Friday, October 30, 2020

From Ian:

Alan Johnson: Corbyn is one man. Left-Wing Antisemitism is a Tradition
Antisemitic forms of anti-Zionism have roots in the UK far left going back decades. Before Corbyn’s victory in 2015 the UK far left tried in the mid 1980s to ban Jewish Student Societies on campuses because they were ‘Zionist’. Sunderland Polytechnic did so. A group Corbyn sponsored ran a piece titled ‘Why we support Sunderland Polytechnic’ and said the ban was not ‘in any way antisemitic’.

Move on a few decades and look at this cartoon. It circulated on the radical left and is a kind of summa of how the old socialism of fools has been blended with the new anti-imperialism of idiots and has then gone viral on social media. And you can be sure that those who created it and circulated it thought it ‘in no way antisemitic’.

The left needs to learn that antisemitism is the most protean and changeable of hatreds and it has shape-shifted yet again. Yes, Labour was poisoned in part by the flourishing of ‘classic’ anti-Jewish stereotypes and slurs in the party, as my 2019 report recorded. (There were even a few ‘Hitler was right’ types, believe it or not.) But the heart of the problem was ‘anti-Zionism’ of such an obsessive, conspiracist and demonising kind that it long ago left the terrain of ‘legitimate criticism of Israeli policy’ and merged itself with an older set of classical antisemitic tropes, images and assumptions to create antisemitic anti-Zionism.

There are legitimate criticisms to be made of Israel, as there are of every nation-state. Ringing up a Jewish Labour MP and calling her a ‘Zionist C***’ is not one of them. Nor is tweeting that Israel creating ISIS.

In short, that which the demonised Jew once was in older forms of antisemitism, demonised Israel now is in contemporary antisemitic anti-Zionism: all-controlling, the hidden hand, tricksy, always acting in bad faith, the obstacle to a better, purer, more spiritual world, uniquely malevolent, full of blood lust, uniquely deserving of punishment, and so on.’

Yes, disciplinary action should now follow. It is right that Corbyn has been suspended. But it will be even more important to wage a battle of ideas against antisemitic anti-Zionism. But the useful left-wing idiots who protected Corbyn for four years are legion. They infest a bio-degraded UK left and UK academia. So here is an idea: the party should turn for help to those of us on the left who have spent a good part of our professional and political lives understanding, fighting and defeating left-wing antisemitism. We just might know something.
David Collier: Yes, the EHRC is out – be ready to fight again at dawn
The EHRC fallout – Jezza – your part in his downfall

I was reporting on antisemitism in the party long before most. In Autumn 2015, after Corbyn’s leadership victory, it felt like a lonely and uphill struggle. Few wanted to see the truth. We are diaspora Jews – we do not like to be seen to be rocking any boats.

It took far too long for some in the community to wake up and realise the dangers that antisemitism on the left poses. The problems that pro-Corbyn elements presented for us as Jews in the UK. There was ignorance about how antisemitism has masked itself and naivety over how quickly it spreads. Until spring 2018 a sense of ‘it will pass’ or ‘can’t happen here’ was still the order of the day.

For now, lots of people are climbing to the top of the hill, metaphorically holding the head of Corbyn aloft and crowing about how they (or their organisation) are heroes. It is my hope that this pause in fighting to chest-beat and celebrate is a brief one. Does our community possess both the understanding to realise the battle is not done and the courage to accept the boat must be rocked even further? I am not sure it does.

We must turn our attention to campus. The unions must also be fought. And on the political front, Jezza’s army – that sees the EHRC only as the establishment protecting itself – is still out there – and it is far larger than it was in 2015. Many local Labour Party groups remain toxic and hostile. Does anyone really believe that the antisemitic Palestine Solidarity Campaign – which actively spreads Jew hatred – will be unwelcome at the next Labour Party Conference?

Celebrate if you must, but make sure you are ready to fight again when dawn comes.
Melanie Phillips: Britain's Labour Party will struggle to erase its moral stain
On both sides of the Atlantic, the major drivers of Israel demonization and delegitimization are the universities. The United States took action to address this last year when President Donald Trump signed an executive order banning anti-Semitic behavior and actions at colleges and universities that receive federal funding.

Further key promoters of this infamy are some of the giant international NGOs such as Amnesty International, Oxfam, Human Rights Watch and others. People assume these to be run by people of conscience committed to relieving poverty and oppression.

At a time of unprecedented loss of trust in politicians and other authority figures, NGOs such as these therefore have a massive influence. They have become, in effect, a secular church. In fact, they often peddle pure poison about Israel, singling it out for wildly unfair and twisted condemnation while sanitizing or ignoring the Palestinians' murderous targeting of Israeli civilians.

Once again, it's the Trump administration that is leading the world in trying to tackle this, with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pushing to brand several of them anti-Semitic and withdraw federal funding from them.

Of course, it's naive to think that the world's oldest hatred can ever be eradicated. The best we can hope for is to push it back under its stone. To do that, however, it has to be correctly called out and its proponents treated as social pariahs.

But to do that on the left means progressively minded people must acknowledge that, in this instance, their anti-racism is actually racism, and they are not on the side of the angels at all.

The problem is that the left can never accept that they are not always on the side of virtue. And that's why the anti-Semitism within the Labour Party, as more generally in progressive circles, is a moral stain that won't go away.
David Hirsh: The ‘Livingstone formula’ is dead
The EHRC has crystallised a new legal precedent that the ‘Livingstone Formulation’ is antisemitic. It has added to the IHRA definition of antisemitism a new archetype of antisemitic behaviour.

I first named the Livingstone Formulation in 2006 after Livingstone’s bizarre spat with a Jewish journalist, whom he accused of being like a Nazi. Instead of apologising, Livingstone came back with an aggressive counter-accusation against those who said his late night ranting had been antisemitic. “For far too long the accusation of antisemitism has been used against anyone who is critical of the policies of the Israeli government, as I have been.”

The Macpherson principle says that if a black person says they have experienced racism you should begin by assuming that they are right. The Livingstone principle says: if Jews complain about antisemitism on the left then you should begin by assuming that they are making it up to silence criticism of Israel or to smear the left.

It is antisemitic conspiracy fantasy because it doesn’t just say that Jews sometimes get it wrong, but that they know full well they’re wrong and they say it anyway, to increase their power.

The Livingstone Formulation is the key mode of antisemitic bullying mobilised against Jews on the left. It treats Jews as alien to the left and as treasonous. Pete Willsman accused the 60 rabbis of being Trump fanatics. Such an accusation is a way, rhetorically, of deporting Jews from their political home and making them homeless.

