Sunday, April 30, 2023

UN Special Committee for Palestine meeting, 1947

From JTA, November 25, 1947:

A threat that Jews living in Arab countries will be massacred should the U.N. General Assembly decide to adopt the partition plan for Palestine was made today at the Ad Hoc Committee by Egyptian delegate Heykal Pasha. He warned the Committee, which concluded its debate tonight, that it was “playing with the lives of 1,000,000 Jews who are now living peacefully in Arab countries.”

The Egyptian delegate warned that the General Assembly’s decision is fraught with the possibility of widespread bloodshed. “We now regard the 1,000,000 Jews in the Moslem countries as brothers, but your decision may make some of our citizens regard them as enemies,” he declared, adding that the Arab governments would do all they could to protect the Jews within their borders, but “mob violence is often hard to control.”

Heykal Pasha appealed to the United States to reconsider its support of partition and to refrain from advocating “a dangerous adventure which might imperil the peace of the world.” He said that “no force on earth could prevent blood from flowing in Palestine if the United Nations decides to amputate a part of Palestine in order to establish a Jewish state.” All the peoples of the Orient, he asserted, would come to the aid of the Palestine Arabs in a “race war.”

“Would the members of the United Nations be acting in a humanitarian fashion in placing in certain and serious danger a million Jews simply in order to save a hundred thousand in Europe or to satisfy Zionist dreams?” Heykal Pasha asked. He said that his statement should be considered a “fair warning to the world” by the government of Egypt.
This thinly veiled threat was splashed on the front pages of Egyptian newspapers, causing much fear from Jewish residents:

The warning that Jews in the Arab countries face massacre if partition is approved by the United Nations, which was voiced yesterday at Lake Success by Egyptian spokesman Dr. Mohammed Heykal Pasha, has caused consternation among the 50,000 Jews in this country.

The statement, which was splashed on the front pages of the local Arabic press is the first official threat to the Middle East Jews and is taken to indicate that the government will adopt at least a passive attitude if anti-Jewish violence occurs here as a result of the Palestine issue.
It was not the first time that Arabs threatened mass murder by telling the West that their own people are violent and uncontrollable . 

Of course, attacks on Jews in Arab countries that followed the partition vote were tacitly encouraged by the Arab leaders with lurid and inciting headlines in the state-controlled media.

Buy the EoZ book, PROTOCOLS: Exposing Modern Antisemitism  today at Amazon!

Or order from your favorite bookseller, using ISBN 9798985708424. 

Read all about it here!



From Ian:

Gil Troy: 'If you will it, is no dream!': What would Herzl think of Israel today?
Eventually, Herzl decided the only answer was to transform “the Jewish Question into a Zion Question.” We’re not just a religion, he realized, “We are a people,” with a particular history, heritage, and homeland, Zion, meaning the land of Israel. Knowing that a national political renewal requires a strong cultural foundation, Herzl deemed the Jewish national liberation movement, Zionism, “a return to Jewishness even before there is a return to the Jewish land.”

Unfortunately, especially when examining Eastern Europe’s Jewish masses, this proud Westernized Jew, with his piercing dark eyes and impressive black beard, saw a paralyzed people demoralized by poverty and persecution. He wanted his Zionist Congress to reawaken the Jewish people. Sensitive to optics, he insisted that the 197 delegates – including 13 women and some non-Jews too – attend the Congress in formal eveningwear, reflecting the Jewish people’s dignity.

This frustrated playwright valued the script more than the costumes. As a peoplehood-person, Herzl appreciated the past; but, as a dreamer, a social-experimenter, and a liberal-democratic nation-builder, he was future-oriented too. “Our hearts cling to the old, it is true; we love the glorious past of our people, so full of struggle and suffering,” he warned, “but we do not want to revert to any narrowness of spirit.”

Appreciating a good prop, Herzl insisted that a flag was not just “a stick with a rag on it…. With a flag, one can lead men wherever one wants to, even into the Promised Land.” The flag carried a people’s “imponderables,” their “dreams, songs, fantasies,” because “visions alone grip the souls of men.” While charmed by the spread of individualism, industrialism, and capitalism, he nevertheless believed that individuals cannot help themselves “politically nor economically as effectively as a community can help itself.”

In 1899, reflecting the 19th century faith in humanity’s redemptive capacity, Herzl defined “the chief tenet of my life: Whoever wishes to change men must change the conditions under which they live.” Preempting any impulses toward narrow-minded illiberal nationalism, he challenged Zionists: “Make your State in such a way that the stranger will feel comfortable among you.”

He labeled this Jewish state-to-be Altneuland – old-new land, envisioning what is now this 75-year-old State in the ancient Land of Israel. In emphasizing Jewish rootedness, the term itself proved that Zionism isn’t European colonialism.

Every day, when 9.7 million Israelis, Jewish and non-Jewish, wake up in their beds, at home in their homeland, most know that every crane that builds, every start-up that starts, and every new investment through the Abraham Accords that appreciates, helps explain why they are safer, freer, and more prosperous than their great-grandparents would have dared imagine. And that’s why Herzl would also think, it worked! It’s really true – if you will it, is no dream!
This was not his dream - Opinion
Many critics of antizionism argue that it is a form of bigotry that singles out the Jewish state and holds it to a double standard, which is recognized by the IHRA working definition as antisemitism. Some point out that Israel is the only Jewish state in the world and that opposing its right to existence can be a form of discrimination against the Jewish people. However, there is agreement among Jews about the role that Israel should play in promoting Jewish unity. Some argue that Israel’s policies often do not take into account how they can affect Jews in the Diaspora, while others argue that Israel is a beacon of democracy and human rights in the region and that focusing on defending the country against its enemies and should have unilateral support from communities worldwide.

There is a growing consensus among many Jewish organizations that the solution to antisemitism is unity among the Jewish people and support for a Jewish state. The existence of a Jewish state provides a safe haven for Jews worldwide and gives them a sense of pride and belonging. Jewish unity is also seen as a way to combat the divide-and-conquer tactics of antisemites, who often try to pit different segments of the Jewish community against each other. This is seen on US campuses, where the culture of boycotting often makes Jewish and Israeli students feel unsafe and even has led to antisemitic attacks due to misinformation and incendiary rhetoric.

One of the challenges in combating antisemitism is that many people do not understand the difference between antizionism and antisemitism. The two concepts are often conflated. While it is ok to criticize a government and its policies, it is as important to call out real instances of antisemitism. It is also important to be careful not to label all critics of Israel as antisemitic, but to make sure that blatant antisemitism hiding behind antizionism doesn’t go unchecked.

