Saturday, August 31, 2019

From Ian:

UN Watch: BREAKING UN urges Palestinians to stop 'hate speech against Israelis that fuels antisemitism'
In a rare UN criticism of the Palestinians, the world body’s racism watchdog urged Ramallah to combat “hate speech and incitement to violence,” saying it was “concerned” about statements by Palestinian public figures, politicians and media officials, as well as in school textbooks and curricula, pointing to “hate speech against Israelis” which it found “fuels hatred” and “may incite violence” and “antisemitism.”

The UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) further called on the Palestinians to “remove any derogatory comments and images from school curricula and textbooks that perpetuate prejudices and hatred.”

In addition, the panel found that Palestinians laws and policies failed to implement UN treaties on racism, or to properly investigate complaints for acts of racial discrimination.

The 18 independent experts reviewed the Palestinian record and those of six other countries at a session that ended on Thursday, when they issued their findings.

Palestinian Delegate Lashes Out at UN Watch
In wake of the review session two weeks ago, Palestinian representative Ammar Hiajzi lashed out at UN Watch after the Geneva-based non-governmental organization briefed the UN experts on Palestinian incitement.

“We must not allow our discussions to be diverted and side-tracked by those organizations founded and funded to deny the Palestinian narrative, dehumanize the Palestinian people by spreading lies and half-truths about them,” he tweeted on August 15th, prompting a sharp reply from UN Watch Executive Director Hillel Neuer.

In first, UN panel calls on Palestinians to halt hate speech against Israelis
The report marked the first time the panel had criticized Palestinian officials, according to UN Watch, a Geneva-based organization that addressed the session leading to the report.

The committee called on Ramallah to better protect journalists, human rights activists and political dissidents; to act against incitement to violence by public figures, politicians and media officials; and to remove inflammatory and discriminatory images and text from school curricula and textbooks.

The panel also recommended that Palestinian officials ensure that minorities enjoyed full rights and public services, especially Bedouins, and that minorities found adequate representation in politics.

Near the top of the report, titled “Concluding observations on the combined initial and second periodic reports of the State of Palestine,” the committee said that Israel’s presence in the West Bank, its settlements and its blockade of Gaza posed “severe challenges for the State party in fully implementing its obligations under the Convention.”

At the committee’s 99th session, held earlier this month, during a review of the “State of Palestine,” some delegates referred to examples of anti-Israel and anti-Jewish content in Palestinian textbooks and state-owned media outlets.

“What happened this week was unprecedented,” Hillel Neuer, the executive director of UN Watch, said after the session. “Since 1974 when Yasser Arafat and the PLO were welcomed into the United Nations, this is the first time that the world body’s spotlight was officially placed on Palestinian racism, discrimination and anti-Semitism.”

Restaurant in Ramallah backs out of hosting US Embassy meeting with Palestinians
An upscale restaurant in Ramallah backed out of hosting a lunch meeting between the US Embassy’s commercial attache and Palestinian businesspeople earlier this week, according to both an activist as well as a businessman who said he was invited to the lunch.

The restaurant said it would not host the meeting after the National and Islamic Forces in Ramallah, a group of local activists, contacted its management and demanded it cancel the event, according to Isam Bakr, a leading member of the group.

“We called the members of the management and told them that the restaurant should not host this meeting. We asked them how it could permit the gathering to take place on its premises following all of the US administration’s punitive measures against Palestine, including the State Department’s recent decision to erase Palestine from its site,” Bakr told The Times of Israel, referring to the department’s removal of the “Palestinian Territories” section from its website.

“Approximately half an hour later, the management informed us that it would not host the meeting, which we highly appreciated,” said Bakr, who asked that the name of the restaurant not be identified over concerns it could be targeted.

He said that the event was slated for Thursday at noon, but the restaurant decided to cancel it on Wednesday.

  • Saturday, August 31, 2019
  • Elder of Ziyon

The most problematic part of this video is perhaps not the attack itself, but that UNIFIL kept it under wraps.

Exclusive video obtained by Fox News shows a peacekeeping patrol under attack by the U.S.-designated terrorist group Hezbollah. An intelligence source confirmed to Fox News the Iranian proxy force was behind the attack.

While the U.N. described the attack in a report, the video and the ensuing chaos following the ambush show how dangerous Hezbollah has made the situation for UNIFIL, or the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon.

The video shows groups of men block off the convoy with their cars. Once blocked off several men set upon the vehicles, trying to break in through the windows with hammers and stones.

At one stage, gasoline is poured over the second U.N. armored vehicle and then lit on fire. As it burns one peacekeeper leaves the vehicle while being accosted by the men. Another peacekeeper comes running out from behind the lead armored vehicle with his gun drawn, only to retreat. Another peacekeeper leaves the APV, surrendering his weapon to the terrorists. Men carrying automatic weapons can be seen during the melee.
By not letting anyone know, UNIFIL is essentially protecting Hezbollah - a terror group.

(h/t Irene)

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Friday, August 30, 2019

From Ian:

Melanie Phillips: Puncturing the big lie of Palestinian identity
Nazmi al Jubeh, an associate professor of history and archaeology at Birzeit University outside Ramallah, told a UN conference last June that there was no evidence linking the Jews to Jerusalem.

Thus far, so predictably mendacious. But thanks to the Elder of Zion website, a piece has now surfaced written by al Jubeh in 2006 in which he demolished the myth of Palestinian identity and made plain that it was invented solely to destroy Zionism and Israel.

Not that he acknowledged the Jews’ own history in the land. He made correct but passing reference to the Romans renaming Judea as “Palestina” in order “to challenge the memory of the Jews” after the Romans put down “the Jewish rebellion.”

Yet he didn’t provide the context for this by explaining that the Romans had crushed the Jewish kingdom, which had existed for centuries before being conquered in turn by successive waves of colonial invaders.

Instead, he claimed that the “Palestinian Jews, an essential component of the Palestinian people, started at the beginning of the twentieth century to identify themselves with the Zionist movement, thus separating themselves from the rest of their own people … ”

Despite this egregious and absurd falsification of Jewish history, the striking element of al Jubeh’s account is his admission of what we know to be objectively true – that, from the earliest times, there was no Palestinian identity.

