Saturday, September 30, 2017

From Ian:

Israel shuts down for Yom Kippur
Israel shut shut down on Friday for Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement and the holiest day of the Jewish calendar.

All flights in and out of Ben Gurion airport ceased at 1:35 p.m., while public transport gradually halted with buses and trains stopping their routes until after the fast day.

As sundown approached all local radio and television broadcasts gradually fell silent.

Yom Kippur begins Friday at sundown and ends Saturday night.

It is marked with a 25-hour fast and intense prayer by religious Jews, while more secular Israelis often use the day to ride bicycles on the country’s deserted highways.

Security and rescue services, however, remain on high alert.

For the Magen David Adom Rescue service, Yom Kippur is one of the busiest days of the year with hundreds of extra medics, paramedics, ambulances and volunteers deployed across the country.

Most injuries over Yom Kippur come from accidents on the roads as tens of thousands of children and teens take advantage of the deserted streets to ride their bicycles. Other common Yom Kippur injuries are caused by parents leaving children unattended outside synagogues and, of course, dehydration and complications from fasting.

Paramedics treat over 1,500 people over Yom Kippur
Paramedics from the Magen David Adom ambulance service treated over 1,500 people over Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement and the holiest day of the Jewish calendar, which began Friday at sundown and ended Saturday evening.

Like every year, secular Israelis took advantage of the deserted roads and highways, filling the streets in droves over the holiday, which is marked by a 25-hour fast and intense prayer by religious Jews. But, like every year, injuries were not far behind, with MDA treating 1,659 people over 25-hour period, it said in a statement, among them 265 injured while biking, skateboarding and rollerblading.

Another 228 people were treated for dehydration and fainting spells due to the fast, which includes a ban on drinking water; 21 required resuscitation, according to a statement released by the service.

MDA said paramedics were called to treat 134 women in labor and helped seven women deliver at their homes or in ambulances.

For paramedics, Yom Kippur is one of the busiest days of the year with hundreds of extra medics, paramedics, ambulances and volunteers deployed across the country.
In Timely Move, Bereaved Families Launch New Group to Combat Terror in Israel
This past Tuesday, dozens of bereaved families unveiled a new organization to fight and deter terrorism in the Jewish state. Sadly, on the same day, a Palestinian terrorist killed three Israelis in the community of Har Adar near Jerusalem.

This new nonprofit organization, Choosing Life, brings together more than 40 families who have lost relatives in the ongoing Palestinian terror wave, which began in 2015; since that time, 58 people have been killed and nearly 1,000 have been wounded in hundreds of stabbings, shootings and vehicular attacks throughout Israel.

Choosing Life is headed by Dvorah Gonen, whose 25-year-old son Danny was murdered in June 2015 while hiking near the village of Dolev.

“Unfortunately, the voices of the bereaved families are not heard strongly enough,” Gonen said in a statement. “Since Danny was murdered two years and four month ago, there is no light in my life. I am dedicating my life to ensure that this does not happen to any more Israeli citizens.”

Gonen stressed that most Israeli citizens are unaware of the vast array of benefits that terrorists and their families receive from the Palestinian Authority, which provides the perpetrators and their relatives with salaries that rise proportionally due to the number of Israelis that they murder.

“It pays to be a terrorist today. It is absurd, we[‘ve] completely lost our deterrence,” said Gonen.

Friday, September 29, 2017

  • Friday, September 29, 2017
  • Elder of Ziyon

This is an update my Yom Kippur message of previous years.

I unconditionally forgive anyone who may have wronged me during this year, and I ask forgiveness for anyone I may have wronged as well.

Specifically (as enumerated in previous years, based on the list from The Muqata  a few years back):

  • -If you sent me email and I didn't reply, or didn't get back to you in a timely fashion -- I apologize. 
  • -If you sent me a story and I decided not to publish it or worse, didn't give you a hat tip for the story -- I'm sorry. I'm also sorry if I didn't acknowledge the tip (especially Irene and Ronald and Josh K, who send me lots.) I sometimes get multiple tips for the same story and I usually credit the first one I saw, which is not always the earliest. And I cannot publish all the stories I am sent, although I try to place appropriate ones in the linkdumps, or tweet them. 
  • -If you requested help from me and I wasn't able to provide it -- I'm sorry.
  • -I apologize if I posted without the proper attribution, with the wrong attribution, or without attribution at all.
  • -I'm sorry that I don't give hat tips on things I tweet. 
  • -If I didn't thank you for a donation, I'm very, very sorry. 
  • -I'm sorry if I didn't give the proper respect to my co-bloggers Ian, Mike, PoT, Vic, Varda and Forest Rain. I'm especially sorry for forgetting Petra in this list last year! Also, Zissel R., Zvi and any others whose articles I posted. I'm also sorry for not having done an official appeal yet this autumn, and therefore not paying you as I always do. I'll try to get to it soon!
  • -I'm sorry if any of my posts offended you personally.
  • -If I forgot to send you the perks for donating at Patreon - I'm sorry, and hope to do it soon! (But I said this last year too....)
  • - For all the initiatives I started and didn't complete - I'm sorry. I hope to do better next year.
  • - Please forgive me if I wrote disparaging things about you.
  • - I'm sorry for not always scrubbing spam from the comments as quickly as I would like.
  • - I'm sorry if things got published in the comments that violated my comments policy but that I missed. 

May this be a year of life, peace, prosperity, happiness and security.

I wish all of my readers who observe Yom Kippur an easy and meaningful fast.

We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.
From Ian:

Melanie Phillips: Antisemitism engulfs the British Labor party
The tragic fact is that there’s no disorder quite so pathological as when a Jew turns against his or her own identity. Jews are a unique people; the hatred directed at them is a unique hatred; and when Jews turn on their own people, they behave in a uniquely terrible way.

Israeli Jewish intellectuals are even more afflicted by this pathology. The Israeli novelist Aharon Megged has lamented “a phenomenon which probably has no parallel in history: an emotional and moral identification by the majority of Israel’s intelligentsia with people openly committed to our annihilation.”

In The Jewish Divide Over Israel, which he wrote with Paul Bogdanor, Edward Alexander writes devastatingly: “The disproportionate influence of Jewish accusers depends in large part on the fact that they demonize Israel precisely as Jews; indeed, since religion and tradition count for little in most of them, it is the demonization of Israel that makes them Jews.”

And because people assume wrongly that Jews cannot be antisemites, these anti-Zionist Jews offer themselves as human shields to protect and facilitate those who they hope will destroy the State of Israel through demonization and delegitimization.

The problem of antisemitism in Britain, however, goes far beyond the Labour Party.

My Name Is Rachel Corrie is a play first staged in 2005 sanitizing an International Solidarity Movement activist who was killed in Gaza by an Israeli armored bulldozer when she tried to stop demolition work being carried out to eradicate terror tunnels.

Lo and behold, this out-dated piece of meretricious agitprop is being revived by London’s Young Vic theater. Why? Because human-shielded Jew-baiting is now the recreational sport of the British intelligentsia.

So when is the opening night of this revival? Why, Kol Nidrei, the start of Yom Kippur, the most solemn day in the Jewish calendar. Right in the Jews’ faces, eh.

Don’t weep for the wretched Labour Party. Weep for what Britain has become, and for the Jews who have lost their way.
Melanie Phillips: Labour's lanyard of hate
The reverberations from Tuesday’s Jew-baiting hate-fest at the Labour party conference rumble on, as well they might. David Collier’s blog post here on what he experienced at the conference is a must-read.

