Saturday, January 18, 2020

  • Saturday, January 18, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon


Last week, Special Envoy for Holocaust Issues Cherrie Daniels and Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism Elan Carr held a briefing in Washington.

Carr addressed the issue of when criticism of Israel turns into antisemitism:

There are three primary sources for the rise in anti-Semitism: the far-right ethnic supremacists, the radical-left anti-Zionists, and the militant Islamists.  It is a fundamental principle of our work that we do not rank these sources in importance nor do we minimize any of them.  All three are dangerous and all must be combated.  If one-third or two-thirds of a tumor is left untreated, the patient does not fare well.  So all must be combated.

When Jewish individuals are demonized, delegitimized, or when Israel is held to a standard not applied to any other country in the world, that is anti-Semitic.  Secretary of State Pompeo has clearly stated, and I quote: “This bigotry is taking on an insidious new form in the guise of ‘anti-Zionism.’ … Now, don’t get me wrong, criticizing Israel’s policies is an acceptable thing to do in a democracy.  It’s what we do.  But criticizing the very right to exist of Israel is not acceptable.  Anti-Zionism denies the very legitimacy of the Israeli state and of the Jewish people. … Let me go on [the] record: Anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism,” end quote.
Later, during Q&A, a reporter named Said who was clearly insulted by this tried to ask a question:

Q: My question is to Mr. Carr.  What would constitute a legitimate criticism of Israel in your opinion, or in your definition?

MR CARR:  Any criticism of Israeli policy is legitimate as long as Israel is not being subjected to a double standard.  Now, one of the defined examples of anti-Semitism is subjecting Israel to a double standard.  So even criticism of Israeli policy could be anti-Semitic if it’s a criticism that is – if it embraces a standard not applied to any other country in the world.  However, other than that case, any criticism of a policy of the state of Israel is legitimate.  However, criticizing Israel’s right to exist, targeting Israel as a Jewish collective, denying the Jewish people the right of self-determination in its ancient homeland, these are defined in the IHRA working definition as examples of contemporary anti-Semitism.

MS ORTAGUS:  Okay —
QUESTION:  But on – in terms of —
MS ORTAGUS:  Said, I’m trying to let everyone —
QUESTION:  Please, let me just follow up on this?
MS ORTAGUS:  No, we’re going to let everyone do a question first.
QUESTION:  I just wanted to clarify something that he’s —
MS ORTAGUS:  No.  We’ll let your colleagues have a question, and then we can come back to you once everyone’s had a chance.  Thanks.
Said managed to get his followup later, but he wasn't pleased that he couldn't start an anti-Israel rant this time either:

MS ORTAGUS:  Said, did you have another follow-up?

QUESTION:  Yeah, I just wanted to clarify.  You said that Israel is being held to a double standard.  Can you give us some examples?  I assume you – that you are referring to debate or activities that probably are taking place in international bodies like the UN and other places.  Could you clarify and cite some examples?

MR CARR:  Exactly.  Well, exactly.  I mean, the UN Human Rights Council’s obsessive focus on condemning Israel and according Israel a specific agenda item for discussion and condemnation is unacceptable, and that’s one of the reasons why the United States walked out.  And we see under the leadership of President Trump and Secretary Pompeo a determination not to collude in this kind of singling out of the one Jewish state in the world and treating Israel like no other country should be treated.
Now, again, criticism of Israeli policy, sure, have at it.  You can criticize American policy, Israel’s policy, and every country’s policy.  But be fair, don’t apply double standards, and don’t question the very right of the Jewish state to exist.

QUESTION:  But Israel, you must agree, occupied the Palestinians for over 52 years.

MS ORTAGUS:  Wait, let’s let Michel go.  Go ahead.  Thank you.  You don’t have to answer that.  Go ahead, Michel.
QUESTION:  What’s the —
QUESTION:  Can I finish my question, Morgan, because that is the kind of —
MS ORTAGUS:  No, you can’t.  No, you can’t.  You cannot finish, thank you.  Go ahead, Michel.
To Said, obviously Israel should be treated with double standards, because, um, occupation!

Ironically, HRW's Ken Roth tweeted Carr's definition of antisemitism including double-standards towards Israel without any irony that this is exactly how HRW treats Israel.

I responded with several examples.





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Friday, January 17, 2020

From Ian:

Melanie Phillips: The west mourns the Jewish dead. But what about the living
At Yad Vashem in Jerusalem on Jan. 23, some 46 political leaders and royals, including Britain’s Prince Charles, will be attending the fifth World Holocaust Forum to commemorate Holocaust Remembrance Day and the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.

At this and doubtless other such memorial events, many eloquent, important and heartfelt observations will be made about the evils of Nazism and Jew-hatred. In today’s climate, however, there’s something disquieting about such memorializing.

Given the eruption of physical and verbal attacks on Jews in Britain, America and Europe, it might be said that it’s never been so important to remember the horrors of the Holocaust.

But the west is now teeming with Holocaust memorials and museums, while schools have been imparting Holocaust education since the 1980s. And yet never since the defeat of Nazism has there been such an epidemic of Jew-hatred in western society.

Moreover, some of the countries that will be represented at Yad Vashem support people who want to kill Jews. They fund the Palestinians, who pump out murderous anti-Jewish and anti-Israel incitement.

