Friday, June 11, 2021

From Ian:

Noah Rothman: Journalists Against Truth
The very notion that the news media is somehow unable to “accurately reflect the plight of the Palestinians” is so solipsistic that one has to wonder what reality these reporters inhabit. The Palestinian territories and East Jerusalem are routinely described in the press as “occupied,” though that’s oversimplified to the point of being misleading. In Gaza, every Jew was forcibly relocated by the Israeli government in 2005, and much of the territory presently under “occupation” would be ceded to Israel according to the terms of the many proposed resolutions to this conflict. The American press frames military offensives by Hamas as a response to American diplomatic overtures to Israel, such as moving the U.S. embassy to Israel’s political capital, which ignores the conspicuous failure of the Fatah-led West Bank to similarly erupt. We are routinely treated to soft-focus profiles of the long-suffering Palestinian people who languish under oppressive regimes that devote more of their money and energy to making war against Israel than serving their people. And yet, the villain of this rather straightforward story is always the same and almost never the true malefactor.

Indeed, the hunger to promote Palestinian narratives is so all-consuming in the press that they seem willing to fall for anything. At the end of the conflict in May, Sarah Leah Whitson, a veteran of the group Human Rights Watch, which produced the odious “apartheid” report, publicized a claim alleging that an “Israeli pilot revealed that the destruction of residential towers in #Gaza Strip was ‘a way to vent the army’s frustration.’” This admission of a war crime was promoted breathlessly, including by some whose names grace this open letter. The notion that the strategic planners and IDF attorneys who select targets were overruled in the air by overzealous pilots would be shocking, and surely the IDF’s MAG Corps’ General Staff Mechanism for Fact-Finding Assessments will be outraged by this development. Either that, or this never happened, and it could only be believed by those with a burning prejudice against Israel that precludes the potential for anything resembling rational thought.

But perhaps rationality has been subordinated to emotion. After all, as Vox.com reported, progressives in government and the press have come to view the Palestinian cause as an extension of the Black Lives Matter movement. They use BLM’s campaign against police violence as a heuristic to navigate a conflict they don’t understand and which they don’t seem to want to understand. Rather, they want it to comport with a childishly simplistic, Marxist-flavored narrative about how power dynamics explain the world.

Call that what you will, but you can’t call it reporting. What these alleged journalists want isn’t journalism. They are on a “sacred” mission to promote “contextualized truth.” Another way to say “contextualized truth” is “lie.” It even makes for pithier copy, which is what real reporters strive to produce.
Another Militant Operative Identified on New York Times List of Children Killed During Gaza Conflict: Report
A second Hamas military operative was among the New York Times list of children killed during last month’s clashes between Israel and the terror group, according to findings released Tuesday by the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center (ITIC).

The ITIC identified 16 year-old Muhammad Sabar Ibrahim Suleiman, who was killed on May 11 in an attack in the eastern part of Jabalia along with his father, a commander in the Izz al-Din Qassam Brigades, the Hamas’ military-terrorist wing.

A video released after the end of the 11-day hostilities in May shows Muhammad Sabar Ibrahim Suleiman wearing an Izz al-Din Qassam Brigades uniform learning to shoot a machine gun and train other weapons, according to the report.

“The instructor next to him is also wearing an Izz al-Din Qassam Brigades uniform. Thus despite his young age, he had been recruited by Hamas to its military-terrorist wing,” the report read.

The Times‘ front page “They Were Only Children” May 26 article featured the pictures and names of 67 children under the age of 18 who were killed, two in Israel and 65 in the Gaza Strip.

Since publication, the paper has issued several corrections on the article, and reported that Khaled al-Qanua, listed in the article as a 17-year-old, was a fighter in the Mujahedeen Brigades, a group allied with the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and close to Iran. The Tuesday ITIC report claimed that al-Qanua was in fact a 20 year-old terrorist operative, based on a mourning notice issued by the Mujahedeen Brigades, the military-terrorist wing of the Mujahedeen Movement. Al-Quanua was killed on May 13 in an aerial attack on a Palestinian terrorist squad near Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip.
AP Snubbed as Al Jazeera Wins Hamas Prize for Gaza Coverage
Earlier this week, Qatari news network Al Jazeera accepted an award from Hamas, the Palestinian terrorist organization with which it used to share office space in Gaza City. The terror group praised the "high professionalism" of Al Jazeera's coverage during the recent clashes between Israel and Palestinian terrorists, as well as its demonstrated "affiliation with the cause of the oppressed Palestinian people."

The network's Gaza bureau chief, Wael al-Dahdouh, was photographed receiving the award from Khalil al-Hayya, deputy head of Hamas in Gaza. Terror officials praised Al Jazeera's coverage, while also denouncing "the barbaric behavior of the occupation soldiers." According to the Hamas website, the event was "part of a series of continuous visits carried out by Hamas media relations to honor the media."

The decision to award Al Jazeera for its favorable coverage of anti-Semitic terrorism was a humiliating rebuke to the AP's hard work on this same front. For example, the Atlantic reported in 2014 on the AP's extensive efforts to ensure that its coverage did not conflict with the Hamas goal of eradicating Israel.

When the power trio's shared office space was destroyed by an Israeli airstrike last month, AP executives insisted (unconvincingly) they had no idea they were working next to terrorists. National security expert Noah Pollak reported, however, that the office building contained "multiple Hamas operations and offices including weapons manufacturing and military intelligence" and the AP's local reporters "knew about it."

It's possible that Hamas was aggrieved by the AP's out-of-character decision to rescind its job offer to Emily Wilder in response to media reports about her radical anti-Israeli activism in college. The AP has an otherwise impressive record of employing anti-Israeli activists, such as Gaza bureau chief Fares Akram, who previously worked as a consultant for the radical left-wing Human Rights Watch and has said he finds it "difficult to distinguish between what the Israelis call terrorists and the Israeli pilots and tank crews who are invading Gaza."
  • Friday, June 11, 2021
  • Elder of Ziyon


Did you know that the world never condemns Israel?

That's the message from the Palestinian ministry of foreign affairs.

In a press release today, the ministry issued a statement saying that "countries' fear of being accused of anti-Semitism gives immunity to the Israeli occupation authorities for committing crimes, and makes them above criticism and accountability."

The ministry expressed its astonishment that some countries "express concern" or ask both Israel and Hamas to stop unilateral steps, because that is "equating the victim and the executioner" and that the reason countries use that language is to avoid accusations of antisemitism.

I had missed where the world community avoided criticizing Israel. 