Myth: Palestine was heavily populated with Arabs before the Zionists arrived.
For many centuries, Palestine was a sparsely populated, poorly cultivated, and widely neglected expanse of eroded hills, sandy deserts, and malarial marshes. This was Mark Twain’s description when he visited in 1867:

A desolate country whose soil is rich enough, but is given over wholly to weeds—a silent mournful expanse.

A desolation is here that not even imagination can grace with the pomp of life and action?.?.?.?We never saw a human being on the whole route.

There was hardly a tree or a shrub anywhere. Even the olive and the cactus, those fast friends of the worthless soil, had almost deserted the country (Mark Twain, The Innocents Abroad (London, 1881).

As late as 1880, the American consul in Jerusalem reported the area was continuing its historic decline. “The population and wealth of Palestine has not increased during the last forty years,” he said (Melvin Urofsky, American Zionism from Herzl to the Holocaust (Bison Books: 1995), p. 29).

Take a look at some of the photos from the late 19th and early 20th century to see the desolation Twain talked about:
To European Leaders, Jewish Flesh Is Cheap
The Oslo Accords were based on the illusion that the PLO could totally change and suddenly become a "partner for peace"... It soon became clear that the Palestinian Authority was still the PLO: terrorist attacks quickly multiplied. The money received by the Palestinian Authority was used to continue incitement to murder and payments to incentivize it.

In 1967, a change of strategy took place. No one, the PLO decided, would speak of a "war for the destruction of Israel". Instead, they would call it a "war of national liberation". From then on, the PLO was presented as a "liberation movement".

Arabs who had left Israel in 1948-49, many of whom remained in refugee camps, were defined as the "Palestinian people"; in this way were the Palestinian people invented. As PLO Executive Council member Zuheir Mohsen said in 1977: "The Palestinian people does not exist... Only for political and tactical reasons do we speak today about the existence of a Palestinian people..."

The leaders of the Palestinian Authority have, in fact, never stopped resorting to "armed struggle", the name they give to terrorism and murdering Jews. To "frustrate all the schemes of Zionism", they invented the Palestinian people; their "struggle for national liberation" gave them international recognition. By renaming terrorism and murdering Jews "armed struggle", they made their use of terrorism and murder acceptable. By signing the Oslo Accords, they could appear interested in peace without having to renounce terrorism. They could even demonize Israel and give it the image of a barbaric and cruel country while continuing to murder Jews.

"If you look at history... what ends conflicts is one side giving up.... and then it's over.... in World War II, [the Germans] were forced to give up... and note how much they benefited by giving up." -- Daniel Pipes, historian, November 19, 2017.

No U.S. president had ever told Palestinian leaders that they were lying, or had required them to stop inciting murder and financing terrorism, and no U.S. president had ever decided to cut funding for the Palestinian Authority as long as it continued to incentivize terrorism. President Donald J. Trump did.

  • Friday, August 30, 2019
  • Elder of Ziyon
Actually, these are cartoons that I created/edited and tweeted over the past few weeks that I never posted on the blog.

Political Football

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  • Friday, August 30, 2019
  • Elder of Ziyon
This New York Times story from April 23, 1964 discusses an attack by black youths in Bedford-Stuyvesant on Jewish kids in a Lubavitcher yeshiva.

There are some parallels with today's antisemitic attacks in Brooklyn against mostly elderly Jews, but today the media doesn't want to be accused of racism so hardly anyone is even mentioning the race of the attackers.

In contrast, this article tries to understand the source of the violence in the black community. The black youths, already subject to the endemic racism of the time, see in the religious Jew a white target that can't fight back. But there is also traditional antisemitism there.

Today, the people trying to understand the current attacks on Jews are only looking at how the Jews might have brought it onto themselves rather than the bias of the attackers.

In other words, in some ways people were less antisemitic in 1964 than today.

The children of the Lubavitcher Yeshivoth are Orthodox Jews and do not look like other American children. They wear skullcaps and have the fuzzy beginnings of beards and there is to them a look of the Old World and of the ghetto.

They do in fact, go to school in a ghetto. It is not the ghetto of the Old World, but a ghetto of the new, the black ghetto of Bedford‐Stuyvesant.

In that black world that one Negro referred to yesterday as “the bottom of the bottom” they represent a curious focus of hatred. They are white, yet they are a minority, and in the eyes of the Negroes, a weak and defenseless minority. For about a decade trouble has been simmering.

Tuesday the tension erupted in a brief explosion when a gang of older Negro youths shouting anti‐Semitic slogans attacked the Jews. Several of the students and two rabbis were injured.

Yesterday the police kept a close watch on the school and promised a round‐the‐clock guard for an indefinite period. The Jews were shaken, more emotionally than physically, and during the day there was a long series of visitors of all faiths and colors, come to assure them that the incident was unfortunate.

Yet in the eyes of the school's officials it was more inevitable than unfortunate.

“It's been building up for several years,” said Rabbi Samuel Schrage. “We are desperate to get out of here.

“We are not wanted here, we are not liked here, and we do not have the respect of our neighbors.”

At almost the same time a police official, a Negro, was saying: “It has all the makings of trouble. This is a very tough area. You don't have to be a genius or a sociologist to spot the dangers.”

Another police officer added: “The Negroes are simply doing to the Jews what the Irish used to do to the Jews.”

Rabbi Schrage disputed this. The yeshiva had trouble with the Irish, he said, “but the Negroes are more flagrant, more audacious.” He smiled and added: “They have more chutzpa.' Chutzpa means gall, among other things.

Tuesday's incident, because of its racial and anti‐Semitie nature, overshadowed an event of far greater violence that indirectly triggered the Tuesday attack.

This was a stabbing on Saturday night that took the life of a 14‐year‐old Negro boy, Major Jones. The attack took place in a dispute among a group of Negro youths. According to the police, young Jones was probably not a member of a gang, and so technically he did not die in a gang fight.

On Tuesday a wake was held for him at the Brown and Mitchell funeral home, which is only a block and a half from the yeshiva. Many of the youth's friends were at the wake. The mood was highly emotional. Many of the young Negroes sobbed.

