Saturday, February 29, 2020

From Ian:

US, Taliban sign historic deal aimed at ending war in Afghanistan
The United States signed a peace agreement with Taliban militants on Saturday aimed at bringing an end to 18 years of bloodshed in Afghanistan and allowing US troops to return home from America’s longest war.

Under the agreement, the US would draw its forces down to 8,600 from 13,000 in the next 3-4 months, with the remaining US forces withdrawing in 14 months. The complete pullout, however, would depend on the Taliban meeting their commitments to prevent terrorism.

President George W. Bush ordered the US-led invasion of Afghanistan in response to the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. Some US troops currently serving there had not yet been born when the World Trade Center collapsed on that crisp, sunny morning that changed how Americans see the world.

It only took a few months to topple the Taliban and send Osama bin Laden and top al-Qaeda militants scrambling across the border into Pakistan, but the war dragged on for years as the United States tried to establish a stable, functioning state in one of the least developed countries in the world. The Taliban regrouped, and currently hold sway over half the country.

The US spent more than $750 billion, and on all sides, the war cost tens of thousands of lives lost, permanently scarred and indelibly interrupted. But the conflict was also frequently ignored by US politicians and the American public.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo attended the ceremony in Qatar, where the Taliban have a political office, but did not sign the agreement. Instead, it was signed by US peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad and Taliban leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar.

Pompeo called on the Taliban to “keep your promises to cut ties with Al-Qaeda.”
Martin Kramer: The Trump Plan Will Be "Transformative" for Palestinians
Martin Kramer, chair of the Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies Department at Shalem College in Jerusalem and the Koret Distinguished Fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, spoke to Middle East Forum Radio host Gregg Roman on February 5 about President Trump's "deal of the century" plan for resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

According to Kramer, the importance of the Trump proposal "transcends whether either of the parties accept it" because "it's not a peace plan, it's a partition plan ... the proposal of a third party, looking from the outside, that has some authority." The Palestinians refused to accept partition plans put forth by the British in 1937 and by the United Nations in 1947, yet both had "historic effects," notably culminating in the establishment of Israel. The details of these plans were largely irrelevant – it was their underlying assumptions and core principles that proved enduring.

The same is true of the "deal of the century." Details of the plan are flexible and sure to be superseded by future negotiations. The important focus should be on the assumptions and principles of the plan.

A key assumption of the Trump initiative, according to Kramer, is that "history only goes in one direction." Previous peace plans, he noted, were based on expectations of "massive movement of peoples" as part of a final settlement – removing thousands of settlers from their settlements in today's Israel and absorbing a large number of descendants of Palestinian refugees from other countries into the West Bank and Gaza – which "is not going to happen."

A core principle of the Trump plan is that "everyone stays in place" – a reality that Palestinians must eventually come to accept. "Much of the responsibility for the predicament of the Palestinians today relies not just on them, but on their ... supposed friends who ... promised they would deliver to them on fantasies which were completely detached from reality."
Khaled Abu Toameh: Palestinians: No secret talks with Trump administration
The Palestinian Authority on Saturday denied having any contacts with the US administration regarding US President Donald Trump’s recently unveiled plan for peace in the Middle East.

The denial came in response to remarks by US Ambassador David Friedman, who told the Qatari-owned Al-Jazeera network that the Trump administration has “back channels” talks with some Palestinians.

Friedman did not reveal the identity of the Palestinians involved in the alleged talks with the US administration.

He also said there is recognition that some parts of the Trump plan are good for the Palestinians, such as the two-state solution, a Palestinian capital in east Jerusalem, connecting the West Bank with the Gaza Strip and investment in infrastructure and increasing the size of land offered to the Palestinians.

The PA, which has been boycotting the Trump administration since December 2017, when the US president recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, reiterated its rejection of the Trump plan and denied having back channels with the US administration.

“I dare Friedman to reveal a name of a single Palestinian official who is in contact with President Trump’s administration,” said PLO Secretary-General Saeb Erekat.

Referring to Friedman’s talk about a Palestinian capital, Erekat said that the Trump plan “specified that Abu Dis and Kufr Aqab can be named as Palestine’s capital.”

Erekat added: “East Jerusalem, the capital of Palestine, is the Old City of Jerusalem, including Haram al-Sharif (Noble Sanctuary), Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Musrara, and Salah Edin Street. Lies and distortions of one of the authors of the conspiracy of the century are doomed to failure.”

  • Saturday, February 29, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon
IfNotNow tweeted:

In a tweet that accused the Republican party of inciting white nationalist violence, the purportedly Jewish organization parroted neo-Nazi talking points of politicians "pandering" to all-powerful Jews to gain politically.

Because, obviously, no sane Gentile would ever support a position most Jews support unless they are politically forced to.

Usually posts like this will substitute the word "Zionists" for "Jews" to maintain the fiction that the anti-Zionists are animated by the exact same hate that antisemites have had for millennia. In this case, the mask slipped off, and IfNotNow showed not only that it is a deeply antisemitic organization itself but that its pretense of being a Jewish organization is a sham.

As of this writing, IfNotNow has not removed the tweet, nor has it apologized, 25 hours after it was posted.

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Friday, February 28, 2020

From Ian:

Melanie Phillips: From Aalst to America: The post-modern, anti-Jewish reconfiguration of the West
This eruption hasn’t been created by Bernie Sanders or Jeremy Corbyn; nor, as some believe, by the populism of Donald Trump or Hungary’s nationalist prime minister, Victor Orbán.

Populism is not in itself an extremist movement (although some bits undoubtedly are). It is rather a response to the extremism that has overtaken the entire progressive movement, and which represents the idea of the West as intrinsically evil and sinful.

Sanders and Corbyn, who are both undoubtedly extreme, are not the cause of the phenomenon, but the product of a broad cultural shift. When Bernie Sanders called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “a reactionary racist” in Tuesday’s Democratic presidential candidates’ debate, the audience broke into applause.

The real cause of the descent into anti-Jewish and anti-Zionist hatred is secular liberalism, and the cultural fissure that has opened up along fault lines stretching back to the 18th-century Enlightenment.

This proclaimed the death of God and the enthronement instead of the autonomous individual freed from biblical moral codes. This led to the destruction of hierarchies of values without which there can be no morality, the replacement of duty by man-made and highly contingent human rights, and the collapse of truth and reason.

The result is the moral and philosophical carnage we see all around us. There’s the psycho-pathological unmooring of individuals caused by the undermining of the family. There’s the abolition of objectivity in the universities by moral and cultural relativism.

And there’s the apocalyptic environmental movement, which mirrors the belief by medieval, Jew-massacring Christians that fallen humanity must be punished for its sins to bring about the perfection of the world—and which has sanctified as its prophet a psychologically damaged child.

