Thursday, February 20, 2020

From Ian:

David Collier: Funded by the EU, driven by Palestinians. BDS activism in EU clothing.
Those of us involved in fighting back against spreading antisemitism and the lies about Israel understand that the deeper we dig – the more unbelievable the situation becomes. As I said to someone yesterday when news broke of a UK KS3 schoolbook which suggests the creation of Israel may be behind the 9/11 attacks – nothing surprises me anymore. There are no limits to the level of conspiracy and disinformation – no place that the lies do not exist. The EU have also just provided another example – here is what I found.
The EU photographers

Recently the EU advertised an EU ‘Photo marathon’. An opportunity open to young European photographers to spend a week ‘capturing different aspects of Palestinian life’. The week-long trip, flights, accommodation and meals is fully funded by the EU. As part of the process, there is a request to write a ‘motivation letter’, explaining why the applicant wants to participate and they are asked how they intend to ‘spread the word’ upon their return. The EU Press Team in charge of this process consists of two people – Inas Abu Shirbi and Shadi Othman:

EU spokespeople or BDS activists.
Before being an ‘EU spokesperson’ Inas Abu Shirbi spent some time at the Sharek Youth Forum. She was there when Boris Johnson made remarks about BDS during a 2015 trip to Israel. Soon after Boris ridiculed BDS activists, several Palestinian NGOs who had been due to meet Johnson – cancelled – including the Sharek Youth Forum. At the time Abu Shirbi was the public face of the NGO (she even spoke on LBC). In the public statement, the group put out – there is clear and unequivocal support for BDS.

That means at least one of those leading this ‘photo marathon’ is a Palestinian with a history of support for BDS. We have here a similar issue to the one uncovered at Amnesty International where Amnesty’s ‘Deputy Regional Director turned out to be an obsessive Palestinian activist. Inas Abu Shibri is still active with other Palestinian NGOs – inclduing the pro-BDS ‘Sharek’. How is there not a conflict of interest? When someone references an ‘EU Communications Officer’ – don’t people assume they are from the EU?

Most people never read beyond headlines. Often they tell you all you need to know. Like this headline: that has the EU ‘slamming’ Israel:

EU Slams

Yet when you read the article, you realise the only EU employee mentioned is a Palestinian – Shadi Othman. That article was shared 500 times. Or this one – which becomes almost laughable. The Palestine News and Info Agency report that the EU ‘will not recognise any changes to the pre-1967 borders’. Is it any surprise if the ‘EU spokesman’ is our Palestinian friend from Ramallah – Shadi Othman?

Beware: Communist paper that praised Hebron Massacre gets makeover
Now Jewish Currents is going back to its roots by bringing in Peter Beinart, who had called the murder of Jews by Islamic terrorists, “violent resistance”.

Terrorism, he had argued, was a “response to Israel’s denial of basic Palestinian rights.” And he suggested that, “the Israeli government is reaping what it has sowed."

Beinart is certainly reaping what he sowed as his career tumbles down into the media sewer.

In 2012, Beinart had partnered with the Daily Beast to launch Open Zion, an anti-Israel blog. It closed a year later after failing to find an audience for its hate. Beinart moved on to Haaretz, a red rag whose racist publisher urged “international pressure” to end, “Israeli apartheid”, whose world news editor boasted that he is an anti-Zionist, and whose former editor had urged Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to “rape” Israel. "It had always been my wet dream to see this happen," the leftist told her.

Is there anywhere lower Beinart could go?

After Haaretz, he appeared at The Forward, the Morgen Freitheit’s old rival, which runs headlines like, "3 Jewish Moguls Among Eight Who Own as Much as Half the Human Race” and "Why We Should Applaud The Politician Who Said Jews Control The Weather."

There, he accused Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel of being “blind to the harm Jews cause.”

Last year, The Forward dumped its editor and cut 40% of its staff. Instead of taking the advice of Haman’s wife, Beinart doubled down and joined its old even more anti-Semitic Commie rival.

"I think a tremendous need for a kind of American progressive Jewish publication," Beinart babbled, explaining that he wanted to "confront what I see as the kind of moral corruption of the American Jewish establishment and its complicity in various ways with some of the things that Trump is doing and the direction that Netanyahu is taking Israel.”

The only moral corruption is 91 years of Communists, Marxists, and Lefties justifying the murder of Jews.

  • Thursday, February 20, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon
Iraqi site Sotal Iraq describes exactly how Jews are planning to take over the world.

It is through the Freemasons!

Wafaa Bhani "researched" freemasonry and discovered some startling "facts."
Freemasonry is a global secret movement that is a Jewish commodity first and foremost, and its work is hidden even for its members, except those who are the elite who reach the highest levels in it.

...Cosmic Freemasonry is the pinnacle of the levels, and all its members are Jews, and they are above emperors, kings and presidents because they control them, and all the leaders of Zionism are from Cosmic Freemasonry , and they are the ones who guide the world for the benefit of the Jews.

Here we see that the goal of global Freemasonry, which is the offspring of Zionism, is to establish a new world order that establishes the idea that the Talmudic Israel be the obedient master in the whole world.

Some concepts of the new world order are no state sovereignty, no religions, no community unity, no limits, and this is globalization. Globalization is a description of multiple phenomena such as the amazing progress in the means of communication and openness, and the seriousness of globalization is that its media arm is under the control of Freemasonry, which holds its strings, This force will flow in control in parallel with the brute military force in imposing globalization on others.

The function of the media system is to inculcate the values, concepts, beliefs, and patterns of Masonic behavior.
She then goes on to link this to the Deal of the Century and even to earlier peace plans like Olmert's which she says was essentially the same plan. I didn't quite understand why the people who run the world are so eager to give away their land to Arabs.

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Our weekly column from the humor site PreOccupied Territory

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Bruegel - Tower of BabelBabylon, Land of Shin'ar, February 20 - Islamic authorities cautioned today against the completion of a planned project to construct a tower that reaches the heavens, reminding officials in charge of the initiative that Sharia law prohibits any non-Islamic building from exceeding the height of any nearby Islamic house of worship.

Mufti 'Ana Akil Alqarf of Mesopotamia issued a warning today regarding the ongoing public works project in a central valley of the kingdom, admonishing the government and construction functionaries not to build the Tower of Babel to a height that even appears equal to or greater than any mosque in the area, and that violating the principle will lead to violence.

"To defend the honor of Allah and his greatest and last prophet," declared the mufti, "no structures may rise higher than our mosques. "This demand must be followed on pain of violent death. We therefore urge the authorities to alter the existing plan for the Tower of Babel to accommodate Muslim sensibilities." Municipal officials have yet to comment on the demand.

