Thursday, May 29, 2014

From Ian:

Explaining Why So Many Palestinians Are Still Refugees (REVIEW)
As the authors elucidate, UNRWA’s steadfast espousal of the Palestinian “Right of Return” reveals both the degree to which it has been politically co-opted and compromised by its constituency, and that it is a position at odds with the United Nations’ own Charter; such a right “necessarily entails the dissolution of Israel as such… Jewish sovereignty as envisioned by the Zionist movement and the 1947 Partition Plan, would be ended and Jewish political and cultural rights necessarily curtailed.” In other words, for both AFSC and UNRWA, an initial commitment to humanitarian aid and relief became heavily politicized, reflecting the complexities of merging philanthropic (or religious) intention with geopolitics and regional conflict.
Romirowsky and Joffe are exhaustive in their research and consistent in describing an aspect of the Palestinian refugee historical experience that has heretofore been neglected in the scholarly and policy literature.
The dilemma the global community faces – building social and economic progress along with a political resolution that brings stability (if not peace) – is ultimately hampered by an agency of its own creation that pursues its agenda at the expense of the greater goal. UNRWA bears culpability for enlarging, intensifying and prolonging a refugee calamity it was intended to ameliorate. AFSC’s pragmatic withdrawal from Palestine refugee relief five decades ago, juxtaposed with UNRWA’s persistent re-entrenchment even in the face of decades of the breakdown of agency operations and the collapse of its chartered goals, should be a clear signal that a different strategy is necessary in the pursuit of Palestine refugee relief and the question of the resolution of the refugees’ status.
Musings on the Subject of Nakba Day
It behooves us, then, to make a list of other apolitical and neutral examples of human suffering to demonstrate that there are no political agendas behind the choice of which events are selected to be commemorated and mourned.
First, a day of commemoration for the tragic losses in property values by white slave owners in the American south, stripped of their slave assets, as a result of the loss of the Confederacy in the American Civil War, would be a great step in the direction of neutral apolitical honoring of human rights and dignity.
Second, we should be holding special campus days of commemoration and empathy for male rapists who have been injured while violently raping women. Their bruised knees and knuckles and scratched faces are human tragedies that all compassionate members of society must honor and respect in the name of neutral human rights and apolitical dignity.
Judith Butler’s Mythologies: “Truthiness” in the Philosophy of BDS
Although she denies being a spokesperson or leader of anything, few who have been following recent discussions concerning the BDS (Boycotts, Divestments, Sanctions) movement for restrictions aimed against Israeli academics on American college campuses would fail to recognize her name as one of its prime symbols. And it is in this case precisely the symbolic power of a name (since her books are unreadable for most non-specialists) that is at issue.
Butler lends credibility to an otherwise quirky, retrograde, and at least sometimes anti-Semitic push to reject Israel’s very right to exist
in any conceivable two-state solution whatsoever to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict (BDSers would prefer to liberate all of Palestine, “from the river to the sea”), because of her intellectual cache as one of today’s leading, trend-setting cultural “theorists.” The tribe of theorists, by the way, are supposed to be, like the extinct race of philosophers before them, lovers of wisdom–souls so drawn to the truth that they’re willing to run risks for it. Such at least is their reputation among the impressionable; when they aren’t, by contrast, being dismissed by cynics (like the philosophers before them) for pretensions to mere radical chic. Or worse.

Huffington Post Article Promotes Anti-Semitic Elders of Zion Myth
The Huffington Post published a "list post" on Wednesday that contained an example of anti-Semitism. The Post, "The 7 Most Exclusive Secret Societies in History," spoke of six secret societies that actually existed. However, the seventh, "the Elder's of Zion," never existed except in the bigoted minds of anti-Semites.
The post lists some of the usual suspects: the Freemasons, Yale’s Skull and Bones, the Illuminati, Rosicrucians, Bilderberg, and The Knights Templar, with short paragraphs describing each. The remaining group listed between Bilderberg, and The Knights Templar was the only fictional one, The Elders of Zion.
Claim: Vatican Hoarding Second Temple Vessels
The Vatican is evading questions on whether or not it is holding religious artifacts from the Second Temple, Rabbi Yonatan Shtenzel told Arutz Sheva correspondents Wednesday, in what he calls "diplomatic evasion."
