Sunday, May 31, 2020

  • Sunday, May 31, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon

Even though the news has been full of stories about how the Gulf countries have been putting out signals of friendliness towards Israel and Jews, antisemitism is still quite a part of life.

The official Saudi news agency Okaz has an article attacking Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.  The two main charges against him are that he is friendly to Israel – and he is supposedly Jewish:

• Who is Recep Tayyip Erdogan?
• According to the book “Sons of Moses” by Turkish writer Ergün Poyraz, Erdogan is of Jewish origin. This author Y. Küçük confirmed in a television interview with “Oda TV,” that Erdogan's lineage comes from the Jews, and that 3 of the most important pillars of his government are Khazars.

Erdogan’s enemies have been claiming this for years – see one example below -  but if someone calls you “Jewish” to insult you, you can be sure that they are antisemitic.

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From Ian:

Pastor John Hagee: Who owns the Land of Israel?
I am inspired to send this message to the 8.2 million-plus members of Christians United for Israel by the fact that months ago president trump met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Washington to present the administration's peace proposal. I was there!

It was a masterful proposal that gave the Palestinians the opportunity of a better life through a 50 billion dollar investment package. It was an effort that required years of work by the brilliant and talented inner circle of the president.

It was made clear at the Washington meeting that this historic peace plan could go into effect within days. If the Palestinians immediately reject the plan, the US Will be prepared to accept the enactment of Israel's sovereignty over parts of the West Bank within 48 hours.

It was made clear that this historic plan could go into effect within days. However, days have become weeks, weeks have become months.

To be clear, the Palestinians have never owned Judea or Samaria. That Israel will meet with a Palestinian leadership that still supports terrorists and incites violence against the Jewish people is a commentary on Israel's willingness to make every effort to advance peace with their neighbors, not a commentary on the Palestinians being deserving of yet another chance at the negotiating table.

Our role is to heed the commandment that we "pray for the peace of Jerusalem!" And that time is now!
Melanie Phillips: EU second thoughts over hostility to Israel?
Has the European Union reached a tipping point over Israel? Or to be more precise, is the Europeans’ bluff finally to be called over Israel’s proposal to extend its sovereignty over parts of Judea and Samaria?

The E.U. has been mulling over punitive measures against Israel if it goes ahead with what its western critics call “annexation of the occupied territories of the West Bank.”

A number of member states, headed by France along with Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, Ireland, Sweden, Denmark, Poland, Belgium and Luxembourg are calling for a hard line.

Measures being considered include supporting any U.N. moves against “annexation”; public support of proceedings against Israel currently underway in the International Criminal Court at The Hague; and increasing the boycott of settlements in various ways, along with increased financial support for the Palestinians.

The E.U. and Britain maintain that Israel is illegally occupying the disputed territories, and that its settlements there amount to a transfer of population into those lands in contravention of the Geneva Convention.

This is a serious misreading of international law. Israel is not “occupying” these territories. In law, occupation can only occur if the land belongs to a sovereign power, which was never the case here; and a state can also hold onto land which continues to be used for belligerent purposes against it.

It is also a gross misreading of the Geneva Convention, as the Israelis living in these territories were not transferred but moved there entirely of their own volition.
Between Minneapolis and Jerusalem
The killing of Eyad al-Hallaq in Jerusalem was unsettling, as was the horrific images of George Floyd in Minneapolis gasping for air.

Both of them civilians, both killed by police. Their tragic and outrageous deaths are part of a long history of violence.

But the similarities end there, and after observing the path social media took this weekend, maybe it needs to be said clearly: The attempt to draw parallels between Jerusalem and Minneapolis are manipulative, and in many ways irresponsible.

Joint Arab List MK Aida Touma-Sliman implored "whoever is shocked by the murder in the US, to look closely – a whole nation is choking under occupation without being able to breathe."

Leading pundits worked hard to frame the shooting of al-Hallaq as an example of systemic racism in Israel, and many even blamed the public security minister by proxy.

Others expertly determined that it was "murder", and a few self-branding mavens were quick to use the hashtag #ArabLivesMatter, the local version of #BlackLivesMatter.

That's not only self-righteous populism but a manipulative way to use conscience. The shooting in Jerusalem, as horrible as it was, did not take place on racial background, but in the context of a nationalist conflict, which unfortunately creates terror. Just this week there were those who told us an intifada was the natural and desired result of all the talk about extending sovereignty. That is the reason for police presence in Jerusalem, and that is the background for the tension.

  • Sunday, May 31, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon



A Sudanese writer is claiming that a Saudi development initiative is actually an excuse for Israeli expansionism in the Persian Gulf.

The Saudi initiative is called “NEOM:”

NEOM is a bold and audacious dream. It is a vision of what a New Future might look like (in fact, NEOM means, “new future”). It’s an attempt to do something that’s never been done before and it comes at a time when the world needs fresh thinking and new solutions. NEOM is being built on the Red Sea in northwest Saudi Arabia as a living laboratory – a place where entrepreneurship and innovation will chart the course for this New Future. NEOM will be a destination, a home for people who dream big and want to be part of building a new model for sustainable living, working and prospering.

NEOM will include towns and cities, ports and enterprise zones, research centers, sports and entertainment venues, and tourist destinations. It will be the home and workplace for more than a million citizens from around the world.


The future has a new home

NEOM is the vision of His Royal Highness Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman and is a centerpiece of Saudi Arabia’s 2030 Vision plan to grow and diversify the Saudi economy and position the country to play a leading role in global development. While NEOM is being driven and initially funded by Saudi Arabia, it is an international project that will be led, populated and funded by people from all over the world.

In Gulf365, however, writer Shihab Muhammad knows better:

This article aims to explain two facts: they revealed that the Saudi NEOM project announced by Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman is not a tourism or development investment project, but rather a revival of the biblical Kingdom of Noam, and to be the capital of the Kingdom of Israel.  This is expected after rebuilding the alleged temple on the ruins of Al-Aqsa, with the approval and support of the Al Saud, in implementation of the Zionist Masonic plan…

The city of Neom is mentioned in the context of the deal of the century, which is being established in the region located on the border between Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Palestine and Jordan, this name “Neom” does not mean as they say future and development, but it is a biblical word, and this name was mentioned in the Torah and means “Noam”, which is the name of a Jewish kingdom “ממלכת נוים”, which will be revived in that area of northern Saudi Arabia and Egypt, southern Palestine and Jordan.

…The NEOM project, which will be built on 26 thousand square kilometers, will be responsible for serving the Peres project, and will be based on energy, water and modern technologies, and the Israeli flag will be raised over the two islands of Tiran and Sanafir, Saudi Arabia, for their presence within the project, the government of the temple guards, meaning that the Zionist-Masonic project…

Another issue being covered up is that Egypt has leased 400 km to Saudi Arabia, regions that are filled with ancient monuments and will be handled by Jewish archaeologists, and they declare falsely that they have found Jewish antiquities, perhaps to make up for their failure to find even a shard of pottery indicating their ancient presence in Jerusalem in particular, and we have seen how Moshe Dayan, who occupied the West Bank, Sinai and the Golan in 1967, was burying some pottery and metal pieces, to say later that they found Jewish relics indicating them, and they did so in Lebanon in 1982.

Needless to say, there has never been a Biblical Kingdom of Noam, which the article helpfully transliterates into Hebrew as “Noim” to make it look legitimate.

This is definitely one of the more entertaining conspiracy theories I’ve come across.

  • Sunday, May 31, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon



A 21 year old girl was beaten to death by her father in what was probably another “honor killing.”

“M.G.” of Al Azawaida in central Gaza arrived at the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir Al-Balah on Thursday evening in very serious condition, beaten and bruised. She succumbed after midnight.

According to the Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights, the cause of death is a result of severe beatings in the head and parts of the body. PCHR says that there were also signs of strangulation around her neck.

