Sunday, July 25, 2021

  • Sunday, July 25, 2021
  • Elder of Ziyon
Over the past week, Amnesty International together with an advocacy group called Forbidden Stories have released a bombshell story to dozens of media outlets claiming that Israel's NSO Group has provided its commercial Pegasus spyware to many regimes who then turned around and used them for surveillance on thousands of people, including prominent reporters, whistleblowers and politicians.

The NSO Group insists that it only sells its software to governments to use to combat terrorism and major crime, and that they sign agreements to that effect.

The entire story hinges around a "leaked" list of 50,000 phone numbers that is supposedly a list of potential targets for the spyware. All the reporting from 80 reporters from 17 newspapers who have investigated this story for months is based on this list.

As of today, there is no evidence that this list has anything to do with NSO Group or Pegasus.

Amnesty, Forbidden Stories and the dozens of reports of the story have been remarkably vague about the origins of this list. The entire investigation makes the assumption that the list is linked to the NSO Group - something that the company strenuously denies, and which makes no sense if you actually think about it. Why would the NSO Group keep a list of the targets used by the countries? Wouldn't they want to keep that list as secret as possible?

Even more incredibly, why would the governments using Pegasus pool their lists of targets on the same database, whether maintained by NSO Group or not?

It literally makes no sense that anyone would maintain such a list.

Amnesty's cybersecurity team, backed by experts at the University of Toronto, checked the mobile phones of a small percentage of the people said to be surveilled by the software and found about half of them had evidence that Pegasus was installed on their phones - 37 out of 67 checked from a "leaked" list of 50,000 phone numbers.

The NSO Group founder and CEO Shalev Hulio told Calcalist, "Around one month ago we received the first approach from an information broker. He said that there is a list circulating in the market and that whoever holds it is saying that the NSO servers in Cyprus were hacked and that there is a list of targets there and that we should be careful. We looked into it. We don't have servers in Cyprus and don't have these types of lists, and the number doesn't make sense in any way so it has nothing to do with us. He insisted that it does. We were later approached by two different clients who said that brokers have come to them claiming that they have a list related to NSO. We eventually received some screenshots of the list the brokers managed to get a hold of and based on that we understood that this doesn't look like the Pegasus system, certainly on the server, and that this is an engineered list unrelated to us. We looked over it with the clients and it slowly became clear to us that it is an HLR Lookup server and has nothing to do with NSO. We understood that this was a joke."

HLR is a global database of cellular phone numbers. Anyone can get information from commercial vendors of HLR data - including the location of the phone. 

It makes no sense that anyone would compile a list of phones that Pegasus is installed on. 

Here's what does make sense:

It makes perfect sense that someone would compile a list of phone numbers of prominent government officials and reporters. If someone simply compiled a list of prominent people and their mobile phone numbers, and then linked that to their HLR data, it would be very valuable indeed, mostly for underhanded purposes. 

It makes sense that governments that acquired Pegasus legally are using it for illegal or potentially illegal purposes against prominent investigative reporters and political opponents. There is no way to stop that, except for NSO to pull the license when abuses are discovered - and NSO has done exactly that a number of times.

It makes sense that Israel allows NSO to export the software to Arab governments (and others like India) that Israel wants to have closer ties with, even if they have dodgy human rights records, and that they are using it in ways that it is not licensed for. That sort of behavior can be criticized but it is the sort of decision literally every government makes. 

It is also very possible that Pegasus, which is just software, has been leaked to unauthorized users to be used illegally. I don't see how NSO could stop that from happening - while normal software might check in with a central server to ensure that it has a valid license, by its very nature Pegasus wouldn't do that because the check itself would reveal its presence.

If there is an underground trade in Pegasus - which seems highly likely given how it can be used - then one can expect that the software has been installed, or attempted to be installed, on the phones of many prominent political players and reporters - people that would be on existing lists.

That would explain why the leaked list would have the phone numbers of some people with verified Pegasus installations or installation attempts. It would also explain why so many of the leaked phone numbers do not have Pegasus installed, a major flaw in the story that has been papered over with the wild guess that the list is of "potential Pegasus targets."

Similarly, Pegasus may have been reverse engineered and recreated to get around any controls the NSO Group may have put into the software itself to protect its own intellectual property.

It furthermore is likely that the NSO Group is aware that its software is being used in ways that it is not licensed for, just as the manufacturers of weapons know that they sometimes get stolen or used illegally despite the efforts of lawyers to ensure that the sales/license agreements are as ironclad as possible. The NSO Group would not admit publicly that there is a lucrative underground trade in its software, because it is a security company and that would hurt its reputation. But criminals and rogue states are always trying to obtain weapons and weapons technology illegally, and cyberweapons are at least as desirable as guns or stealth airplane designs - with the added benefit that once obtained, they can be reproduced for free.

The Pegasus Project and its journalists are acting irresponsibly in reporting this story as if the linchpin to the story itself - the leaked list - is associated with NSO Group. That part is unlikely in the extreme, and the reporting itself is careful not to directly link this list with NSO, instead relying on innuendo.

One can understand why journalists are jumpy at finding out that their names and phone numbers are on some sort of list of targets. That doesn't give them the right to make accusations that have no evidence, and moreover for them to be so opaque about the source of the leaked list - clearly the weak spot in the story itself. And many stories have been based on the idea that the list itself is definitely linked to NSO Group and not a more general list of phone numbers of prominent politicians and critics.

The desire to place blame on NSO, and on Israel itself for allowing the software to be exported, is more wishful thinking than real reporting. 

There is definitely a market in spyware, and it is certainly being used in ways that violate human rights. That is a real story and that it what the story should have been from the start. Instead, it has become just another reason to bash Israel.