I found this observation particularly chilling:
“At the Labour Friends of Israel event, there were anti-Israel activists actually taking photos of the MPs who were present. No doubt to add new faces onto existing expulsion ‘lists’… To my knowledge, I had my photo take twice at the conference. Once as I was leaving the ‘Free Speech’ event, an activist Elleane Green spotted me and reached for her camera, whilst the second time was at the Labour Friends of Israel event, where Tapash Abu Shaim was camera ready.”

And this:
“The PSC had brought ‘Palestine Solidarity’ lanyards, and it is clearly the item they want everyone to take from their stall. I also note they have ‘runners’, people walking off with several PSC lanyards in their hands. One was looking for people running other stalls, who were willing to wear them. This badge of identification was eventually seen on many of the visiting crowd.”

What they were hanging from their necks was the lanyard of hate. For as Collier observes, these people think that by supporting the Palestinians they are supporting peace; but in fact supporting Palestinianism leads them inexorably to supporting the extermination of Israel.

“As soon as you place that PSC lanyard around your neck”, writes Collier, “from the moment you believe you support ‘Palestine Solidarity’ as it is represented in the UK Labour Party, then you explicitly align with a maximalist Arab position, that is also heralded by Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Assad, Hezbollah and Iran. Don’t believe me? Walk up to your nearest PSC activist and ask them if the organisation supports a two-state solution. Watch them stutter.”

Although these Labour members are shy exterminators, that’s the agenda to which that lanyard signs them up. The vast depth of their ignorance, however, means they have no idea that they are thus making a mockery of the very causes they profess to espouse.
Why do we still have to explain why Holocaust denial is wrong?
The Holocaust is one of the most well documented and researched periods in history. There are clear records of the systematic and industrial scale of the Nazi plan to murder the Jews of Europe. Not only from historians but from the Nazis themselves. Most importantly, we have the testimony of the lucky few who managed to survive whilst their families were shot into pits, deported and sent to gas chambers or simply left to starve to death.

You would therefore think that those who seek to deny or to denigrate this history would be given short shrift.

Which is why it has been all the more shocking to see the Holocaust once again called into question, and the root cause of this tragedy - antisemitism - rearing its head at a mainstream political party conference.

You only have to look at one single day with a series of deeply uncomfortable interventions by those who should know better: we had director Ken Loach suggesting that debate about whether the Holocaust happened is OK, saying “history is for all of us to discuss”; Len McCluskey, General Secretary of the Unite Union labelling concerns about antisemitism as “mood music”; and then Ken Livingstone - never one to hold back on his views on this particular topic - stating that making offensive remarks about Jews is not necessarily antisemitic…err, OK Ken.

When you have central figures making these sorts of insulting and ignorant comments, they embolden those who have only one agenda – to undermine the truth of the past and to whip up hatred against Jews today.

I think of the survivors of the Holocaust, some of whom we are fortunate to still have with us, and feel shame. After everything they suffered, they have to witness this. The pain and hurt this must cause.

How many times do we have to defend basic truths that should be considered sacrosanct? How many times do we need to explain that antisemitism is as much a form of racism as any other?

From Ian:

Reversal of fortune: How the IDF turned the Yom Kippur War around
Egypt was controlling the battlefield. The Israelis had not attempted to advance since Gen. Ariel Sharon’s unauthorized attacks on Tuesday while the Egyptians were making small-scale pushes eastward every day, with some success, as the Israelis sought to avoid escalation. SAM batteries were being sent across the bridges at night to extend the missile umbrella toward the passes.

With every day, Arab strength was increasing as the Soviet arms airlift hit its stride and the Arab world dispatched reinforcements to Syria and Egypt. Contingents, some of them sizeable, had arrived from Morocco, Algeria, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the Palestine Liberation Organization, Jordan, and Iraq. Even Pakistan sent pilots, and North Korean pilots were patrolling the skies over Egypt’s hinterland.

Israel was receiving no military supplies from abroad except for what the small El Al fleet could carry (the American airlift would begin only the next day); the only reinforcements it was receiving were Israeli reservists returning for the war from studies or travel abroad. (Those in combat units were flown home free.) To Sadat, Israel’s acquiescence to a cease-fire was a clear signal of weakness.

Israel’s assessment of the situation was not far from Sadat’s. The day before, the Mossad station chief in Washington, Ephraim Halevy, met in the morning with Kissinger and found him agitated. A message from Prime Minister Meir—sent Friday afternoon, Israel time—had just arrived saying that Israel was prepared to accept a cease-fire in place. Kissinger had been stalling Moscow’s efforts to lock in Arab gains with a speedy cease-fire. Now Israel was expressing readiness to accept a cease-fire without even attempting to condition it on Egypt pulling back across the canal.

“Kissinger almost tore his hair out,” Halevy, a future head of the Mossad, would recall years later. “He said, ‘You’re declaring that you lost the war. Don’t you understand that?” The difference between requesting a cease-fire and not objecting to one was a subtlety that did not cloak Israel’s dire view of its situation. However, Dayan believed that with the crossing of their armored divisions, the Egyptians would soon be receiving a bloody nose that would take the onus off Israel’s readiness for a cease-fire.

Elazar himself had begun thinking anew. The looming setpiece tank battle held out for the first time since the war began the tangible prospect of a reversal of fortune, perhaps on a major scale. The battle might significantly erode Egyptian strength. If that happened, the Israeli crossing could turn out to be more than a desperate lunge aimed at persuading Sadat to stop the war. It could be the key to winning the war.

This possibility was not yet being articulated by Elazar but was beginning to work its way into his thinking, as imperceptibly but inexorably as a tide turning.
The 'victory' that changed the Middle East
From the very outset of the Oslo process, Arafat and other senior Palestinian leaders viewed the agreements as an implementation of this strategy, not as its abandonment.

Arafat said just that as early as September 13, 1993, when he addressed the Palestinians in a pre-recorded Arabic-language message broadcast by Jordanian television, even as he shook Yitzhak Rabin’s hand on the White House lawn. He informed the Palestinians that the Oslo Accords was merely the implementation of the PLO’s “phased plan.”

“Do not forget that our Palestine National Council accepted the decision in 1974,” Arafat said. “It called for the establishment of a national authority on any part of Palestinian land that is liberated or from which the Israelis withdrew.

This is the fruit of your struggle, your sacrifices, and your jihad.”

While the Israelis celebrated a long-hoped-for peace, many among the Palestinian leadership understood that the path that they chartered almost 20 years previously was coming to fruition.

Plenty of Palestinian leaders, including current President Mahmoud Abbas, have stated that any peace accord or agreement can only become a stepping zone, another phase to Israel’s ultimate defeat.

This is why Abbas could walk away from Ehud Olmert’s overly generous offer in 2008 when he ostensibly gave the Palestinians everything that they publicly demanded.

Abbas could not and would not sign the requisite end of claims and end of conflict clauses that were demanded by Israel and the international community.

By constantly offering more and more concessions to the Palestinians upfront, without their acknowledging the end of their maximalist and rejectionist ambitions, and recognizing Israel’s legitimacy as the national homeland of the Jewish people, and agreeing to a conclusion of claims and conflict, Israeli leaders have allowed Palestinian hopes to remain.

For the conflict to finally end, only one side can claim victory. An Israeli victory means the abandonment of the Palestinian dream of destroying or dismantling the Jewish state. It must be unequivocal, clear and decisive. That is the lesson of the Yom Kippur War.
The mega-weapons ship capture that turned the tide on US-Palestinian ties
The evidence had three central prongs.