Better advocacy for Israel, necessary as that is, will not address this anti-Jewish derangement. That’s because what’s driving it is the repudiation of the Jewish precepts at the heart of the Christian West. And the problem—and tragedy—for the Jewish people is that so many of those subscribing to this liberal onslaught are themselves Jews.

The Aalst Carnival shows how quickly we forgot 'Never Again'
When I look at disturbing displays like those at the Aalst parade, I don’t just see modern-day antisemitism; I see a societal willingness to ignore religiously motivated hate, akin to that shown in the Weimar Republic and elsewhere throughout pre-war Europe. The promise of “never forget” means that we must remember the Nazis’ violence against Jews, and also those non-violent tactics which enabled the Holocaust.

We must keep in mind that hatred toward Jews quickly morphs into hatred toward other minority groups. Hate has no borders, and those with antisemitic beliefs can easily target other vulnerable people. If we turn a blind eye to antisemitic tropes today, there’s no telling what we might permit tomorrow, and soon, violence is at hand.

Indeed, antisemitic beliefs similar to those widespread in Western Europe are responsible in part for motivating some of the worst mass violence against Jews in recent years. The Pittsburgh Tree of Life Synagogue shooter shared Holocaust-denial memes, and posted about Jews exercising control over major world events, like immigration.

The Poway shooter published a manifesto espousing the white genocide conspiracy theory, and one of the Jersey City shooters was connected to the Black Hebrew Israelites, many sects of which have been designated hate groups for their antisemitic beliefs and practices.

Antisemitic tropes and stereotypes do not always lead directly to murder, but there is an inescapable correlation between their perpetuation and violence targeting Jews. It is for this reason most of all that the international community, as well as leaders throughout Belgium, both national and local, must not afford antisemitism any public forum, whether in the name of free expression, humor or any other excuse used to justify hate.

Only by taking decisive and immediate action can we fulfill the promise of “never again.”
The Gay Rights Movement Has an Anti-Semitism Problem
My identity as a Jew and my identity as a gay man are inseparable. Contrary to traditional beliefs regarding religion and sexuality, I believe these two parts of myself enhance each other rather than compromise each other. The LGBTQ Jewish community carries a long history of excellence. We are writers, activists, artists, politicians, academics and teachers. The convergence of identity and the greatness that has been born from this community are special to me. From Rabbi Sandra Lawson to Troye Sivan to Efrat Tilma, queer, Jewish expression seems to be stronger than ever.

Yet, despite this representation, blatant anti-Semitism currently wreaks havoc in the LGBTQ community.

The first time I heard the word “pinkwashing” was when I mentioned to a friend that I was interested in attending the Tel Aviv Pride Parade last summer. My friend supported me but warned me against posting any photos of the parade online, as I would be accused of pinkwashing. I asked her what she meant. “Pinkwashing?” she said. “When Zionists pretend that Israel is the pinnacle of human rights because of how they treat gays? To distract from the way they treat Palestinians?”

This was the first time I heard this term, but it certainly was not the last.

The “anti-pinkwashing” movement is gaining traction in the gay community. My friend was correct in her description: Its mission is to end government-sponsored exploitation of gay constituents so as not to distract from inexcusable corruption or wrongdoing. On paper, the movement seeks to separate nationalism from queer liberation and to honor the voices of queer, oppressed people worldwide. But in reality, the movement tethers the identities of gay Israelis to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and undermines their autonomy simply because they are citizens of the Jewish state. To the devout gay rights activist, any display of Jewish gay pride is now conditional; it must totally and officially distance itself from the Jewish state to be valid.

  • Friday, February 28, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon

In 1960, a devastating earthquake shook the city of Agadir in Morocco, killing between 12,000 and 15,000 people.

On the 60th anniversary of the event, Morocco held a ceremony today at the Ihasha cemetery in Agadir, where the victims (of all religions)  were buried.

Muslim, Christian and Jewish leaders participated. On the stage of the event, a rabbi, a priest, and an imam took turns to pray for those killed by the Agadir earthquake.

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From Ian:

UNRWA’s Future Reconsidered
The British Government has given more than £300million to a UN aid programme whose schools teach six and seven years olds the words for ‘martyr’ and ‘attack’, while the textbooks it uses glorify jihad and falsely teach of a Jewish plot to kill the Muslim prophet, Muhammed.

UNRWA, the UN aid body established to support Palestinians, has been dogged by repeated allegations of mismanagement which led to the USA withdrawing all funding in 2018. Following further allegations of misconduct in 2019; Switzerland, Belgium, and the Netherlands froze funding to the body. In contrast, the UK increased its annual contribution by over $25 million between 2017 and 2018.

Despite the UK’s continued support for UNRWA, allegations that educational materials provided by the body include extremism have dogged the organisation. UNRWA blames the disturbing material within its schools on the local authorities whose educational ministries determine curricula within their respective jurisdictions. While UNRWA claims to routinely review its materials, the report argues that the problem is longstanding and measures to end the problem have been subsequently reversed.

The report details other charges against UNRWA, including that:
- In 2012, its staff union elections returned Hamas candidates in 22 of 27 available positions.
- Dozens of UNRWA employees have celebrated the stabbings of Israelis, posting videos of extremists calling for the murder of Jews and for an ‘intifada’ or uprising against Israel. Examples include an UNRWA teacher who posted photographs of Adolf Hitler on Facebook, praising him as “our beloved”.
- In 2005, it was estimated that 46 UNRWA school graduates have gone on to become suicide bombers. In 2002, its Jordanian director admitted that the majority of Palestinian suicide bombers were graduates of UNRWA schools.
- In 2008, after Awad al-Qiq, a science teacher and headmaster of an UNRWA school, was assassinated it was revealed that he was a leading rocket maker for Palestinian Islamic Jihad. One of the founders of PIJ was Mahmud Khawaja, who was an UNRWA worker.

Not only is UNRWA routinely exploited by extremists but the report argues that its structures inhibit steps towards peace. UNRWA’s unique definition of ‘refugees’ has meant that the number of ‘refugees’ eligible for its assistance has ballooned from 711,000 Palestinians displaced in 1948 to 5 million today leading to a culture of victimhood and resentment in ever larger pools of people.
The UN Against the Palestinian People
In a blatant capitulation to the BDS movement, the UN Human Rights Council published a list of 112 Israeli businesses linked to Jewish West Bank neighborhoods in an effort to stigmatize those businesses and encourage their boycott. This highly politicized decision will not hurt Israel, as it was intended to do, but will instead undermine the livelihood of the many Palestinians who — due to the lack of sufficient employment opportunities in Palestinian-governed areas — earn their living by working for those very Israeli businesses.