  • Sunday, July 25, 2021
  • Elder of Ziyon
The International Judo Federation issued a statement:

Following the draw of the judo competition at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, Fethi Nourine (-73kg) and his coach Amar Benikhlef gave individual statements to media announcing their withdrawal from the competition to avoid meeting an Israeli athlete during the event. The immediate response of the IJF Executive Committee was to form an investigative commission which confirmed all the facts, leading to a temporary suspension of the athlete and the coach and assigning the case to the Disciplinary Commission of the IJF for further investigation, judgement and final sanctioning beyond the Olympic Games.
The IJF launched the investigation and notified the Algerian Olympic Committee and the International Olympic Committee. Responding to the information, the Algerian Olympic Committee withdrew both the athlete and coach accreditation and plans to send them home, applying sanctions accordingly.

Judo sport is based on a strong moral code, including respect and friendship, to foster solidarity and we will not tolerate any discrimination, as it goes against the core values and principles of our sport.
The BBC reports that most Arab social media supported and praised Nourine, with some saying that his refusal to compete hurts Israel more than if he would have won.

This bizarre logic is accepted as normal.

The head of the Palestinian Olympic Committee, Jibril Rajoub, praised the Algerian position "in support of Palestine at all levels, including sports,"  taking a photo of himself with Nourine. 

 Rajoub is announcing ahead of time that Palestinian athletes would refuse to compete against Israelis. 

That declaration itself should disqualify the entire Palestinian Olympic team, since they are essentially declaring that they will  eagerly violate Olympic rule 50 which says, "No kind of demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda is permitted in any Olympic sites, venues or other areas." 

Saturday, July 24, 2021

From Ian:

AJC Welcomes Germany's Decision to Skip Durban 20 Summit
American Jewish Committee (AJC) applauds Germany for its principled decision to not attend the 20th anniversary summit of the UN's notorious 2001 World Conference Against Racism.

The gathering is set to take place in New York on September 22, during the opening days of the UN General Assembly. With its announcement today, Germany joins the United States, Israel, Netherlands, United Kingdom, Hungary, Austria, Canada, Australia, and the Czech Republic in announcing they will skip the meeting.

"Germany has again asserted leadership in the global fight against antisemitism," said AJC CEO David Harris. "Germany has once again, as it did in 2009 and 2011, laudably recognized the discredited nature of the original conference, held in Durban, South Africa. We hope other nations will follow suit."

The 2001 conference quickly diverted from its original agenda and goals and turned into a hate fest, where Israel and its supporters were consistently attacked, sometimes involving physical intimidation, as racist. At the parallel NGO Forum, many participants openly expressed hatred toward Israel and threatened representatives of Jewish NGOs participating in the event.

"Confronting true racism around the world is a noble cause, but singling out one country, Israel, and one group of people, Jews, for continual censure is grossly unjust, and undermines the global fight against antisemitism and other forms of bigotry and hatred," said Harris.

Olympics: Israeli Avishag Samberg wins bronze in taekwondo
Israeli Olympian Avishag Samberg won a bronze medal in taekwondo in the Olympic Games in Tokyo on Saturday. Stunning fans at her first Olympic Games at only 19 years old, Samberg's win marks Israel's first medal in the Tokyo 2020 games. Samberg competed in the under 49 kg weight class, edging out the Turkish Rokia Yildirim with a score of 27-22 during the battle for the bronze.

Samberg said after her winning fight that she "had a difficult day."

"I lost in the morning, it was a bit difficult," she said, thanking her coach.

"I have an Olympic medal at 19," she said in disbelief. "I worked so hard all the way. I withstood the pressure, I believed it would happen."

"I knew the draw was very difficult," she said, adding that she "looked [Yildirim] in the eyes and did it. I said to myself, 'so what if I'm the youngest?' I will give everything I have. Hope this is not my last medal. It feels like a dream to me."

Friday, July 23, 2021

From Ian:

Caroline Glick: In America, Corbyn won
Thanks to the progressive Jews who ordered up the GBAO poll, tomorrow Cong. Ilhan Omar and her fellow Jew-haters inside and outside the Democrat Congressional Caucus will use the poll results to deflect criticism as they spew anti-Semitic blood libels against Israel and its "Benjamins" wielding American Jewish supporters.

This brings us to the moderates who comprise the majority of the American Jewish establishment. Like their counterparts in the Democrat leadership, these leaders know full well that Israel is not an apartheid state or committing genocide or guilty of systemic racism and they know it is anti-Semitic raise to these obscene allegations. But like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer, they won't fight progressives to defend the truth.

They will remove Israeli flags from their synagogues, schools, JCCs and stages at rallies. They won't talk about Israel. And they will endorse "Statements of Inclusion" that insist you cannot fight anti-Semitism without fighting all forms of hatred because there isn't anything unique about Jew-hatred. And anyway, "the occupation" is divisive and stuff.

They will repeat these incantations without realizing that they have adopted Jeremy Corbyn's lexicon. Corbyn after all defended himself from allegations of anti-Semitism by saying he couldn't possibly be an anti-Semite because he was anti-racism.

The victims of the failed Jewish-American establishment are the American Jews. Last month, City University of New York's faculty union overwhelmingly passed a resolution labeling Israel an "apartheid…settler-colonial state" that has perpetrated the "massacre" of Palestinians and demanded the Biden administration cease US aid to Israel. The resolution also called for CUNY to join the BDS campaign against Israel.

Some Jewish professors quit the union in protest. In an interview with Algemeiner, Prof. Robert Shapiro of Brooklyn College said that for him, "It's hard to figure out what to do."

"It's more complex than simply anti-Semitism," he said.