Livingstone himself was thrown overboard by the Corbynites in an effort to save their own skins and he has now been singled out in the EHRC report as a key example of Labour antisemitism. But Corbyn has now been thrown overboard too and is reunited with his old comrade Livingstone. There is justice in that, since they have always shared the same antisemitic politics.
  • Friday, October 30, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon
I just found this in the JTA archives from September 5, 1968:

Since the Six-Day War, secret negotiations conducted by Spain have resulted in freeing several hundred Jewish families from Egypt, the Washington Post said Wednesday. “Possibly 500 families–Egyptian citizens as well as aliens–have been helped out of Egypt and have been dispersed” to Western countries. “Many stateless Jews,” the Post said, “have been given Spanish passports.” It said the International Red Cross and United States Jewish organizations have aided the effort.

“Some estimates are that 1,000 Egyptian Jews, most of them permitted to take only their personal belongings, have been helped to resettle abroad,” the newspaper reported. The Post noted, however, that “an estimated 250 Jews remain in confinement, principally in the Al-Thawra prison near Cairo. Other Jews freed previously have alleged that they were forced by prison officers to submit to sexual perversion and other indignities and were beaten and tortured.” 

Last December the exodus was reduced to a trickle, and since July, the Post said, the Jewish exodus has apparently stopped. 

Credited with the largest role in arranging the release of many of the Jews is the Spanish Ambassador in Cairo, Angel Sagaz. Mr. Sagaz, the Post noted, “played an important role in getting Jews out of Nazi Germany during World War II.” The Post quoted one Jew rescued from an Egyptian prison as saying that Ambassador Sagaz “went back as far as the inquisition in order to construe for the Sephardic Jews a Spanish origin and give them a passport.”
Ambassador Angel Sagaz was a hero who was not recognized during his lifetime. (His NYT obituary did not mention this episode.) 

This account notes that when Sagaz found out that Jews could not even take their jewels with them from Egypt, he told them to deposit them in the Spanish Embassy in Cairo and they were later delivered by diplomatic pouch to them in Spain. He also saved some synagogue ceremonial objects.

One of the reasons that Sagaz was successful. according to this account, was that Spain at the time did not recognize Israel and was friendly with Arab states, so it couldn't be accused of "Zionist" leanings. Sagaz lobbied the police, Egypt's ministries and Nasser himself, claiming that the Jews were Spanish citizens based on a 1924 edict from Spain's leader Primo de Rivera that Sephardic Jews could become citizens. (Spanish diplomats used that same ruling to save 5000 Hungarian Jews during the Holocaust.) 

Angel Sagaz' story needs to be better known. Here's the only photo I could find of him, along with his wife, who helped him in his heroism.







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From Ian:

JPost Editorial: The significance of back-to-back pro-Israel policies ahead of elections
Explanations given by the US in the past for an unwillingness to connect Jerusalem – any part of Jerusalem – to Israel in passports revolved primarily around the idea that the status of Jerusalem in the eyes of most countries, is still pending, and that this is a hot-button issue that needs to be determined in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. The US, according to this argument, did not want to prejudice the outcome of future negotiations by taking a stand on the issue. But that argument was disingenuous, because what about Jerusalem before 1967, before Israel repelled the Jordanian attack during the Six Day War and gained control of the entire city, east and west.

Why could Israel not be Jerusalem’s designated state in US passports before the Six Day War, when Israel only had control of the western part of the city?

The reason: because the US never formally relinquished its support for UN resolutions dating to the Partition Plan in 1947 calling for the city to be designated as a “corpus separatum’’ – a city with a special status to be placed under an international regime. Washington’s clinging on, at least formally, to the “corpus separatum” idea only really ended in 2018 when Trump moved the embassy to Jerusalem, in accordance with a 1995 US law.

The long-standing American refusal to acknowledge in passports that any part of Jerusalem was an integral part of Israel spoke of a belief, or even a hope, that it was not. This reinforced the pernicious notion – an idea propagated by Palestinian propaganda and which gained traction in recent years, and was even incorporated in the resolutions of various UN bodies – that Israel had no valid historical tie or claim to the Holy City. It was high time to put that idea to rest.

The US Supreme Court had the opportunity to do so in 2015, when it ruled on a case brought by Ari Zivotofsky to force the State Department to list “Jerusalem, Israel” as the place of birth for his son, Menachem, in conformity with a 2002 law passed by Congress. But the court missed the opportunity, ruling that the president, not Congress, has the sole authority to make these types of foreign policy decisions and the court struck down the law.

That being the case, once Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and moved the US embassy there in 2018, it should have been just a matter of time for the State Department to change its procedures on this matter as well. These types of ingrained policies, apparently, are not easy to reverse, and it took over two years for this to happen.

To which we can only say: It’s about time.
Seth J. Frantzman: Cementing Israel's New Ties in Arab World Is Essential for Future
If you conduct foreign policy as a transaction, then there is always a chance that if some part of the transaction doesn't hold up, or if the person in the White House changes, that the foreign state will renege. That means that to cement Israel's relationships with the UAE, Bahrain, Sudan and potentially other deals with Oman, Saudi Arabia or several other countries, the U.S. needs to continue to be a stakeholder—or Israel and its new friends need to move quickly to cement the deals.

Israel has had pragmatic relationships in the past. It reached out to Iran and Turkey in the 1950s, when Arab states were hostile, and then it signed peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan while never cultivating a particularly close relationship with either. Iran's regime is today the most hostile country to Israel and Turkey—and Turkey, which still has relations with Israel, has vowed to "liberate" Muslim areas of Jerusalem from the Jewish state. This shows how Israel's relationships in the region tend to be precarious.

How can relations with the UAE, Bahrain and Sudan learn from the challenges of the pas?

First, Israel and the UAE already share a worldview on the region, and can be part of an emerging U.S. alliance with India and Greece that would create a nexus of power from the Mediterranean Sea to the Indian Ocean. This is predicated upon a strategic partnership with Washington built on F-35s for Israel, Greece and the UAE, and a close partnership between Israel and India that already exists. People-to-people relationships are also essential to developing ties between Abu Dhabi and Jerusalem. The business hubs in Tel Aviv and Dubai offer excellent opportunities. Already, there is cooperation on the medical front against COVID-19. The first ship has arrived in Israel from the Emirates, as well as the first flights.

The foundation for Israel's new friendships are being built. Now, the countries need to fill the new edifice with economic, cultural and, eventually, defense ties. Some of those ties are being pushed by Washington, but in the wake of the U.S. election, it is important that these new friendships grow on their own accord. Collective focus from Israeli, Emirati and other regional leaders, businessmen and civil society organizations can help make that happen.


Avi Issacharoff: Israel-Arab accords an earthquake for Palestinians, who pin their hopes on Biden
The Organization of Islamic Cooperation has long been considered an anti-Israel institute, to put it mildly.

