Thursday, May 20, 2021

From Ian:

John Podhoretz: Israel has acted like a moral beacon in the latest Gaza war against terror
The Iron Dome doesn’t just save Israeli lives and property. It has likely saved the lives of tens of thousands of Gazan Palestinians just in the past two weeks.

How? Imagine that the system didn’t exist, that Hamas had collected 30,000 rockets, and then began firing them. Israelis would perish by the hundreds or more. The response would, of necessity, be devastating. Israel would be compelled to enter Gaza with overwhelming force and go street by street, tunnel by tunnel, to locate the rocket caches and blow them up.

It is awful that 60,000 Palestinians have had to flee their homes or been rendered homeless. But every single one of them owes their current parlous condition to Hamas’ strategy of interlacing its weaponry in and around Gaza’s citizenry.

That has other consequences, as well. As Jonathan Sacerdoti recently noted in The Spectator, more than 400 Hamas rockets fired from Gaza have landed … in Gaza. Hamas simply rolls the casualties from those inadvertent acts of self-destruction into the overall toll it blames on the Jewish state.

The central emotional claim against Israel is that disproportionate death toll. But consider what we are being asked to believe here. According to Hamas’ own numbers, something akin to 20 Palestinians a day have been killed. Every civilian death is a tragedy. But the relatively small figures — compare the Gaza figures to the mass horrors of the Syrian civil war — are a testament not to Israel’s barbarism, but to its determination to avoid civilian casualties.

Israel gets precious little credit. It does it anyway. History will record Israel as a moral beacon in this regard. While there has been damage and deaths an Israel, the Iron Dome defense has prevented even more.

As for those who are lining up with a terrorist group and serving its propagandistic interests? If they’re lucky, history will forget them, and their ignominy will not haunt their descendants.
Tablet Unorthodox PodCast: Ep. 275: A conversation with Israeli journalist Matti Friedman, and an audio diary from the bomb shelters in Tel Aviv
This week on Unorthodox, we’re doing our best to process—and help you process—what’s going on in Israel and Gaza.

First we talk with Israeli journalist Matti Friedman, whose recent article for Tablet, “Jerusalem of Glue,” highlights the gap between the outward narrative of conflict and the more cohesive day-to-day reality on the ground in the city. He’s been on the show before, talking about his book Spies of No Country: Secret Lives at the Birth of Israel.

Then we take you into the bomb shelters of Tel Aviv, where Carrie Keller-Lynn and Aliza Landes, hosts of the podcast Us Among the Israelis, have been documenting their experiences as an audio diary.
Brendan O’Neill: What’s the real reason so many people hate Israel?
There’s a question that hangs like a long, dark shadow over Western leftists’ and liberals’ furious opposition to Israel, and I have never heard a satisfactory answer to it. It’s this: why do you hate Israel more than any other nation?

Why does Israeli militarism offend and horrify you more than Turkish militarism, or Saudi militarism, or American and British militarism for that matter? Why is it ‘genocide’ and ‘war crimes’ and ‘bloodletting’ when Israel takes action against Palestinian militants, but not when Turkey takes action against Kurdish militants? Seriously — what is the answer?

Turkey’s incursion into Iraqi Kurdistan is called Operation Claw-Lightning. It started on 23 April. It is part of Turkey’s long-running war with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), the militant Kurdish organisation dedicated to creating an independent Kurdistan and based mainly in south-eastern Turkey and northern Iraq.

Operation Claw-Lightning is a follow-up to Operation Claw, a Turkish onslaught in Iraqi Kurdistan that lasted from May 2019 to June 2020. Hundreds of people were killed or wounded in that operation. These operations, of course, are only the latest flare-ups in Turkey’s 40-year war with Kurdish militants, which has led to the deaths of around 20,000 Kurdish civilians and the destruction of between 2,500 and 4,000 Kurdish villages.

So where are the Kurdish flags on caring people’s social-media feeds? Why doesn’t Sky News have pained-looking reporters in Iraqi Kurdistan talking to families who have been displaced by the Turkish bombardment? Why haven’t tens of thousands of Brits taken to the streets to register their fury with Turkey, as they have done with Israel following its latest conflict with Hamas in Gaza?
Abraham Accords Hold Firm Despite Gaza Conflict
The current fighting with Hamas has provided the first test for the Abraham Accords.

Last Friday, UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed sent his condolences to all the victims and stressed the importance of the Abraham Accords in creating a better future for coming generations.

The most widespread sentiment on social media is criticism of Hamas, an organization which has few fans in the Gulf, mainly because it has brought large-scale destruction to Gaza.

Tel Aviv University Institute for National Security Studies social media analyst Irit Perlov said that the Islamic political leaders of the Gulf see Hamas as almost representing a threat and hence the neutral declarations and lack of condemnation of Israel.

The UAE had wanted to invest in infrastructure projects in Gaza but that readiness has disappeared.


Gerald M. Steinberg: Gaza's International Protectors Have Eyes, But Do Not See
For many years, Gaza has been a major location for an army of international aid providers. Their reports consistently portray an impoverished Palestinian enclave on the brink of disaster, usually blamed on Israeli policies. The suffering of innocent children is a frequent theme used to raise donations, which exceed $1 billion annually.