From Ian:

Melanie Phillips: How America is now threatening its allies
This petulance and spite towards a historic agreement that has made a mockery of the Foggy Bottom consensus on Israel and the Palestinians tells us that the Biden administration’s attitude to the Middle East is based not on realism or pragmatism, but on emotion and ideology.

It shows that the administration will deny hard facts in order to preserve fantasies, such as Palestinian “victimhood” and the illusory two-state solution, that define today’s progressive identity.

Israel itself is currently in the throes of unprecedented political convulsions. On Sunday, Benjamin Netanyahu’s 12-year stint as prime minister is set to end when an improbable coalition of rightists, leftists, centrists and the Arab Ra’am Party is due to be sworn in as Israel’s government.

With no-one able to say with certainty that such a coalition will even endure, it’s impossible to predict what its policies will be. No one can say whether the rightists will abandon principle and allow themselves to be held hostage by the left; or whether the left will swallow right-wing policies to stay in power; or whether the Ra’am leader really will abandon his Islamist holy war against Israel and settle for the pragmatic priority of improving the lot of Israel’s Arab citizens.

Despite these unknowables, there are hopes in the progressive world that the very existence of such a coalition will soften western hostility to Israel and break down barriers with the Biden administration.

Yet whatever the coalition does, western hostility won’t dissipate because it is based on an irrational hatred that treats any concession Israel may make as merely a further sign of its innate perfidy.

As for the Biden administration, stuffed with officials who either hate or are indifferent to Israel and the Jewish people, the only Israeli policies that would break down such barriers are those that would leave Israel twisting in the genocidal wind.

In Northern Ireland the Republican Sinn Féin Party, which has a history of rank antisemitism, promotes the left-wing Israel demonisation agenda, while the Republic of Ireland is one of the most extreme anti-Israel countries in Europe. In stark contrast, Northern Ireland’s Protestants have long been strong supporters of Israel. They identify with the Israelis’ struggle against existential foes, global disdain and perfidious “friends.”

With the Biden administration’s perverse interference in their own affairs, further endangering their security while doing the same to the Israelis, these two causes are now joined at the hip against an America that has lost the geopolitical plot.
Ruthie Blum: Is a bogus Iran deal upstaging the Abraham Accords?
ISRAEL ISN’T the only country wary of the goings-on behind closed doors in Vienna. The Gulf states that openly allied themselves with Israel through the Abraham Accords – and other Mideast countries, like Saudi Arabia, tacitly doing so as part of a joint attempt to curb Iran’s pernicious agenda – are equally concerned.

Their worry is certainly justified, particularly in view of another disturbing development. US State Department staffers were sent inter-office e-mails a few months ago discouraging them from using the official title of the historic peace agreements brokered by former president Donald Trump between Israel and its Arab neighbors.

According to The Washington Free Beacon (freebeacon.com), which reviewed two such memos, no reason was given for the directive. When asked about it, a spokesman told the news site that the State Department “would refer to the Abraham Accords as such.”

Subsequently, an official speaking on background told the outlet, “This administration is not focused on what these agreements are called, but what they mean.”


Kissinger, Kerry, Kushner
A question facing any future historian will be this: was the “Deal of the Century,” with its implicit endorsement of Israeli annexation of parts of the West Bank, designed in advance as a throwaway, to facilitate the Abraham Accords? Whatever the answer, that is precisely the purpose it ultimately served. “We had been talking to both sides for 18 months,” said a senior American official, “but the annexation issue created the atmosphere which was conducive for getting a deal.”[6] If it was so designed in advance, then far from being a “dead-on-arrival” plan, it was a strategic feint worthy of a Kissinger. If not, it was a deft last-minute shift of gears.

Whatever the back story, however, the Abraham Accords and their sequels have introduced a new vector in the Middle East. The most creative and dynamic shorelines on the Mediterranean and the Gulf are now linked. They are the counter to the forty-year bond between Iran and Lebanon’s Hezbollah, which also links the Mediterranean and the Gulf. There is much potential in this fledgling alignment; how much of it will be realized depends on the ingenuity of Israelis and Gulf Arabs alike.

But it also depends on the attitude of the United States. Certainly, it has been hard for the old hands of the Democratic foreign policy establishment to concede that Kushner, wet behind the ears, achieved something that had eluded them. They should get over it. One doesn’t have to believe that Kushner (and Berkowitz) deserve the Nobel Peace Prize, though Harvard emeritus professor Alan Dershowitz has nominated them for one, but one must admit that they got this right.

Remember that Jimmy Carter didn’t toss out the Middle East achievements of Richard Nixon and Kissinger, but built them out into a new security architecture for the Middle East. President Biden should consider that precedent and think hard about how to capitalize on the achievements of Trump and Kushner. That need not mean abandoning the quest for a resolution of the Palestinian question. It need not mean locking the door to Iran forever. It does mean nurturing the cooperative spirit of the Abraham Accords. These US-brokered agreements give the United States a strategic edge. In the Middle East, America needs that more than ever.
Caroline Glick: The great unravelling
Over the past decade, for the first time in its history, Israel developed a strong diplomatic posture in the region and worldwide. Israel developed strategic ties with Arab states, and the states of the eastern Mediterranean. It has built close ties with the EU's Visegrád Group of central European states Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic as well as Austria and Italy. Israel upgraded its diplomatic and trade relations with the states of Africa and Central and South America, as well as with India, Japan and South Korea.

Unfortunately, it is likely that what Israel achieved through painstaking effort may be lost after the new governing coalition led by Yair Lapid takes power next week. This is the case for three reasons.

First, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is the author of Israel's diplomatic triumphs. They are predicated on his foreign policy vision that diplomatic ties are built on common interests even more than ideology and that Israel has much to offer the nations of the world.

There are many things that divide the members of the incoming governing coalition. But they agree on one thing – they all hate Netanyahu. So, the first reason Israel may soon abandon its diplomatic achievement is because Lapid and most of his partners in the coalition want to erase Netanyahu's achievements.

The second reason Israel's diplomatic position is likely to soon crash is because Lapid and Defense Minister Benny Gantz along with most of their partners do not share Netanyahu's diplomatic vision. Lapid is set to become foreign minister. Like most members of Israel's elite class, which includes the political left, the media, the senior brass of the security establishment and the senior leadership of the foreign and justice ministries, Lapid and Gantz believe Israel's diplomatic position is exclusively a function of its relations with the Beltway establishment. The closer Israel is to the American ruling class, the stronger it is internationally. The weaker Israel's relations with the American elite, the weaker its international posture.

The third reason Israel's decade of diplomatic achievements is likely to end in short order is because America-obsessed Lapid, Gantz and their ilk don't understand the importance or potential of Netanyahu has accomplished. They will not dedicate the necessary resources to maintain the ties he forged with the likes of Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz or Brazil's President Javier Bolsonaro, because they don't value those ties. So the ties will wither.


