.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

ADL, Wiesenthal Center slam Miftah for anti-semitic article

From The Algemeiner, following up on my scoop and Miftah's idiotic response:
Two prominent Jewish civil rights groups have slammed a Palestinian NGO for opting not to apologize for publishing an article which promoted the classic anti-Semitic Passover blood libel accusation on its website. Both the Anti-Defamation League and the Simon Wiesenthal Center have voiced their dismay that MIFTAH, which is chaired by Hanan Ashrawi, a well known media personality in the West and which posted the article that claimed “Jews used the blood of Christians in the Jewish Passover,” has not apologized, and in fact asserts the publication of the blood libel was in keeping with its policy of “open dialogue.”

“They have compounded the offense, by now asserting they are the injured party,” the ADL told The Algemeiner.

“The MIFTAH statement defending the decision to post the blatantly anti-Semitic article by al-Zaru on its Arabic language Web site and claiming it is being “smeared” is outrageous. They made a bad mistake and they should have offered a full-throated and sincere apology,” added the 100 year old NGO.

“In defending its publication of an article on the Miftah website which hatefully invoked the oldest anti-Jewish canard of all, the Blood Libel to slander the Jewish nation during Passover, the Palestinian NGO cites its commitment to “open dialogue”. With whom? Genocidal Jew-haters?” Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, told The Algemeiner in an email.

“Tragically, the publication of this Arabic language article is in keeping with the ongoing campaign to demonize the nation of Israel, Jews, and Judaism, once assumed to be the domain only of Hamas, The Muslim Brotherhood and Iran but that today taints the PA and some of its supporters,” he added.

Cooper also said that the publication of accusations such as this one hurt the cause of Peace. “It is not lost that the editorial decision by Miftah to provide a platform for this canard took place in wake of President Obama’s trip to the Holy Land where he tried to re-instill hopes for peace and reconciliation. Every anti-Semitic slander in the theological, academic and media domains further erode such hopes,” he said.

“Perhaps the editors of Ms Ashrawi’s Miftah should do exit interviews with Arabs, including those from Gaza, whose lives have been saved through blood transfusions at Icholov, Rambam, Shaare Tzedeck and Hadassah hospitals in Israel,” concluded Cooper

The ADL called out Ashrawi by name saying, “Hanan Ashrawi certainly knows better and so should those responsible for posting the highly offensive article.”

The organization also provided a list of complaints against the actions of MIFTAH highlighting multiple offenses. ”There are several things wrong here” wrote the ADL, “first, an irresponsible editorial decision to post the article containing the classical anti-Semitic blood libel charge – second, the article only appeared on the Arabic language site, makes clear it was intended primarily for an Arabic speaking audience – third, the completely unacceptable defense of the posting.”

I expect this story to explode in the next couple of days in the media as well as through watchdog groups. Unfortunately, I cannot blog again until Tuesday night because of Passover, so any media inquiries will have to wait until then before I can answer them. Until then, my previous posts on the topic should provide enough background and other information.

Chag sameach!

EoZNews video: Rami Levy supermarket, Binyamin

This is what co-existence looks like.



Unfortunately, the day I visited was Taanit Esther so most of the customers were Jews shopping for Purim. There are some Arab customers visible, though.

When the manager showed me the synagogue on premises, I asked if there was a mosque as well. He said that the Muslim workers generally pray individually and usually outside, so they are given as much time as they need to do their prayers.

Sunday Links Part 2

From Ian:

At Boston U: propaganda dressed as scholarship
Having a conference with the primary intention to demonize and delegitimize Israel, while promoting a legally- and morally-defective approach to achieving Palestinian self-affirmation, is not an academic exercise of any merit; it is propaganda parading as scholarship, and violates not only one of the basic precepts of scholarship but also the spirit of any university, which were conceived as places where faculty and students could debate – with academic integrity, reason, and an absence of bias – the important issues of the marketplace of ideas.
Israel Apartheid Week: The Dirty Product of a Grotesque Alliance
The blackening of Israel’s name on university campuses is the dirty work of a grotesque alliance between political “progressives” and reactionary Islamic fundamentalists. Among the warmest of hearts in both groups, there is always a cold spot for the Jews, so let us appeal to them not on moral grounds but those of self-interest. Have the Islamicists noticed (as President Obama did in his inaugural address of 2009) that the obsession of Palestinian Arabs with destroying somebody else’s society instead of building up their own (via education, commerce, public works, health care) has made them one of the most wrecked peoples on the face of the earth? Can the “progressive” do-gooders cease confusing doing good with feeling good about what they are doing?
From truth denied to truth be told
While the anti-Semites pitched their usual lies, distortions during IAW, an inspiring new leadership in Cape Town pitched a tent, preached peace.
However, this March at UCT, the IAW and BDS battle plan – mostly a repeat of the previous year – found less traction with a more enquiring and discerning public preferring to step into “Abraham’s Tent” on the central plaza before the monumental steps leading to the famous Jameson Hall. Welcomed in, they enjoyed ancient patriarchal Israeli hospitality. They also heard for the first time, another narrative where truth countered fiction.
They heard about Israel’s desire and overtures for peace. They met successful Israeli Ethiopian students from the IDC Herzliya, exposing the myth about apartheid. They heard how an Arab Judge convicted and sentenced to jail an Israeli State President and were asked: “Would this have happened in apartheid South Africa?”
They heard about an Arab being the captain of the Hapoel Tel Aviv soccer team and asked: “Would a black have been captain of the famed Springbok rugby team under apartheid?”
Palestinians Should be Engaged Honestly
There is a narrative that has been gaining adherents in America, that it is within Israel’s control to make peace with the Palestinians. If only it were so. The story says that the issue is territorial, and the “occupation” and/or settlements are the root cause of the conflict. Unfortunately it is the Palestinians who need to be confronted with a reality check.
The same people, who feel that Israel can magically create peace by itself, also feel that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is a man Israel can trust and is a partner for peace.
Young Woman Sustains Head Wound in Samaria Rock Attack
The woman, age 25, was treated at the scene by medics before being rushed to a hospital, where she was admitted in fair to good condition.
A baby that was also riding in the car was miraculously unhurt in the attack, but the vehicle was damaged by the large rock that struck the car.
Samaria Region Head Says 'Shoot to Hit' Rock Attackers
Shomron (Samaria) Regional Council head Gershon Mesika says it's time to take off the velvet gloves when dealing with road terror, and "shoot to hit" attackers who are trying to murder Israeli motorists traveling on the roads of Judea and Samaria.
Eve of Holiday, Muslims Hurl Rocks at Jews on Temple Mount
Once again, extremist Muslims tried but failed to prevent Jews from accessing the holiest site in the Jewish faith, with the threat of attacks.
Dozens of Arab teens hurled rocks Sunday morning at groups of Jews who were touring the Temple Mount.
Anti-Semitism in the Netherlands? By Barry Rubin
Despite Dutch history, the growing trend of European anti-Semitism is pervading through the Netherlands.
Here’s the bottom line: Given the fact that this hatred is endemic among Dutch Muslims; and given the fact that their proportion and influence in the country is increasing; and given the fact that there are literally no countervailing forces, is this viewpoint going to increase or decrease? Obviously, the former.
Even in the Dutch mass media there are shocking things written on a regular basis about Jews and Israel. If one cannot depend on the Netherlands to defeat this trend, there’s nobody who’s going to do better.
Navajo, Israel conference seeks farmers
They will be speaking during a free two-day conference "Navajo and Israel Agricultural Gathering for the First Nations," which will be at the Phil L. Thomas Performing Arts Center in Shiprock.
The couple's visit will be paid for by several local faith-based and non-government organizations. The same groups paid for Shelly's controversial trip to Israel last December.
Shelly toured the country looking for new ways to irrigate, fertilize and grow produce. He hoped Israel might be able to help find agricultural solutions because of its similar climate.

Biggest news of the day: Tamar field starts pumping gas

From YNet:
The moment everyone has been waiting for has arrived: After more than four years of drilling and pipe laying, the flow of natural gas from the Tamar gas field, located some 90 km (roughly 56 miles) west of Haifa, has begun.