Yet no one talked about the massive arsenal of rockets deployed by Hamas and its allies, and the costs involved. Instead of using very limited resources for economic development and to create real jobs, Hamas diverted hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to build a vast war machine. Aid materials disappeared into the rocket assembly lines, and the concrete provided for housing was used to build cross-border attack tunnels.

Now, with millions of Israeli citizens targeted and terrorized by Palestinian missiles, many are demanding an end to the years of impunity for Hamas and the international organizations involved in or complicit with this ongoing assault.
Jonathan Tobin: The bipartisan consensus on Israel broke, and the GOP can’t be blamed
For the past two decades, Jewish Democrats have lamented what they considered an assault on the bipartisan consensus on Israel. According to them, the people trying to destroy it were Republicans. They saw the GOP’s efforts to point out the contrast between the increasing lockstep support for the Jewish state on their side of the aisle with growing divisions among Democrats as inappropriate. Highlighting dissent about Israel among Democrats was labeled as an attempt to use the problem as a “wedge” issue to get more Jews to vote for Republicans.

If that was the GOP’s goal, they failed. The overwhelming majority of Jews remain loyal supporters of the Democratic Party. That has remained true regardless of where Democrats stood on Israel because the liberal majority prioritizes social-justice issues over those connected to the Jewish state.

But in the last two weeks, as Hamas has launched thousands of missiles at Israel and the Jewish state has decidedly responded, it’s become clear that we are witnessing the end of what is left of that bipartisan consensus. And far from it being engineered by Republicans, the crackup is almost entirely the result of a conflict being waged inside the Democratic Party.

Since the election three years ago of the members of “The Squad” to Congress, including open anti-Semites such as Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), centrist Democrats have insisted that they didn’t represent their party’s views.

It’s true that most of the Democratic leadership continues to pay lip service to support for Israel. That includes President Joe Biden, who seems to be trying to keep his word about criticism of the Jewish state being uttered in private, rather than in public, as former President Barack Obama did. Indeed, pro-Israel Democrats could point to the administration’s decision to block U.N. Security Council resolutions that treated Hamas terrorist attacks as morally equivalent to Israeli self-defense. It’s also true that nine Democrats spoke up in defense of Israel last week on the floor of the House of Representatives.

But the problem goes beyond the fact that those nine were answered by fiery denunciations of Israel and repetitions of Palestinian calumnies about the Jewish state by 11 leftist House Democrats or the equally bitter criticisms of the Jewish state by Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) There was also the fact that 28 Senate Democrats, a majority of their caucus, endorsed a demand for an immediate ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, even as the latter continued to rain down rockets and missiles on the Jewish state’s people, while Republicans issued statements placing the blame for the fighting squarely where it belongs—on Hamas.

Perhaps even more telling was the reaction of Democrats who claim to be among Israel’s greatest defenders.
Bari Weiss: Can You Be a Progressive and Support Israel?
Ritchie Torres is a freshman congressman representing New York’s 15th district. He grew up in a public housing project in the Bronx, brought up by a single mother who raised him, his sister, and his twin brother on minimum wage. Upon his swearing-in, Ritchie became the first openly gay Afro-Latin American member of Congress. He is a staunch progressive, and has been vocal about improving public housing, advocating for LGBT businesses, and addressing child poverty.

He is also an outspoken supporter of Israel, a position that 10 years ago wouldn’t have been notable, but in today’s progressive wing of the Democratic Party has made him a curiosity — sort of like a Trumper who doesn’t want a recount.

Rep. Torres’s position on Israel has made him a target on social media, where he has been smeared as a supporter of ethnic cleansing and genocide. It has also opened him up to criticism from his colleagues.

To me, he looks a bit like a single man standing alone against a cultural tsunami. Does he feel that way? I called Rep. Torres yesterday to find out.

Our interview has been edited for length and clarity.

BW: Last week you said: “I am here to affirm, as a member of Congress — one who intends to be here for a long time — that I have an unwavering commitment to both the sovereignty and security of Israel as a Jewish state.” That kind of statement used to be par for the course for Democratic politicians. That no longer seems to me to be the case. What happened?

RT: It feels like we are living through a tectonic shift. We’re increasingly living in a world where support for Israel as a Jewish state, support for the American Israeli relationship, support even for a two state solution, is becoming heresy. And BDS is in danger of becoming orthodoxy, particularly within progressive circles.
Seth Frantzman: Why has China emerged as leading critic of Israel over Gaza? - analysis
There are two issues that now underpin the recent controversy. First is the fact that comments from China have appeared to target the US more than Israel. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said the US was ignoring the suffering of Muslims. This was more about China-US relations and US accusations against China’s treatment of Muslims, than about Israel.

Another factor is that Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has concentrated power in his office and gutted the Foreign Ministry. This means that much of what goes on in Israel is related personally to Netanyahu. Did Israel even brief important states like China before launching airstrikes in Gaza? Did Israel even try to make sure the discussions at the UN would mention Hamas? Or did Israel simply not bother to brief any states, waiting some 10 days into the campaign to have real briefings and host foreign diplomats.

While Israel made impressive achievements last year diplomatically, it has foundered this year. This is because diplomacy requires ambassadors and investment in diplomats and explanation, and foreign countries want to be briefed and learn about Israel’s war aims.

Israel was under rocket fire from 4,000 rockets, an unprecedented terrorist onslaught.