"It's the use of the concept of intersectionality and arguing that if you're really in favor of justice for your particular group or certain groups you have to be in favor of justice for everybody discriminated against."

The situation is even more complicated by the fact that many of the intersectionality crowd's preferred victim groups – including the ones included in the "No Fear" rally's "Statement of Inclusion" are the chief instigators of anti-Semitic assaults on Jews on campuses throughout the US The credo of the American Jewish establishment requires Jews to side with groups that are victimizing and deliberately targeting them.

Anti-Semitism in Britain didn't disappear with Corbyn's defeat. It has continued to rise, just as it has in the US All the same, the difference between the two communities is clear. When push came to shove, the British Jewish establishment stood up for the Jews even at the price of turning its back on progressive intersectional slogans.

Through its show of weakness July 11, as in its activities both before and since, the American Jewish establishment has demonstrated to friend and foe alike that in the US the situation is reversed. While the progressive faction of the Jewish establishment promotes and abets anti-Semitism, the moderate majority has opted to give up the fight for Jewish rights without a struggle.
Meet Ben & Jerry’s Board Chair: Anti-Israel Activist Has Published Defenses of Hezbollah, Hamas
Ben & Jerry's board chairwoman isn't your average corporate suit. A social justice warrior who's now under increased scrutiny in the wake of the company's announcement that it will boycott Israel's West Bank and East Jerusalem, she has a lengthy history of left-wing activism that includes publishing columns defending Hezbollah and supporting U.S. funding to Hamas.

Anuradha Mittal, the leading force behind the ice cream company's decision to stop selling its products in parts of Israel, founded the Oakland Institute, which describes itself as an "independent policy think tank," in 2004 and serves as its executive director. The group has published articles defending Hezbollah and Hamas, terrorist groups that seek the destruction of the Jewish state.

Ben & Jerry's is under increased scrutiny for its decision to join the anti-Israel boycott movement, which follows criticism over the ice cream maker's partnership with anti-Semitic figures during the Women's March in 2018. At the time, the company defended its work with Linda Sarsour, one of the march leaders who was ousted for anti-Semitism. Multiple state and local governments, including Texas and Florida, are considering sanctioning Ben & Jerry's and its parent company, Unilever, over the boycott decision.

Mittal published an article written by Green Party Senate candidate Todd Chretien during the Israel-Lebanon war in 2006 arguing that progressives should support Hezbollah.

"You do not have to agree with all of Hezbollah's ideas to support their resistance to Israel," wrote Chretien. "Condemning ‘both sides' in the Middle East is just like condemning ‘both sides' in the American Civil War. During the Civil War, with all its complications, one side fought for slavery and the other fought for emancipation. Today in the Middle East, one side fights to rob and pillage, the other seeks self-determination and dignity."

Chretien added that Hezbollah's actions would encourage militants who were fighting U.S. soldiers in Iraq.

"Hezbollah has emerged as the hero to millions of Arabs and Muslims. Hezbollah's fight will encourage the resistance in Iraq and it will give a boost to opposition forces in Egypt, Jordan and other American client states," he wrote.
  • Friday, July 23, 2021
  • Elder of Ziyon
From the New York Times, July 24, 1948:

The Palestine National Olympic Committee had been a member in good standing since 1933, and it represented the Jewish National Home even though it had athletes of all religions. Obviously the only thing that changed was the name. Just as obviously, the IOC used a technical excuse to avoid a walkout by the Arabs - so, then as now, Israel pays the price.

  • Friday, July 23, 2021
  • Elder of Ziyon
The thoroughly anti-Israel Washington Report on Middle East Affairs goes towards the antisemitism route by claiming that Palestinians are continuous victims of the Holocaust:

It is a thoroughly disgusting piece of Holocaust trivialization and inversion, filled with quotes from as-a-Jews.

WHEN WE DISCUSS THE HOLOCAUST and Hitler’s slaughter of six million European Jews, we often forget the fact that the Holocaust had other victims as well, namely the Palestinians, whose country was taken from them. They were innocent victims as the world sought to make a place for Jews who had been displaced by the Nazi tyranny, and wished to do so in a way that did not involve inviting Jewish refugees into their own countries.

 The reason that the Palestinians may properly be seen as the final victims of the Holocaust is that growing anti-Semitism in Europe caused many Jews, who had previously opposed Zionism to begin to look positively upon the idea of creating a Jewish state in Palestine as a refuge for those being persecuted. Jewish organizations in the U.S. that had always opposed Zionism, slowly began to view it more favorably. Without Hitler, there would have been little support from Jews in the U.S. or Western Europe for the creation of a Jewish state. Without the Holocaust, the United Nations would have had little reason to establish the State of Israel.

What a grotesque argument. The Zionists argued that only a Jewish state could keep Jews safe, many Jews disagreed. After the Holocaust, it was clear that the Zionists were right, and countless Jews would have been saved if Israel existed ten years earlier.  Events proved that Jews cannot rely on the world to protect them.

Antisemitic jerks like author Allan Brownfeld want to bring things back to the good old days where Jews could be persecuted without recourse - and, worse, he says that Jews who have the nerve to want to exist in their own homeland are as bad as the Nazis are.

This newsletter is considered one of the must-reads for antisemitic, anti-Israel Americans for having articles like this that use pseudo-analysis to delegitimize the only Jewish state. 

From Ian:

Melanie Phillips: The flavour of malice
It should be constantly hammering home to the world the fact that the indigenous people of the land of Israel are the Jews while the Palestinians are the would-be colonisers; that the notion of Palestinian rights to any of that land is a legal and historical fiction; and that Israel liberated the disputed territories from the truly illegal occupation of those lands by Jordan between 1948 and 1967.