It was established following an Australian tourist’s attempt to burn down Jerusalem’s Al Aqsa Mosque in 1969. Its members are the representatives of 57 Islamic states, including Turkey and Iran, and for the past four years the organization has been headed by Secretary-General Yousef Al-Othaimeen, a Saudi politician. In February, the organization rejected US President Donald Trump’s Israeli-Palestinian peace initiative, calling on its members not to cooperate with it.

On Monday, however, Al-Othaimeen sounded a very different tone.

In an interview to Sky News in Arabic, Al-Othaimeen said: “We need to think outside the box… This [Palestinian] issue has been going on for over 70 years. We have tried wars and throwing the Israelis into the sea; we have tried a lot. The new generation of our Palestinian brothers needs to try ideas that will lead to a solution to this problem, which is of interest to us all, but in new ways, ways that have not yet been tried, in order to reach a two-state solution with East Jerusalem as the capital of this state.”

Al-Othaimeen then asked: “Why insist on the path of resistance and boycott and distancing? What should be distanced are the traditional and familiar ideas.”

A few months ago such statements would have been inconceivable. That they were uttered this week, by the head of this organization, shows how the Israeli normalization agreement with Sudan, and the earlier agreements with Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, have generated nothing short of a Middle East earthquake.

The world view of generations of Arabs in the region, in both Sunni and Shiite states, was shaped around the Palestinian issue and the conflict with Israel. Yet here before the astonished eyes of hundreds of millions of Muslim and Christian Arabs — and especially the Palestinians’ shocked gaze — that foundational worldview has collapsed. Suddenly, the Palestinians – who would wave the prospect of normalized relations with the Arab world as the carrot to try to convince Israel to resolve the conflict with them — now find themselves irrelevant. They woke up one morning to find that the presumed consensus, the very premise, the whole concept of Palestinian nationality is in real danger.
By Daled Amos

On October 17, Natalie Hopkinson -- an associate professor at Howard University -- wrote a glowing opinion piece in The New York Times on antisemite Louis Farrakhan. Entitled The Women Behind the Million Man March, the article recounts the role played by Cora Masters Barry, wife of then DC Mayor Marion Barry, in mobilizing the women who played a significant role in the success of the march.

Hopkinson notes that
A key supporter of the event was Marion Barry, who had just returned to the Washington mayor’s office after a stint in federal prison. [emphasis added]
Nothing, however, is mentioned of Farrakhan's Jew-hatred and homophobia.

If you read the oped and knew nothing about Farrakhan, you would think he was a gentleman.
When criticism was made of this whitewash of Farrakhan, Hopkinson responded by reminding her critics that she is a 'scholar':

But Hopkinson was just warming up, falling back on Black oppression and negating the oppression of others:



Rafael Medoff, the founding director of The David Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies, compares Hopkinson's depiction of Farrakhan with the New York Times interview that Anne O'Hare McCormick did in 1933, Hitler Seeks Jobs for All Germans.

Medoff points out that Hitler did not waste any time persecuting Germany's Jews once he took office:
During Hitler’s first months in power, there was extensive coverage in the American press of his anti-Jewish policies, such as the mass firing of Jews from their jobs, public burnings of books by Jewish authors, and sporadic anti-Semitic mob violence. To counter this negative attention, Hitler in July 1933 granted Anne O’Hare McCormick of the New York Times his first exclusive interview with an American reporter since becoming chancellor of Germany.
To her credit, McCormick did in fact take the opportunity to ask about Germany's treatment of its Jews -- but did not follow up when her subject replied:
"It is true we have made discriminatory laws, but they are directed not so much against the Jews as for the German people, to give equal economic opportunity to the majority.

"You say the Jews suffer, but so do millions of others. Why should not the Jews share the privations which burden the entire nation?
According to Medoff, unlike Hopkinson's devotion to Farrakhan, there is no indication that McCormick was actually sympathetic to her subject and his views.

But the fact remains that in both cases, favorable pieces in The New York Times contributed to positive images for their subjects -- and only McCormick bothered to attempt a balanced article.

These days, whitewashing hate -- especially hatred of Jews -- seems to be in style.

This month, Jordan deported terrorist Nizar Tamimi, husband of Hamas terrorist Ahlam Tamimi, the mastermind of the Sbarro massacre. He is now in Qatar. Meanwhile, Ahlam Tamimi, whom Jordan has refused to extradite to the US despite their extradition treaty, risks the possibility of being apprehended and being turned over to the US if she leaves to join her husband.

What is a terrorist to do?

You turn to the media -- in this case, the always obliging BBC, whose program 'Trending' featured a whitewashing of the terrorist couple by BBC Arabic’s Rania ‘Attar:
Not once during the entire 6 minutes of broadcast could one detect the slightest hint of criticism towards either of the two from BBC Arabic. The social media solidarity campaign supporting them was uncritically portrayed as a matter of freedom of speech for the weak and persecuted. No less notable were the selective omissions from the couple’s violent history: the programme referred to Ahlam as though she was merely “accused of involvement” in the Jerusalem bombing (despite her own public admission of the crime) and failed to mention the reason for Nizar’s imprisonment at all.

The programme, entitled “#Jordan: Ahlam_Tamimi_Your_Voice_is_Loud_and_Clear”, was hosted by BBC Arabic’s Rania ‘Attar; one of Trending’s regular presenters. Describing the Tamimis as “freed detainees from Israeli prisons”, ‘Attar told her audience how the two met in the halls of an Israeli military court, got engaged while in prison and married once they were both released in the 2011 Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange, against a background of sentimental pictures of their newfound life in Amman, Jordan.

The BBC host continued with the latest developments in the couple’s story, explaining that Jordan had not renewed “detainee” Nizar’s permit to reside in the kingdom with his wife (herself a Jordanian citizen), resulting in his expulsion to Qatar earlier this month. She then quoted Nizar’s brother Mahmoud who claimed that the decision to expel the husband was related to the American extradition request currently pending against his wife and that the family considers it an indirect Jordanian acquiescence to American dictates.

Next it was explained what had triggered the social media campaign which gave the programme its hashtag-style name. Last Tuesday a radio host was supposedly documented censoring Tamimi as she was on air, making her plea to King ‘Abdullah II to let her husband back into Jordan. The Jordanian-Palestinian solidarity campaign which followed used the hashtag “#Ahlam_Tamimi_Your_Voice_is_Loud_and_Clear”. Among the many comments shown, ‘Attar featured those that praised Tamimi as a woman “of great value” and “honour”, whose story should be heard by “everyone”.