Some of these countries have also turned a blind eye for years to the Iranian regime’s genocidal agenda towards Israel and the Jewish diaspora, and have even been trying to continue to funnel billions of dollars into Iran in defiance of U.S. sanctions.

To put it bluntly, it might appear that while the west beats its collective breast over dead Jews, it is largely indifferent to the mortal threats currently posed to the living ones.

At the very least, it’s clear that all this Holocaust memorializing and education hasn’t put antisemitism back in its putrid box.

Indeed, such Jew-hatred is propagated most perversely among liberals, who constantly flaunt their anti-racist and anti-Nazi credentials.

Keep an eye out for Israel Derangement Syndrome
I am not a psychiatrist, but I’ve observed a kind of psychosis in far-left activists of the West who claim to be progressives championing the Palestinian cause: Israel Derangement Syndrome, or IDS.

Sufferers of this insidious illness don’t rationally advocate for Palestinians and criticise Israeli policies, in the same way they’d criticise other states. They are doctrinaire cultists possessed of an unadulterated, unhinged hatred for Israel, which they see as a uniquely evil state that must be eradicated. Until then, it will be their all-consuming, defining cause; never mind the Uyghurs, Kurds or Iranian women. In indulging in the delusion that the end (of Israel) goal will eventually occur, they are complicit in perpetuating the conflict and emboldening the despotic regimes that act against the interests of the very people they purport to champion, the Palestinians.

Corbynism is the most recent prominent example of IDS. While we will no longer be bombarded with its leader’s sneering visage, the animosity towards Israel that its dogmatism exemplifies, replete with conspiracism and terrorist sympathising, is unlikely to fade. And it is rising across the Atlantic.

The hallmarks of this anti-Israeli posturing cult include such garb as ‘free Palestine’ t-shirts, keffiyehs, and snazzy accessories daubed with Palestinian flags. Their social media is flooded with memes and Electronic Intifada articles about evil Israel, and little else. They proudly quote token anti-Israel Jews like Noam Chomsky. In their special language ‘peace and justice’ is code for ‘end of Israel’ and ‘resistance’ is code for ‘terrorism’. And they think they’re clever, rhyming ‘resistance is justified’ with ‘apartheid’ and ‘genocide’ in their street mob chants.

The derangement that Israel is the root of all evil requires certain tropes and conspiracy theories — such as that Israel was behind 9/11 and Isis — to make sense of a world that is too complex, nuanced, uncertain and daunting, for their ideology to accommodate. But when, despite their best efforts, Israel can’t be blamed for the Palestinian plight, you will not hear a whimper from them. Not about the Palestinians living in Lebanon who are denied citizenship, excluded from social services and prohibited from owning property and entering over 20 professions. Nor that Palestinians are among the worst affected by the Syrian civil war and that their community in Yarmouk has been decimated. Nothing about the Gazans whose protests against Hamas are brutally suppressed, or LGBT groups, women’s organisations and journalists increasingly persecuted by the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank. They’ll excoriate Israel (never Egypt) for the blockade on the Gaza strip and the poverty of its people, but ignore the fact that, despite the blockade and poverty, Hamas spends tens of millions building sophisticated tunnels under Israel and firing thousands of rockets at it, instead of building hospitals. And when President Abbas recently announced that he won’t allow the building of a US-funded field hospital in Gaza, silence.
Martin Luther King on Peace, Israeli Security and Anti-Zionism
The Op-Ed also pointed out that King was clearly against against attacks on Zionists. Lewis wrote that “During an appearance at Harvard University shortly before his death, a student stood up and asked King to address himself to the issue of Zionism. The question was clearly hostile. King responded, ‘When people criticize Zionists they mean Jews, you are talking anti-Semitism.'” (This is not to be confused with a widely circulated hoax letter said to be written by King.)

Clarence B. Jones, a friend and advisor to King, likewise recalled King’s opposition to anti-Zionism. “I can say with absolute certainty that Martin abhorred anti-Semitism in all its forms, including anti-Zionism,” he explained in a 2008 Op-Ed. Jones elaborated on that point in What Would Martin Say?, a book he co-authored with Joel Engel. Mainstream reporters, he argues, have given a pass to anti-Semitism by black leaders like Al Sharpton because they buy the rationale that Israel’s existence is a provocation to Arabs. “Martin, for one, could see this coming after the Six-Day War in 1967, which is why he warned repeatedly that anti-Semitism would soon be disguised as anti-Zionism.”

While King would surely support better circumstances for both Israelis and Palestinians, it seems clear that he was unambiguously opposed to the Israel-bashing that counts as pro-Palestinian advocacy today. His strong statement about Israel’s right to exist suggests he recognized the centrality of this issue to the conflict. And judging by his views on anti-Zionism, he would be outraged by the idea that an avowed anti-Zionist like Omar Barghouti, who openly calls for replacing Israel with a state in which Jews will be a minority, pretends King would back boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel.


  • Friday, January 17, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon
Eugene Kontorovich, testifying before Congress this week in the hearing “Confronting the Rise in Anti-Semitic Domestic Terrorism”, submitted his statement that included a legal argument that BDS is discriminatory against Jews that I had never heard before.