The UN has thus inflicted yet another economic blow in a series of such blows suffered by the Palestinian people. The Palestinian Authority (PA) declined an invitation to participate in the US-led economic conference in Bahrain in June 2019, and rejected the economic incentives offered in President Trump’s “Deal of a Century” without even hearing them. Trump’s proposal, dismissed by the PA out of hand, included, among many other benefits, plans to naturalize Palestinian refugees currently living in subsistence conditions in surrounding Arab states. The UN only adds to the Palestinians’ suffering by causing harm to one of their sources of income.

The PA’s wholesale violation of the Oslo Accords of the 1990s only worsened the economic position of the Palestinians living in today’s areas A and B. Many of them still reminisce about the more prosperous days when Israelis would come to their villages as well to Gaza to buy Palestinian products. All that changed with the stroke of a pen when the Accords birthed the PA and granted it authority over economic and social policy in areas A and B.

The establishment of Palestinian economic autonomy was intended to improve the prospects for prosperity and significantly improve the Palestinians’ quality of life. Despite good intentions, exactly the opposite came to pass. The PA’s incompetent and corrupt governance led to the deterioration of Palestinian quality of life and increased poverty while allowing cronies to steal public resources and exchange political favors for personal benefit. It’s no wonder that many Palestinians long for the days before Oslo.
David Singer: Sanders and Bloomberg Boost Hopes for Netanyahu Election Win
Democratic Party contenders for the American Presidency – Bernie Sanders and Michael Bloomberg – have unwittingly given Israel’s Prime Minister – Bibi Netanyahu – an unexpected boost to becoming Israel’s next Prime Minister on 2 March.

During a nationally-televised Democratic Party Presidential contenders’ debate – Sanders made this inflammatory claim:
“I am very proud of being Jewish. I actually lived in Israel for some months. But what I happen to believe is that, right now, sadly, tragically, in Israel, through Bibi Netanyahu, you have a reactionary racist who is now running that country.”

This “reactionary racist” just happens to be Israel’s longest-serving Prime Minister – victorious after six election campaigns conducted in fully democratic and openly transparent elections. Sanders’ comment doesn’t say much for his opinion of the majority of Israelis whose votes have kept Netanyahu there.

Bloomberg was motivated to chime in with his take on Israel:
“Well, the battle has been going on for a long time in the Middle East, whether it’s the Arabs versus the Persians, the Shias versus the Sunnis, the Jews in Israel and the Palestinians, it’s only gone on for 40 or 50 years.

Number one, you can’t move the embassy back. We should not have done it without getting something from the Israeli government. But it was done, and you’re going to have to leave it there.

Number two, only solution here is a two-state solution. The Palestinians have to be accommodated…”

The conflict between Jews and Arabs in former Palestine has been going on for 100 years – not 40 or 50 years. Brainwashed by Arab propaganda, Bloomberg had erased the origins of the conflict which began with the San Remo conference and Treaty of Sevres in 1920 and the 1922 League of Nations Mandate for Palestine.

Bloomberg – in mentioning the need for a two-state solution – was apparently ignorant of the fact that the Palestinian Arabs had been allocated 78% of Palestine in 1922 – which subsequently became a sovereign state renamed the Hashemite Kingdom of Transjordan in 1946 – today called Jordan.

For someone aspiring to be America’s next President, Bloomberg displayed an appalling lack of knowledge about this long-running and unresolved conflict.

  • Friday, February 28, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon

From Arab News:
PRAGUE: The former imam of Prague was sentenced to 10 years in prison on Friday for helping his brother and sister-in-law join a terror group and for financing terrorism, a court spokeswoman said.
The court in the Czech capital found Samer Shehadeh, a 36-year-old of Palestinian origin, guilty of helping them join the Al-Nusra front, Al-Qaeda’s sister organization in Syria.

Czech police began investigating Shehadeh in 2016 over alleged attempts to radicalize people as he had asked Czech Muslims not to join a Christian mass against terror in Prague in August of that year. Samer was also found to have repeatedly sent money to Al-Nusra through intermediaries.
This detail is of interest:

According to Czech media reports, Shehadeh was arrested in Jordan before being flown back to the Czech Republic and taken into custody in November 2018.
Jordan had no problem arresting and extraditing a Palestinian terrorist who sent money and recruited for Al Nusra, but Jordan refuses to extradite to the US a Palestinian who much more directly murdered 15 people.

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  • Friday, February 28, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon

This pro-Bernie Sanders tweeter struck a nerve when she expressed her fears that Bernie Sanders might contract the coronavirus while campaigning:

Responses show that she is not alone:

And the inevitable:

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  • Friday, February 28, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon
From Al Monitor:

The Palestinian Authority (PA) recently intensified its meetings with Israeli journalists, former lawmakers, political party members and academics in an attempt to gain their cooperation and to explain Palestinians' broad rejection of the US Mideast peace plan....

The PA’s intense surge toward Israeli society reflects President Mahmoud Abbas' vision of establishing his influence in Israel, to recruit Israeli voices and positions in favor of a political settlement, a return to negotiations and a rejection of the US plan.

PLO interaction committee member Ashraf al-Ajrami told Al-Monitor, “The Palestinian cause faces challenges, represented by the peace plan and Israel’s threats to annex the West Bank, so the Israeli and Jewish voice rejecting these plans is important in recruiting public opinion in Israel, Europe and the US to support our rights."

The committee also wants to influence Israeli society because Israeli elections are to be held March 2. “Any political movement in Israel against the government will indirectly affect the elections,” Ajrami said.

Addressing whether the meetings have included discussions on the necessity of toppling Netanyahu in the elections, Ajrami said, “We discussed the need to reject the peace plan and return to negotiations ... and that the US cannot be a single mediator in the peace process. The Israelis said that this can't happen under the Netanyahu government and a change must be made in Israel.”

Just Israeli leftists colluding with Israel's enemies to influence an election. Nothing to see here.

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Thursday, February 27, 2020

From Ian:

The 11% Majority
Bernie didn’t just oppose America’s Cold War excesses. He was often on the other side. America’s actions in Vietnam, he told a classroom of impressionable youngsters in 1972, were “almost as bad as what Hitler did.” In 1980, when Americans were tying yellow ribbons to express solidarity with our diplomats held hostage in Iran, Sanders aligned himself with the Socialist Workers Party, hosting an event at which its presidential candidate condemned “anti-Iranian hysteria around the U.S. hostages.”

As mayor of Burlington, Sanders earned the sobriquet “Foreign Minister” for the series of Potemkin village tours he took of America’s socialist adversaries abroad. When a constituent wrote a letter complaining about his words of praise for the Nicaraguan Sandinista regime, which had incarcerated thousands of political prisoners and forcibly relocated native tribes, Sanders responded, “The temporary suspension of certain civil liberties is considerably more complex than your letter indicates.” Sanders is like the guy we all knew in college with the Che Guevara T-shirt. Except, at 78, he’s still that guy.