It should be constantly hammering home to the world that the Palestinians reveal by their words, actions and insignia that their aim remains the obliteration of Israel; that the “two-state solution” is a convenient untruth by which they dupe the useful idiots of the west; and that it is only Israel that stands for peace, justice and the rule of law.

Alas, though, the Jewish community itself won’t stand up and tell the truth about the Jews’ unique rights to all the land (whether or not Israel actually wants it all), the legality of all Israel’s actions or the hysterical Jew-hatred spewed out by the Palestinians without remission.

Indeed, given the Palestinian Authority’s repression of its own dissenters, its incitement to murder Israelis and steal their land and its Nazi-themed demonisation of the Jewish people, the question that might properly be raised is whether there’s a moral duty to boycott the Palestinians.

But instead of saying any of this, the Jews are mostly divided between those who believe these lies themselves and those who know they are lies but are too terrified to say so.

Until and unless the Jewish world starts properly exposing the falsehoods and demented antisemitism that are driving the vilification of Israel, boycotting the boycotters will always leave the defenders of truth, justice and sanity behind this particular murderous curve.

Damage Control: Unilever’s ‘Inclusive’ CEO Struggles To Renounce Ben & Jerry’s Anti-Semitism
The Unilever boss has also helmed the company's operations in Russia, Africa, and the Middle East, regions that do not exactly comply with the "inclusive" standards Unilever projects to Western audiences.

Last month, for example, the company launched an initiative called "Act 2 Unstereotype" and vowed to "provoke inclusive thinking across the end-to-end marketing process." Its goal is nothing less than to "help influence the next generation of people to be free of prejudice." Except, apparently, when it comes to prejudice against Israeli Jews.

Jope, who once served as a guest judge on The Apprentice with Donald Trump, has written extensively on his business philosophy, which espouses a "multi-stakeholder approach," a "collaborative mindset," "collective reinvention," and other iterations of corporate nonsense.

"Stakeholder capitalism is about radically changing the values of the company, and the way it operates, to reflect the interests of multiple stakeholders all the time," Jope wrote last year in the Telegraph. "It means taking action to address the climate crisis, and also looking at the favelas of Brazil, the townships of Africa and the slums of India to see what business can do to help tackle social and economic inequality."

Ben & Jerry's decision appears at odds with this philosophy, to say the least. As the Washington Free Beacon editors wrote on Tuesday: "We're not clear how exactly removing Ben & Jerry's ice cream from grocery stores in the West Bank will benefit the Palestinians. The move appears to be primarily an act of guerrilla theater and a demonstration of base prejudice."

Israeli prime minister Naftali Bennett had a similar reaction and promised to hold the Unilever CEO accountable for the "clearly anti-Israel step." According to Bennett's office, the prime minister spoke directly with Jope and told him the decision would have "serious consequences, legal and otherwise," as Israel would "act aggressively against all boycott actions directed against its citizens."

The Caroline Glick Show: Episode 14 – Ben and Jerry’s join the Jew haters
0:00 Ben and Jerry's joins the war against the Jewish state
31:35 Iran revolts and Biden sides with the ayatollahs
42:26 Netanyahu's trial unravels and the left attacks Gadi
In Episode 14 of the Caroline Glick Mideast News Hour, Caroline and Gadi discussed Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream announcement that it is joining the Jew haters in the BDS campaign. They talked about its consequences for the Israeli franchise, and about what Americans can do to fight the hate, (spoiler alert: there’s a lot that can be done fairly easily).
Caroline and Gadi moved on to discuss the nationwide uprising of the Iranian people against the regime and what the regime’s overthrow would mean for the world. The Biden administration’s refusal to say a word of support for the Iranian people also received the proper treatment.
Finally they closed this week’s show with a discussion of how Gadi is rocking the world of Israeli leftists by publishing a report in Haaretz of Netanyahu’s trial revealing to the left that the state prosecution indicted Netanyahu without a shred of evidence of wrongdoing, (oops).
Join our dynamic duo for this lively discussion, and get the bonus of meeting Caroline’s mom!
Subscribe to the show and subscribe your friends and family as well.
  • Friday, July 23, 2021
  • Elder of Ziyon

Richie's Pizza was an iconic pizza shop in Jerusalem throughout the 1970s and 80s that was the place for Americans in Israel to meet, hang out and eat familiar pizza in a country that at the time had no such pizza shops.

The Jerusalem Post has a great interview with Richie Fox himself, as he describes his journey and many adventures. One of them stuck out to me.

[I]n 1966, [Richie] took a boat from New York to England, bought a Triumph motorcycle and traveled through Western Europe, ending in Gibraltar, crossing into Morocco and driving across northern Africa, visiting Algeria, Tunisia, Libya and Egypt. From Alexandria, he and his motorcycle took a boat to Beirut, then crossed into Syria. Because of the atmosphere of fanaticism there, he kept his Jewish identity hidden, as well as the fact that he was heading to Israel. Richie then went on to Jordan, seeing Petra – that famed red sandstone historical site that Israelis had longed to go to – and eventually making his way into Israel, settling in Jerusalem.
On his first visit to the Old City, still in Jordanian hands in 1966, he received Jordanian permission to go through the Mandelbaum Gate by declaring he was an Anabaptist. When he went to the Kotel (referred to then as the ‘Wailing Wall’), he realized that he had a privilege not granted to many Jews at all. From somewhere “deep inside,” he recited Shema Yisrael, Arab kids throwing stones at him all the while. On his way back to the Israeli side of Jerusalem, he said to himself, “I’ll probably never be there again.”
Before 1967, Jordan did not allow Jews into Jerusalem at all - as indicated from this story where Fox had to claim to be an Anabaptist. I can only find one time that Jews were allowed to pray at the Kotel under Jordanian rule, in 1957.

