Friday, May 19, 2023

05/19 Links Pt1: Dore Gold: One state or two: What will Israel's future look like?; Tlaib’s shameful weaponization of the Elie Wiesel Genocide Act against Israel

From Ian:

Dore Gold: One state or two: What will Israel's future look like?
The latest issue of Foreign Affairs (May-June, 2023) features an article provocatively titled “Israel’s one-state reality.” Its subtitle gives away its real purpose, for it proposes that it’s time to give up on the two-state solution.

For years, Foreign Affairs was the flagship of writing on issues related to US foreign policy. It used to serve as a bellwether for where the US foreign policy establishment was heading. For example, in 1947 it published a long cable by foreign service officer George Kennan, on how America was to respond to the challenge of Soviet expansionism at the dawn of the Cold War.

The latest Foreign Affairs article essentially presents a false choice for Israel: either the Jewish state should openly embrace the two-state solution or just admit that it is heading for a “one state reality,” and may even be there already. The article places those who have reservations about a two-state outcome as “defending colonialist principles in a post-colonial world.” This is name-calling dressed up as an intellectual argument.

Even so, the article’s authors qualified their conclusions about Israel’s apartheid, stating: “Israel’s system may not technically be apartheid.”

US administrations have been correct in denying the attempts by some who are trying to force this choice by designating Israel now as an “apartheid state.” In October 2011, justice Richard Goldstone of South Africa headed a UN commission that examined charges made by the UN Human Rights Council concerning how Israel handled the Gaza War (Operation Cast Lead, December 2008-January 2009).

Goldstone took Israel to task on the questions that the UN raised. But then he withdrew his tough conclusions in an op-ed for The Washington Post that grappled with the question of whether Israel was an apartheid state today. There, he explicitly dropped the apartheid charge, writing that “in Israel, there is no apartheid.” Still, the writers at Foreign Affairs make a nasty assertion by concluding that “Israel is even worse than apartheid.”

Iran is the force behind all of Israel's enemies
Regardless of whether Hamas and Hezbollah were deterred by Israel or simply saw satisfaction in seeing a rival terrorist group clobbered, one thing is clear: Hamas and Hezbollah leadership feared they would face a similar fate as the top three PIJ commanders and thus exposed Iran’s own weakness. It turns out that Hamas and Hezbollah’s leaders, like the ayatollahs themselves, are fearless with the lives of others but are much more concerned with their own lives.

Despite its efforts, Iran’s influence was limited to convincing the Islamic Jihad’s leadership abroad (ensconced in luxury hotels) to turn down Egypt’s initial ceasefire efforts, to prolong the skirmish with Israel by three days, and to lose scores of additional terrorists and facilities in the process.

Israel’s targeted killing policy proved effective and will hopefully deter future escalations. Once again, Israel showed the world it tries its best not to harm Palestinian civilians, while Palestinian terrorists do their best to target Israeli civilians and hide behind their own. That is the reason for the limited calls heard this time in the international community to put an end to the PIJ’s drubbing.

Importantly, key actors and potential peace partners in the region, like Saudi Arabia and others, got reassurance after seeing a glimpse of Israel’s power. They surely have no illusions as to where the future lies.

Israel has grown into a global economic and technological power, with a per-capita GDP that surpasses countries like Italy, France and Germany. As a hub of cutting-edge technology and a gateway to Europe and America, any responsible leader who has his people’s future in mind would seek peace with Israel.

While Tehran and the PIJ lick their wounds, Israel and their potential peace partners, along with their longstanding partners, should bring an end to the Arab-Israeli conflict and stop Iran’s pursuit of nuclear arms.
Biden's weakness has driven Iran & Saudi Arabia to China
President Joe Biden may have come into office as a purported foreign policy expert but according to JNS editor-in-chief Jonathan Tobin he’s maintained his streak of being wrong on every issue for the last half-century.

Tobin is joined by Hudson Institute scholar Michael Doran to talk about the far-reaching consequences of Biden's weakness.