Babylonian leaders embarked on the public works project several months ago amid concerns that society's sprawl might create unwelcome divisions among those who live in disparate locations and thus develop clashing sensibilities. King Nimrod and his advisers therefore developed the Tower of Babel program to create a unifying focus for the civilization and to minimize or eliminate differences of opinion, ideology, or culture. To cement the idea of conformity, the engineers mass-produced identical oven-fired bricks instead of relying on the traditional method of fitting together stones, which most often occur in irregular, unique shapes.

Muslim leaders voiced support for the conformity initiative. "We fully endorse any effort that will bring all of humanity under the dominance of Islam," declared Imam Mustafa Massiqr. 

"Alternatively, making the tower itself a mosque will solve the comparative height problem. The main complication I foresee is informing our brethren in other places that the structure in fact serves as a mosque and not, as they might otherwise assume, an office tower so big and imposing that it comes to symbolize a culture in which Islam sees a mortal enemy, an assumption that could lead some enterprising martyrs-in-waiting to crash something large and flammable into it with the goal of bringing it down in dramatic, fiery fashion."

A small faction of Imam Massiqr's followers also contend that the tower, if built high enough, could serve as a base from which to attack God, who opened Zionist dams several generations before and deluged all of civilization.

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From Ian:

Evelyn Gordon: What Crimes Do the Companies on the UN Blacklist Engage In?
What horrendous activities do the 112 companies on the UN blacklist engage in? There are several supermarket chains which sell groceries to both Israelis and Palestinians in the West Bank. There are several fuel companies which operate gas stations where both Israelis and Palestinians fill up their cars. There are several bus and rail companies, which provide public transportation used by Israelis and Palestinians alike.

There are phone companies, banks, and a water company, which provides drinking water and sewage solutions. There are also several food and clothing manufacturers, like General Mills, Angel Bakeries and Delta Galil, whose crime seems to be the fact that their cereals, bread and underwear can be found on supermarket shelves in the West Bank.

In short, almost all the companies on the blacklist simply provide the most fundamental human necessities - food, water, transportation, communication. Some of these are defined by the UN itself as inalienable rights.

Only three were involved in providing "surveillance and identification equipment," which sounds sinister if you don't realize that such equipment is intended to prevent terrorists from slaughtering children in their beds.

Syrian and Russian soldiers have been slaughtering civilians in Syria on an almost daily basis for nine years now; the death toll is more than half a million and counting. Does anyone think the supermarkets that sell these soldiers food or the water company that supplies their bases with water are engaged in "activities that raised particular human rights concerns"?

Precisely because most of the targeted companies are basic service providers, the economic impact of the blacklist will likely be small. Most of these companies neither export and nor attract much foreign investment. And since their businesses depend almost exclusively on selling or providing services to Israelis and Palestinians, the only way to boycott them would be for the boycotters to actually move to Israel.
Clifford D. May: United Nations Human Rights Council delegitimizes Israel
Such boycotts harm Palestinians at least as much as Israelis. A study by Palestinian Media Watch found that “Palestinians prefer to work for Israeli employers” because Israeli employers provide wages four times higher than Palestinian employers, as well as health benefits and vacation time on a par with those Israelis enjoy.

Orde Kittrie, a legal scholar and senior fellow at FDD, points out that any boycotts spurred by the blacklist would likely “run afoul of some or all of the two dozen U.S. state laws that require divestment from companies that boycott Israel.” In addition, Congress is on record opposing “politically motivated actions that penalize or otherwise limit commercial relations specifically with Israel, such as boycotts of, divestment from or sanctions against Israel.”

Mr. Kittrie notes, too, that “international law does not prohibit business in disputed territories.… That is the official view of the United Nations, expressed in a document titled ‘Guidance on Responsible Business in Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas: A Resource for Companies and Investors.’”

Congress could make its disapproval of the U.N.’s latest assault on Israel clearer. The most convenient vehicle would be the Israel Anti-Boycott Act, which updates existing U.S. anti-boycott laws to include not just boycotts initiated by nation-states, but also those fostered by international organizations.

I’m betting that won’t happen because such far-left and anti-Israeli members of Congress as Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib now routinely intimidate many of their moderate Democratic colleagues.

President Trump could do more, too, building on other steps he’s taken to repair the damage done to Israel in recent years by the U.N.

The broader problem is the continued existence of such an Orwellian institution as the UNHRC. The U.N. was supposed to help prevent the “scourge of war and advance human rights and dignity.” Seventy-five years after its founding, it generally impedes both — at considerable expense to American taxpayers.
UN sinks to a new low with BDS-inspired blacklist
The stench of anti-Semitism always hovers over Switzerland's Lake Geneva when the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) is meeting there. The foul emanations reached a new nadir last week with UNHRC's publication of a "database" of companies doing business in the disputed territories in Israel.

Following the publication of the list, Bruno Stagno Ugarte, deputy director for advocacy of NGO Human Rights Watch, stated, "The long-awaited release of the UN settlement business database should put all companies on notice: To do business with illegal settlements [sic] is to aid in the commission of war crimes."

Ponder that: For the 112 companies on the list – including 18 foreign companies, like General Mills, Airbnb and Expedia – to do business in Judea and Samaria (the "West Bank" to the UN) is a war crime.

But what exactly is the crime here? Employing 20,000 Palestinian Arabs as managers, software engineers and in other capacities for triple the pay offered by local Arab businesses, and with far better health and other benefits?

Or perhaps it is a war crime for the wily Israelis and others to have Palestinian Arab and Jewish Israeli workers learn to view each other as colleagues and friends, rather than as adversaries.

Back in 2015, then-Secretary of State Kerry expressed his concern for Israel:
I fear that what could happen is if Congress were to overturn [the Iran Deal], our friends in Israel could actually wind up being more isolated and more blamed.
Of course, Kerry need not have bothered.

As we now know, Obama's deal with Iran succeeded to bring elements of the Arab world and Israel closer together in opposing both the deal and Iran as well.

But Netanyahu has, on his own, built alliances outside of the Mideast as well.

When the UN General Assembly voted in 2017 to overwhelmingly to reject the US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, Israel found new allies to come to its aid:
Hungary in December abstained when the United Nations General Assembly voted overwhelmingly to reject the US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

The nation also joined the Czech Republic and Romania in blocking a European Union statement criticising Washington’s decision to move its Israeli embassy to Jerusalem.
This did not go unnoticed.

In 2018, The German Institute for International and Security Affairs noted that this alliance was a sign of things to come:
Since 2017, relations between the Visegrád Group (V4) and Israel have been changing. Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia are increasingly developing shared views and values on international politics and show a greater willingness to cooperate economically. This coincides with growing European Union (EU) criticism of the Isra­eli government’s stance on the Arab-Israeli conflict. However, the V4 states’ leaders do not necessarily share that criticism, and they have even aligned themselves with Israeli viewpoints on issues such as migration, security, and threat perceptions, all of which are disputed in the EU.
The group warned that the growing ties between Israel and the Visegrad Group could lead to internal divisions within the EU when it comes to its Israel policy.