The gas is travelling in pipes hundreds of kilometers south into the Yam Tatis gas field and from there will continue to an intake center in Ashdod, where it is expected to arrive in about 30 hours.

This marks a major turning point both for Israel's economy and society and will provide the state with energy independence at least until 2035.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, "This is an important day for Israel's economy. On the holiday of freedom we are making an important step towards independence in the field of energy."

He further added, "In the past decade we have pushed the gas industry forward and this will benefit Israel's economy as well as Israel's citizens."

Upon its arrival to Israel, the gas will support the generation of electricity at power stations - owned both by the Israel Electric Corporation (IEC) and private companies, as well as smaller factories - gradually allowing for prices to drop as Israel's electricity shifts from expensive, polluting and import-dependant materials, such as diesel and fuel oil, to its own natural gas.

The transition will also increase Israel's competitive edge in comparison to foreign industries and increase state revenue as royalties for the gas begin to roll in.

It is currently estimated that there are 270 billion cubic meters of natural gas at the Tamar field.

Energy and Water Minister, Silvan Shalom, said in response: "This is Israel's energy independence day. It is truly a historic event – Israel has received energetic freedom, and gas from Tamar will lead to a drastic decrease in the IEC's production costs, hence a future reduction in electricity costs for the average Israeli consumer."

Yitzhak Tshuva, the owner of Delek Group, which owns Delek Drilling, said: "Today should inspire pride. A vision has become reality. Today, once again, we leave enslavement towards freedom: From dependence on foreign energy sources to independence in locally-made natural gas.

"This is a momentous achievement for Israeli economy," Tsuva continued, saying a "new era| has begun, which "will change the face of the Israeli market" and "open new opportunities for Israel's economy, allowing it to take advantage of the natural gas in the environmental, geo-political, social and economical spheres, turning Israel into an important international player."

Charles D. Davidson, chairman and CEO of Noble Energy said: “I congratulate the people of Israel on this transformational achievement, which significantly moves them toward energy independence and away from reliance on imports. Utilizing natural gas from Tamar will provide cleaner air, save the state billions of shekels in energy costs and be an engine for economic growth."

Sunday Links Part 1

From Ian:

Jihadis' Exploitation of Muslim Girls by Khaled Abu Toameh
What is disturbing is that many Arab and Islamic human rights organizations have remained silent about the crimes committed against Muslim women throughout the Arab and Muslim world. By contrast, these organizations are often quick to denounce Westerners for "insulting" Islam by publishing photos depicting the Prophet Mohamed.
If anyone is really insulting Islam, it those the Muslim fundamentalists and jihadis who show no respect for Muslim girls and treat them as sex slaves.
BBC turns political activists into “aid workers”
The misappropriation of terms such as “humanitarian organization”, “human rights” or “aid worker” is an unfortunately common practice in the circles of anti-Israel campaigners seeking to co-opt the publicly acceptable image afforded by such terms to their political campaigns. It is regrettable that the BBC compromises its own reputation and breaches editorial guidelines on accuracy and impartiality by engaging in the same practice.
The assault of female members of the convoy in Libya is horrific enough as it is: there is no need for the BBC to embellish the story by erroneously depicting the women and the group with which they were travelling as “aid workers”.
Palestinian imprisoned for Facebook 'Like'
A Palestinian man who clicked "Like" on a Facebook status criticizing a Palestinian Authority official has been sentenced to six months in prison.
Anas Ismail, 29, of Salfit, near Nablus, was found guilty of "libel and slander."
Hebron cleric accuses Israel of plotting to rebuild temple
A leading figure in the Muslim religious establishment said Israel has a “manifest” plan to rebuilt the Jewish Temple on the ruins of Al-Aqsa Mosque.
Sheikh Taysir Rajab al-Tamimi, who heads Hebron’s Sharia court, said in his Friday sermon that daily “intrusions” by Israeli MKs and Jewish leaders into the complex surrounding the holy Muslim site prove that such a plan exists, Arutz Sheva reported late Saturday.
Al Jazeera reporter attacked at Sakhnin Land Day march
At some point, pro-Assad protesters attacked an Al Jazeera reporter who was present at the scene, saying they resented the news network’s portrayal of the conflict in Syria. Other demonstrators tried to defend the reporter, and a brawl ensued, injuring three — among them an Israeli reporter. Women and children returned to their homes as MKs attempted to break up the violence.
Haniyeh in Cairo to Bemoan 'Israeli Truce Violations'
Hamas leader Ismail Haniya traveled to Cairo on Saturday to discuss "Israeli violations" of truce following Operation Pillar of Defense.
Last week, Hamas complained to Egypt that Israel was not keeping its end of the bargain after a rocket attack from the Gaza Strip led to Israel suspending part of the truce agreement by cutting access to fishing waters of the Kerem Shalom commercial crossing.
Potential Egyptian economic collapse on Israel’s doorstep
The Economist describes the current situation as:
Unemployment may be as high as 20%. The stock exchange this year has slumped by a tenth. Tourism, which used to account for 12% of Egypt’s GDP, has evaporated. Foreign investment has dried up. Foreign reserves have shrunk. Many of Egypt’s most dynamic businessmen have fled, fearing they will be arraigned for complicity with Mr Mubarak.
Acts of Torture Reveal True Nature Of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood
During the clashes that erupted last Friday [March 22] between the Muslim Brotherhood and protesters in Mokattam, the Brotherhood arrested left-wing activist Kamal Khalil and detained him inside a mosque. He saw a number of demonstrators stripped of their clothes and brutally flogged in the mosque, to the point that most of them lost consciousness. Brotherhood members were using a big whip to strike their victims. Khalil asked the flogger [about it], who replied: “It’s a Sudanese whip. I soaked it in oil a while ago. … A single strike can cut through skin.”
Arrest warrant issued for ‘Egyptian Jon Stewart’
Popular TV satirist Bassem Youssef, whose show parodies Egyptian politics, targeted for allegedly insulting Islam and Morsi
Egypt’s state prosecutors ordered the arrest Saturday of a popular television satirist for allegedly insulting Islam and the country’s leader, in a move that government opponents say is aimed at silencing critics of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi.

Also:
"To see the NY Times gloss over this travesty of justice is journalism of the most amoral sort"

Here below is the letter Frimet submitted - and that was rejected at the New York Times. Please consider passing it along to your friends, particularly those friends who read the Times and fall victim to its highly selective presentation - over many years - of the realities of the conflict between the Arabs and Israel.

Ben Ehrenreich's article ["Is This Where the Third Intifada Will Start?"] is a brazen quest for confirmation of his preconceptions about the Palestinian Israeli conflict: politics blended with fantasy and embellished with every tear-jerking cliche in the book. Smiling, frolicking children; poetic "activists"; generous hostesses plying their delicacies at every turn. It is a bucolic scene that is frequently painted in anti-Israel publications. But how does the NY Times publish a piece that plays so fast and loose with fact and history?

Sadly, I am well-equipped to offer some corrections and details omitted by Ehrenreich.

Why can't Hanan Ashrawi's Miftah apologize for publishing antisemitism?

Last week I exposed a truly vile anti-semitic article on the website of the Miftah NGO founded by Hanan Ashrawi, claiming that Jews drink Christian blood on Passover.

Yesterday, instead of apologizing for the offensive article and condemning the anti-semitism that they legitimized, Miftah attacked me for publicizing it and asking for their funders to ask questions about where their money is going. They wrote that I "wrongly accused MIFTAH and Dr. Ashrawi of promoting Jewish blood libel during Passover through its publication of an Arabic-language article that briefly addressed the subject" - yet I showed this is exactly what they did by any definition!


Indeed, Miftah's reaction tells us more about the organization than the original, offensive article did. They said they removed the article not because it was a sickening piece of antisemitic trash, but because it might invite "further misunderstanding." Even their pathetic denial that they promoted the Jewish blood libel is belied by the fact that they consciously chose to publish an article, during Passover, that did precisely that.