Countries like China have not criticized Turkey for its airstrikes in Iraq or Syria. That is because countries like Turkey also are better at selling their reasoning for the strikes. Yet Israel, which has sustained the rocket attacks, was not able to get many countries to condemn Hamas or demand the organization ceases fire. Instead, the ceasefire calls were all on Israel.

Only the US, Hungary and a few states have been there to help Israel stall statements at the UN and the EU. This means that Israel’s issues with China may be deeper and relate to Israel not doing enough work discussing these issues with China.

Israel must also be wary of being pushed US too far by the US into the China-US rivalry. That is not because Israel is not a US ally, but questions remain over whether Israel will suffer disproportionately if it is perceived as a tool in this conflict, rather than just another country that is close to the West, like Greece or the UAE, for instance.
Getting the Facts Right: Celebrities Fight Tide By Defending Israel
“Israel Deserves to Be Free”: Public Figures Combatting Anti-Israel Bias

With the aim of dousing the flames of online hatred that have real life consequences, entertainment leaders have come together to combat the distorted version of reality that is being spread by celebrities such as Ruffalo and Hadid.

‘Wonder Woman’ star Gal Gadot: Israel deserves to be free, safe:

Actress Mayim Bialik: “There are profound misunderstandings about the motivations and operations of Hamas.”

Comedian Elon Gold: “World should be lauding Israel for its restraint and precision strikes.”

Actress and author Noa Tishby: Anti-Israel activists have “more followers than the entire Jewish population of the world.”

Singer-songwriter David Draiman, an “outspoken defender of the Jewish state” and a signatory to the petition to stop spreading misinformation about the Gaza conflict, had this to say about the worldwide BDS movement to target, isolate and demean Israel:
Boycotting an entire society, an entire people, based on the actions of its government is absolutely ridiculous. I don’t see boycotts happening of Russia … I don’t see people boycotting China for what they’re doing to their Muslim population. It’s just Israel that gets this treatment, and I think we all know the reason behind that.”

As such, the battle for Israel is engaged – both inside the Jewish state and around the world.
We lived amid rockets raining down on Israel: this conflict is complicated
The flare-up of hostilities between Israel and Palestine has given rise to a response I struggled with during the last Gaza war of 2014 – that the asymmetry of capability equates to an asymmetry of suffering.

Thanks to Israel’s sophisticated military and its Iron Dome defence system that takes out short-range rockets, its casualties are significantly fewer than those in Gaza. For many this means any response by Israel to the barrage of rockets targeted at civilian populations is unwarranted. Rachel Lord with two of her daughters in Jerusalem during their time living in Israel, where her husband - now the Liberal MP Dave Sharma - was the Australian ambassador.

Rachel Lord with two of her daughters in Jerusalem during their time living in Israel, where her husband - now the Liberal MP Dave Sharma - was the Australian ambassador.

I spent four years living in Israel as the wife of the then Australian ambassador, and now MP for Wentworth, Dave Sharma. Dave had raised the idea of a posting to Israel early in our marriage but like many a good husband broke the news that he had been offered the ambassadorship on a late-night call from Africa. My response was as you would expect – there is no way I am moving to a place like that with young kids. But less than 12 months later, I found myself stepping off a flight with my three daughters, aged 6, 4 and five weeks.

Less than 12 months later we witnessed tensions across the country after the kidnap and murder of three Jewish teenagers in the West Bank spilt over into a full-blown conflict with Hamas.

The ambassador’s residence is based in Herzliya, a seaside suburb to the north of Tel Aviv. Its population is largely expatriate – a big chunk of the diplomatic community, colourful Russian expats (some with backgrounds that seemed a little shady) and increasingly French Jews escaping uncertainty. In Herzliya we had 90 seconds to get to our bomb shelter.

During the summer of 2014, our lives were barely lived. You couldn’t risk being outdoors for fear of being caught by an incoming rocket with no where to go. I made that mistake early on in the conflict, walking our geriatric golden retriever with my baby in a stroller. The screams of other mothers fleeing the park with their kids as the sirens sounded is something I will never forget.
Students expose fake social media reports on Israel-Gaza, to set record straight
Some 180 students from Israel and overseas studying at an academic institution in Herzliya, in central Israel, are working from morning to night to monitor and foil fake news and anti-Israel propaganda on social networks and to advance the country’s point of view amid the conflict with Hamas and other Gaza terror groups, the school said.

Doing shifts of several hours each within a situation room, volunteers from various schools within the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya are trying to root out falsehoods and present the facts.

They estimate that their messages have already been received by over two million internet surfers.

The volunteers — Israeli students and graduates, as well as international students at IDC’s Raphael Recanati International School — have identified numerous examples of fake news. They have also succeeded in blocking the Twitter account of a senior member of a Gaza terror group, who was using it to incite violence against Israel. The students are producing texts, stills and videos in some of the many languages they speak, including Arabic, as well as using their graphic design and video editing skills.

The student situation room began as a spontaneous action during the 2012 Israel-Gaza war, Operation Pillar of Defense, springing back into action in 2014 for Operation Protective Edge, which also pitted Israel against the Hamas terror group, which rules the Strip.