Actually, this led to more than just divisions.

In November 2019, Netanyahu's alliance with Eastern Europe bore fruit again:
An effort to get all 28 European Union member states to issue a joint statement condemning the US decision to no longer consider Israeli settlements as illegal is being blocked by Hungary, according to a diplomatic source with direct knowledge of the matter.
Because joint statements issued in the name of EU member states require unanimous agreement, the EU was reduced to a statement by then-EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, an admission that the EU was divided over the issue.

And just this month, the EU again failed to get a consensus when it tried to unanimously condemn Trump's peace plan:
The European Union’s statement on the US peace initiative on Tuesday, which the Foreign Ministry called a threat, was by High Representative for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell alone. However, Borrell had circulated a draft of the condemnation in hopes that it would be signed by all 27 member states.

The EU acts on its foreign policy by consensus, and had all of its member states agreed to the statement, it could have had far-reaching consequences, making it their united position in the UN and other international organizations. [emphasis added]
Another example of Israel's new-found friends is in connection with the ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda statement in December that there was enough evidence for an investigation into alleged war crimes by Israel. One issue that must be decided still is whether the court has jurisdiction over the Palestinian territories.

On that issue again, Israel has allies that are coming forward:
Australia, Brazil, Hungary, Austria, Germany, and the Czech Republic have asked the court over the past two weeks to let them file "amicus brief" opinions on the case, ICC records show.

Some said they would argue the court's jurisdiction did not extend to the Palestinian territories.

Brazil said it would argue the Israeli-Palestinian crisis should be resolved through political dialogue, not a court ruling.
Speaking of the Palestinian Arabs, there are some indications that despite their diplomatic successes up to this point, Abbas and the Palestinian Arabs may be becoming somewhat isolated themselves.

Last month, YnetNews reported Sidelined and isolated, Palestinians say disappointed in international community:
As dozens of world leaders converged on Israel for the Fifth World Holocaust Forum 2020, some Palestinians expressed frustration that only a few of these leaders would be visiting the Palestinian territories for a one-on-one meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

...Abbas has long sought international support. Back at the beginning of his presidency in 2005, he began to galvanize the international community for the Palestinian cause, and for a time, he gained momentum.

But Khalil Shikaki, director of the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, says that in recent years, Abbas’s popularity has declined and his approach has lost support.

“Most Palestinians believe this internationalization of the conflict has been a failure. In a sense, it hasn’t delivered. It didn’t influence the Israeli calculus in any effective way to stop settlements, or contribute to ending the Israeli occupation,” Shikaki says.
Another indication of Abbas's decline came this month at the UN, where he has usually been successful: Palestinians delay vote at UNSC against Trump’s peace deal
In a surprise move, the Palestinian Authority has delayed a scheduled UN Security Council vote on a resolution against the Trump administration’s peace plan. But the meeting will otherwise continue as scheduled.

...There was immediate speculation that the delay was a backhanded way of pulling the resolution because it lacked the requisite support of nine members for passage. Otherwise, it would have been considered that the resolution had failed.
Of course, US influence played a role as well, just as it has during the rest of Trump's term up to this point.

Trump's actions on behalf of Israel may not win him much in terms of the Jewish vote come November, but Israelis appreciate what he has done -- and hope he will be in a position to do even more for another 4 years.

Whether Netanyahu will be in a position to further strengthen and increase alliances, is, of course, another question altogether.

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, February 20, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon

It has been pointed out many times that Palestinians have rejected every peace plan offered to them since 1937.

Saying "no" is not simple rejectionism. It is an active choice. The leaders who say "no" to various compromises and peace offers are giving the world two messages: they don't accept the proposal, and they prefer the status quo as being a preferable option.

The decisions aren't made in a vacuum. When Palestinians say "no" whether to Clinton or Olmert or Obama or Trump, they are saying "yes" to the situation they are currently in. They are saying that, until circumstances change such as a new peace offer or international pressure on Israel, the status quo is better than any other option at this point in time.

Palestinians will tell anyone who listens how terrible life is under "occupation" and under "siege." They will complain about checkpoints and humiliation and "ethnic cleansing." Yet every time they had a chance to put an end to all of those things, they made a decision that their current reality was preferable to the alternatives given them.

There are lots of factors that come into such a decision, of course. Palestinian leaders are wagering that their refusal to compromise will one day pay off with a better permanent solution. This is a bet they have made, and lost, for over 80 years. However, there is no escaping that each time they make that bet they are choosing the current situation over any realistic alternative. Every time they say no, it is with the full understanding that this decision keeps them in a stateless limbo, albeit one where most of them who live in the territories live under autonomy, with a government, membership in various international bodies, unwavering support from the UN and an Olympic team.

Every "no" is a specific and deliberate choice to keep things as they are.

You can say the same about Israel as well. Israel rejected the Arab Peace Initiative in 2002, also accepting that the status quo - which at the time included a wave of terrorism - was better than the alternative pushed by the Saudis.

When you realize that the current situation as a result of active choices rather than passive rejection, it is apparent that the status quo cannot be so bad. If it was truly bad, any sane leader would choose an alternative that is better for his or her people. Yet both Israel and the Palestinians have chosen the imperfect way things are today.

People trying to find a comprehensive peace plan acceptable to both sides are wasting their time. We have enough evidence that any plan will not work. At least one side will reject any suggested plan.  The point is that we have enough evidence that what exists now is the active preference for both sides compared to any possible alternatives.

When things are framed this way, it becomes apparent that rejectionism has consequences, just like any other decision. Palestinians like to pretend that their saying "no" somehow freezes the region, that the next time they can reset the clock. But Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria grow, Israel devises new defensive methods, the Arab world evolves. Time does not stand still when Palestinians say "no" - and each "no" has real world consequences.

Once the conflict is viewed through this lens, then the focus must be changed from finding a comprehensive peace plan to finding an optimal solution for today. The demands of each side are absolutely incompatible. The optimal solution is to start with the status quo, which both sides have shown they can live with and prefer, and then trying to optimize it in ways that both sides can accept.

For example, Israel has to balance security and Palestinian freedom of movement. It plays this game solo, trying to find ways that Israelis can feel secure without hurting innocent Palestinians. It doesn't know if its decisions will be effective - think about home demolitions - so it resorts to trial and error.

But the very fact that Israel makes these decisions by itself is a result of the mindset that unless Palestinians and Israelis are negotiating a grand peace plan, they should keep their communications at an absolute minimum. This is a mindset encouraged by those who keep pushing a comprehensive peace instead of a de facto, livable detente.

