Saturday, March 22, 2014

From Ian:

J Street Endorses Palestinian Refusal to Recognize Israel as Jewish State
In a development that is not sending shockwaves through the pro-Israel community, the “pro-Israel, pro-peace” advocacy group J Street has declared its support for the Palestinian refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state.
In a statement posted on the group’s website, executive director Jeremy Ben-Ami says that to “keep moving forward, both [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas] now need to give a little.”
Netanyahu, he says, must drop his insistence that Abbas recognize Israel as a Jewish State because “it is simply unrealistic and unreasonable to expect any Palestinian leader to consent” to such a demand.
Ben-Ami never goes on to say what Abbas “needs to give.”
Caroline Glick: The worst alternative
Finally, they assume that Israel has no ability to withstand a European economic war. But this assessment ignores Israel’s burgeoning trade with Asia. China is building a rail link between the Red Sea and the Mediterranean through Israel as an alternative to the Suez Canal. Israel is India’s largest military supplier. Israel’s energy independence and emergence as a major exporter of natural gas similarly decreases its reliance on European markets.
To paraphrase Winston Churchill, the Israeli one-state plan is the worst possible plan for managing the Palestinian and pan-Arab conflict with Israel, except for every other plan that has been tried from time to time. It presents Israel with considerable threats and challenges. But on balance, as I show in my book, these threats are less acute and less dangerous than the ones Israel now faces. Moreover, the Israeli one-state plan is a viable prospect, which similarly distinguishes it from all the other ideas on offer.
Melanie Phillips "The Hijacking Human of Rights Law"

Watchdog Group Launches Online Ad Campaign on ‘Serious Anti-Israel Bias’ at NY Times
The Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) has launched a new online advertising campaign that draws attention to what the watchdog group calls “serious anti-Israel bias” at The New York Times.
The online banner, which is appearing on major news sites and blogs—including on the website of The New York Times itself—reads, “Until The New York Times Stops the Bias Against Israel, DON’T Subscribe!” (h/t Jewess)
Roger Waters justifies anti-Israel boycott with fake Gandhi quote
In the “exclusive,” Waters details the routine justifications, but then pulls out a supposed quote from Mahatma Gandhi to prove that Waters is on the right side of history (emphasis added):
In the furor that exists in the U.S. today about BDS and the right and wrong of a cultural boycott of Israel, a quote from one of my heroes, Mahatma Gandhi, has been on my mind. He prophetically said, “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” The BDS movement is fulfilling its promise and fits Gandhi’s description. Once dismissed by many as a futile strategy that would “never work,” BDS has gained much ground in recent weeks, bringing with it the expected backlash.
…. I think it’s safe to say BDS is in the “then they fight you” stage.
This is a common quote used by the BDS movement. The anti-Israel Mondoweiss website used it, as has a Northeastern Students for Justice in Palestine Facebook commenter and a commenter at the anti-Israel Electronic Intifada.
This student at the recent Northeastern University anti-Israel protest used it to fire up the crowd:
The only problem is that it’s a fake quote.
All available evidence is that Gandhi never said it, as The Christian Science Monitor noted in 2011, Political misquotes: The 10 most famous things never actually said:
Harriet Sherwood reports on latest target of anti-Zionist witch-hunt: Israeli architects
So, leaving aside the fact that RIBA evidently has no problem with the other 74 members of the International Union of Architects – a list which includes Pakistan, China, North Korea, Saudi Arabia and Syria – it seems that, per their own language opposing building on lands which has been “ethnically purified”, they should boycott a member “state” known as ’Palestine.
You see, while there are no restrictions on the purchase of private land in Israel by Israeli Arabs or by non-citizens (nor any such restrictions on leasing public land to Arabs by the Israeli Land Authority), the Palestinian Authority bans the sale of land to Jews. The Palestinian Land Law, which was originally put in force by Jordan when they occupied the West Bank, carries the death sentence.
Is it even debatable that banning the sale of land based solely on the fact that the potential buyer is Jewish represents a perfect example of ”ethnically purifying” the land?