After the wake, a group of Negroes ‐ not an organized gang ‐ passed the yeshiva as the students were having a lunchtime break. Some of the Negroes, shouting epithets, tried to shake down the Jewish children. Rabbis went to the aid of the students, and soon there was a fight. The Negroes reportedly were armed with knives, bottles, chains and sticks.

“It was like watching a movie from Africa, one of those rebellions where the Africans attack the whites,” Rabbi Schrage said.

A crowd of about 50 persons, almost all of them Negroes, gathered to watch. They made no move to stop the fight.

Finally a white man, Leo Berman, grabbed one of the Negroes, and the others fled.

The neighborhood was not always Negro. Twenty years ago, when the yeshiva opened, it was primarily Irish. The school building, bought at an auction, had once housed the old Unity Republican Club.

In the early days on Bedford Avenue, the Jews with their skull‐caps and the older students with their beards were frequently taunted by the Irish.

“They had beards, and people with beards are different, and so people threw water on them,” Rabbi Schrage related. “But with the Irish kids it was mostly a case of yelling a curse and running. And some of the parents would come by the school and apologize. That doesn't happen now.”

Other, less Orthodox, Jews in the neighborhood at that time began to move, partly because the neighborhood was changing and partly because the anti-Semitism that went with the yeshiva also affected them.

The Irish, too, moved away, and about 10 years ago the neighborhood became predominantly Negro—and then finally altogether Negro.

At the same time, ironically, the yeshiva flourished as Orthodox families all, over the city sent their children there. Many of the fathers of the current students are rabbis. Many work in the garment, diamond or pearl industries. More than a third of the students, according to Rabbi Schrage, will become rabbis.

They could hardly offer a sharper contrast with the young Negroes in the area. They know nothing of fighting, nothing of gangs. In many of their homes television is not permitted because there is too much violence on it.

“These kids don't know dancing or dating,” said Rabbi Schrage. “For them a big treat is if someone reads a Bible story.

“They can't protect themselves, and the Negroes know this. So the Negroes would sooner go after them than some white kid who might fight back.”

The shakedown of the Jews began almost immediately after the neighborhood became a Negro one. “It was always anti-Semitic,” he said. “It was always: ‘Give me a dime, Jew,’ not ‘Give me a dime, boy.’ ”

The students, he said, were regularly shaken down for small change, and frequently lost hats, coats and briefcases. The transit passes that all city school children get are specially stamped “Good on Sunday” because the Yeshiva students go to school on Sunday, and the Negroes covet these, too, Rabbi Schrage said.

The Negro youths' world, in contrast, is a violent one. It is a world of gangs, of absenteeism from school, of early sexual experience and sometimes of early death.

To the Negroes, the Jews are white, richer, different. They are also obviously weaker. In addition, said a rabbi, an undercurrent of anti‐Semitism is frequently evident in the meetings and teachings of the Black Muslims.

All this, added to what one police official called “the overpowering feeling of frustration in that area,” led to the conflict.

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From Ian:

The real waste and destructiveness of UNRWA
As readers may be aware, an internal UN report has been leaked accusing the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), the UN body that looks after Palestinian refugees, of corruption, sexual misconduct, nepotism, waste, and poor management among its leadership team. This comes on top of long-standing complaints about the agency, including:
- Its tolerance of incitement to hatred and violence in its schools and other institutions;
- Its unique definition of who is a Palestinian refugee that means the number of such refugees will expand forever;
- Its political promotion of the legally-baseless Palestinian “right of return”, contradicting the two-state solution and thus damaging any realistic hopes for Israeli-Palestinian peace.

Now, the American blogger “Elder of Ziyon” has called attention to some material from UNRWA’s own website demonstrating how the latter two political stances lead to gross waste by the agency, quite apart from the current scandal.

Basically, “Elder of Ziyon” points to three facts noted on the UNRWA website:
- UNWRA says it has “started construction on a new health centre in Zohour area within the Jordanian capital Amman. … The actual construction activities started late in July 2019 and the health centre is expected to be functional by August 2020 and will improve access to health care for over 68,000 Palestine refugees in the area.”
- UNRWA admits “In Jordan, the 2.2 million Palestine refugees who are registered with UNRWA enjoy broad inclusion in social and economic life. The vast majority have Jordanian nationality, with the exception of some 158,000 ‘ex-Gazan’ refugees,” and “[M]ost of the over 2 million Palestine refugees in Jordan have been granted citizenship, and have the same access to health care as other Jordanian citizens.”
- UNRWA says “In Jordan, our clinics serve more than 1.1 million people, nearly 56 per cent of the registered Palestine refugees in the country.”

What these three facts amount to is this: UNRWA is paying to run, and even currently expanding, a separate and discriminatory health care system in Jordan which is almost completely unnecessary.

UNRWA scandal the tip of the iceberg
Completely reliant on donors, UNRWA is always living on the edge, with uncertain funding and a culture of secrecy. The agency regularly assesses its management, but it publishes uniformly positive reports. The imperative is always to support calls for future funding and avoid lending ammunition to critics, namely the US and Israel.

One lesson is that funders must demand internal controls, external audits and public access to information. Assurances regarding Palestinian needs aren’t enough. Scrutiny is also needed for the Palestinian Authority, which uses foreign aid to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in pensions to terrorists and their families.

A second lesson concerns the danger of devoting an international organisation to a single population. UNRWA was effectively taken over by Palestinians decades ago. Politicisation began at the bottom with school curricula, but crept upward with senior managers calling for the Palestinian “right of return”.

The US funding cuts were the first serious challenges to a long overripe status quo. This latest scandal is an opportunity for the US, joined by other angry donors, to demand a phaseout plan for the entire organisation.

UNRWA’s 30,000 employees could join the Palestinian Authority, which would take over its health, education and welfare responsibilities like the state it claims to be. UNRWA’s expensive international cadre, including lobbyists in Washington and Geneva, should be disbanded. And Palestinian residents of Arab states – all of whom are considered refugees by UNRWA – should become citizens of those states, as they are in Jordan, or of the Palestinian Authority. If Palestinians truly desire a state, they should join the call for UNRWA’s abolition.

Seeing Palestinian flags at rallies for liberal causes like LGBTQ rights, women's rights and Black Lives Matter is always jarring, because Palestinians are among the least liberal people on Earth.