PCHR notes that “Palestine” has signed international agreements to protect women legally but has not implemented them, as we have noted previously.  In fact, the Palestinian Authority and Hamas have  a laundry list of laws that explicitly discriminate against women, and Hamas never repealed laws that mitigate penalties against “honor crimes.”

  • Sunday, May 31, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon


From Xinhua:

Palestine on Saturday said it supports China's right to impose the full sovereignty over all its territories including Hong Kong, and maintain its territorial integrity.

"We reiterate our support to the friendly People's Republic of China's right to maintain its sovereignty, against any foreign intervention into its internal affairs and the attempts to destabilize it," the Palestinian presidency said in a statement published by the official Palestinian News and Info Agency.

Palestine values China's efforts in fighting COVID-19, said the statement, highlighting China's aid to other countries including Palestine in combating the pandemic and building a global health community for all.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas also appreciated the unwavering Chinese support to the people of Palestine to achieve independence and freedom, and said Palestine is keen on enhancing its relations with China to the benefit of the two peoples.

There is not a dictatorship or autocratic state that the Palestinian leadership does not support.

And of course, the leftists who pretend that they support the people against their oppressive governments will be silent on this.

Saturday, May 30, 2020

From Ian:

Seth Frantzman: Twitter censors Trump for glorifying violence, lets Iran threaten Israel
Twitter on Thursday flagged a tweet by US President Donald Trump for “glorifying violence,” disabling re-tweets and comments. In the Tweet Trump had written that “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.” Yet Tweets by Iranian leader Ayatollah Khamenei calling for arming Palestinians, destroying Israel and “Jihad” remained without similar Twitter flags. The company provided no explanation for what defines “glorifying violence” and does not provide a way to report tweets specifically for this issue.

The tweet that Twitter flagged included references to “thugs” and the clashes in Minneapolis after a police officer was caught on video putting his knee on the neck of an African-American man. The man died and days of protests and increasing clashes, including burning of buildings, has resulted. Twitter flagged the tweet and provided a link to “learn more” which explained that due to “public interest” it had allowed the tweet to remain on twitter. This added to lack of clarity over how Twitter makes decisions to flag certain tweets and why it has not singled out tweets by authoritarian regimes, such as Iran, which often glorify violence.

In recent weeks as Iran’s regime sought to commemorate Quds Day it has called Israel a “virus” and “cancerous” and called for Palestinians to “liberate” the country. It has said they should be armed and that Iran supports Palestinian “fighters.” Khamenei tweeted on May 22 that “one cannot communicate with a savage enemy except by force.” A subsequent tweet urged “Jihad” against Israel, “everyone must help the Palestinian fighters.” He writes that “the struggle to free Palestine is Jihad in the way of God, Victory in a struggle has been guaranteed because a person, even if killed, will receive ‘one of the two excellent things.’” This is a reference to religious rewards for being killed fighting. He also wrote that the “Zionist regime is a deadly cancerous growth” and that it must be “uprooted and destroyed.”

Calling for a country to be uprooted, destroyed and calling it “cancerous” and urging armed fighters to be killed fighting it were not labelled as “glorifying violence” by Twitter. Instead, Khamenei’s incitement can be retweeted at will. This leads to questions about what standard Twitter uses and how it makes decisions. None of these details are provided transparently by the company. There is no way to report tweets specifically for this issue or find out what guidelines the platform uses to decide.

Qatar’s Al Jazeera Network Broadcasts Islamist Cleric’s Appeal to ‘Kill Jews’
The Qatar-owned satellite network Al Jazeera broadcast a crudely antisemitic interview with a leading Muslim cleric who called for the violent conquest of the State of Israel.

“Victory will not come on a golden platter. Victory is achieved through the blood of martyrs and over the skulls of the enemies. Victory is achieved by sacrificing money, life, and all that is precious,” Dr. Abduljabbar Saeed — head of the Quran and Sunnah Department in Qatar University’s Shari’a Faculty — declared on Al Jazeera on May 16, in a clip translated by the Washington, DC-based think tank Middle East Media and Research Institute (MEMRI).

“We will not accept the [Israeli] occupation’s existence on a single centimeter of [Palestine] under any circumstances,” Saeed said.

The cleric went on to quote a hadith (saying) of the Prophet Muhammad frequently cited by Islamists in support of their eternal enmity toward Jews: “The Prophet Muhammad said: ‘Judgement Day will not come until the Muslims fight the Jews and kill them.’ This is a promise made by Allah and His Messenger. [The Prophet said:] ‘The Muslims will kill [the Jews], until the rocks and the trees say: ‘Oh Servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.'”

Qatar launched an ill-fated outreach to influential American Jews in 2017 as it sought to change its negative image in the Jewish community worldwide. Despite the initial fanfare, the effort petered out the following year.
Phyllis Chesler on the Fight against Honor Killings
Phyllis Chesler, a Shillman-Ginsburg Fellow at the Middle East Forum, emerita professor of psychology and women's studies, and the author of eighteen books, spoke to participants in a May 18 Middle East Forum webinar (video) about the barbaric practice of honor killing and how to combat it.

Honor killing is the "cold blooded murder of girls and women by their families of origin." In a "shame and honor tribal culture, ... a girl's virginity and reproductive capacity, her fertility, are owned by her family, literally. Not by the girl herself. She represents their honor," Chesler explained. "If a girl is seen as damaged goods, her family will then be responsible ... no one will marry their other children or deal with them economically. They'll be shunned." The only way the family can "cleanse themselves of this shame [is] with blood – her blood."

The list of offenses that can trigger an honor killing is long, including engaging in sex outside of marriage, refusing an arranged marriage, marrying outside of one's religious sect or cast, having infidel friends, and becoming too Westernized. Since the aim is to recapture family honor, not punishment, it matters little whether the accusations are true. In rare cases where honor killers are prosecuted, according to Chesler, "they claim that they're only acting in self-defense, that communal norms drove them to it."

Unlike domestic violence against women in Western countries, where the perpetrators are almost exclusively men, usually acting alone and spontaneously, "honor killings are carefully planned conspiracies." Typically there is a "designated hands-on killer" acting in collaboration with other relatives, including "mothers, sisters, and aunts." The involvement of female relatives is common, according to Chesler, as
women have internalized the same patriarchal and tribal beliefs that men have and, in addition, they're responsible for keeping their daughters in line. They will pay a heavy price if their daughters dishonor the family. So very often ... mothers will lure their daughters home saying, 'It's okay, he'll forgive you, we'll work it out.' And then she dies.

Honor killing is "not based in any particular religion," said Chesler, noting that in India, the country where honor killing is by far the most prevalent, it is practiced by both Muslims and Hindus. However, Chesler's research has shown that Hindus "only do this in India ... Those who immigrate to the West don't do this." Honor killings in Europe and the United States are "mainly a Muslim-on-Muslim phenomenon."

Thursday, May 28, 2020

  • Thursday, May 28, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon





Tonight is the holiday of Shavuot, so I will be off on Friday.

Have a wonderful Yom Tov!


From Ian:

Questioning the Legitimacy of Israel's Existence Is Anti-Semitic
Does the U.S. have a right to exist? Is the U.S. military a terrorist organization? Most Americans would reject these questions as unreasonable and unfair. Yet the Stanford community widely accepts these questions as justified when "U.S." is replaced with "Israel."

As an Israeli-American student, I'm constantly asked to defend my nationality. Mentioning Israel, or even Hebrew, on campus immediately eliminates any of the social norms that empower us to respectfully engage in conversation. But questioning the legitimacy of Israel's very existence is anti-Semitic. Jews have a right to self-determination and national aspirations, just like all other people.

Jewish nationalism stems from the constant marginalization and forced migration Jews have faced. I am a Zionist because my grandfather deserved a safe home after he was forced to flee Iraq in 1936, because my grandmother needed security after escaping Nazi-controlled Austria, and because my other grandmother has the right to continue her ninth-generation lineage of living in Jerusalem.