It showed that Akawi had been personally selected by Arafat to take charge of the ship and the operation due to its importance in providing major new arms to inflame the ongoing Second Intifada.

Further, it demonstrated that Fuad Shobaki, Arafat’s primary money man who did not act alone and directed financing for much of Arafat’s involvement in the Second Intifada, including the Karine A, was “neck deep” in planning and financing the operation.

It showed that Arafat had personally approved joint operations with Iran, starting from April 2000 with a series of meetings between his personal representatives and Iran in Moscow, Oman and the UAE. It also proved that Arafat had in principle approved the stationing of Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps personnel in PA territory.

All of this evidence would be heavily supplemented during Operation Defensive Shield in March 2002 when the IDF entered Arafat’s Muqata complex and collected a treasure trove of documents showing Arafat’s personal involvement in directing the Second Intifada.

When Sharon visited Bush in Washington DC in May 2002 and he raised the issue of the Karine A, Bush responded that he already understood “that Arafat is the problem. It has started to become clear that as long as he is there, the terror will continue.”

On June 24, 2002, Bush publicly called on the Palestinians to choose a new leader “who is not involved in terror.”

Using intelligence from the Karine A Affair, Mofaz and Israeli intelligence had convinced the US that Arafat was a liar and had chosen the side of Iran and terror even after September 11, 2001. For the US, Feith said that this meant, “Arafat was on the wrong side of the war on terror.”

  • Friday, September 29, 2017
  • Elder of Ziyon
From the Yom Kippur article at "Rabbis for Human Rights:"

As we approach this holiest of days in the Hebrew calendar it is appropriate that we of Rabbis For Human Rights also take the time to consider where we have sinned and gone astray and how we can reconnect to G-d in our work, and through that to our basic humanity. It is this connection to the Divine that is the root of our commitment to pursue justice for all, the rule of law and the pursuit of peace.  It is our strongest response to those whose Torah is grounded in exclusion, and even in hatred, or who have no “fear of G-d”.
We have not done enough to end injustice here, nor have we been free ourselves of the sins of “small-mindedness,” gossip, egocentricity and turf wars. The community of human-rights and peace NGOs in this country (there are one hundred!) suffers greatly from these sins and from a lack of humility and unity. Our opponents in the current Israeli government (and the many well-financed right-wing organizations working to delegitimize us) want to silence our justified criticism of the abuses of the occupation and of the many social injustices ignored by  an Israeli ruling elite that lacks  compassion or empathy for the weak and disadvantaged. The government and its supporters  exploit our weaknesses   continuously. They have little respect for the rabbinic notion of dialogue, or basic democratic norms.
 The writer isn't asking for forgiveness for baseless hatred of their political opponents. They are asking "forgiveness" for petty infighting instead of demonizing right-wing Jews more than they already are.

(It's also funny that those who do everythign they can to delegitimize the democratically elected Israeli government claims that the other side has little respect for democratic norms.)

In contrast, another leftist Jewish organization, T'Ruah, actually does ask forgiveness for demonizing their political opponents.
Yes – we should speak out and speak up. Yes – we should live and teach our moral and ethical traditions and apply them to the world we live in. However, we must do it without creating more enemies. We must declare that Black Lives Matter, without writing off all law enforcement. We must strive for women’s equality and fair pay, without acting as though all opponents are misogynists. We must advocate for ending income inequality, without assuming the 1% are all greedy and selfish. We must try to make political change, without demonizing those who vote differently.Al chet sh’chatanu l’fanecha, for the sin we have committed against you, for harboring hatred in our heart.Al chet sh’chatanu l’fanecha, for the sin we have committed against you, of righteous indignation.Al chet sh’chatanu l’fanecha, for the sin we have committed against you, when we invoke your name for partisan gains.Al chet sh’chatanu l’fanecha, for the sin we have committed against you, for seeing the world as ‘us’ and ‘them.’This year may we have the courage to speak and to listen, to use our prophetic voice and to pursue justice with hearts full of love rather than hate.
 I disagree passionately with this rabbi politically but at least she says she wants unity and to stop baseless hatred - unlike Rabbis for Human Rights who want to fan the flames of hate.

We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.
  • Friday, September 29, 2017
  • Elder of Ziyon
From Elmwatin, an Egyptian news site:

The Islamic Waqf in Jerusalem said on Thursday that 120 Jewish settlers were able to break into the courtyards of al-Aqsa Mosque on Thursday morning through the Mughrabi Gate, amid tight security guard by the Israeli police.

According to the report, the raid was led by a number of Jewish rabbis, in the framework of what Israel calls "tours."

For their part, the representatives of the Islamic Waqf in Jerusalem stated that such incursions are a serious warning and incite for Muslims to enter into a horrific religious war with the Jews, which will shift the situation from a political conflict to a religious conflict. 

Yes, the Waqf, which controls the sermons at Al Aqsa that are so often antisemitic and anti-Israel, is accusing Jews who peacefully tour the holiest spot in Judaism of making this a religious war.

We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.
  • Friday, September 29, 2017
  • Elder of Ziyon

Last month, famed author Michael Chabon - who writes on Jewish themes and more recently edited a book about how horrible Israel is - wrote an "Open Letter to our Fellow Jews" together with his wife telling them all that Donald Trump is a Nazi sympathizer, a white supremacist and an antisemite, and insisted that every Jew in his administration resign immediately or be branded a traitor forever.

Let's forget the idiocy of the premise of the letter. (I'm no fan of Trump but he is none of those things.)

Let's look at how Chabon pretends to be SuperJew as he lectures his fellow Jews:

Now [Trump's] coming after you. The question is: what are you going to do about it? If you don’t feel, or can’t show, any concern, pain or understanding for the persecution and demonization of others, at least show a little self-interest. At least show a little sechel. At the very least, show a little self-respect.
... To Ivanka Trump: Allow us to teach you an ancient and venerable phrase, long employed by Jewish parents and children to one another at such moments of family crisis: I’ll sit shiva for you. Try it out on your father; see how it goes.

He throws in a smattering of Hebrew! He must really care about his fellow Jews a great deal if he adds  some Yiddish and Hebrew phrases, right?

Tonight, exactly during Kol Nidre on Yom Kippur night, Michael Chabon is telling the world that selling his books is much more important than Judaism:

 Join us at the Nettlehorst Auditorium for an evening with Pulitzer Prize-winning author Michael Chabon. Chabon will discuss his latest novel, Moonglow, with local author Kathleen Rooney.

Event date: 
Friday, September 29, 2017 - 7:00pm to 10:00pm
Event address: 
Nettelhorst Auditorium
3252 North Broadway Ave.
Chicago, IL 60657

I don't care if Chabon is right or left, Republican or Democrat. But don't lecture Jews about anything when you publicly and shamelessly tell the world that your making a little money is more important than Yom Kippur.

Or perhaps Chabon's concept of Judaism is the same as that of antisemites, where making money really is more important than anything else. That is certainly how antisemites would view his shameless peddling of his book on Yom Kippur.

If that's the case, I think I can safely say that Chabon is the one who is enabling and promoting the agenda of antisemites, neo-Nazis and white supremacists.

(h/t Michael R)

We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

From Ian:

Bret Stephens: I Believe Some of Your Best Friends Are Jewish
I believe the thesis of “The Israel Lobby,” the 2007 book by Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer, is a sound one. The idea that a small group of (largely) Jewish-Americans manipulates Congress, the media and other levers of power and influence for the benefit of a malign Jewish state has no connection to previous anti-Semitic conspiracy theories alleging the same thing.