It makes no difference that these calls to boycott are aimed at Israel, rather than at Jews per se. Israel is the largest Jewish community in the world and is home to the plurality—and soon the majority—of the world’s Jews. Refusals to deal that target Israel alone and not any other country offer a clear proxy for engaging in anti-Semitism under the cloak of political legitimacy. Partial boycotts are boycotts. Furthermore, discrimination need not be 100% congruent with the targeted class to be discrimination. Anti-discrimination laws make it clear that the use of proxies for race, sexual orientation, and so forth can be discriminatory.
 His footnote points to Pacific Shores Properties, LLC v. City of Newport Beach 
Proxy discrimination is a form of facial discrimination. It arises when the defendant enacts a law or policy that treats individuals differently on the basis of seemingly neutral criteria that are so closely associated with the disfavored group that discrimination on the basis of such criteria is, constructively, facial discrimination against the disfavored group. For example, discriminating against individuals with gray hair is a proxy for age discrimination because “the ‘fit’ between age and gray hair is sufficiently close.” 
Some young people have grey hair, many older people do not. But to say that you are only discriminating against hair color and not age is obviously disingenuous because there is an obvious correlation between the two. Similarly, boycotting Israel, as the only Jewish state and the only state with a majority Jewish population, especially when other states whose egregious human rights violations do not attract any sort of boycott, is in effect antisemitic.






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From Ian:

Ruthie Blum: Right from wrong - Neda Soltan’s message from the grave
ON JUNE 29, nine days after Neda’s cruel end, Iran’s Guardian Council conducted a “vote recount” at the behest of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei – who had declared Ahmadinejad’s victory a “divine assessment” – and concluded, of course, that the election results were sound.

Shouts of “death to the dictator” from balconies throughout Iran ensued. Though the chanting was in Farsi, placards denouncing Ahmadinejad all were written in English – a clear signal of the protesters’ plea for outside sympathy and aid.

Unfortunately for the trapped and subjugated Iranian people, however, the administration in Washington was now headed by Barack Obama. Obama had entered the White House a mere few months earlier with the aim of reversing the policies of his predecessor, George W. Bush, especially those relating to the Middle East in general and the Iranian threat in particular.

Believing that the path to ridding Iran of its nuclear and hegemonic ambitions would be through goodwill gestures to the mullahs, Obama not only abandoned the Bush-coined term “axis of evil” to define state sponsors of terrorism – with Iran at the top of the list – but referred to the militia-monitored election process there as a “robust debate.”

He then continued to stress that America was going to engage in diplomacy with the Islamic Republic, regardless of who was at the helm.

Well, the proud “leader from behind” certainly kept his word on that one. As the regime in Tehran jailed, tortured and mowed down enough demonstrators to make the others recoil in fear – and Neda’s image faded from global consciousness – Obama got busy with his P5+1 counterparts in China, France, Britain, Russia and Germany orchestrating and pushing for the bogus nuclear deal with Iran that was reached in July 2015.
There's a revolution going on in the Mideast. Why doesn't the West see that?
Surveying the anti-government protests in Lebanon, Iraq, and Iran, as well as the refusal of the Syrian revolutionaries to surrender, the Canadian journalist Terry Glavin writes:

There is a revolution going on. It has been underway in fits and starts for years. It unites Lebanese, Syrians, Iranians, and Iraqis. Its object is the sundering of a bloody Khomeinist despotism that runs from the [Islamist dictatorship] in Tehran through the Assad regime in Damascus to Hizballah in Lebanon, and Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza, and the Hashd al-Shaabi militias in Iraq, which have now insinuated themselves into every branch of the Iraqi state.

It’s all very well for Canada’s Justin Trudeau and the United Kingdom’s Boris Johnson and Germany’s Angela Merkel and France’s Emmanuel Macron to want to force Tehran to get back in line with Barack Obama’s nuclear-rapprochement arrangement, which Donald Trump has renounced. But the genie will not be put back in the bottle so easily.

It was Obama’s nuclear deal that freed up [Iran’s] Quds Force to enforce its ghastly Khomeinist hegemony throughout the region in the first place, and now, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani is warning that European soldiers in the region, not just American soldiers, may soon find themselves on the Quds Force’s target list. Counseling a return to the Obama-era status quo is not a call to de-escalation. Don’t believe it.

It is profoundly ill-advised. It may suit the purposes of some Canadian and European firms that are scraping for a place for themselves in the Iranian economy, much of which is owned and controlled by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. But it would be a profound betrayal of the people of Lebanon, Syria, Iran, and Iraq, who have already known little but betrayal from six successive Democratic and Republican administrations in the United States, and from the “West” generally, Canada included.
UK adds entire Hezbollah movement to terror blacklist
Britain's finance ministry on Friday said it had added Lebanon's entire Hezbollah movement to its list of terrorist groups subject to asset freezing.

The ministry previously only targeted the Shiite organisation's military wing but has now listed the whole group after the government designated it a terrorist organisation last March.

The change requires any individual or institution in Britain with accounts or financial services connected to Hezbollah to suspend them or face prosecution.

The group had "publicly denied a distinction between its military and political wings," the Treasury said in a notice posted on its website.

"The group in its entirety is assessed to be concerned in terrorism and was proscribed as a terrorist organisation in the UK in March 2019," it added.