Talmudic sources, including passages from Rabbi Elazar and Rabbi Yossi, note that several of the holy vessels from the Second Temple ended up in the Vatican's hands, Rabbi Shtenzel said. Artifacts said to be transferred to the religious city-state via the Roman Emperor include the shulchan (Showbread table), the menorah (candelabra), several priestly garments, and others.
More than just an 1800 year-old report, there is recent evidence that the Vatican still has these vessels in its possession, he argued, citing the testimony of several 19th and twentieth century Rabbis.
NGO Monitor: The NGO Push for Israeli Indictment at the ICC
Other signatories on the letter are highly politicized Palestinian NGOs, funded by European governments and the European Union, include Al-Haq, Addameer, Al Dameer, Al Mezan, BADIL, Defense for Children International – Palestine Section (DCI-PS), Jerusalem Legal Aid and Human Rights Center, Palestinian Center for Human Rights, Ramallah Center for Human Rights Studies, and Women’s Centre for Legal Aid and Counselling. In addition to lawfare against Israel, these NGOs exploit their government funding for BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions), demonization, and other forms of political warfare against Israel.
Some of these NGOs and their leaders have alleged ties to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terrorist group. If a case related to war crimes in the context of the Arab-Israeli conflict arises, members of the PFLP could face ICC indictment.
Countering the 'shrinking Palestine Maps' lie
One of the most pernicious and common lies propagated by anti-Israeli activists is the so-called 'shrinking maps' of Palestine (see bottom of this article). As with most anti-Israel propaganda (like "Israelis are baby-killers" whereas in fact Israel does everything to avoid any civilian casualties while Palestinians specifically target young children; and "Israel is an apartheid state" whereas Israel is the only country in the Middle East to provide full rights for all religious groups while the Palestinian Authority allows no Jews at all) the claims are a perfect inversion of reality.
In 2010 I decided that the best way to counter these maps was to show the following alternative (I could not find anything like this on the web so I developed it myself - there have been copies since). The map demonstrates the extent to which it is Israel that has been shrinking since 1973, in its desperate but increasingly futile hope to trade 'land for peace':
Daniel Pipes: A 1914 novel’s prescient vision of Londonistan
Exactly one century ago, the renowned British writer G.K. Chesterton (1874-1936), called by his admirers the greatest writer and thinker of the 20th century, published a curious novel titled “The Flying Inn.” On the cusp of World War I, he imagined the Ottoman Empire conquering Great Britain and imposing Shariah law.
Chesterton rides this implausible scenario as a vehicle to ridicule progressivism — that same arrogant, “scientific,” top-down, and leftist approach to government that characterizes the age of Obama. “The business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes,” Chesterton rightly explained, and “The Flying Inn” mordantly exposes their failings. Along the way, his vision of an Islamized sceptered isle has arresting features deserving celebration on its centenary.
Anti-CAIR Ad Defaced With Swastikas, Anti-Semitic Vandalism
A new series of anti-CAIR advertisements from Pamela Geller's American Freedom Defense Initiative has been defaced with anti-Semitic vandalism, including Nazi swastikas and the phrases "No to Zionism" and "Long live Palestine":
She also told TruthRevolt that she anticipated such reaction to the posters: "I printed up a stack of these posters, knowing how the destroyers operate. This ad is being replaced today, as will any other ... I made an even bigger “Truth About CAIR” buy in other US cities. So Hamas-CAIR better rent a bus. Road trip!"
Lauren Booth’s Anti-Semitic Tweet to HonestReporting
Lauren Booth, journalist, Islamist and Dishonest Reporter of the Year for 2008 (and sister-in-law of former British PM Tony Blair) has a long and disturbing track record when it comes to Israel. Now, for some reason only known to herself, she decided to include HonestReporting in this Twitter exchange with Native Canadian and advocate for the rights of indigenous peoples (including Jews), Ryan Bellerose:
The claim that Jews are “indigenous to Eastern Europe” is similar to that most often promoted by anti-Semites who assert that the Jews are descendants of the ancient Khazar region of what is now Eastern Europe and Southern Russia. This is employed as a means to disprove the ancestral connection of Ashkenazi Jews to Israel.