The increasingly common belief that Zionism fundamentally denies Palestinians humanity or a homeland is both inaccurate and anti-Semitic. If the slander or abhorrent language were directed toward any other nationality, it would never be tolerated. Denying me, an Israeli citizen, protection from harassment and ignorance at Stanford is a tremendous oversight on the part of a community that prides itself on diversity, tolerance and open scholarly discourse.

Honest Reporting: The Guardian Ignores Intifada’s Role in Ending Two-State Solution Hopes
When it comes to media bias against Israel, often enough the problem isn’t simply in the content, but what is not in the content.

Take for example a puff piece published in the Guardian on 25 May, entitled “What else happened as coronavirus swept the globe.” The article, written by Michael Safi, brings together a variety of big stories from the last few months and attempts to repackage them so as to provide the Guardian with fresh content.

The final main item, entitled “The end of the two-state solution?” frames the impending partial annexation of areas in Samaria and in Judea, as the death knell for hopes of a peace resulting from a Palestinian state arising in coexistence alongside Israel.

The Guardian’s writers have every right to their perspective – but theirs is not the only one. One held by many Israelis, and the driving force behind the current Israeli administration’s moves to annex these lands, is that the two-state solution is already long dead.
What Really Killed A Two-State Solution?

The peace process of the 1990s initially generated huge optimism in parts of Israeli society and much of the West, especially when it resulted in Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat ceremoniously signing the Oslo Accords on 13 September 1993.

However, it’s often noted that the heady days of the mid-90s, when the hope that Israelis and Palestinians could finally move forward and make peace was pervasive, gave way to the shock and horror of the early 2000s, when wave after bloody wave of Palestinian terror left millions in Israel in utter despair.

Simplification that may be, but it neatly encapsulates the feeling in Israel after seemingly making so much headway in the pursuit of peace, only to be violently rebuffed. The prospect of a two-state solution for Israelis and Palestinians, once so tangible, faded into the ether and came to be treated by many as a dangerous, alluring mirage.
Without Communist China, Would Palestinian Terrorism Have Become Such a Menace?
Brief history: communists under Mao Zedong consolidate control of China by 1952. The surviving nationalists retreat to Taiwan and set up shop there as a separate country. At the same time, China was fighting on the side of communist North Korea against the United States/United Nations.

Israel recognized the People’s Republic in 1950; China did not reciprocate until 1992. In 1964, China was tilting heavily in favor of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO).

Tilting is too weak a description. Communist China was the PLO’s greatest supporter outside the Middle East, according to captured files Haaretz’s Shaina Oppenheimer wrote about last August.

A few paragraphs out of Oppenheimer’s long and fascinating story drive the point home of how pivotal communist China was to the PLO and to fomenting chaos around the world.
(Historian Lillian Craig) Harris suggested that the aid provided was an overlooked point in history in which China — unlike other “half-hearted” nations such as the Soviet Union — consistently advised the Palestinians and truly invested in their revolutionary cause.

In the late ’60s, the attention given by the Chinese to the Palestinian struggle was the most significant of any nation other than neighboring Arab states.

As relations with the PLO were cemented, Beijing also began cultivating national liberation movements as part of a local, strategic front against imperialism, aiming to revolutionize both China and neighboring countries. Communist parties influenced by Chairman Mao Zedong began to emerge in Malaysia, Vietnam, India and, most notably, the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia.

Vietnam…the Khmer Rouge… The Khmer Rouge alone killed an estimated 2 million Cambodians in the 1960s and 1970s, making China responsible for murders by the millions beyond the estimated 65 million of its own people Mao’s communists murdered during the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution. Add North Korea into that too. China enables that regime.

Why did China support the Palestinians?
In March 1965, Mao famously told a PLO delegation: “Imperialism is afraid of China and of the Arabs. Israel and Formosa [Taiwan] are bases of imperialism in Asia. You are the front gate of the great continent, and we are the rear. They created Israel for you, and Formosa for us. … The West does not like us, and we must understand this fact. The Arab battle against the West is the battle against Israel. So boycott Europe and America, O Arabs!”
(h/t jzaik)

Drunk on self-importance, the media long ago forgot that their job is to be objective in reporting the news. While the complexity and gravity of our current situation requires nuanced reporting, instead we get spin. The media prefers to curate facts in order to paint the bleakest picture possible. Chris Beck, Splice Today 

Chris Beck is not referring to media reporting on Israel. He's referring to Media Manipulation Via Headlines in Coronavirus Era. One example Beck gives is a headline in The Los Angeles Times: A new high for coronavirus deaths in California as counties push ahead with reopening. As he points out, the article itself -- assuming the reader actually makes it to the 6th paragraph -- indicates the positive trends that form the basis of the decision to reopen, such as the declining number of newly identified cases and the declining number of hospitalizations -- down 15% from its peak, reached 6 weeks earlier. According to Beck,

As the media’s figured out that most people don’t read beyond the headlines, they tailor their headlines like any propagandist would. It’s more indoctrinating than informing. The trick to pulling it off while salvaging your reputation is to promote an agenda without telling actual lies.
And there is an agenda behind the headlines of stories about Israel. Back in March, HonestReporting pointed out a headline from AFP about Israel and the coronavirus:

While the headline implied that Israel had unilaterally closed the West Bank and left the Arabs to fend for themselves, anyone who actually read the article would find out that

o The closure was done with the cooperation of the PA. o They had set up a committee to cooperate on fighting the virus. o Israel still allows Palestinian Arabs to enter Israel for medical treatment. o Palestinian Arabs are allowed to continue working in the West Bank settlements.

In 2016, an attack in Tel Aviv's Sarona market left four people dead and 16 wounded. It was a terrorist attack, but CNN wanted to be "objective":