"This listing includes the Military Wing, the Jihad Council and all units reporting to it, including the External Security Organisation."

A finance ministry spokesman said the change followed its annual review of the asset freezing register, and brought it into line with the 2019 decision by the interior minister to blacklist all of Hezbollah.

"The UK remains committed to the stability of Lebanon and the region, and we continue to work closely with our Lebanese partners," the spokesman added.

  • Friday, January 17, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon
Egypt and Turkey are having a spat over journalists and media freedom. They both sound like children.

From Daily News Egypt:
In a response to media reports on Egyptian police raid on the Turkish news agency Anadolu, an Egyptian high-ranking state official said Egypt is free to take any means to preserve its national security.

The raid was conducted on Wednesday and resulted in the arrest of four agency employees, according to the agency’s website.

The Egyptian official told Daily News Egypt on Wednesday that the Turkish news agency does not follow international standards of journalism, as it is adopting a hostile stance against the Egyptian people and leadership.

“Egypt does not interfere in other countries internal affairs, therefore it will not allow any entity or country to defame its reputation or release false and inaccurate news. Egypt considers this as an infringement of sovereign rights, which is a red line for us,” the official added.

In addition, the official added, Anadolu supported terrorist entities like the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood.

Meanwhile, the Turkish Foreign Ministry on Wednesday summoned Egypt’s Ankara charge d’affaires over the police raid, according to authorities.

The ministry conveyed Turkey’s reaction on the raid and detention, diplomatic sources said on anonymity.

Turkey strongly condemned the raid, urging the immediate release of the agency’s employees.

The drama continued. From Egypt Independent:

The Egyptian Foreign Ministry responded early on Thursday to Turkey’s statement about the arrest of four journalists working for the official Turkish Anadolu News Agency in Egypt, one of whom was a Turkish national, alleging that Anadolu is an “illegal” company founded by the Muslim Brotherhood, which is outlawed in Egypt and has been designated a terrorist group since 2013.

Ahmed Hafez, a spokesperson for the Egyptian Foreign Ministry, stressed in the statement “Egypt’s rejection, in whole and in detail, of what was stated by the Foreign Turkish Ministry and other Turkish statements,” calling the arrest of the four journalists this week “legal measures” taken by the Egyptian authorities against one of the electronic “illegal” Turkish media outlets in Egypt.

With backing from Turkey, Hafez claimed, the Anadolu spreads “false and fabricated information” related to political, economic, security and legal conditions in Egypt, in what he alleged is an attempt to “distort the country’s image” domestically and abroad.

The statement described the current regime in Turkey under current president Recep Tayyip Erdogan as “one of the worst” on the international indicators of press freedom, freedom of expression and opinion, as well as other fundamental rights.

He pointed out that Turkey occupied an advanced position in the rates of imprisonment of journalists, ranking 157 out of 180 countries on the Freedom of the Press Index for 2019. He added that licenses of nearly 682 journalists in Turkey from November 2018 to March 2019 were revoked.

Hafez also claimed that Turkey supported and financed extremist groups and terrorist militias in a number of countries in the region in an attempt to achieve personal aspirations and “evoke past glories.”
The human rights records of both countries are abysmal, of course. The fact that they are each accusing the other of being worse on that score shows that they at least pretend to care.

That's something, right?




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  • Friday, January 17, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon
We reported that Israel was pouring millions of dollars into building schools as alternatives to the UNRWA schools in Arab sections of Jerusalem that teach kids to support terror and aspire to be "martyrs."

UNRWA's new acting commissioner is not happy with Israel providing "refugee" children with a choice:

[Interim head of UNRWA] Christian Saunders said Israel was seeking to replace United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) services for Palestinians in occupied East Jerusalem with those of its own.

He said UNRWA was feeling "the pressure in East Jerusalem in particular", saying that Israel was in the process of building schools and institutions "to compete" with the agency and stop it from operating there.

"The important thing to remember here is that UNRWA has a mandate from the [UN] General Assembly, from the rest of the world, the member states, to provide services to Palestinian refugees in East Jerusalem," Saunders said.
The UNRWA mandate does not say that Palestinians cannot choose their own schools! For an agency with budgetary problems, UNRWA should welcome anything that eases its burden - if it was an objective agency tasked with helping Palestinian Arabs. But in fact it is a political organization dedicated to keeping the "refugee" problem festering forever so it can stay in business.

Also, Israeli schools are unlikely to teach students that Israel will be destroyed by their fire and blood. Apparently, this is a problem for UNRWA.

 Can Israel shut down UNRWA in Jerusalem completely if it wants?

Right now Israel and UNRWA are operating under a provisional agreement they made in 1967 "which will remain in force until replaced or cancelled." Which makes it sound like Israel can renegotiate this agreement any time it wants to.

However, Israel's main limitation is the Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations of 13 February 1946, which says that
The premises of the United Nations shall be inviolable. The property and assets of the United Nations, wherever located and by whomsoever held, shall be immune from search, requisition, confiscation, expropriation and any other form of interference, whether by executive, administrative, judicial or legislative action. 
So it appears that Israel cannot shut down any UNRWA school, but at the same time the UN cannot stop Palestinian Arab parents from sending their kids to Israeli schools if they want.