Under the paradigm of optimizing the status quo, though, Palestinians can discuss with Israel how various security measures can be loosened while providing Israel with compensating measures. Just the fact that they are talking instead of playing childish games of avoidance and blame would by itself prompt the Israeli side to loosen various restrictions. There should be full cooperation on all issues - imports/exports, movement, water - instead of unilateral moves that cause resentment from the other side by the very virtue of them being unilateral.

The current spat where Israel refuses to export Palestinian goods while Palestinians refuse to import Israeli cattle, with each side threatening to escalate their positions, is an example of childishness that could have been avoided if both sides just owned their decisions and worked to help their own people instead of punish the other.

The choice by Palestinians to avoid even talking with Israel today is a choice to hurt their own people unnecessarily, seemingly for reasons of "honor."

Palestinians would say that this idea of accepting and optimizing the status quo is not an acceptable framework. They would say that treating Israelis as partners in co-existence would "institutionalize the occupation." But their rejectionism has done the exact same thing. Their decision to say "no" does not freeze life for the parties until the next peace plan - it causes other decisions to be made by the dominant power in which the weaker power has no say. There is no contradiction between using the status quo as a starting point to optimize the situation and for Palestinians to continue to battle for their maximal demands. But until there is a comprehensive peace - which seems more unlikely every year - optimizing the current situation would benefit everyone.

Of course, if Palestinian leaders reject even this, that action shows that their current situation is already close to optimal from their perspective. They are making a calculation that their rejections are more important to them than the welfare of their people, short or long term.

One way or another, the world must realize that Palestinian leaders have responsibility for their decisions - and saying "no" is just as much a decision as saying "yes," with consequences that are just as real.

This reframing of rejectionism as being an active choice can improve the lives of millions of people.

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  • Thursday, February 20, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon
David Collier posted this page 241 of a UK KS3 textbook published by Hodder Education (with a hat tip to Jewish Chick):

The central question on the page is almost too offensive to be believed. The author is suggesting that Israel's very existence is the cause of all terror attacks and wars in not only the Middle East but even in New York and Washington. Not the "occupation" - Israel itself is the source of all evil in the world.

This unbridled and absurd hate of Israel still astonishes.

Beyond that, this history textbook is riddled with errors on just this one portion of a page. The map refers to "Palestinian territory in 1949," which is simply untrue. Not all Palestinians moved to refugee camps in 1948.The "support" of Palestinians by Muslim nations has been lip service - they have left them stateless and have restricted their rights in their countries. And under Nasser, Egypt went into the Soviet orbit, not the West.

This textbook does not even have a pretense of objectivity or truth. Yet it is used to indoctrinate thousands of students every year.

Textbooks remain one of the worst sources of anti-Israel bias, but because they are typically not easily available outside of the classroom, there is little independent checking of their facts. Just now I found a more subtle but no less biased page about the day Anwar Sadat visited the Knesset from History for the IB Diploma: The Arab-Israeli Conflict 1945-79, by Jean Bottaro, 2012, Cambridge University Press:

Source J is an excerpt from Sadat's speech. Source K is an interpretation from hostile historian Avi Shlaim to Begin's response.

Instead of asking students to compare the actual speeches, the textbook is asking them to compare Sadat's words with a wholly inaccurate and biased view of Begin's response.

In fact, both Begin and Sadat restated their country's positions - Sadat emphasizing how Israel must return all territory gained in 1967, Begin emphasizing Israel's own positions on Jerusalem and territory. Sadat was frank while optimistic, and Begin was as well. The textbook could and should have quoted Begin directly, contradicting Shlaim's bias:

President Sadat knows, as he knew from us before he came to Jerusalem, that our position concerning permanent borders between us and our neighbours differs from his. However, I call upon the President of Egypt and upon all our neighbours: do not rule out negotiations on any subject whatsoever. I propose, in the name of the overwhelming majority of this Parliament, that everything will be negotiable. Anybody who says that, in the relationship between the Arab People - or the Arab Nations in the area - and the State of Israel there are subjects that should be excluded from negotiations, is assuming an awesome responsibility. Everything is negotiable. No side shall say the contrary. No side shall present prior conditions. We will conduct the negotiations with respect.

If there are differences of opinion between us, that is not exceptional. Anyone who has studied the history of wars and the annals of peace treaties knows that all negotiations for peace treaties have begun with differences of opinion between the parties concerned, and that, in the course of the negotiations, they have reached solutions which have made possible the signing of agreements or peace treaties. That is the path we propose to follow.

We shall conduct the negotiations as equals. There are no vanquished and there are no victors. All the Peoples of the region are equal, and all will relate to each other with respect. In this spirit of openness, of readiness of each to listen to the other - to facts, reasons, explanations - with every reasonable attempt at mutual persuasion - let us conduct the negotiations as I have asked and propose to open them, to conduct them, to continue them persistently until we succeed, in good time, in signing a peace treaty between us.
Again, this is indoctrination. It pretends to be teaching students how to think critically, yet it doesn't give them the tools to do exactly that - instead, it tells them what to think, and places an opinion above the easily obtained facts.

There are hundreds of such examples. Textbook authors have near total impunity because they know that their interpretations of history are unlikely to get the same kind of scrutiny that newspapers do, and their editors trust them implicitly.

UPDATE: Hodder responded:

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Wednesday, February 19, 2020

 Vic Rosenthal's Weekly Column

I belong to a Masorti (Conservative) congregation in Israel. Although most Israelis don’t believe this, the movement is theologically much closer to Modern Orthodoxy than to Reform Judaism. There is a commitment to halacha, albeit somewhat more lenient than in Orthodoxy (but not so much as Orthodox Jews tend to think). The biggest difference is the equal role granted to women and men in every respect, including participation in ritual.

Our rabbi leans a little leftward, at least compared to me, but he is capable of distinguishing politics from religion, and I like him.

Having said that, I am absolutely appalled by the anti-Israel politics rampant in the Conservative seminaries in the US, where most of our rabbis, American and Israeli, are educated.

Recently, a group of 36 rabbinical students from the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York and the Zeigler School of Rabbinic Studies – about half of the student body – signed an open letter opposing Trump’s “deal of the century” to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The letter opposes Trump’s plan and PM Netanyahu’s intention to extend Israeli law to Jewish communities in Judea/Samaria and to annex the Jordan valley:

Each of these proposals flies in the face of decades of diplomatic efforts to achieve a just and peaceful future: Trump’s plan would leave Palestinians with a handful of discontiguous territories surrounded by settlements, and Netanyahu’s would make permanent the status quo in which millions of Palestinians live under Israeli military control without civil rights. Trump’s irresponsible vision and Netanyahu’s objective of annexation will move the region closer to catastrophe and even further from peace.