But the sight of the flag associates the "pro-Palestinian" (really anti-Israel) cause with liberalism and that is something that happens subconsciously.

If we are to fight the anti-Israel side we have to sometimes play by their rules. Let's associate the Palestinian flag with the anti-liberal causes that are their actual positions.

Here's a start:

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  • Friday, August 30, 2019
  • Elder of Ziyon
The official Palestinian Wafa news agency reports on the usual over-the-top reaction to a diplomatic defeat:

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemned Honduras' decision to open a diplomatic mission in Jerusalem linked to its embassy in Tel Aviv, calling it a direct aggression against the Palestinian people and their rights and a flagrant violation of international law and international legitimacy and its resolutions.

It decided to file a complaint against Honduras with the Secretary-General of the United Nations over the opening of an official diplomatic mission in Jerusalem linked to its embassy in Tel Aviv, and to submit a draft resolution in the General Assembly against Honduras for violating Security Council resolution 478 of 1980, and announced that it had withdrawn from its intention to open an embassy in Tegucigalpa.

The Foreign Ministry also decided to ask the Arab League Ministerial Council, which will hold its ordinary session chaired by Iraq on September 10, to condemn this step and push for punitive measures against Honduras for the crime committed against the Palestinian people, ignoring its obligations towards the resolutions of the Security Council, which condemns the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital and the transfer of any embassies from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

The Ministry indicated that it would go to the OIC General Secretariat for the same purpose and ask for a trade boycott action against Honduras.
Hyperbole is normal diplomatic language for Palestinians. because they know that it can intimidate Western diplomats who want to keep the peace so an irrational actor must be coddled rather than more appropriately being confronted or mocked.

There's more:
"The status of Jerusalem as an occupied city is endorsed by the vast majority of states, in line with their standing legal and moral obligations to uphold international law," [Hanan] Ashrawi said.
Honduras will almost certainly locate its mission to the west of the Green Line. Hanan Ashrawi is saying that all of Jerusalem is occupied, proving yet again that Palestinians have no interest in sharing anything.

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  • Friday, August 30, 2019
  • Elder of Ziyon
Yesterday, the White House announced that it had issued sanctions on a number of Lebanese financial institutions and individuals that help fund Hezbollah and Hamas.

The transcript of the press conference (the source seems bizarre but the transcript is accurate)  is a pleasure to read, as it is so refreshing even three years after Obama to see a White House that is so clearly supportive of Israel's right to self defense and so against coddling Iran and its support for terrorists. Something like this was unthinkable a few years ago, but it is so obviously the correct and moral position. Say what you want about Trump but in this area it is the Obama administration that was immoral in propping up Iran and its terror proxies Hamas and Hezbollah.

A couple of reporters asked the administration officials about presumed Israeli attacks on Iranian and Hezbollah targets in Syria and Lebanon. The answers show that while the White House does not officially support Israel's actions, it has absolutely no problem with them.

Q    Hi, it's Karen DeYoung at the Washington Post. ...On the larger question of Hizballah and Iran, I wonder if you could -- any of you -- talk a bit about the recent Israeli strikes in Syria and Lebanon, and whether the United States is playing any role in encouraging or discouraging those attacks, and just what you think of them in general.  Thank you.

OFFICIAL 1: I'll leave it for the Israelis to comment on what they did or they didn’t do.  But the United States neither encourages nor discourages the Israeli attacks.  The United States believes that the government of Israel has a right to defend itself from threatening activities throughout the region, wherever they may be.

OFFICIAL 2:  ...It's our position that Israel is only acting because of Iran's actions.  If Iran was not pouring heavy weapons and fighters into Israel's neighbors with the express purpose of threatening Israel, I don't think Israel would be needing to take any of these actions.  And we fully support Israel's right to self-defense, and denounce Iran's regional campaign to violence. 

     Q    Hi.  This is Jeff Schogol with Task & Purpose.  I just wanted to follow up on my colleague's question.  The U.S. supports Israel's right to self-defense and Iraqi sovereignty.  But if Israel attacks targets in Iraq, what does the United States do when Israel's right to defend tramples over Iraq's sovereignty?
     SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  I think that's actually an excellent question for the Iranians.  Where is their respect for Iraqi sovereignty when they are putting this material into Iraq?  That seems, to me, a pretty gross violation of sovereignty if that's the topic under discussion.
The press conference also revealed that Iran has transferred over $200 million to Hamas in the past four years. This is besides the funding of other terror groups in Gaza.

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Thursday, August 29, 2019

From Ian:

Evelyn Gordon: Israel can’t treat its own destruction as a legitimate aim
When Israel barred two US congresswomen from entering the country earlier this month, I initially thought it was a stupid decision. But after hearing the reactions from both American politicians and American Jews, I’ve started to think that it may have been necessary.

This isn’t to deny the substantial damage it has caused. Pro-Israel Democrats felt betrayed and even some pro-Israel Republicans were outraged. Most of the organized Jewish community was horrified. And the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement received media exposure it could never have gained on its own.

But nobody would have felt outraged or betrayed had Israel barred, say, white-supremacist politicians. Thus the underlying message of these reactions was that unlike white supremacism, advocating Israel’s destruction is a legitimate opinion, and is entitled to the same respectful treatment as the view that Israel should continue to exist. Yet, no country can or should treat its own erasure as a legitimate option.

To understand why this was the issue at stake, a brief review of the facts is needed. When Israel originally agreed to allow a visit by Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), it knew that they enthusiastically supported BDS, a movement unambiguously committed to eliminating the Jewish state. It also knew they would use the visit to tar Israel in every possible way.

However, it assumed that they would at least pay lip service to Israel’s existence by following the standard protocol for official visitors – meeting Israeli officials and visiting some Israeli sites. On that assumption, and since the law banning entry to prominent BDS supporters permits exceptions for the sake of Israel’s foreign relations, Israel decided to admit them “out of respect for the US Congress,” as Israeli Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer said at the time.