I believe that when Jeffrey Goldberg called the book’s ideas “awfully close to the Elders of Z” in a devastating review, his views must be treated as suspect. Who does Goldberg work for, anyway?

I believe that when Mel Gibson said, in the course of a DUI arrest, “the Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world,” he meant it as a statement of hearty approval.

I believe that there is nothing curious in the constant ascription of authorship of the 2003 invasion of Iraq to Paul Wolfowitz and Doug Feith, both second-tier officials in the Bush Administration, and Richard Perle, who oversaw a federal advisory committee with no real power. I believe they were much more influential to the decision-making process than Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell or George W. Bush.

I believe the fact that Wolfowitz, Feith and Perle happen to be Jewish does not, in any sense, make them convenient villains in that drama.

I believe that when left-wing German terrorist Wilfried Böse insisted, during the 1976 hijacking of an Air France jetliner, “I’m no Nazi! I’m an idealist,” he had a point. Böse and his partner, Brigitte Kuhlmann, separated the passengers between Israelis and non-Israelis, freeing the latter while holding the former hostage at Entebbe airport, Uganda, before their rescue by Israeli troops.

I believe that targeting Jews for being Jews is anti-Semitism, but targeting Israelis for being Israelis is a legitimate form of political resistance. I believe anti-Zionism has nothing to do with anti-Semitism. I believe calling for the elimination of the Zionist entity is a morally legitimate idea.

Another thing: I believe Valerie Plame when she writes, “Just FYI, I am of Jewish descent.” I believe some of her best friends are Jewish.

Phyllis Chesler, At War With the ‘Faux Feminists’ of the Left
Although Chesler had not mentioned Linda Sarsour in her formal address, the co-chair of the Women’s March of January 2017 came up almost immediately in Q&A. How could feminists, Jewish feminists, join ranks with a woman who didn’t hesitate to tell Zionists they could not be good feminists, and that, instead they must show solidarity with the deeply misogynist Palestinian leadership? More than one woman who took the mike talked about their children in college who shy away from defending Israel because, as one put it, “they want to have friends.”

As Chesler recounted her career of trying to draw attention to the dangers of renascent hostility to Jews on the left, I was filled with a deep admiration for her persistence. All the polite and some not-so-polite dismissals by people in positions of influence–Jewish leaders, Israeli officials–all the dismissals for being alarmist, or worse, paranoid, all the loss of friends and colleagues, and worse, the enemies, the dis-invitations, the exclusion from participating in the public debate… She had been fighting the same Sisyphean battle and paying the same psychological price, for thrice as long as I, a Johnny-Come-Lately of the aughts. And here she still was: Clear, morally grounded, sound-minded, not consumed with anger and resentment, still trying to communicate.

When the media pundits and social activists and feminists adopt a scapegoating discourse that Palestinian leaders use in order to blame Israel for the abuse they systematically inflict on their own people and especially their own women, where progressives comply with the demands of faux-moderate Muslims insisting that any criticism of Muslims for how they treat their women is Islamophobic hate-speech, a clear voice like Phyllis Chesler’s is hard to hear indeed.

These are not, however, times for comfort, for easy friendship, for joining popular social-justice peer groups. These are times that call for courage, for integrity, for braving the gulag of faux-progressive exile, for standing tall for real progressive values, no matter what the cost in faux-friends. If not now, when? Certainly, if young women and men want to make a difference in our world, want to contribute to a genuine tikkun olam, they could hardly do better than looking to Phyllis Chesler’s long, productive, passionate, and courageous career for inspiration.
Self-Described "Progressive, Mainstream" Muslim Groups in America Are Homophobic and Racist
Nor is the shroud of progressivism hiding closeted bigotry at Islamist events restricted to racial discrimination. Despite what Linda Sarsour might have us believe --"We don't even have this [same sex marriage] conversation [in the Muslim community]" -- hateful views on homosexuality such as those expressed by Wahhaj are common among MAS-ICNA and similar groups. A case in point is this year's ISNA convention, where Sarsour spoke. At the event, representatives of an organization called Muslims for Progressive Values (MPV) were booted from the venue specifically because of their LGBTQ- and women- focused advocacy. According to MPV's press release, they and their event partners, Human Rights Campaign (HRC), were asked to leave by ISNA officials on the grounds that they "don't fit in" at the "religious, private, and family-oriented event."

Such exclusion is neither unusual nor surprising. In fact, all conferences held by these "mainstream" Islamic groups include speakers who advocate extreme violence against the LGBTQ community. Take this year's ISNA annual convention in Chicago, for instance, which hosted Muzammil Siddiqi, a former president of ISNA, who still sits on its board. In an interview published on the ISNA website, Siddiqi called homosexuality a "moral corruption," and explicitly stated that he supports laws in countries that execute homosexuals. The convention also included Yasir Qadhi, dean of academic affairs at AlMaghrib Institute, who has been recorded teaching students that killing homosexuals is part of Islam.

If Sarsour and her fellow Islamists in the United States are to be believed, they work to "make America better..." "...out of love" for fellow Americans. Yet, their behavior tells another story -- one of closeted bigotry and deceit -- all for the purpose of legitimizing their own false claims to the leadership of mainstream Muslims. Sarsour, like MAS, ICNA, and ISNA, might purport to seek justice, but theirs is not a justice that will ever lead to ethnic and religious tolerance. It certainly will not bring about the "peace" that Sarsour pretends to promote.

 Vic Rosenthal's Weekly Column

So we’ve had another murderous terror attack. It happened when Border Police officer Solomon Gavriya (20), private security guards Youssef Ottman (25) and Or Arish (25), and community security team leader Amit Steinhart were opening the back gate of Har Adar, near Jerusalem. A Palestinian Arab approached them, pulled out a pistol and shot all four. Gavriya, Ottman and Arish were killed, and Steinhart was critically wounded. The terrorist, Nimer Mahmoud Ahmad Jamal, was from a nearby village. He had worked in Har Adar for some time and was well-known and trusted there, which is probably why he was able to get close to the guards. He was, thankfully, shot dead by others on the scene before he could get into the community.

Jamal was having family problems – his wife had recently left him – so naturally he chose to kill some Jews (and Ottman, an Israeli Arab from Abu Ghosh) and die a hero. He may or may not have been a member of a terrorist organization. Hamas distributed candy in the streets of Gaza as usual, and Fatah glorified him as a shaheed. The Palestinian Authority will pay his family 6000 NIS (about $1700) immediately and 2600 NIS (about $740) a month for life.

That’s the story, again. An unhappy Palestinian Arab solves his problems by murdering Israelis. It’s not surprising, because he’s been told how wonderful and heroic it is to murder us by his political and religious leaders, day in and day out. He learned it in school (Jamal would have been 14 in 1994 when Yasser Arafat took over the Palestinian school system and it began teaching the glory of martyrdom), he was told it by his Imam in the mosque on Friday, and he heard it countless times on Palestinian Authority radio and TV.

The PA is one of the most corrupt governing authorities on the face of the earth. It receives more than a billion dollars a year from the international community, which comes as direct aid to the PA, money for various projects, UNRWA support for “refugees,” NGO and church programs, and more. Much of this money also goes to Hamas, via UNRWA and in payments from the PA for salaries of PA officials in Gaza (who either don’t do anything or work for Hamas). There have been attempts to condition the flow of money on stopping incitement of terrorism, but the PA simply claims it isn’t inciting or – as in the case of the payments to the families of terrorists – refuses to stop.