(h/t Irene)



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  • Friday, January 17, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon


A very interesting article in Middle East Eye:
The leaders of Iranian-backed paramilitary groups  in Iraq have agreed to put their differences aside and back Hadi al-Amiri as the new chairman of the Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF) as part of a wider plan brokered by Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah to quell tensions between the groups and create a “united resistance” to US troops in the country.

The informal agreement was forged at a meeting convened in Beirut on Thursday after Nasrallah was asked by Iran to organise its Iraqi factions following the assassinations of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the de facto leader of the PMF, in a US drone strike in Baghdad on 3 January.

...Commanders and senior officials within most of the most prominent pro-Iran armed factions, including Asaib Ahl al-Haq, Kataeb Hezbollah, Kataib Jund al-Imam, Kataib Sayyid al-Shuhada and Kataib al-Imam Ali, arrived in Beirut on Thursday in response to Nasrallah's call for them to “set aside differences” and promote calm in the aftermath of the US strikes.

...The meetings in Beirut sponsored by Nasrallah “were aimed at achieving a truce between these factions,” a commander who attended told MEE.

“Iran asked Nasrallah to play the same role that Soleimani was playing in Iraq until some decisions are made,” the commander said.
So Soleimani's successor as head of the Quds Force and other Iranian leaders, do not have the popularity and gravitas to deal with these complex internal issues - but Hezbollah's leader Nasrallah does.

And this is only one of the many things Soleimani was involved with.

This shows that Soleimani was literally irreplaceable given the sheer breadth of things he was involved with. And that Khamenei doesn't trust his own people to do such a delicate job as this one.

Nasrallah just needs to show himself....





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Thursday, January 16, 2020

From Ian:

Mark Twain’s Land of Israel
Published in 1869, Mark Twain’s The Innocents Abroad was the book that launched him to literary stardom. It is based on the dispatches he wrote from a steamship tour that took him to various Mediterranean and Black Sea ports of call, including Jaffa and Jerusalem. To commemorate the 150th anniversary of the publication of The Innocents Abroad, the New-York Historical Association has mounted an exhibit on Twain’s visit to the Holy Land, where, writes Diane Cole, he found his tour’s “main attraction”:

Throughout the trip, Twain highlighted the disparity between the desire of his guidebook-led companions to see what they had been promised and the reality of what was actually in front of them. The contrast reached its peak once they arrived in the Holy Land. “I must studiously and faithfully unlearn a great many things I have somehow absorbed concerning Palestine,” he commented, beginning with the reality of the relatively small size of the local grapes he saw, as opposed to the enormous vines portrayed in his favorite Bible-story illustrations.

Similarly, Jerusalem itself seemed “[s]o small! Why, it was no larger than an American village of four thousand inhabitants,” he wrote.

But beyond Twain’s 1867 [visit to the Holy Land] . . . it was his later travels to Europe in the 1890s that brought to the fore his rejection of anti-Semitism. In Paris, he was shocked by the visceral anti-Semitism exhibited in the Dreyfus affair. Visiting Vienna, he was condemned by the increasingly anti-Semitic press there for meeting with leading Jewish intellectuals such as Sigmund Freud and Theodor Herzl.
Pittsburgh native Bari Weiss wins book award for work on anti-Semitism
Pittsburgh native Bari Weiss won a 2019 National Jewish Book Award for her book “How to Fight Anti-Semitism.”

Weiss, who grew up in Squirrel Hill and graduated from Shady Side Academy, won the Myra H. Kraft Memorial Award in the category Contemporary Jewish Life and Practice. Hers was one of two 2019 books on anti-Semitism cited as “important and timely” in the Jewish Book Council announcement.

Weiss, 35, of New York, wrote the book in response to the 2018 attack on the Tree of Life synagogue, where she celebrated her bat mitzvah 21 years earlier.

“Weiss’ cri de coeur is an unnerv­ing reminder that Jews must nev­er lose their hard-won instinct for dan­ger, and a pow­er­ful case for renew­ing Jew­ish and Amer­i­can val­ues in uncer­tain times from one of our most provoca­tive writ­ers,” according to her publisher, Crown.
Why are African Americans silent amid anti-Semitism?
The response in too many cases was silence. It was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. who said, “At the end of our lives, it won’t be the words of our enemies that wound us most, but the silence of our friends.”

What is the knot in the throats of African Americans that keeps us from speaking out against anti-Semitism? Why have we remained silent in the face of hate-filled speech directed at the Jewish community by Black leaders like Minister Louis Farrakhan whose venomous sermons call secular Jews the Synagogue of Satan? Aren’t we the ones blessed with internal radars sensitive to the nuances of racism by even the most unsuspecting white bigot (“But Kristina, some of my best friends are black!)? Does our moral compass only include Black people? If that is the case, then ours is a false morality. The reason we admire righteous men like Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, and Barack Obama is precisely because their leadership extended humanity to all people.