In response to an unparalleled barrage of rockets, followed by a groundswell of anti-Semitism, old-school Zionists swung into action and dusted off the old map in response.

You know the one where we point at the little dot and say, "Israel is just this one teeny Jewish nation surrounded by a vast sea of Arab countries. Why can’t you all just leave us be in peace?!" And the Arabs say, "What is this small speck of dust doing in what is clearly our region of the world? Can't we just blow you away already?" [an aside: You Horton fans should note that even Dr. Seuss is under fire these days]

Roll up the maps Baby Boomers, because Generation "Z" suffers from myopic vision and, as Bill Maher succinctly explained, "You can't learn history from Instagram".

Ironically, the international community can thrill at Gal Gadot as "Wonderwoman" miraculously deflecting thousands of enemy bullets with her iron wristbands and shield in that celebrated "no man's land" scene, yet they can't seem to wrap their heads around Israel being able to do the same thing in actuality. And rumor has it that Warner Bros. may be a wee bit uncomfortable with their fantasy Diana Prince advocating for her nation, people and region in reality.

Is it only anti-Semitism at work or something more inane? It seems Europe and America, although far removed from the realities of war, still need to satiate their appetites for extreme action and entertainment. And so there are spectator sports, fantasy war play, virtual gaming, Tik Tok and Netflix to fill the void.

Even seasoned geopolitical pundits now speak of looming Mideast confrontations and strategies in terms of Queen’s Gambit vs Sicilian Defense, and one US historian recently likened the Israeli political scene to an Avengers movie.

It’s a given that when one side perpetually “wins,” or refuses to lose (stalemate is no fun either,) the game becomes boring and new rules and challenges are created to “level the playing field.” Israel’s 73 year winning streak deeply offends the modern gaming culture’s sense of fair play. It’s simply no fun without electrifying risks, hazards, doomsday suspense and the possibility of total defeat.

Israel simply cannot play the game to the satisfaction of the world arena, because we can’t afford the luxury of losing.  In fact, we don’t understand the concept altogether. Historically and spiritually the Jewish nation does not perceive setbacks and tragedies as curses, but rather as challenges and opportunities to rise to the occasion. We perceive history as a process and a journey - a springboard toward the future. The endgame or the “game over” message may indeed be off of the radar for us. And that is what gives us an “unfair” advantage. Israelis set the bar very high. The standards are placed where a simplistic perception of “proportionality” does not correspond with evolving morality.

So, who will eventually win the land in the long run? Judaism’s number one Biblical commentator, Rabbi Shlomo Yiztchaki (“Rashi”) penned the remarkable answer, while sitting in the Diaspora in the 11th century.

Why does the Torah begin with “In the beginning…?” (Genesis 1:1)

...For should the nations of the world say to Israel: "You are thieves, because you conquered the lands of the seven nations of Canaan," Israel may reply to them: "All the earth belongs to the Holy One, Blessed be He. He created it and gave it to whomever He saw fit. By His will He gave it to them, and by His will He took it from them and gave it to us. (Rashi, Bereishit 1:1)

 This means, according to my teacher, Rabbi Dr. Sholom Gold, that before the birth of the State of Israel, while on a death march to the gas chambers in Auschwitz, little cheder boys would theoretically turn to their rebbes and ask, “Why are they doing this to us?” “What did we do?” “What did we take from them?” “And, with a bittersweet smile and vision, the rebbe would respond, “If Rashi said it, it must be true.”

And it’s this positivity bias that will keep Israel on the high ground and out of the tunnels and mire of victimhood. Even when we do tragically fumble or, in desperation, attempt a reckless “hail Mary” pass, the playing field will never be leveled because hypercreative Israelis will keep striving to find ethical, redemptive solutions in a world gone mad. And we will especially thrive when faced with the challenges and limitations thrust upon us by an unappeasable international community.

With a 90% save rate, the minds behind Israel’s “Iron Dome” likely dream of a welcome “play-break” where they can teach their children the skills needed to be incredible goal keepers. And there must be numerous Israeli Air Force pilots who would rather be performing delicate life-saving surgical procedures than targeting terrorists with surgical precision.

But we are surrounded by peoples engaged in a time-honored tradition of saber-rattling, who champion and perpetuate the warrior and warfare.

Israel is a nation condemned to eternal survival, and all of the agony and the ecstasy that goes with it. We perceive that as a blessing and we long for the day when our Arab cousins will pick up the ball, take a giant leap up for mankind and join us in the real game of life, with all of its challenges.


The writer is an artist and author of the “Oslo Years: a mother’s journal”

 






  • Friday, June 11, 2021
  • Elder of Ziyon


Haaretz interviewed a number of Gazans who escaped Gaza and are interned on the Greek island of Leros.

This one article says more about life in Gaza than the last 10,000 articles from the mainstream media combined. And that is not an exaggeration.

Excerpts:

I am definitely not the only one who was arrested for ideas and for speaking out. Many demonstrators were arrested, and Hamas threatened them in order to prevent future actions. One time I was waiting for the release of a friend who had been arrested, and when he came out his face was swollen and bleeding. I barely recognized him.

Hamas doesn’t make do with thwarting demonstrations; they also prevent cultural events. They shut down parties and performances, they don’t allow concerts, and they spread the notion that artists are heretics. Oud players can perform in public areas, but if an audience gathers around them, that will cause a problem. For Hamas’ leaders, art is part of Western culture and has to be boycotted.

The prohibitions also relate to private life. Women have to wear a head covering when they go outside. There was a group of women who organized in the social media and demanded to be accepted as they are – but not long ago, a female journalist who was walking outside without a head covering was beaten by Hamas people and taken to the hospital. Of course, the sale of alcohol is forbidden, even to Christians who need it for religious rituals. They are compelled to make wine at home, secretly.
----------
As a woman, life in Gaza was especially difficult for me. The oppression takes different forms. A married woman needs to get her husband’s approval to leave the house, and an unmarried woman can go out only if she is accompanied by a male relative. Traveling with a strange man is forbidden, so there are female taxi drivers only for women. Israel’s blockade hurts women in Gaza a lot because the exit permits are given mainly to men. Unemployment among women has increased, and so has domestic violence. In 2014 the daughter of neighbors was murdered, because she was said to be having sexual relations with a strange man. The doctors who examined the body found that she hadn’t lost her virginity.
-----------
When I grew up I had a car, so I worked as a taxi driver. After a few years Hamas seized the car. They said they would return it on condition I would work for their organization. They don’t leave citizens any other option: either join them or stay poor. When there is no work and no food, the only option for a better life – if you can call it that – is to join Hamas. The problem is that once you join, it is very hard to leave.