When Alexander Solzhenitsyn moved to Vermont, Sanders never once met with the man whose personal testimony of the gulag won him the Nobel Prize for literature. But he did make time to travel halfway across the world to yuk it up with Solzhenitsyn’s jailers in the Soviet Union. After venturing to Cuba, a one-party state that interned homosexuals in concentration camps, Sanders returned awestruck. “I did not see a hungry child,” he gushed. “I did not see any homeless people. Cuba today not only has free health care but very high-quality health care.” (Indeed, Cuban health care is so “high-quality” that a cancer-stricken Fidel Castro summoned a Spanish doctor to treat him.)

While ritual self-flagellation is always demanded of Joe Biden for his single vote authorizing the Iraq War, Sanders’ opponents are oddly reluctant to ask him about his decadeslong record of propagandizing on behalf of leftist tyrants and mass murderers. Nor can these political commitments be waived off as mere youthful indiscretions. Sanders instinctually sides with any foreign head of state or revolutionary leader deemed “progressive,” no matter how autocratic or ruthless.
Sanders and the breach of the political dam
Although he criticized Israel over numerous issues in the late 1980s and early 90s, in this election campaign the senator from Vermont has embarked on a path of utter extremism (representing an escalation even in terms of his 2016 performance, when he vied for the Democratic nomination against Hillary Clinton). Amid the backdrop of this increasingly acerbic trend, which pushes Sanders closer to the militant and anti-Semitic fringes of the Democratic party, spearheaded by Congresswomen Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar, it must now be asked: Is the era of fundamental bi-partisan consensus regarding Israel over? Is the special relationship with Israel no longer an integral part of the collective American ethos?

After all, since Israel became a strong partner and important strategic asset for the US some six decades ago, declaring support for the Jewish state has become an inseparable component of every American politician's toolbox, irrespective of party affiliations. Today, however, the dam has been breached. The fact that a leading Democratic candidate so readily castigates (and not for the first time) the prime minister of Israel, calling him a "reactionary racist," and also indicates his intention – if, of course, he's elected president – to move the US Embassy back to Tel Aviv from Jerusalem, makes it abundantly obvious that a prominent faction within the Democratic camp has fundamentally shifted its approach to Israel. It is within this prism that we must view the liberal wing's dangerous maturation and ultimate separation from its Israeli ally (and from the political center), the roots of which stretch all the way back to the 1980s and which have become increasingly intertwined in recent years with the contrarian and belligerent rhetoric of Jeremy Corbyn – who represents a type of role model for Sanders, and not just in terms of Israel.

Meanwhile, the Republican party in recent decades has become the sturdy backbone and anchor of support for Israel and the special relationship with it; evidenced by the eight years of George W. Bush's presidency, not to mention the three years of Donald Trump's current term. Simultaneously, the Democratic party has been in the process of drifting to the fringes, with Sanders the most outspoken and obvious symbol of the overt turn away from Israel and the strategic partnership with it predicated on shared values; and he is certainly not an outlier in the current liberal landscape.

Within this context, we must look at reality square in the eye and recognize the fact that underground political streams long bubbling beneath the surface have erupted mightily to the fore of American politics, mortally threatening the broad security blanket against any challenge Israel has had to face over the decades. If and how quickly this tsunami completely drowns out the centrist faction of the Democratic party fighting to stave Sanders off (for example, Michael Bloomberg and Joe Biden) – and drags us toward any number of unsavory scenarios – is, of course, a separate question that will soon be answered.

David Collier: SOAS opens its doors to EUROPAL and neo-Nazi antisemitism
SOAS are hosting a purveyor of Nazi and KKK antisemitic theory on March 7. The event is billed as a student workshop offering advocacy for ‘Palestine’, however this Hamas linked group -EUROPAL – has previously published a booklet pushing hard-core neo-Nazi antisemitism

SOAS is known as a hotbed of antisemitism. It has the dishonour of being a university in central London where Jewish students have said they are ‘scared to wear the star of David and speak Hebrew’. For years SOAS has been at the forefront of hostile campus activity. I have seen too many toxic events to list them all – terrorists are honoured there and platforms given to an endless stream of antisemitic speakers.

But surely – there has to be a line they won’t cross – even at SOAS? It seems not. In two weeks they are hosting an event by an organisation -EUROPAL – that has been caught before spreading antisemitism. To turn disrespect for Jews into absolute mockery – EUROPAL are on campus at SOAS to teach students about – yes, you guessed it – antisemitism.

The all-day event – due to be held on March 7 – is described as a ‘student workshop’ – teaching other students how to be better advocates for ‘Palestine’. It is co-hosted by the SOAS Palestine Society. The first two sessions to be presented are about method, delivery and BDS – which means they will be full of the usual lies and propaganda we are all used to. It remains heart-breaking that students are fed this type of ahistorical and demonising garbage in a place of learning – but nothing new for SOAS. The real problem arises in the third session – which is about ‘antisemitism’:

EUROPAL are teaching students about antisemitism, which means that this event isn’t about the history of a conflict, or anti-Israel advocacy, but rather explicitly talking about anti-Jewish racism. So who are EUROPAL and why are they qualified to hold events about antisemitism?

  • Thursday, February 27, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon

Egyptian cinephile site "Eye on Cinema" doesn't like the Academy Award-winning Jojo Rabbit, calling it "the art of Jewish propaganda."

The reviewer, Abdel Moneim Adeeb, dissects the movie to show how it represents Jews in a positive manner, which is of course unacceptable.

The movie"Jojo Rabbit" is not a movie - it is propaganda like any advertisement for products that appear on TV; colorful fresh and luscious.

The product being sold is the Jews, or the Jewish image. The film follows the rules of advertising and the arts of advertising as an explicit platform for it. It chose a context in which it could advertise its product, then presented common counter-ideas about it, then began to void those ideas, then painted the image of the product just like the image of foods in commercials. So let us learn together the art of Jewish propaganda.
The propaganda methods Adeeb mentions include showing the Jews as being victims of the Nazis to gain sympathy for them, being disparaging towards Nazis, sarcastically saying that Jews love gold and money to cover for the fact that Jews really do love gold and money, showing the Jews as being really ethical and strong by mentioning Biblical stories.

The biggest mistake the film makes, according to Adeeb, is that it did not give a single point of view from the German side, making the Nazis look crazy.

For good measure, the review mention that the Jews want to take over all the lands from the Nile to the Euphrates. Because these are the facts that are critical in a movie review.