One would expect rabbinical students to have enough grasp of the facts to know that everything in the paragraph above is wrong. Millions of Palestinians do not live under Israeli military control; they live under the Palestinian Authority in Judea and Samaria, or in Gaza under Hamas. To the extent that their civil rights are circumscribed, it is by the PA and Hamas. Only a small number of them live in Area C, where they are under the Israeli military government (and probably have more rights than those under the PA).

The Trump proposal, in fact, “flies in the face” of decades of diplomatic failure to end the conflict based on unrealistic formulas that try to satisfy the insatiable demands of the Palestinian Arabs. Indeed, we should be thankful that none of the previous proposals went far enough to make them happy, because in every case the proposed agreements would not have adequately protected Israel from the terrorism and war that the Palestinians believe they have the inalienable right to wage. Trump’s proposal is the first that recognizes the realities of geography, and the everlasting Palestinian aspiration to end the Jewish state.

The letter continues,

As emerging Jewish leaders, we wish to make clear that any political decision that strips Palestinians of their rights is antithetical to our belief in human dignity. We dream of a democratic Israel that affirms the humanity and agency of all who dwell there, and of a government that honors the shared history of Jews and Palestinians in the land.

The Palestinians do not automatically have a right to a fully sovereign state, or a right of return to Israel for the descendants of 1948 refugees. These are not human rights, and the granting of these wishes would be inconsistent with right of Israeli Jews to live in peace – a real human right.

The reference to the “shared history” of the Jews and Palestinians in the land is most likely a nod to the tendentious Palestinian narrative of an indigenous people dispossessed by non-native colonialist settlers, the awful injustice of the nakba.

 The letter continues for several paragraphs of nauseating virtue-signaling. Hashem help future congregants who will be forced to listen to the sermons of these pompous fools! More importantly, it shows an alarming lack of identification with the Jewish Israelis that would suffer the consequences of their desired “vision of a shared destiny with our Palestinian siblings.”

The students suggest that their universalist ethic, in which “human rights for all people,” including people whose greatest desire is to conquer our country and kill or disperse its Jewish residents, represents the “values of Jewish tradition.” But surely personal and collective survival, pikuach nefesh, has a higher priority in Jewish tradition than the aspirations of our enemies.

In addition to their divergence from traditional Jewish ethical principles, these future rabbis fail to understand, or they deny, the importance of the relationship between Hashem, the Jewish people, and the Land of Israel that I see as the single most important theme in the Torah.

This is not the first time Conservative rabbinical students have displayed their ignorance and arrogance. In 2017, thirteen students (some whose names also appear on the more recent letter), wrote a similar letter opposing the historic decision of President Trump to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. I won’t bother to quote it, but it is based on the same virtue-signaling misapprehension of Jewish values.

This phenomenon is partially a result of the attitude that “anything Trump or Bibi likes must be bad,” but it is a lot more than that. Their un-Jewish, I would even say anti-Jewish, morality is identical with the Tikkunism that has become the official philosophy of the Reform movement. Indeed, the Masorti movement in Israel seems to have developed close connections with the Israeli Reform movement, sharing many of its political goals (although not its approach to Judaism). In my opinion, this doesn’t bode well for the future of the Masorti movement, which will have to differentiate itself from Reform if it ever wants to have a hope of attracting native Israelis.

This is painful to me, as someone who finds the misogyny inherent in Orthodox Judaism troubling – and no, I don’t intend to get into an argument about this. I would like to see a truly conservative Conservative Judaism in Israel as well as the US, for that matter. But that is never going to happen if these are the future rabbis that can be expected to carry the flag.

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From Ian:

The UN Should Be Ashamed of Its Anti-Israel Boycott List
The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has produced a handy catalogue of companies that supporters of Israel can give their business to. Of course, this was not its intention. The roster was compiled at the request of the UN Human Rights Council. This is a body in which countries whose idea of human rights is gender-neutral torture and equal-opportunity ballot-rigging get together and pass reams of vexatious resolutions against Israel.

The BDS movement's economic warfare against the Jewish state has had little success but that's not the point: a UN body is tacitly legitimizing its agenda and even doing the research for it. What OHCHR's list is about is the UN's institutional hostility towards Israel and support for "de-judaizing" Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria.

Jerusalem is Israel's capital; before that it was the capital of the ancient Kingdom of Judah. However hard the UN strives to erase the Jewish character of the city, its historical record isn't going anywhere. When Israel captured Judea and Samaria in 1967, they did so not from any state called Palestine (no such state has ever existed), but from Jordan, whose annexation was almost universally unrecognized - it was an illegal occupation - and prior to this these lands had been part of Mandatory Palestine.

Mandatory Palestine was created by the League of Nations to "secure the establishment of the Jewish national home." The Israelis have many innovations to their name, but perhaps their greatest feat is being the first nation-state in history to "illegally occupy" their own territory.

The people the UN harms when it works to isolate and delegitimize Israel are the Palestinians. It tells them that their long, painful campaign of national self-harm is just and holds out false hope that it will one day triumph. It won't.

The priority of anyone who professes to be pro-Palestinian should be convincing the Palestinians to recognize that Israel is here to stay and, on that basis, finally accept offers of peace and statehood.
The Australian Editorial: A Brazen Anti-Semitic "Blacklist"
The UN Human Rights Council's "blacklist" of 112 international and local companies operating in the territories is a shameful attempt to strike a blow against the Middle East's only functioning democracy and upholder of the rule of law and religious freedom. No wonder Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council executive director Colin Rubenstein described publication of the blacklist as "a witch-hunt that reminds us of Nazi-era boycotts of the Jewish people." There is no precedent for any UN body taking similar action over a disputed territory, and no basis in international law for it to do so.

As Dr. Rubenstein pointed out, it is not in breach of international law for the 112 companies to operate in the West Bank and east Jerusalem. "They are legitimate businesses providing goods and services...they are not breaking any international laws." Australia must waste no opportunity to condemn and counter the council's brazen hypocrisy and the sinister witch-hunt it has embarked on.

Yair Lapid, co-leader of Blue and White, says that if the Democrats beat Trump, Israel, with Bibi at the helm, will be in “deep, deep trouble.” That “Obama time is going to be just a promo for what is going to happen.”

But the truth is, it doesn’t matter who wins the Israeli election. The Dems would screw Israel over no matter who sits in the prime minister’s seat. Which means this is just another fear-mongering lie. It’s Lapid going “OOGA BOOGA!” to scare us into voting for his guy, Gantz.

And the thing is with this third round of elections in March, Israelis are tired. We’re tired of the scare tactics; of listening to the candidates vie for our attention. We are tired of thinking about who will be the least of all evils, of listening to the endless lies. The candidates lie to us in the media and on social media. They spam us on our phones by SMS.

So I began to think about what might make voting different this third time around. How might the average Israeli be induced to feel a bit of enthusiasm for sticking yet another ballot in a box? Sure, it’s nice to have another legally mandated paid day off, but I’d like to feel excited about what we can do to make Israel a better place to live.