They discuss - Biden's policy in the Middle East leading to China, Saudi Arabia and Iran coming together.
- Erdogan's possible re-election and what the US gets wrong about Turkey
- The waning of US power in the region
- The hope for other nations to join the Abraham Accords

Tlaib’s shameful weaponization of the Elie Wiesel Genocide Act against Israel
The Elie Wiesel Genocide and Atrocities Act was passed by Congress in 2018 to focus national resources and attention on genocidal conflicts around the world. My father survived the Holocaust and made it his life’s work to give voice to the voiceless. From Kosovo to Rwanda to Darfur, he fought oppression tirelessly.

Last week, Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) weaponized the Elie Wiesel Genocide Act against Israel. The text of her proposed bill claims that Israeli aggression is the root cause of the issues that divide Israel and the Palestinian people today. It further suggests that Israel is subjecting the Palestinian people to an ongoing genocide. Democratic leaders who truly believe in the values my father stood for should speak out forcefully against this cynical accusation.

Genocide is the intended destruction, in whole or in part, of a national, ethnic, racial or religious group. To suggest that Israel must be monitored lest it effect a genocide against Palestinians or their culture is an affront not only to decency but to the 6 million victims of the Holocaust, the 3 million Cambodians murdered by the Khmer Rouge, and to the million Tutsis killed in Rwanda.

Do genocidal regimes repeatedly offer territory for peace? Do nations committing atrocities drop leaflets or send text messages warning nearby civilians before they fire rockets at terrorist cells? Did 4 million Muslims not just observe Ramadan at Al-Aqsa last month in Jerusalem?

These false charges of genocide against Israel are smears long used by critics who apply classical anti-Semitic tropes to the Jewish state. And they have consequences. These forms of blood libel fan the flames of hatred towards Jews as surely as the medieval claims once did that we murdered Jesus or were killing Christian infants. To utilize my father’s name in such vile accusations is so far beyond the pale that I am staggered by the silence in response.

I cannot figure out why some within the progressive movement are so unfailingly obsessed with attacking Israel, to the point that prominent politicians such as Jeremy Corbyn nearly brought Britain’s Labor Party down over it. Why would they do this, when it distracts their energy from causes that are worthy and which they might just win?

I remember my father telling me: We have always been hated.

The root cause of the conflict is not Israel’s aggression. It is Israel’s existence. It is our existence.

Majority of New York State Assembly Democrats Condemn Bill Targeting Pro-Israel Charities
A majority of the Democratic Conference of the New York State Assembly on Thursday signed a letter condemning a bill that would cut off funding to pro-Israel charities.

The “Not On Our Dime!: Ending New York Funding of Israeli Settler Violence Act” seeks to prohibit nonprofits from engaging in “unauthorized support of Israeli settlement activity.” The signatories to Thursday’s letter say the bill is an effort to attack Jewish organizations.

“This bill is a ploy to demonize Jewish charities with connections to Israel,” the letter says. “It was only introduced to antagonize pro-Israel New Yorkers and further sow divisions within the Democratic Party. We look forward to seeing the supporters of this legislation condemn last week’s attack from the Palestinian Islamic Jihad targeting civilians and recognizing Israel’s right to exist.”

The letter was led by Assemblymember Daniel Rosenthal (D-Queens) and endorsed by 65 other members of the 150-member Assembly.

The “Not On Our Dime!” act was introduced on Tuesday in the Assembly by Zohran Mamdani (D-Queens) and in the Senate by Jibari Brisport (D-Brooklyn) with five additional co-sponsors, most of whom are members of or were endorsed by the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA). One of those five original co-sponsors, Manny De Los Santos (D-Manhattan) reversed course and signed Thursday’s letter condemning the bill.

In addition to banning New York charities from giving money that supports Israeli settlements, the bill would also authorize the Attorney General of New York to fine such organizations in excess of $1 million and allow Palestinians to bring private civil action against those charities.

Biden Considering Anti-Israel Activist Susie Gelman for Ambassador to Israel
Ambassadors to Israel tend to be hostile to Israel because they either come out of the State Department’s Middle Eastern professional class or worse, Democrat donors and apparatchiks who are “interested” in Israel.

Outgoing Ambassador Thomas Nides was an odious example of this, but the Biden administration is looking for someone even worse. Possible candidates supposedly include Obama’s ex Dan Shapiro, and former Rep. Robert Wexler, an anti-Israel leftist, but there’s buzz about “selecting a woman”.