Even a Jewish member of the Canadian parliament was barred from visiting the Old City by Jordan in 1959. 

Outside of that 1957 incident, Richie Fox may have been the only Jew to have successfully visited and prayed at the Kotel between 1949 and 1967.

  • Friday, July 23, 2021
  • Elder of Ziyon

Navi Pillay will lead the UNHRC’s  Commission of Inquiry which is designed from the outset to declare Israel an "apartheid" state.

Pillay's three-person commission will supposedly look at the “root causes” of the conflict between Israel and Palestinians.

Pillay is a confirmed hater of Israel and apologist for both terror and antisemitism. She was one of the main organizers of the infamous 2001 Durban conference which devolved into an antisemitic hatefest, yet she defended it and later organized its anniversary celebrations that confirmed its anti-Israel agenda in 2009 and 2011 that were boycotted by many Western nations.

During Durban II, she listened respectfully to  Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's Holocaust denying speech even as many representatives left the room and she had an advanced copy of his speech.

In her report on the 2009 Gaza war, she wrote, "Hamas has made public statements that it is committed to respect international human rights and humanitarian law" without skepticism.

She wasn't chosen to head this commission in spite of her hate of Israel, but because of it.

The commission will not find any systemic antisemitism from the Arab side, but it will almost definitely eagerly join the bandwagon of accusing Israel of systemic racism and apartheid against Palestinians.

It is not meant to issue only a single report, like any other Commission of Inquiry. No, when it comes to Israel, the UN makes up new rules. This is a permanent Commission that will report to the UN every year, forever, its only purpose to say how horrible Israel is.

The mandate of the commission makes it obvious that its mission is one-sided. It starts off with:

Investigate in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in Israel all alleged violations of international humanitarian law and all alleged violations and abuses of international human rights law leading up to and since 13 April 2021
What is so special about April 13, and why does it have to be mentioned if the investigation is including all incidents before and since? 

That is the date that Palestinians say Israel started all the events that led to war. It was the first day of Ramadan and also Israel's Memorial Day, and President Rivlin was giving his annual speech at the Western Wall. Israeli police cut off power to the minaret loudspeakers on the Temple Mount because their call to prayer was drowning out his speech. Palestinians were incensed and Mahmoud Abbas called it  “a racist hate crime.”

The UN is using the Palestinian narrative as its own in creating the mandate for this commission. If it wasn't obvious from the first paragraph, the following ones are specifically designed to find Israel guilty of apartheid, and to collect evidence for that to present to the International Criminal Court, before the members even begin:

Investigate all underlying root causes of recurrent tensions, instability and protraction of conflict, including systematic discrimination and repression based on national, ethnic, racial or religious identity.

 Investigate all underlying root causes of recurrent tensions, instability and protraction of conflict, including systematic discrimination and repression based on national, ethnic, racial or religious identity;

Establish the facts and circumstances that may amount to such violations and abuses and of crimes perpetrated;

Collect, consolidate and analyse evidence of such violations and abuses and of crimes perpetrated, and systematically record and preserve all information, documentation and evidence, including interviews, witness testimony and forensic material, in accordance with international law standards, in order to maximize the possibility of its admissibility in legal proceedings;

Document and verify relevant information and evidence, including through field engagement and by cooperating with judicial and other entities, as appropriate;

Identify, where possible, those responsible, with a view to ensuring that perpetrators of violations are held accountable;

All this language is designed to condemn Israel and bring it to trial before the commission even meets the first time. It is not meant to determine if Israel is guilty of apartheid - it is created to find how Israel is guilty and to ignore any counter evidence. 

To be sure, there will be a perfunctory paragraph in their first report that mentions that Hamas rockets violate international law buried in the middle of 200 pages of accusing Israel of every crime in the book, and adding a few new crimes to the book for good measure. We've seen this before.

While B'Tselem accused Israel of apartheid earlier this year, it is really Human Rights Watch that has opened the floodgates to allow the accusation to become mainstream and accepted. The narrative is overcoming the evidence, even though nothing fundamental has changed in Israel for decades. The UN is now following this train of thought.

The modern antisemites are setting the stage for a legal attack on Israel's very existence. 

  • Friday, July 23, 2021
  • Elder of Ziyon
From the NYT:

BEIT YEHOSHUA, Israel — Uriya Rosenman grew up on Israeli military bases and served as an officer in an elite unit of the army. His father was a combat pilot. His grandfather led the paratroopers who captured the Western Wall from Jordan in 1967.

Sameh Zakout, a Palestinian citizen of Israel, grew up in the mixed Arab-Jewish town of Ramla. His family was driven out of its home in the 1948 war of Israeli independence, known to Palestinians as the “Nakba,” or catastrophe. Many of his relatives fled to Gaza.

Facing each other in a garage over a small plastic table, the two hurl ethnic insults and clichés at each other, tearing away the veneer of civility overlaying the seething resentments between the Jewish state and its Palestinian minority in a rap video that has gone viral in Israel.

The video, “Let’s Talk Straight,” which has garnered more than four million views on social media since May, couldn’t have landed at a more apt time, after the eruption two months ago of Jewish-Arab violence that turned many mixed Israeli cities like Lod and Ramla into Jewish-Arab battlegrounds.

By shouting each side’s prejudices at each other, at times seemingly on the verge of violence, Mr. Rosenman and Mr. Zakout have produced a work that dares listeners to move past stereotypes and discover their shared humanity.

It is a very powerful video.

Each monologue is filled with  simplistic, racist opinions of the other - sprinkled with protests that "I'm not racist."  

Some 20% of Israelis are Arabs. They are full citizens. They deserve equal rights. And at the same time, Israel is a Jewish state and must remain that way, or else it loses its entire character and its raison d'être. The government and the people need to balance the two imperatives.