If I can say Black Lives Matter in the face of police corruption and brutality, then I should also be able to say that Jewish Lives Matter when members of their community are gunned down in cold blood. Because anti-Semitism is racism, and because, as the German martyr Dietrich Bonhoeffer once said, “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil. God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”

During the last three years, I have seen a rise in anti-Semitism in the Black community. Part of this stems from a rise in hate speech across our nation that is being pushed at the highest levels of leadership. Teachings rooted in hatred of the other, left unchecked, lead to incidents like Jersey City – and Charlottesville. But there is another issue, a specific issue, that gives otherwise morally-courageous Black leaders pause when dealing with the issue of the Jews? That issue is identity. There is a desperate cry in the heart of every African American surrounding issues of identity that our Jewish friends, even after the Holocaust, do not understand. (h/t Yerushalimey)



  • Thursday, January 16, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon
In the middle of an anti-Israel article in Jordan's Ad Dostour the author Marwan Soudah writes:
 In the context of exposing Zionism with the pens of our foreign supporters, in 1969 in Moscow there appeared from the Novosti Soviet News Agency a book written by the martyr of thought and the word, Yuri Ivanov, entitled "Beware of Zionism!". .... I remember that these books were distributed in Amman for free and on a large scale to the pioneers of the Soviet Cultural Center, and personally I received my share of them from the hand of the Librarian of the Center, the late great friend Amin Afaneh, and the director of the center.
 In his realistic definition of Zionism, Ivanov says, “Modern Zionism is the ideology, a ramified system of organisations and the practical politics of the wealthy Jewish bourgeoisie which has closely allied itself with monopoly circles in the USA and other imperialist countries. The main content of Zionism is bellicose chauvinism and anti-communism.”

 Citing facts, Ivanov goes on to state that the World Zionist Union seeks to enrich by all means, to guarantee within the framework of the imperialist system, power and parasitism, as well as intellectual and political domination...while recalling the integrated system of Herzl ideas that adopted the displacement of the Arabs. 
I knew that Soviet antisemitism and "anti-Zionism" was pushed to the Arab world, but I never saw an Arab describe exactly how.

Ivanov's book was one of the seminal works of official Soviet anti-Israel propaganda. The English translation is online. It clearly is meant to put a pseudo-academic gloss on the oldest hatred, yet its arguments are still being used by the anti-Israel Left today, even though they try mightily to tone down the anti-Jewish parts of the arguments.

For example, the Zionism is Racism argument started off here as Judaism is Racism:
What lies behind this protracted and deliberately confused uproar? Is it but another example of the open racism of the Zionists and the "fathers" of the Jewish religion?...Partly yes, but the heart of the matter lies elsewhere. The arch-reactionary nature of the Jewish faith has long been no secret—one has only to open the Bible for one's eyes to fall on numerous racist sentences. Even less of a secret is the racism of the Zionist leaders, for after all that was what they started from. 
Or this passage, again sounding like the far-Left do today, with the same thinly-veiled Jew-hate:

The Israeli authorities try to conceal brutalities, which are carried out with their sanction. Information on the crimes of the Israeli military has to get by a double barrier—Israeli military censorship and the censorship of international Zionism outside Israel. This must be borne in mind by anyone wishing to make a realistic estimate of the scale and degree of the brutal persecution of the Arabs by the Israeli militarists. Early in 1969, the Iraqi Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdul Karim al Sheikli sent a letter to the United Nations Secretary General U Thant, informing him of one of the latest crimes of the Israeli racists, the burying alive of 14 Arab prisoners-of-war. 
That accusation was complete fiction.
The destruction of Arab villages, shooting on peaceful demonstrations of women and children, torture in interrogation, the widespread use of paid hirelings to organise the "elimination" of people refusing to serve the Zionist interests, and other equally heinous criminal acts, are on the conscience of those like Golda Meir, who is able to put to her listeners the rhetorical question: "Why when a house is destroyed do people start raising cries of barbarism?"!
Meir never said that.
In sowing fascist methods in Israel, carefully cultivating racism there, and oppressing hundreds of thousands of Arabs, international Zionism—a tool and agent of imperialism—often dons all kinds of garb to appeal to small peoples and national groups on the grounds of "common interests." Sometimes, as is the case in Africa, for example, ignorance of the true nature of Zionism enables it to carry out the most base acts of provocation, on orders from London and Washington. 
Remember, this was written in 1970. Anti-Israel literature before this was crude and more openly antisemitic, pushed mostly by Arabs and Christians. The Soviet anti-Israel and antisemitic propaganda is still openly used and accepted as fact after generations of indoctrination - mostly in academia. 

It is really scary how successful it has been. 






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Extinction RebellionMelbourne, January 16 - Progressive activists seeking to link every cause to the struggle for Palestinian independence confessed today they have yet to arrive at a successful formula for making the fight against long-term, human-induced atmospheric shifts dependent on, or at least subordinate to, the campaign against Israel.

Speaking against the backdrop of fires that have devastated Australia's wilderness, activists described the challenges they have faced drawing a convincing causal relationship between climate change and those disasters, let alone between those two phenomena and Israeli policies or existence.

"Gaining traction with this one has proved harder than we anticipated," conceded Ali Latdam, who helped pioneer the progressive assertion that the Black Lives Matter movement formed but a part of a larger struggle against Israeli treatment of Palestinians. "I think part of the difficulty stems from the lack of resonance climate change already suffers outside a limited cadre of activists. We can't take the fight against global warming to the Zionists unless and until we can generate enough popular support for the fight against global warming in the the first place, and the fight against climate change, despite its prominence in the media, simply doesn't register as a priority among enough people outside the Soros-funded matrix of NGOs."