This isn’t about selecting a woman, obviously, it’s about promoting an anti-Israel leftist who happens to be female while painting her selection as historic.

Who’s the woman in question?

Reportedly, Susie Gelman, the chairwoman of the Israel Policy Forum.

While IPF is a more obscure anti-Israel activist group than Soros’ J Street, it is quite vehemently anti-Israel. Here’s the Discover the Networks profile.
As Kenneth Levin notes in The Oslo Syndrome, the group’s first executive director was Jonathan Jacoby, “who had earlier in his career signed a New York Times ad accusing Israel of ‘state terrorism.’”

In 2008, IPF lauded the newly formed J Street as a group whose objectives represented a refreshing alternative to the “Arab and/or Palestinian-bashing” of “their pro-status quo, pro-occupation counterparts.”

IPF has received funding from such sources as George Soros‘s Open Society Institute and the Tides Foundation.

The Israel Policy Forum, much like J Street, conducts lobbying and pressure campaigns against Israel, rallying Democrats to oppose Israeli and pro-Israel moves, and aiding some of the worst anti-Israel Dems like Rep. Betty McCollum.

Susie Gelman, a Levi Strauss heiress, has spent the past year or so relentlessly attacking the Israeli government: itself normally disqualifying for an ambassador to that government.
House Republican introduces 'pro-Israel' legislative package amid tensions with Palestinian militants in Gaza
Rep. Carlos Gimenez, R-Fla., on Friday introduced two pieces of "pro-Israel" legislation condemning attacks by Iranian military proxies and bolstering law enforcement training between the U.S. and Israel.

"For the past week we have witnessed how murderous jihadist terrorists have launched a full-scale assault on the democratic, Jewish State of Israel," Gimenez, who previously served as mayor of Miami-Dade County, which boasts one of the largest Jewish communities in the United States, said in a statement to Fox News Digital. "I am proud to introduce this legislation to reaffirm America’s support for Israel and strengthen our security cooperation in the fight against global terror."

House Resolution 3393, dubbed the U.S.-Israel Cooperation Expansion Act, would cultivate greater relations with Israel, America's closest ally in the Middle East, by making the official policy of the United States to support bilateral law enforcement training between the two nations.

Since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, more than 1,000 law enforcement officers and first responders have traveled to Israel to participate in joint training exercises on how to combat terrorism, manage mass causality situations and mitigate other security events, Gimenez’s office notes.

Israel has long been a strategic partner in advancing U.S. military readiness, homeland defense, energy, and cybersecurity.

Because joint military exercises between Israel and the United States have proven to be a major success, the bill aims to bring the same approach to law enforcement cooperation to share best practices and help law enforcement better protect American communities, his office said. The bill also supports Israel's inclusion to the 85-nation coalition that has sent law enforcement personnel to the International Law Enforcement Academy aimed at combating transnational crime.

Its co-sponsors are Reps. Jeff Van Drew, R-N.J., Randy Weber, R-Texas, Nancy Mace, R-S.C., Maria Elvira Salazar, R-Fla., Brian Babin, R-Texas, Chris Smith, R-N.J., Neal Dunn, R-Fla., and Michael Guest, R-Miss.
‘We’re Very Distressed’: US Antisemitism Envoy Condemns Tunisian President’s Response to Synagogue Attack
Deborah Lipstadt, the United States’ antisemitism envoy, called the response of Tunisia’s President Kais Saied to a deadly attack at a synagogue that killed five people earlier this month “antisemitic,” at a press conference Wednesday.

Lipstadt, who had visited the historic synagogue on the island of Djerba 24 hours before the attack as part of an official visit to Tunisia, told The Algemeiner that Saied’s refusal to describe the synagogue attack as antisemitic was disappointing and discouraging.

“We’re very distressed by President Saied’s pushing back – as if we had said Tunisia was antisemitic, which we did not say,” Lipstadt said. “[We] said the attack was an act of antisemitism. And then his pivoting to Gaza…that was antisemitic.”

Saied in a speech on Saturday tried to deflect what he claimed was Western criticism of antisemitism in Tunisia by pivoting to Israel’s recent military response to rocket fire from Gaza.