The clear message that Miftah is giving its audience is that they believe that the classic anti-Jewish blood libel is acceptable discourse in Palestinian Arab society, and merely part of (as they call it) a fulfillment of "mandate for open dialogue."

If I was a funding NGO, I would be far more concerned over Miftah's defense of its publishing the article than the article itself. After all, they had time to craft an appropriate apology to Jews worldwide, and a condemnation of the article and of its author - and they refused to do so.

Any Western newspaper, organization or major website would have not only fallen over themselves to distance themselves from the Jew-hatred exhibited in Miftah, but they would have fired the writer and the editor on the spot.

Why didn't Miftah?

The only possible explanation is that Miftah does not truly consider this article to be offensive. They think that those pesky Jews are making a big deal out of nothing. They believe that Jews are bloodthirsty anyway (at least the Zionist variety) and to Miftah it is not a great leap to say that Jews must have been that way forever. The site has literally hundreds of articles accusing Israeli Jews of "ethnic cleansing" of Arabs, to give only a tiny example of lies that Miftah accepts and promotes as fact. A previous Miftah article states that  "there are documented reports from Haiti that organs are being stolen by Israelis without international justice intervening to put an end to such criminal practices against innocent vulnerable people." When the editors of Miftah believe such things already, how much of a stretch is it to believe that Jews ritually murder non-Jews to drink their blood?

Miftah's response was that "its work speaks for itself." I hope every funder of Miftah takes that statement very, very seriously when deciding whether to continue to send money to an organization that is utterly unrepentant about publishing pure hate.

And if Miftah belatedly issues a vague statement condemning antisemitism (probably together with one condemning Israel), we now know that it is only doing it to protect its funding and not because it actually considers antisemitism to be abhorrent.

That train has already left the station.

Here again is the contact information of some of the NGOs that financially support Miftah:

Representative Office of Norway repram@mfa.no TWITTER @NorwayMFA
The Anna Lindh Foundation info@euromedalex.org Facebook  TWITTER - @AnnaLindh
Oxfam UK enquiries@oxfam.org.uk Facebook TWITTER - @OXFAM
National Endownment for Democracy info@ned.org Facebook  TWITTER - @NEDemocracy
Secretariat for Consulate of Italy in Jerusalem segreteria.gerusalemme@esteri.it  
@FarnesinaPress
Heinrich Böll Foundation info@boell.de Facebook Arab Middle East FB TWITTER - @boell_stiftung
Austrian Development Agency oeza.info@ada.gv.at
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ireland contact page  List of Twitter contacts TWITTER - @dfatirl
Konrad Adenauer Foundation - Palestinian Territories Info.Ramallah@kas.de TWITTER - @KASOnline
International Republican Institute webpage contact TWITTER - IRIGlobal
UNESCO - English media editor  r.amelan@unesco.org TWITTER - @UNESCO


Palestinian Arabs describe torture - in PA prisons

From a lengthy article in The Daily Mail:
You try your best to avoid being violent,’ the Palestinian security man tells me. ‘But in cases where the data is strong, and the prisoner is not co-operating, and when there might be harm done to others – then you must be.

'I’m not going to lie to you. Torture is used. We have to protect our people.'

‘If you are not sure of the case, I assure you, torture is not going to be used. But if you feel you’re not getting what you want – well, then the decision will depend on the investigator’s patience and the importance of the information he needs.

‘In the Nineties, we used to torture them badly. We beat them hard and we made them like a car that doesn’t function. But we were defending our home, the region and the rest of the world. I am happy it was justified.’

Nowadays, he adds, the preferred method is termed ‘shabeh’ – the hooding and tying of the prisoner in a variety of agonising positions for up to eight hours. He does not elaborate on the details, but claims: ‘It works with 95 per cent of the subjects.’ It also takes considerable skill: ‘You have to deal with it as if you were playing a guitar. Each case has its own speciality.’

This extraordinary interview is the first admission by a former perpetrator of the widespread torture of Palestinians – not by Israel, but by the Palestinian Authority (PA) which governs the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

It was given to me last week in a dusty Palestinian city. Across the table was a well-dressed, middle-aged family man with an infectious smile – a former PA official.

He spoke only on the strictest condition of anonymity as he feared becoming a torture victim himself should his identity become public. But he wanted to speak out because he was sure that the ends – a Palestinian state and the defeat of extremism – justify the means.

But perhaps the most shocking revelation is that torture sessions still being perpetrated by his former colleagues are financed with Britain’s help. Our taxpayers give £33 million direct to the PA, while £53 million is donated by Britain for various aid projects – more UK aid per head than we give any other nation.

Then again, Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service, MI6, which has officers based in Jerusalem, works closely with the Palestinian agencies that carry out the torture, seeing them as sources of valuable intelligence.

The UK also provides and pays for the training of middle and senior ranking officers from every PA security agency, including the General Intelligence Service or Mukhabarat, the Preventive Security Organisation, Military Intelligence and the ordinary police force. Ironically, the training includes courses on the need to respect human rights and the rule of law.

‘Yes, the British are very interested in human rights,’ adds the Palestinian security man.

‘They say, “We can’t convince British taxpayers [to continue to fund the PA] if you violate them.” So we do our best. But it happens.’

Just what ‘it’ means was described by a very recent victim, a professional man in his 40s who was freed without charge two weeks ago after more than a month in Mukhabarat detention.

‘For most of the time I was held, they gave me shabeh every day,’ he says. ‘Always I was hooded, and sometimes they tied my arms in front of me and attached me to the wall, leaving me like that for long, long hours, on tiptoes. You have pain in the arms, in the legs and in the body, and swelling in your muscles. Often I could also hear screaming from the prisoners.

‘But it was worse when they suspended me with my arms tied behind me. Your body is curved, like a banana. Most of the time they do not let your feet touch the ground.’ He showed me his arms and hands – they were still puffy and swollen. ‘During the shabeh, they looked much worse,’ he added.

In another variant, the suspect was hog-tied – laid on his back on top of a chair with his wrists and ankles lashed together beneath the seat. Usually the torture happened at night: ‘When you’re exhausted, they take you back to your cell.’

He was arrested because someone claimed he had an illegal weapon. ‘But I’ve never had a weapon and I am opposed to Islamic extremists. I’ve criticised the PA at social gatherings – maybe that’s why someone denounced me. That was the worst thing of all – that I was in jail at the hands of my own Authority.’

According to the Palestinians’ own official monitor, the Independent Commission on Human Rights (ICHR), the number of victims in corroborated and documented cases of torture has surged from 112 in 2011 to 160 last year. And ICHR director Randa Siniora says the increase is continuing.

A few days after meeting the security man, I travelled to the courthouse in Jericho – supposedly a showcase for UK-funded PA justice.

Sitting on a bench in the crowded hall was Khalil Fanouneh, 61, from Hebron, a city in the West Bank. Khalil said his son, Maher, 38, a paint salesman, had been arrested by the Mukhabarat on February 24.

Today, the hearing was brief because another lawyer failed to show up. The case was adjourned until April 7 – leaving Maher in custody. But before he was led away, he started shouting: ‘I have not slept for more than a week! The law forbids torture, so please be fair to us, we shouldn’t have to go through torture, we shouldn’t be subjected to shabeh. Please, judges, put a stop to it.’

Ahmad Toubasi, the court’s chief judge – aware the room was filled with clean-shaven Mukhabarat agents in dark, shiny suits – looked scared and horrified. ‘You tell your lawyer about the torture,’ he said, motioning to the guards to remove the prisoner.

Then Khalil stood up from his seat on the public benches: ‘I am his father! Please, do something!’ The judge told him to be silent. The Mukhabarat men followed me back to the hall. There Samir Abu Arrah, their staff legal adviser, accosted me. ‘Maher probably just said this to get the sympathy of the judge,’ he said dismissively. ‘I can assure you no torture has taken place.’