I have a good friend who understood when he was a teenager that he had no interest in women, but his parents forced him to marry one. He suffered a lot, and then Hamas found out about it and arrested him. You have to understand that Hamas has full control over the life of the individual. They have spies and police who walk around in the streets and impose order. For example, Hamas demands that couples show marriage documents. If an unmarried couple is out walking together and don’t have papers, the guy is arrested and the girl signs a commitment not to go out [in public] again with anyone.

When I look back and think about what I would have wanted most, I would have chosen to live in Israel and work there with my father in farming. He worked in Israel for decades as a farmer, when the border crossings were open. 
--------------
The wars that Gaza went through left a lot of streets destroyed. The Hamas government talks about rehabilitation projects, and they get money for it, but the destruction remains. That’s of course not the situation with Hamas’ leaders, who always end up with renovated homes and new cars. Hamas declares victory, but in the meantime the children play in the rubble as though it were an amusement park. That’s how it is with us: The illusions we’re sold become part of life.
--------------
These people can speak without fear because they left Gaza. Reporters in Gaza cannot report freely, nor can Gazans speak to them freely. 

Real journalists would do what they can to compensate for these shortfalls - mentioning Hamas censorship, for example. But unfortunately, this sort of story that actually illuminates how real life is in Gaza is exceedingly rare - because most journalists don't want to uncover or report the truth.

In this case, kudos to Haaretz.





  • Friday, June 11, 2021
  • Elder of Ziyon
After the New York Times published its list of child victims of the May mini-war, it was discovered that one of the "children," Khaled Imad Khaled al-Qanua, was in fact a member of the Mojahaden Brigades. According to some reports he was 20 years old, but the Palestinian Ministry of Education said that he was in 12th grade. 

Another of those listed, Muhammad Sabar Ibrahim Suleiman, 16, was in fact a Hamas member and trainee.


Now, DigFind has uncovered a third likely child soldier.

Bashar Ahmad Samour, 17, was hailed by Fatah as a "hero martyr" - language reserved for fighters. His funeral was festooned with Fatah flags, which never happens in Gaza unless the funeral is for a fighter or someone closely associated with the Al Aqsa Brigades.



That's more and more dead Gazans on the "terrorist" side of the ledger, and three fewer on the "civilian" side.






Thursday, June 10, 2021

From Ian:

We Are Entering a New Phase of Discrimination Against Jews
We are seeing, in the West, the beginning of a new phase of discrimination against Jews. Many cannot openly identify as Jews without fear of being assaulted, which is happening all too often in Europe, the United States and now Canada.

Much of the animosity is related to the support of Jews for Israel and its historical/philosophical foundation, Zionism, the national liberation movement of the Jewish People in their ancestral homeland.

The very word “Jew” comes from the membership in the tribe of Judah which, about 3,000 years ago, became a kingdom, with Jerusalem as its capital, under David and Solomon.

Many Jews today grow up proudly learning about this astonishing history that uniquely binds the past to the present. However, Jews are now increasingly assailed by hostile, mania-driven campaigns, foremost at universities, bent on erasing this history altogether.

There are ever-mounting efforts underway, including by people who consider themselves part of a “progressive” movement asserting human rights for minorities — a noble aim in principle — to single out only one country, Israel, and its national movement, Zionism, for vilification. Delegitimizing rhetoric seeking to portray Israel as a “settler-colonialist” enterprise imbued with “white supremacy” is hurled with feverish abandon unhinged from fact and history.

We’re in the realm here not of reason, but of a quasi-religious cult of incantation.

Almost 100 years ago, writing at another moment of great danger in Jewish history, Albert Einstein saw the re-creation of a Jewish homeland as “the embodiment of the reawakening corporate spirit of the whole Jewish nation.” In his day, Einstein was a progressive who abhorred violence and cared deeply about the human rights of the Palestinian Arabs. Nonetheless, he recognized the great moral need for Zionism.

Einstein urged that “we Jews should once more become conscious of our existence as a nationality and regain the self-respect that is necessary to a healthy existence. We must learn once more to glory in our ancestors and in our history.” To that end he called for “reconstruction of our native land.”

One doesn’t “colonize” one’s native land. One returns home.
Tracy-Ann Oberman: I will not be silenced on antisemitism
And their fears were justified when the actor and performers union Equity decided to use its membership base to condemn Israel. Its President and General Secretary called on members to demand sanctions and join the march in Hyde Park. A similar march a week earlier had seen multiple antisemitic placards, including one with Jesus nailed to a cross with the words: “Do not let them do the same thing today again”.

Equity has a duty to look after its members at a time when most haven’t earned a penny in 18 months. It also doesn’t routinely make pronouncements on anything. Do you know how many times Equity, its President and General Secretary have issued statements, let alone called for sanctions, against China, Turkey or Syria? Or offered support to the Kurds, the Yazidis or the Russian LGBTQ community? Zero. Do you know how many times they’ve made a statement on Israel and Palestine? Twenty-eight times.

So much for promoting my work. I found myself pulling different factions together to push awareness of what was happening. I was invited onto Newsnight to talk about the many performers who had sent me their resignation letters from Equity, including the incomparable Dame Maureen Lipman, who said she was putting her subs toward helping victims on both sides of the conflict. Where the Dame walks, people follow.

Murray Hecht, a long-time Equity union leader and activist, joined me in the outrage and led a delegation of angry Jewish and non-Jewish members who ripped up their union cards.

Many Jewish performers feel they must pass a political loyalty test — a purity exam to weed out any Zionistic tendencies. I hope my fellow Chinese, Iranian, Turkish, Russian and Pakistani performers aren’t put under equal pressure about countries they do not live in and are not citizens of.

I have promoted Palestinian rights; I think Israel must be brave and lead talks to forward a two-state solution and coexistence.

I am overwhelmed by how much love and support I have received from so many fellow actors, directors, musicians, producers, casting directors, writers and others. It is heartening to think this message really impacted. But I won’t allow myself and my fellow performers to be lectured by people whose only understanding of the situation is what they’ve read on Instagram.