Many people say that the two are completely incompatible. Most of them are anti-Israel, and paint a false picture of a state where if racism or inequalities exist, it loses its own right to exist - an expectation that applies to no other country. Those people are in reality antisemites, who don't accept the concept of a Jewish state and hide their hate behind human rights principles - not regarding Jewish self determination or the Jewish right to life as human rights at all.

This is the attitude of people from so-called human rights groups and from BDS, which are increasingly interchangeable.

On the other side, there are Jews in Israel who don't want to admit that there is racism against Arabs - people who sound like the Jew in the video, just as there are racist Arabs represented by the Israeli Arab rapper. 

A large number of Israelis think that the least bad alternative is separation - let people live in Arab only or Jewish only cities, or choose to live in mixed cities if they choose. This minimizes the friction but doesn't reduce the racism. 

The BDS crowd takes the separation idea and turns it into pure antisemitism - they don't want any Arab to even talk with any Israeli Jew (unless that Jew denounces Israel beforehand.) They aren't seeking a balance to help reduce friction - they want to ensure that there is no opportunity for any Arab to learn that Jews aren't monsters.

Keeping Israel democratic and Jewish while accepting the Arab minority and treating them as full citizens with full rights is not an easy problem to solve. Neither is overcoming centuries of Arab antisemitism and decades of anti-Israel propaganda. The solution requires education and a desire to learn. 

What is great about this video is that it opens the conversation on both Arab antisemitism and Israeli Jewish racism by confronting the issue head-on. The final statement, "We both have no other country - and this is where change begins" is a challenge to everyone. Listening to the other side doesn't mean accepting their narrative but it does help understand their perspective, and people do not spend enough time trying to understand the other. 

The video is two monologues, followed by both people eating hummus together. But it offers a path towards real dialogue. 

Thursday, July 22, 2021

From Ian:

Nitsana Darshan Leitner: The world reacts to Israel with arrogance and hypocrisy - opinion
How outrageous is the audacity of US President Joe Biden’s administration that its response equates cold-blooded murder with punitive measures that have been used successfully for years, since the British Mandate, to punish those who perpetrate acts of terror murder and to deter those who might follow in their footsteps. In a landscape where terrorists care little about their own lives and blow up buses, take hostages and murder Jews, the demolition of a terrorist’s house makes those who want to strap an explosive vest on their bodies or shoot up teenagers at a bus stop think twice before carrying out their homicidal actions. There are countless examples of Palestinian fathers bringing their sons to the attention of the Palestinian Authority security services because they feared that their boys were about to perpetrate an attack that would ultimately result in the family home being destroyed. The deterrence power is irrefutable and that deterrence saves lives. The State Department was angry about the loss of a building. Why were they not angry about the loss of life? A building can be repaired and rebuilt. Yehuda Guetta is dead, and Benaya Peretz will be paralyzed for the rest of his life. Their homes are destroyed for good. It needs to be pointed out that the homes of terror suspects are not being demolished on a whim. They are the result of a lengthy legal process that must satisfy the criteria of the court; the decision to blow up a home must pass numerous military and judicial thresholds before the orders are issued. There are appeal processes that make their way through the judiciary. There’s nothing unilateral about it. In the Shalabi case, a petition was filed with a High Court of Justice to stop the combat engineers from wiring the structure with explosives. But it failed and the orders to blow up the house were issued.

The US Embassy went so far as to send representatives to observe the courtroom arguments and to make sure that they were carried out to the letter of the law. The legal effort to stop the demolition was not successful. And this was the doubling down of hypocrisy. The US Embassy in Jerusalem didn’t send representatives to pay their condolences to the Guetta family nor did it send an emissary to the hospital to sit at Benaya’s bedside. There were no public statements of American anger over the shooting attack, and the US State Department never bothered to condemn the senseless murder of an innocent teenager waiting at a bus stop. Why would it? Israeli victims have become too commonplace to warrant any interest from American or other governments who continuously look at Jewish victims as acceptable losses in a larger game of appeasement.

The US should know better. After 9/11, when it declared a global war on terror to prevent further acts of catastrophic destruction, all bets were off. American and allied forces arrested and tortured countless Afghans and Pakistanis and held them at Guantanamo Bay without trial – even to this day – in a clear violation of their human rights. Perhaps the US should preach what it practices.

The only unilateral action taken in this tragic affair was the cold-blooded murder of a teenager and the crippling of another by a Palestinian terrorist. Israel’s actions were responsive and measured, designed to limit the collateral damage and heartache of more innocent men, women, and children, being murdered.

The “Apartheid” Poll and the Disinformation Discourse
The July 2021 Jewish Electorate Institute poll of American Jewish opinion on Israel has triggered sharp debate both in the United States and Israel. The poll shows that 25 percent of respondents believe that Israel is an apartheid state, while 22 percent consider Israel guilty of genocide against Palestinians. In the under-40 age group, 20 percent agreed that Israel has no right to exist.

A disinformation campaign leveled at Israel’s legitimacy has been percolating through the West since the 1975 UN “Zionism is racism” Resolution and has overtaken American public discourse on Israel since 2000. This campaign has come to normalize the application of delegitimizing terms to Israel such as “genocide,” “apartheid,” “ethnic cleansing,” “settler colonialism,” and “racism.”

Disinformation as a political warfare phenomenon has deep historical roots in the former Soviet Union. According to KGB defectors to the U.S., its objective was to release “deliberately distorted information, secretly leaked in the communication process,” in order to “deceive and manipulate” public opinion.