Following an uproar over the scare-quotes, CNN apologized and admitted in a press release "the attacks were, without question, terrorist attacks." It's a case of pursuing an agenda without telling actual lies -- as Beck put it. And since the media is not pursuing stories about the treatment of Palestinian Arabs elsewhere, such as in Lebanon where they are treated as second-class citizens, it seems clear the bias is not out of the media's concern for the plight of Palestinian Arabs. Rather than resorting to scare-quotes to avoid labeling Palestinian terrorists as terrorists, the more common method the media uses is to scrub from the headline any hint of wrongdoing at all on the part of the terrorist. A terrorist attack in Jerusalem during which 2 Palestinian attackers attempted to stab police and were subsequently shot, led to this grotesque headline:
In this case, CBS changed its headline not once, but twice: From: 3 Palestinians killed as daily violence grinds on to: Israeli police kill 3 alleged Palestinian attackers and finally to: Palestinians kill Israeli officer, wound another before being killed
Now is that so hard? Maybe it is. In a 2014 post, Anti-Israel Bias in One Headline (or Three), Jonah Goldberg writes about the AP headline of an article describing how a Palestinian Arab motorist, with a past history of anti-Israel violence, rammed his car into a crowded train station in Jerusalem, killing a three-month-old baby girl and wounding eight people. The headline went from:
Israeli police shoot man in east Jerusalem
Car slams into east Jerusalem train station
Palestinian kills baby at Jerusalem station.
As Goldberg puts it:
So it begins with the villain being the Israeli police. Then, in a nod to fairness, it’s changed to an evil car. Then finally, it’s a murderous Palestinian. It’s progress, I suppose.
Maybe. Of course, the media tactic of blaming Palestinian terrorist attacks on inanimate objects is now a common phenomenon. It's not clear how far back this kind of manipulation of newspaper headlines has been going on. Writing in 1987, in an attempt to explain The Focus on Israel, Thomas Friedman concentrates more on trying to explain the disproportionate attention paid to Israel than any kind of bias. But when he does address it, he gives an example of when
For their part, Israelis often accuse Western editors of bias, even latent anti-Semitism, for, say, putting the shooting of a West Bank student by Israeli troops on the front page, while burying the shooting of 20 Palestinian students by Jordanian troops inside the paper.
But that is a different kind of subtle bias. If Friedman didn't think biased headlines were a problem in 1987, 3 years later David Bar-Illan did. Bar-Illan wrote a column for the Jerusalem Post called Eye on the Media. Eventually, he took a collection of his posts from mid-1990 till the end of 1992 and published them in a book: Eye on the Media: A Look At World News Coverage of Israel and the Arab-Israeli Conflict. In his 1990 post Lying With Headlines, he notes
An American study of readers' habits has concluded that fewer than 30 percent read past the headlines of news stories. More important, the headline colors the story. Even a highly critical review of a play, for example, is perceived as positive if the headline contains the word "successful"; all the aspersions in the body of the review are then regarded as mere cavils. Conversely, a negative sounding headline taints even the most fulsome praise. [emphasis added]
Bar-Illan's examples are not limited to the printed media either. He writes about then-ABC-TV anchorman Peter Jennings who introduced a news story before a commercial break:
A young Arab was nearly lynched today in Jerusalem.
After the commercial, the viewer learned -- assuming he stayed tuned -- that "the 'young Arab' had stabbed to death two elderly men waiting for a bus, and was then chased, subdued and beaten by passersby."
He writes about the time London's The Independent ran a story with the headline "Five Palestinians killed in Israeli beach raid" -- the story was about an unsuccessful terrorist raid on a Tel Aviv beach.
Then there is the British Western Mail, which had the headline "Arab knifed in revenge after Israelis are murdered" - but actually the Arab was only lightly injured, after the discovery of the mutilated bodies. Bar-Illan writes, "had the considerations been purely journalistic, no editor would have let the headline lead with this decidedly minor injury, let alone describe it as a 'knifing'." He concludes with a comment on the media's habit -- even back in 1990 -- to avoid pointing out Palestinian terrorists as perpetrators of attacks:
Followers of news from Israel in the Western press must wonder about this country of unbounded miracles, in which stones are thrown, cars are torched, and Jews are shot, stabbed, and burned to death by some sort of spontaneous process, with the perpetrators unknown.
Clearly, this form of media bias -- and anti-Israel media bias in general -- is not a 21st-century phenomenon. It has been going on for a while. And the problem goes beyond just bad PR for Israel. Jonathan Tobin asks Does media bias against Israel still matter? and writes that polls indicate that a strong majority of the US still supports Israel -- even with all the media bias and distortions.
But it isn't the effect of this bias on the general population that should be the concern. Keeping in mind how much Israel's successes, such as the 1976 Entebbe rescue, encouraged Jews and made them feel closer to Israel, Tobin notes that the opposite is also true:
While some Jews are outraged by biased coverage that unfairly depicts Israel as a villain, others internalize the calumnies and distance themselves from the Jewish state. An average consumer of news may not be influenced by the Times. But a not-insignificant portion of American Jewry still regards the newspaper with the sort of veneration that observant Jews have for religious texts. The Times has been assaulting the Jewish community with the prejudices of its publishers, editors and reporters since the days when, as Dermer rightly notes, it "buried" the story of the Holocaust. Media bias may not have turned Americans against Israel, but it has been doing a bang-up job of turning Jews against each other for decades.
This is especially a concern now with the increasing strength of "progressives" in the Democratic party, where antisemitism is only called out when it comes from the extreme right-wing. Ties and support for Israel among young Jews cannot be taken for granted. Now more than ever, especially on social media, it is important to counter the bias and spin that comes from traditional media -- and now from the new media as well.
From Ian:

Amb. Alan Baker: If Abbas Can Revoke Solemn Obligations over a Knesset Speech, of What Value Are Any Palestinian Commitments?
On May 18, 2020, Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian Authority and Chair of the PLO, declared that "[t]he Palestine Liberation Organization and the State of Palestine are absolved from all agreements and understandings with the American and Israeli governments and from all the obligations based on these understandings and agreements, including the security ones."

This raises several interesting legal and political questions regarding the veracity and credibility of all and any Palestinian commitments.
If the Palestinian leadership feels that it can glibly and freely revoke solemn obligations in signed agreements - witnessed and guaranteed by international leaders - merely at the whim of Mahmoud Abbas because he disapproves of speeches or Israeli policy statements, then one may ask what value or reliability do any Palestinian commitments - past, present or future - hold?

Abbas' declaration and actions are not in response to any specific Israeli action that might be interpreted as violating those agreements. The Palestinian actions are merely in response to a speech by Israel's prime minister expressing possible intentions to apply Israeli law or sovereignty to parts of the territories at a later date, but without such actions having been actually taken.

In light of Abbas' declaration, the question arises whether such abrogation, as well as the actual, unilateral violation by the Palestinian leadership of its commitments in the Oslo Accords, through actively obstructing and preventing security and other forms of bilateral cooperation, does not represent a material breach of those accords, rendering them impossible to implement, and thereby enabling Israel to declare them void.

One may even ask the international community what value exists in the continued Palestinian fixation of acceding to international conventions in violation of their Oslo commitments, when they demonstrate so assertively that they can freely violate any commitments in such conventions and agreements, for no good reason.
Death of a dogma? After annexation, world likely to abandon two-state paradigm
Critics, by contrast, anticipate not only condemnations but sanctions, and not only from Europe but also from 50 percent of the American body politic. They also worry about further alienating Diaspora Jewry, fear for the peace agreement with and the internal stability of Jordan, fret over the recent rapprochement with the Gulf states, and predict increased wrath from the International Criminal Court.

Some have argued that the plan will make a future separation from the Palestinians nearly impossible in the long run, which eventually would turn Israel into an apartheid state in which Israelis and Palestinians share the same space but have unequal rights.

One counterargument is that the currently envisioned annexation — which the Israeli government agreed would only occur in full coordination with the US administration and along the lines of President Donald Trump’s peace proposal — would apply Israeli sovereignty to about 30 percent of the West Bank.

The rest remains reserved for a future Palestinian state — hence, in this thesis, annexation in the framework of the plan would not presage the end of the two-state solution but rather be a step toward a “realistic two-state solution.” Indeed, the so-called deal of the century mentions the term “two-state solution” a whopping 86 times.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas speaks to the UN Security Council on February 11, 2020. He is holding a map included in the US proposal for Israeli-Palestinian peace, which he said he rejected and whose application on the ground would be “confronted” by the Palestinians. (UN screenshot)

But rather than embracing the plan as an outline to reach a two-state solution, many in the international community consider it the final nail in the coffin of a two-state solution. And while few officials are currently ready to depart from the decade-old diplomatic dogma sanctifying the two-state solution, there are growing indications that sooner or later they will embrace a one-state outcome.

Because once the world determines that the old “two states for two peoples” paradigm is no longer relevant, it will likely draw the logical conclusion and start advocating for one bi-national state, from the Mediterranean to the Jordan River, with equal rights for all.
European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell during a news conference in Brussels, January 7, 2020 (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)

“We agree that the annexation of the Jordan Valley would mean the end of the two-state solution,” European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said on April 30 after speaking to Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi.

If annexation kills all prospects for a Palestinian state next to Israel — then what’s the alternative?

For now, most governments cling to the two-state doctrine, which has been affirmed as the “best and the only realistic chance for peace” in countless resolutions and declarations. But some officials have started saying the hitherto unthinkable.

“The principle of ‘two states for two people’ was the motto and official condition of the peace process. Let’s face it, time is running out and the situation has changed,” Radek Vondráček, the speaker of Czech Republic’s Chamber of Deputies, wrote Monday in an op-ed. The world, he added, should not force its “old schemes and the frustration that results from not fulfilling them” on the parties on the ground if they want to explore new ideas.