We are living alongside, and sometimes intertwined with, a culture of hate and death. Unhappy husbands like Jamal, teenagers angry at their parents, women threatened with honor killing, pious Muslims overcome with shame over Jewish feet touching the ground near al-Aqsa, young men who want to impress their friends, cynically manipulated mentally disturbed individuals, workers angry at their bosses, and hardened terrorist operatives all end up committing murder. And they receive encouragement from their peers and authority figures, as well as payments from their government.

Yet the world loves them. The people that popularized airline hijacking, suicide bombing and vehicular terrorism are the toast of the Western Left. The UN has special sub-organizations set up to help them gain their ”rights,” which as they understand them, require dismantling Israel and replacing it with a racist apartheid state of Palestine, that –  judging by the PA’s record – wouldn’t accomplish anything more than absorbing aid and training its children to be monsters. Their made-up history and stories of mistreatment at the hands of the Jews are believed without question. Their fake news and Pallywood video is broadcast without checking or criticism, even when it is obviously untrue.

An observer from another planet would be amazed. Israel is a functional country which provides a good life for its inhabitants, one of the few places where Muslims and non-Muslims can coexist even a little, a country that ranks 12th out of 156 nations in the happiness of its people (several places ahead of the US and far ahead of the UK), a country that generates technological and scientific progress greatly disproportionate to its size, which sends units of its army around the globe not to invade other nations, but to rescue disaster victims. And yet, the majority of the world’s nations support a cause dedicated to its destruction. If you ask why, they will tell you that they do it in the name of “human rights!”

In the early 1990s, the so-called “peace process” began. The Oslo Accords injected new life into the PLO and created the PA, which immediately began its programs of hate indoctrination, along with its “talk and shoot” strategy. The ignorance of the Israeli Left, which facilitated this and which even now after several wars and more than a thousand Israeli deaths from terrorism, believes that it’s possible and desirable to allow the establishment of a Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria, is staggering. Recent history and simply listening to what Palestinians say – both their leadership and the people on the street – should make it clear that the goal of the Palestinian cause is the liquidation of our state.

But how is Israel’s “right-wing” leadership responding to the latest terror attack? How did it respond to the last one or the one before that or the one before that? How does it respond to soldiers getting run over at bus stops, or people being stabbed in supermarkets? Unfortunately, almost not at all.

There will be angry remarks by the Prime Minister, the Minister of Internal Security, and the Defense Minister. There will be demands for Mahmoud Abbas to “denounce” the attack. The terrorist’s home will be demolished, and his relatives may lose their permits to work in Israel. For a few days the IDF might carry out searches in his village, and maybe bring in his brothers for questioning. Then the media will move on to other things, the PM will be accused of something new, the army will have other jobs to do, and life will go on.

But not for Solomon Gavriya, Youssef Ottman, and Or Arish. These young men who got up Tuesday morning with plans, friends, and whole lives ahead of them are already in the ground. Their families are shattered. Nothing will be the same for those who were close to them. And nothing will be the same for countless other throughout the country whose loved ones were brutally ripped from them in the name of the “Palestinian cause.”

Perhaps we have been too much influenced by the world media and political institutions that treat terrorism against Israel as understandable. There seems to be an attitude here that there is an “acceptable” level of terrorism. After all, more people are killed in road accidents. But it is not acceptable to the families of those who are murdered. And it should not be acceptable to the state that our neighbors think that murdering us is praiseworthy, that they glorify and pay murderers. 

It should not be acceptable that there is a culture in which killing Jews is permissible and encouraged. It is our responsibility to our people to put an end to it. To destroy the culture of hate and death.

What else could “Never Again” mean?

We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.
From Ian:

Watch: 'Son of Hamas' stuns PA delegation at UNHCR
Mosab Hassan Yousef, the son of Hamas founder Sheikh Hassan Yousef, stunned the Palestinian delegation to the UN Human Rights Council when he called out the PA's human rights abuses of their own people.

The PA delegation reacts with shock as Hassan Yousef calls the PA the “greatest enemy of the Palestinian people,” in a video posted by UNWatch.

“If Israel did not exist, you would have no one to blame,” he declared.
AMBUSHED: U.N. Heads Turn in Stunned Disbelief as PLO Lies Exposed by Palestinian Hero

PMW: Fatah summer camp glorified terrorist murderer Dalal Mughrabi
Fatah does not cease to promote terrorist murderer Dalal Mughrabi as a role model for Palestinian youth. During a visit by Fatah Central Committee member Abbas Zaki to Fatah's Al-Asifa Pioneers Summer Camp in Hebron this August, girls paraded with two flags: one, the official Palestinian flag, and the other had the image of terrorist Mughrabi. Mughrabi led the bus hijacking and murder of 37 civilians, 12 of them children, during what is known as the Coastal Road massacre, in 1978.

The picture of Mughrabi on the flag holding an automatic rifle is a well-known photo, often used by Fatah when praising her as a "role model" and "Martyr." For example, when members of Fatah's Central Committee celebrated the attack and praised the female terrorist on the anniversary of her attack, the photo was displayed on stage at the event.

Palestinian Media Watch reported last month on another Fatah summer camp which was named after Dalal Mughrabi earlier this year.

While visiting the Al-Asifa Pioneers, Zaki "reviewed the significance of the role of the male and female youth in the Palestinian revolution, since its outbreak." [Facebook page of Fatah Spokesman in the Southern Hebron District Maher Namoura, Aug. 8, 2017]
Australia, New Zealand PMs to visit Israel for Beersheba battle anniversary
The prime ministers of Australia and New Zealand will visit Israel next month to mark the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Beersheba, the Foreign Ministry said Thursday.

The 1917 attack on the Ottoman forces in the city, which was led by British general Edmund Allenby, enabled the British Empire to take control of southern Palestine after months of inconclusive fighting in Gaza and continue its advance towards Jerusalem.

Mounted units of soldiers from both Australia and New Zealand played key roles in the fight for the city.

The ceremony will be held on October 31 at the Beersheba Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery, where more than 1,000 commonwealth soldiers are buried, including the over 100 troops who died during the Battle of Beersheba.

The Foreign Ministry said Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will arrive in the country on October 28, while New Zealand Prime Minister Bill English will land in Israel a day later.

It did not say whether the two will hold meetings with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu or any other Israeli officials while in the country.

Netanyahu last met with Turnbull in February during his trip down under.

  • Thursday, September 28, 2017
  • Elder of Ziyon
Al-Monitor reports:

Some Iraqis are calling for closer relations with Israel, feeling a common bond of past persecution and a desire for peace and stability. Many people might find two factors cited in this change quite surprising: Iraqis' guilt, and some resentment of Palestinians.

"There is a dramatic shift that has changed [Iraqi] public opinion [toward Israel] as a result of the Palestinians' involvement in supporting the [late Iraqi] dictator Saddam Hussein and thus getting involved in terrorist operations," writer and political analyst Ali Mared al-Asadi told Al-Monitor recently by phone.

"Most Shiites in Iraq have a sense of guilt because they did not support the peaceful Jewish community with whom they lived for hundreds of years in peace and harmony in one homeland, but who were persecuted and displaced during the monarchy [1958-1963] and the Baathist regime [1968-2003] eras.”

Much of the fanaticism and hostility toward Israel appears to have declined in central and southern Baghdad, where the majority of people are Shiite.