Several years ago, the initiative was incorporated into IDC’s Abba Eban Institute for International Diplomacy, which runs Act-IL, an online program that operates year round to counter international Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) campaigns and antisemitic and anti-Israel activities in general.
Israeli Teens Combatting Anti-Israeli Propaganda on Social Media

Erielle Davidson: No, John Oliver, Israel Isn’t An Apartheid State
No, Israel isn’t an apartheid state. This charge is not only ludicrous, but also insulting to the millions of South Africans who had to endure real apartheid. It also represents a complete inversion of reality.

The accusation is the latest manipulation of the far left in twisting terrorist violence against Israelis into something “justifiable.” As terrorists intentionally direct thousands of rockets towards civilian centers in Israel, the far-left has begun shoring up narratives that only demean Israeli victims of terror.

The term “apartheid” is employed by those who know that the latest outbreak of violence is a result of Hamas attacking the Jewish state with no basis for provocation. To shore up support in their rivalry with the Palestinian Authority, they must generate the provocation. They must label Israel an “apartheid state,” because doing so shields them from acknowledging their morally reprehensible position of justifying terrorism. Thus, they peddle the lie.

The latest accusation has come from famed TV host John Oliver, who recently accused Israel of committing “war crimes” and engaging in “apartheid.” His claims are mere echoes of others on the far left, from Human Rights Watch’s 213-page report labeling Israel an “apartheid state” to Rep. Rashida Tlaib alleging Israel is “promoting racism and dehumanization” via an “apartheid system.”

Recognizing why these accusations are so deeply wrong calls for a definition of what is actually apartheid. The apartheid of South Africa was a system of segregation and subservience, whose objective was to demean all non-white persons in every aspect of politics and society. It was a racialized, destructive scheme that pervaded everything from housing to health care to labor.

Not one aspect of the above description defines Israel’s relationship with its Arab population. Steven Kramer of The Times of Israel gave a succinct description of the life of Arabs in Israel. Israeli Arabs vote in Israeli elections and have full protection of Israeli laws. They attend universities in Israel, have political representation in the Knesset, and have the freedom to reside wherever they would like. They are exempted from certain obligations, including mandatory military service, although they are free to join if they would like.
Why Israel is the Victim The lies behind the terror.
Editors' note: Below is the text of David Horowitz's pamphlet, Why Israel is a Victim. It was published in 2002; its preface on Gaza was published in 2013. Since then President Trump brokered the Abrahamic Accords which established peaceful relations between four Arab states and Israel. The Accords were based on the withdrawal of U.S. support for the Palestinian terrorists who rule the West Bank and Gaza. Among its first acts, the Biden administration undid those accords, resuming funding for the genocidal terrorists of Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, which has led directly to the current war.

Why Israel is the Victim by David Horowitz
The Gaza Strip is a narrow corridor of land, 25 miles long and about twice the area of Washington, D.C. situated between the State of Israel and the Mediterranean Sea, and has a small southern border with Egypt. When the U.N. created the State of Israel out of the ruins of the Turkish Empire, in 1948, eight Arab countries launched an attack on the infant regime with the stated goal of destroying it. The attackers included Egypt whose tanks invaded Israel through the Gaza land bridge. In its defensive war against the invaders, Israel emerged triumphant but did not occupy Gaza.

In 1949, Egypt annexed the Strip. In 1967, the Egyptian dictator Gamel Abdel Nasser massed hundreds of thousands of troops on the Israeli border with Gaza and closed the Port of Eilat in an attempt to strangle the Israeli State. Israel struck back and in a “Six Day War” vanquished the Egyptian armies and drove them out of Gaza. After the war, Israel refused to withdraw its armies from Gaza and the West Bank because the Arab invaders, which included Iraq, Jordan and several other states refused to negotiate a formal peace treaty. In the years that followed, a few thousand Jews settled in Gaza.

By 2005 they numbered 8,500, a tiny community compared to the 1.4 million Palestinian Arabs. While they lived in Gaza, the lives of the Jewish settlers were in constant danger, particularly after the formation in Gaza of one the world’s leading terrorist organizations, Hamas, whose stated goal is the destruction of Israel and the establishment of an Islamic state “from the [Jordan] River to the Sea.”

After the rejection of the Oslo Peace process in 2001 by Yassar Arafat and the Palestinian Authority, the Palestinians launched four years of unrelenting terrorist attacks on Israeli civilians. The attacks were led by Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, an arm of the Palestinian Authority. As a result of the Palestinian rejection of the peace process and the unrelenting terrorism, the Israeli government decided that a secure peace could probably not be negotiated with its Palestinian antagonists. It therefore built a fence along its borders both on the West Bank and Gaza to prevent further infiltration by suicide bombers, a measure which dramatically reduced the attacks. The Israeli government further decided to remove all Jews living in the Gaza Strip and to withdraw the Israeli Defense Forces which protected them. By September 2005, the Israeli government evacuated every Jew who had been living in the Gaza Strip.
WILL YOU CONDEMN HAMAS: David Horowitz Goes Toe-to-Toe With Terrorism Apologist

Lee Smith: Let’s Talk About Reporting in War Zones
Why would Western journalists agree to be shepherded by a terror organization so driven by Jew-hatred that it hides behind innocent people and sees Palestinian deaths caused by its own rocket misfires as acceptable collateral damage? For the story, of course. Since Israel’s 2005 withdrawal from Gaza and the kidnapping of IDF Corporal Gilad Shalit in 2006—roughly when the AP started renting space in the building it shared with Hamas—that story has been war with Israel, including several sizable operations that Jerusalem has labeled Cast Lead (2009), Pillar of Cloud (2012), Protective Edge (2014), and now the current engagement. Since Western journalists cannot write critically of Hamas for fear of expulsion or even harm, their war reporting is usually nothing other than an amplification of Hamas propaganda. They are in Gaza only to relay to the rest of the world an Iranian-backed terror organization’s messaging about its ongoing war with the Jewish state.