A few days before the visit, however, the proposed itinerary arrived and proved that assumption wrong. Far from paying lip service to Israel’s existence, the trip literally erased the country from the map.
The Tlaib-Omar Show Was a BDS Masterstroke
US-Israel relations have been through worse, and they will survive this too. But the incident is worth contextualizing within the US-Israel political framework. Tlaib and Omar displayed remarkable audacity in openly lying about their trip, both in advance and then again after it was canceled. They falsely claimed they were planning to meet Israeli officials when their itinerary included only ‘Palestine’, Palestinians, and supporters of Palestinians.

Tlaib’s actions proved that her visit was never meant to be an impartial trip to the scene of the conflict. Nor was it about seeing her grandmother. The point was to showcase the so-called “occupation.” Such manipulations, compounded by the soft power enjoyed by pro-Palestinian groups, magnify a fictitious reality. They allow those groups to hijack the narrative of peace, justice, and human rights while yearning for Israel’s destruction.

US-Israel relations do not exist in vacuum, and US opinion is neither monolithic nor frozen in time. It has undergone significant shifts since 1948, with some groups becoming more favorable toward Israel and others less so. Nevertheless, as polls illustrate, support for Israel has become an American value, even if some elected officials feel otherwise. Sustaining this requires work and perseverance.

It is a serious challenge to get past the self-delusion and zero-sum exclusion of the BDS worldview, which polarizes American politics regarding Israel, and convey the actual reality of the Middle East. The normalization of antisemitism in American politics and culture – together with our growing collective dependency on technology and the general tone of politics – reduces complex issues to sound bites and drives polarization and ignorance. (h/t IsaacStorm)
Book review: The trials – and tribulations – of Judge Richard Goldstone
In The book, The Trials of Richard Goldstone, Daniel Terris, a friend and admirer, provides us with an in-depth account of a remarkable career.

Goldstone, 80, is a third-generation South African who was born into a Jewish family in Boksburg, near Johannesburg.
In the book, we follow, and are helped to understand, the events and circumstances that led to the emergence of Goldstone as a towering figure in international jurisprudence.

As his legal career progressed in South Africa, where he combated and helped defeat apartheid from within the system, and as chief prosecutor for the UN in bringing the Bosnian Serb political and military leaders to justice, Goldstone proved himself a dedicated advocate of human rights and an unwavering upholder of international humanitarian law.

Terris both describes and explains the challenges that Goldstone faced along the way, and the principles that informed his many decisions – principles that evolved over the course of his career, and have become his legacy.

Then late in the story, when he was already past 70, came the debacle of the Goldstone Report, a pivotal episode in his life and in his career. Terris describes the episode with scrupulous honesty.

It is well known that a couple of years later, Goldstone published an article in The Washington Post containing the key sentence: “If I had known then what I know now, the Goldstone Report would have been a different document.” His partial retraction of the report’s conclusions was condemned at the time as “too little, too late,” and in a sense this was true. Yet Terris also highlights the reactions of some in the human rights world who applauded Goldstone’s moral courage in acknowledging when mistakes had been made. “Heroism of the first order,” one editorial called it.

  • Thursday, August 29, 2019
  • Elder of Ziyon
Palestine Today reports:

A source in the Palestinian resistance said on Tuesday that the resistance factions in the Gaza Strip will enter the front line upon the outbreak of any war with Hezbollah on the northern front.

"If there is a battle with Hezbollah in the north, the resistance factions in Gaza will enter the confrontation line," the source said.
What does Gaza have to do with Lebanon?

Iran funds many Gaza groups and would instruct them to start shooting rockets from the south while Hezbollah shoots them from the north, leaving Israelis with nowhere to go outside of rocket range - except perhaps parts of Judea and Samaria.

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Lebanese Baffled Why Israel So Bad At Apartheid Vs Palestinians When Lebanon Right There Showing Them How

barbed wireBeirut, August 29 - Residents of Israel's tiny northern neighbor voiced puzzlement today regarding the Jewish state's policy of segregation and disenfranchisement perpetrated against Palestinians, noting that despite Lebanon's decades-old, comprehensive use of the practice to emulate, their neighbor to the south has never implemented any competent version of the policy.

Lebanon residents both native and Palestinian shared their confusion about Israeli Apartheid, observing that while international media, NGOs, Arab political figures, and numerous other sources call attention to that Apartheid, the fact remains that Israel has done a lousy job of following any real Apartheid policy even though Lebanon lies just over the border and makes no effort to hide its bona fide Apartheid treatment of Palestinians. Israel could imitate that policy with the simple step of copying the plain-sight example to the north, but has failed to do so.

"I can't hold a real job," noted Jibril Hassan, a resident of the Palestinian refugee camp Ein el-Hilweh. "It's against the law in Lebanon for me to own property, a business, attend university, or find employment in a whole array of fields, especially government. And of course I can't participate in Lebanese elections because I'm not a citizen. All that is for my own good, because otherwise I might get used to being in Lebanon, and I might even like it, when I'm supposed to be fighting to destroy Israel and reclaim the place my grandparents fled seventy plus years ago. Whatever the reason for the policy, it's clear Israel has no clue what it's doing, because it can't be that hard to just copy and paste Lebanese law on the subject. But here we are, and Israel lets Palestinians hold jobs, own property, attend university, and what have you - and when every now and then Palestinian leaders decide to hold elections, Palestinians under Israeli rule are allowed to vote. It's like those Jews have no idea how to do Apartheid."

"We're not allowed to employ Palestinian guests," confirmed Baalbek entrepreneur Awad Afkam. "Officially, as you know, this is for their own sake, which is why we also build high walls around their camps, we love them so much. We even let them fight among themselves instead of forcing our police upon them. But Lebanon is a small country and we must also protect our workers from low-wage competition. It amazes me that Israel doesn't follow this easy example, considering its much greater resources and wealth. It's weird, because everyone knows they have no hesitation about appropriating everything else in Arab culture such as falafel."

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From Ian:

Israel: Republic of Nauru recognizes Jerusalem as Israel's capital
The Republic of Nauru has recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital, Israel Foreign Ministry announced on Thursday.

"I commend @Republic_Nauru’s important decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. We will continue to strengthen Jerusalem and to bring about the recognition and opening of diplomatic missions and embassies in our capital," Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz tweeted on Thursday.