“The existence of the state of Israel shows that the realization of the human dream of freedom is extremely difficult,” Vondráček wrote. “The dream was not based on the dogma of a two-state solution. It is therefore time to revive the idea of the coexistence of all in one common state.”

As opposed to Vondráček — who is known as a friend of Israel — even those critical of the Israeli government say annexation would make any other outcome impossible.
Adi Schwartz and Einat Wilf: How to Solve the Palestinian Refugee Issue
The Palestinian refugee issue is not just one more issue in the conflict; it is probably the issue. The Palestinian conception of themselves as "refugees from Palestine," and their demand to exercise a so-called right of return, reflect the Palestinians' most profound beliefs about their relationship with the land and their lack of willingness to share any part of it with Jews.

The UN structural support and Western financial support for these Palestinian beliefs has led to the creation of a permanent and ever-growing population of Palestinian refugees, and what is by now a nearly insurmountable obstacle to peace. The Palestinian demand to "return" to what became the sovereign state of Israel in 1948 stands as a testament to the Palestinian rejection of the legitimacy of a state for the Jews in any part of their ancestral homeland.

The UN agency (UNRWA) charged with caring for the original Palestinian refugees in the immediate aftermath of the war, and that has been sustained for decades by Western funding with billions of dollars, has instead become a major obstacle to peace and a vehicle for perpetuating the conflict. Since UNRWA is part of the problem, and not part of the solution, we call on the international community to dismantle and replace the agency.

UNRWA's operations should be merged into those of the Palestinian Authority. From a practical perspective, nothing would change but the sign on the door. UNRWA schools would become PA schools, but the pupils, teachers, and curricula would remain the same. The same goes for hospitals. The writers are the co-authors of The War of Return: How Western Indulgence of the Palestinian Dream Has Obstructed the Path to Peace.

  • Thursday, May 28, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon

A Scottish MP caused controversy this week when he attempted to add language to a resolution commemorating the “nakba” saying that it was a Palestinian “self-inflicted tragedy.”

The resolution falsely said that the Palestinian exodus in 1948 was a “mass eviction of over 750,000 people from historic Palestine land, which included the destruction of over 500 towns and villages [which] led to generations of pain for the Palestinian people, who continue to live under a state of occupation”.

There was no mass eviction of 750,000 Palestinians. Most of them fled without seeing  a single Jewish soldier.

But the phrasing of a resolution that was clearly false was not the cause of controversy. Richard Lyle, a SNP member of Parliament, was condemned for suggesting an addition to the text saying the exodus was “a self-inflicted tragedy, which must, after all these years, be finally resolved by peaceful means and discussions between the parties involved”.

Lyle was condemned by pro-Palestinian groups. But no one condemned the people who sponsored the bill which was completely against historical fact. Benny Morris summarized the reasons for the flight as follows: "Most of Palestine's 700,000 ‘refugees’ fled their homes because of the flail of war (and in the expectation that they would shortly return to their homes on the backs of victorious Arab invaders). But it is also true that there were several dozen sites, including Lydda and Ramla, from which Arab communities were expelled by Jewish troops."

The news media coverage of the controversy was even worse.

Morning Star Online compounded the lie by saying, as fact, “Two thirds of the Palestinian population were exiled after being violently removed from their homes during the first war of the Israel-Palestine conflict, with 450 towns and villages destroyed.” This is completely false.

But the Herald Scotland went way past lies into slander when it wrote,

Nakba, which means catastrophe, is a name used to refer to the displacement of 750,000 Palestinians during Israel’s 1948 War of Independence.

Historians report this was largely driven by Israeli aggression, including rape and torture, and to a much lesser degree by local Palestinian authorities urging people to flee.



Rape and torture? Not one respected historian reports anything like this. To report this absolute slander as fact is journalistic malpractice.

This should be corrected immediately.

  • Thursday, May 28, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon


Tawfik Abu Shomer is a Gaza-based author and journalist who analyzes Israeli society. he has worked for the Palestinian Ministry of Information.

His most recent article describes the antisemitism that has accompanied the coronavirus, and other recent antisemitic incidents, as reported in Israeli media. He does not deny that there is serious Jew-hatred in the world today.

In the end, he urges the world to abandon antisemitism. But not because it is immoral. No, his reasons that people shouldn’t attack Jews are perfectly Palestinian:

Lastly, we, Palestinians must tell the peoples of the world: "Don't attack the Jews, don't destroy their property, respect them, don't let them be brainwashed (to think Israel will protect them) so that they emigrate (to Israel), differentiate between them (the Jews in the Diaspora) and the occupying Zionists, make them feel respected and trusted, so that they don't leave their countries of origin to become soldiers of the occupation who oppress us and settlers occupying our lands, for that is violating (our) most basic human rights.” Isn't this principle a priority for Palestinian and Arabic activity in the fields of media and diplomacy?

Antisemitism is bad because it leads to Zionism!  Oppressed Jews might move to Israel, and that is the crime that must be fought against – not antisemitism itself but the possibility that it leads to aliyah.

Which means that the main victims of antisemitism are….Palestinians!

The funny thing is, much of the world is more likely to listen to this convoluted Palestinian logic than to the basic idea that hating Jews is bad in and of itself.


(h/t Ibn Boutros)

  • Thursday, May 28, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon


Aaron David Miller was involved in the Oslo peace process and often seems wedded to the assumptions of Oslo that have been proven wrong time and time again. As recently as last year he was denigrating the Trump plan without admitting that every single Oslo-style two state plan has been even more doomed and resulted in the exact opposite of peace because of their entirely wrong assumptions.

Occasionally, he says things that make it appear he is starting to get it.  But then he feels he must go back to showing that he really doesn’t.

In Politico, he gets closer to the truth:

Contrary to the warnings from diplomats, analysts and peaceniks who predicted Israel would become a pariah if it didn’t settle up with the Palestinians, Israel seems to be making more progress toward normalization with Arab regimes without a credible peace process than with one.

Clearly the Gulf states aren’t on the verge of full normalization with Israel; nor is the Arab world willing to untether itself from the emotional pull of Palestinian issue or its hostile and all too often anti-Semitic views of Israel. But even the most skeptical observers would have to admit something has changed.

So what explains this shift?

Three significant factors. The rise of Iran and Sunni jihadists spewing terror across the region has created a narrow but important coincidence of interests between Israel and the Arab world. Increasing exhaustion and frustration with the never-ending Palestinian cause has opened up more space for Arab states to follow their own interests. But behind it all, lay a White House enamored of Arab money for arms sales and investment in the U.S. and eager to marshal the Arabs in the service of its anti-Iranian and pro-Israeli agenda. Indeed, in an effort to court the Gulf Arabs, Trump and his Middle East envoy son-in-law Jared Kushner have given the Saudis carte blanche to pursue disastrous policies while holding their coats. And Arab nations, sensing opportunities with an autocrat-friendly U.S. president, have been only too happy to follow.

It is refreshing to see someone who has been involved in Oslo admit that Netanyahu, doing everything people like Miller have warned would be disastrous, has actually brought Israel closer to peace than all the world’s diplomats combined.

All three reasons for this that Miller brings are valid, although I don’t agree that the third is the major reason. Israel was cultivating these relationships before anyone dreamed Trump would become president.

There is a fourth reason, though, that is hugely important and unreported: Israel’s strength.

As noted in Lee Smith’s 2010 book with that name, Arabs respect “The Strong Horse.”  In the years since that was written, Israel’s strength in the Middle East has become overwhelming – not only militarily but also economically, technologically, politically and even in entertainment and on social media.