The host concluded the programme with a full, uncensored video of Ahlam Tamimi addressing the King for a second time. Only afterwards were viewers made aware of what ‘Attar referred to as “the main landmarks of Ahlam’s life”, with the following statements being used to elaborate on her terrorist activity:
“First woman to join al-Qassam battalions, Hamas’s military wing […]

“She was accused of involvement in the ‘Sbarro’ restaurant bombing in Jerusalem […]

“In 2013, American Department of Justice ranked her on the list of ‘most dangerous wanted terrorists’, under the accusation of conspiring to kill Americans in the ‘Sbarro’ restaurant bombing in Jerusalem”
While the program was first broadcast on October 8th, protests against the program finally led to its being removed from Facebook, Twitter and YouTube on October 16th and from the BBC Arabic website itself on October 19th.

Following an editorial review we found that this segment was in breach of our editorial guidelines and we removed the clip from our digital platforms last week. We accept that the segment should not have been shown and apologise for the offence caused.
This example of BBC moral deafness is matched only by Sarah Montague, the presenter of BBC’s Radio 4 Today program. Back on August 12, 2001, Montague called Arnold Roth -- whose daughter was one of Tamimi's victims. The family was sitting Shiva.
Montague asked whether Roth would be willing to come onto Radio 4 Today by phone the following morning to be in a two-sided interview with a man called al-Masri, the father of the human bomb [who carried out the Sbarro massacre]. This would enable the audience to hear “the two sides” of the atrocity. [emphasis added]
Two sides?
Only if you believe that a terrorist who targets children in a pizzeria is another man's freedom fighter.

But how about if you just hijack airplanes?

On August 29, 1969, Leila Khaled was a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), the terrorist group that hijacked TWA Flight 840 from Rome to Tel Aviv, diverting it to Damascus.

On September 6, 1970, Leila Khaled and an accomplice, attempted to hijack El Al Flight 219 from Amsterdam to New York City as part of a series of almost simultaneous hijackings carried out by the PFLP:
Soon after takeoff, [pilot Uri] Bar-Lev and his co-pilot got word that two terrorists were hijacking the plane. They had shot and gravely wounded an El Al flight attendant and had put a gun to the head of another, demanding to be let into the cockpit, which Bar-Lev had immediately locked.
Bar-Lev saved the passengers by putting the plane into a steep dive. Khaled was captured -- and later released by Great Britain in a hostage exchange.

Fast-forward to 2020.

On September 23, Leila Khaled was scheduled to give a talk at San Francisco State University, entitled “Whose Narratives? Gender, Justice, & Resistance.” Khaled was helpfully described as a "Palestinian feminist, militant and leader."

In the end, the talk was stopped by Zoom and Facebook, right at the point where Khaled said "people have the right to fight those who occupy their land by any means possible, including weapons," and despite multiple attempts to hold the talk online since then, so far it has continued to be (mostly) blocked.

Associate professor Rabab Abdulhadi, director of the Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diasporas Initiative (AMED) was to be the moderator -- and at this point, Abdulhadi's comments defending having a terrorist speak to the students is predictable:
Abdulhadi claimed the outrage over her invitation to Khaled was manufactured by the "Israel Lobby Industry," and said opposition to her was "catering to donors, catering to the right-wing agenda and catering to Islamophobia." Abdulhadi doubled down on her comments later on in the video, stating that the university president "only talked to Zionists, only talked to one brand."

"The university is participating in a very discriminatory, racist, defamatory, smearing campaign by the Zionist bullies and their right-wing, neoliberal and wealthy allies," Abdulhadi said. She also claimed the talk with Khaled was only canceled because of the university's desire to retain wealthy Jewish donors, alleging the school's president told donors she would "crush the Palestinians" and "crush AMED studies."
The reason for the opposition to giving a podium to a terrorist is stated in a September 17 letter from 86 organizations, a letter Abdulhadi avoids addressing:
We fully acknowledge that faculty members like Prof. Abdulhadi have every right, as private citizens, to express anti-Zionist views and engage in anti-Zionist activism. However, we believe Abdulhadi's continuous and intentional use of her SFSU position and the name and resources of the University to indoctrinate students with her own personal animus towards the Jewish state and its supporters and to promote anti-Israel activism, does not constitute a legitimate use of academic freedom, but an abuse of it.
The full letter points to a few of Abdulhadi's AMED activities, such as:
In 2013, AMED co-sponsored an on-campus event that involved students using stencils to create placards and T-shirts with the image of a keffiyeh-clad Leila Khaled holding an AK-47 rifle accompanied by the message, “Resistance is Not Terrorism,” and other stencils with the message, “My Heroes Have Always Killed Colonizers.” In the wake of public outrage over the event’s unambiguous lionizing of a convicted terrorist and promotion of terrorism against Israel, Prof. Abdulhadi defended the event as a legitimate use of academic freedom. [emphasis added]

The BBC's fawning coverage of Hamas terrorist Ahlam Tamimi and Abdulhadi's manipulation of terrorist hijacker Leila Khaled as a resistant icon is reminiscent of the episode of Rasmea Odeh, who was convicted in 1970 and imprisoned in Israel for 10 years for the supermarket bombing in Jerusalem which killed 2 Hebrew University students --  Edward Joffe and Leon Kanner. 

Odeh later lied about her conviction when she entered the US and was eventually convicted of immigration fraud and deported from the US -- but not before she became a cause celebre and described by The Rasmea Defense Committee as an “icon of the Palestine liberation movement.”

It is one thing to give Hitler a pass, or to whitewash Farrakhan -- but in the case of Ahlam Tamimi, BBC Arab deliberately hid facts from its audience, such as Tamimi's pride when she actually admitted to the murder of innocent schoolchildren. It is not clear if the goal of the program was

 And in the cases of Leila Khaled and Rasmea Odeh, there is an attempt to go a step further and to not only use terrorists to energize protest against Israel but also use their public appearances to encourage outright hatred.

Taken in the context of the increase in antisemitic rhetoric from within the progressive wing of the Democratic party and the rise in the number of antisemitic attacks by radicals on both the right and the left, Jews will continue to be a target in the US.



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  • Friday, October 30, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon

The Global Imams Council is an Iraq-based NGO of Shiite and Sunni clerics. 

In 2014 when ISIS invaded Iraq, the government invited Shia and Sunni Imams to be a religious-based counterbalance to ISIS extremist Islamism. After ISIS collapsed, the imams invited other councils of imams around the world to join, and the Global Imams Council was launched in 2018. It now has over 1,300 imams as members, all of whose mosques and organizations are expected to adhere to the rulings of the GIC.

This week, the Global Imams Council adopted the IHRA Working Definition of Antisemitism, without any caveats, including its examples. This definition includes considering criticism of Israel that goes beyond normal criticisms of other countries to be antisemitic.