What exactly would I like the government of Israel to achieve? What might the candidates, offer me other than fear? To my mind, the ideal prime minister of Israel is someone who will:
·         Stop the balloons targeting Israeli children in the South
·         Solve the problem of Gaza rocket fire, once and for all
·         Make housing more affordable for middle class Israeli citizens
·         Allow Jews greater access to Jewish holy sites, and the right to pray wherever they wish
·         Reform the Israeli court system that cripples Israeli governments and holds them hostage
·         Do what is best for Israel, even under pressure from friendly foreign leaders and
·         Assert Israel’s right to rule over itself without interference
Who will do these things and lead my granddaughter out of her safe room in Netivot, dry her tears and wipe away her fears? Who will turn balloons back into objects of delight instead of something to fear? Who will make it possible for Yehudah Glick to linger as long as he likes on the Temple Mount, and pray there, too, without fear of arrest or interrogation?

These what I see as very basic needs have not been met by Bibi in his long run as prime minister. That won’t be different after the next election. Gantz and Mr. Hair, on the other hand, would be an inexperienced disaster. So the only question left is whether enough people will hold their noses and vote for a clear majority, or whether Israelis will get yet a fourth legally mandated holiday, on September 8.

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  • Wednesday, February 19, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon
Rai al Youm has a paranoid article about how Jews want to take over Jordan.

On Sunday, Jordan struck down a bill that would have theoretically allowed foreigners to purchase land in Petra. Jordanians are deathly scared that Jews will buy land there and somehow transfer it to Israel.

The author, Ahmed Abdul Basit Rajoub, mentions the filming of "Jaber" that was shut down last year because Jirdan found out that the movie implied a Jewish history in Petra. It mentions that Jews visit the mountain said to be the burial site of the biblical Aaron, and how terrible that is.

Rajoub argues that there is no evidence that the Children of Israel were ever in Jordan. In fact, the ancient Jews were nobodies:

Most historians in archaeology and anthropology tend to believe that the ancient Jews in the East are Arab tribes that were Judaized. They were pastoral, and practiced usury and the profession of mercenaries due to their particular social situation. They did not know stability, agriculture, city building, or fortresses. ...
We are facing a wicked enemy. We must pay attention to every movement he makes, not only in the political field that relates to the Palestinian issue, but rather in the religious, cultural, touristic, etc. areas from which he crept to consolidate his allegations, his lies, to implement his plans.
Indeed, Jordan's archaeological sites regularly erase any Jewish connection out of their paranoia and hate.

One of the less traveled tourist sites there is Machaerus, a fortress  originally built by the Hasmonean king Alexander Jannaeus around 90 BCE, destroyed but later rebuilt by Herod the Great in 30 BC as a military base.

This is the sort of thing that Jordan doesn't want the world to know.

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From Ian:

Danny Danon: Mahmoud Abbas’s map of lies
That Abbas brought his map to the highest level of international diplomacy suggests that he believes that the world is ready to entertain this revisionist history of the Middle East. Sadly, in this regard, he may not be mistaken.

Rewriting history has long been a tactic of overtly anti-Israel and anti-Semitic organizations. On college campuses, anti-Israel groups regularly use a version of this map during the notorious Israel Apartheid Week. The anti-Semitic BDS movement features this graphic in its campaign materials. Al Jazeera, the propaganda arm of Qatar that has a growing audience among younger generations in America, has a “Vanishing Palestine” interactive video as part of its “Palestine Remix” channel.

What is most insidious, however, is the growing use of the map in mainstream venues. In October 2015, MSNBC displayed these maps during a live segment discussing a recent spate of Palestinian violence on the Temple Mount (for which it later apologized). In 2017, Columbia University published the maps on advertisements for a workshop on “Citizenship and Nationality in Israel/Palestine.” Last September, a high school matriculation exam in Finland included the maps.

The use of the “Map of Lies” in mainstream media and academic circles in particular will have the effect of normalizing its content and message.

For Israel and the Jewish people, this presents a real danger. Efforts to delegitimize the Jewish State are growing louder, with the United Nations recently releasing a “blacklist” of Israeli companies that operate in Judea and Samaria being only the latest example of revisionist history having tangible consequences.

One’s interpretation and understanding of the past forms their assumptions about the present and determines their vision for the future. Believing Abbas’s “Map of Lies” will do more than dishonor the past; it will irrevocably damage the cause of peace.
David Singer: Netanyahu Goes into Judea and Samaria where Gantz Fears to Tread

Ambassador Friedman heads the three-man American delegation now sitting down with the three-man Israeli delegation on the Mapping Committee.

Gantz has been powerless to stop the formation and work of the Mapping Committee. Indeed Gantz urged Trump to release his peace plan before the elections. Gantz has not even requested that one of his nominees be part of the Israeli delegation on the Mapping Committee.

In ignoring the Mapping Committee – Gantz is signalling the continuation of his policy opposing Israel extending its sovereignty into Judea and Samaria with America’s approval.
Gantz has made his own policy very clear:
“After the elections, we will work to apply [Israeli] sovereignty on the Jordan Valley. We will do this in a nationally agreed process and in coordination with the international community.”

Believing the international community would ever agree to Israel extending its sovereignty into any part of Judea and Samaria – without swaps of existing Israeli sovereign territory – is totally unrealistic. The international community has been fixated for decades on seeing another Arab State created in the entirety of Judea and Samaria – or in an area of the same size including land currently part of Israel.

Gantz – in limiting sovereignty to just the Jordan Valley – is dashing the hopes of an estimated Jewish population of 464,353 in 131 settlements seeking unification with Israel.

Israeli voters now have a clear choice to end the political deadlock that has followed two indecisive elections held in the past twelve months:
Is it Netanyahu – promising the restoration of sovereignty in parts of the heartland of the Jewish people’s historic and biblical homeland for the first time in 3000 years?
Is it Gantz – promising more of the same in Judea and Samaria that has been going on for the last 53 years?

A third deadlocked election result now seems increasingly unlikely.

The choice is stark and the direction Israel will take for generations to come is at stake.

Palestinian rights activists moonlight as terrorists
One of the most egregious examples is the NGO for Palestinian “prisoner rights” Addameer. Addameer leaders regularly meet with EU officials and are very involved internationally. It even participated in the UN Human Rights Council’s discussions on Israel in 2018, and urges the ICC war crimes probe of Israel. They also hold “educational” events on campuses with students in the US. Multiple Addameer employees and leaders have a long and rich track record of terrorist convictions and, in several cases, have been Addameer employees and PFLP operatives simultaneously. It is problematic, to say the least, for the EU or UN to be advised on their decisions by organizations with such extensive ties to an EU-recognized terrorist organization.

