jewish marriage without permission from the ultra-Orthodox Chief Rabbinate. He fails to mention that the rabbi was immediately released and the charges dropped by order of the Attorney General, and that the Prime Minister and even the Rabbinate criticized the arrest. 

For lack of anything more substantive, Lauder even brings up convenience stores in some places being required to close on Shabbat, something that has been a political football since the first days of the state. There is and always will be tension between the ultra-Orthodox minority (about 10% of Jews) in Israel and the secular and traditional majority. But one can’t expect that the wishes of that 10% won’t have some effect on policies, whether Americans like it or not.

Lauder’s biggest problem is the passage of the Nation-State Law, which he claims “damages the sense of equality and belonging of Israel’s Druze, Christian and Muslim citizens.” I’ve written a number of posts about the law (herehere, and here, for example) and I would respond by saying that the “damage” is imaginary. In some cases – Israel’s Arab Knesset members – the passage of the law has exposed the fundamental anti-Zionism that underlies their opposition to it; a demonstration in Tel Aviv on Saturday night included Palestinian flags and chants of “with blood and fire we will redeem Palestine.” 

The law does not affect in any way the individual civil, political or human rights of minority group members in Israel. Nobody’s right to vote, to employment, to housing, or to eat at a lunch counter or ride on a bus is affected by this law. It does clearly reserve the collective right of national self-determination in the state to the Jewish people, which is a fundamental principle of Zionism. Those who object to Israel’s Law of Return for Jews, or who think the descendants of Arab refugees from 1948 have a right of “return” to Israel – and these of course do not include Lauder – do have a real argument with the Nation-State Law. But they already have a problem with the continued existence of a Jewish state.

Lauder notes the guarantees of individual rights to all inhabitants in Israel’s Declaration of Independence, “irrespective of religion, race or sex,” and “a guarantee of freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture,” implying that somehow the law damages these. It does not. Read it yourself.

He adds that the law may hurt Israel’s moral standing in the world. “Abroad, Israel may find itself associated with a broken values system and questionable friends. As a result, future leaders of the West may become hostile or indifferent to the Jewish state.” Unfortunately, most Western European regimes are already hostile to Israel, because they correctly understand that Zionism is a form of nationalism, and they have decided that nationalism is taboo in today’s world (in some cases, along with borders). Israel’s “questionable friends,” like Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, are those who still believe in the legitimacy of nationalism, nation-states, and borders – concepts that are proving their survival value daily in today’s Europe.

Finally, Lauder fears that Israel’s “new policies” will alienate millennial youth, who are mostly not Orthodox, and who are opposed to discrimination of all kinds. I think it should be clear that Israel does not have “new policies” that discriminate – the opposite is true; Israel has, over the years, sharply reduced all forms of discrimination against women, Arabs, LGBT people, and others. And the Zionism expressed by the Nation-State Law is nothing new, insofar as it goes back to the 1890s and Theodor Herzl.

Lauder sees that American Jewish youth are moving away from the traditional liberal Jewish institutions, but he is wrong in placing the blame on Israel. The rampant assimilation that may end what we know as the liberal American Jewish community within two generations has nothing to do with Israel and everything to do with the moral and spiritual bankruptcy of that community, which young people are quick to notice. 

The identification of Jewish ethics with progressive politics, imbued as it is with “intersectionality” and pathological “white” guilt, has made those brought up in that tradition easy prey for anti-Israel propaganda, based on the inversion of history and the false identification of the Jews as the invaders and colonialists of the Middle East. No wonder their support for Israel is waning!

Israel is a very small country which has been in a continuous fight for its life since its founding. We need to find our friends where we can. Ronald Lauder and the liberal Jewish establishment in the US, along with their associates in the Israeli Left, in essence want us to give up our Zionist principles so that we will better fit their universalist worldview. But if we surrender Zionism, we surrender everything. If that is the condition for their friendship and support, then we must respectfully decline.

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From Ian:

JPost Editorial: 'Quiet for quiet'
And all the government says and does is some version of “quiet will be met by quiet” – nothing about how to solve this issue in the long term and bring back some normalcy to the many Israelis living under fire.

With that in mind, it’s understandable that Bayit Yehudi ministers voted against a cease-fire with Hamas at Wednesday’s cabinet meeting.

“This ‘quiet’ will give Hamas total immunity so that it can rearm itself with tens of thousands of rockets that will threaten all parts of the country and will allow it to launch a war against Israel... under convenient conditions,” Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett said this week.