In a letter the country’s mission to the UN in New York wrote to the Israeli mission on the matter, it stated: “The Mission of Nauru has the honor to convey the decision of the Government of the Republic of Nauru to formally recognize the City of Jerusalem as the Capital City of the State of Israel.”

The island country from the Pacific joined a small number of other countries who have taken this step in the last several years, including the United States, Guatemala and Honduras. The President of Honduras is due to arrive in Israel this weekend to open a trade office in Jerusalem.

Unprecedented Meeting in Mecca Rejects Extremism
The "Charter of Makkah," unanimously endorsed on May 28, 2019, in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, by leading Muslim scholars from 137 nations, offers Muslims guidance on concepts that champion moderate Islam.

"All people, regardless of their different ethnicities, races and nationalities, are equal under God. We reject religious and ethnic claims of 'preference.'"

"Differences among people in their beliefs, cultures and natures are part of God's will and wisdom. Religious and cultural diversity never justifies conflict."

"We recognize and respect the other's legitimate rights and right to existence. We set aside preconceived prejudices, historical animosities, conspiracy theories and erroneous generalizations."

"We should advance laws to deter the promotion of hatred, the instigation of violence and terrorism, or a clash of civilizations, which foster religious and ethnic disputes."

"The empowerment of women should not be undermined by marginalizing their role, disrespecting their dignity, reducing their status, or impeding their opportunities, whether in religious, academic, political or social affairs. Their rights include equality of wages and opportunity."
A New Middle East?

10,000+ Hindus unite in a major rally in India to denounce terrorism, show support for Israel
Braving extremely inclement weather, with a flood-like situation, Singha Bahini, a grassroots organization in India, held a pro-Israel rally in Kolkata, India on August 16, 2019. Over 10,000 people braved the heavy sudden downpour and flooding, which caused bumper-to-bumper traffic and clogged roads. Many thousands more could not make it through the treacherous conditions to the rally site. While the organization SinghaBahini is just a year old, the organizers have been on ground helping in the existential battle for the Hindus in the villages of Eastern India for over a decade.

Pro-Israel rallies are not new to the founder of the organization Devdutta Maji, who was instrumental in organizing two large pro-Israel rallies in India: 20,000 people in 2014 and 70,000 people in 2018. At the rally, demonstrators held placards saying, "We Support the Jewish People in their 2,000-Year-Old Struggle," "India and Israel Friends Forever," and "We Support Israel in Her War against Terrorism."

The rally reflects the positive turn in the India-Israel relationship under the leadership of Indian prime minister Narendra Modi. The Indian prime minister visited Israel in July 2017 and Prime Minister Netanyahu reciprocated with a visit to India in 2018. With strong trade ties, people-to-people contact, and rallies in support of Israel as seen recently, ties between India and Israel and between the Hindus and Jews worldwide are expected to strengthen further.

  • Thursday, August 29, 2019
  • Elder of Ziyon
Sean Durns noticed this gem in Benny Morris' book 1948:

Someone should ask Bassem Tamimi and Rashid Khalidi about their illustrious family histories of helping Zionists build the land. Their reactions should be videoed.

The next paragraph provides a very nice counterbalance to this one:

A couple of months ago I wrote about the Palestinian Arab leaders' rejection of the British proposal of creating an "Arab Agency" parallel to the Jewish Agency.

The official reason that they rejected the Jewish Agency was that it was an affront to their dignity - which is the reason that this rejection is celebrated today. But Morris is correct as to the real reasons that the Arabs didn't step up to create public institutions, and "dignity" was just a fig leaf for the leaders' laziness, corruption and apathy towards the people they supposedly lead.

Just like today.

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  • Thursday, August 29, 2019
  • Elder of Ziyon

Annex to the letter dated 12 July 2019 from the representatives of Algeria, Angola, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, the Plurinational State of Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Comoros, the Congo, Cuba, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Gabon, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, the Lao People's Democratic Republic, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nepal, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, the Philippines, the Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Somalia, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, the Sudan, the Syrian Arab Republic, Tajikistan, Togo, Turkmenistan, Uganda, the United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe and the State of Palestine to the United Nations Office at Geneva addressed to the President of the Human Rights Council 
Mr. President, Madam High Commissioner, 
We, the co-signatories to this letter, reiterate that the work of the United Nations Human Rights Council (IIRC) should be conducted in an objective, transparent, non-selective, constructive, non-confrontational and non-politicized manner. We express our firm opposition to relevant countries' practice of politicizing human rights issues, by naming and shaming, and publicly exerting pressures on other countries. 
We commend China's remarkable achievements in the field of human rights by adhering to the people-centered development philosophy and protecting and promoting human rights through development. We also appreciate China's contributions to the international human rights cause. 
We take note that terrorism, separatism and religious extremism has caused enormous damage to people of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang, which has seriously infringed upon human rights, including right to life, health and development. Faced with the grave challenge of terrorism and extremism, China has undertaken a series of counter-terrorism and deradicalization measures in Xinjiang, including setting up vocational education and training centers. Now safety and security has returned to Xinjiang and the fundamental human rights of people of all ethnic groups there are safeguarded. The past three consecutive years has seen not a single terrorist attack in Xinjiang and people there enjoy a stronger sense of happiness, fulfillment and security. We note with appreciation that human rights are respected and protected in China in the process of counter-terrorism and deradicalization.
 We appreciate China's commitment to openness and transparency. China has invited a number of diplomats, international organizations officials and journalist to Xinjiang to witness the progress of the human rights cause and the outcomes of counter-terrorism and deradicalization there. What they saw and heard in Xinjiang completely contradicted what was reported in the media. We call on relevant countries to refrain from employing unfounded charges against China based on unconfirmed information before they visit Xinjiang. We urge the OHCHR , Treaty Bodies and relevant Special Procedures mandate holders to conduct their work in an objective and impartial manner according to their mandate and with true and genuinely credible information, and value the communication with member states.  
We request that this letter be recorded as an official document of the 41st session of the Human Rights Council and that it be published on the OHCHR website. 
Anyone who pretends to care about human rights in the name of Palestine and who does not have anything negative to say about this letter clearly does not really care about human rights.