Looking back on Herzl’s vision, the world is reminded of the importance of supporting the Jewish state and combating antisemitism. He lived in a time when Jews felt great sorrow living without a land. Israel is a beacon of hope for Jews around the world. Furthermore, it is essential to recognize that antizionism can be a form of antisemitism, and Israel has the right to exist. One can criticize a country’s policies, but one cannot rule out the right of the state to exist and govern itself.
Remembering San Remo: When the world powers recognized our rights to the land
The events in San Remo in April 1920, Iyar 5620, were foundational historic events unparalleled since the destruction of the Second Temple in the first century CE and gave the Jewish people the right to re-establish an independent state in its historical homeland. Chaim Weizmann celebrated: "The decision in San Remo, this recognition of our rights in Palestine which was included in the treaty with Turkey (Treaty of Sèvres) and became part of international law – is the biggest political event in our movement [the Zionist movement]. And maybe, it would not be an exaggeration to say – in the entire history of the Jewish people since the diaspora."

In the wake of the conference, the Sèvres Treaty was signed in August 1920, with Turkey renouncing its ownership rights over the territories in the Middle East in favor of the Allied Powers. Article 95 enshrined the text of the Balfour Declaration in international law. This is the Magna Carta of the Jewish people that was born in San Remo. Article 2 of the Mandate states: "The mandatory shall be responsible for placing the country under such political, administrative and economic conditions as will secure the establishment of the Jewish national home, as laid down in the preamble, and the development of self-governing institutions..." What does the preamble state? That recognition has been given to the historical connection of the Jewish people with their land and to their right to reconstitute their national home there.

This decision by the League of Nations has not been annulled since. Article 80 of the United Nations Charter, established after the Second World War, protects all the rights granted by the League of Nations prior to the signing of the UN Charter.

In my conversations with politicians and in my speeches before the two houses of the Italian parliament, and the media, I reiterated that supporting a diplomatic compromise is one thing, but the statement that Israel violates international law by building settlements in its historical homeland is a lie because binding international law – which Italy is a signatory to as the host of the historic San Remo Conference – has not changed since.

Now is the time for Education Minister Yoav Kisch to make the San Remo Conference part of the core study curriculum!

The desire to paint Israel as evil is an all-encompassing obsession for some. But they thirst for new material.

+972 Magazine published an expose about Israel's ties to the Greek military junta in the 1960s:

The relationship blossomed during the dark days of the military junta that ruled Greece from 1967 and 1974 — a period marked by the brutal repression, imprisonment, torture, and murder of opponents of the regime, and a period that was deliberately omitted from the celebratory narrative Israel promotes.   

Israel, was a besieged country in 1967 surrounded by enemies. The Greek coup happened in April - before the Six Day War. 

For Israel, a potential ally in the Mediterranean would of course be an attractive prospect to cultivate. 

This article mentions, as an aside:
Immediately upon seizing power, the military junta began a campaign to eliminate its real and imagined opponents, an effort embraced or tacitly supported by most Western European countries and the United States.   
So Israel was acting exactly as Western European countries and the US did. This was the height of the Cold War, and the junta's anticommunist position was the major factor in this decision-making.

Yet Israel is singled out for not caring about human rights. This was in a year when Israel was being threatened daily with annihilation in Arab newspapers. 

When countries choose whom to ally with, they look at shared interests, in how that relationship could help each country politically and economically. Human rights is always a very low priority. This is is true for every  country in any time period. It was especially true in the 1960s when nations were divided into pro-Western or pro-communist with little regard to any other issue.

All of that context is missing from the +972 piece. 

But it concludes with its own bizarre spin:

 This history suggests that the State of Israel was not merely a passive player, following only the will of the great powers; it was and remains a powerful and autonomous promoter of its own interests first and foremost, willing to compromise on values like democracy and human rights in order to gain international support in its own oppression of the Palestinian people.
What do the Palestinians have to do with Israel's relations with Greece? The article didn't mention Palestinians at all before its conclusion. Israel's relations with other countries outside the Arab world have nothing to do with Palestinians. Israel's concerns at the time was with the War of Attrition and the Yom Kippur War, the Palestinian issue was not even close to the top priority of Israel in those days. 

But since the article had no real dirt when exposing Israel's semi-secret relations with the Greek junta, it has to jazz it up to appeal to its audience of Israel-haters - and pretend that everything Israel does is meant to oppress others. 

There is nothing embarrassing about how Israel acted. It acted as any other nation would. But when you have Israel, you don't want to compare it to other nations. Doing so dilutes the message that Israel is uniquely evil - and that message is the only reason +972 exists. 

Buy the EoZ book, PROTOCOLS: Exposing Modern Antisemitism  today at Amazon!

Or order from your favorite bookseller, using ISBN 9798985708424. 

Read all about it here!



There was a remarkable Twitter exchange between a number of critics of the Amnesty "apartheid" report and Kristyan Benedict, Amnesty UK campaigns manager.

CAMERA created a video showing specific lies in Amnesty's video supporting the report.

Benedict responded: 

Please send this as ‘evidence’ to the chief prosecutor of the ICC..  
David Litman of CAMERA:

Now that we have your attention, perhaps someone from Amnesty could finally address some of those blatant factual errors I pointed out directly to your colleague, which suggest your organization is knowingly lying or doesn't actually understand the law.
Kristyan Benedict

Benedict: "Sound like you’ve already made your mind up. Good luck with that."

Adam Levick (CAMERA-UK): "Why don't you just respond to the CAMERA video, Kristyan."

Benedict: "We've laid out our findings in a very detailed report and stand by it. We didn't just put it out without serious review from experts. You however, should make your case to the likes of the ICC chief prosecutor and the COI. Would be a better use of your time in all seriousness."

Eitan Fischberger: "Who were the experts?"

Benedict: "External experts on international law including those with specialist knowledge of apartheid in international law."

Fischberger: "No I'm sure, but who? A couple of names for reference would be most appreciated."

Benedict: "Afraid not. External (and internal) colleagues have many reasons to not be public about such work - one of them being the awful smear campaigns that sometimes occur. Not everyone wants that nastiness in their lives. Hopefully that’s understandable."

Fischberger: "I can certainly understand the need for privacy. Yet, I can't help but worry this creates a situation in which Amnesty can issue reports on highly contentious topics, and when confronted with counterarguments, defers to unanswerable experts whose objectivity can't be verified."

Benedict:"The reports are signed off internally after many layers of review - so if there are any alleged ‘errors’ that you think you’ve found, including regarding applicable international law, then send them in. Just stating something is an ‘error’ does not make it so though.....the general public email is 

"There are of course other ways to engage but we’d both have to assess it’s a good use of our time. I suspect we’re quite far apart, no?"

Fischberger: "Thank you for the tip and clarification. What other ways are you referring to? While it appears we are far apart on this issue, I don't see that as a reason not to engage in a respectful and cordial manner, as we are now."