I won’t be told to tone it down by fellow actors who are unable to call out antisemitism for fear of looking “pro-Zionist”. And I won’t stay quiet when my industry’s union exacerbates this mindset.
The Tikvah Podcast: Matti Friedman on How Americans Project Their Own Problems onto Israel
In 1958, the American author Leon Uris published Exodus, the novel about Israel’s founding that became an international phenomenon. Its hero, though an Israeli kibbutznik, was portrayed as a blond, blue-eyed man of culture and elegance, a portrayal reinforced by the film version of the novel, which starred Paul Newman. Whether or not this was his point, by portraying Israelis as racially white and as Western in their sensibilities, Uris was making it easier for most Americans to identify with Israel and its cause. This week’s podcast guest, the frequent Mosaic contributor Matti Friedman, argues that Americans still see themselves in Israel-just not always in the way that Uris hoped. In a recent essay, Friedman finds in the American reaction to the Jewish state’s recent confrontation with Hamas the same mythology that once animated Uris’s writing—only in reverse. Where in Uris characters are portrayed with distinctly Western sensibilities so as to attract Americans to Israel, contemporary portrayals of Israelis are now advanced by those who wish to distance Americans-and the world-from Israel.
Stop Comparing the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict to the Black Lives Matter Movement
Assuming that global conflicts can be navigated and understood via American history and the present tensions in American society concerning race is total nonsense. The Jewish people have been victims of thousands of years of displacement, expulsion and discrimination, and in the last century, we have faced war and terrorism in backlash to our indigenous right to self-determination in our ancestral homeland.

As someone who grew up in South Africa, I can proudly report that Israel is definitely not an apartheid society. Israeli Arabs are an enmeshed part of Israeli society, including the myriad who serve in the Israel Defense Forces and work as doctors, lawyers, scholars, ambassadors, and politicians.

In the Palestinian Authority and Gaza, gender-based violence and discrimination against the LGBTQ community and minorities are prevalent. There is widespread detention without charge or trial by the Palestinian Authority, while in Gaza, military courts rule the day and capital punishment is prevalent. Hamas violently took over Gaza from the Palestinian Authority in 2007, murdering hundreds of Palestinians in their quest for power.

U.S. tax dollars given to Israel must be used to purchase goods from the U.S., keeping many Americans employed. The Palestinian Authority used U.S. tax dollars to make payments to the families of persons imprisoned for acts of terrorism against U.S. citizens, including to the families of suicide bombers.

The Palestinian people are not the enemy of Israel; Hamas is. Israel is not the barrier to peace; Hamas extremism and terrorism are. It is inappropriate and tone-deaf to use the Black Lives Matter movement to give credence to anti-Israel rhetoric. Israel is a democratic, multi-ethnic, multi-racial and multi-cultural society with every right to defend its sovereignty and civilians against Jihadi terrorists.
After outcry, Omar insists she wasn’t equating US, Israel with terror groups
Democratic congresswoman Ilhan Omar on Thursday hit back against criticism from Jewish colleagues who accused her of equating the US and Israel with Hamas and the Taliban.

“It’s shameful for colleagues who call me when they need my support to now put out a statement asking for ‘clarification’ and not just call,” Omar tweeted. “The Islamophobic tropes in this statement are offensive. The constant harassment & silencing from the signers of this letter is unbearable.”

Her post linked to a statement signed by 12 Jewish Democrats who said Ilhan’s grouping of the US and Israel with the Taliban and Hamas in remarks about pursuing war crimes prosecutions gave “cover to terrorist groups.”

In a subsequent statement on Thursday, Omar said: “On Monday, I asked Secretary of State Antony Blinken about ongoing International Criminal Court investigations. To be clear: the conversation was about accountability for specific incidents regarding those ICC cases, not a moral comparison between Hamas and the Taliban and the US and Israel.

“I was in no way equating terrorist organizations with democratic countries with well-established judicial systems,” she added. She did not tweet the statement.
  • Thursday, June 10, 2021
  • Elder of Ziyon
AnarchoZionist put up some of these comics I made around the Port of Oakland, where the "Block the Boat" protesters are trying to block Israeli ZIM shipping boats from loading or unloading.




The #BlockTheBoat blockheads have been spending all week at various ports to stop ZIM - one of the world's largest shipping companies - from loading and unloading. As far as I can tell, Oakland was the only place they were successful, with cooperation of the dockworkers union. But it is hard to know the truth because the activists lie a lot. 

They also went to other ports, waved signs, and didn't stop anything. 















  • Thursday, June 10, 2021
  • Elder of Ziyon



Bild (German) has a report on incitement and antisemitism in Palestinian Authority textbooks that has been suppressed by the EU:

Why is this report still under wraps?

The EU Commission is still keeping an investigation report it commissioned into Palestinian textbooks under lock and key. From the report it becomes clear: Palestinian children are brought up in class with anti-Semitic agitation and incited to violence - financed by the EU!

BILD has seen the full report.

In 2019, Federica Mogherini, then the EU foreign affairs representative, commissioned a large study to clarify what is actually taught in Palestinian schoolbooks. The Georg Eckert Institute was commissioned for international textbook research, but its report has still not been published.

 ︎For their almost 200-page report, the researchers examined 156 textbooks and 16 teaching instructions published by the Palestinian Ministry of Education between 2017 and 2019. Since ongoing changes were made in school books from 2016 onwards, 18 other books that were published in 2020 were examined, the researchers write in a preliminary remark.

A “narrative” of “resistance” would be used in the “Israeli-Palestinian conflict”.

What this "resistance" looks like can then be seen in numerous examples.

 So there are always times in which the “Palestinian liberation struggle” is referred to as “jihad”. Both killed Palestinian civilians and terrorists are referred to as “martyrs”.

The report goes on to describe antisemitism, support for terrorism, idolizing terrorists, and erasure of Israel, all of which we've seen numerous times in other reports on Palestinian textbooks. 

When the EU Commission will publish the report is still unclear. The results should reignite the discussion about EU funding: because both the EU and the individual EU member states largely finance the Palestinian educational institutions and the staff there.
(h/t Josh K)





From Ian:

David Singer: Will Israel's new government get off the ground?
An amalgam of eight leaders trading insults and denigrating each other - whilst their parties have adopted policies that are totally irreconcilable on critical issues – is not the foundation for any stable Government – especially in Israel – whose enemies will become increasingly emboldened following the announcement of a cobbled-together Israeli Government comprising very different bedfellows.

A vote of confidence first needed from 61 members of the Knesset before this dysfunctional Government even begins operating is certainly not a foregone conclusion.

Either an Islamic-Arab party – Ra’am (4 seats) – or an extreme left wing party – Meretz (6 seats) which includes two Israeli Arabs – possess the ability to drag Israelis to a fifth election in 3 years.