(h/t UN Watch)

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  • Thursday, August 29, 2019
  • Elder of Ziyon

A Canadian anti-Israel group, CJPME, proudly claimed that Hydro-Quebec caved to BDS demands to stop cooperating with Israel.

Hydro-Quebec responded that CJPME have no idea what they are talking about and that they have excellent relations with IEC.

Regarding the end of our cybersecurity knowledge sharing partnership with Israel Electric Corporation (IEC), we would like to state that it was not politically motivated in any way or the result of a pressure from BDS Québec. The partnership agreement of good practices between Hydro-Québec and the IEC, signed in May 2017, lasted two years. It ended, as initially planned, in May 2019. The partnership was not renewed for the simple reason that our needs and expectations regarding the sharing of information in the area of cybersecurity were fully met in the course of our 2 year collaboration. We continue to have excellent relations with the IEC and could eventually pursue our discussions should the need arise.
The BDSers will have a press conference this morning pretending to reveal important information about this - the memo of the 2017 agreement between IEC and Hydro-Quebec, being spun by an anti-Israel lawyer.

The funny thing is that the agreement ended in May, and the BDSers are only now noticing. A recent article in TVA Nouvelles talks about cyberattacks on Hydro-Quebec and how they are defending against them (autotranslated):

Hydro-Québec says it has learned a lot in Israel about how to better avoid cyber attacks.

Over the past two years, Hydro-Québec has been to the Israel Electric Corporation (IEC) school, the equivalent of Hydro-Québec in Israel. The agreement ended last May.

"This agreement has allowed us to share our knowledge. Israelis are recognized as the best in the world in the field of cybersecurity, "said a spokesman for Hydro-Quebec, Louis-Olivier Batty.

The Israel Electric Corporation estimates it counteracts millions of malicious interventions annually.

The Israeli state-owned company has developed state-of-the-art expertise to counter hackers.

Many analysts believe that Israel has become a model to follow in the field of computer security.

Israel has more than 450 companies specializing in cybersecurity on its territory. In 2018 alone, 60 new companies were created in Israel in this very promising niche for the economy of the Jewish state.

The expertise of the Israel Electric Corporation is so popular that since 2013 it has offered paid training in cybersecurity.

The training program is not only intended for power grid operators, but also for IT managers in the industrial, manufacturing, insurance and financial sectors, among others.

Hydro-Québec argues that its agreement with the Israel Electric Corporation, however, did not cost anything.

"It was a knowledge sharing agreement," said his spokesperson.

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 Vic Rosenthal's Weekly Column

A Strategic Plan for Peace

I spent some time Tuesday at a kibbutz in the “Gaza envelope,” the area close to the Strip that absorbs the brunt of the rockets that are the usual expression of Palestinian Arab rage at my existence. The kibbutz was sprinkled with little concrete shelters, because the 15 seconds or less that would elapse between the warning and the impact of a rocket doesn’t permit even a fast person to make it to the main protected areas.

There is also a serious fence around the kibbutz, and an electric gate. If one or more of the terrorists that often break through the border fence were to get in, there could be a disaster. So far, this hasn’t happened, because the IDF usually stops them, thanks to the female soldiers that “man” the observation posts up and down the border. But when we got to the gate, there was nobody to let us in. So we just waited for another car to drive out. No problem.

It was a beautiful day, not as humid as here in Rehovot even though it was closer to the coast. It was hard to believe that earlier in the day several mortar shells had been fired from Gaza at Israel, and that on Sunday night there was a rocket attack nearby. But Tuesday afternoon was quiet and peaceful.

It wasn’t peaceful in early May, when 690 rockets were launched at Israel. Some were intercepted by the Iron Dome system, but some got through, doing significant damage, killing four Israelis and wounding numerous others. Most of the rockets were aimed at the area near Gaza, but several of the deaths were in the cities of Ashkelon and Ashdod, farther north. In March, a rocket from Gaza landed in a town 20 km north of Tel Aviv, destroying a house and injuring seven.

If it were not for the Iron Dome systems and the plethora of shelters in the communities near Gaza, the death toll would be much higher. A massive, all-out attack – Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad may have as many as 30,000 rockets stockpiled – would certainly overwhelm the systems, which can’t be everywhere at the same time. 

There are not only the rocket and mortar attacks that kill people, but there are the arson balloons, the attempted incursions, the threat of actual invasion. And why limit the discussion to Hamas? There are also the paymasters of the “lone-wolf “ terrorists, the leaders of the Palestinian Authority – the organization that we allowed to be set up in Ramallah, led by the men of Fatah, the heirs of the Nazi al-Husseini and the ones responsible for the Second and (as yet unofficial) Third Intifadas.

These are the Palestinian Arabs, our deadly enemies.

We can’t defeat the PA and Hamas in a direct military confrontation without killing thousands. We won’t do that, even though they would do it to us in an instant. But we can’t make peace with them either. There is no common ground, no desire for anything other than total victory on their side, no possibility of trust on our side – and we are completely correct in not trusting them.

But there is a solution. And luckily, it is also a solution for some of our other problems.

The Palestinian Arabs do not have the resources to maintain their struggle by themselves. They are supported by other enemies of the Jewish state (what other country in the world has such a collection of enemies?), primarily Iran and Qatar, sometimes Saudi Arabia, and the European Union. The Palestinians are our proximate enemies, but these are our remote enemies. They are no less our enemies, and they have the same goal: they do not want there to be a Jewish state in the Middle East (or probably anywhere).

The Iranian regime fights by proxy. Its powerful Hezbollah proxy is probably the most dangerous threat facing us today. But it also supports Hamas. The remarkably hypocritical European Union also fights by proxy; it financially supports the Palestinian Authority and tries to subvert Israel’s government by supporting left-wing groups within Israel.

If we could knock out the support systems, the Palestinian war effort against us would collapse. Without financial support from Iran and Qatar, Hamas would be unable to maintain control of Gaza. The existing tribal forces in Gaza would take over. We would still have to deal with local terrorism, but the ability to mount a coordinated attack would be gone.

If Iran were neutralized, Hezbollah would wither away, along with the Shiite militias in Iraq and Syria. And that’s the solution. Rather than exhaust ourselves fighting with Iran’s local proxies, we need to confront the Iranian regime directly. 