From the Global Imams Council press release:

 On Monday the 26's of October 2020, The Global Imams Council's Governing Board, Senior Imams Committee and Advisory Committee passed a unanimous vote to adopt the IHRA Working Definition of Antisemitism. This was followed by an overwhelming majority vote by the general council of Imams and our members worldwide. The adoption of the following definition of Antisemitism: 

"Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities." 

and all examples underneath it, by The Global Imams Council, will come into effect on Thursday the 29. of October 2020. 

This definition will be binding on all current and future members of The Global Imams Council; including all affiliate Mosques, Centers, Institutes and Organizations operated by the Imams of this council worldwide. 

We ask the Almighty to bring together the hearts of the Children of Abraham and to strengthen the bridges of peace, harmony, understanding and mutual respect. Indeed, He is the All-Hearing. 

The decision is another huge victory for Elan Carr, the Office of The U.S. Department of State’s Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism, who spearheaded this effort. 

This would simply never have happened under the Obama or any potential Biden administration. 

Israel haters are incensed at the IHRA Working Definition, falsely claiming that it muzzles their ability to advocate for Palestinian rights. This is only true if one's idea of Palestinian rights necessitates the destruction of the Jewish state, which is in fact their real goal - they show very little concern for Palestinian rights in Lebanon, Jordan or Syria. 

When Muslim groups like the GIC or Muslim nations like Albania and Bahrain adopt the IHRA Working Definition, they are showing that they are the ones who truly support equal rights for all. None of them are anti-Palestinian, they support a Palestinian state, they support peace. Muslim acceptance of the IHRA exposes the socialist Left opponents of the definition as being modern antisemites who oppose the human and national rights of the Jewish people.  





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  • Friday, October 30, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon
This is a bit unusual.

Ammar Campa-Najjar is a 31 year old American of Palestinian ancestry who is running for Congress as a Democrat against 66-year old Lebanese-American Republican Darrell Issa, in the 50th District.

Both of them are campaigning on themselves being pro-Israel, and both of them are accusing the other of being anti-Israel.

Issa paid for an ad using Trump's words denouncing Campa-Najjar as an anti-Israel activist:



Campa-Najjar responded by saying that he definitely is pro-Israel, showing a photo of him shaking hands with former Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak - the man who led the assassination of Campa-Najjar's paternal grandparents in Beirut in 1973. His grandfather, Muhammad Youssef al-Najjar, was reportedly a senior member of the Black September group that killed 11 Israeli athletes as the 1972 Munich Olympics. Campa-Najjar looked at his meeting with Barak as a supreme act of reconciliation.



Not only that, but Campa-Najjar then posted two videos from conservative groups claiming that Issa is the one who is anti-Israel:



In reality, both of them hold similar positions on Israel, wanting a two-state solution, although Issa is against the Iran deal while Campa-Najjar wants to bring it back with modifications. Otherwise, Campa-Najjar is a relative foreign policy hawk for a Democrat, even supporting the US assassination of Iranian general Qassim Soleimani.

At a time when the most vocal Democratic voices are distancing themselves from pro-Israel positions, this is unusual.

The 50th District is historically heavily Republican.






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Thursday, October 29, 2020

From Ian:

Heads Up, Liberal Jews––Don’t be Jews with trembling knees
“Don’t threaten us with cutting off your aid. It will not work. I am not a Jew with trembling knees. I am a proud Jew with 3,700 years of civilized history. Nobody came to our aid when we were dying in the gas chambers and ovens. Nobody came to our aid when we were striving to create our country. We paid for it. We fought for it. We died for it. We will stand by our principles. We will defend them. And, when necessary, we will die for them again, with or without your aid.”

Those words were spoken by Menachem Begin in June of 1982, directly to the Democrat senator from Delaware, Joe Biden, who had confronted the Israeli Prime Minister during his Senate Foreign Relations Committee testimony by threatening to cut off aid to Israel.

That’s right, only 32 years after the establishment of the tiny Jewish state, which was surrounded by 22 war-mongering, Israel-loathing Arab states, and only 35 years after the Holocaust savagely murdered––tortured and gassed-to-death––six-million Jewish men, women, children and infants, Senator Biden was once again terrorizing the Jews of the world with his menacing ultimatum.

Not a fluke, not a misstatement, not an error in judgement, but vintage Joe Biden, whose longtime antagonism and belligerence toward Israel has been exhaustively documented, most recently by Shmuel Klatzkin (Biden’s Hostility to Israel––read the whole article) and Janet Levy in AmericanThinker.com (Is a Vote for Joe Biden in the Interest of American Jews?).

EXAMPLES ABOUND Levy reports a number of the Obama-Biden regime’s consistent anti-Israel policies: Interfered with the 2015 Israeli elections with the goal of defeating the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Their State Department granted $350,000 to OneVoice, a radical anti-Israel organization that supports the terrorist group Hamas, They fully supported the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement to destroy Israel economically. In 2016, Biden pressured Ukraine, an abstainer, to vote for U.N. Security Council measure 2334, which claimed that ancient and historic Jewish sites were “illegally occupied.” They approved the same U.N. measure, which condemned Israelis building settlements, which emboldened the Palestinian Authority to call for the ethnic cleansing of Jews from Judea, Samaria, and the Jewish Quarter, reversing decades of U.S. vetoes against such moves.

Today, candidate Biden pledges to reopen the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) mission in Washington, D.C. And he vows, incomprehensibly, to rejoin the Iran nuclear deal, in which the arch-terrorist state in the entire world has vowed to exterminate the State of Israel.
Was the Balfour Declaration a Colonial Document?
The Balfour Declaration, issued 103 years ago on November 2 on behalf of the British government, stated: "His Majesty's Government view with favor the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people." But was the Balfour Declaration really a colonial document?

Unlike classic colonial documents, the Balfour Declaration was an open declaration, not a secret treaty or a correspondence. It conveyed a commitment made in public, and it was made not to a foreign government, or to a client chieftain, but to an entire people, the Jewish people. The Balfour Declaration thus belongs to the new style of public diplomacy ushered in by the 20th century.

Yes, the Balfour Declaration looks like a gesture by a powerful empire. But Britain by 1917 wasn't the power it had been and was in no position to issue a unilateral commitment with regard to Palestine or any other Ottoman territory. Any number of dissenting Allies could have scuttled the whole thing: the French, the Italians, certainly the Americans, possibly even the Vatican. Zionist leader Nahum Sokolow secured a letter from the French as good as the Balfour Declaration (if not better), and even received a nod of acquiescence from Pope Benedict XV.

After the U.S. entered the war in April 1917, it was unthinkable that Britain would issue any public pledge without the agreement of the American president, Woodrow Wilson. Had Wilson not given the word, the Balfour Declaration would never have been born. Thus, by the time the declaration was approved by the British Cabinet, its principles, and in Washington's case even its text, had been approved by all of Britain's allies.