This Government could implode in making decisions involving such issues as:
- Hauling Israel before the International Criminal Court (ICC)
- Authorising future building in Judea and Samaria (aka 'West Bank')
- Extending Israeli sovereignty into Judea and Samaria
- Preventing the renewal of violent protests by Israel’s Arab population that saw synagogues burnt and attacks on Jews and their property during last month’s Israel- Gaza conflict

Fractured relations and policy differences abound:
- Meretz leader - Nitzan Horowitz - has adopted the position that the ICC has grounds for investigating Israel for suspected war crimes.
- Gideon Sa’ar – leader of the New Hope party - said that he would not include Meretz in any coalition he led for holding that viewpoint. “Horowitz can’t join the government with positions like that,” the MK who is only consistent in his personal hatred of Netanyahu..
- Yamina MK Ayelet Shaked, equally consistent – echoed Sa’ar’s sentiments: “Anyone who talks like that will not be with us in a coalition,”

Sa’ar and Shaked – and it seems, the 10 other members of New Hope and Yamina parties – are ready to sit with Horowitz in coalition as the ICC probe continues and Israel’s Government has to formulate its responses.


US-funded Palestinian NGOs introduced children to convicted terrorists
USAID-funded Palestinian NGOs introduced children to released convicted terrorists, Jerusalem-based NGO Monitor wrote in a report released Thursday.

The NGOs presented the terrorists as role models while publicly demonstrating “support for terrorists and US-designated terrorist organizations,” whether via social media, statements, events or protests, the report said.

The terrorists were imprisoned for various acts, including shooting attacks, stabbings, arms-smuggling, funding terror organizations, kidnapping and murdering of Israeli citizens, a minister, IDF soldiers as well as tourists.

NGO Monitor worked off public information that was readily available to USAID while it vetted secondary-grantees to implement the US-funded projects in the Palestinian territories.

“Between the years 2015-2019, USAID allocated approximately $500 million on programs in the West Bank and Gaza,” NGO Monitor said. “As detailed in this report, the agency awarded $7.2m. to six Palestinian NGOs whose activities are inconsistent with American values and policies.”

Some activities available to the youth organizations included the meetings with convicted terrorists, protests or events organized with “umbrella” organizations for various Palestinian terror groups and other events that incited children to advocate for the release of Palestinian prisoners in Israel – who are either known cells of Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Hamas or other similar terror organizations.

One such youth organization was observed chanting: “We are with the prisoners until death... We are behind you until liberation... Resist until death... Intifada until death,” at a recent event.


PMW: PA rejects “any conditional funding by any source that targets our Palestinian curricula”
The recent disclosure by the German newspaper Bild of the unpublished EU report on Palestinian textbooks, confirms what Palestinian Media Watch has been reporting for years: The Palestinian curriculum and entire education system is full of incitement to hate and violence, glorification of terror, and denial of Israel's right to exist in any borders (See schoolbook examples below). Accordingly, the EU is being urged to demand a change in the PA’s educational messages to Palestinian children and youth and to reconsider its funding of PA text books and PA teachers’ salaries.

In this context, the following recent statement by PA Minister of Education Marwan Awratani is particularly significant because it proves in all clarity the PA’s uncompromising stand and unwillingness to change any of the contents in its schoolbooks. In fact, the PA doesn’t want any funding for education if it comes with conditions or demands from the donors regarding the content:
Headline: “The [PA] minister of education: We are rejecting all conditional funding that targets our Palestinian curricula”
“[PA] Minister of Education Marwan Awratani emphasized that the [PA] government and Ministry of Education oppose any conditional funding by any source that targets our Palestinian curricula, which constitute a sovereign matter of the highest order (refers to international demands to remove incitement from PA schoolbooks as a condition of funding -Ed.).
He said that his ministry is working to find ways of national self-funding in order to build the schools.”

[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Feb. 15, 2021]


In order to avoid pressure from donor countries to take out the hate and terror promotion, PLO Executive Committee member and Secretary-General of the Palestinian People's Party Bassam Al-Salehi repeated the PA’s rejection of “all foreign aid that imposes conditions on the education.” Instead, Al-Salehi said, PA education should be paid “only from the [PA] budget, from the PA’s income.”

This is of course a meaningless distinction since not only is money fungible but western donors also fund parts of the PA’s general budget, so either way, donors would still be paying for promotion of terror.


GOP Lawmakers Seek FBI Investigation Into Terror-Tied BDS Charity
Several Republican lawmakers are calling on the FBI to launch an investigation into a charity group that serves as a central cog in the anti-Semitic Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement and that allegedly has ties to multiple terrorist organizations.

Rep. Tim Burchett (R., Tenn.), a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, asked the FBI on Thursday to investigate the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI), an anti-Israel organization that acts as a central coordinating hub for the BDS movement and its supporting organizations, according to a copy of Burchett's letter exclusively obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.

PACBI is a founding member of the BDS movement and operates under the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC), "which serves as an umbrella organization for designated terror groups like Hamas and Palestine Islamic Jihad (PIJ)," according to Burchett's letter, which was also signed by committee members Greg Steube (R., Fla.) and Maria Salazar (R., Fla.). The lawmakers say the charity group could be running afoul of U.S. anti-terrorism laws due to its reported links to Hamas and PIJ. A copy of the letter was also sent to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network.

Burchett's letter to the FBI is just the latest salvo in an expanding congressional probe into PACBI, which initially came under the microscope in March after the Free Beacon reported that the charity was partnered with ActBlue, the online donation platform that primarily works with Democrats and party-aligned groups. ActBlue's relationship with PACBI sparked concerns that donations made through the platform could be benefiting designated terror groups.

Burchett petitioned the Treasury and Justice Departments later in March to investigate the ActBlue-PACBI relationship, citing concerns the online charity platform could be violating anti-terrorism statutes. Burchett's office confirmed to the Free Beacon that the Treasury Department declined to investigate the relationship, prompting Thursday's letter to the FBI.
  • Thursday, June 10, 2021
  • Elder of Ziyon
Fire authorities increasingly believe several large wildfires that broke out on the outskirts of Jerusalem and in the West Bank were deliberate acts of arson, likely set by Palestinians, Hebrew media reported on Wednesday night.

Blazes that broke out in forested areas west of Jerusalem during the afternoon prompted the Israel Fire and Rescue Services to evacuate dozens of residents in the area.

Later in the afternoon, several more fires were ignited in the northern West Bank, including large blazes near the settlements of Ariel and Shavei Shomron.
Arabs have been setting fires to Jewish fields and forests for as long as Jews have been in the land.

From the Palestine Post, May 22, 1936:



I've documented many other 1936 arson attacks by Arabs, and there were incidents in the 1920s as well. They continued into the 1980s and 1990s. 






  • Thursday, June 10, 2021
  • Elder of Ziyon



On May 21, CNN had a story by Arwa Damon about 4 year old Sarah al Matrabeae who was injured in Gaza in what they call an "airstrike." 