Lauren Booth’s tweet isn’t surprising but it is nonetheless disgusting. We’d call for her to be fired by those media outlets that she appears on. But Iranian Press TV and the Islam Channel are probably not too concerned.
NYU's Abu Dhabi Campus Runs Afoul of Sharia-ism, so What Now?
In 2008, New York University (NYU) President John Sexton boasted that his project to open a campus in the UAE was “an opportunity to transform the university and, frankly, the world.” Now, working conditions have led to abuse and imprisonment of laborers involved in the process.
In 2009, the university, moving forward with the plan, issued a “statement of labor values” to ensure that workers engaged in the project would be treated fairly. Recently, Abu Dhabi police imprisoned and beat the laborers who were brave enough to strike against conditions that might best be described as indentured servitude.
As it turned out, the statement of labor values had been summarily ignored. Recruitment fees, costing up to a year’s wages, had not been reimbursed, as was guaranteed by the statement. Workers were forced to labor 11-12 hours a day, seven days a week, just to earn what they had been promised. Some of the men lived 15 to a room.
IsraellyCool: Richard Silverstein Strikes Again
The deadly attack in the Jewish Museum in Brussels, Belgium, caused widespread shock in Jewish communities worldwide and widespread shock in Belgium as well as the neighboring Netherlands.
The victims are an Israeli couple, a French woman and a Belgian man. Upon hearing that two Israelis had been murdered in the shooting, Dickie Silverstein of course couldn’t resist this excellent opportunity to smear Israel.
He starts his first post on the subject in typical Doucheblogger fashion: an anonymous source told him that both Israelis worked for the Mossad which could have potentially made them a target.
Guardian op-ed suggests that Jerusalem ‘drives’ Barack Obama’s foreign policy
The argument that Israeli leaders or pro-Israel groups in Washington drive US policy in the Mid-East represents something akin to conventional wisdom at the Guardian, and a recent op-ed in the paper by Carne Ross, about Barack Obama’s May 28th foreign policy speech, contributes to the media group’s impressive body of work in perpetuating this reactionary narrative.
Ross - a British diplomat turned political analyst, Occupy Wall Street fan and apparent Noam Chomsky enthusiast - writes the following in the section of his op-ed dealing with the Mid-East:
Accuracy failure in Yolande Knell’s BBC report on Pope’s visit to Jerusalem holy sites
Here is Yolande Knell in a BBC News broadcast from May 26th on the subject of the Pope’s visit to Jerusalem.
“You can see the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem just behind me and that’s where he [the Pope] went to the two most important sites in the Old City for Muslims and for Jews, starting at the Al Aqsa Mosque compound. He also met the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem there and then he went to the Western Wall – the most holy place for the Jewish people.”
Fortunately, Dr Jeffrey Woolf was on hand to correct that:
“The Temple Mount is not just sacred to Muslims; it’s sacred to Jews. It is the most sacred place in fact in the Jewish religion…”
New York Times Love Affair with Palestinian Extremists
With the recent visit of Pope Francis to Israel and the West Bank, the New York Times might have discussed the situation of Christians living in the Middle East. Its Jerusalem reporter Jodi Ruderon might have reported on the substantial difficulties faced by Christians in the Arab world in contrast to their increasing integration into Israeli society beyond impressive occupational and educational advances.
Instead, in her first article on the Pope’s visit, Rudoren’s main role was to get an anti-Israeli statement from a Palestinian source. One would expect she would choose one of her Balad party contacts or even someone in the PA leadership. She chose, however, to give a forum to Omar Barghouti whose only importance is that he is the chief spokesperson for the BDS movement. In her final article on the Pope’s visit, Rudoren chose another BDS supporter, Diana Buttu. In 2012, Buttu condemned Prime Minister Abbas for continuing negotiations rather than pressing the International Court to sanction Israel for “war crimes” and “apartheid,” and she hoped that European governments would support an international boycott movement.
Hungary: Town Scraps Plans to Honor Anti-Semitic WWII Dictator
A Hungarian town has voted to scrap its decision to name a square after Miklos Horthy, Hungary's Nazi-allied wartime leader, a controversial move the town's leaders said Tuesday was a "mistake".
Part of a main square in Gyomro, a town of 15,000 on the outskirts of Budapest, was named Horthy Park in 2012 following a motion by the local councilor of Hungary's far-right Jobbik party.