Mohammed Jamil, head of the UK-based Arab Organisation for Human Rights, which has published several reports on PA abuse, said such visits were futile. ‘They have been going for years, but nothing has changed. Britain has the power to stop the torture, but it will require much tougher action,’ he said.

The ICHR’s Ms Siniora added: ‘There is no doubt things are getting worse. Last year, we inspected one prison where there was clear evidence of shabeh – we saw the hooks on the walls. But as our 2012 report will say when it is published, not one of the cases of torture that came to light has been properly investigated.

‘There is no accountability. There is a culture of impunity – there has not been a single case of an official involved in torture being prosecuted.’

On Wednesday, she added, she was visited by a senior British official from Jerusalem. ‘I told him, “You are supporting the security agencies and you are training them. You have a very big responsibility for ensuring that your taxpayers’ money is not spent on torture.” ’

But PA torture does not often make UK headlines. And liaisons are close between MI6 and the Mukhabarat, the very agency responsible for the worst abuse.

(h/t Uzi)

Lebanese newspaper also says Jews drink Christian blood on Passover

As I wrote previously, the anti-semitism in Hanan Ashrawi's Miftah NGO is not an anomaly, rather, it represents mainstream Arab opinion.

From MEMRI:
On March 28, 2013, the Lebanese daily Al-Sharq published an article by Lebanese writer Sana Kojok that claimed that during Passover, the Jews eat matzah made with the blood of non-Jews. The article also called on the Palestinians to turn the Israelis' holiday from one of joy and pleasure into one of weeping and wailing.

Following are excerpts from the article:

"... The Zionist Jews have special holidays dedicated to them: Sukkot... on which they witness the beginning of the agrarian year... Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, which they celebrate for eight days, [and during which] they light candles every evening; for them, this holiday symbolizes the Jews' celebrations of the victory over the Greek rulers! [During] the holiday of masks, Purim, which is celebrated in early spring, religious Jews tell the story of Queen Esther, drink alcohol, and dress in costume.

"However, during the Jewish holiday of Passover, which begins today, strange and bizarre rituals are held, according to instructions by the Talmud: Houses are cleared of all leaven, that is, all bread and bread products containing yeast, which are called 'hametz' in Hebrew. Yesterday, they burned the bread in their homes because this needs to be done one day prior to the holiday.

"Additionally, on the holiday eve, the Zionist Jews eat unleavened bread which during its preparation is mixed with blood – but that blood must be from a non-Jew!! This unleavened bread is called 'matzah.'

"Imagine someone eating matzah made with blood!? How do these barbarians think?? Such barbaric behavior – even in eating and drinking?!

"Their 'precious' Talmud states: 'In certain cases, a man can kill a devil if he prepares the Passover matzah properly. The Jews have two blood-soaked events that satisfy God's will – one is the holiday of matzah containing human blood, and the other is the circumcision of our children...'

"The matzah referred to here is the matzah of the Jewish holiday of Passover!

"Today, they are not satisfied only with eating their blood-soaked matzah. Today, [there is a call] for settlers to invade the holy Al-Aqsa Mosque and celebrate Passover [there].

"How can the world expect us to negotiate with people who crave the blood of human beings – not only in their wars, but even in their holidays?? If they want to conduct their ceremonies and their witchcraft, let them do so – but without provoking Palestinian feelings, and without harming the holy tenets of Christianity and Islam.

"Their damned Talmud neither respects nor recognizes any monotheistic religion. The Palestinians should challenge the Zionist aggressors and turn their holiday from one of joy and pleasure at the taste of blood into one of weeping and wailing."
The article then goes on to quote the bogus "prophecy" of "former US president Benjamin Franklin."

Notice that there is no pushback within the Arab world for either of these cases of the classic Jewish blood libel being disseminated in mainstream media and respected NGOs. It is simply accepted as fact. Apologists may try to say that these viewpoints are aberrations, but the silence that accompanies them - and the refusal of a single prominent Arab to condemn them in Arabic - tells us much more than the antisemitic articles themselves do.

(h/t Elihu)

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Miftah attacks me, refuses to condemn its blood libel

Miftah has responded to my exposé of their anti-semitic article last week:
The Palestinian Initiative for the Promotion of Global Dialogue and Democracy, MIFTAH strongly denounces the smear campaign being carried out against it and, by association, its founder Dr. Hanan Ashrawi. The obscure pro-Israeli website “The Elder of Ziyon” has wrongly accused MIFTAH and Dr. Ashrawi of promoting Jewish blood libel during Passover through its publication of an Arabic-language article that briefly addressed the subject.

The disclaimer at the opening of the “News and Analysis” section clearly states that, “The views represented in [News and Analysis] are solely those of their authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of MIFTAH, but rather fulfill its mandate for open dialogue.” For the record, to avoid further misunderstanding, Al Zaru’s article has been taken down from MIFTAH’s website.

MIFTAH has and always will promote the principles of democracy and a peaceful solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Articles published in its name on both its Arabic and English websites are proof of this philosophy. Neither MIFTAH nor Dr. Ashrawi has ever been associated with anti-Jewish or anti-Semitic campaigns due to their philosophy of promoting accurate and credible information. MIFTAH has always been focused on the promotion of the Palestinian narrative in the service of achieving a free, democratic Palestine, part of which is honoring freedom of speech.

It is in this spirit that MIFTAH is deeply disturbed by this recent slander campaign against it. Not only is the premise of their argument erroneous in characterizing MIFTAH and Dr. Ashrawi, but the underlying purpose of sabotaging MIFTAH’s reputation with its international partners is nothing short of abhorrent.

MIFTAH has been in existence for well over decade and has published countless articles on Palestine, which show its true colors. It is fair to say that its work speaks for itself.
This is truly amazing.

The reason they took the article down wasn't because of its pure hate, its slander against an entire people, its invocation of the worst of all historic anti-semitic canards. The reason is "to avoid further misunderstanding."

Let's be clear: An editor at Miftah, an NGO dedicated supposedly to principles of democracy and peace,  saw this article and decided - according to Miftah's own words here - that  the classic blood libel against Jews is a legitimate part of "its mandate for open dialogue."

Fully half of the article talks about the blood libel. It didn't "briefly address the subject," as Miftah's ridiculous attack on me suggests - it was the linchpin of the entire article, asking how President Obama could possibly support Israel and have a Passover Seder at the White House in light of the "fact' that Jews drink Christian blood on Passover. In no way was it only "briefly mentioned." In no possible way was this an oversight.

And yet, even after publishing this, Miftah claims that "Neither MIFTAH nor Dr. Ashrawi has ever been associated with anti-Jewish or anti-Semitic campaigns due to their philosophy of promoting accurate and credible information."

In other words - Miftah does not denounce the article, and does not even say that it is inaccurate today! Miftah refuses to condemn it, it will not call it anti-semitic, it indignantly will not apologize for publishing it, it will not denounce the prominent Jordanian author of the piece, it will not say that it will change its policies on accepting articles - but instead it accuses me of "slander"!

A supposedly liberal Palestinian Arab NGO refuses to condemn the ugliest Jew-hatred published in its name by its own editors, and instead claims that it is part of "open dialogue" and implies that it is "accurate and credible information." But keeping it up on their site might promote 'misunderstanding."

Please. They took it down because it embarrassed them, not because they found it offensive. 

As far as their claim that they only published it because of their commitment to "open dialogue" - how many pro-Israel articles can one find in their website? Yup, that's right.

As I wrote on Friday, Miftah also published an article romanticizing female suicide bombers who targeted innocent civilians. That article was written by a Miftah employee, their main editorial writer named Joharah Baker.

Indeed, Miftah's work does speak for itself.

If Miftah is so convinced that it has nothing to hide and it is so proud of its work, then it should welcome people emailing to the EU and US NGOs that fund it to question its editorial policies. It should not be running scared about the possibility of losing funding, rather it should be confident that it acted appropriately when it published the article by Nawaf al-Zaru, whose anti-semitism has been on display for at least four years. It should be proud of its adamant refusal to apologize for publishing pure Jew-hatred. Isn't that how a liberal, pro-democratic organization should act?