From 2013-2019, Addameer received nearly $2.1 million from the EU and European member states, including Switzerland, Ireland, Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, Sweden and Spain. The Basque autonomous community alone has given it over $920,000 in grants between 2014 and 2019. From 2014 to 2017, Addameer received $498,700 from the Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law Secretariat (according to their website), a joint funding body financed by Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands. With such significant EU investment, heightened transparency is an absolute necessity.

If the EU is not prepared to cut funding completely, they must double down and demand not only that Palestinian NGOs commit to not working with terrorist organizations, but also that they demonstrate complete financial transparency as to how their money is being spent. Palestinian NGOs should also be required to prove, in light of the evidence, that their employees and leaders are not active PFLP members, perhaps by a new disclosure requirement of past and present civil society affiliations.

The fact that the ties between Palestinian civil society groups and terrorist organizations have significantly deepened over the years, and that simultaneously their ties to European countries have also deepened, should alarm anyone. The EU, and other European states, have an obligation to ensure their grants are not being used to fund the expansion of terrorist activities. They also have an obligation to ensure that decisions made at the UN and EU regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are not unduly influenced by groups with PFLP ties.

  • Wednesday, February 19, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon
The latest Palestinian Central Bureau for Statistics report says that there are now 135.000 Palestinian workers who are employed by Israelis (a drop of 6000 in the last quarter 2019) and 24,000 of them work in Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, an increase of 2000 from Q3.

65% of them work in construction, which is the highest paying category of work.

This chart shows the comparative daily wages in shekels for Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza and Israel/settlements for different types of jobs.

While some 13% of Palestinians work for Israelis, based on the averages in the chart above, it appears that about half of all Palestinian construction workers are actually working in Israeli communities and a much smaller percentage of the other categories.

Last year several thousand Gazans were quietly allowed to work in southern Israel. I do not believe that the PCBS has those people included; Hamas probably has those statistics.

Also, there are many Palestinian workers who depend on business from Israel but who are not employees. I know that some Israeli high-tech firms outsource programming to Palestinian consultants, for example. If Palestinians would succumb to BDS-style pressure, their economy would be devastated.

(h/t Ibn Boutros)

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  • Wednesday, February 19, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon
I enjoyed reading Yoram Hazony's The Virtue of Nationalism. I want to center this review on Hazony's theory of modern anti-Zionism.

To oversimplify, the book is a defense of nationalism as opposed to imperialism. Nationalism is defined as being loyal to one's nation and letting other nations do their own thing; each nation is free do decide on the best way to govern yet each maintains its own national character. Imperialism is a philosophy where the ideas of one nation are imposed on others that might have different ways of thinking because the ideas are superior to all others, so imposing them is for the greater good.

Modern Europe is in many ways a response to Nazism; the horrors of Hitler were so great that we must do everything possible to avoid anything that resembles it in the slightest. But Europe, specifically the EU, makes two very horrible mistakes.

One is that they look at Nazi Germany as being the outcome of extreme nationalism. Because of that, they regard all nationalisms with suspicion at best and hostility at worst.

Yet Nazi Germany was not nationalist - despite calling itself National Socialism. Nazi Germany was imperialist. The Third Reich was meant to rule over Europe and to impose its racist and antisemitic philosophy worldwide.

The EU's connection between nationalism and Nazism is completely wrong.

The second mistake is that the EU, by trying to impose a single standard of law and regulations across Europe, is imperialist itself!  The irony of an imperialist Europe, being largely led by Germany, as an answer to the imperialist Third Reich, is painful.

(The major difference between the two is that Europe has effectively outsourced its defense to the United States, so in that way it is a protectorate. Yet its philosophical underpinnings are imperialist.)

Europe looks at Israel as a nationalist endeavor - which it most certainly is. (Hazony brings much evidence that early philosophers of nationalism got their ideas from the Biblical description of the Jewish kingdoms, where individual tribes banded together for defense, one of the major functions of a nation.) Since Europe is traumatized by World War II and mistakes Nazism as nationalism, it views Israel as a potential nationalist danger.

Hazony makes a stark distinction between what lessons Israel and Europe learn from the Holocaust. Israel looks at the slaughter of Jews and says that a national entity could have defended them; Europe looks at the same slaughter and says that Nazi "nationalism" is the cause and that is what must be stopped to ensure it doesn't happen again.

As Hazony writes (p. 206):

In both paradigms, the fact of Israel takes on an extraordinary significance because of the identity of the Jews as the victims of the Shoah. For Israel's founders, the fact that the survivors of the death camps and their children could be given weapons and permitted to train as soldiers under a Jewish flag seemed a decisive movement of the world toward what was just and right. It could in no sense make up for what had happened. But it was just nonetheless, granting the survivors precisely the empowerment that, had it come a few years earlier, would have saved their loved ones from death and worse. In this sense, Israel is the opposite of Auschwitz.

At the same time, Israel takes on extraordinary significance in the new European paradigm as well. For in Israel, the survivors and their children took up arms and set themselves on a course of determining their own fate. That is, this people, so close to the Kantian ideal of perfect self-renunciation only a few decades ago, have instead chosen what is now seen as the path of Hitler—the path of national self-determination. It is this that lies beneath the nearly boundless disgust so many feel toward Israel, and especially toward anything having to do with Israel's attempts to defend itself, regardless of whether these operations are successful or unsuccessful, irreproachable or morally flawed. In taking up arms in the name of their own national state and their own self-determination, the Jews, as many Europeans and others now see it, have simply taken up the same evil that led Germany to build the camps. The details may differ, but the principle, in their eyes, is the same: Israel is Auschwitz.
Therefore, Hazony stresses, it doesn't matter what Israel does or doesn't do - its very existence as a nation willing to defend its people is proof of its inherent immorality.

Antisemitism is not the driving factor of anti-Zionism, according to Hazony. He says that Europe is also antipathetic towards all (European-origin) nations that embrace nationalism. This is why they are so upset at Britain after Brexit, at Trump's America, at some eastern European countries - because those countries insist on making their own national decisions and not to be bound by the rules and international institutions and protocols and standards pushed by Europe (e.g., the ICC, the Kyoto Protocol.). I am reminded of the Carter-era US arguments when abstaining from the 1980 UNSC Jerusalem resolution that emphasized how the portion that demanded that no country establish embassies there was an unacceptable violation of national sovereignty. To the Left, every nation must give up some independence to be part of the world community, and the US has always resisted that  to varying degrees.

I'm not so sure that antisemitism is not a major factor in European anti-Zionism - it seems to me the vitriol against Israel by the European Left is much greater than that against the US or Britain. But Hazony's theory is intriguing.