"That was a mistake, I apologize to anyone hurt by it," Gyomro's mayor Levente Gyenes told Hungarian news agency MTI after the council voted to rename the space "Main Square" from June 1.
Judge Lets Zionist Group Sue IRS for Discrimination
Z Street has accused the IRS of violating the First Amendment by putting pro-Israel organizations that apply for tax-exempt status to a more stringent review than other organizations.
The non-profit organization Z Street, which opposes Israeli withdrawals, compromises with terrorists and supports Jewish rights over Judea, Samaria and Gaza, applied for tax-exempt status in 2009.
The group reports than on July 19, 2010, an IRS agent assigned to their case told them that the IRS gives "special scrutiny" to groups connected to Israel, especially those with views that "contradict those of the administration's." The group was given to understand that such cases are sent to a special IRS unit.
Israel: Moving Towards Asia and Away from Europe
For years many the feeling was that Europe had unquestioned leverage with Israel and therefore could take sides without losing its clout. But trade and tech have taken their toll on this assumption. Israel is building alliances in Asia, and European leverage is sure to suffer.
If Europe has lost all sense of proportion in the Middle East, why shouldn’t Israel, as Prof. Jacobson has noted, build ties with China and India? Europe for now, is Israel’s largest trading partner. But Asia is now Israel’s second biggest trading partner, having passed the United States, and if the trends continue, it will likely challenge the European Union in a few years.
Hong Kong Wants to Expand Business Ties with ‘Start-Up Nation’
Israel’s business community has increasingly turned eastward towards booming Asian markets—so much so it was recentlyreported that in 2014, Israel is expected to export more on an annual basis to Asia than it will to the United States.
Fittingly, then, Asian countries had a major presence at the prestigious MIXiii – Israel Innovation Conference 2014, held May 20-22 in Tel Aviv. Hong Kong, represented by a diverse 31-member delegation, was no exception. The group was led byInvest Hong Kong (InvestHK), a government-backed financial body whose goal is to “encourage new global companies to set up their businesses in Hong Kong, and to help those existing companies expand,” said Simon Galpin, its director-general of investment promotion.
India’s new foreign minister a strong fan of Israel
Sushma Swaraj, India’s newly appointed foreign minister, has in the past publicly defended Israel against naysayers, and is said to be a strong admirer of the late Israeli prime minister Golda Meir.
Swaraj, 62, the first woman to receive the foreign affairs ministerial portfolio, called Israel “a reliable partner” in 2008, according to the Economic Times. The statement arose in the context of criticizing the left-wing parties’ opposition to the Israel-India diplomatic relationship. Swaraj came to Israel’s defense and asserted that the government recognized the significance of ties with the Jewish state as well.
Swaraj also served as chairwoman of the Indo-Israel Parliamentary Friendship Group from 2006 to 2009.
Israel leads aid to Serbia and Bosnia flood victims
Israeli humanitarian delegations were among the first of foreign aid groups to help rescue efforts in Serbia and Bosnia following record flooding and landslides. The IDF, IsraAid, Lev Echad – Emergency Civilian Aid and Shalem College in Jerusalem responded to a plea from the Serbian government for assistance.
“We believe that mutual responsibility is the first line of defense of society — the reinforcement of weak populations is critical to building the resilience needed to overcome every crisis. We are proud to represent Israel in this mission to help the courageous Serbian people and I believe that the invaluable knowledge and experience that we will gain from this effort will enable us to help other communities in distress around the world,” said Eli Weissbert, chairman of Lev Echad.
The IDF’s Best of the Best: Krav Maga Competition
The IDF’s most elite soldiers battled it out to see who is the best of the best in Krav Maga.
The IDF’s top units – including Sayeret Matkal, Duvdevan and Shayetet 13 – each chose their top fighters to battle against each other in the second annual Krav Maga competition, which took place at the IDF’s School for Combat Fitness in Netanya.
The competition had three weight classes. The first place winners this year were Duvdevan in the light weight class, Unit 504 in middle weight, and Duvdevan in the heavyweight category.
However, the most overall wins went to the Maglan Unit.
The IDF's Best of the Best: Krav Maga Competition

IDF Soldiers Liberate the Old City of Jerusalem

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