“These parties do not hesitate to make false accusations of antisemitism, while they turn a deaf ear when it comes to dealing with the fate of Palestinians who die every day,” he said. “The Palestinian people will manage against all odds to triumph and recover their stolen land.”

Lipstadt’s comments come amidst significant disquiet within the North African country’s Jewish community over the government’s response to the attack.
Djerba attack shines a light on Arab antisemitism denial
Saied’s utterances in the aftermath of the shooting demonstrate that this discourse, which fuses crudely antisemitic ideology with antisemitism denial, is willfully promoted by those in power. One might legitimately wonder why Tunisia—whose capital, Tunis, is situated 2,000 miles from Jerusalem—elevates the Palestinian issue to such existential dimensions, but then one can ask the same question of nearly every member state of the Arab League.

Historically, Arab leaders would invoke the Palestinians for one major reason; they were a useful distraction, a convenient instrument with which to redirect the anger and resentment that Arab citizens felt towards their governments in the direction of the State of Israel. But when that anger manifested on the streets, it was defenseless Jewish communities and not the Israel Defense Forces that confronted violence and rioting. In the late 1940s and early 1950s, the collective Arab failure to strangle Israel at birth during its War of Independence found compensation through the persecution and then expulsion of more than 800,000 Jews across the Middle East—from Morocco to Iraq.

Against such a background, it hardly comes as a shock that an attack on a synagogue in which Jews and non-Jews lost their lives is interpreted through these filters. To deny that the El Ghriba attack was motivated by antisemitism is as absurd as denying that the October 2018 massacre at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh was antisemitic in nature. Yet when expressed by an autocrat like Saied, who has spent much of the past three years reversing the democratic gains achieved in Tunisia during the “Arab Spring,” such arguments become unarguable.

Last week, Saied paid a visit to the Tunis suburb of Ariana, the location of the house of his grandfather, whom he said had sheltered Jews during the Nazi occupation (a skillful way of pushing the myth that it was ordinary Tunisians who saved Jews from the Holocaust when the reality is that it was the conquest of the country by Allied forces that made the decisive difference). “The locals protected them from the Nazi army, and then they say we’re antisemitic,” he complained. “Our Palestinian brethren are killed daily … but no one is saying anything about that.”

Sad as it is to say, the next time there is an attack on a Jewish target in an Arab country—and there probably will be—that same speech will be regurgitated.
Swedish party with Nazi roots ‘wants to be friends of Israel, Jews’
The Israeli Foreign Ministry has long had a policy of blacklisting political parties with Nazi or openly antisemitic roots, from the Austrian Freedom Party to the National Front in France and beyond. The Sweden Democrats always fell under that category, counting Nazis and neo-Nazis among its founding members but the boycott had little impact since they were far from positions of power in Stockholm.

Last year, however, the Sweden Democrats became the second-largest party in parliament, supporting the governing coalition – and they want to befriend Israel.

“Israel is the only true democracy in the region, and we like that,” Sweden Democrats lawmaker Richard Jomshof, chairman of the parliament’s Justice Committee, said on a visit to the Knesset on Wednesday. “We are pro-Israel, we would like to cooperate with Israel and we want to be friends.”

Member of the European Parliament Charlie Weimers, who has been an outspoken supporter of Israel in Brussels in recent years, said “We’re here to be friends. No matter what the Foreign Ministry thinks of us, we will remain friends of Israel and the Jewish People. We share Judeo-Christian values.”

Weimers was also proud to point out that a recent study by the European Coalition for Israel determined Sweden Democrats had the most pro-Israel voting record of the Swedish parties in the European Parliament and was the eighth-most pro-Israel overall.
'Gush Etzion will not be separated': Right blasts plan to extend security barrier
An Israel Hayom report on a plan to build a new section of the security barrier that would essentially separate Gush Etzion from the rest of the country infuriated MKs on the right.

The Gush Etzion, just south of Jerusalem in Judea and Samaria, includes many Israeli settlements. It has for all intents and purposes become a suburb of the capital. The security barrier Israel has built in Judea and Samaria is designed to stop terrorists from crossing into Israeli cities, but it has never been completed due to various legal and environmental challenges. In the area of Gush Etzion the section that was set to be constructed has been in limbo for some 20 years in part because of concern over the impact it would have on the natural habitat of wildlife and because of political opposition to a de-facto border that would separate the area from Jerusalem and central Israel.