Benedict: "That’s of course true. I mean quite simply talking in private meetings. A lot of our (and my) time is focused on partnerships with HR NGOs and advocacy with political contacts. There is a time & place for engaging other groups but clarity on why / objectives would be paramount."

Fischberger: Makes sense. For me, the objective here is to understand what, if any, transparency and accountability mechanisms Amnesty has put in place for itself. Since you probably can't answer for the main branch, how about on behalf of  @AmnestyUK?"

Benedict: "I’ve answered that. The findings and methodology are public. We are not just claiming Israel commits the crime of apartheid, we are laying out our findings for others to review. It’s worth reading our report if you haven’t already or other related assets."

Fischberger "What I'm concerned about arent reviews, but errors. AI has enormous reach. It isn't enough for someone to simply tweet about a potential error because far fewer people will see that than AI's report.  Wouldn't the best solution be to ask AI to amend the error in the report itself?"

Benedict: "If I were advising you (on presumably how to try to undermine the AI report?) and you were confident in your claims, I’d suggest you make your case to bodies like the COI, ICC CPs office, Special Rapps etc. Has that happened? Credible testing is important."

David Litman: "The question isn't what those other bodies said or did. It's about the inaccurate claims YOUR organization is spending so much effort promoting while refusing to accept responsibility for the inaccuracy of the claims. YOU can fix that. Not Ms. "Jewish lobby subjugates" Albanese."

Benedict: "Your claims might not be accurate. They may be more of the same defence of apartheid & other crimes we’re used to in this space. We also have to factor in if we think the group / person is credible / acts in good faith. We have limited time & must prioritise who we engage. Sorry!"

Fischberger: "How do you determine whether someone is acting in good faith? And honestly, how much should that matter? Isn't the pursuit of truth far more important?"

Benedict: It is but the meetings with those directly and indirectly seeking to defend Israel’s system of apartheid (not clear if your organisation is but that’s my perception) are mainly with states. It’s a matter of how we use our limited time."

Fischberger: "Again, how do you determine someone is acting in good faith?"

Benedict: Re good faith - i.e. not trying to defend war crimes and crimes against humanity. There is a space to engage those who do this but as said, it’s generally states and relevant non state actors."

Fischberger: "Is it possible that people defending Israel do it because they genuinely believe Amnesty's findings to be wrong, and not because they're in favor of war crimes or crimes against humanity? The way you phrased it implies that all who defend Israel automatically act in bad faith."

Benedict: "Nope. I’m talking about those who are defending war crimes and crimes against humanity. Not a state per se. Israel like all states is many things & not just it’s government & not just the crimes that government is committing. Focus on ending the crimes. That’s what we’re doing."

David Litman: "You keep talking about 'crimes' as if their existence is a fundamental truth beyond questioning. Yet, as I've pointed out, and as that legal review board pointed out, Amnesty's conclusions are often unsupported by the actual evidence. Allegations need proof, not blind faith.

Benedict: "Not wishing to be rude but if you wish to indulge in atrocity denial, go do it somewhere else. *Muted*"

I wrote my own response, not that I expect Benedict to answer, since he believes I also engage in "atrocity denial."

In 2015, Amnesty created a website -still online - called the Gaza Platform, that attempts to be a database of incidents and casualties in the 2014 Gaza war. I showed - with documentation - that dozens of the people killed that Amnesty called civilian were actually members of militant groups. I proved it in many ways. Amnesty dismissed me as not being "credible."  The database still shows hundreds more civilian deaths  than even the UN claims. 

Newspapers would correct errors, no matter the source of the correction, because accuracy is objectively important. Even if CAMERA and NGO Monitor are biased, they are pointing  out a pattern of errors.  Yet Amnesty rarely if ever corrects its reports, far less than any major media. Shouldn't Amnesty's regard for accuracy be far more stringent than that of major media?

Your dismissal of such concerns as not being a good use of your time indicates that accuracy is not your primary concern in these reports. Reliance on unnamed experts that you have chosen using an unverifiable methodology does not in any way mitigate this. 

The critics, myself included, rely on transparency with our criticism. That transparency is the antidote to bias. Just as you accuse us of bias - and we are - we accuse you of bias as well. However, there is not the equivalent transparency on your side - instead, you are falling back on the logical fallacy of an appeal to authority, and not even a named authority. "We had unnamed experts review it, trust us" is not the same as "here's where you are wrong."

Whether you intended to or not, this thread strengthens the idea that Amnesty - at least for the Palestinian issue - cares more about narrative than truth.
I'm obviously pulling my punches here. Benedict himself has previously shown his extreme anti-Israel bias. He once threatened violence against Richard Millett when he was respectfully asking questions from a speaker after an Amnesty event, demanding that the speaker not answer because Millett was a "war crimes denier" and then saying he would "smack" Millett in his "little bald head." 

He's compared Israel to ISIS. He singled out British Jewish MPs for supporting bombing Gaza. he's accused Israel government officials of feeling "ethnic supremacy." And lots more. 

There's a reason why Amnesty (and HRW) officials usually refuse to engage with their critics. When they do, their hypocrisy is seen by all. 

Buy the EoZ book, PROTOCOLS: Exposing Modern Antisemitism  today at Amazon!

Or order from your favorite bookseller, using ISBN 9798985708424. 

Read all about it here!



According to the Felesteen news site and many other Palestinian sites:

Cyprus International University canceled a lecture that was supposed to be given by a lecturer from the Rubin (or Rabin?) Institute for Studies, in the Israeli occupation entity. 

This came after pressure from students in solidarity with the Palestinian cause, who organized a demonstration on the university campus, in front of the hall in which he was to lecture on the topic of  "Jewish Victims in the Arab-Israeli Conflict." 

The sit-down demanded the university administration to cancel the lecture and expel the Israeli speaker, while the International Academic Campaign Against Occupation and Apartheid and the Campaign for Palestine sent hundreds of letters to the university asking it to cancel the lecture. 
I couldn't confirm this story outside Palestinian media, which says the lecturer's name is Erez Shishani.

But there is a huge irony here.

Cyprus International University is in Turkish-occupied Northern Cyprus. While it has many international students, the Turkish students there are illegal settlers - forced to go there by the Turkish government, as the New York Times reported in 2014:
Students from Turkey are generally placed in Northern Cyprus by the Turkish higher education board, which has integrated the Northern Cypriot colleges into its own roster and assigns students on the basis of a points system that leaves them limited control over where they study.   
This exactly fits the violation in the Geneva Conventions of transferring one's citizens to an occupied territory. The crime that everyone falsely accuses Israel of.

So now Palestinians are celebrating that a university that is part of an illegal occupation. You can't make this up.

One other irony: the university that caves to student pressure to censor lectures has the slogan, "Open for Open Minds."

Buy the EoZ book, PROTOCOLS: Exposing Modern Antisemitism  today at Amazon!