On Sept. 9, Asadi wrote, “It is not in the interest of Shiites to antagonize Israel. Shiites and Jews ought to reach understandings based on common humanitarian grounds that guarantee peaceful coexistence in the Middle East.”

It is an important point: Just because Iran is Shiite doesn't mean that Shiites hate Israel. After all, Iran used to have good relations with Israel before the revolution.

Asadi told Al-Monitor by phone, “If we put the influence of Iran and the remnants of the Baathist culture aside, Iraq would have no excuse to keep officially antagonizing Israel, especially since the majority of the Arab states, [even] the Palestinian state itself, hold relations with Tel Aviv.” 
But it isn't only Shiites:

Many Sunnis also seem to favor closer ties. Political analyst Maher Abed Jawdah told Al-Monitor, “Even Iraqi Sunnis are in tune with Sunnis in Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the Gulf countries in establishing good relations with Israel, mainly because they are driven by the same hate toward Iranian Shiites, who are very hostile against Israel.” 

As for Iraq’s official position, Maher said, “The Iraqi state rejects relations with Israel. The influential, Iran-backed Shiite factions in Iraq would not allow any friendlier official stance toward Israel.”
Shuruq al-Abayji, an Iraqi parliamentarian, told Al-Monitor, “There are many individuals in Iraq calling for establishing relations with Israel, though they don't represent the official state position. However, Israel is seeking to galvanize these individual views through special agendas.”

Mithal al-Alusi, a former Iraqi parliamentarian and longtime outspoken advocate of normalizing ties with Israel, sees communication as the key to achieving that goal.

“The need to communicate and have dialogue with everyone at the level of states, parties and individuals, including Israel, is the way to solve problems in the region and achieve a secure future for all peoples,” he told Al-Monitor. "The current communications revolution means everyone has become able to express their opinion freely, regardless of the official stance of a government or a state. Many positions and stances have [become] pro-Israel.”

Linda Menuhin, a Jewish writer and former journalist born in Baghdad and based in Israel, told Al-Monitor by phone of her experience with the issue. “Many of the Iraqis I am in touch with encourage good relations with Israel. Many of them also want to visit Israel and even settle there.”

Aziz, who studied public administration in the United States, added, “I think relations between Israel and Iraq will flourish in the future, and I hope by then I will be the first Israeli ambassador to Iraq."
This is an incredible sea change of Arab public opinion that would have been unthinkable a few years ago.

This is how peace could and should be achieved. But Iran's political influence over Iraq will only grow, as it has a clear agenda of Iranian influence to the Mediterranean. Public opinion can only go so far in these circumstances.

Still, this is significant.

We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.
  • Thursday, September 28, 2017
  • Elder of Ziyon
On Twitter, Palestinian American journalist Daoud Kuttab accused UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nicolay Mladenov of not knowing international law when he implied that the Har Adar attack was terrorism:

Kuttab, a former professor at Princeton who has won journalism awards, is wrong.

Two of the victims of the Ha Adar attack were two security guards - civilians under international law. The injured person was a civilian. The other victim was a member of Israel's Border Police, which reports to the Israeli Police and not the IDF. Normally police are considered civilian although an argument could be made that the Border Police could be considered combatants under international law given some of their operations.

But clearly three of the four people shot were civilians and this was a terror attack.

Kuttab, of course, was informed of this - and refused to issue a correction. Because, to this pseudo-journalist and academic fraud, propaganda is the entire purpose of his "journalism."

(h/t Soccer Dad)

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  • Thursday, September 28, 2017
  • Elder of Ziyon
Haaretz has an op-ed by an anonymous young man in Gaza whose story is tragic - but not for the reasons he, or Haaretz, thinks.

In Gaza, we also fall in love.

She was just 17 years old when she came to the educational center where I was volunteering as an English teacher. The head teacher asked her mother to choose the teacher who would instruct her daughter. But her daughter intervened. She pointed directly at me. I knew that would be the beginning of a love story.

Over the next eight months, she and I finally fell in love. Her family knew, but mine did not, because I knew my family was not financially ready for a marriage. Immediately, I realized the mistake I had committed by allowing such a deep attachment to grow.

I am my parents’ eldest son. They want me to marry so they can enjoy being grandparents, but they know that I don’t have a apartment to live in or a stable salary that would allow me, my wife and them to survive on. My father has been unemployed since 2005 when he, along with thousands of other Gazans, could no longer work inside Israel after its withdrawal. He became one of the 80% of all Gazans who depend on social assistance and international aid.

My girlfriend's parents loved me so much that they said they could not live without me. "If you ever leave us, you will kill our souls," her mom once told me. Her words made me cry for hours, because I already knew marrying her daughter would never happen.

I felt trapped between Scylla and Charybdis. I was afraid to be realistic and to tell her family that financial difficulties prevented me from marrying their daughter, and I was also scared to promise the girl and her family to wait for me, and for my situation to improve, because I did not want them to wait for years.

Between fear and hope, the relationship lasted for about two years, and she was almost 20 years old when her mother asked to meet me alone. I knew what her mother wanted to talk about. I met her in a restaurant in Gaza, popular with families, and she started talking about the social culture of Gaza  and how people regard young women when they pass the age of 20.

In Gaza, and in most of the Arab world, families consider girls over 20 as irredeemable spinsters. That means many have no chance of marrying - for several reasons. There is a gender 'surplus' of young  single women because so many young men immigrate to the West looking for jobs, because men disproportionately lose their lives in combat, and because men don't have the financial means to get married.

"You know my daughter will soon be 20, and I still don't know if you're intending to marry her." Her mother started her prepared speech. "You know we can wait for you for years, but your family should know and I need guarantees that you will indeed marry her!"

It was her right to say that, and that day I felt the most guilty and oppressive person on earth. I realized how much her family was attached to me, and how much they needed me to be one of them. I couldn't give my answer there and then. I asked her mother to give me a few days to think.

Gaza's difficult financial conditions, including an unemployment crisis that exceeds 45%, one of the highest in the world, stifle the chances of hundreds of marriages ever taking place. That has led to the proliferation of organizations that facilitate weddings. Their main role is to help people who don’t have the financial means to marry. Because every wedding in the Gaza Strip costs at least $8000, these organizations provide grooms opportunities to pay in comfortable installments over two or three years.

I thought of going to register at one of these organizations, but I was very hesitant. I knew that everyone in the neighborhood would know I married through them, and that it's considered shameful. I didn’t want anyone to talk badly about me. Moreover, I would not be able to pay the installments back, so I would fall in a dangerous financial trap; I would likely default, and I might even go to jail. So I eradicated the idea of marriage from my mind.

I called her mother, and told her that I would not let her daughter or her wait for me. I would not be able to marry for years. She cried over the phone several times, but I still felt I did the right thing.

That was two years ago. Until now my ex-girlfriend has refused every marriage proposal suggested to her. Her mom once called me and said that her daughter was suffering psychological difficulties. That day, I understood what living in the Gaza Strip means.
I don't want to dump on a person whose pain and love is real.

But listen to what he is saying. He is saying that his sense of shame at the idea of taking charity to afford a wedding is strong enough to ruin the life of the young woman he loves.

Even the article notes that around half of the people in Gaza are poor in one sense or another (even though there are quite a few social safety nets there - no one is starving and no one sleeps on the streets.)  Gazans have no shame whatsoever about accepting hundreds of millions of aid from the West.

But this young man - who loves and is loved by this young woman - is willing to let her become a spinster and to be alone the rest of her life because of his selfish, perrverted sense of shame.