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  • Thursday, February 27, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon
Our weekly column from the humor site PreOccupied Territory

Check out their Facebook page.

couchRamat Gan, February 27 - A resident who shared his numerous ideas with his wife about getting a jump on preparations for a Jewish festival that occurs in April this year has determined that if one positions himself just right on the living room sofa, one can get a decent night's slumber.

Guy Harpaz, 40, suggested to his spouse they might take advantage of the relative calm in their schedule over the next several weeks to put a serious dent in cleaning for Passover, a holiday that has for many generations involved intensive cleaning of the entire home in the days and weeks prior to the festival itself. Mr Harpaz reported this morning (Thursday) that as a result of his epiphany he has discovered two specific ways to lie on the couch that do not result in back or neck pain, and that allow the person lying there to wake up a minimal number of times during the night.

"I was thinking we could get a head start on Pesach cleaning, and mentioned as much to my wife," recalled the father of three. "We have this new power washer and vacuum cleaner, and it might be a good idea to start putting them to good use. I found that if you put one of couch cushions under your neck and sleep on your side with another pillow between your head and the armrest, it's almost like an actual bed. I only woke up like four times, not including my usual 3 AM bathroom run."

Other members of the family appear reluctant to discuss Mr. Harpaz's proposal. "I, uh, I have homework I should be doing," demurred Adi, 12, as she shot a worried glance at her mother and hurried to her bedroom. "Also there's definitely laundry I should be putting away. Sorry, busy busy busy."

"Dad spends most of his waking hours on the couch as it is," remarked Matan, 9. "Not sure what he's on about."

Limor Harpaz, the mother of the family and the recipient of the original cleaning suggestion, shot a reporter a look that warned of dire consequences if the journalist so much as thought about weighing the possibility of issuing an offhand oblique reference to Passover cleaning when nearly six weeks remain until it occurs, with such consequences including measures that involve a living room couch only insofar as said item of furniture would be flying toward the skull of said journalist.

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From Ian:

The UN, where rights abusers get to be on the human rights council
The Trump administration withdrew from the UNHRC nearly two years ago, citing the parade of dictators that have turned the body into what Nikki Haley, then the U.S. ambassador to the UN, described as a “self-serving organization that makes a mockery of human rights.” Haley also cited, not unreasonably, the UNHRC’s singular obsession with Israel.

But the Americans are missed—at least by those human rights activists who still try to use the forum of the UNHRC as a means to sanction and hold to account the world’s most brazen human rights criminals.

Last week, UN Watch—led by Montrealer Hillel Neuer—joined with two dozen other human-rights NGOs in bringing several hundred human rights activists here for the 12th annual Geneva Summit on Human Rights and Democracy. It was an opportunity for dissidents, campaigners, former political prisoners and politicians to take stock, swap notes and meet with diplomats.

It’s a wonder that any of them bother to come to Geneva at all.

The suffering of the Syrian people at the moment is as dire as it has been since a democratic reform movement sprang up in 2011. Syrian president Bashar Assad responded by destroying entire cities, resorting in dozens of cases to chemical weapons like sarin and chlorine gas. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs counts at least 560,000 children among the 948,000 Syrians driven north by Assad’s militias and the Russian air force since December.

“There should definitely be an urgent session on the situation in Idlib,” Neuer told me, “but the UNHRC just shrugs its shoulders. The council will not act with urgency on Syria.”

There is a slim chance of some movement on Venezuela, however. It took eight years of NGO lobbying for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to conduct its investigations last year, but the lobbying did produce some results. And UN Watch has managed to pull together a petition with more than 125,000 signatures calling for Venezuela’s dismissal from the council.

There are several ordinarily dependable member states on the council this year—Australia, Austria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, South Korea, and Ukraine, for instance. But these days, almost everyone is keeping their heads down.

Even the most outrageous human rights abuses get overlooked, and sometimes, the world’s worst human rights abusers receive praise here. Last year, China won accolades from more than 50 countries, many of them Muslim-majority states, for its “counterterrorism” initiative in Xinjiang, where more than a million Muslims have been interned without trial in re-education camps.

As for the democracies, they’re intimidated. “The Human Rights Council only really has the power of shame, but the democracies have stopped issuing resolutions,” Neuer told me. “They’ve been made timid by Russia, by China, and by Turkey, and they don’t want to be embarrassed if they put forward a resolution and it fails. It’s a nice life here. The ambassadors go skiing on the weekends. But they’re afraid.”

Palestinian commentator: BDS hurts us
Bassam Eid is a Palestinian author and commentator, who may be seen frequently on Israeli television. While he is critical of various Israeli policies, he also speaks out frequently against corruption in both the Palestinian Authority and Gaza. On Tuesday evening, at the Fairbanks Country Club, in this affluent community wedged between northern San Diego and Rancho Santa Fe, Eid condemned the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement as being harmful to ordinary Palestinians.

He cited the case of Soda Stream, a company which had located a plant in the disputed territories and which had employed 1,500 Palestinians. After BDS launched an international boycott against the company—supposedly to help the Palestinians—the company relocated from the territories to southern Israel. That put 1,500 Palestinians out of work. As for Soda Stream, Eid said, it is making three times as much money in its new location as it did in the territories. So, he asked a gathering sponsored by StandWithUs, who did BDS help? Certainly not the Palestinians.

“BDS is using the Palestinians for their own agenda; they are just victimizing us,” Eid declared to local contributors of StandWithUs, which combats BDS and other ant-Israel initiatives on campuses across North America.

Ordinary Palestinians, according to Eid, don’t care about settlements, nor the political struggle to create a new state. “Palestinians are seeking dignity, not identity,” he said. “What they want is a job, and education for their children.” For them, he added, “a homeland is a place where you find dignity, justice, and freedom.”

He heaped scorn on Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority. “Who does he represent?” he asked. “His two sons and his wife,” he answered. “The majority of Palestinians have lost trust in him. We know that the leadership is corrupt, but we (although not Eid himself) are not allowed to speak about it.”

He noted that once it was proposed that the minute Israel made peace with the Palestinians, 54 Arab and Muslim countries would normalize relations with Israel. However, even without that peace, he said “it is already happening.”
JPost Editorial: Remembering Egypt's Mubarak's legacy in Israel
Egypt bid farewell on Wednesday to its longtime former president Hosni Mubarak, who ruled the country with an iron first for 30 years until he was ousted in 2011’s popular uprising, an early victim of the so-called Arab Spring. He spent many of the subsequent years in jail and military hospitals before being freed to his home in 2017.

Three days of national mourning were declared, and Reuters reported that horses drew Mubarak’s coffin, draped in the Egyptian flag, at a mosque complex, followed by a procession led by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, top military officials, Mubarak’s sons, Alaa and Gamal, and other Egyptian and Arab dignitaries. Mubarak’s coffin was to be airlifted to the family burial grounds, state television reported.