Still, there’s something noteworthy about the latest AP story: If a former Obama administration official without a Middle East portfolio knew the AP shared a building with Hamas intelligence services, then the Obama alumni who now staff the Biden administration also know it. That’s embarrassing not only for Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who phoned the head of the AP over the weekend, but also for President Joe Biden, who called Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to complain about civilian casualties after the building was leveled. It gives the impression that the Biden team is coordinating with media operatives to lay down cover for a terror regime, which is probably why the Israeli government leaked to the press that it briefed Biden and his colleagues on the “smoking gun” evidence showing that the AP and Hamas worked out of the same building.

Thus, when Pruitt says that “the world will know less about what is happening in Gaza because of what happened today,” he is being disingenuous. It only means that one of Hamas’ useful idiots in the American press was exposed.
My Double Life in Damascus
One congenial day in Damascus in 1994 as we shared a flask of arak, the Arab novelist Abdelrahman Munif and I got on to the topic of the pains of leading a double life under an unnatural regime. Speaking very softly, he told me about a hunting trip he had recently taken with his friend Hamza al-Barqawi in southwestern Syria, in the wild desert outside Suwayda, and how when their conversation turned to domestic politics, they found themselves moving closer to each other and speaking in near whispers, before coming to themselves and chuckling at these insecure instincts. Even then, they did not risk raising their voices when discussing the dictatorship.

“We’re trained,” Munif told me sadly. “It’s an unbreakable habit with us.” I understood. Earlier that same late summer day, I had taken a poolside break at Le Méridien Hotel-Damas from my fieldwork for a National Geographic article on Syria, my little Grundig Yacht Boy radio tuned to Israel Army Radio via a discreet plug in one ear while I ostentatiously perused one of Syria’s unreadable regime newspapers, probably al-Baath.

The following night, my training in discretion directly intruded on my peace of mind in Munif’s company. I had joined him and his wife at the bright and commodious apartment of the painter Nazir Nabaa and his wife in central Damascus, off leafy Abu Rummaneh Street, not far from the U.S. ambassador’s residence. After a few cocktails, Nabaa showed us some of his recent paintings, then proudly led everyone down a hallway to see a couple of works loaned by everyone’s mutual friend Marwan—this was Marwan Kassab-Bashi, a celebrated Damascene then residing in Berlin.

“This is a series,” said Nabaa, gesturing toward a series of works, the first of which showed a row of young males seen in silhouette and slightly from below, facing the viewer, looking lost. It was skillfully done; as the figures challenged or appealed to you, their round solemn heads and expressive limbs hanging at their sides showed the influence of Balthus. Nabaa went on to explain that these young men were the ashbâl (lion cubs) who had “slaughtered the Zionists in Munich.” “The fedayeen, from the Olympiad,” his wife clarified approvingly.

“Here is another version,” said Nabaa, drawing our attention to a similar but less finished work, a study done in charcoal, and a third, a study of the face of one of the young murderers. “He was martyred, you know. They were all martyred,” he said, looking straight at me.

These were the Black September terrorists who had kidnapped, tortured, and murdered 11 Israeli wrestlers and their coaches at the 1972 Munich Olympics, and I was being invited, by a roomful of writers and art lovers, to accept all this—this violence, terrorism, and Jew-hatred—in the name of hospitality, because I was twice a guest, first Munif’s, and also Nabaa’s. Was this a test, an insult, or a nonevent to them?
With Israel-Gaza crisis, students ask US colleges to declare war on antisemitism
Already reeling from several antisemitic attacks that occurred this academic year, Jewish students at the University of Connecticut are on edge during the flare-up of hostilities between Israel and Hamas.

That’s why Mitchel Kuperstein, who recently graduated from the University of Connecticut (UConn), will continue pushing the university to adopt the one-credit course he developed on antisemitism.

“In light of the reactions to the conflict between Israel and Hamas, I think getting a course on combating antisemitism approved is even more important now,” Kuperstein said.

Kuperstein got the idea last year during the early weeks of lockdown when students took a mandatory one-credit course about COVID-19 public health measures, but his plan didn’t gain traction until a spate of antisemitic incidents hit the campus this year. In one instance, a giant black swastika was spray-painted on the chemistry building. It was large enough to be seen from the Hillel House across the lawn.

“Unfortunately, antisemitism is something I’ve experienced firsthand,” said Kuperstein, a double major in physiology and neurology. “Oftentimes, when something happens, we ask how we should respond. It’s one thing for us to say we’re not satisfied with the university response and another thing to show the university a way they could respond. This course is a way it could respond.”

Kuperstein’s petition, which has 320 signatures and counting, comes just as experts on antisemitism and advocates for Jewish students have begun calling on universities to introduce mandatory education about antisemitism. They see this as a way to combat the high numbers of antisemitic incidents on campuses.
Dozens of Princeton Faculty Sign Letter on Mideast Conflict That Condemns Israel’s ‘Jewish Supremacy,’ Does Not Mention Hamas
At least fifty Princeton University faculty and staff signed a statement condemning “the ongoing attacks on the Palestinian people in Gaza by the Israeli armed forces,” in an open letter that decried Israel as a system based on Jewish supremacy, and made no mention of the Hamas militant group’s attacks on civilians.