Israel does not seek an escalation, but “quiet for quiet” lets Hamas set the terms, lick its wounds, and attack again when it sees fit.
It’s not that a cease-fire and opening the crossings are bad ideas. The problem is it’s not backed up by an overarching strategy to keep Israelis safe. We’ve repeated the “quiet for quiet” formula for nearly a decade, and nothing has changed.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu knows this; as opposition leader, ahead of the 2009 election, he said the government must “knock down Hamas.” Liberman knows this as well, having famously said that within 48 hours of becoming defense minister, Ismail Haniyeh would be dead. It’s not clear that those strategies will guarantee Israel’s safety, but at least they had ideas beyond attacking when Hamas attacks, and stopping when Hamas stops.

What we need is for the government to be more forward-looking and to take a holistic view. Residents of the South have been suffering long enough. We need more than “quiet will be met by quiet.”
Calm, but at what price?
The bottom line is that the Israeli government, which leads the strongest country in a radius of thousands of kilometers, with one of the strongest, most modern armies in the world, is heading into a deal with an organization that is nothing more than a gang, and why? Because the defense establishment couldn't handle methods of attack that were cobbled together in a backyard. When we demand answers, it explains why it wouldn't be right to go all the way and eliminate the threat that we are facing and that has been humiliating us.

This situation is unacceptable. A country that has the aforementioned strength and is surrounded by belligerent mutterings cannot allow itself to behave this way. It can't allow itself to provide such a thin, ineffectual solution for its citizens, either. They are paying a heavy price for living here. It appears that instead of deterring, we are deterred.

We should be looking at things correctly, especially now, when the question of who will serve as the next IDF chief of staff is up for discussion. Israel needs a military leader who projects confidence, who is unafraid to make hard decisions that come at a cost, who understands that sometimes you need to go all the way, and who knows that he has real influence on the political echelon and understands that it need to project confidence and capability.

We need a chief of staff who will push the defense forces to act, who won't compromise on a partial solution, who understands that wars are won on the ground and who will revolutionize Israel's ground capabilities along with creative commanders who insist on victory – commanders who excellence is measured by the security they give, and not by their brilliant explanations.

The deal with Hamas is a political decision, but it stems mainly from the military's failure to handle Hamas. Now, when the next leader of the IDF is being discussed, we should ask who will restore Israel's capacity to win and ensure deterrence.

Israel-Hamas ceasefire to last a year, deal includes sea lane to Cyprus – report
A reported truce agreement aimed at calming weeks of border clashes and violent exchanges between Israel and Hamas on the border with the Gaza Strip will last for a year and see the establishment of a cargo shipping connection between Gaza and Cyprus, a Lebanese television channel reported Thursday.

Israel will have security control over the sea traffic between the Palestinian coastal enclave and Cyprus, according to a brief Thursday report from the Lebanon-based al-Mayadeen television channel, which cited sources familiar with the details.

Hamas has long made access to a sea port a key strategic goal. Under the conditions of Israel’s naval blockade, goods heading to Gaza are currently shipped to Israeli ports and then trucked into Gaza.

Israel has imposed a blockade on Gaza since Hamas, which is sworn to Israel’s destruction, seized the territory from the internationally backed Palestinian Authority in 2007. It says the blockade is in place in order to prevent weapons and other military equipment from entering the Strip.

Egypt, too, has kept its Gaza border crossing largely closed during years of sour relations with the Islamist group ruling Gaza.

  • Thursday, August 16, 2018
  • Elder of Ziyon
There are a number of rumors going around in Arabic media about the outlines of a possible truce between Hamas and Israel, which is being furiously negotiated by Egypt.

Firas Press, quoting Maariv, says that in the short term, there will be a moratorium on the launch of incendiary balloons and kites, and Israel will fully open Kerem Shalom in exchange for a ceasefire. The second stage includes a prisoner exchange deal and the encouragement of international investments in Gaza.

Palestine Today  says that the deal will include Qatar's paying of electricity bills in Gaza in cooperation with Israel, Qatar's payment of salaries to Gaza employees in cooperation with Egypt, a one-year truce and a sea corridor between Gaza and Cyprus under full Israeli security control.

It would also involve opening the Rafah crossing to Egypt and talk about another sea corridor from Egypt's Port Said to Gaza (or perhaps a land corridor for that.)

I don't know if the US is involved in these negotiations in any capacity, but Mahmoud Abbas said that any talk about the US supporting humanitarian aid to Gaza is a lie.

I swear to God, they are liars,” he said of US officials who talk about helping Gaza.

Of course, Abbas is the main person opposed to any aid to Gaza to begin with.

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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 12 years and over 25,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


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