"Gush Etzion will not be severed from Jerusalem, definitely not on our watch," Liku MK Ariel Kallner told Israel Hayom. "Even though the battle against illegal crossing is very important, cutting the connection between Gush Etzion and Jerusalem is something that is beyond the pale, definitely in a right-wing government such as this one." He vowed to convene the Defense and Foreign Affairs Committee to discuss the matter "as soon as possible."

Limor Sonn Har Melech, from the far-Right party Otzma Yehudit, echoed his comments. "We are celebrating today [Thursday] Jerusalem Day [marking the reunification of the city in 1967] and the return of the People of Israel to many areas of the land; we won't let any community be isolated on our watch. The solution to the illegal crossings is not a fence but construction that would create territorial contiguity between Gush Etzion and Jerusalem."

According to the original Israel Hayom report, the construction of that section of the barrier is set to begin in the near term and land has already been expropriated. The overall result could be akin to making Gush Etzion settlements a de-facto enclave that is separate from the rest of the country even though it has long been part of the national consensus with a broad understanding on both the Left and the Right that it will remain under Israeli control in any future peace deal.
Some 50,000 Israelis join Jerusalem Day flag march, scuffles erupt in Old City
About 50,000 Israelis gathered in Jerusalem for the Jerusalem Day flag march on Thursday, with police working throughout the day to break up scuffles that broke out between Jews, Arabs and journalists.

The march was conducted on its traditional route, departing from the center of the city along King George and Agron streets before splitting into two, with men continuing through Damascus Gate and the Muslim Quarter and women continuing through Jaffa Gate before meeting up again at the Western Wall.

A number of Jews carrying Israeli flags headed to the Damascus Gate area ahead of the flag march, with scuffles breaking out in the area between Jews, Arabs and police. Scuffles between Jews and Muslims were also reported in additional locations throughout the Muslim Quarter of the Old City.

Journalists covering the flag march were attacked by right-wing participants of the march near the Damascus Gate on Thursday afternoon, with participants jeering at them and hitting them with various objects.

Participants carrying flags of the far-right Lehava movement could be seen on a livestream using flag poles to jab at the journalists and displaying their middle fingers at the journalists. Various items, including water bottles, were thrown back and forth between the journalists and the participants as well as police worked to separate the two groups. At least one journalist was arrested.

Should the Jerusalem Day flag march happen in the first place?
Amid tensions, threats, and provocations, should the Jerusalem Day flag march be allowed to happen every year?

The Israel Guys: Is ISRAEL Being Threatened By Swarming ATTACK DRONES From Iran?
Swarming attack drones might sound like something completely impossible, but in today’s world of technology it is a real thing. Israel’s enemies HAVE them.

On today’s show Joshua breaks down what kind of threat that holds here in Israel.

Iran hangs 3 linked to Amini protests, drawing condemnations
Iran on Friday executed three men convicted of killing security force members during protests triggered by Mahsa Amini’s death last year, the judiciary said, drawing condemnation from rights groups.

Majid Kazemi, Saleh Mirhashemi and Saeed Yaghoubi were found guilty of “moharebeh” — or waging “war against God” — for shooting dead three members of the security forces at a demonstration in the central city of Isfahan on November 16, the judiciary’s Mizan Online news website said.

Iran witnessed waves of nationwide protests following the September 16 death of 22-year-old Amini, an Iranian Kurd who had been arrested for an alleged breach of the Islamic republic’s strict dress rules for women.

During the protests, which Tehran generally labelled as foreign-instigated “riots,” thousands of Iranians were arrested and hundreds killed including dozens of security forces.

Friday’s hangings bring to seven the total number of Iranians executed in connection with the demonstrations.

Kazemi, Mirhashemi and Yaghoubi were arrested in November and sentenced to death in January.

They were also charged with membership of “illegal groups with the intention of disrupting national security and collusion leading to crimes against internal security,” Mizan said.

It noted “evidence and documents in the case and the clear statements made by the accused” showed that “the shootings carried out by these three people led to the martyrdom of three security forces.”

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