Or order from your favorite bookseller, using ISBN 9798985708424. 

Read all about it here!



Saturday, April 29, 2023

From Ian:

How a UN definition threatens Israel
A Palestinian refugee is given different conditions according to UNRWA. The definition begins with a typical classification, "persons whose normal place of residence was Palestine during the period 1 June 1946 to 15 May 1948, and who lost both home and means of livelihood as a result of the 1948 conflict." In addition to this, any descendants of male refugees can also be classified as a refugee. Refugee status is passed through paternal lineage, if a person's father was a refugee, they are considered one as well even if that person has never stepped foot in the land of Israel. This unique classification, which is not present in any other definition of a refugee, has led to the significant number of Palestinian refugees.

The UNRWA definition of a Palestinian refugee has been the topic of much controversy within the Middle East. This definition is not recognized by Israel as they do not consider it to be an accurate classification. At present, Israel has been condemned significantly more times by the UN than any other country. Although Israel is the only true democracy in the Middle East, they have been the target of more condemnations than Russia, which is currently in a decade-long war with Ukraine, North Korea, a dictatorship, and many other countries with poor human rights. Since its creation, the UN has targeted Israel and continues to do so by creating a distinct regiment for Palestinian refugees.

Due to the generational component of the refugee status, the right to return would provide Palestinians with a large enough population to become the majority in Israel. It would seem that creating the state of Palestine is the ultimate goal of the UN through its numerous condemnations and legislations. UNRWA provides additional aid to Palestinian refugees notably in terms of education, healthcare and social services. In place of finding a permanent solution to the problem, the UN perpetuates the issue by providing benefits to the refugee status. There is no foundation behind the distinct ability of the Palestinian refugee status to be inherited. It is for that reason that a disproportionate number of Palestinian refugees exist and will continue to increase over time.

A change in definition would be beneficial to maintain a standard definition of a refugee and provide services to those who have been personally displaced. It seems the main motivation in allowing such a large number of individuals to claim Palestinian refugee status is to denigrate Israel and its public image. This double standard is arbitrary and should no longer continue to exist.

Jonathan Tobin: Tucker Carlson’s fall isn’t as good for the Jews as the ADL thinks
That’s why the arguments about him are not as simple as people like Greenblatt, who want to dismiss him as a hatemonger, would have the public believe.

To say that is not to ignore Carlson’s failings.

Carlson’s neo-isolationism extended from positions opposing American involvement in unnecessary wars or for spreading democracy, which are now largely shared by most Republicans, to indifference about the threat that a nuclear Iran posed to the West. But as I have noted on many occasions, his unsupportive attitude towards the fight to defend Israel and the threat from Iran made him a rarity on the contemporary political right.

Moreover, he tended to regard antisemitism as not being a disqualifying trait when it came to guests on his show.

He hosted BDS advocate and rabid antisemite Roger Waters of Pink Floyd fame on his show. Though in a sign that Carlson knew that platforming hate for Israel would go over poorly with a conservative audience that loves the Jewish state, the two managed not to mention it in that interview.

Far worse, was his bizarre defense of rap star/fashion mogul Kanye West, now known as “Ye.” Carlson devoted an entire hour to an interview with West but then deceptively edited out some of that disturbed figure’s anti-Jewish rants so as to make him appear more reasonable.

It’s also true that Carlson’s penchant for satirizing his foes could cross over into unacceptable language—for example, criticism of a Tennessee state legislator that had helped incite demonstrations at the state capitol in Nashville and disrupted the work of a democratic body was valid. But saying that this individual “spoke like a sharecropper” went way over the line.

That doesn’t mean that all of the accusations hurled at Carlson by Greenblatt were correct. In particular, the ADL argument that in speaking of the impact of illegal immigration on American democracy, Carlson was advocating for a “great replacement theory” was disingenuous.
The Sbarro bomber's thwarted extradition from Jordan: Where does the State Department actually stand?
And finally the 2021 report. It's the last one to have appeared so far and was published just a month ago on February 27, 2023. True, the mandated deadline was April 30, 2022, but the 10 month delay for an annual report doesn't seem to have troubled anyone. Its full text is downloadable here; the Jordan chapter is here.

Following the now-customary formulation that
Jordan remained a committed partner on counterterrorism and countering violent extremism in 2021. As a regional leader etc.

it goes on to say this about Tamimi and her scandalous freedom:
The United States has emphasized to the Jordanian government the importance of holding Ahlam al-Tamimi accountable in a U.S. court for her admitted role in a 2001 bombing in Jerusalem that included two Americans among the 15 victims. She had been serving a prison sentence in Israel for a terrorism conviction related to the bombing before she was released by Israel as part of a prisoner exchange.

It's fair to say the cold disdain to which we, the parents of one of Tamimi's victims, have been treated at the hands of State Department officials in all the years since Tamimi's indictment, ought to have prepared us for this. But it didn't and we were stunned.

Note what's said and what isn't:
As with the report covering 2020, the cornerstone 1995 Jordan/US extradition treaty gets no mention here at all.
In fact, the word ‘extradition’ doesn't even appear.
The Jordanian court decision invalidating it in 2017 gets no mention either.
Nor do the grounds on which the invalidation was based by the Jordanian judges.
Nothing is said about the nature of the flaw alleged by the Jordanian court six years ago. Even if it is real and even if it has legal consequences (both very unlikely), this is a self-inflicted Jordanian flaw.

Friday, April 28, 2023

From Ian:

Melanie Phillips: The antisemitism that drives identity politics
The left’s dogma of “intersectionality” holds that groups are defined by power and powerlessness. People of color are said to be powerless because they are oppressed by the West, which is powerful. The West is said to be powerful because it is capitalist, and is therefore deemed innately exploitative and rapacious.

Because the West is a historically white culture, white people are themselves deemed innately exploitative and rapacious and can never be victims of black people. Moreover, like Marx himself, such leftists believe that the Jews control capitalism and manipulate all the levers of global power in their own interests to the disadvantage of everyone else.

So, to them, it follows that Jews are innately exploitative and rapacious. They are therefore deemed guilty of “white privilege” even when they are dark-skinned and they can never be victims, only victimizers.

This is why the “intersectional” left treats Israel with such obsessional hysteria, unremittingly presenting Israeli self-defense as aggression. Israel, which defends itself through military strength, is the antisemites’ nightmare of Jewish power on steroids.

Of course, this is old-style antisemitism sitting bang smack at the heart of the identity politics that currently drives the left.

It is therefore beyond troubling that the Democratic Party in the United States and so many liberal American Jews have signed up for identity politics. Worse still, these Jews tell themselves that such ideas are Jewish values. In fact, they negate Jewish values and provide the ideological rocket fuel behind the current onslaught against Judaism, Jewish people and the Jewish state.