Activists acknowledge that efforts to draw a direct connection between Israeli policies and climate have enjoyed limited success at best. "We of course have the more-or-less annual accusation of Israel opening dams and flooding Gaza when serious rain hits," noted Rania Khalek. "That always generates some buzz. But it gets less and less effective each year as Zionist Hasbara people counter faster and faster with the irrelevant fact that Israel has no such dams. We're left with deploring the environmental conditions in Gaza, but as in Australia, basically nobody cares."

Contributing to the awkwardness in progressive anti-Israel spaces and groups,  those who claim to advocate for democracy and who therefore decry what they call Israel's denial of Palestinian democratic rights - even though Palestinians under the Palestinian Authority have political autonomy and may hold their own elections, which they have neglected to do since 2006 - have remained silent in the face of pro-democracy and anti-regime demonstrations in Iran, a chief financier of Palestinian, Syrian, and Lebanese terrorist groups that target Israel. "We're just going to wait till this blows over and then get back to business as usual," predicted Latdam. "Did you know it's all a Zionist plot to distract from Israeli crimes?"




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From Ian:

Qassem Suleimani’s Career of Trying to Kill Jews
Following the U.S. drone strike that resulted in the death of Qassem Soleimani, the leader of the Quds Force (“Jerusalem Force”) of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), a select group of Palestinian dignitaries attended his funeral. One of the few non-family members honored with eulogizing Soleimani was Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, who lauded him as “Jerusalem’s own martyr.” Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader Ziad Al-Nakhleh also paid his respects. Subsequent to the funeral, Haniyeh and a high-level Hamas delegation met with Soleimani’s successor, Esmail Ghaani. The participation of these terrorist leaders in Soleimani’s funeral signals the longtime destructive role that Iran plays throughout the region and worldwide.

Soleimani’s Al-Quds Force (AQF) was initially formed a year after Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s 1979 Islamic Revolution as the Organization of Liberation Movements, a unit of the IRGC. Its mission was to fulfil the late ayatollah’s declared goal of exporting the Iranian Revolution in order to “liberate Jerusalem.” Reflecting the central role that the AQF plays in Iranian military and foreign policy, as commander of the unit Soleimani reported directly to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, not to the commander in chief of the Revolutionary Guards. It is also a demonstration of the official sanction and support for its activities that the IRGC-AQF receives from the highest level of the Iranian leadership.

Among the AQF’s first recruits were Lebanese and Syrian followers of Khomeini’s ideology who established Hezbollah. Since then the AQF has been responsible for having trained thousands of operatives from Hezbollah, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Additionally, it has long provided logistical support for such organizations, including providing weapons and explosives, training in terrorist tradecraft and cooperation in executing attacks. Throughout the Middle East, AQF has further expanded Iran’s hegemony by similarly funding, training and equipping Iraqi Shi’i militias, providing arms, financial support and training to the Taliban, and military advisers and weapons to the Houthis in Yemen.

From their earliest days, organizations trained by the Al-Quds Force have targeted Jews and Israelis. Hezbollah initially targeted Lebanese Jews in the mid-1980s and went on to carry out suicide-bombing attacks against Israeli military installations and personnel in Lebanon. By the early 1990s, AQF together with Hezbollah trained leaders of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad in executing suicide-bombings, thereby exporting such attacks to Israel. The tactic of such bombings was employed internationally by AQF and Hezbollah, causing the destruction the Israeli embassy in Argentina in 1992, killing 29 and injuring 242. Two years later, two Jewish communities in Latin America were targeted by Hezbollah suicide bombers assisted by the IRGC-AQF. Argentinian Jews were murdered in the AMIA attack in Buenos Aires that killed 85 and wounded more than 300 people. Just 24 hours after the AMIA attack, 21 Panamanians, including 12 prominent Jewish businessmen, were killed aboard a commuter flight by a Hezbollah suicide bomber.
JPost Editorial: Squeezing Iran
The European development is potentially a game changer. As Yonah Jeremy Bob wrote in The Jerusalem Post, the EU trio has been on the fence about whether to adopt the view of the US and Israel that the 2015 agreement is dangerous and allows Iran to continue its nuclear plans. By triggering the dispute mechanism in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the trio has made a very tentative move to get off the fence.

The three countries said they still want to see the 2015 deal succeed and are not about to abandon the pact and restore economic sanctions, as the US did in 2018. However, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in an interview with the BBC on Tuesday that he wouldn’t be averse to the JCPOA being replaced by a new deal, and encouraged Trump to emerge with such a plan.

That’s a flurry of activity to absorb, as the Iranian issue seems to be coming to a head. Factor in the continued street protests in Iran calling for the dismissal of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, following the downing of the Ukrainian passenger plane last week which resulted in the deaths of many Iranians, and it looks like Iran is being squeezed from all sides.

That was how US Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook put it in an interview with the Post’s Omri Nahmias.

“We have weakened the regime dramatically. We’ve weakened their proxies, and we have disrupted and deterred many Iranian operations,” said Hook.