Palestinian leadership has used Soviet-style disinformation to discredit, delegitimize, and demonize Israel beginning in the late 1960s, when PLO officials underwent military and political warfare training in Moscow and other Soviet satellite countries.

Disinformation by BDS-affiliated and Jewish anti-Zionist organizations spread through American college campuses and social media have negatively affected Jewish public opinion on Israel.

American Jewish and Israeli leaders must stand against the disinformation campaign that has become the progressive discourse.
The Joshua and Caleb Network: ACTUAL FOOTAGE of the Jewish Settlers Who “Stormed” the Aqsa Mosque
International media headlines this week screamed out that Jewish settlers had stormed the Al Aqsa Mosque this past Sunday. It just so happened that Luke happened to be with the very same group of “settlers” when they “stormed the Al Aqsa Mosque. He also captured the event with photos and videos, which we will share on today’s program.

World headlines don’t always present a clear picture of the truth.

Who controls the Temple Mount? Is it the “heart of hearts” for 2 billion Muslims or is it the farthest place from Mecca and the third holiest site in Islam?

Today’s program is full of myth busting truth.

Our weekly column from the humor site PreOccupied Territory.

Check out their Facebook page.

Roberta, Where's The Anti-Jewish Angle In This Art Show Review?
by Dean Baquet, Executive Editor, The New York Times

Dean BaquetNew York, July 25 - Roberta, this is a fine recap of the Met's upcoming exhibit - good job getting them to grant you an exclusive preview of the Pollock retrospective. It's a real coup. But I wanted to tell you in person, because I think it's important, that I'm putting the story on hold until you can find a convincing way to work in some subtle antisemitism. Otherwise I might have to kill it entirely.

You know our policy, Roberta. I can only assume the pressures of the impending deadline forced the anti-Jewish requirement from your consciousness. That's fine; it happens to everyone from time to time. And we only formalized it a few months ago, after years - decades, really, long before my time as EE - of it being a kind of 'oral law' that the staff passed from generation to generation. Perhaps that one meeting with the official announcement wasn't enough. You have to see the Slack channel, Roberta. What do you think will happen among our younger set if I green-light a piece that contains no Judaeophobia?

Remember what happened with Bari Weiss. We don't need another storm of that sort. And Bret Stephens had to leave Twitter - our token conservative voice! I can take him or leave him, as you know, but appearances are important.

So is consistency. I'm not going to tell you how to do your job - I know about as much about art as I do about the Middle East. I will, however, suggest a few ways to include anti-Jewish animus in your review, in case you're pressed for time and can't come up with ideas right away.

First, there's the standby of invoking "Israeli Apartheid." You can compare anything modern to Banksy, and from there it's easy to slide in references to his activism on behalf of making it easier for Palestinian terrorists to kill Jews, and that opposition to that position is racist segregation.

Then you've got the option of taking abstract imagery and having it call to mind "violence" or "barbarism," which you can then parley into a screed against circumcision or ritual slaughter. If you prefer a little more discretion, the Holocaust or Nazism are always powerful reference points, from which you can slide into calling Israel or just Jews in general the New Nazis. I might have some Eli Valley material you can explore - you know what? I'll e-mail to you.

Do try to mix things up a little, though - I don't want to be beating the same anti-Orthodox drum again and again, as we do with TV and film coverage.

Glad we had this talk. Are you free for lunch?

From Ian:

Eugene Kontorovich (WSJ, link via tweet): Ben & Jerry’s Israel Boycott Could Cost Unilever
Ben & Jerry’s knew this was an offer the licensee had to refuse. Parts of what the company calls “occupied Palestinian territory” Israel (as well as the U.S.) considers sovereign Israeli territory. Israeli law bars boycotts of Israeli citizens, Jewish or Arab, based on their location. So Unilever cancelled the Israeli Ben & Jerry’s entirely because it wouldn’t engage in a secondary boycott.

Because Ben & Jerry’s is a wholly owned subsidiary of Unilever, the latter is responsible for its boycott. In the past eight years, 33 American states have passed laws that restrict government contracting or investing in companies that boycott Israeli people or businesses. These laws are modeled on similar restrictions on companies that discriminate on other grounds, such as sexual orientation.

This means that, in about a dozen states, state employees’ pension funds will be barred from investment in Unilever. In many other states, government entities will be barred from buying goods or services from Unilever. Moreover, since the 1970s, federal law has banned U.S. companies from participating in foreign boycotts of any country. If it turns out that the Palestinian Authority contacted Ben & Jerry’s or its officers and asked them to boycott, criminal penalties would be available against Unilever.

Ben & Jerry’s suggests that its action is motivated by the Israeli “occupation.” But the company seems to have decided to end its Israel business in May, when Hamas unleashed a 10-day rocket barrage on Israeli civilians. Ben & Jerry’s has not boycotted anyone but the Jewish state. And that is what the state and federal boycott laws recognize—that refusals to deal with Israelis are most often a form of bigotry.

Legal Fallout: Is Ben & Jerry’s Israel Boycott Only a Free Speech Issue?

'Insider' links Ben & Jerry's to activist kicked out of Israel
Ben & Jerry’s announcement on Monday that it would stop selling its ice cream in Judea and Samaria, caving in to pressure from BDS, had many people wondering who was advising the Vermont-based company.

Constitutional & international law professor Eugene Kontorovich, who is an expert on legal issues in the Israeli-Arab conflict, said on Twitter that he had a “scoop” on the company’s decision.

“SCOOP (on Ben & Jerry’s): I’ve been told by (a Ben & Jerry’s) insider that company's board invited Omar Shakir, a professional BDS activist, to advise them, rejected calls to hear experts on other side. This ain't about the settlements,” he tweeted.