“We condemn the displacement of Palestinian families in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem — part of a decades long campaign of warfare, expulsion, unequal residency rights, and discriminatory planning policies that advances the ethnic cleansing of Jerusalem,” said the Tuesday letter. “The brutal system that controls Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories is ideologically founded on Jewish supremacy.”

Also signed by several hundred Princeton students and alumni, the letter continued, “We mourn all loss of life. We also refuse the ‘two-sides’ and ‘evenhandedness’ narrative that ignores and conceals the meaningful differences between Israel — one of the most heavily militarized states in the world that receives $3.8 billion in military aid annually from the United States — and a Palestinian population resisting occupation and oppression.”

Princeton faculty signatories included the sociologist Ruha Benjamin, the philosopher Daniel Garber, former Iranian diplomat Seyed Hossein Mousavian, the historian Behrooz Ghamari-Tabrizi, the classicist Dan-El Padilla Peralta, and former US poet laureate Tracy K. Smith.

“We salute the bravery and will-to-survival of Palestinians — in the Occupied West Bank, East Jerusalem, Gaza, and within Israel — as they resist the violence of the Israeli military, settler militias, and lynch mobs,” the letter said. It included no mention of Hamas, or the 4,000-plus rockets that the group has so far fired at Israeli territory.
In Guardian op-ed, Peter Beinart calls for Palestinian 'right of return'
In Peter Beinart’s 6400 word Guardian op-ed, the words “Hamas”, “Islamic Jihad”, or “terror” don’t appear even once. Why is this omission relevant? Because, Beinart, a former “liberal Zionist” who adamantly rejected the ‘right of return’ as an impediment to peace, is now an anti-Zionist advocating for an unlimited Palestinian ‘right of return’. That is, he’s arguing that over 5 million Palestinians (more than 99% of whom aren’t actual refugees) should have the right to emigrate to Israel.

Yet, in his piece (“A Jewish case for Palestinian refugee return”, May 18), he doesn’t once even address what heavily armed antisemitic extremist groups between the river and the sea would likely do to Jews once they are a minority ruled by a Palestinian majority.

The closest he comes to acknowledging fears over the Jews’ safety in such world is to assure us that “Palestinian intellectuals and activists who envision return generally insist that significant forced expulsion of Jews is neither necessary nor desirable”. Note the modifying word “significant” before “forced expulsion”, acknowledging that – even among the most enlightened Palestinians – it’s a given that some Jews will indeed by expelled. Also, he doesn’t of course address how the decidedly unenlightened of Gaza and the West Bank would treat their minority Jewish population without the protections afforded to them by sovereignty.

Whilst there’s so much more in his op-ed that proves his intellectual dishonesty – such as, in lamenting the plight of the 1948 refugees, failing to explain the context of the Arab war to annihilate the nascent Jewish state – his unwillingness to grapple with the likely real-world consequences of a state in which seven million Jews could find themselves controlled by racist fanatics ideologically and religiously committed to their murder is by far the most egregious abdication.
BBC’s Yolande Knell promotes speculation on Yaffo incident
Listeners to BBC Radio 4’s ‘PM’ programme on May 15th heard a report (from 16:32 here) from the BBC Jerusalem bureau’s Yolande Knell concerning the day’s events in the Gaza Strip.

When subsequently asked by the presenter Carolyn Quinn about “clashes between neighbours: Jews and Arabs in Israeli towns and cities” Knell referred to an incident that had taken place the previous night in Yaffo (Jaffa).

Knell: “Even in places like Jaffa […] tension’s been very high there. There was a small child that was hurt from an Arab family when it seems that a Jewish mob tried to set fire to the house.”

In fact Knell had no evidence that it was “a Jewish mob” that threw a petrol bomb at that house at the time of her report. Her claim concerning the identity of the perpetrators was based entirely on supposition.

As reported in the local media, surveillance footage from the incident on May 14th showed two hooded figures (rather than a “mob”) walking in an alleyway near the home before it was attacked but their identity was not clear.

The Israeli police stated that:
“…it is currently unclear whether Muhammad was injured by Jewish attackers targeting Arabs, or by Arab attackers who mistakenly believed the home belonged to a Jewish family. “We are investigating both possibilities,” said police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld.”

Three days later it was reported that the police had arrested one of the two suspects and that he is an Israeli Arab from Yaffo who has a criminal record.
SKY NEWS REPORTER FORFEITS ANY CLAIM TO OBJECTIVITY
We recently posted about Sky News Middle East correspondent Mark Stone, who, during a May 9th report from Jerusalem, ignoring all evidence, including the previous 48 hours of Palestinian violence, suggested that Israeli police were engaged crowd control tactics near the Old City “for no logical reason”.

Yesterday, he not only doubled-down on the fiction that Israeli police were harassing Palestinians for no reason, but decided to go on an anti-Israel diatribe not unlike what you’d expect to hear from an official Palestinian spokesman.

Here he is, responding to a question by Sky News presenter Mark Austin:


First, he erred on the number of humanitarian aid trucks got though to Gaza before a Hamas rocket struck the crossing. It was eight, not two.