The Balfour Declaration had morphed into the Allied declaration. This smoothed the way for its inclusion in the League of Nations mandate of Palestine to Britain, thereby making it international law. The Balfour Declaration survived the war not because it harked back to prewar colonialism but because it anticipated the postwar world of national self-determination and international legitimacy.
Litigating the Balfour Declaration: The Revealing Lies Behind the Latest Move of Palestinian Symbolism
Indeed, the hard truth is that Israel had as many enemies among the imperialists as friends. But go to an elite college campus in America today and you will see this line of attack echoed and echoed again: a Jewish democracy misrepresented as a tool of revanchist colonialism. This is perhaps the only success attributable to the Palestinian cause — a relentless misrepresentation enabled by Western establishment elites of the reality of the Jewish state.

Second, it tells us that Palestinian leaders are misusing their own history in service of their cause. In 1948, the “Palestinian people” whose land Balfour purportedly set up for stealing were not a people in a democratic sense and did not yet call themselves Palestinians. Indeed, the would-be beneficiaries of Arab combat were dominated by a trio of landowners of huge estates, the Islamic clerisy, and the sub-stratal tribes and clans of a torn society. Even if Israel were to have lost any of the wars over Palestine from 1947-1948 through 1973 the victor would never have been a democratic “Palestine.” Not only would the Palestinian effendi continue to have ruled, but even if Palestine became a non-democratic state, it would have been a client of the states of Iraq, Egypt, Jordan, and Syria. No workable democracies there, then or now!

In fact, the West Bank was won by Jordan under the British general John Bagot Glubb “Pasha” in 1948; the Gaza Strip went to Egypt the same year. They are both under ultimate Israeli control now. But they exist with the legal almost-fiction of the Palestinian Authority governing modest measures of land west of the Jordan River while a vibrant technology is run by and for the Palestinians themselves; and with Hamas categorically running the lives of the people of Gaza on the understanding that Israel and Egypt might assert their authority if there is too much bloodshed. The ugly truth is that Egypt and Israel are the securers of Gaza’s “relative” stability and peace.

Third, it tells us that the Palestinian leaders, even the “moderates” (which is to say not Hamas), are still playing games rather than pursuing a two-state solution as the region changes for the better around them. The fact is that President Donald Trump and his son-in-law Jared Kushner have literally changed the realities of politics and life in the Middle East: Israel has inadvertently marked the Balfour anniversary with the establishment of full diplomatic ties with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain and the normalization of relations with Sudan — rumor has it that Saudi Arabia will be next to the table. Of course, the western establishment press pooh-poohed the anticipated accommodations between the Jewish state and the Muslim domains now sitting around conference tables and discussing trade, industry, travel, science, technology, and tourism — as well as what real peace could mean for the entire region.

But still the Palestinian leaders fiddle. Proof positive is the fact that the legal assault on the Balfour Declaration is not new: Mahmoud Abbas, the sort-of president of sort-of Palestine, who is still in office 11 years after his term expired, first announced that legal assault in 2016 and then again in 2017. But nothing substantial happened except that, as David Halbfinger reported in the New York Times the day after the centenary of the Balfour Declaration, there was a demonstration of thousands of youths in Ramallah — at Yasser Arafat’s memorial, no less — where a chant went up announcing Lord Balfour’s “fall.” In Bethlehem, protestors burned an effigy of Balfour and then beat it with their shoes. Palestinian girls met in Jerusalem with the visiting prime minister Theresa May demanding justice. And then it was over. The legal suit was not filed. Tiens!
This cartoon struck a chord with lots of people on Twitter and some then reposted it on Facebook.









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Our weekly column from the humor site PreOccupied Territory.

Check out their Facebook page.


Jerusalem, October 29 - A governmental fact-finding committee on the relationship between state and religion published its findings today following two years of research into the delicate issue, and made several important determinations, among them that the country billing itself as Jewish cannot make a credible claim to that effect unless and until its official institutions follow the venerable Jewish tradition of pointedly not patronizing one of two or more communal institutions. Historically the practice has manifested in refusal to attend a specific synagogue, but in the case of a political entity, the committee determined, the legislature serves as the analogous institution that serves as the litmus test for whether a community has embraced ancestral Jewish practices and ethos that involves having one for purposes of not attending to make a petty personal point.

The Bar-El Commission, appointed in 2018 to study Israel's intersection of religion and politics, released thee results of it's research Thursday. It found that Israel cannot qualify as a Jewish state, despite  decades-long insistence on that very matter and fundamental guiding principles of the Zionist movement, if its most prominent expression of governance ignores the definitive Jewish custom of having two parallel institutions, one to attend and one to not attend. The report contends that Israel can only lay claim to the status of Jewish State once it adopts that practice by maintaining two Knessets, one that lawmakers will, in theory, attend, and another that they will specifically not.

Commission chairman Liron Bar-El told journalists at a press conference this morning that his group's research found several other indicators of Israel's Jewishness that also call into question the bold assertion of that as a given. "I might also point out that certain government-run institutions have an unfortunate reputation for punctuality," he observed, a disqualifying notion vis-à-vis established Jewish practice. "This may not be the case for the majority of institutions or personnel, but it poses some significant countervailing evidence."

"There's also the matter of answering a question with a question," he continued. "For example, witnesses in Israeli courtrooms and depositions are asked whether they undertake to tell the truth, and seldom, if ever, is the response in interrogative form. That on its own might not constitute a compelling datum, but realize that the courts in this ostensibly Jewish state do not mandate such a format. Such a basic element of Jewishness must feature more prominently in the country's institutions and protocols if we are to accept the assertion that the character of the Jewish state is, in fact, Jewish."

Some analysts dismissed the report's main finding, noting that MKs hardly even attend the existing Knesset when it is in session, and that dovetails with established Jewish practice, as well.




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From Ian:

US announces citizens born in Jerusalem can now list Israel on their passports
The United States will now allow US citizens born in Jerusalem to list Israel as their country of birth on passports and other consular documents, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced Thursday.

The declaration marked the reversal of a decades-old policy that refrained from identifying the city as part of the Jewish state in an effort by the US to remain neutral on a key final status issue of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Pompeo said in a statement that the policy change would be “effective immediately” and was “consistent” with US President Donald Trump’s 2017 decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and subsequently move the US embassy there from Tel Aviv.

The new policy will allow US citizens to choose between “Jerusalem” or “Israel” as their place of birth; those who refrain from choosing will by default continue to be issued documents with their place of birth listed as “Jerusalem.”