At the core of this support lies a Jewish terror of being different from the rest of the world. That fear is inseparable from the contempt for and even fear of unabashed religious belief, a hostility that motivates the Western left in general.

The result has been that, for many Jews and non-Jews in the West, Jew-hatred has become largely invisible and hugely misunderstood and devalued.
Jewish advocacy group accuses CUNY system of rampant antisemitism
A Jewish advocacy group called, the “Students and Faculty for Equality at CUNY,” recently released a 13-page report that detailed the widespread antisemitism within the City University of New York system.

The group stated in its report, titled “How CUNY Became the Most Systemically Antisemitic U.S. University in Just Two Years,” that while the CUNY system used to be welcome to Jewish individuals, the “landscape at CUNY began to dramatically change” about a decade ago.

“Campuses started to sharply cut recruiting visits to New York City’s Jewish schools, and some eventually eliminated visits to these schools entirely–even those adjacent to their campuses,” the report stated. “Advertising in Jewish media outlets was reduced or eliminated even on campuses with extremely dense surrounding Jewish populations.”

Just last month, the “total elimination of all Jews from the 80 campus president and senior leadership positions was complete,” the group found. This is despite the fact New York City is approximately 20 percent Jewish.

The report claimed that the leadership officials at the university are “infected” and are “proud champions” of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which is a Muslim civil rights and advocacy group. The group criticized Chancellor Felix Rodriguez’s support for CAIR, which endorses “boycott, divestment and sanctions” against Israel.

The BDS campaign “operates as a coordinated and sophisticated effort to disrupt the economic and financial stability of the State of Israel, and to directly harm not only Israel, but also the economic interests of persons conducting business in and with Israel, or with people deemed too closely affiliated with the country,” according to SAFE CUNY.

The College Fix reached out to a CUNY spokesperson for an official comment on behalf of the college and what it plans to do about the accusations.

Mike’s Place bombing victim to Media Line: Hollywood shuns Israel stories
Jack Baxter is an award-winning filmmaker who has produced, directed, and written for film and television for over four decades. He is best known for his documentary films that explore complex social and political issues. Baxter has a unique ability to capture the human element of his subjects and create compelling stories that resonate with audiences. His work has been screened at numerous film festivals worldwide and has received critical acclaim.

Baxter was seriously wounded in a terrorist attack at Mike’s Place, a popular club on the Tel Aviv beach, while he was making a movie in 2003. The footage of him fighting for his life became an award-winning documentary, Blues by the Beach (2004). It was followed by a graphic novel, Mike's Place: A True Story of Love, Blues, and Terror in Tel Aviv (2015), and another film, The Last Sermon (2020), which was awarded the Prix de l'Espoir at the 6th International Human Rights Film Festival in Tunis, Tunisia.

Baxter sat down in the studio at The Media Line with Felice Friedson to reflect on the 20th anniversary of the Mike’s Place bombing.

TML: Twenty years ago, my guest Jack Baxter arrived at a popular club on the Tel Aviv beach called Mike’s Place. The purpose of his visit was to run down a piece for a movie in the works on terrorism. The Second Intifada, that time of unbridled terror in the streets of Israel typified by the bombings of buses and public buildings, was going strong.

That evening, the reporter became the story when a terrorist triggered his bomb. Baxter, who was seriously wounded, was filmed fighting for his life—footage that became an award-winning documentary called Blues by the Beach. It was followed by another film, The Last Sermon.
  • Friday, April 28, 2023
  • Elder of Ziyon
Writing in pan-Arab Elaph newspaper, columnist Saleh Al Qallab - a former Jordanian Minister of Culture and Information - spins a bizarre interpretation of Israeli President Isaac Herzog's Memorial Day Speech.

After the minutes of silence accompanying the sirens, Herzog said,

I ask myself, I ask us: what other country in the world has such a special sound? It is the sound of pain and of hope, of grief, and of pride. It is the sound of the State of Israel.”

A sound that calls on us to pause for a moment, to lock in the sanctity, to remember and to connect — together. This year, in the grips of these days of discord, this sound is more powerful, more searing, more pained and more painful than ever.”

This year, more than ever before, this sound calls on us, in the heart of the stillness that cries out: all of us, together! Their sacrifice has not been in vain; it shall not have been in vain.
Qallab latched onto Herzog's mentioning that the sound was painful, and built a crazed theory that this means that Herzog and all Israelis are abandoning Zionism.

When Herzog says at an official ceremony in Al-Quds Al-Sharif that the sirens in this year are more painful than any other time, which means, and this is certainly understood by the majority of Israelis, that the moment of departure has approached, and that they must start packing their bags, because this country is not their country, and they certainly came as colonizers. It is known that any colonizer must be keen to keep his luggage packed in preparation for the moment of departure at any moment.

The fact that Herzog had to say that the moment of departure had come and that nothing connected Israelis in this country except their cemeteries, which it is not unlikely that they would have to carry with them.. It is clear that he wanted to say that this country is not theirs.

That is why it is most likely, or even certain, that ... the Israelis have become ready to leave...
This is as delusional as anything I've read in Arabic media. It seems that Al Qallab could not imagine an Arab ever admitting that losing loved ones is painful - that is a sign of weakness - and he assumed that if anyone does admit to feelings of loss, it means that they have given up.

Which explains the Palestinian insistence on militancy and eventual victory. Anything less than that would be considered surrender. 

Israel's strength is the ability to be honest. Much of the Arab world is based on dishonesty, pretending to be people that they are not, in order to keep their pretense of honor and avoiding the shame of appearing weak. 

But if you are not honest with yourself, no one else will believe anything you say. 

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In an address at the Al-Aqsa Mosque posted on the Aqsa Call YouTube channel on April 14, 2023, Palestinian Islamic scholar Issam Amira said that Palestinians are no more Canaanite than Egyptians are Pharaonic. Rather, he said that the Palestinians are Muslims, and had had no rights whatsoever prior to the advent of Islam. He added that when late PLO leader Yasser Arafat referred to the Palestinian people as a (Canaanite) "nation of giants," he was cursing and humiliating his own people.

Isaam Amira: "The people of Palestine have no historical right to Palestine. They have no right that dates back 2,000, 3,000, or 4,000 years.

"The right of the Canaanites to Palestine is equal to the pharaohs' right to Egypt. Is it conceivable that any Muslim in Egypt would say: 'I am Pharaonic and proud of it?' Well, it's the same if a Muslim in Palestine says: 'I am a Canaanite and proud of it.' To hell with your Canaanite identity and with his Pharaonic identity.

"People, our history is simple and it is not ancient. Our history dates back only 1,440 years. 1,440 years ago we had no rights of any kind. Absolutely none.

"It must not be said that the Palestinians have Canaanite roots. We can go back to the words of Yasser Arafat who lost our cause. He referred to you as the [Canaanite] 'nation of giants.'