Arab antisemitism is still endemic but there are millions of Arabs who admire Israel.  They admire its military strength above all, as this ties into a deep Arab respect for warriors. But Arab leaders aren’t stupid – they know that Israeli scientific expertise can help them survive past the oil era. They see that Israeli TV shows are on Netflix, and they know their people are watching them. They look at Israeli newspapers and follow Israeli government accounts online. (Even when they insult Israel’s government on the “Israel in Arabic” social media sites, they admire the fact that their insults don’t get removed.) 

Israel’s seeming disregard for international law (from their perspective)  and willingness to “annex” parts of Judea and Samaria is not a reason for hating Israel – it is a reason to further admire Israel, because only a strong nation can stand up to the international community.

They certainly are eager to ally with the US, but that is not the main reason they are interested in Israel now. That interest won’t go away if Trump loses in November.

Vic Rosenthal's weekly column

In August of last year, Dvir Sorek, an 18-year old yeshiva student walking near Migdal Oz in the Gush Etzion region was set upon by two terrorists acting on behalf of Hamas. He was brutally stabbed to death (do I need to add “brutally” to “stabbed to death?”)
The murderers, and three others who helped plan and prepare the attack, were quickly located and arrested. Four of them immediately confessed. After they were indicted, the IDF informed the families of the four that their homes would be demolished. The families petitioned the Supreme Court to prevent the demolition, but the petitions were denied, and in November, the homes were demolished.
Home demolitions are controversial. But most observers believe that the policy is effective in restraining potential terrorists, even suicide terrorists. And some 90% of Jewish Israelis support the policy.
There were five terrorists involved in Sorek’s murder. Unlike the others, Mahmoud Atawna did not confess immediately, so the IDF did not order his home demolished at the same time as the others. Finally an order was issued to do so in January, 2020. This one, too, was appealed to the Supreme Court, with the assistance of “Hamoked: Center for the Defense of the Individual,” one of many left-wing Israeli NGOs funded by the hostile-to-Israel European Union, various European governments, and the US-based New Israel Fund. But this time, a three-judge panel ruled 2-1 in favor of the petitioners, and ordered that the IDF could not demolish the home.
The Court, which had never overthrown an IDF order to demolish the home of a convicted terrorist before, gave two reasons for it: Atawna’s wife and children lived in the house, and were not involved in the murder and didn’t support him (how they established the latter, I do not know – maybe they asked her). And second, too much time had passed after the murder for it to be a deterrent to terrorism:

Justices Anat Baron and Uzi Vogelman granted the petition against the planned demolition in Beit Kahil, near Hebron, leaving Justice David Mintz in the minority. …

Baron wrote that the army didn’t issue the demolition order until five months after the attack, after the homes of other members of the terror cell had been destroyed. “The longer the gap between the attack and the demolition of the home of the attacker, the less the deterrent effect inherent in the home demolition,” she wrote. “Lacking a deterrent effect, the inevitable impression is that the home demolition is being sought as a solely punitive measure.”

The decision also noted that Atawna’s family was not accused of involvement or having knowledge of his intent to harm a soldier and did not express support for the attack after the fact.

Baron also explained why she thought the deterrent effect was reduced by the delay:
The passage of time results in disconnecting the ‘consciousness connection’ between the murder and the sanction against it, so that already at the time the demolition order was issued its deterrent power was in doubt …

The decision noted that due to the delay in issuing the order “the petitioners were left in a cloud of uncertainty about the fate of their home.” It’s hard to resist commenting that the Sorek family also will find themselves in a cloud, only it will not be five months, it will be for the rest of their lives, whenever they remember the son that was so cruelly and pointlessly taken from them.
What is interesting is that the dissenting judge, David Mintz, noted that the reason for the delay in issuing the demolition order was that since there was no confession, the IDF waited for Atawna to be convicted before issuing it! In other words, they wanted to be as fair as possible.
Until now the Supreme Court has usually avoided interfering with the IDF. But with this decision, the justices, who apparently believe that they are experts in the psychology of terrorists (“disconnecting the consciousness connection” – it sounds better in Hebrew but makes no more sense), and who base legal decisions on what feels right to them, have decided to second-guess the IDF as well.
Incidentally, I’m not an expert in psychology of terrorists either, but it seems to me that the certainty that it will occur is more important to the deterrent power of a home demolition than how long it takes to execute. And with this order, the Court has just demolished that certainty – and eviscerated yet another sanction against terrorism.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

From Ian:

Anti-Semitism examined as a social virus in new PBS documentary
Meanwhile, on our shores, Goldberg, who lost extended family members in the Holocaust, takes note of how anti-Semitism in the US has been getting worse over the past dozen years. By the time 11 Jews were gunned down in October 2018 in a synagogue in Pittsburgh — “the most anti-Semitic act I’d seen in this country in my two decades as a journalist,” he said — this film project was already underway. In his view, anti-Jewish sentiment in the non-Jewish world is always “only a couple of centimeters below the surface” at any given time, though social forces may push it down.

In ‘Viral: Antisemitism in Four Mutations,’ Rabbi Elisar Admon shows the hole where a bullet pierced his prayer book during the Tree of Life synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh. “It went right through the word for God,” he said. (PBS via JTA)

“The biggest mute button on anti-Semitism was the Holocaust itself,” he said, adding that it led to “better behavior” toward Jews in most of the Western world for more than 50 years. “And the precursor [to those prejudices surfacing] is societies becoming more polarized.” Another factor, he said, is that fewer Holocaust survivors are around to give firsthand testimony about how unchecked anti-Semitism branches off into utter horror.

In the France portion of “Viral,” Goldberg interviews a brother of the shooter in the 2015 assault on the Hyper Cacher kosher grocery in Paris. Asked to describe the motivations of his jihadist brother, Abdel Ghani Merah describes the North African immigrant milieu of their parents, who brought to France a post-colonial belief that Western nations, Israel and global Jewry were allied against the Arab world.

“Hatred of Jews was legitimate in my parents’ eyes,” he says, while distancing himself from that view (in fact, he has committed his life to countering anti-Semitism). “If they failed at something or were rejected, right away it was somehow a Jew’s fault. They owned the world.”

A final word is given to the widow of Philippe Braham, one of four French Jews killed in the attack on Hyper Cacher, a kosher supermarket in Paris.

“We don’t walk in the streets easily like we used to,” she says. “I won’t let my sons wear the kippah. I won’t say their names out loud.”

Valerie Braham then adds: “For me it’s just pointless hatred of the Jews. There are no real reasons.”

For those who see it, will this film provide some kind of vaccine, so to speak, against anti-Semitism?

That is the perennial hope — the panacea we are all waiting for.
Discrimination Can Be Rewarding
This year, the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), gave Abdulhadi its Georgina M. Smith Award. The award is for a “person or persons who provided exceptional leadership in a given year in improving the status of academic women or in academic collective bargaining and through that work improved the profession in general.” The AAUP’s statement makes it clear that Abdulhadi received the award not despite but because of her approach to advancing “social change in Palestine” and elsewhere.

Perversely, she who would exclude Zionists from campus and who, as far as I can tell, has never encountered a specific charge of anti-Semitism on the left that she has not dismissed as an invention of the “Israel lobby,” is now honored by the AAUP as a builder of coalitions and a champion of human rights. She for whom the boycott of Israel is the very center of her “pro-Palestinian” activism is honored for that very activism by an organization that explicitly opposes academic boycotts.

The AAUP has been at many times in its history a vital voice in the defense of academic freedom and a thoughtful contributor to discussions of the professional standards academics can be expected to honor. As colleges and universities, facing greater and lesser financial problems as a result of the pandemic, move to eliminate faculty positions, the AAUP will be an important resource for faculty members looking to safeguard their rights. The AAUP has also struggled with, from early on, a tendency to let its commitment to academic freedom, the free exchange of ideas, and the distinctive vocation of the scholar be overshadowed by the attachment of members to the progressive cause of the day. This tendency reaches its zenith in the AAUP’s praise of Abdulhadi, who “transcends the division between scholarship and activism that encumbers traditional university life.”