US policy until Thursday allowed American citizens born in Jerusalem to identify only the city as their birthplace in their passports, unless they were born before Israel’s creation in 1948, in which case their country of birth was listed as “Palestine.” The State Department policy was challenged in the Supreme Court but ultimately upheld in 2015.
NYTs: Could a New U.S. Government Undo Trump's Policy toward the Palestinians?
Allowing the reopening of the Palestine Liberation Organization's diplomatic mission in Washington or restoring much of the aid to projects that directly benefited the Palestinian Authority would require overcoming a number of legal obstacles, some of which might require Congressional approval. And re-establishing the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem, which until 2019 functioned as the American diplomatic mission to the Palestinians, would require Israel's permission. "These are all possible but they would require heavy political lifting," said Lara Friedman, president of the Foundation for Middle East Peace.

What PA President Abbas may wish for most - that a new U.S. president would prioritize the Palestinian cause, pressure Israel to make concessions, and even move the U.S. Embassy back to Tel Aviv from Jerusalem - seems highly unlikely at best. Former Vice President Joe Biden has made clear he has many higher priorities and has signaled that he does not want to clash with the Israeli government. "The idea that everything will go back to the way it was before is somewhat of a fairy tale," said Mouin Rabbani, an expert on Palestinian politics.


A New Nuclear Deal with Iran?
How then can the United States get around the Iranian regime's adamant opposition to any restrictions on its nuclear or missile ambitions and secure a sound nuclear deal?

Even if the United States secured a new nuclear agreement with Iran, or resuscitated the old one, what makes anyone think that Iran would honor a deal any more than it honored the last ones?

Given the seriousness of these issues and the lack of trust in the mullahs, all provisions must not have "sunset clauses" but be permanent.

Even if these six factors may now make it possible to give "diplomacy a chance," it might be advisable only to try that route if it is reinforced with resolute military force.

The JCPOA it is not only a fraud, it is camouflage for the appeasers of the world to pretend they are doing something about Iran's nuclear ambitions when in fact they are not doing anything but allowing Iran, after a short delay, to have nuclear weapons.... The mullahs will not change on their own. Diplomatic options are poor and unrealistic.

The JCPOA deal not only fails to stop Iran from having a nuclear weapons and the missiles to deliver them, it also hides Western inaction in confronting Iran's missiles, nuclear sites and terrorism.
  • Thursday, October 29, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon
Sudanile has had a large number of op-eds about the Sudan-Israel peace agreement, showing a wide variety of views that give an indication of the thinking in different segments of Sudanese society.

I've noted that even the articles that were supportive of the deal were somewhat antisemitic. All the more so this op-ed opposing it by Mahjoub Tawer.
What is the interest of Israel in Sudan, since it has established relations with many African countries and others? Why bother to establish relations with Sudan in particular? Is not it sufficient for all of these countries or is there a secret that only the scholars of the Children of Israel know in their protocols and their old age?

Israel knows perfectly well that its relationship with Sudan enriches it more than the rest of Africa and the Middle East and if it can set its feet in Sudan, the rest does not matter. The reason for that is that it can control the world east and west from the Sudanese lands and reach its goal of building the Greater State of Israel. Israel aspires to the Greater State of Israel from the Nile to the Euphrates.

Sudan is one of the richest countries in the Middle East [in resources] and is distinguished by a strategic location that is not available to anyone else, and if its resources are well utilized, it will be the richest and best in the world, as its lands are among the most fertile ...Add to that the abundance of water that passes through Sudan to Egypt, where the Nile River is the longest river in the world, which secures for Israel its need of water throughout the year in particular, and for the water war in the coming years.

Those who oppose normalization know very well that the Jew does not give you bread for free. Any dollar you take, you know that the Jew received a thousand dollars for it. So let us warn them, we must not be a bridge that Israel crosses over it to achieve its goals.

This is big! It used to be assumed that the map of Greater Israel only extended to the Egyptian border of the Nile.


 But it turns out it is much larger - going through Sudan!

Here's my exclusive map of the new, Greater Israel!


If the White Nile is the border it can get even bigger!





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  • Thursday, October 29, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon
Over the past week, Muslim countries have been vocal in condemning France and specifically its president Emmanuel Macron for defending cartoons that lampoon Mohammed.

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation said that  "it will always condemn practices of blasphemy and of insulting Prophets."

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan condemned "blasphemous cartoons targeting Islam & our Prophet PBUH."

Leaders of Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan, Iran, Chechnya and other Muslim countries also condemned Macron's defense of the Charlie Hebdo cartoons.

Most of them added that, of course, they also condemned the beheading of teacher Samuel Paty for showing those cartoons. 

There's a problem there, though. If you call the cartoons "blasphemous" then you are directly encouraging murdering the blasphemers, because most Islamic scholars through the centuries say that the punishment for blasphemy is death. Various hadiths imply that one who kills someone for insulting Mohammed - a lesser crime than blasphemy - is not punished, and that certainly applies to those who kill blasphemers.

In Iran, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan and Pakistan, the punishment today for blasphemy is death.

Now, a man who repeatedly said "Allahu Akbar" has been arrested for killing three people in a church in Nice, France, with reports of at least on of the victims being beheaded.

There was one other attack on police in France by another man screaming Allahu Akbar, as well as a security guard stabbed outside French embassy in Saudi Arabia.

These attacks and murders are a result of the direct incitement by Muslim leaders who are calling the cartoons blasphemous. Moreover, many of these national leaders - instead of trying to calm down Muslims who might be inspired to attack - instead blamed Westerners pre-emptively, by "warning" them that any terrorism that results is their fault.

Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov said this explicitly to Macron: "You are forcing people into terrorism, pushing people towards it, not leaving them any choice, creating the conditions for the growth of extremism in young people's heads." Kadyrov wrote on Instagram.

Muslim national leaders are responsible for the murders and other attacks today. Their pro-forma condemnations of Paty's beheading were insincere but their anger at the "blasphemy" was not. They are inciting terrorism and blaming the victims by pretending that Muslims cannot be held responsible for their actions. 





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  • Thursday, October 29, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon
In 1877, a sensational story played out in the pages of the New York Times.

A Jew named Joseph Seligman and his family were refused lodging at the Grand Union Hotel in Saratoga, upstate New York because they were Jewish, even though they had stayed there previous years. The owner of the hotel, Judge Henry Hilton (not related to the Hilton hotel chain of today), justified this because, he said, his gentile guests objected to being with Jews.

On June 20th, the Times published a number of articles and letters about it. Here is the summary:


Other vacation hotel managers in Long Branch, NJ, agreed with Judge Hilton and said they did not welcome Jews.