"This is the first time I see a president who curses his own people. The Palestinians are Muslims.

"Calling them [Canaanite] 'nation of giants' is cursing them. It's humiliating to them. It sends them back to the infidel days of tyranny. The only thing you are allowed to say is: Oh Palestinians, you are Muslims."

I don't know if Al Aqsa during Ramadan is like open mic night at a comedy club where anyone can go onstage. The audience behind Amira seems less than interested. 

Amira is a preacher in Beit Safafa in Jerusalem who has preached at Al Aqsa previously. He is a member of Hizb ut-Tahrir, which is a virulently antisemitic and pan-Islamic movement that wants nothing less than a unified Islamic Umma'- and they even oppose Hamas for wanting a separate Palestinian state instead of a new caliphate.

This rant makes sense in that context, since he doesn't want Muslims to identify as any other people except as Muslims. 

(h/t Josh K)

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From Ian:

“Foreign Aid” to Israel is bonanza for the US
The U.S. does not give foreign aid to Israel — the U.S. makes an annual investment in Israel, giving US taxpayers a return of several hundred percent.

While Israel is a grateful recipient of U.S. military systems, it also serves as a battle-tested, cost-effective laboratory for the U.S. defense and aerospace industries, (employing 3.5 million Americans). This enhances U.S. performance on the battlefield and the U.S. economy, national security and homeland security.

Here are a few examples.

In defense: The Israeli Air Force flies the U.S.'s Lockheed-Martin’s F-16 and F-35 combat aircraft, providing both Lockheed-Martin and the U.S. Air Force with invaluable information on operations, maintenance and repairs, which is then used to manufacture a multitude of upgrades for next-generation aircraft. Just the F-16 itself has been improved by several hundred Israeli-driven upgrades, sparing Lockheed-Martin 10-20 years of research and developments, which amounts to billions of dollars.

Israel is the Triple-A store for Lockheed-Martin, Boeing, Raytheon, G.D., Northrop Grumman, and many other U.S. defense and aerospace companies. This enhances the image of these companies abroad and multiplies their export markets, because other countries assume that if Israel — with its unique national security challenges — uses these companies’ products, they must be of high quality.

The U.S. is also trained by Israeli experts in neutralizing car bombs, suicide bombers and IEDs, and US combat pilots benefit greatly from joint maneuvers with their highly experienced Israeli counterparts.

In intelligence: According to a former head of the U.S. Air Force Intelligence, Gen. George Keegan, the U.S. would have to establish five CIAs to procure the intelligence provided by Israel (the CIA’s annual budget is around $15 billion).

According to the late Sen. Daniel Inouye, (Chairman of the Senate Appropriations and Intelligence Committees), the scope of Israeli intelligence shared with the U.S. exceeded that provided by all NATO countries combined. Israeli intelligence helped foil sinister plots against the U.S., secured airliners and airports and provided vital data on advanced Soviet/Russian military systems.

Israel is a unique force multiplier for the U.S., helping to extend America’s strategic reach, so it can secure vulnerable pro-U.S. Arab oil-producing regimes and deter wars and terrorism. With Israel’s help, the U.S. can do this without deploying additional troops, which is not the case with countries like Japan and South Korea, in addition to 100,000 US troops in Europe.

Gen. Alexander Haig, who served as NATO’s Supreme Commander and U.S. Secretary of State, and Adm. Elmo Zumwalt assessed that “Israel is the largest U.S. aircraft carrier, which does not require American soldiers on board, cannot be sunk and is deployed in a most critical region – between Europe, Asia and Africa - sparing the U.S. the need to manufacture, deploy and maintain a few more real aircraft carriers and additional ground divisions, which would cost the U.S. taxpayer some $15 billion annually.”
‘March of the Million’ shatters opposition claim nation opposes judicial reform
The “March of the Million” near the Knesset in Jerusalem on Thursday evening may not have hit its target (organizers say 600,000 attended; police say 200,000), but it succeeded in putting to bed opposition claims that Israelis are united against judicial reform. It also provided much-needed backing to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s beleaguered government.

Supporters of reform have been slow to respond to months of protests against it, which have forced the coalition back on its heels, leading Netanyahu to pause the process and enter into negotiations with the opposition under the auspices of President Isaac Herzog.

Those favoring reform worry that the result will be a watered-down version of the legislation. Among the crowd’s chants at the rally: “Stop being afraid” and “We don’t want compromise.”

Of the many politicians and right-wing figures who addressed the assembled, the biggest cheers went to the chief architects of judicial reform: Justice Minister Yariv Levin of Likud and Knesset Member Simcha Rothman of the Religious Zionism Party, who chairs the parliament’s Constitution, Law and Justice Committee.

“Over 2 million Israelis voted six months ago in the real referendum: the election. They voted in favor of legal reform,” declared Levin. “We are here on this stage with 64 mandates to right an injustice. No more inequality, no one-sided judicial system, no court whose judges are above the Knesset and above the government.

“We are told that if the reform passes there will be a dictatorship. There is no bigger lie than that. Show me a single democracy in which the legal advisers decide [government policy] instead of the government,” said Levin, adding to cheers, “I will do everything in my power to bring the desired change to the judicial system.

“If someone were to tell me a few years ago that in 2023 there would be such a broad consensus in Israeli society for the need for judicial reform and that the situation today isn’t democratic, I would have told him he was delusional,” Rothman said. “Correcting the judicial system is my life’s mission and I will continue to promote it in every way.”

Guest post by Tomer Ilan:

How Zionists made the land bloom by eradicating malaria

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has come under attack from Israel-haters for saying the truth that Israel “literally made the desert bloom.” The Palestinian foreign ministry condemned her, calling her statement a “racist trope”.

One of the ways the Zionists made the land bloom is by draining swamps and eradicating malaria.

 A 1920 British map shows the entire central and northern parts of the land infected with malaria, with the most severely affected areas being valleys and coastal regions with a high concentration of swamps.

 In 1921 British authorities reported that widespread malaria “has decimated the population” and is “an effective bar to the development and settlement of large tracts of fertile lands” and that “much well-watered and fertile land is at present lying waste on account of malaria”.


Just 20 years later, the Zionist anti-malaria campaign changed everything.

In 1941 the British Mandate reported that ‘In a number of areas where intense endemic malaria had resulted in no population for generations, recent antimalarial schemes have created large tracts of cultivatable land’ and that ‘very large areas of what is recognised by all as some of the most fertile land in the country have been reclaimed, after centuries of waste’.

Early attempts to drain the swamps relied on the Eucalyptus, a very ‘thirsty’ tree brought from Australia which uses up to 200 litres of water a day.

A 1911 report entitled ‘Zionist Work in Palestine’ reported that 400,000 eucalyptus trees had been planted to drain the soil.