The article is blaming Israel for his own selfishness and his conscious decision to abandon a wonderful woman and sentence her to a life of pain. Which is, when you think about it, the way the entire Arab world looks at Palestinians - choosing to hurt them and to use them to blame Israel.

It doesn't have to be this way. Another young couple in Gaza who couldn't afford a wedding swallowed their pride, ignored the shame that permeates their society and crowdfunded their own wedding.  They are the exception that proves the rule.

The Arab shame culture that the West is so keen on ignoring underlies every decision made in that world, from the personal to the national. And (in the way it is manifested in the Arab world) it is inherently inferior to the guilt culture of the West that emphasizes personal responsibility. This article unwittingly illuminates what can only be described as a sick way of thinking that holds an entire society back. Instead of saying that he and his love can work together, help each other and swallow some pride in order to have the companionship and support and love that they need, he is saying that he is willing to destroy his love's life - because he is so afraid of the temporary shame of not being able to afford a stupid wedding that for some other stupid shame reason must cost $8000.

This is indeed "what living in the Gaza Strip means" and what living in the Arab world means. It is a perverted way of life that ensures generations of immature young men and young women are doomed to blaming the results of their self-destructive decisions on others.

They are the architects of their own misery  - but they will always blame the neighbors.

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Wednesday, September 27, 2017

From Ian:

Melanie Phillips: The Labour Party – a safe space for hate
Today, the party passed the rule change making antisemitic abuse and harassment by Labour members a punishable offence. The Guardian reported:

“The rule change proposed by the Jewish Labour Movement, which has been backed by the Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn and the party’s national executive committee, will tighten explicitly the party’s stance towards members who are antisemitic or use other forms of hate speech, including racism, Islamophobia, sexism and homophobia.”

Yet this change is worse than meaningless. Yes, it enables the party to expel antisemites. But crucially, it leaves unresolved the definition of what antisemitism actually is. And you can bet your bottom dollar that Labour will never, ever accept that demonisation and delegitimisation of Israel is the contemporary form of the oldest hatred.

How could it accept that? Its members overwhelmingly subscribe to it – even though many of them haven’t the faintest clue that what they believe to be the truth about the Arab-Israel conflict is in fact a pack of lies from start to finish.

In maintaining this fictitious distinction, Labour wields what it believes to be the ultimate weapon: the anti-Zionist Jews who offer themselves as human shields to protect those who they hope will destroy the State of Israel through demonisation and delegitimisation.

The assumption is that no Jew can be an antisemite; so if Jews say Israel is a Nazi apartheid racist murderous colonialist state committing unspeakabke atrocities, that cannot be antisemitism.

But that’s rubbish. Antisemitism has unique characteristics, including double standards applied to no-one else but the Jews, systemic lies and falsehoods, imputation of a global conspiracy to harm the world in their own interests, blame for crimes of which they are not only innocent but are the victims, and so on. All these characteristics that make antisemitism a unique collective derangement apply to the demonisation of Israel.

And of course, there have always been Jews who have done the antisemites’ dirty work for them. The fact that such a high proportion involved in this latest manifestation of the oldest hatred are people of Jewish descent merely demonstrates the tragic fact that there’s no disorder quite so pathological as when a Jew turns against his or her own identity at the deepest level. Jews are a people like no other; the hatred directed at them is a hatred like no other; and when Jews turn on their own people, they behave in a way that is replicated by no other.
PM Netanyahu’s UN speech

President Trump’s UN speech

When I first heard about Mudar Zahran, I thought it was too good to be true, that people are way too gullible. I shook my head. How could it be that an Arab would take our side in this way?

I asked this not just as a rhetorical question, but to people in the blogging world, people on my same side, the right side of Israeli politics.

I was referred to the Jordan is Palestine Facebook page, where Zahran held forth before a captive and adoring Jewish audience, protesting his ardent love for the Jewish people and for Israel. Zahran's plan was and still is, to bring down King Abdullah and install himself, Mudar Zahran, as prime minister of Jordan.

The beauty of this is that Israel wouldn't have to give away any more land. The solution would be the solution that already is. It's the British Mandate for Palestine solution. You know, the one in which 78% of the Mandate was carved away from what Balfour promised the Jews and given to the Arabs to be their national homeland, Transjordan, the Palestinian state. All we needed to do is get that durned Hashemite, Abdullah, off the throne.

Could it really be that Arabs and Jews might bring peace to the region via this Arab initiative? It was a wild concept. But all the right people were telling me Mudar was the real deal.

We'd get peace for doing absolutely nothing at all!! We just had to support this guy, the self-described "putative prime minister of Jordan" and spread the word.

But what happened next was ugly. I found out the guy was a fake, but in a way that hurt me. I mean really hurt me. I'd lost my innocence in a deep and profound way.

I wrote up the entire story in a blog piece for the Times of Israel I called: My Lost Arab Hope. I called Mudar "M." I would link to the piece here, except that the Times of Israel removed the piece Tuesday, some four years after I wrote it, subsequent to this post on Facebook.

Here are some excerpts from that 2013 TOI piece:

I ask if I can interview him for a blog. We agree on a time for a Skype call. I wait. M doesn’t show.
Days later M apologizes, reschedules. Again, he is a no-show. He mentions something about being on the run again, more death threats.
Finally, we manage our Skype call. We get through a number of my questions. At one point, I think I hear a toilet flush. I pretend I don’t hear it. We agree he’ll answer the rest of my questions by email.
I wait. M doesn’t follow through.
Then one day, he sends me a link to a webpage all in Arabic. I can’t read Arabic. He swears up and down that the webpage is an anti-Israel article written by a well-known Arab Israeli journalist. One I respect.
The article, M tells me, was written many years ago. He swears up and down that it says what he says it says and that his sources are very high up.
It doesn’t sit right with me. I tell him I want to have someone translate the piece into English, so I can verify what he tells me.
M is offended. He makes me feel guilty for spurning his offer of truth. Is he not my friend, M asks? Would a friend lie to a friend?
I hem and haw, and hurt, he lets me go.
I look for someone to translate the article and find someone. He’s busy, perhaps tomorrow.
Before my translator friend can get to the work, M writes: it was all a huge mistake. The journalist he smeared the day before is a prince among Arab men.
I am gobsmacked.
And offended.
Had I spread the slander to my contacts, my credibility would now be in tatters. I would be reviled for sloppy work and for besmirching the name of a respected journalist.
I log on to Twitter and confront M’s tweet: “[Respected journalist M smeared the day before] is a prince among Arab men.”
It lights my fuse to read this. I tweet, “Funny. That’s not what you said yesterday.”
M messages me on Facebook. “My contacts misled me. I apologized to [said journalist]. It’s all been worked out. Please remove your tweet.”
I do so.
One week later, M messages me, “Dear precious varda, it was a moment of weakness and treason from someone I trust, I care for you much, and respect the wonderful things u ve always said and done.......I did injustice to [said journalist], and it was because of a sleeper who abused my trust......forgive my dear and I truly hope we start a new page at least as fellow zionists!”
And I see M has unfriended me.
It is a spear to the heart.
I try to reason with him. People who are “dear” and “precious” aren’t written off, I tell him.
M will not budge. He writes something a bit firmer, more hurtful, and blocks me.
. . .
M unblocks me. He sends me a friend request. He makes it seem chivalrous: he thought my actions showed I no longer want his friendship.
We chat. I tell him I’m not like him. I am no good at flowery language. My people are from Lithuania, renowned for being cold and unemotional.
M writes, “Ukraine has beautiful people, yet they hate Jews in such a strange fashion. I remember how when the Nazis arrived the locals took the initiative to round up Jews. Amazing, why so many people hate Jews.”
And suddenly I hear it. Not the error in geography. The trope.
The words trip off something essential inside me, turning my veins to black ice. Now I know him. Now.
Had he said, “Some of my best friends are black,” I would have laughed, would have appreciated the joke. But suddenly I know. I know it in my gut: M hates Jews absolutely.
Why is any of this at all interesting now? Because after all these years, the Jews are still being duped by Mudar Zahran, a man who claims to be a political refugee. The Jordan branch of the HSBC bank, meantime, published this advertisement shortly after Zahran left Jordan and arrived in London. The bank did this because Mudar owed the bank 47,000 Jordanian Dinars (the rough equivalent of $66,000), and his whereabouts were unknown. 
This is no secret. It's all on the web.
Mudar's own father very publicly and repeatedly condemned and disowned him. This too is easily found on the web. Now think what it means in the Arab culture when a father condemns a son, a culture most concerned with honor. It means that Mudar is an outcast. Since he is an outcast, no one can claim damages against his family. And this outcast has the stupid Jews duped that he could rule Jordan!