It sounds daunting – Iran is a massive country with a huge population. But it isn’t necessary or desirable to invade or occupy Iran. All we need to do is to help the opposition overthrow the regime, which is very unpopular. In this enterprise we would have the US on our side, at least under the present administration. I think it’s doable, if dangerous. Military operations would be limited to the Revolutionary Guard, which protects the regime and implements its expansionist policy.

There is also the looming nuclear threat. On this, we have no choice. The only way to deal with it is to neutralize Iran.

I think that PM Netanyahu understands this and that it is in fact his policy (that’s the only way I can understand the degree of restraint we are exercising toward Hamas).

The Palestinian Authority also must collapse. This is about to happen almost all by itself. There will soon be a struggle for power after Mahmoud Abbas dies or retires; we can support multiple tribal leaders, aiming to create a group of decentralized “emirates” in Judea and Samaria as suggested by Mordechai Kedar. But it will be important to get Iran out of the picture; otherwise the PA would simply be replaced by Iranian-funded proxies like Hamas. That implies that action against the Iranian regime must come soon.

Once the PA is gone, the EU’s influence over the Palestinian Arabs will be reduced. Our own government can and should work to strengthen regulations that will prevent the Europeans from supporting anti-state organizations here.

The solution for both Gaza and Judea/Samaria, in other words, is the same: decentralize Palestinian governance and split them from the outside forces that maintain their belligerency.

Israel is a truly beautiful place when it is at peace. We are now on the verge of a very difficult period, which will be quite the opposite. But I believe that if we have a consistent strategic plan and carry it out, we can bring about a situation in which our country will at last experience long-term peace. Timing will be everything: if we wait for the demise of Mahmoud Abbas, or if we don’t act before the administration in the US changes, it may be too late.

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Wednesday, August 28, 2019

From Ian:

Honduras recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital
Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez will travel to Israel on Friday to inaugurate a “diplomatic office” in Jerusalem, recognizing the holy city as Israel’s capital.

The diplomatic office in the city will be an extension of Honduras’s Tel Aviv-based embassy.

“For me it’s the recognition that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel,” Hernandez said on Tuesday.

The Honduran foreign ministry said in a statement Israel had proposed that Honduras move its embassy to Jerusalem, which is being “analyzed and evaluated in the international and national context.”

US President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in late 2017 and officially moved the US embassy there last May, sparking a deterioration in relations with the Palestinians.
Honduras’ President Juan Orlando Hernandez speaks at the AIPAC Policy Conference in Washington on March 24, 2019. (Screen capture/AIPAC)

Guatemala and Paraguay followed suit while Brazil said it was studying the possibility. Paraguay reversed its decision four months later, after a change in government.

Moving an embassy to Jerusalem is highly contentious. Israel claims all of Jerusalem as its capital, while Palestinians view East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.

Most diplomatic missions in Israel are situated in or near Tel Aviv as countries try to maintain a neutral stance over the status of Jerusalem.
(h/t IsaacStorm)

MEMRI: Blog Post On Website Of Qatar's Al-Jazeera Network Praises Hamas Summer Camps And Its Efforts To 'Raise A Generation That Believes In The Duty Of Jihad'
In an August 4, 2019 blog post on the website of the Qatari Al-Jazeera network, Palestinian blogger Ahmad Samir Qannita praised the summer camps held by Hamas's military wing, the 'Izz Al-Din Al-Qassam Brigades,[1] and commended Hamas for instilling the values of jihad and resistance in the Gazan youth and raising a "generation that believes in the duty of jihad." He noted that Hamas devotes all its resources, including its official institutions, media and education system, to this goal and that the summer camps for children and teens are an example of this. He noted further that the camps offer the participants – junior high and high school students from all over the Gaza Strip – a comprehensive military training program conducted by professional Al-Qassam fighters and "similar in its intensity to [the training] received by the Palestinian resistance fighters." The program includes the maintenance and use of machine guns and other weapons, live ammunition practice, urban warfare, and the crossing of enemy lines by means of attack tunnels.

The blogger also quoted lines from a militant poem by Sheikh Yousuf Al-Qaradawi, a major ideologue of the Muslim Brotherhood who lives in Qatar and is close to the Qatari regime, which urges the Arab and Muslim nation to produce arms and fighters for the sake of Islam.[2]

The following are excerpts from Qannita's blog post:[3]
"Gaza is not like it was in previous decades, when the jihad activity there was limited to small armed groups that acted in secret, [striving] to carry out high-quality operations against the Zionist occupation forces in complicated security conditions. [Such was the situation] after, in 1996, the Oslo authorities [an epithet for the Palestinian Authority] delivered harsh blows to the armed Palestinian factions, led by Hamas, and persecuted and arrested anyone leaning towards the idea of resistance. The [Palestinian] Authority's security apparatuses even established an army of informers who were tasked with spying and collecting information on young jihad fighters, so as to arrest them and incarcerate them in dungeons, to deter them from fighting the Zionist occupation...
Honest Reporting: BBC Portrays Israel as a Military Abuser of Palestinian Children
Ahed Tamimi: the Palestinian poster child

While the BBC shows footage of Tamimi attacking an IDF soldier, for which she spent eight months in an Israeli prison, it fails to give any real background on the Palestinian poster girl for terror. For the real tragedy is not Tamimi’s experience with the Israeli military court system (what the BBC terms a “childhood”).

Ahed Tamimi’s entire childhood has been spent in an environment permeated with Palestinian terrorism: terror in which her family has long played an active and prominent role. For example, Ahed’s aunt helped plan the horrific Sbarros Pizza restaurant bombing, and her mother posted anatomically precise tutorials on how to most effectively stab Israelis.

Ironically, this very terrorism is the reason Israel has security measures in the first place.

Related reading: Ahed Tamimi’s Global Propaganda Tour

Since childhood Ahed has learned from her family that all of Israel is occupied Palestinian land, including Tel Aviv, and that she must fight to gain all of it. Hardly a path to peace. And Ahed’s family have placed her personally in danger over and over, for the benefit of cameras.

Her appearance for the BBC is just the latest in a global propaganda tour, milking her iconic status.

This, however, is the real Ahed Tamimi that you won’t see on the BBC:


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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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