And I feel free in asking my readers again to email to these same NGOs and ask them if they want to be associated with an organization that cannot force itself to squeeze out even a half-hearted apology for publishing, promoting and promulgating this sickening filth.

Saturday Links

From Ian:

Dore Gold: What would Kissinger do?
For Kissinger, peace remains an important objective, but it can only come about through a process of regional stabilization and security, for he was aware that whenever peace was the "primary objective of a power or group of powers, then the international system has been at the mercy of the most ruthless member." Whether the regional stabilization process is in fact adopted depends as much on the initiatives proposed in Washington as much as the policies of Ankara and Jerusalem. It also depends on whether the Obama administration and its local partners in the region effectively tackle the "most ruthless" power in the region — namely Iran.

Behind Obama’s Turkey Win
How Bibi Netanyahu handed the American president a big trophy—and got what Israel wanted all along
From Netanyahu’s perspective, it’s all to the good that Obama is getting the credit for the reconciliation. Bibi got what he wanted from Erdogan and gave Obama a big trophy to put on his shelf. The Turkish premier, despite his bluster, has little choice but to swallow it, and the American president now owes Bibi a favor. Netanyahu—often denigrated as a clumsy politician and preachy ideologue—is in fact a much more adroit statesman than he is typically believed to be.

The truth behind the news photograph
How the photographer helps shape the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Unfortunately, news photos of Israel and the Arab-Israeli conflict have many times done the very opposite, giving the undiscerning audience a misconstrued angle of a highly sensitive story. Salvadori believes that new models must be created that will lead to a transparent and sustainable way to make the public more involved with the production process of documentary photography.

CAMERA: Columnists Fail 'Breath-a-lyzer' Test for Op-Eds on Obama's Israel Trip
Zakaria asserts that the argument “Israel is surrounded by enemies” is out-of-date, the country not having to fear Syrian or Iraqi armies backed by the Soviet Union. He never mentions the tens of thousands of short- and medium-range rockets and missiles possessed by Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Gaza Strip, those organizations’ genocidally anti-Jewish charters, or their past attacks on Israel and continued probing.

Extensive Terror Network Uncovered Near Bethlehem
The Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet), in cooperation with the Israel Defense Forces and Israel Police, broke up an extensive terror network in the village of Beit Fajjar near Bethlehem over the course of January and February, Israel Hayom reported.
The detained suspects were members of Tanzim, a terrorist group affiliated with the Fatah movement. The detainees allegedly took part in series of shooting and firebomb attacks on the Migdal Oz community in the Gush Etzion area. No one was wounded in the attacks.

Canada’s FM: No Guarantee to Renew Palestinian Authority Funding
Ahead of a trip to the Middle East Thursday, Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said that the country is making no promises to renew Canada’s $300 million in aid spending for the Palestinian Authority.

Iran, Syria and North Korea block UN arms treaty
Both Iran and North Korea are under UN arms embargoes over their nuclear programs, while Syria is in the third year of a conflict that has escalated to civil war. Amnesty International said all three countries “have abysmal human rights records — having even used arms against their own citizens.”
This was the second attempt in eight months to get countries with very different interests behind an Arms Trade Treaty.

‘Ship carrying Iranian weapons en route to Syria’
Opposition officials urge Egypt to detain and inspect cargo vessel at Suez Canal
‘The ship is said to be carrying 8,500 tons of weapons and ground missiles from Iran to be given to the Syrian regime,’ the source said. ‘It is scheduled to make a ‘fuel stop’ at a Syrian port where it will unload its cargo.’

ADL Slams Muslim Group for “Malicious and False” Ads in NY Train Stations
The Anti-Defamation League issued a statement Thursday slamming an American Muslim group for posting billboards in New York train stations that accuse Israel of apartheid.
“We are deeply disturbed that American Muslims for Palestine is undertaking a billboard campaign that falsely accuses Israel of ‘apartheid.’ Their ad campaign ignores the complicated nature of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and is part of the campaign to delegitimize and demonize the Jewish state,” the statement read in part.

Israel’s Authentic Diversity
This past month saw an elegant Miss Israel, Yityish ‘Titi’ Aynaw (the first Ethiopian Israeli to hold the title) in photo ops with President Obama. Standing at 5’11 ” (not counting her 5” heels), she was referred to by President Shimon Peres of Israel as “our modern Queen of Sheba.”
Then this week, an Israeli Arab, Lina Makhoul won Israel’s version of “The Voice” by singing a rendition of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah. Lina, who had been studying at Israel’s Technion Institute, is from Acre in northern Israel and born to Christian parents.

Israeli wins European women’s science competition
For the third year running, the Israeli winner of the L’Oréal-UNESCO “Women in Science” prize has gone on to take the winning title for all of Europe. Dr. Osnat Zomer-Penn, who was one of three Israelis chosen to compete in the finals, received the European award in a ceremony at the Sorbonne in Paris on Thursday.

Israel Daily Picture: The Jewish Legion, Part 3, The Liberators
The history of the Jewish Legion that fought in Palestine in World War I is relatively unknown.
Many of the soldiers were recruited from the ranks of the disbanded Zion Mule Corps, Palestinian Jews exiled by the Turks in April 1917 who were recruited in Egypt, or from Diaspora Jewry recruited in Canada and the United States.
As many as 500 Jewish Legion soldiers came from North America, with some sources claiming the majority of them were from Canada. Many of them were originally from Poland or Russia.

Friday, March 29, 2013

From Egypt to the IDF

The IDF blog has a really great story:

Dina recalls how she tried to find herself among the troubling mix of religions. “We had a
mosque next to the school, and the girls would go there to pray. I told this to my mother, slightly anxiously, and she was very angry. They forbade me from doing it again. I remember that I was hurt, and I started to tell them that because of that they won’t like us, and that I wouldn’t have any friends. It was the anger of a child. During Ramadan I would escape to my friends houses, and I even fasted on one of the days, because I always wanted to belong to something and I didn’t have a clear answer for what I was,” Dina explains. When she told her parents that she had tried praying in a church, that didn’t make them any happier. They distanced her from every religion, without giving an explanation as to why.

The turning point occurred on a day like any other. Dina was studying for a history test, her brother and cousin were playing on the computer upstairs, and her mother, aunt and sister were also at home. Suddenly the sounds of shouting and shattering glass cut through the calm routine. “I really panicked, and immediately I thought that because we were different they had come to our house. I went outside and saw five masked faces – they were Salafists.” Five bearded men in robes, with clubs in their hands and rifles slung over their shoulders, broke through the electric iron gate at the entrance to the grand family home and demanded to know where the men of the house were. Their explanation was as simple as it was incomprehensible: “A’lit el’Yahud” – a Jewish family.

“I thought, ‘what the hell!?’ I didn’t understand why they were saying that we were a Jewish family. Anyone who was different, the stranger, was always called ‘the Jew’. I was certain that they were mistaken. They entered the house. My mother said that the men weren’t there, and they threw her into the corridor, she slammed into the pillars, and she fainted. I started to scream – I was sure that they had killed her. And then I saw two of them going up the stairs. I heard shots. I was sure that they had murdered both my brother and my cousin.”
...
A few days later, her grandfather gathered all of his family together and he revealed the truth. “He explained why he kept us from other religions and told us that we were Jewish, and we that we had little time to leave Egypt. He told us we were going to Israel. I remember the little ones at home were excited about it, but I wasn’t. I started crying and was so disappointed. I told him I did not want to move to that bad country. I rebelled against it.”


Read the whole thing.

(It was in Ian's linkdump Wednesday as well.)