But, of course, the BDS movement has never been concerned with the equal application of moral standards, but, rather, with legitimizing their racist witch-hunt – the targeting of Israeli Jews for delegitimization, demonization and exclusion.
Palestinian Activists Violently Threaten Pro-Israel Students
Pro-Palestinian activists on the University of Michigan campus have had the cops called on them for threatening pro-Israel students and staging a sit-in over the student government’s refusal to back an anti-Israel initiative to divest from the Jewish state.
University of Michigan police were contacted Wednesday evening after two pro-Palestinian activists allegedly threatened a student who refused to support their boycott initiative.
The threatening rhetoric used by these pro-Palestinian activists is part of wider campaign by the University of Michigan’s pro-Palestine group Students Allied for Freedom and Equality (SAFE), which is part of the virulently anti-Israel Boycott, Sanctions and Divestment movement (BDS).
Jewish voice for Peace Hypocrisy Shines through at Northeastern

JVP's strategy, as stated by executive director Rebecca Vilkomerson, is to create “a wedge” within the Jewish community to generate the impression of polarization over Israel.

From Jewish Voice for Peace, highlighting their hypocrisy, their tenuous grasps of facts, and their inability to predict the future. This week's theme: the suspension of Northeastern University's SJP for repeatedly violating university guidelines.French university shuts down pro-Israel event amid disruption
A French university shut down a pro-Israel event after disruptions by pro-Palestinian activists.
The administration of the Paris 8 University in Saint-Denis near Paris stopped the March 14 activity of approximately 10 members of the “What Israel” group “regretfully, and because of the risk of disruption of public order,” the university said in a statement.
Videos of the event showed some 25 pro-Palestinian demonstrators chanting “Zionists out,” “Zionist killers,” “Israel, get lost, Paris 8 doesn’t belong to you.” They handed out flyers calling for a boycott of Israel and waved a large Palestinian flag while chanting “Palestine will live on” from loudspeakers. They also chanted: “No dialogue with apartheid.”
Loyola University Students Launch Petition to Veto Israel Divestment Bill
The resolution, which passed 26-0 with two abstentions March 18, urges the university administration “to withdraw investments from eight corporations complicit in Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories, including Caterpillar, SodaStream, Veolia, and Hewlett-Packard.”
Drawing on the support from the Jewish United Fund’s Israel Education Center and Metro Chicago Hillel, pro-Israel Loyola students launched a petition that urges the student government president to veto the divestment resolution.
According to the Metro Chicago Hillel, the president of Loyola’s student government has invited pro-Israel students to present their position at the next student government meeting on March 25.
The Recognition Trap
Recognizing Israel as the Jewish State means more than just lip service, something Kerry may not understand, or care about.
Interestingly, Hanan Ashrawi, a prominent member of the PLO, unwittingly brought home this very point in an interview she gave to the Associated Press.
‎“I remember the days when we were told, `All you need is to get the PLO to recognize Israel, and recognize Israel’s right to exist in safe and secure boundaries,’” she said. “The Palestinians did just that,” she noted, as part of the 1990s peace agreements.
‎But did they?
Or did they just put words on paper?
If they truly recognized Israel’s right to exit, wouldn’t they stop referring to the establishment of Israel as the Nakba – the catastrophe? In May 2013, the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS), commemorated “the Palestinian Nakba” by announcing detailed figures on the numbers of Palestinian refugees in occupied Palestine and the diaspora.(h/t Elder of Lobby)
TV report: Abbas said ‘no’ to Obama on 3 core peace issues
On his trip to Washington this week, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas rejected US Secretary of State John Kerry’s framework document for continued peace talks with Israel, and issued “three no’s” on core issues, leaving the negotiations heading for an explosive collapse, an Israeli TV report said Friday.
Abbas “went to the White House and said ‘no’ to Obama,” Channel 2 news reported, quoting unnamed American and Israeli sources.