New York City hotel owners were generally fine with Jewish customers, many of them complimenting them as guests. A few hotels, however, some flatly refused Jews, giving interesting reasons about how Jews acted. Others bragged that they didn't discriminate against anyone, even Blacks. 



The letters section the next day had three letters agreeing that Jews were nasty and no one wants to share a hotel with them. Here are two of them.







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Vic Rosenthal's weekly column


The end of the historic “Arab-Israeli conflict” may be on the horizon, depending on the outcome of the US presidential election.

Oh, It wouldn’t mean that the Palestinian Arabs will soon give up on the idea that they can flood Israel with the descendants of 1948 refugees and reverse the result of the War of Independence. It wouldn’t mean that the antisemitism and misoziony that are rife in our neighbors Egypt, Jordan, and Lebanon, are likely to end in our lifetimes. It wouldn’t mean that Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will stop trying to re-establish the Ottoman Empire, including Jerusalem, or that the revolutionary regime in Iran will stop planning to wipe Israel off the map and establish a Shiite caliphate in the region. ISIS, Hamas, and the Muslim Brotherhood will not be normalizing relations with the Jewish state no matter what. There will be plenty of conflict and terrorism in our region for the foreseeable future.

But the classical Arab-Israeli conflict, as expressed by the Three No’s of 1967 may soon be history. The idea that no Arab nation can accept the existence of the Jewish state – or even mention it by name – until all of the extreme demands of the Palestinian Arabs have been met has already fallen by the wayside. It is becoming obvious to any honest observer that the reason the Palestinian issue has festered for so many years is that the Palestinians, encouraged by the Arab nations and European antisemites, have never entertained any possibility short of total victory. Now Arab support for their intransigence and rejectionism is falling away.

The UAE, Bahrain, and Sudan have already made normalization agreements with Israel. Others are expected to follow. The most important of those would be Saudi Arabia, the leader of the Sunni Muslim world, the custodian of the Holy Mosques, and the source of funds for countless Islamic institutions around the world. There are reliable reports that the Saudi regime, which is increasingly under the control of Crown Prince, Deputy Prime Minister, and Minister of Defense, Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), will normalize relations after the US election – if Donald Trump wins.

It’s hard to imagine that any of this would have happened if not for the change in US policy initiated by the Trump Administration. The recognition of Israeli rights in Jerusalem and sovereignty over the Golan, and the downgrading of relations with the PLO, sent an unmistakable message that America did not support the Palestinian program to replace Israel with an Arab state. Trump’s peace plan, unlike those proposed during the previous administration, is not based on the transformation of the 1949 cease-fire lines into borders, but respects the concept of “secure and recognized boundaries” as expressed in UNSC resolution 242.

In order to truly appreciate the change in policy, compare it to that of the previous administration. Even before his inauguration in January 2009, Barack Obama forced Israel to abandon its campaign to oust Hamas from Gaza, probably the last practical opportunity to do so. In June of that year he visited Cairo and made a speech in which he directly compared the Holocaust to Palestinian “suffer[ing] in pursuit of a homeland” (he didn’t visit Israel until 2013, and then chose not to speak to the Knesset in Jerusalem but rather informally to students). Obama deliberately refrained from helping Iranian dissidents in Iran’s failed Green Revolution. He supported the Muslim Brotherhood in Arab Spring conflicts in Egypt, endangering Israeli-Egyptian relations. He demanded a freeze on all “settlement activity” which was used by the Palestinians as an excuse to refuse to talk. He deliberately humiliated PM Netanyahu when he visited the White House in 2011. He stopped a shipment of missiles to Israel during the 2014 conflict with Hamas in Gaza. At the same time the FAA ordered flights to Israel canceled, in an action that many thought was ordered by the administration.

Obama rammed through the Iran deal over the objections of a majority in Congress, including huge cash payments that the regime used to finance terrorism and Hezbollah’s military buildup. In 2013, his administration leaked information to the press about Israeli attacks against Iranian weapons shipments in Syria, making a wider conflict more likely. Finally, as a lame-duck parting shot at Israel in 2016, he encouraged the introduction of an anti-Israel Security Council resolution, and instructed his ambassador to abstain, ensuring its passage. And there is much more.

One can understand why Arab leaders might have thought that there was no percentage in improving relations with Israel while the US was kicking her to the curb.

Joe Biden was deeply involved in the Obama Administration’s relationship with Israel. You may recall that Biden was “furious” after an Israeli official announced the completion of a step in the process of approval for the construction of apartments in eastern Jerusalem while he was visiting Israel, precipitating a 45-minute angry phone call full of demands from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to PM Netanyahu.

Biden has said that he would “rejoin the [nuclear deal with Iran] … as a starting point for follow-on negotiations.” He opposes Trump’s “maximum pressure” approach and even blames it for Iranian progress toward nuclear weapons. He is likely to reopen the American consulate in eastern Jerusalem that was the unofficial “US Embassy in Palestine,” and the PLO office in Washington that were closed by Trump. He will restore financial aid to the Palestinian Authority that was cut off by Trump because the PA would not agree to stop payments to convicted terrorists (“pay to slay”). He will probably restore payments to UNRWA, which supports the descendants of 1948 refugees and is closely aligned with Hamas in Gaza. And he will bring back the tired rhetoric of the impossible “two-state solution” based on 1949 lines. It’s doubtful that he would be as hostile to Israel as Barack Obama, but he would undo much of the progress made by Trump.

This explains the statement by MBS that he would not normalize relations with Israel immediately if Biden becomes president. There is plenty of opposition in Saudi Arabia to such a bold step, which could even express itself violently. MBS is willing to take the risk if it will lead to the development of a powerful, US-supported Sunni-Israel bloc which could challenge Iran for regional leadership. Why should he do so if the US returns to the Obama-era policy of appeasement of Iran? And the same applies to other Arab countries that are waiting in the wings.

The development of a Sunni-Israel bloc in the region would be a breakthrough that would fundamentally alter the balance of power, and reduce the need for the US to physically intervene to keep the peace. It might set the stage for greater regional independence, so that outside players like Russia, the US, and Turkey would be less able to use its nations as pawns in their power struggles. It might lead to the Iranian people finally throwing off the corrupt and oppressive regime of the Mullahs. It might even bring a solution to the Palestinian problem somewhat closer. It would not fix all of the region’s problems, but it would be a good start.

But all of this depends on continuing Trump’s sharp turn towards rationality in Middle East policy. And Joe Biden is not the guy to do it, especially since he has already adopted some of the same advisers and former officials of the Obama Administration that were responsible for its destructive policies, including several architects of the Iran deal. Biden’s mental condition is a matter of dispute, but the specter of the enormous power of the US president in the hands of unelected and unaccountable operatives who have demonstrated their hostility to Israel and their approval of Iranian regional hegemony is truly frightening.



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