Friday Links Part 2

From Ian:

Daniel Pipes: Obama to Palestinians: Accept the Jewish state
One key shift in U.S. policy was overlooked in the barrage of news about U.S. President Barack Obama's eventful fifty-hour visit to Israel last week. That would be the demand that Palestinians recognize Israel as the Jewish state, called by Hamas leader Salah Bardawil "the most dangerous statement by an American president regarding the Palestinian issue."
CAMERA Ian Lustick Needs A New Map (And Flare Gun)
Ian Lustick, a political science professor from the University of Pennsylvania with a penchant for making predictions that simply don't pan out and for downplaying Islamist intransigence, is at it again, this time with a March 19, 2013 Op-Ed in the Los Angeles Times. In the piece, titled, “Israel Needs a New Map,” Lustick depicts Israel as a pariah state and glosses over the sins of its adversaries. He apparently suffers from a bad case of the Oslo Syndrome, which afflicts its victims with the false delusion that Jewish self-criticism and Israeli concessions can bring a unilateral end to the Arab-Israeli conflict. Lustick also mocks Israeli concern about the campaign to de-legitimize the Jewish state.
BBC’s ‘History of Syria’ erases ancient Jewish community, distorts Six Day War
Snow of course fails to inform his audiences that the Golan Heights can only be considered to have been “part of Syria” for a maximum of 45 years before 1967, but it is his one-liner on the subject of the Six Day War which in particular stands out as a blatant breach of BBC Editorial Guidelines on accuracy.
How British Justice Failed Ronnie Fraser
The lesson of the Fraser debacle is simply this: a single employment tribunal in the United Kingdom has created a precedent which will be invoked by every Jew-baiter around the globe; namely, that when Jews raise the question of anti-Semitism in the context of visceral hostility toward Israel, they do so in bad faith. That such a bigoted principle can be established in a democracy famed for its enlightened judicial methods is, perhaps, the most shocking realization of all.
So, yes, Ronnie Fraser was defeated. But so too was British justice and fair play.
Jerusalem: Of Irving Moskowitz or Qatar?
If a Jew purchased a home legally in Moscow, Tokyo, Los Angeles or Paris it wouldn’t make headline news accusing the buyers of blocking peace, would it? When African-Americans sought to “integrate” white schools in the ‘60’s, they were heroes – not inflaming racial tensions, right?
In Jerusalem, which is a Jewish city and always has been a Jewish city, no Jew should be accused of “thwarting Middle East peace” as a result of a legal real estate purchase. Yet, a Florida newspaper recently ran an attack article on Dr. Irving Moskowitz, a Jew who invests in Jerusalem real estate, this week and it reeks. If democracy and civil rights matter, why can’t Jews live and buy real estate wherever they want?
British Peer Apologizes For Jewish Conspiracy Remarks
A British Muslim peer, who caused outrage after blaming a Jewish conspiracy for his imprisonment over a fatal car crash, apologized on Thursday for his "unacceptable" remarks, the AFP news agency reported.
Half of Belgian Muslim teens hold anti-Semitic views
Survey shows Muslim students are seven times more likely than non-Muslims to agree that ‘Jews foment war’
Reaching Out to the 'Hidden Jews' of Southern Italy
Shavei Israel has appointed a new emissary who will help the 'hidden Jews' of southern Italy to reconnect with their roots
Hiding Judaism in Copenhagen
In Denmark, known for its historic tolerance, Jews are now threatened and told to remove their ‘Jewish hats’

Friday Links Part 1

From Ian:

Britons in aid convoy kidnapped and sexually assaulted in Libya
Three women who were part of an aid convoy passing through Libya on the way to Gaza have been sexually assaulted in Benghazi, after a group of five British nationals were briefly kidnapped.
The three women, two of whom are sisters, were part of a large aid convoy travelling to the Gaza Strip. It is thought that they were part of a group of five people who were briefly kidnapped near Benghazi in the early hours of Tuesday and they were released some hours later. The group is currently safe in the Turkish consul in Benghazi and is expected to return to the UK.
Hamas and human organ trafficking?
Sudanese and East African flesh peddlers aligned with Hamas terrorists are ransoming captives and engaging in the trade of human organs to buy weapons for jihad. This information does not come from right-wing Cassandras, but from CNN’s own correspondent in Berlin, Frederik Pleitgen.
The final days of the UN’s Golan peacekeepers?
As the war in Syria intensifies, the international peacekeepers’ mission and the reality on the ground have grown increasingly incompatible
Peacekeepers, the blue-helmeted warriors of the United Nations, know what to do when two attacking armies begin to advance toward one another. They leave. Quickly.
IDF video shows terrorists caught in the act
Two Tanzim members try to shoot at cars near Beit Fajjar but are spotted by a military observation team
After the soldiers report that the men are attempting to carry out a shooting attack, an IDF patrol arrives, and the men try to flee. Moments later, they can be seen returning in surrender, their hands over their heads.
Palestinian journalist jailed for ‘reviling’ Abbas on Facebook
A West Bank appeals court on Thursday upheld a one-year prison term for a Palestinian journalist who had a photo on his Facebook page that authorities claimed portrayed President Mahmoud Abbas as a traitor, rights activists said.
It was the second such case in two months, and Abbas’ Palestinian Authority is facing mounting criticism for stifling dissent. In particular, Abbas’ security forces have targeted supporters of the Islamic militant Hamas, which seized the Gaza Strip from him in 2007.
The defendant in Thursday’s case was Mamdouh Hamamreh, a reporter for the Hamas-linked Al-Quds TV.
PA: We don't want Turkish PM to visit Gaza By Khaled Abu Toameh
Senior official in the Palestinian Authority: Gaza is not an independent Palestinian state, Hamas is not the legitimate representative of the Palestinians.
US to Erdogan: ‘Opposed to Engaging Hamas’
White House politely warned Turkey’s Prime Minister Erdogan this week against visiting Gaza and "engaging with Hamas."
Internet cable-cutters caught by Egypt signal new terror threat
Two bids within days to sabotage a major cable off the coast of Alexandria raise the specter of a new kind of ‘hacking,’ says Israeli expert
Egyptian forces foil 10 attacks in Sinai, official says
Another report claims 230 smuggling tunnels between the peninsula and Gaza have been destroyed in recent months
Cyprus gives Hezbollah terrorist 4 years in prison
Hossam Taleb Yaacoub, who holds Lebanese and Swedish passports, acknowledged membership in Hezbollah and admitted to having staked out areas frequented by Israeli tourists, but claimed he did not know his work was part of a plot to kill Israelis.
France ready to add Hezbollah to terror list, says report
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius reportedly informed US Secretary of State John Kerry of Paris’s decision at their meeting on Wednesday, a French official told al-Hayat.

Hanan Ashrawi's Miftah NGO also praises female terrorists

As my readers look a little deeper into Miftah, which published an outrageous piece of anti-semitic hate only two days ago, Yenta Press found this piece written by Miftah's Johara Baker:

Fighting Back

Palestinian women have also participated in the resistance. As the conflict grew more intense and young men were recruited to carry out military operations against Israeli targets, several young women also decided to join the ranks of the resistance movement. In January 2002, 28-year-old nurse Wafa Idrees, detonated a bomb in Jerusalem’s Jaffa Street, killing one Israeli and injuring 150 others. She was also killed in the blast.

This marked the beginning of a string of Palestinian women dedicated to sacrificing their lives for the cause. Over the next two years, seven other women carried out similar operations, the most deadly of which was carried out by Hanadi Jaradat, a 29-year-old attorney from Jenin. Hanadi detonated explosives strapped to her body in a busy Haifa restaurant, killing 19 Israelis and injuring 50 others.
Not a word of condemnation. On the contrary, this article shows a clear romanticism in describing unspeakable acts of terror aimed squarely at innocent civilians - what it calls "resistance."

And this is in English!

In Arabic, I found this piece that says that if Hamas decides to respond to international sanctions with terrorism, then the responsibility for the deaths belongs to the US.

To be fair, Miftah officially claims that it is against some terrorism. It did condemn a couple of attacks on Israeli civilians many years ago. But its funders must be aware that the same organization that sometimes claims that terrorism is immoral cannot turn around and lionize the bravery and dedication of female terrorists.

One gets the impression that Miftah's condemnations are perfunctory while the praise for the terrorists themselves reflects more of how they really think.  For example, they regard Dalal Mughrabi as a heroine. 