As far as non-European countries such as Arab nations are concerned, Hazony claims that Europe and the Left subconsciously do not consider them to be full nations but savages. In this, they are recalling Kant, who theorized three stages of mankind's development, from savages to nations to a higher moral order where all nations federate under one rule of law. European anti-nationalists look at themselves as being at the highest level, at the US, Israel and Britain at the second level, and the rest of the world still at the level of savages, from whom nothing can be expected. I'm not so convinced of this argument; it seems to me that the anti-colonialism of the Left is driving them to regard all non-whites as noble people whose immorality is the fault of the West.

It is always a treat to read Hazony. And this is a very important book.

(Naturally, any mistakes in summarizing Hazony's arguments are mine alone.)

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  • Wednesday, February 19, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon
Egyptian authorities have uncovered a human trafficking ring in Giza where young girls were forced to "marry" rich Arabs for as little as 48 hours where they would be sexually abused.

The price of the girls were between 10,000 and 200,000 Egyptian pounds ($640-$13,000) and the timeframe of each "marriage" was from two days to a week. The leaders of the ring, which included a lawyer, would keep the money for themselves.

The girls were between 12 and 15.

The girls were often runaways. The pimps would send photos of the girls via WhatsApp to the rich Arab johns. One of the pimps performed the "marriage" ceremony with a Quran. in a cafe in Agouza.

The girls say that the pimps also sexually assaulted and raped them.

During the police raid, a "large number" of girls were found.

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Tuesday, February 18, 2020

From Ian:

British Comedian Confronts Holocaust Denier in New Documentary
In a new BBC2 documentary that aired on Monday, British Jewish comedian and presenter David Baddiel sat down with a Holocaust denier and challenged his conspiratorial views.

A clip from “Confronting Holocaust Denial” showed a frustrated Baddiel trying to argue logically with Irish antisemite Dermot Mulqueen, who expressed a range of vicious tropes, among them the medieval accusation that Jews murdered Christian children and that Jews “hate” Europeans.

Baddiel at one point countered, “If the gas chambers never existed, us Jews would have no reason to hate Europeans. Why would we hate Europeans for something that actually never happened?”

Mulqueen paused awkwardly in response, before stammering, “…because it’s profitable.”

After being arrested in 2015 for vandalizing private property in protest of Holocaust Memorial Day, Mulqueen unsuccessfully ran in Ireland’s 2016 general election as an independent MP.

In an interview with BBC HistoryExtra, Baddiel said he struggled with the question of whether exposing Holocaust deniers to the public provided them a platform to gain legitimacy.

“My feeling — and indeed the empirical fact — is that Holocaust denial won’t go away if we ignore it and therefore it’s better to confront it, and at some level try to understand it. That was my mission in this film,” explained Baddiel.
BBC: Confronting Holocaust Denial with David Baddiel
The Holocaust is one of the most documented, witnessed and written about events in history, yet one in six people worldwide either think the Holocaust has been exaggerated or deny that it took place. What has happened in the 75 years since the liberation of the camps to have so skewed the picture? And, if it matters, why does it matter?

In this timely and important film, David Baddiel explores the multi-faceted nature of Holocaust denial - in both historical and contemporary terms, in an attempt to understand what motivates this dangerous phenomenon and why it is on the rise, both in Britain and across the globe.

David begin his journey at Chelmno, the site of a huge extermination camp in Nazi-occupied Poland where 200,000 Jews were murdered. He learns of the extraordinary lengths German forces employed to conceal what they were doing – building huge crematoria to burn bodies, using ‘bone mills’ to grind down skeletons and scattering the resulting human ashes in surrounding woodland. For David, this is the starting point of Holocaust denial – where the Nazis themselves were attempting to deny their actions.

But the Germans were not alone in concealing the truth of the Holocaust. In the national archives in Kew, David uncovers an extraordinary memo issued by the Ministry of Information’s propaganda department, discussing how the atrocities of death camps should be reported to the public. The memo recommends reports focus on the camps' ‘innocent victims’, not criminals, and ‘not Jews’. This idea that the suffering of the Jewish people should somehow be played down was still dominant when the camps were liberated - many newsreels barely mention that the majority of victims had been Jewish. For David, anti-Semitism is fundamentally at the root of all Holocaust denial.

David discovers how, as the true scale of the Holocaust emerges in the postwar years, the numbers of people attempting to deny or to downplay its scale increases. There is a direct correlation between a higher profile of the Holocaust and rates of denial, something reflected in David’s own experience. As soon as this programme is announced by the BBC, David's Twitter feed fills with posts trying to deny the truth of the Holocaust. It begs the question whether David, by making the film, is himself fanning the flames of denial? And if so, should he be doing it?

New Forms of Old Hate: Confronting Assad’s Anti-Semitism in Germany
Now more than ever, Germany has its own domestic challenges again rising to the surface: the far-right ideology that has resurfaced throughout Europe in apparent response to the refugee crisis has provoked a resurgence of both anti-Semitism and Islamophobia—particularly in Germany. On the one hand, many fear that if Germany fails to address its current situation, the world could relive one of its darkest moments in history. German-Jews have already been told by Jewish leadership to refrain from wearing Kippahs in public and remove mezuzot from their doors—many have begun to conceal their identity. The attempted attack on the Halle Synagogue—though prevented from becoming a full-blown massacre by a locked door—still led to a loss of life and demonstrates the repercussions of not actively addressing this issue. On the other hand, if this issue prioritized, as was publicly called for by Germany’s foreign minister, Germany will have the chance to confirm its position as a ‘land of opportunity,’ where people from around the world can reinvent themselves.

Yet while the German government has vowed to combat anti-Semitism, its threats so far have mainly consisted of unspecified consequences for individuals who attack German Jews. As a Syrian, I know that warnings alone are not enough to counter decades of anti-Semitic messaging. In febrile minds of extreme anti-Semites, attacking Jews can be seen as an honorable and courageous act. In many cases, these individuals have been conditioned since birth to perceive the Jewish people as their enemy, themselves victims of a narrative designed to prevent them from holding their country’s dictators accountable for the widespread misery felt throughout the Arab world.

Syrians must educate themselves on persistent history of Anti-Semitism, which did not start with the Holocaust—nor end with the creation of the state of Israel. Every Syrian who aspires to become a European citizen must refuse to be an anti-Semitic extension of their government. Germany, with its years of retraining its own population, has a lot to offer on this front, but the German government must make this a priority and a commitment with its deeds as well as its words.

A Europe unsafe for Jews will never be safe for other minorities. When Syrian communities throughout Europe come to recognize this reality, there is the remarkable potential for fostering a conducive environment for Jews and Syrians to respect one another, encouraging understanding and cooperation between neighbours and mutual support of minority communities throughout Europe. However, getting to this point will require a lot of effort and determination, both on the side of the German government and among Syrian communities themselves.

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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 14 years and 30,000 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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