What I didn't say in my Times of Israel piece (because it hadn't yet happened, duh) is that approximately one year after I'd severed all contact with Zahran, someone purporting to be Israeli and Jewish threatened me in a private message on Facebook. I thought of going to the police, but did not. I'm told now that Zahran creates fake Jewish profiles on Facebook and threatens people. One of those people he threatened is way smarter than I, because that one person did file a police report. 

Aside from what people tell me and the threat I experienced, I've seen with my own eyes the abusive comments and obnoxious threats directed at a friend of mine, with Zahran calling her Abu Toameh's girlfriend, because she takes him to task for his libelous comments. 

What I don't get is how the guy continues to have so many followers when people like Ruthie Blum, Caroline Glick, and Harold Rhode are saying it straight out: HELLO-O. This guy's a fraud.

Excerpt from Caroline Glick's longer Facebook post

I mean, Gatestone Institute deleted his entire archive. GATESTONE INSTITUTE. You know, the Gatestone Institute of which Ambassador John Bolton is chairman? They deleted Mudar Zahran's archive. There must have been a good reason.

A post shared by Varda Epstein (@epavard) on

Khaled Abu Toameh, on the other hand, is an honest journalist for whom no one has a bad word—except for Mudar Zahran who has some kind of bug in his psychotic ear about the guy—is it jealousy???  Abu Toameh is one of the few writers I seek out when looking for something good, something real to read, knowing that whatever he writes will be the truth. There's no bias, no slant in his work. He's straight up. A professional. Which is why he won the 2014 Daniel Pearl Award. When Mudar ripped into Khaled, that's when the jig was up for me. It just did not pass the smell test.

Award-winning journalist Khaled Abu Toameh
Mudar's Jordan is Palestine Facebook page is rife with posts attacking Khaled Abu Toameh, to the point that it is practically an all-Khaled, all-the-time page. It's some kind of obsession with Zahran.

Happily, not everyone is duped.

And if you read Arabic, you can see that some Arabs are none too happy with the way Zahran manipulates information. For instance, Zahran uses photos from various Jordanian events, and pretends they are connected to his upcoming conference. That's a classic example of deception. The photos are obviously for illustrative purposes only. Zahran, however, creates a false impression that the people you see in the photos are connected to his conference and are his supporters. In Arabic he claims that Jordanians have been invited to the conference.

The comments are hot. There is much cursing and talk of suing the website, believed to be managed by Zahran. Zahran is accused of forgery and termed a deceiver.

Note that Zahran is posting his anti-Khaled screeds mostly under aliases with fake Facebook accounts, some of them "Jewish." Michael Ben Avraham and Michael Ben Abraham are, by the way, two of the names Zahran uses to fake people out about his Jewish support. You might have seen blogs by these Michaels, such as this one.

Abu Toameh says that Mudar's friend Rachel Avraham helps him with these aliases. Avraham posted a slanderous article under the byline Michael Ben Abraham for Jerusalem Online (JOL) where she was, at the time, an editor. The article was swiftly removed by her seniors and Abu Toameh was informed that Rachel Avraham had been relieved of her duties at JOL. After this, more slander-filled articles appeared, with a slight change in the spelling of the byline (Michael Ben Avraham). Abu Toameh' s lawyers are now preparing a libel suit against Rachel Avraham and JOL despite the removal of the article.

Both Rachel Avraham and Mudar Zahran continue to claim that Michael Ben Abraham is a real person and that he's a Republican Jew and lobbyist named Michael Ross.

Moving right along, here's some irony for you: what Mudar has done is to create a Jewish conspiracy in the flesh. He has the Jews trying to help him overthrow the King of Jordan! And the Arabs are talking about this! In Arabic. They see the upcoming "Jordan is Palestine" conference (slated for October 17) as part of a wider Israeli-Jewish conspiracy against Jordan.

The Arab media is mocking the fact that Zahran is affiliated with "extremist right wing Jews" who believe he can be the president of a Palestinian state in Jordan. The Arabs are saying: the Jews are helping Mudar Zahran overthrow the king (except they aren't, because no one in the Arab world takes Mudar Zahran seriously). Not a one of them supports him or would vote for him. But those stupid Jews. . . oh how they are throwing money at him to do this thing. It's a crazy Zionist conspiracy!

It's true what they say: the Jews supporting Zahran are some of the most right-wing, most religious Jews I know, and these oh-so-right-wing Jews are helping Zahran plan this foolish going nowhere Jewish conspiracy. They're helping him plan that conference. The only problem is financing it. To that end, a Gofundme campaign was initiated 18 days ago by the International Jewish-Muslim Dialogue Center (IJMDC).

If you Google the International Jewish-Muslim Dialogue Center (IJMDC) you'll find a Facebook page and this spammy-looking website with some dude named Michael Ross listed as "Executive Director" but who is actually the only member of the board listed under the plural heading "Board of Directors." There is no biographical information offered about this Michael Ross, no link, nothing. The Facebook page of the IJMDC, meanwhile, is all about Mudar Zahran and carries two reviews, one of which was written by Mudar Zahran.

In other words, the Gofundme campaign is organized by none other than Mudar Zahran. The good news is that in 18 days, he's only managed to raise 461 pounds (as of this writing) out of 18,000 pounds. Not going well at all. Tsk. That conference may have to be canceled.

But never mind, because really, what could Zahran viably bring to such a conference? The photo for the Facebook account of his "Shadow Secretary for Homeland Security" Naseem Gheewan, for instance, is of an U.S. pilot who died ten years ago.

At this point I want to shake my right wing fellow bloggers and friends who still support this nothing burger of a man, Mudar Zahran, and say to them, "What the hell is wrong with you??"


UPDATE: Reader David Fink reminded me that nothing ever disappears from the 'net. My Times of Israel article, My Lost Arab Hope, can be accessed HERE.

UPDATE (EOZ): Mudar Zahran is threatening to sue me (not for the first time), claiming everything Varda says here is a lie. So for the record - he disagrees with this post. He says he doesn't hate Jews. He says there was no toilet flushing. He gave me a laundry list of what he says are lies.

I'm sure that there are some Jews he likes. After all, some of them  have been supporting him. Outside of that, for the record, I believe Varda more than I believe him. I also believe Khaled Abu Toameh more than I believe him. And if he wants to sue me, go ahead.

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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 19 years and 40,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


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