If Miftah wants to be hypocritical, that is no big deal. The question is whether the European and American NGOs that fund it want to be part of that hypocrisy.

Ma'an acts as mouthpiece for Jew-hating Al Aqsa Foundation

Ma'an, which strives to appear like it maintains good journalistic standards in English, has an Arabic article today that shows again that it reports things differently to different audiences.


The artiicle is about the Birkat Kohanim event at the Western Wall Plaza (Kotel), that attracts tens of thousands of Jews every year. Ma'an's headline? "Tens of thousands of religious Jews storm into the vicinity of Al-Aqsa."

The article itself is simply a reproduction of a press release by the virulently anti-semitic Al Aqsa Foundation that denies any Jewish connection to Jerusalem. It says that the Kotel is really the "Buraq Wall" and is a Muslim holy site, notwithstanding that even the few Muslims that had heard of that site before the twentieth century identified it to be a distance away from the Kotel.

Uncritically quoting the Al Aqsa Foundation, the Ma'an article says
Tens of thousands of religious Jews desecrated the sanctity of Al-Aqsa Mosque during the day and night on Thursday, and performed Talmudic rites, including what is called the "priestly blessing" - on the occasion of "Passover", at the Wailing Wall and its courtyard throughout the day and night, through loudspeakers, with the participation of "senior rabbis" whose voices could be heard inside the Al-Aqsa Mosque, which sparked great disquiet among worshipers during prayers. The "Aqsa Foundation" said that violations of the occupation of the area of the Buraq will continue throughout the Passover festival days which ends the middle of next week. The "Aqsa Foundation" confirmed that the Wailing Wall is a precious part of the Al Aqsa Mosque, and is purely Islamic, and that Square Buraq is also purely Islamic, they constitute the Moroccan Quarter, which was destroyed by the occupation in 1967, and turned it into a yard for "prayer of the Jews." and "Aqsa Foundation" showed that every occupation practice in the Buraq is illegitimate and really part of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and the Talmudic stories about them are false.
The supposedly liberal Ma'an can't even be bothered to mention that Jews say that they have historic ties to Jerusalem. No, it can only reproduce the ahistoric rantings of the Islamists as fact.

Email addresses of NGOs that support Miftah

Here is a list of email addresses of some of the organizations that financially support Miftah, which published a blatantly anti-semitic article on Wednesday. So far, they have not responded to numerous tweets, so here is a chance for you to do something that can make a difference.

Representative Office of Norway repram@mfa.no
The Anna Lindh Foundation info@euromedalex.org Facebook
Oxfam UK enquiries@oxfam.org.uk Facebook
National Endownment for Democracy info@ned.org Facebook 
Secretariat for Consulate of Italy in Jerusalem segreteria.gerusalemme@esteri.it
Heinrich Böll Foundation info@boell.de Facebook Arab Middle East FB
Austrian Development Agency oeza.info@ada.gv.at
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ireland contact page  List of Twitter contacts
Konrad Adenauer Foundation - Palestinian Territories Info.Ramallah@kas.de
International Republican Institute webpage contact
UNESCO - English media editor  r.amelan@unesco.org

I have emailed all of the organizations listed here and am waiting to hear back.

If you receive any response, please let me know.

Palestinian Arabs keep getting killed in Syria, and no one cares

I noted that the death toll of Syrian Palestinians had gone over 1000 last month. Things have, if anything, accelerated since then.

On Sunday and Monday, six more were killed.

On Tuesday, nine were killed - including five members of one family.

On Wednesday, seven were killed.

UNRWA noted the deaths of five children earlier this month:
On 15 March, Mohammad Al-Khateeb (aged 14) was killed by a bullet as he was returning home on foot after buying bread from a bakery in his neighbourhood in Dera'a. On 19 March, Hisham Mahmoud (aged 10) and Farhat Mubarak (aged 11), were killed at the crossroad of Yazour and Safad Streets in Yarmouk, Damascus. They were returning home from classes at a community-run learning centre when an explosive shell detonated nearby, killing them instantly. In a separate incident on the same day, two brothers, Ali Mijel (aged 14) and Abdullah Mijel (aged 15), were killed along with their aunt and cousin when an explosive shell hit their home on Hittin Street in Sbeineh Camp.
We must have missed the stories about these in Mondoweiss and Electronic Intifada, who pretend to care so much about Palestinian Arabs.

Israeli commando raid to save Jewish objects from Syrian synagogue?

A couple of weeks ago there was news that the ancient synagogue in the Jobar neighborhood of Damascus, known as the Eliyahu HaNavi synagogue, had been bombed, apparently by Syrian regime forces.



Syrian TV is reporting that it is the Free Syrian Army that is looting the synagogue:



The latest rumor, which may be coming from Israel, is that Israeli commandos have taken valuable Jewish objects from the synagogue.

Syria Truth, which has not been a fan of the Assad regime, writes:

Informed sources in Tel Aviv revealed this evening that Israeli intelligence succeeded in recent days in a raid the synagogue in the suburb of Jobar in the east of Damascus, and to transfer its contents out of Syria across the Turkish and Jordanian borders in collaboration with "Banner of Islam" group, which controls the region.

A source close to Syrian Rabbi Abraham Hamra, the leader of Jews who came from Syria to Israel in 1994, said that a commando group was composed of about 15 people belonging to the "Jewish Black Panthers" unit went to Jobar early this week in collaboration with Jordanian and Turkish security agencies and "Banner of Islam", which controls the area, and rescued the contents of the Temple of priceless manuscripts and precious collectibles, including a copy of the Torah is one of the oldest in the world, before being transferred through "Banner of Islam" out of Syria through different ways, revealing that the commando team split on the way back to more than five groups, each consisting of two or more people, carrying with them a part of the manuscripts to prevent the loss of all of them if caught by the Syrian army. According to the source, the commandos were mostly Iraqis, Moroccan and Lebanese Jews of who disguised themselves as "Mujahideen Islamists"...

According to sources for Syria Truth, the decision-making process started about three weeks ago when the temple was exposed to mortar fire that destroyed portions of the outer walls and internal rooms and almost destroyed the synagogue totally. Then the Israeli authorities initiated contacts with third-party Turkish and Jordanians to help save the contents of the temple through the channels established by the two countries with the "Free Syrian Army".
I didn't see this in Israeli media, but given the Syrian news story about how the Free Syrian Army looted the synagogue, this actually might have some truth behind it.

Let's hope so.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Why the Miftah antisemitism story is so important

On Thursday, I reported exclusively that Miftah, an NGO that was founded by Palestinian Arab media darling Hanan Ashrawi, had published as pure an anti-semitic screed as is imaginable - resurrecting the reprehensible blood libel that Jews ritually slaughter Christian children and consume their blood on Passover.

Miftah is an organization that is ostensibly dedicated to promoting Western, liberal idea like democracy and equal rights for women. At least, that's what they tell their donors, which in 2011 included Oxfam, the Anna Lindh Foundation, Norway, Ireland, UNESCO and the US-based National Endowment for Democracy:
Miftah presents itself as a transparent NGO dedicated to its ideals and principles.

Yet, within hours of my publicizing the disgusting article on its website, Miftah simply deleted it - no explanation, no apologies, no excuses. It simply pretended that the hugely offensive piece never existed, hoping that no one would notice their cover-up.

This is not how a transparent organization should act.

Here we see what happens when a supposedly liberal Arab organization is faced with the exposure of bigotry and hate in its midst: it sweeps it under the rug. And, so far, the NGOs that fund Miftah have been complicit in this silence, hoping that the controversy will go away.

And this is the problem.

While these same liberal organizations would be the first ones to complain when they see an example of anti-blackracism, Arab antisemitism is not regarded as nearly as toxic an issue. They know, as all observers of the Middle East know, that Arab antisemitism is endemic. It is the rule, not the exception.

Instead of demanding accountability and the eradication of hate among organizations funded by these Western NGOs and governments, Arab antisemitism is tacitly accepted as "one of those things," or justified as a side effect of Israeli policies.