Despite the early efforts, pre-WW1 efforts to eradicate malaria generally failed. Many died of malaria and many others left.

In 1922, Dr. Israel Kligler, a Zionist Jew, started the first successful national malaria-elimination campaign in the world. Kligler introduced a methodical and systematic approach which relied on Arab and Jewish cooperation of entire communities to assist in the anti-malaria work.

Kligler focused on education. He pointed out that it was possible to obtain the population’s active cooperation only after the population understood fully the significance and value of the work.

The anti-mosquito campaign was concerned with limiting the breeding in wells, cisterns and other man receptacles by regular inspections and spraying of repellents.

One of the new methods that Kligler initiated was the introduction of Gambusia fish to water sources in the country in 1923. The fish eat mosquito larvae as soon as they hatch from the eggs. The fish turned out to be an effective biological means against mosquito's larvae. The result was the almost total eradication of malaria in the upper Jordan by using where appropriate combinations of anti-larval fish and drainage techniques.

Mosquito larvae

Male mosquito larvae eating Gambusia affinis

Swamps were dried by building drainage channels and the swamps were sprayed with pesticide.

The draining work in malaria-infected areas was very dangerous and many lost their lives.

Swamp draining at Yagur, 1924

A Jewish girl throwing larvicide in Emek Hefer.

After the State of Israel declared its independence, anti-malaria efforts continued, and in 1967 the World Health Organization declared malaria eliminated in Israel.

Yes, Ursula von der Leyen is correct. Zionists did make the land bloom.


Postscript by Elder:

My response to seeing the "racist trope" accusation on Twitter was to post this snippet of an article in Scientific American, April 1960:

You can also see a collection of how Israel has been a leader in green tech here.

Buy the EoZ book, PROTOCOLS: Exposing Modern Antisemitism  today at Amazon!

Or order from your favorite bookseller, using ISBN 9798985708424. 

Read all about it here!



Times of Israel reported yesterday:

A Palestinian man attempted to carry out a car-ramming and stabbing attack in the West Bank on Thursday afternoon and was subsequently shot dead, the military and medics said.

According to the Israel Defense Forces, the man drove onto the opposite lane on the Route 5 highway, and tried to ram his car into civilians and security forces at the Gitai Avisar Junction near the West Bank settlement of Ariel. The suspect then got out of his car while allegedly brandishing a knife, before being shot dead by troops.
Video of the shooting shows clearly that Ahmed Yaqoub Taha came out of his car suddenly and lunged at the Israeli police officer. 

Israeli police also posted photos of the knife he had; unfortunately the videos aren't clear enough to see it.

Taha was a member of the PA security forces, as have been numerous other terrorists in recent months. 

The PA and Fatah are saying that he was an innocent victim, shot at point blank range for no reason. Hamas in English said the same thing.

Hamas in Arabic, on the other hand, called him a "fighter martyr...who was killed by the fire of the occupation forces after he attempted to carry out a run-over and stabbing operation."

Usually in cases like this the same person morphs from an innocent victim to a heroic fighter in the course of a few hours. Apparently Fatah thinks that the video is ambiguous enough to claim he is a victim and to stick to that story.

Actual facts don't matter as much as the intended message and audience.

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On Thursday, the New York City Council voted on a resolution recognizing April 29 as End Jew Hatred Day annually in the City of New York. It was introduced by Councilwoman Inna Vernikov.

One would expect that such a resolution would be approved unanimously. What could possibly be controversial about a resolution against antisemitism? It doesn't mention Israel. It notes the rising attacks on Jews in the city, which is obvious and supported by hate crime statistics. 

But antisemitism is alive and well and spouted on the record in the halls of City Council.

After Vernikov and others spoke in support for the resolution, Council member Charles Barron said that he would abstain. The reason the issue was not fully supported by all, he said, is because the Jewish community is inconsistent in opposing hatred, specifically hatred of Palestinians. He then went on a rant about Israel "murdering Palestinian women and children and stealing land." he then accused Jewish leaders of having supported not only crimes against Palestinians but also apartheid in South Africa. 

It was classic antisemitism, saying that because he (wrongly) perceives (some) Jews as supporting racism, he doesn't want to oppose a resolution condemning hate of Jews. Hate of some morphs into hate of all, a hallmark of bigotry everywhere.  

It is also a perfect example of how hate for Israel is just another form of hate for Jews - why should Israeli policies affect one's vote against antisemitism?

Later, Shahana Hanif - the first Muslim City Council member in New York - gave completely different reasons for voting against the resolution. She claimed that the organizations behind the resolution were far-right wing, Islamophobic and anti-trans organizations, and implied that the City Council members who introduced the resolution were anti-trans as well, so therefore she "refused to collaborate" with them. 

Of course, that should indicate an abstention, not a vote against the resolution. Alternatively, Hanif could easily have put on the record that she opposes the supposedly hateful organizations that she claims were behind the resolution but that she supports the idea of an "End Jew Hatred" day. Her choice to vote against the resolution can only mean one thing: she is against fighting Jew-hatred. And whether she likes it or not, she is sending the message to New York that the Muslim community is not against antisemitism. 

Here's video of the entire discussion and vote on the resolution.

Today, we have people in positions of power who are quite comfortable publicly calling Jews murderers, thieves and Islamophobes and using that as an excuse to oppose supporting a minority Jewish community that is being physically attacked on the streets of New York every day. 

Buy the EoZ book, PROTOCOLS: Exposing Modern Antisemitism  today at Amazon!

Or order from your favorite bookseller, using ISBN 9798985708424. 

Read all about it here!



Thursday, April 27, 2023

From Ian:

Jeffrey Herf: Israel Is Antiracist, Anti-Colonialist, Anti-Fascist (and Was from the Start)
Nor did support for Israel come only from the Soviet bloc. Liberals and leftists in London, Paris, New York, and Washington heard Jamal Husseini, the representative of the Arab Higher Committee to the United Nations, reject a Jewish state in Palestine, because, he said, it would undermine the “racial homogeneity” of the Arab world. Such remarks resonated in a profoundly negative fashion with Americans who had followed the appalling news out of Germany during and after the war. In the Senate, Robert Wagner, a major author of New Deal legislation, extolled the Jewish contribution to the Allied cause. He had already denounced appeasement of the Arabs during the war. With the Allied victory, continuing to appease Arab rejectionism surely made no sense. In the House, Democratic Congressman Emanuel Celler of Brooklyn led efforts to focus attention on Jamal Husseini’s cousin, Haj Amin al-Husseini, the grand mufti of Jerusalem, who had entered into a written understanding with Germany and Italy to “solve the question of the Jewish elements, which exist in Palestine and in the other Arab countries . . . as the Jewish question was solved in Germany and Italy.”