In fact, as the AAUP’s own 1915 Declaration of Principles avers, the defense of academic freedom greatly depends on the perception and reality of the university as a “nonpartisan institution of learning” and on the willingness of professors themselves to police the boundaries between the spirit of scholarship and the spirit of “uncritical and intemperate partisanship.”

In offering an award to professor Abdulhadi, the AAUP has damaged its credibility at a moment when it can use every shred. Somehow, in the course of spitting in the face of those who, with good reason, consider Abdulhabi deserving of censure, not awards, the AAUP has spit in its own face.
David Collier: L’Chaim – Israel – To Haim – a story of so many lives lost
Listing Jews named Haim who were innocent victims of terrorism and the conflict. Not soldiers, but family men and children going about their day. How many can there be? Like all my research, the tragic truth is always heartbreakingly worse than the imagination.

To Haim. To all of them.

On October 13 2015 Haim Haviv was sitting on a bus in Jerusalem. He was out shopping with his wife Shoshana. He was 78 years old. Chaim had arrived in Israel from Iraq with his parents and ten siblings at the age of 11. Two Palestinian terrorists got onto the bus and started shooting and stabbing passengers. Haim was murdered by the terrorists. The attack took four lives. Haim’s wife was left seriously injured.

Chaim Yechiel Rothman was an orthodox Jew. On the morning of November 17 2014 he was praying in the Kehilat Yaakov Synagogue in Jerusalem. Two Palestinian terrorists entered the synagogue, shouted ‘allahu akbar’ and began slaughtering the Jewish congregation. One of the terrorists was shooting at point blank range, the other was hacking at people with a meat cleaver. Rabbi Chaim Rothman battled hard but never recovered. He died whilst still in a coma from his injuries in late October 2015 – almost a whole year after the attack. The attack also claimed five other victims.

On Aug 31, 2010 thirty-seven year old Kochava Even Chaim from Beit Hagai caught a lift home with her friends Yitzhak and Talya Ames. Their vehicle was attacked by Palestinian terrorists in a drive by shooting. All four passengers of the vehicle were hit by numerous shots from close range and pronounced dead at the scene. Kochava’s husband was in the initial response medical team that arrived to help the victims, only to discover his wife was amongst them.

On January 9 2007, Emi Haim Elmaliah went to work in his bakery in Eilat, the city he was born and raised in. He had opened the bakery just six months before. A Palestinian terrorist chose the bakery as a soft target for a suicide attack. The Islamic Jihad and the Fatah al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades claimed responsibility for the attack. At the time these factions were fighting each other, and they reasoned that by joining together to kill Jews, they would help heal their own wounds. Emi was one of three civilians who died at the scene.

December 5 2005 Haim Amram, 26, went to the shopping mall in Netanya where he worked as a security guard. Haim would never return home again. A Palestinian suicide bomber attempted to enter the mall to inflict maximum carnage but alert security guards became suspicious and approached the terrorist. Haim paid with his life for his bravery. Five people died in that attack – but for Haim’s actions, it could have been many more.

On February 2 2004, Yehuda Haim, 48, got onto a 14A bus in Jerusalem. Haim was a disabled veteran. Nobody noticed the Palestinian terrorist who got on the bus. The suicide attack took place at about 8:30 a.m. as the crowded, rush-hour bus was making its way downtown. The terrorist murdered eight people, including Haim. Haim is survived by his wife and three children.

The Holocaust was an outsized event: comparable to no other, unparalleled in history. Perhaps that is why, more than any other catastrophe, the Holocaust gets exploited. The Holocaust is used to compare and draw parallels to whatever particular issue bugging people at any moment in time. And in one sense, exploiting the Holocaust in this manner proves the magnitude of this event: the Holocaust is the worst thing people can think of, so it is where they will always turn for inspiration and debate points.
Using the Holocaust for comparison’s sake, on the other hand, cannot help but weaken the power of this singular event in our minds. If something is as bad as the Holocaust, then the Holocaust is not the worst thing that ever was. It was just as bad as something else: whatever gets your goat at a given point in time.
A current example of how this works relates to the politicization of lockdown measures in the face of the global pandemic. Some of us see coronavirus measures as the government doing the best it can in an unprecedented situation. If lockdown measures and regulations seem contradictory at times, or even silly, we trust that the intent of these measures is to halt the spread of contagion and keep people safe.
Other people may, however, find lockdown measures arbitrary, unnecessary, counterproductive, dangerous, or a form of government oppression. They may even see some nefarious intent on the part of the government or be suffering from “Trump Derangement Syndrome,” in which they feel compelled to trash-talk every action taken by the president, good or bad. If you find yourself anywhere in this paragraph, you no doubt feel compelled to make your case, loudly and at length, to everyone in hearing/viewing distance.
And what better way to show the evil intent and oppressive nature of lockdown measures than to compare them to the Holocaust? And so it was that I butted heads with a libertarian on a Facebook group called “Corona Virus Insanity Memes.” I was there not to interact with the members of this group but to find memes to cheer up my friends during lockdown. I do this most days, sifting through lots of duds to find the best.
Sometimes the memes offend me, or fail to draw a chuckle, but rather than say anything, I simply skip past to the next one. Different strokes for different folks. No point arguing these things.
But the other day I bumped into a meme that stopped me cold. The meme, depicting Anne Frank, gazing into the distance, was captioned, “The law is not a moral compass. The people who hid Anne Frank were breaking the law. The people who killed her were following it.”
The thrust of this meme is that laws should not be equated with morality. Sometimes we have to break laws in order to do the right thing, and sometimes obeying the law is evil. In other words: just because something is lawful, doesn’t make it right.
Like I said, normally I skip past something that offends me. I don’t want to debate random people on the internet. To what purpose? But this meme pushed my buttons. I was incredulous. Is this guy really saying that being asked to wear a mask and stay indoors to avoid contagion is the same thing as being forced to hide in an attic to escape being murdered because one is a Jew?
So I told the guy: the comparison is appalling and offensive. The two situations are not at all analogous and the Holocaust should be off-limits as either a comparison point or comedy material. That such exploitation trivializes the Holocaust.
But Kiril was never going to hear me. He was hell bent on making me see that I was missing his point and on illustrating his supposed oppression. I knew it, and yet persisted in trying to get him see what he could not see. The enormity of the Holocaust. The numbers. The intent of lockdown measures versus Hitler’s Final Solution. The fact that law didn’t enter into what happened to Anne Frank. That Germany invaded Holland, where Anne Frank’s family went into hiding. That no one elected Hitler to rule over the Dutch or move the Franks to Bergen-Belsen, where Anne died of typhus at age 15.
I talked about the magnitude of the Holocaust, the over 6 million people gassed to death and burnt in crematoria and the difference between being hunted and targeted for being Jewish and being asked to stay home to contain contagion. None of this left any sort of impression on Kiril, who only doubled down, suggesting it was a good thing to use the Holocaust to shock the people and give them a rude awakening about government overreach, to learn from history whatever we can.
But this is a distortion of history. The two situations are not analogous. And to compare them weakens the impact of what the Holocaust was, and how it impacts on our lives still today and for generations to come.
It is true that in a democratic society, people vote for their leaders but don’t always like the results. But there are second chances. They can rectify the situation by voting differently in future or by resorting to the courts. Anne Frank, on the other hand, is dead, and stays dead. There are no more choices for Anne Frank or the other almost 7 million Jews murdered on behalf of Hitler’s Final Solution.
If we can compare anything to the Holocaust—anything at all—then what, exactly, is special about the Holocaust? How is it different from any other terrible situation, imagined or real?
To my mind, the main reason not to compare anything to the Holocaust is to preserve in our minds the uniqueness of this catastrophic event in all of history. The Holocaust, this concentrated effort at eliminating the Jewish people once and for all, stands at the very pinnacle of evil which, until now, and God willing forever, simply has no equal. 