However, this example of naked hate has no excuse. The classic blood libel has nothing to do with Zionism, nothing to do with modern Israel. It is a pure throwback to the Christian antisemitism of the Middle Ages. And it exists, today, in the Arab world.

Just like the scourge of Christian Jew-hatred has been largely marginalized by modernity, by exposure and by shaming the haters, this is what must happen to today's Muslim anti-semitism. It is not acceptable, it is not something to be hidden away when it gets exposed. It must be confronted and, most importantly, the people who practice it must be shamed. Shame is the West's biggest weapon to fight Arab hate and it is one that too often is ignored because of a mistaken, cowardly idea that there is nothing to be gained by shaming people who are easily enraged.

The offensive article was not written by a marginal figure or a loose cannon. Nawaf al-Zaru has written other articles for Miftah, and similarly his blood libel article is still visible on major Arab media, today. Not only that, but al-Zaru is regarded as an Arab expert on Israel and Hebrew. He has written numerous articles and books, and was the editor of at least two Jordanian newspapers. Indeed, he had written a more expansive version of the blood libel article in 2009, in response to an earlier Passover seder at the White House.

His viewpoints aren't an aberration. They are mainstream. I see the same kinds of writings nearly every day in the Arab media, although not always as explicit.

By ignoring the hate, the funders of Miftah are tacitly endorsing it. And people like Hanan Ashrawi will not be called to account for overseeing a publication and website in which such hate can be published, past all the editors and webmasters and other gatekeepers whose salaries are being paid by these NGOs.

The NGOs themselves should be falling over themselves to distance themselves from Miftah. The Anna Lindh Foundation says "Our purpose is to bring people together from across the Mediterranean to improve mutual respect between cultures." How exactly can that purpose fit in with Miftah's encouragement of hate of Jews? Shouldn't people be tweeting them about this?

Oxfam says "We strive to do what we say we will do. Read about our core values and operating principles against which we measure ourselves." One of these is that "Unjust policies and practices, nationally and internationally, must be challenged and people’s rights must be respected." Should Oxfam be measured by their own words? They are on Twitter as well.

Part of UNESCO's mission is "to contribute to the building of a culture of peace." How can Arab Jew-hatred contribute to peace? Shouldn't people tweet to them as well?

The National Endowment for Democracy is a US-based NGO that also supports Miftah. They say that "NED provides hundreds of grants each year to non-governmental groups working abroad in the areas of human rights, independent media, the rule of law, civic education and the development of civil society in general." How does Miftah's hate and cover-ups fit in with that vision? You can tweet them and ask.

Miftah is not the problem - it is a small symptom of the real problem. But to fix things we must start somewhere. And you, right now, can directly ask all of these NGOs and governments that fund Miftah what they are doing to uphold their own standards and distance themselves from the naked hate that Miftah apparently feels is acceptable discourse in the Arab world.

Some tunnels are not meant for smuggling

From Ma'an:

A member of Hamas' armed wing died Thursday during a mission in eastern Gaza, medical officials and witnesses said.

Mohammad Ahmad al-Sarhi, 20, from the Zaytoun neighborhood of Gaza City, was killed in a tunnel collapse, and three other people were wounded, health ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra said.

Witnesses in the area confirmed to Ma'an that a group of Al-Qassam members were operating in a tunnel east of Zaytoun when the tunnel collapsed suddenly.
This tunnel was nowhere near the Egyptian border.

Which means it was either an underground bunker to stockpile weapons, or it was a tunnel to kidnap Israelis.

Hamas' Al Qassam website called it a "resistance tunnel."

A little context is a useful thing.

(h/t PTWatch)

Thursday Links Part 2

From Ian:

Pro-Gay and Anti-Israel? ‘Pinkwashing’ to the Rescue
Given the reaction that a Jewish state has elicited in the region, one can only imagine how a “queer state” would be received. Yet Elia and her fellow travelers prefer a fictional “queer state” to an actual country where gays are welcomed—a sure sign that, for them, bigotry trumps reality.
Flotilla 3.0: International 'activists' work with Hamas affiliates to sail OUT of Gaza
A new propaganda initiative designed to test the resolve of the Israeli blockade on Hamas in Gaza is seeking to highlight how trade from Gaza has been affected by Israel.
The focus of the 'Gaza Ark' is the fact that while goods do indeed enter the Hamas-run, Palestinian enclave, goods are said to rarely ever leave. The premise of the trip is that Gaza wants to trade with the world, rather than receive aid. Critics have called the trip "intentionally misleading", pointing to the fact that on a weekly basis, dozens of trucks export products from Gaza.
Scottish Government Funds Pro-Terror Group
The Daily Express revealed last week that Islamic Relief Worldwide, a British charity accused of links to terrorism, was presented with £398,000 of the taxpayers' money by the Scottish Government last year, as part of its £9 million International Development Fund.
British-Palestinian town twinning plans collapse
The twinning of a norther English borough and a West Bank town has fallen through, with public support for the motion considered too low
Daphne Anson: Anti-Israel Fanatics Petition Morgan Freeman
Celebrated African-American screen actor Morgan Freeman is due to be honoured by the Canadian Friends of the Hebrew University at a ceremony in Toronto on 6 May.
Predictably, Israel-haters including the usual BDSers are up in arms, and a furious campaign on social media has been launched in order to bring pressure on Mr Freeman to refuse the honour.
"This is Islamic Apartheid": New AFDI ad campaign to launch in NYC to counter blood libel by American Muslims

Troubling Times for Once Mighty Hezbollah
Writing on February 6 for the Washington Institute, Matt Levitt, taking into account the EU position and Hizballah’s support of the Syrian regime, came to the following conclusion:
“The ‘Party of God’ has turned its ‘weapons of resistance’ not on Israel, but on fellow Muslims. This, more so than the UN indictment of four of its members for the murder of former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri, and more so than the exposure of Hizballah operations in places like Azerbaijan, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Thailand, and Turkey, is what now threatens Hizballah’s standing as a Lebanese political party and social movement.”
Bulgaria to present new evidence in Burgas bombing
Move may increase pressure on European Union to label Hezbollah a terrorist group
The Shining Is About What?
Room 237 uses Talmudic exegesis to uncover whether Kubrick’s film is about Indians, the Holocaust, or bears
Even people who haven’t seen it know that The Shining, Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of the Stephen King novel, is the scarific tale of a stir-crazy caretaker—Jack Nicholson, no less—driven mad by the ghosts haunting an isolated, off-season hotel to murder his wife, played by Shelley Duvall, and their small son, who happens to be psychic. But, was this contribution to the horror cycle of the late Carter era also Kubrick’s meditation on the Holocaust?
Kubrick’s Lost Holocaust Film
America’s greatest Jewish director was haunted by the Nazi horror—too much to address it directly in film
Nearly all of Kubrick’s films are told from the perpetrator’s point of view, and references to Nazi Germany populate his work, most often as signifiers for characters who are growing mad with power: Dr. Strangelove’s proposal for a “final solution” and his exclamation, “Mein Führer, I can walk!”; the Leni Riefenstahl imagery shown to Alex during his Ludovico treatment in A Clockwork Orange; Jack’s German Adler typewriter on which he chronicles his descent into insanity in The Shining.
Israel Daily Picture: More on the Jewish Legion in Palestine, 1917 - 1919,
In our last posting on the Jewish Legion we published this photo of the "Jewish Legion entering a Jewish village in the Land of Israel." We have subsequently discovered more information about the photograph.
The picture shows Colonel Eliezer "Lazar" Margolin riding into Ben Shemen. Margolin, a Russian-Palestinian-Australian, was a decorated officer who succeeded John H. Patterson as the commander of the Jewish Legion.
Margolin was born in Russia in 1874 and moved to a small farm in Rechovot Palestine with his parents when he was 17. He was proficient in Hebrew, Arabic, marksmanship and riding. Years later he was known as a figure who "rides his horse like a Bedouin, and shoots like an Englishman."