She may be paralyzed for life.

Based on what the family and doctors are saying, she was almost certainly injured by one of the many rockets shot by a terrorist group in Gaza that fell short of their intended targets in Israel.




Her doctor says that there are multiple pieces of shrapnel lodged in Sarah's spine and spinal cord. Gaza rockets are built to explode with hundreds of pieces of shrapnel to maximize injuries to people. As we have shown previously, those rockets show spray patterns with lots of tiny holes that end up lodged in walls and people, while Israeli missiles aimed at buildings do not exhibit those kinds of characteristics.

The family says there was no advanced warning before the strike. Unless there is a terrorist who is the target of the strike, Israel always warns families to leave their homes before a strike on a tunnel or other military target. 

Her brother describes how she was injured: "Suzu was sitting on the floor. Suddenly the rocket hit above our apartment and the roof of the room fell on us." If this was an Israeli missile, the rest of the family would be injured or dead, but Gaza rockets - especially the ones from smaller terror groups like the DFLP, Fatah and others  - tend to cause damage more in line with what he is describing. 

The other possibility to consider is that Israel targeted a terrorist in the apartment above. However, in those cases where the IDF targets a specific apartment, the missile enters horizontally and the floor doesn't tend to collapse. There would be very little shrapnel reaching an apartment below. By contrast, terrorist rockets come from above, leave large holes in roofs and ceilings, and explode into lots of shrapnel.

Although CNN does not directly blame Israel, the use of the word "airstrike" and the headline "Why did they do this to me?" heavily implies that CNN assumes that Sarah's injuries were the result of an Israeli missile. There is no evidence of that.

A real journalist would have dug a little bit behind the story and exposed the many pieces of evidence that could shed light on what happened - taking video of the damaged apartment, noting the direction of the rocket, asking the doctor directly what kind of shrapnel was lodged in Sarah's spine. By the time the story aired there were already plenty of examples of Gaza children killed by terror rockets.  

This is irresponsible reporting by CNN.

(h/t Nevet)






  • Thursday, June 10, 2021
  • Elder of Ziyon


A group of 200 journalists - including reporters for the Washington Post and Los Angeles Times - signed a letter demanding that news organizations be even more anti-Israel than they are.

The letter is almost outlandish in the number of lies and reckless disregard for facts:

Finding truth and holding the powerful to account are core principles of journalism.
Yet for decades, our news industry has abandoned those values in coverage of Israel and Palestine. We have failed our audiences with a narrative that obscures the most fundamental aspects of the story: Israel’s military occupation and its system of apartheid.

 For the sake of our readers and viewers — and the truth — we have a duty to change course immediately and end this decades-long journalistic malpractice

According to these people who supposedly care so much about "finding truth," Israel is guilty of apartheid - and anyone who disagrees is a Zionist fanatic.

An Arab party is about to be part of the latest government. An Arab has been acting president of Israel. But counterexamples that disprove apartheid are not the "facts" that these jokers want to talk about. No, when they say "apartheid," they mean that they will twist the facts they can to support that position and ignore anything that contradicts it.

The exact opposite of what journalists are supposed to do. 

This letter is a perfect example of the "journalistic malpractice" that they pretend they are opposed to.
Take, for example, the language used in the recent coverage of East Jerusalem neighborhood Sheikh Jarrah. Media outlets often refer to forced displacement of Palestinians living there — illegal under international law and potentially a war crime — as “evictions.”
This term misleadingly implies a real estate “dispute” between tenant and landlord, an inaccurate depiction of the state of affairs. The United Nations considers East Jerusalem occupied Palestinian territory, meaning Israel’s territorial claims there are not recognized. 

Let's pretend that part of Jerusalem is occupied. Does that mean that the legal owners of a property cannot demand rent? These so-called journalists pretend that the Sheikh Jarrah events are Israel trying to evict Arabs from their homes, but the government of Israel has nothing to do with it. It really is a real estate dispute - one where one side has shown, over decades, that it is the legitimate owner of the land, and the other side has failed to do so. 

That's the truth that these journalists want to hide from you.

During the last few days of Ramadan, Israeli forces violently attacked worshippers at the Al Aqsa mosque compound with tear gas and rubber-tipped bullets. Journalists didn’t call this an “attack” or “assault” on Palestinians, but rather a “clash,” as if both sides shared equal culpability and agency in the escalation.

Wikipedia, linking to Haaretz and wire services, summarizes the events this way:
On 7 May, large numbers of police were deployed on the Temple Mount as around 70,000 worshippers attended the final Friday prayers of Ramadan at al-Aqsa. After the evening prayers, some Palestinian worshippers began throwing previously stockpiled rocks and other objects at Israeli police officers. Police officers fired stun grenades into the mosque compound.
The journalists who claim that they want to report the truth are lying.
When Israel attacked Gaza, media outlets framed it as a “conflict” between two equal entities, ignoring the total asymmetry in power. Under the guise of objectivity, rockets fired at Israel — which caused significantly less damage than Israeli airstrikes — were covered just as much as Israel attacking medical facilities and leveling entire residential buildings, clouding the nearly one-sided scale of violence and destruction.
So 4,300 rockets aren't news? Millions of Israelis being forced into shelters isn't news? Here we have journalists not only saying that there should have been more coverage of Gaza - and there was - but that there should have been less coverage of Israeli suffering!

Also, there is the small fact that these journalists want to hide: Hamas started the war. They gave advanced notice that they intend to shoot rockets to Jerusalem and then they did it. To suggest that this news shouldn't be covered is the real journalistic malpractice.
The human toll caused by Israel’s bombardment is indisputable: Hundreds dead, more than 65 of them children. While statements made by Israeli officials and their defenders justifying the killing of civilians went unchallenged, Palestinian civilians had their humanity interrogated: Journalists asked whether they support violence or Hamas rockets.
Hamas' health ministry claims, and claims from Gaza NGOs saying that people killed were civilians or were killed by Israeli missiles when they were killed by Hamas rockets, went unchallenged.  But these journalists support that.

The hyperlinked example given of Palestinians "having their humanity interrogated" is worth looking at. Richard Engel gives two Gaza girls the chance to say what they want, unchallenged, and they do indeed support the rockets, and are able to say exactly why. This interview is as pro-Gaza as can be.
Troubling still, reporting wanes considerably when Israel halts its airstrikes. Palestinians are ignored in so-called times of “peace” despite attacks and other hostile aspects of life under occupation continuing after the ceasefire.
That is completely false. The Richard Engel piece was done on May 25, days after the ceasefire. Western reporters who could not enter Gaza during the fighting streamed in as soon as they could afterwards and submitted hundreds of articles since then.