Mubarak’s legacy is clouded by the repressive manner in which he ruled the impoverished country of over 97 million people, but tempered by the chaos that followed his ouster. How he will be perceived in the history books in coming generations is still a question mark.

But in his relationship with Israel, Mubarak’s legacy is already written in stone.

Considered a war hero for his role in the 1973 Yom Kippur War, Mubarak ironically ended up rigorously guarding the tenuous peace between Egypt and Israel that was forged by his predecessor Anwar Sadat in 1979.

As Herb Keinon wrote in Wednesday’s Jerusalem Post, Mubarak understood the peace treaty’s importance and utility to the Egyptian economy, yet he also wanted Egypt to regain the stature it lost in the Arab world by signing the treaty. Therefore, he fulfilled the security commitments under the accord to the letter, but at the same time did nothing to try to imbue the treaty with anything that would lead to normal relations between the two countries.

  • Thursday, February 27, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon
In an op-ed in Palestine Today, Dr. Walid Al-Qattati starts off with an anecdote that in many ways symbolizes the entire Palestinian experience.

When he attended a school in the Sinai's El Arish (then under Israeli control) as a boy in the early 1970s,  a teacher asked him, “Are you a citizen or a refugee?” Qattati didn't understand the question, so the teacher rephrased it:  "Are you Egyptian or Palestinian?" Qattati answered him, "I am a Palestinian," and he said, "That means you are a refugee."

Qattati says that this made a huge impression on him, and gave him a reason for hating Israel for making him a refugee. But why, if he lived in El Arish, wasn't he an Egyptian citizen? Why is his teacher treating him differently than other students?

Why is there no anger towards the Arab world for "othering" Palestinians?

Yet there isn't. Instead, there is antisemitism.

The bulk of the article is a plea for Palestinians to return to revolution, and a culture of revolution in its media, with songs glorifying martyrdom and violence. Qattati is upset that many Palestinians seem to have abandoned that revolutionary spirit.

However, he  concludes, there is something that all Palestinians have in common: "At least we - the Palestinians - can agree on one goal: to make the Jewish settlers unable to live among us, and not be able to remain in Palestine."

He can say, without fear of contradiction, that all Palestinians want to get rid of all the Jews in "Palestine."

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  • Thursday, February 27, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon

Reuters reports:
Facing a huge public debt burden and an acute liquidity crisis, the Lebanese state on Tuesday appointed international investment and law firms as its financial and legal advisers on a widely expected restructuring of its sovereign debt.

The government gave approval for U.S. asset management company Lazard to act as Lebanon’s financial adviser and law firm Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP to act as its legal adviser on the debt restructuring, which ratings agencies and investors expect to happen.

Lazard has previously advised on some of the world’s largest sovereign debt restructurings including Argentina, Greece and Ukraine. Lazard Freres, a French subsidiary of Lazard, was one of the firms that advised Argentina in overhauling its debt after it defaulted on some $100 billion loans during its crisis in 2002.
Lebanon's Al Modon is concerned - because the founders of Lazard from the 1850s were Jewish. So, of course.

Contracting with the Lazard company:Will the Zionist lobby control the economy of Lebanon?

Lazard belongs to the "Lazard Frere" group, which works in financial advisory, asset management and other financial services. Its foundation dates back to the year 1851 in the United States of America, by three Jewish brothers from the Lazard family who immigrated from France to America in the year 1848. Lazard's work expanded in America and Europe, especially during the Second World War and beyond. The expansion continued until the company provided its advisory services to Arab countries, mainly Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

The company's widespread expansion enabled it to extend its influence over many countries' economies, making it one of the influential parties in the global economy and one of the controllers of global wealth. However, the company's acquisition of its current strength would not have occurred without the help of the Zionist lobby in the United States and the world, so that the company itself would be among the Zionist lobby.
Unfortunately, the article didn't detail exactly how the "Zionist lobby" helped Lazard grow. I'm sure the evidence was compelling.

Interestingly, Lazard was on the Arab blacklist in the 1970s.

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  • Thursday, February 27, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon
 Vic Rosenthal's Weekly Column

As Purim approaches, Bernie Sanders, the Jewish front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, said:
[Moving the US Embassy back to Tel Aviv is] something we would take into consideration …

I am very proud of being Jewish. I actually lived in Israel for some months, but what I happen to believe is that right now, sadly, tragically, in Israel, through Bibi Netanyahu, you have a reactionary racist who is now running that country …

Our foreign policy in the Mideast should be about absolutely protecting the independence and security of Israel, but you cannot ignore the suffering of the Palestinian people.

If there was any doubt before, we know now where Bernie stands. Jerusalem is always a litmus test. The American Congress demanded that the US government recognize reality about Jerusalem all the way back in 1995. That was a quarter of a century ago. Until Trump cut the Gordian Knot, three presidents withheld that recognition. The waivers supposedly related to “national security,” but everyone knew that it was a nod to the Arabs and others who opposed any Jewish sovereignty, not just our control of Jerusalem. Proof of that was the ridiculous opinion of the State Department that Israel was not sovereign in any part of Jerusalem, even the Western part that it has held since 1948 and in which its Knesset is located. And the fact is that there have been no adverse consequences for “national security.”

It’s important to note that Trump’s declaration did not break new ground. It did not determine the precise borders of Jerusalem, and left open the possibility that some parts of it would become part of a future Palestinian state. To go back to the pre-Trump situation – if indeed it is even legally possible, given the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 – would simply be absurd, and the only reason for doing so would be to kick Israel in the teeth.

Which is also the only reason to insult our Prime Minister, by calling him a “reactionary racist.” Maybe that’s the way American politicians have learned to talk recently, and maybe it gets Bernie points with some stupid or antisemitic supporters, or maybe it meets some psychological need of his own, but to the (minimal) extent that the accusation is meaningful, it is entirely untrue. “Racist” is a particularly unhelpful term. The US has a long history of conflict based on the ill-treatment of dark-skinned Americans, a history including slavery, Jim Crow, and other manifestations, and this is what the word is intended to evoke. It simply has no application for Jews and Arabs, whose conflicts have religious and political origins.

Probably Bernie would justify his accusation of “racism” by referring to Bibi’s famous comment that Arab voters are going to the polls “in droves,” something seized upon by his left-wing opposition here. It is supposed to imply that Bibi thinks Arabs should not exercise their right to vote, just like blacks in Mississippi in 1960. But in fact it was an attempt to turn out his own voters by telling them that Arabs were going out to vote in droves against him. There is nothing prejudiced about his pointing out that the Arab parties are part of the opposition, and warning that they were getting large numbers of their voters to the polls.