In a response to Kontorovich’s tweet, NGO Monitor said, “Not surprising since Omar Shakir was kicked out of Israel for being a BDS activist. First he pressured FIFA, then airbnb, and now Ben & Jerry’s. His entire ‘human rights’ career has been devoted to pressuring companies to boycott Israel.”

In 2019, Shakir, who was the regional director of Human Rights Watch in Israel, was deported from Israel after a court ruled he had promoted the BDS movement’s agenda.

Richard Goldberg: Double Scoops and Double Standards Courtesy of Ben & Jerry's
In addition to its classic double scoops, Vermont-based ice cream producer Ben & Jerry's is now offering a calorie-rich serving of double standards, too. The Ben & Jerry's brand, owned and operated by Unilever, announced on July 19 that it would terminate its license agreement with an Israeli-based manufacturer to ensure its products "will no longer be sold" in the "Occupied Palestinian Territory." Unilever cut off the longstanding licensee after it refused to halt sales in the disputed territories, which reportedly would violate Israeli law. In short, Unilever engaged in a boycott of Israel as defined by state and federal law, which means the company may soon be facing penalties that eat into its profits.

Unilever is a British multinational consumer goods company headquartered in London, U.K. It has annual revenues of $61 billion (£45 billion) and its products are available in over 190 countries. It also maintains corporate offices in numerous human rights-abusing countries, including China, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Venezuela, Vietnam and Zimbabwe. Unilever is reportedly a major purchaser of tomato paste from state-owned factories in China's Xinjiang region, where the U.S. State Department says China is engaged in "horrific abuses." In January 2021, the U.S. government halted the import of all such tomato paste into the U.S., citing the use of forced labor that amounted to "exploiting modern slavery." Yet neither Unilever nor Ben & Jerry's appears to have ever taken action against China's massive human rights violations in Xinjiang.

It is difficult to say why Unilever shows greater concern for the sale of ice cream in West Bank settlements than it does for the exploitation of forced labor in Xinjiang, yet the company's board members and senior executives have a lengthy record of criticizing the Jewish state. Jeff Furman, the president of the Ben & Jerry's Foundation's board and former chair of the corporate board, visited the West Bank in 2012 on a tour organized by an activist group that advocated for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel. Furman also signed a letter that condemned Israeli military operations in Gaza, but conspicuously never mentioned Hamas—the terrorist outfit that runs Gaza. Furthermore, he has called for the end of U.S. aid to Israel and has falsely claimed that Palestinians endure "apartheid living conditions."

Anuradha Mittal, Furman's replacement as corporate board chair, has similarly demonstrated her selective emphasis on the Israeli government's actions. The Oakland Institute, which she directs, produced a series of nine reports condemning Israel in 2017. Mittal announced that she deleted her Airbnb account in May 2019 after Airbnb reversed its own short-lived boycott of Israel. Moreover, she publicly opposed a congressional resolution condemning anti-Semitism and signed a petition in June 2021 calling to end U.S. arms sales to Israel.

The Ben & Jerry's independent board distanced itself from the brand's July 19 announcement—objecting to a clause stating that Ben & Jerry's would continue operating in "pre-1967" Israel and reasserting its autonomy to make "social justice" decisions under its 2000 merger agreement. This underscores that Unilever does indeed share responsibility for the boycott decision. Unilever's release of the boycott announcement under the Ben & Jerry's brand—and its admission that Unilever, not Ben & Jerry's, will be the corporate entity that cuts off the Israeli licensee—demonstrates that the parent company has ultimate control over Ben & Jerry's operations.
  • Thursday, July 22, 2021
  • Elder of Ziyon

The Al Mezan Center for Human Rights issued a press release:

Al Mezan Center for Human Rights condemns Israel’s decision to withhold 597 million shekels (ca. US$182 million) in tax revenue collected last year and owed to the Palestinian Authority (PA). The decision, approved by the Israeli cabinet on 11 July 2021, allows the Israeli government to withhold up to 50 million shekels (ca. US$15 million) per month as of August.

(from the Arabic version) Al Mezan Center for Human Rights condemns the Israeli decision. At the same time, it affirms that the Palestinian Authority’s financial allocations for the families of martyrs, wounded and detainees, which are provided in the form of monthly salaries to these families, are considered a form of social security for families who have lost their main breadwinner, and that the deduction’s decision constitutes Piracy in broad daylight, harming the livelihood of these families, and collective punishment against the civilian population, which in turn contributes to the deterioration of the already deteriorated humanitarian and economic conditions in the occupied Palestinian territories in general, especially in light of the continuation of Israeli violations, especially the comprehensive siege imposed on the Gaza Strip.
This "social security" argument is specious. If that is true, then why is this program only for people classified as fighters? Why are the payments higher for those who killed more Jews? Why do the payments increase the more time the prisoner is behind bars? Why are their salaries higher than those of regular Palestinian workers, both while in prison and even after they are released and could work again?

If it was really a social security issue, it should be equally available to every family where the breadwinner dies or is incapacitated - Fatah or Hamas, male or female, "militant" or someone with a shoe store in Nablus. No one would object, and all the tax revenues would be restored. 

Every Palestinian knows that these payments are meant to reward terrorists. They say this openly and they defend this proudly . Al Mezan, a supposed "human rights' organization, knows this as well and is trying to gaslight the West with this nonsense of social security payments.

Their defense of the "pay for slay" program proves that they are not interested in human rights at all.

Either that, or they do not consider the Jews who were attacked by these terrorists to be humans deserving of rights.

The entire "human rights" industry is a sham where outrages like this are accepted and supported. There is a huge cleavage between "human rights organizations" and actual human rights. And international human rights organizations like Human Rights Watch and Amnesty are complicit because they condone these immoral payments with their silence.


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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 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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