As journalists, we are entrusted with a profoundly important mission in a free and democratic society, the power to inform the people and guide the national conversation, from the family dinner table to Capitol Hill.
We are calling on journalists to tell the full, contextualized truth without fear or favor, to recognize that obfuscating Israel’s oppression of Palestinians fails this industry’s own objectivity standards.
We have an obligation — a sacred one — to get the story right. Every time we fail to report the truth, we fail our audiences, our purpose and, ultimately, the Palestinian people.
What exactly is a journalist's job - to tell the truth objectively, which is something that these people clearly oppose, or to "guide the national conversation" and support the Palestinian people? The two contradict each other, and from this letter, it is obvious which of these two competing values are considered more important.

And this letter should be enough to tell every fair media outlet that those who signed it have absolutely no ability to be objective, and they look at journalism as a crusade and a propaganda mission. 

Why would any news organization want to employ people who knowingly lie, and who openly advocate reporting lies?







Wednesday, June 09, 2021

 abuyehuda

Weekly column by Vic Rosenthal


Unless something very unexpected happens, Israel will finally get a government this coming Sunday.

I’m conflicted. I voted for Naftali Bennett and I’m happy that he will be Prime Minister, albeit in rotation with Yair Lapid, of whom I am less fond. But many elements of the agreements that the eight parties that will be in the government have signed with each other are troubling. Although they have not been officially made public, a TV news program released what it said were the details.

One of the provisions is said to be that any PM who serves eight years will have to take a four year hiatus before running again; and during this period he can’t even run for the Knesset. I am in favor of limiting the term of the PM, but it can’t be done in a retroactive way – that makes it a “personal” law aimed at one specific individual. And we know who that is.

Another provision is that if the government falls as a result of a vote of no confidence, Naftali Bennett will not be permitted to be a minister in the succeeding government. Apparently this aims to prevent the scenario in which Netanyahu persuades some members of one of the ruling parties to vote against the government, bringing it down, and then Bennett jumps to join him in a right-wing government.

These provisions require changes to the Basic Laws that serve Israel for a constitution. One of the “interesting” things about Israel’s system is that they can be changed by a simple majority of the members present in the Knesset. It’s almost as if the Democrats in the US could amend the Constitution so that nobody whose initials were D. T. could run for President.

And of course I am irritated by the fact that the government will have 28 expensive ministers and 6 Deputy Ministers, far more than are needed to run the country.

I’m very bothered by Mansour Abbas (not related to Mahmoud Abbas of the PA). The so-called “change government” – “change” meaning “without Netanyahu” – couldn’t get 61 mandates without support from one or more of the Arab parties. Mansour Abbas represents Ra’am, an Arab Islamist party that shares the ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood (as does Hamas). His coalition demands have been mostly pragmatic – that is, he wants money for Arab communities. That in itself is not bad, but part of the deal is that he will receive half a billion shekels (about $154 million) that he can direct to “special projects.” That’s called a slush fund, and will be used to build a patronage empire to make him the most powerful Arab politician in the country.

He also received promises that laws against illegal building in the Negev will be frozen, and fines levied on such construction will be canceled. In recent years, Bedouin tribes have been increasingly squatting on land that belongs to the state or to private Jewish owners. There has also been a sharp increase in agricultural theft (of crops and equipment) and other crimes – especially the theft of weapons from IDF Bases – committed by Bedouins. Reducing enforcement will encourage more violations, which some say rise to the level of challenging Israel’s sovereignty in the Negev.

This government will be the first one in Israel’s history that does not include a single explicitly religious party – except Ra’am! Historian Efraim Karsh, in a recent talk, noted that neither Jordan nor Egypt allows representatives of the Muslim Brotherhood, which wishes to overthrow their states, in their governments. Why should Israel?

Many promises have been made to the left-wing parties that are part of the coalition. One of them requires a special note: there will be a “Department of Jewish Renewal” within the Diaspora Affairs Ministry, whose function will be to aid the Reform Movement in Israel. The likely Diaspora Affairs Minister will be Gilad Kariv, who is a Reform rabbi. I don’t have a theological objection to non-Orthodox Judaism; my problem is political: the Reform Movement in Israel is controlled and subsidized by the movement in the US, which doesn’t hide its desire to remake Israel in the image of a leftist America. Israel is not well-served by an organization that pushes the fantastic and dangerous idea of a two-state agreement with the PLO, or that appears to believe that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is like the American civil rights movement. It’s also waste of resources – the Reform movement has never gained traction in Israel, and is unlikely to do so even with government help.

There is a lot of very heated rhetoric coming from the Right – that Bennett and Lapid are traitors who have sold out the country because of their overweening ambition. That is clearly not the case. I do think they have the best interests of the state in mind. It should be noted that Bennett in particular has burned his bridges. If this government does not succeed, he is dead in politics.

At the same time, I don’t trust Mansour Abbas, the extreme-left Meretz party, or the only slightly less extreme Labor party. There are already rumors that representatives of the left-leaning parties have been in contact with American officials about resuming the “peace process.” It’s impossible to forget the way Shimon Peres and his associates blindsided Yitzhak Rabin with the Oslo process.

If you look at the ideologies of the various parties that ran in the recent election, it is clear that the great majority of Israelis prefer a right-wing government. If it were not for the question of Netanyahu, we would have a solid right-wing coalition of 70 to 80 mandates. Instead, we are getting a “unity” government that includes Meretz and Ra’am.

Israel is facing some serious tests now: last month, Arabs gangs in cities with mixed Jewish/Arab populations, incited by Hamas supporters on social media, went on a rampage that can only be called a pogrom, burning synagogues, cars, Jewish businesses, and Jewish homes, and beating (and even murdering) Jews. This accompanied the Hamas rocket attacks on Israeli cities. While news outlets tend to describe these events as “Jewish-Arab clashes” the Jewish part consisted mostly of attempts at self-defense where the police were unable to respond, and a comparatively small number of violent incidents perpetrated by Jews against Arabs. There are a huge number of illegal weapons in the hands of Israeli Arabs, including criminals, terrorists, and even ordinary citizens. Will the government have the courage and persistence to collect them?

The Biden Administration is pressuring Israel to limit the right of Jews to live in eastern Jerusalem. Will the government have the spine to resist the pressure?

Hamas is demanding the release of more than 1,000 Palestinians imprisoned for terrorism in Israel in return for two captive civilians and the bodies of two soldiers killed in a Gaza operation in 2014. Will the government give in and release those with blood on their hands, as it did in the exchange for Gilad Shalit?

We’ll know soon enough.







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