The liberal media also took note. Husseini’s collaboration with the Nazis was thoroughly documented in the New York Post as well as in the left-wing publications PM and The Nation, by I.F. Stone, Freda Kirchwey, and the Pulitzer Prize–winning Edgar Mowrer, who urged Husseini’s indictment at Nuremberg. Nevertheless, despite extensive State Department files on Husseini’s collaboration with the Nazis, the American bureaucracy succeeded in resisting efforts to put him on trial and publish its evidence of his Nazi-era activities.

The brief confluence of Soviet and liberal Western sympathies for the nascent Jewish state was brilliantly exploited by Ben-Gurion. He understood better than anyone that it presented a unique moment to bring Israel into existence, with the assent of the world’s two great powers — and that it was an opportunity that would soon close, as indeed it did. During the “anti-cosmopolitan” purges of the early 1950s, Stalin reversed course, spread the lie that Israel was a product of American imperialism, repressed the memory of Soviet support for the Zionist project, and launched a four-decade campaign of vilification against Zionism and Israel. It was one of the most successful propaganda campaigns of the Cold War.

Stalin succeeded in rewriting American history, too. His insistence that it was the Americans and not the Soviets who had wholeheartedly supported the establishment of the State of Israel carried the day. And yet the records of the Departments of State and Defense and the CIA clearly document their emphatic and consequential opposition to the Zionist project.

The differences between the international political landscape of the late 1940s and the one that emerged first in Soviet and then world politics in the 1950s and 1960s need to be reflected in American-Jewish discussions about the establishment of Israel. Contrary to what we’ve heard at the United Nations for decades, in international BDS efforts, and in academic descriptions of Israel, the Zionist project was never a colonialist one.

Just the reverse. The generation that created the state, and its supporters abroad, viewed it as part of the era of liberal and leftist opposition to colonialism, racism, and, of course, antisemitism. The evidence is clear: Whatever faults Israel may have, its origins had nothing to do with American or British imperialism. The argument to the contrary is a conventional unwisdom that has found a home in too much scholarship and journalism of recent decades. Israel’s establishment was not a miracle that eludes historical explanation. It was an episode of enormous moral and military courage for which space was created by canny and hard-headed political leaders in the cause of historical justice — in particular David Ben-Gurion, who seized a fleeting moment, Israel’s moment, to create an enduring achievement.
Daniel Ben-Ami: Why the world has turned against Israel
From Israel's foundation in 1948 through the 1960s, the left generally celebrated Israel as an expression of Jews' right to national self-determination. By the 1990s, however, Western elites started to reject the idea of national self-determination. Yet the denigration of the right to national self-determination undermines the Palestinian cause, too.

Indeed, many of today's anti-Israel activists aren't really interested in Palestinian self-determination. They are mainly concerned with attacking Israel as a symbol of everything they dislike. This leads them to uncritically endorse Hamas, the leading Islamist representative of the Palestinians, and often Islamism more broadly.

Islamism's goal is not national self-determination, for the Palestinians or anyone else. Rather, it wants to create an international Islamic order. The destruction of Israel - and not the creation of a Palestinian state - is seen as central to achieving that objective. Islamists regard Jews as an expression of "cosmic Satanic evil," who should be physically exterminated if Islam is to flourish.

The Palestinian slogan, "from the river to the sea" (meaning from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean), is popular among both Islamists and Western leftists. Islamists often state openly that they want to murder most if not all of the Jews living there. So when they chant "Palestine should be free," they typically mean free of Jews.
Stephen Daisley: Why I love Israel
[T]here are plenty of reasons for Zionists to be gloomy on this, Israel’s 75th birthday, but there is one reason for optimism that outshines them all: Israel is 75. Israel was created; survived an immediate Arab effort to annihilate it; ingathered the survivors of the death camps; settled the land and built kibbutzim; struggled through the lean and lonely years; triumphed in the Six-Day War and reunited Jerusalem; pulled through the Yom Kippur War; endured two intifadas; rescued Beta Israel and welcomed the refuseniks; lost Yamit, lost Rabin, lost Gush Katif; made the desert bloom with fruits and microchips; and made peace with Arab nations. All of that in 75 years and, despite impossible odds, Israel lives yet.

Israel is a hard country and for many a hard country to love. It is flinty but whiny, eager for the world’s love but diplomatically tin-eared, unsentimental but gripped by existential angst. It is a country that adores its army and reveres military discipline but is so hectically informal that you wonder how it made it to 75 days, let alone 75 years. It also boasts the highest density of rude people in the known universe, although I find that strangely endearing. I have never loved Israel more than the time the manager of a Tel Aviv minimart yelled at me for a) not speaking Hebrew, b) being a foreign journalist, and c) coming in to shop when she was trying to watch TV. Only in Israel, the innovation nation, could they invent the inconvenience store.

If Zionism is the theory, Israel is the practice and like all practical translations of idealism it is compromised, haphazard, sometimes unsightly, and occasionally disheartening. But that tension between Zionism and Israel, between ahavat and ha’aretz, is where the great debates take place and where the course of Jewish history can be set or changed. Israeli independence, as it reaches 75 years, is still a miraculous application of a mundane idea: Jewish self-determination.
Israel Independence Day: Celebrating 75 Years with Natan Sharansky
Former Prisoner of Zion Natan Sharansky's personal journey reflects that of the Jewish people, and the centrality of Israel in his life and Jewish identity mirrors the experiences of so many Jews around the world.

Sharansky: "The existence of Israel and, in a way, the existence of the Jewish people is the best demonstration of the importance of these two basic desires of people - to be free and to belong."

"For a thousand years, what were we fighting for? For our right to live freely in accordance with our identity. And then Israel was established. It could not be created as a non-Jewish state and it would never have succeeded in gathering all the Jews if not for its freedom." "There is no other nation or any other state which embodies the strength of this connection. And if you look at history and compare us with Israel 50 years ago, we have much more freedom and much more identity. We have far more of a Jewish and democratic state, so that's the direction we're heading in....Our history and our triumphs are the best proof of how important it is for these two things to go together." "I grew up [in the Soviet Union] having zero connection with anything Jewish except through antisemitism....It was Israel that came in a very powerful way to the center of our life, from the Six-Day War, and it allowed us to discover our identity, that we have a history, we are a people and we have a state. That gave us the strength to fight for our Jewish rights and for a better world."

"When people simply want tikkun olam [repairing the world] without any identity...your life is very shallow. Look at how all these Birthright kids - whose bar mitzvah was the last time they've had a connection to being Jewish - suddenly discover that it's cool and even interesting to live inside history....Suddenly, they have energy, meaning and understanding....In this age, there is no better way to quickly give Jews a brief injection of the importance and meaning of discovering their Jewish identity than coming to Israel."


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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 19 years and 40,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


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