BBC continues to self-censor on the issue of PA recognition of Israel
No attempt whatsoever has been made by the BBC to clarify the significance of that demand as a way of ensuring that the agreement currently under negotiation would bring a real and lasting conclusion to the conflict by ending any potential future demands based on claim of Israel as ‘Palestinian’ or ‘Arab’ land.
This week, in an article about Mahmoud Abbas’ recent visit to Washington, the BBC informed audiences that “[t]he Palestinians recognise the State of Israel” and amplified the PA’s ‘reasons’ for its refusal to recognise Israel as the Jewish state. It has however consistently failed to inform audiences that even as negotiations are ongoing, the Palestinian Authority still continues to promote to its citizens the exact opposite message: the notion of Israel as ‘Palestinian’ land.
Diplomacy: Ya’alon strikes twice
Kerry, over the last few months, has given speeches in which he predicted catastrophe – a third intifada, deepening international isolation and boycotts – if the elected government of the State of Israel continued down its current path.
That is all well and legitimate, part of what Obama referred to in Jerusalem as the importance of being “open and honest, especially with your friends.”
But how about the other way around? How about when that openness and honesty is not Washington criticizing Israeli policy, but rather Jerusalem passing judgment on Washington’s policies? Then, as was evident again this week with Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon’s latest critique of American foreign policy, the US is far less forbearing.
For whatever the reason, the US cannot seem to tolerate words of criticism from Israel.(h/t Bob Knot)
US ‘disappointed’ at lack of apology from Ya’alon
State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki told reporters on Friday that the US was “disappointed with the lack of apology” from Ya’alon, despite the fact that he spoke with Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Wednesday, and issued a statement indicating regret over his statements then.
“We still have remaining concerns about Ya’alon’s pattern of behavior,” she said. “I think we clearly expressed our displeasure by his offensive comments and an apology would be a natural next step.”
Israel’s Channel 2 quoted a senior, unnamed American source complaining about Ya’alon’s “insulting and disappointing” comments about figures in the administration.
3 Palestinians killed in gun battles with security forces in Jenin
Security forces had entered the West Bank city to arrest a wanted Palestinian security suspect.
A joint force made up of the IDF, Shin Bet, and the Border Police's elite Counter-Terrorism Unit entered Jenin to arrest a Palestinian suspected of plotting attacks against Israeli civilians and military forces.
The suspect barricaded himself in his home and refused to surrender himself, the IDF said. After ignoring calls to end the stand off peacefully, the suspect, armed with an M-16, opened fire on security forces, injuring two soldiers lightly, and attempted to escape.
Soldiers returned fire, killing the armed suspect.
Soon afterwards, a violent disturbance broke out, in which armed Palestinian rioters fired on security forces, and hurled explosives, firebombs, and rocks, the army said. (h/t Bob Knot)
IDF Major General: ‘Hamas Invests in Tunnels Instead of the Welfare of the People of Gaza’
In comments posted by IDF spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Peter Lerner to Twitter, Turgeman, whose division discovered the tunnel, said, “Hamas invests in tunnels instead of the welfare of the people of Gaza.”
“We will make every effort in order to locate terror tunnels,with persistence & the knowledge we have accumulated,” he said.
Lerner said the tunnel, which could be booby trapped, showed a level of construction ingenuity and complexity that likely involved foreign support from Iran.
Hamas Seeking to Restore Iran Ties to Halt Downward Spiral
Veteran Israeli national security correspondent Yaakov Lappin this week conveyed what he described as “recent Israeli intelligence assessments” concluding that Hamas is steadily moving to reinvigorate its strained relationship with Iran, amid broader signals that the Palestinian terror group is desperate to halt what has become its worst economic crisis in roughly a decade.
"Hamas finds itself entrapped and regionally isolated in ways that seemed unimaginable a year ago…This means that Hamas is, for all intents and purposes, on its own. As a result, it has begun exploring the idea of rejoining the Iranian axis, despite the risk of being ostracized in the Sunni world for such a move. Hamas recently dispatched delegation to Iran to discuss potentially rekindling relations."