As far as “reactionary” is concerned, it is correct that Netanyahu has always favored free-market economic policies over the socialist ones that characterized Israel’s early years. He has nothing to be ashamed of – the results speak for themselves. If Bernie thinks the USA would be better off with government monopolies like the Histadrut’s enterprises, good luck with that.

Sanders’ reference to the “suffering of the Palestinian people” brings to mind Barack Obama’s Cairo speech, in which he drew a direct comparison between the Holocaust and the Palestinian nakba. I’ll just note that Palestinian “suffering” is primarily a result of the continued rejection of any Jewish sovereignty by their leadership and their allies, their refusal to accept legitimate offers of statehood, their readiness to use Arab refugees and their children as hostages in their war against the Jews, and their adoption of terrorism as their main political tactic. It is very wrong to treat the moral case of Israel as equivalent to that of the Palestinians, led as they are by the PLO and Hamas. Indeed, the groundbreaking aspect of Trump’s policy in the region is that for the first time, he has broken away from this false equivalence.

I would like to think that Bernie is taking positions that are as different as possible from those of the Trump Administration simply in order to attack Trump. Unfortunately, that doesn’t appear to be the case: Bernie’s anti-Israel positions have been consistent throughout his career, and his choice of advisors and surrogates, who include Linda Sarsour, Cornel West, Michael Moore, Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar, Amer Zahr, AOC, and others – some of whom might be given important positions in a Sanders Administration – does not inspire confidence.

But even if Bernie were not anti-Israel as a matter of principle – and I am convinced that he is – there is  an important tactical reason that he could not support the Jewish state in the way that Harry Truman could. As a Jew, he is open to the accusation that he would prioritize the interests of Israel over the interests of the US. Certainly that accusation will always be made against any Jewish politician at any level who takes a pro-Israel position (even non-Jewish politicians who are pro-Israel are accused of being bought by the Jewish/Israeli lobby). And therefore he will avoid taking such positions.

He is a fool, an enemy of his own people, the most useful of useful idiots.  Linda Sarsour said she would be proud to “elect the first Jewish American president this country has ever seen – and for his name to be Bernard Sanders.” That says it all, doesn’t it?

I hold an unpopular opinion: I don’t think a Jew should be President of the US. Any Jew. One reason is the difficulty of being pro-Israel; but there is another. The president is a lightning rod. Look at the abuse heaped on Trump, Obama, Bush, and Clinton. Do you doubt the form it would take with a Jewish president, even an anti-Israel one? Do American Jews need another stimulus for antisemitic attacks?

Look, there are more issues in this election than Jewish issues. American Jews are Americans, most of them see themselves as liberals if not progressives, and they are concerned about jobs, healthcare, immigration, student debt, the cost of living, drugs and crime, terrorism, and everything else. I get that. But if they are still Jews, then Jewish issues, including support for Israel, have to count. And there has to be a point at which a candidate disqualifies himself for someone who cares about Jewish issues. Bernie’s gone past that point. He’s made the calculation that calling Israel’s PM a “racist” will help him more with the voters who are important to him than hurt him with others who apparently are not.

Nevertheless, many American Jews will support Bernie if he is nominated. They will do it despite their misgivings, because they have elevated anti-Trumpism to the greatest mitzvah of their progressive “Torah,” and because they have been conditioned to only see antisemitism when it comes from the Right. They will do it because they have become disconnected from the Jewish people and their state, and have adopted Tikkunism as their religion in place of any form of Judaism. I suspect they’ll be sorry.

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Wednesday, February 26, 2020

From Ian:

Matti Friedman: Israel’s Rihanna Is Arab and Jewish
In 2017, fresh off a gig opening for Radiohead in the U.S., the pop star sang at Israel’s official Independence Day celebration, an unusual gig for an Arab artist. The invitation came from the Likud culture minister, Miri Regev, a sharp-tongued hard-liner whose family roots are in North Africa, like those of many Likud voters. Ms. Regev has said that Arabic music “has something to offer Israeli culture.”

If you can understand why it makes sense for that statement to come from a right-wing politician and not from the left, you understand something tricky and important about Israel. The Israelis who are closest to the Arab world — the Jews whose families are native to that world — tend to lean to the political right, in part because they were treated with disdain by the left, and in part because Arab Muslim societies marginalized them, expelled them, seized their property and then, after 1948, subjected their new state to wars and a siege that has gone on for more than 70 years.

Israel’s founders always wanted the country to be European, and its Middle Eastern side was long kept in the cultural basement. This was reflected in the status of mizrahi music as a fringe scene scorned by critics and trafficked on bootleg cassettes. But in the past decade or two, Israel’s old elite, which was rooted in Eastern Europe and inspired by the socialist ideal of the kibbutz, has aged out of relevance, and the country’s repressed Middle Eastern soul has surged into the vacuum.

This helps explain why Israeli politics and culture — and pop music — are increasingly discordant for Westerners. There’s a renewed interest in the Jewish sages and religious poetry that flourished in the Islamic world, for example, like the liturgical form known as piyyut, which now shows up not just in college courses but on Top 40 radio. Even an Israeli supermarket aisle is confusing for a shopper expecting what a North American would consider Jewish food: the shelves are heavy on couscous, eggplants and the rest of the pantry of the Levant. There’s more and more about Israel that’s easier to grasp if you’re a Muslim from Beirut than if you’re a Jewish New Yorker. This is a key trend in the country right now, and Nasrin’s riding it.

Yaron Ilan, an influential mizrahi radio host, sees a generational change. People around his age, 50, still call the music mizrahi or Mediterranean. “They still think of the Mediterranean sound as something different from Israeli music,” and that has changed among younger listeners, he said. To them, what Nasrin is singing is Israeli music — and she’s doing it not in small clubs in south Tel Aviv but in the Menorah Arena, the biggest indoor venue in the city.

If Nasrin is representative of the hybrid culture emerging here, there’s one part of her biography that’s truly unique: her decision not just to sing in Hebrew but also to actually embrace Judaism. (h/t Zvi)
A President Sanders will be anti-Israel? Jewish group has an answer
The Republican Jewish Coalition continued its attacks on the Democratic frontrunner, independent Senator Bernie Sanders, warning that voting for him would be "insane" because of his views on Israel.

The Republican Jewish Coalition, which has been one of Israel's strongest defenders in American politics and strongly endorsed President Donald Trump's peace plan for the Middle East earlier this month, called the video "Bernie Sanders – Insane," just days after it warned that his emergence as the clear favorite following the Nevada caucuses was a highly worrisome development.

"How bad would Bernie Sanders be for Israel?" the video asks, as dramatic music is played in the background and Sanders waves to the crowd.

The video then goes on to list Sanders's many controversial remarks, including his reference to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as racist. The video ends with, "Voting for Bernie Sanders would be insane."