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.
  • Wednesday, May 27, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon



Israel issued so-called “VIP” cards to PLO leaders and prominent businesspeople allowing them to go through checkpoints easily without inspection. Ordinary Palestinians have long been resentful that the “VIPs” could drive through checkpoints and go to Israel easily while everyone else has to wait in lines.

The VIP system was created during the Oslo process at the request of Palestinian leaders.

Now, Hamas  - which never benefitted from this VIP system – is asking, in light of the PLO announcement of ending all cooperation with Israel, whether the PLO will dismantle the system. After all, the cards must be presented to Israeli security, so they are an example of security cooperation with Israel.

Hamas is trying to embarrass its PLO rivals, of course. But that doesn’t mean this isn’t a good question. If the PLO maintains the VIP system, it means that they re being very selective in which cooperation they are willing to stop with Israel – and the Palestinian leaders  aren’t likely to give up one of their  biggest perks.

From Ian:

Ahead of ruling on war crimes probe, ICC asks PA if Oslo Accords still in force
Abbas claimed Netanyahu’s remarks the day before about the planned extension of Israeli sovereignty over settlements and the Jordan Valley meant Israel had “annulled” the Oslo Accords, which established the PA and kicked off the decades-long peace process, “and all agreements signed with it.”

On April 30, ICC prosecutor Bensouda reiterated her position that Palestine is a state for the purposes of transferring criminal jurisdiction over its territory to The Hague.

It is now up to a pretrial chamber to rule on the matter. The three judges of that chamber — Péter Kovács of Hungary, Marc Perrin de Brichambaut of France and Reine Adélaïde Sophie Alapini-Gansou of Benin — have no set deadline to hand down their decision but are expected to do so within 90 days.

On Tuesday, the pretrial chamber surprisingly issued a document saying that Abbas’s comments about no longer being bound by agreements with Israel came to its attention, and it “requests Palestine to provide additional information on this statement, including on the question whether it pertains to any of the Oslo agreements between Palestine and Israel.”

The chamber also “invite[d] Israel to respond to any additional information” Ramallah may provide by June 24.

But Jerusalem, which has long argued that Palestine is not a sovereign state and therefore cannot transfer criminal jurisdiction over its territory to the Hague, is unlikely to accept the judges’ offer, lest any formal engagement with the court be seen as legitimizing it.

Netanyahu has repeatedly denounced the ICC and declared thwarting a possible war crimes probe one of the new government’s top priorities.

The Oslo Accords were signed in Washington in 1993. A follow-up agreement two years later, sometimes called Oslo II, set out the scope of Palestinian autonomy in the West Bank and Gaza. The interim pact was only supposed to last five years while a permanent agreement was finalized but it has tacitly been rolled over for more than two decades.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

Daphne Anson: The Legal Status of the Territories Beyond the Green Line (video)
Avi Bell is an Israeli Professor of Law at the University of San Diego School of Law and at Bar-Ilan University's Faculty of Law, as well as a Senior Fellow at the Kohelet Policy Forum.

From that estimable organisation UK Lawyers for Israel comes this video, not quite one hour long, of the professor in conversation with Oxford-educated London barrister Natasha Hausdorf, who has a LLM from Tel Aviv University in the areas of international law and the law of armed conflict.

Using illustrative matter to explain his points, Professor Bell enlightens us on the topic "Israel, Territory and International Law".

UAE virus aid rejected by Palestinians still at Israel’s airport; UN rethinking
Fourteen tons of medical supplies earmarked for the Palestinians to help cope with the coronavirus pandemic were still sitting at Ben Gurion Airport on Tuesday evening, a week after they arrived from the UAE, as UN officials worked to find a way to distribute the aid after the Palestinian Authority announced it would not accept it.

The aid arrived on what was the first-ever direct flight from the United Arab Emirates to Israel last Tuesday. The landing was celebrated by the Foreign Ministry, which notified reporters in advance about the historic route by which the supplies would be arriving.

However, the PA has insisted the UAE did not coordinate the matter and that it therefore could not accept the aid, which was seen as a step normalizing ties between Israel and the Gulf states.

The supplies — which include ten ventilators, PPE (personal protective equipment), lithium batteries for charging relevant hospital equipment and cleaning materials — were clearing customs at Ben Gurion and are slated to be transferred to a holding facility in Ashdod, a UN official told The Times of Israel on Tuesday evening.

The official did not tie the week-long stall to the PA’s announced rejection of the supplies. He said the UAE cargo flight was not the only one to have arrived at Ben Gurion, and that clearing customs and security checks takes time.

  • Wednesday, May 27, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon

From YNet/AP:

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Tuesday approved the order banning the use of any Israeli products in the country.

The ban includes technology, such as computer hardware and software, and was passed unanimously by Iranian lawmakers last week, Fars News Agency reported.

The legislation's aim is to apparently "confront the hostile acts of the Zionist regime against peace and security."

According to the new law, any cooperation with Israel, including use of its products, will be considered an “act against god.”

Rouhani is a fan of the Microsoft Surface hybrid laptop/tablet, and it appears to be standard equipment in Iran’s parliament or cabinet.






Both the Surface and the underlying Windows software is partially designed (and possibly built) in Israel:



Say goodbye to your tablet, Mr. Rouhani!

  • Wednesday, May 27, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon


In Ammon News, a writer names Amin Mahmoud describes an episode in the late 18th century where a “Jew” named Paul Friedmann tried to build a Jewish colony in Midian, in what is now Saudi Arabia.

The author elaborates on Friedmann’s life and emphasizes that he wanted to have the Jews involved in building a railway from Egypt to India, which is judged as proof of Jewish colonialist designs for the entire region. Mahmoud goes on to say that the initiative received widespread support and only through the determination of the Ottoman empire was this scheme foiled.

He concludes, “This Jewish settlement attempt at Midian and its counterparts from other settlement attempts in the Arab regions did not take place in ancient times, but took place in the recent past. Everyone in this country is threatened unless all of us shake off the burden of weakness and indifference and face the challenge with determination and strength. It has become imperative that the people of this nation understand the plots against it, and they defend its existence and survival, and do not depend on complacency and surrender, or it will suffer more rupture and loss and become a gossip in the mouths of the greedy and haters. The Zionist threat will not only threaten the Arabism of Palestine alone, but its danger and threat extend to the entire Arab world from its surroundings to the Gulf !!!”

What really happened?

MIDIAN PROJECT, THE, was an abortive, ill-judged attempt at Jewish colonisation in the Midian region east of the Red Sea near the Gulf was led from Southampton 18v by Paul Friedmann,  German Protestant author and philanthropist of Jewish descent, who following consultation with Sir Evelyn Baring (later Lord Cromer), Britain's representative in Egypt, purchased land in the Midian region on which to establish a Jewish colony leading possibly to a Jewish state. More than 3o continental Jews, mainly refugees from Russia, and an accompanying party including Friedmann, sailed for Suez on board a steam yacht named Israel that he had purchased in Glasgow. They set up camp in the Sinai and prepared to cross into Midian. But owing to the intending settlers' dislike (especially after an expelled member had died in the desert) of the martinet-like Prussian officer who Friedmann put in charge of the group, as well as to the hostility of nearby Turkish troops and the Egyptian government's consequent insistence that the project be abandoned, the settlement lasted only two months. In new of Baring's involvement, the Egyptian press angrily denounced the project as a British attempt to occupy Midian, and a war of words erupted between Britain and Turkey. Friedmann was left demoralised and financially ruined.

So a Jewish convert got a ragtag band of people to commit themselves to a bizarre scheme of creating a community in the desert, and it lasted two months. Not exactly evidence of Jewish designs on the entire region!

But why let facts get in the way of a good narrative?

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