Libya’s guns free-for-all fuels region’s turmoil
At the heart of the Libyan capital, the open-air Fish Market was once a place where residents went to buy everything from meat and seafood to clothes and pets. Now it’s Tripoli’s biggest arms market, with tables displaying pistols and assault rifles. Ask a vendor, and he can pull out bigger machine guns to sell for thousands of dollars.
Libya, where hundreds of militias hold sway and the central government is virtually powerless, is awash in millions of weapons with no control over their trafficking. The arms free-for-all fuels not only Libya’s instability but also stokes conflicts around the region as guns are smuggled through the country’s wide-open borders to militants fighting in insurgencies and wars stretching from Syria to West Africa.
Boca Raton Chabad Center Vandalized
On Monday night, a concrete parking slab was thrown through a glass door of the Chabad of East Boca in Boca Raton, JTA reports. While some believe the incident to be merely a drunken St. Patrick’s Day escapade, others have connected the vandalism to an article published in a local newspaper the day before, detailing the center’s ambitious expansion plans.
The broken glass and concrete were discovered by a day school student early Tuesday morning. Boca Raton police are investigating the incident as an act of vandalism rather than as a hate crime. Police Officer Sandra Boonenberg, who arrived at the scene shortly after the call, said no anti-Semitic messages or symbols were found on the building.
American Jewish Federations Mobilize to Support Ukrainian Jews
As events in Ukraine continue to escalate, the country's roughly 60,000-strong Jewish community has been feeling the pressure.
Already suffering from high levels of anti-Semitism and, in many cases, from grinding poverty, the ongoing power vacuum and tensions with Russia have markedly increased the sense of uncertainty on the ground. Perhaps of greatest concern is the potential for the growing nationalist sentiment on both sides to generate a spike in xenophobia, with several anti-Semitic attacks in the past few weeks fueling the debate between Kiev and Moscow about the true nature of the Ukrainian revolution.
New app sheds light on Ioannina's lost Jews
Seventy years ago this month, the Jews of the city of Ioannina, in the northwestern region of Epirus, were rounded up, loaded onto trucks and deported by the occupying Nazis. Out of some 1,870 men, women and children taken from their homes and dispatched to Auschwitz-Birkenau, fewer than 200 were to survive the war - a death toll of almost 90%.
With a single stroke stroke, the Nazi occupation had destroyed one of Europe's oldest Jewish communities, with a history stretching back to ancient times and a Greek Romaniot culture distinct from that of Thessaloniki's Ladino-speaking Sephardic Jews.
In a surprising turn, however, the memory of the Jews of Ioannina is now set to be revived with the unlikely help of a Canadian-designed mobile app, currently in the final stages of development at Vancouver's Simon Fraser University, thanks to a grant from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation.
New Anne Frank theater show stirs controversy
Last week, the Amsterdam-based production company Imagine Nation announced plans to open a huge theater in Amsterdam that will feature only one show: a new play, “ANNE,” about the life of the young Jewish diarist.
The first production based on the full Frank family archive, the show will expose audiences to lesser-known elements of the Anne Frank story, such as the family’s ordeals in German concentration camps.
But the commercial nature of the venture — the theater will include fancy interiors and a restaurant, among other amenities — also is exposing the Swiss organization that houses the archive, the Anne Frank Fonds, to criticism from its rival Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, a renowned museum that receives more than 1 million visitors annually.
Spielberg to honor Obama at Shoah Foundation event
The US president will be honored by the “Schindler’s List” director as Ambassador for Humanity at the foundation’s 20th anniversary gala event, which will take place in Los Angeles on May 7.
“President Obama’s commitment to democracy and human rights has long been felt,” Spielberg said in the announcement.
“As a constitutional scholar and as president, his interest in expanding justice and opportunity for all is remarkably evident. The president’s recent appointment of the first special envoy for Holocaust Survivor Services in United States history demonstrates his staunch commitment to honoring the past while building a better future. I am extremely grateful to have President Obama join us on this significant milestone of the USC Shoah Foundation.”
Obama is also scheduled to speak at the event.(h/t MtTB)

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