But, more importantly, note how (at 2 min into the video) he refers to attacks by Arab citizens of Israel on Jews, and the burning of synagogues, as “protests” and an “uprising” – racist-inspired acts that he seems to characterise as something positive or at least understandable. Also, as David Collier reported, Stone’s only riot related tweet is this:


As far as we know, he hasn’t said a word about that Palestinian incitement which has no doubt contributed to the violence places like Lod, Acre and Bat Yam – the overwhelming majority of which, as CAMERA’s Hebrew site demonsrated, has been Jewish on Arab violence.


Financial Times channels its inner Guardian
Though a Financial Times editorial we’re posting about isn’t nearly as bad as recent commentary on the violence by their International Editor David Gardner, who at times writes as if he’s a contributor at Electronic Intifada, its one-sided and egregiously misleading take on the conflict is at least arguably on par with what we’d expect from the Guardian.

The second paragraph of the editorial (“FT View: US should step up pressure over Israeli-Palestinian conflict”, May 18) begins the media outlet’s foray into Israeli occupation root cause theory:
The broader context for the [current] crisis is the complete failure to achieve a just and lasting peace settlement between Israel and the Palestinians and an end to the Jewish state’s occupation of Palestinian territory. Sooner or later, that failure was bound to spark conflict.

First, note that to FT editors, every square kilometre of disputed land is “Palestinian territory” – an assertion contradicted by several facts, including that only a small percentage of the West Bank is privately owned Palestinian land. Israeli control of territory is also inconsistent with the Oslo Accords, signed by the Palestinians, which granted Israel military and administrative control of Area C and military control of Area B.

Also, Israel isn’t of course occupying Gaza. The FT’s failure to note this fact in the context of the decision by the terror group to launch rockets last week on Jerusalem and other Israeli cities represents an egregiously misleading omission.
The Guardian, Sheikh Jarrah and the eternal Israeli 'provocation'
One of the ways the Guardian has obfuscated Palestinian responsibility for the violence in Jerusalem, and the conflict between Hamas and Israel, is by framing the potential eviction of a few dozen Palestinians in Sheikh Jarrah – due to their failure (over decades) to pay rent – as the initial “Israeli” provocation – one, the narrative goes, which incited riots at the Al-Aqsa Mosque and, ultimately, lesd to the Hamas rocket attacks.

Whilst some Guardian op-eds have gone as far as to characterise the evictions as part of Israel’s ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from east Jerusalem, an intellectually unserious charge contradicted by population statistics demonstrating an increase in the percentage of Palestinian residents in that part of the city, most reports have described the evictions as a pernicious Israeli “plan”.

The “tinder” for the war, a May 11th Guardian editorial explained to readers, included “plans to evict dozens of Palestinians from the homes they have lived in for decades in Sheikh Jarrah in occupied East Jerusalem, giving them to Jewish settlers”. Israel, their Jerusalem correspondent wrote, “has faced mounting international criticism” of “the planned evictions”.

In characteristing the situation in Sheikh Jarrah as an Israeli provocation, one would come to the erroneous conclusion that that the evictions represent a policy decision by Israel’s government, rather than the decades-long private legal case – one that will be adjudicated by Israel’s internationally respected Supreme Court. As CAMERA and others have clearly demonsrated, this is a civil dispute over ownership rights and rent, and the Israeli government is not a party to the litigation.
BBC News channel confuses viewers on Sheikh Jarrah property dispute
Fean also claimed that former US president Donald Trump “was bad for everybody. Trump was bad for Israel as well as for the Palestinians but he was particularly vindictive towards the Palestinians”.

Willcox informed BBC audiences that “Britain of course has a terrible reputation in the actual design of what is happening now.”

In addition to Fean’s unchallenged interpretations of ‘international law’ and his obvious enthusiasm for the ICC investigation, viewers heard him refer to “the potential eviction – the current eviction of Palestinians from homes they’ve lived in for decades”. There are of course as yet no “current” evictions because the court session has been postponed. Fean’s portrayal of the claims of the Jewish owners of the property was confined to “land that they may have occupied back in the 19th century” but he described Palestinians as having been “evicted” in 1948.

While Fean advocated “the opportunity to create their own sovereign state” for Palestinians and urged “recognition by Britain of the Palestinian state”, he did not clarify which of the Palestinian factions he envisages running such a state or how the Palestinian state he advocates “alongside the State of Israel” would square up with the ambitions of Palestinian terrorist organisations such as Hamas and the PIJ to destroy the Jewish state.

The BBC cannot seriously claim that this one-sided item in which the word terror is not mentioned once did anything to help “to build people’s understanding” of the current situation in Israel and the Gaza Strip.


Outrageous: Globe Reporter Insinuates That Israel Was Created Because of Holocaust
Today, in a podcast prominently featured on the Globe and Mail’s website, senior international correspondent and former Mideast bureau chief, Mark Mackinnon (pictured right), insinuated that Israel was created because of the Holocaust which led to the mass dispossession of Palestinians by “Jewish Israeli(s) who moved into this new land.”

Not only is this claim inflammatory, but it’s factually incorrect and fundamentally denies 3,000 years of Jewish indigeneity in the historic homeland of the Jewish people. It also falsely frames Jews as colonists and ethnic cleansers of Palestinian-Arabs in 1948.