Sanders: I'd consider moving embassy back to Tel Aviv
Democratic presidential hopeful Senator Bernie Sanders said on Tuesday that, if elected president, he would consider moving the US embassy in Israel back to Tel Aviv from Jerusalem.

"The answer is it's something we would take into consideration," said Sanders at a Democratic primary presidential debate in South Carolina, when asked to comment on concern among American Jews that he’s not supportive enough of Israel. He then proceeded to once again criticize Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

"But here's the point, I am very proud of being Jewish. I actually lived in Israel for some months. But what I happen to believe is that right now sadly, tragically in Israel through Bibi Netanyahu, you have a reactionary racist who is now running that country," he added.

Former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg also weighed in on the issue and said, “You can’t move the embassy back.” Instead, he said, “The answer is to obviously split it up.”

Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren said moving the embassy is not a decision for the US to make and added, “We should let the parties determine the capitals themselves.”

US President Donald Trump relocated the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in 2018, months after recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital – a decision which angered the Palestinian Authority (PA).

My grandson's second birthday party had to be canceled due to rocket fire. I had arranged to attend the festivities and had set the alarm clock to meet my ride at approximately dawn o’clock. But when I rolled out of bed in the near darkness, I had two messages. One from my ride, and one from my daughter in-law, both telling me that it just wasn’t happening today. Maybe tomorrow.
I’d known the night before that it might not happen. Because when the rockets fly thick and fast, school is canceled, and no one can work. The party was to be held in my grandson’s daycare center. But there was no daycare that day. Or the next.
When the rockets are seeking out Jewish bodies to destroy, Jewish children don’t get to have birthday parties. They stay instead in their safe rooms and shelters, frightened and shaking as they hear the sirens and the booms.  “Every red alert makes me shake in my hands and legs. Every boom terrifies me,” said one little girl in Sderot.
I can confirm that the same is true of all of the children of Southern Israel, including my grandchildren who live in the city of Netivot. I watched my granddaughter’s face crumble when she heard an ambulance go by during dinner in our Sukkah in Efrat, this past fall. S. literally dissolved into tears, though she had been in a fine mood until that moment. We understood: she'd thought it was a red alert, a rocket siren.
With well-practiced hands, my son and daughter in-law put my granddaughter to bed. The stress of the moment had wiped her out. “This is what it means to grow up in Netivot,” said my daughter in-law.

It was as if, S., my granddaughter, had lost herself, lost something essential, when that ambulance siren sounded. She was no longer in control of herself or her story. Sirens meant rockets, and they were bigger than she, and unpredictable, ruling over all. 
Including my grandson’s birthday party, which, by the time this piece is published, will still not have occurred. The rockets have stopped, but it's hard living in between the rockets, rearranging and reshuffling life. It’s hard to make space for what already should have been.
Every time there is rocket fire, I feel distress for my grandchildren, for the fear I know they experience. The spotty sleep, the running to shelter, and of course, the anticipated celebrations canceled. Trying not to go stir-crazy in a single, small room, the entire family just works to conserve energy, to catch some rest as the rockets fly, the sirens blare, and the booms sound, telling you just how close it was this time. (Sometimes much too close for comfort.)
In the South, it’s not just the rockets, of course. There are the balloons, which aren’t toys to play with, but something sent by people who want to kill you, because you are a Jewish child. How do you come to grips with something like that?
How does a child come to grips with people who shoot things at you, bringing on a whole set of scary events: sirens, booms, running into safe rooms or shelters or stairwells in the middle of the candlelit peace of a Sabbath meal, or the happiness of a birthday party, or in the case of my grandson, a canceled party, the canceling of happiness and what should have been a happy time, which is now instead, a scary time that makes you shake.

My two-year-old grandson just wants to be a two-year-old. He shouldn’t have to deal with these awful terrorists who think that Jewish children--people like my little grandson G.--aren’t really human, but some kind of pestilence or vermin. That this being the case, little Jews can be targeted at will and no one will care how they feel, or whether they feel at all.

And maybe no one does.

Because the list of people who don’t care about my grandson is long. It includes not only Hamas, the Palestinian Authority, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) (which claims responsibility for the most recent attacks), but also Jeremy Ben Ami, Linda Sarsour, Peter Beinart, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, and Bernie Sanders and anyone who votes Democrat in the next election come November.

Not that Trump can solve this problem any better than Israel’s own leaders. But better Trump than any Dem, because Trump sees Israel as an ally to work with and assist, whereas, the Dems see Israel as an abuser and occupier. They see Israel as needing to be brought into line, and punished through the withholding of their money and approbation.

Dems prefer to support the Arabs, whom they see as oppressed, because they are brown and poor and have no state of their own, never mind the attacks, the rockets and the balloons targeting Jews and Jewish children. Because if the Arabs are poor, brown, and oppressed, and have no state of their own, how can they possibly be expected to behave?

This is the immature paternalistic vision of the Arab people which crowds out every other perspective, so that we don’t see the canceled birthday parties, the Jewish children shaking with fear, the exploding miscarriage rate in Southern Israel, or the rampant PTSD destroying families and careers. The media doesn’t care to write about this even one little bit, and if they do, they are sure that it’s Israel that started it all, that it is Israel’s own fault.

I am powerless to do anything about this, as powerless as the children of Southern Israel to stop the sirens and the booms that send them into safe rooms and destroy what should have been a day of song and cake and presents. A day when turning two should have been the main event. I don’t know a right way to explain this to children.

I only know that it is wrong.
Sometimes I wonder why my son and his small family, of all the places in the world, chose to live in Southern Israel, knowing what it would be like, the sirens, the booms, the running for shelter. But I already know the answer: If Jews will not live in Southern Israel, the enemy will take it over, and the rockets will come closer to the center of the country.

Which means that the Jews of Southern Israel are heroes and patriots. On the other hand, there is seemingly no solution to their problem.
Neither Gantz nor Bibi can stop the rockets or the balloons.
That ship sailed with Disengagement.
There is no way to roll it back. Nor can Israel carpet bomb the innocent or even not-so-innocent civilians of Gaza. Because the world won’t stand for it, or because Israel isn’t brave enough or stupid enough to do so. We don’t want to do it. But truly, there is no other way to stop the rockets, to stop the balloons, to stop the shaking limbs of the children who live under this reign of terror, while just trying to have a normal life.
My grandchildren are lucky. Their parents have a car. They got in the car and drove to Jerusalem to get a break from it all, the sirens, the booms, the crowded safe room. They visited the aquarium, had pizza, and played Grandma’s piano in Efrat. Then they went home, not knowing how long they will have until the next time the rockets fall, sending them into a limbo where life is put on hold and children shake, not knowing who among them will live and who will die.

G. leaving Grandma's house to go home to Netivot.

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