“Right now, you have the Iranian people putting pressure on the regime from the bottom up. Our maximum pressure is putting pressure on the regime from the top down. This has left the regime with very few options, and all of them are bad. And so at some point the supreme leader, we hope, will start making better decisions for the Iranian people and for the Middle East,” Hook continued.

Soleimani’s elimination, the EU trio’s decision to invoke the JCPOA dispute mechanism and demonstrations by the Iranian people all point to a potential watershed moment that should be exploited to its maximum benefit by the US and its allies.
Realism means preparing for war. And peace
This is a maddeningly confusing moment in Israel’s relations with the Middle East. Israel could be headed toward two opposing realities simultaneously: on the one hand, devastating war with Iran and its proxies; on the other, unprecedented possibilities for peace with parts of the region. We need to pay attention to both threat and opportunity.

Since 2012, when the IDF launched its campaign of attacks to prevent Iranian forces and advanced weapons from converging on its borders, Israel and Iran have been effectively at war. So far, Iran has been wary of retaliating, fearful of the Israeli reaction, which will be severe. But as the IDF has repeatedly warned the Israeli public, it is just a matter of time before the conflict escalates. Tens of thousands of missiles and rockets are aimed at Israel’s cities and towns; and not even Israel’s impressive anti-missile defense system will be able to stop massive devastation.

The US killing of Iran’s military chief Qasem Soleimani may have brought the next phase of the Israeli-Iranian war closer. And yet few in Israel opposed the assassination. Israelis take the Iranian regime’s genocidal rhetoric seriously, and see in its destabilization of the region proof of its murderous credibility. With Iranian proxy Hezbollah in Lebanon, Iranian Revolutionary Guards in Syria, and Iran-backed Hamas in Gaza, Israel is now effectively surrounded by Iranian and pro-Iranian forces – a process directed by Soleimani.

For Israelis this isn’t about Trump or Obama but about facing a potentially existential threat. A near-total consensus exists here on the need to confront Iranian expansionism. The country is now entering round three of this year’s interminable election campaign, and yet, for all the bitterness, not one politician across the mainstream spectrum has challenged the wisdom of Israeli attacks against Iranian forces. No one is warning about “recklessness” or “military adventurism.”

  • Thursday, January 16, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon
The Iranian regime has gone back from pretending to accept responsibility for shooting down Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 to blaming the US. Tehran Times writes:

A possible disruption in Iran’s radar network by the U.S. may have caused the operator mistake the Ukrainian passenger plan for an  incoming American cruise missile, at top Iranian military official said late on Tuesday.

Ali Abdollahi, the deputy commander of the Armed Forces General Headquarters for coordination affairs, said “the U.S. mischiefs in the region have been proven before, and so far Iran’s cyber systems have observed and recorded virtual objects manufactured by the U.S. in the country’s airspace”

“Disruption in performance of radar systems by the United States is not unprecedented,” the military official told national TV.

Abdollahi said a team has been established to investigate such a possibility.
Guess what? If Iranian radar is so easily fooled, then no one has any business trying to use it to shoot down objects that could be passenger airplanes!

Meanwhile, Forbes has been interviewing experts who make it sound like either Iran's air defense operators are incredibly incompetent or criminally negligent.

 David Deptula, a retired U.S. Air Force lieutenant general who heads the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies, [says] “There are a lot of question marks as to why and how this could have happened.”

The Boeing 737-800 was transmitting a unique transponder identification code. If the equipment on the SA-15 that picks that up, called an IFF interrogator, was malfunctioning, battery operators would typically look at the schedule of airline traffic through their area and see if the target matched with a scheduled flight, Deptula says. Flight PS 752 was delayed by almost an hour from its scheduled departure, taking off at 6:12 a.m.

The SA-15 operators also would have considered the path and speed of the plane on radar. “Is it operating at low altitude, at high speed, headed toward a sensitive area”? Deptula asks. Flight PS 752 was rising toward 8,000 feet at a relatively sedate speed of 275 knots when flight tracking data from its transponder cut out, a normal profile for an airliner, he says. “It is departing the area, climbing through medium altitude, not trying to hide its signature, looking like a routine operation.”
--
Security camera footage published by the New York Times on Tuesday shows the flight of two interceptor missiles from launch to detonation, which provides a basis to estimate where the air defense battery was located: 12.9 kilometers (8 miles) away from where the first missile intercepted the plane, likely parked at the southern end of the Bidganeh missile base, estimates Carlo Kopp, a defense analyst and cofounder of the think tank Air Power Australia.

That’s beyond the 12-km maximum range of SA-15 missiles listed by the manufacturer, Almaz-Antey. Even assuming actual performance is better, the distance and the geometry of targeting a hostile aircraft on the flight path the airliner was on made launching missiles at that point a “hail Mary shot,” says Kopp, and one that training manuals for Soviet-pedigree systems using the same guidance system discourage taking.

Another discordant note is that the air defense unit is said to have determined that the object they were tracking was a cruise missile when it was 19 km away. Given the small size of a cruise missile, the SA-15’s search radar isn’t able to produce a stable targeting track to shoot at from so far away, Kopp says. Only a large object like the 737 would.

“When the IRGC leadership say the operators thought it was a cruise missile, it says to an expert that the operators did not understand the limitations of their equipment,” he says.


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