Here’s a transcript of the remarks:
Host Tamara Khandaker: “I wonder what kind of context do you think people might be missing if they haven’t been there?”

Reporter Mark Mackinnon: “The overall context that I, you know, have to remind myself of is that you have two deeply traumatized peoples. Israel was founded by people fleeing the Holocaust and their descendants are descendants of survivors of the Holocaust or people whose parents didn’t survive the Holocaust and their sense of insecurity, their sense that Israel is the only place they’re safe is really really hard for anyone who hasn’t spent a lot of time there to understand and then there’s the Palestinian dispossession, depending on which Palestinians you speak of, some will say 70 years, some will say 50 years. They lost their homes, the number of Palestinians I’ve met who still have the keys to this home that their family hasn’t been to for 50 years, that is so strong in the Palestinian narrative, but these two narratives don’t understand each other. There’s no way to cross them over. It’s very rare to find the Palestinian who lost their homes, but really understands the Holocaust or the Jewish Israeli who moved into this new land, this safe place and has deep sympathy for the person who was pushed out. It’s a deeply traumatized part of the world and you know, when you live there you learn to try to start each article from remembering that point.”
Read the 'racist' text messages allegedly sent by Australian world-cup winning Wallaby legend George Gregan to a Jewish business rival - sending images of Nazi warplanes and calling him a 'cockroach and parasite'
Wallabies legend George Gregan has been accused of using 'racist' language in a text message exchange - as he allegedly schemed to overthrow a Jewish businessman from a fitness company.

The ex-Australian captain and former NSW Waratahs player Matthew Dixon allegedly planned to force Alexander Goldberg out from his own business, PTP Fitness, which he founded in 2010.

In text and WhatsApp messages that were tendered to court and obtained by Sky News journalist Caroline Marcus, Gregan allegedly sent an image of a Nazi warplanes to his partner Dixon and repeatedly called Mr Goldberg a 'cockroach'.

Mr Goldberg's barrister Robert Stitt QC tendered the online conversations to the Federal Court ahead of next month's trial.

According to the court documents, a photo of a Nazi warplane was allegedly sent to Dixon on May 3, 2019, along with a URL defining 'blitzkrieg', which is a coordinated surprise military effort.

'When we strike it's going to be an avalanche... aka Blitzkrieg!' Gregan allegedly wrote, in documents tendered to court.

In another text tendered to court, Gregan allegedly said: 'We will drop the guillotine and hammer very soon to rid ourselves of this parasite.'
Poland gives money to group led by student who made antisemitic remarks
The Polish government will give $50,000 to a nationalist organization headed by a student who was suspended from the University of Warsaw partly for hate speech against Jews.

Konrad Smuniewski’s Nowy Ład (or Nowy Order) website will receive the grant as part of the government’s annual funds to nongovernmental organizations.

In 2016, Smuniewski caused controversy for calling Jews “communists” and “Bolsheviks” at a Hanukkah party that featured Poland’s chief rabbi. He also wrote on Facebook that in Judaism there is “racism, xenophobia, hatred.”

A year ago he was suspended from the university after using offensive words for LGBT people and proposing that Jews should be chased out of Poland at a rally.

Smuniewski’s website received the money for “developing local watchdog organizations and civic media.” The conservative website rails against liberalism, criticizes LGBTQ people, the left and the West. Its authors are associated with nationalist organizations.
South Korea Becomes First Asian Country to Sign Free Trade Agreement With Israel
Israel and South Korea signed a free trade agreement (FTA) earlier this week, which is expected to increase trade between the countries to more than $3 billion, reported the Jerusalem Post.

South Korea — which has the 11th-largest economy in the world — is the first Asian country to sign such a deal with the Jewish state.

Economy Minister Amir Peretz and his South Korean counterpart, Trade Minister Ms. Yoo Myung-Hee signed the agreement in Seoul.

Under the agreement, Israel will increase exports to South Korea and exempt from customs duties vehicles and spare parts, electrical products, and air conditioning systems imported into Israel, according to the Post.

The countries will enjoy reciprocal tariff reductions on most products imported and exported, along with improved trade in services. With regard to exports, Israeli industry is also expected to receive a boost with the encouragement of activity within the Korean market.
Detecting water contamination before it reaches your tap
In most cases in Israel, the water that flows from the tap is completely safe and can be drunk without a second thought. Elsewhere around the world, however, this is not the case. According to the 2020 UN Global Water Development Report, around two-thirds of the global population experience severe water shortages for at least one month out of the year.

And even when water does reach the tap, it is not always safe to drink due to contamination – a widespread issue affecting roughly 500 million people worldwide.

In 2012 alone, an estimated 842,000 deaths from middle and low-income countries stemmed from contaminated drinking water.

“In the United States, for example, water pollution of various kinds leads to tens of thousands of hospitalizations a year, and the estimated cost of treating these diseases and infections is over $1 billion,” says Prof. Shlomo Sela of the Department of Food Science at the Volcani Center, Agricultural Research Organization at Rishon Lezion.

This problem also extends to Israel where pesticides have historically been the major agrochemical pollutants contaminating the country’s groundwater aquifers, as well as pollution from sources like sewer line malfunctions or damaged pipes.

The possible catalysts of pollution are especially numerous when it comes to water from surface-level sources.











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This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 14 years and 30,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.

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