Saturday, May 21, 2005


Thanks Andrew for this one ....

(Jewish Chronicle-UK, 18May05) UK Chief Rabbi Dr. Jonathan Sacks writes...

  • Why, after 57 years and more of seeking peace, is Israel still seen as the aggressor?
  • Why, after 10 years of negotiation, in which the Palestinians were offered their own state in all of Gaza, 97% of the West Bank, with a capital in east Jerusalem, is Israel still seen as the sole obstacle to peace?
  • Why, in a world in which there are 57 Islamic states and something like 100 Christian ones, is the desire of the Jewish people to have just one state of its own seen as racist, exclusionary, retrograde?
  • Why, when Israel occupies a quarter of 1% of the land mass of the Arab world, is it seen to be Goliath against David?
  • Why, alone among the almost 200 nations that comprise the UN, is Israel the only one whose very right to be is still called into question?
  • Why do we still - after 60 years of Holocaust education, anti-racist legislation, and interfaith activity - have to defend the right of the Jewish people to be?

If there were justice in the world, Israel, a tiny country of indomitable courage, would be seen as a role model among the nations, not as a pariah among the nations. "

Access the The Jewish Chronicle on-line (a subscription is required for full access)

The Middle East's Forgotten Refugees

Thanks to Sion for alerting us to this excellent article originally published in the San Francisco Chronicle, and then on 10th April on

I was born in Iraq and my family survived the Farhud, the Arabic pogrom of 1941.

The Middle East's Forgotten Refugees was written by Semha Alwaya is an attorney in the San Francisco Bay Area and a founding member of Jews Indigenous to the Middle East and North Africa (JIMENA).

"In discussions about refugees in the Middle East, a major piece of the narrative is routinely omitted...I am a Jew, and I, too, am a refugee. Some of my childhood was spent in a refugee camp in Israel (yes, Israel). And I am far from being alone."

"This experience is shared by hundreds of thousands of other indigenous Jewish Middle Easterners ... However, unlike the Palestinian Arabs, our narrative is largely ignored by the world because our story -- that of some 900,000 Jewish refugees from Arab countries dispossessed by Arab governments -- is an inconvenience for those who seek to blame Israel for all the problems in the Middle East."

"Our lives in the Israel of the 1950s were difficult. We had no money, no property; there were food shortages, few employment prospects. Israel was a new and poor country ...It absorbed not only hundreds of thousands of us, but also an equal number of survivors of Hitler's genocide. We lived in dusty tents in "transit camps," their official name since these were to be temporary, not permanent."

"Housing was eventually built for us, we became Israeli citizens, and we ceased being refugees. The refugee camps in Israel that I knew as a child were phased out, and no trace of them remains. Israel did this without receiving a single cent from the international community, relying instead on the resourcefulness of its citizens, and donations from Diaspora Jewish communities. Today, many of Israel's top leaders are from families that were forced to flee Arab countries, and we make up more than half of Israel's Jewish population."

"...There once was a vibrant presence of nearly one million Jews residing in ten Arab countries. ...Today, however, fewer than 12,000 Jews remain in these lands ... What happened to us, the indigenous Jews of the Arab world? Why were 150,000 Iraqi Jews -- my family included -- forced out of Iraq? Why were another 800,000 Jews from nine other Arab countries also compelled to leave after 1948?"

Alwaya goes on to describe the period before and during WW2, including the Arab Palestinian support of the Nazis and brutal atrocities against their Jewish populations.

"...Since 1949, the United Nations has passed over 100 resolutions on Palestinian refugees. Yet, for Jewish refugees from Arab countries not a single UN resolution has been introduced recognizing our mistreatment or calling for justice for the hundreds of thousands of Jewish refugees forced out of our homes. This imbalance of the world's concern is itself an injustice.
Arab governments instituted policies that led to some 900,000 Middle Eastern Jews becoming stateless refugees. Those same governments forced some 750,000 Palestinian refugees and their descendants to remain in impoverished refugee camps refusing them citizenship and denying them hope."

"Peace between Israel and the Arab world requires a solution that recognizes that there were two refugee populations. Acknowledging and redressing the legitimate rights of Jewish refugees from Arab countries will promote the cause of justice, peace and a true reconciliation."

Friday, May 20, 2005

Return Address

Abbreviating Efraim Karsh's recent article in The New Republic Online....

Palestinians have rewritten their national narrative over the last 56 years, into an unblemished story of victimhood that makes Israel, rather than Arab states, the sole culprit of their "nakba", the catastrophe of the 1948 war.

In a televised speech last Sunday Abbas described the proclamation of the State of Israel as an unprecedented historic crime and vowed his unwavering refusal to ever "accept this injustice." Accompanied by a virulent anti-Israel media campaign, the events reached their peak at midday, when sirens were sounded throughout the Palestinian controlled territories and people observed a minute of silence to mourn Israel's creation. In some areas, gunmen opened fire into the air as a sign of mourning.

...Abbas's statement in the wake of Arafat's death was then excused as posturing for the January 2005 elections for the PA chairmanship, but the incontrovertible fact is that it was fully commensurate with his and the PLO's statements and actions during the 1990s, not to mention those of the more militant religious groups.

All of which leaves little doubt that the right of return is not a bargaining chip but rather the heart of the Palestinian grievance against Israel.

One therefore hopes that in his upcoming meeting with Abbas (slated for the end of May) George W. Bush will inform the Palestinian leader in no uncertain terms of his unequivocal and non-negotiable rejection of the right of return--which, after all, negates the vision of two states living side by side in peace. But until Palestinian leaders renounce the right of return, there is every reason to believe that it is a one-state solution they have in mind - and it's not a Jewish state.....

Efraim Karsh is the head of the Mediterranean Studies Programme at King's College, University of London.

For the full article see the Updates page of the AIJAC site

Israel may resume targeted attacks

Jerusalem Post Breaking News from Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World


A Palestinian terrorist prepares his mortar
Photo: Channel 2

Israeli officials threatened to step up hits on Hamas terrorists firing mortars and rockets at settlements, warning the Palestinian Authority that the cease-fire declared in February was on the brink of collapse.
A senior official in the Prime Minister's Office, speaking Thursday after Prime Minister Ariel Sharon met Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz and senior defense establishment officials, said Israel would not tolerate continued mortar and Kassam rocket fire. "


PA: Al-Qaida-linked terrorists active in Gaza

Jerusalem Post Breaking News from Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World


"A new Muslim terrorist group linked to al-Qaida has started operating in the Gaza Strip, Palestinian Authority security officials told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday. "

Jundallah, or "Allah's Brigades," consists mostly of scores of former Hamas and Islamic Jihad members, the officials disclosed. They ..launched their first attack ...near Rafah earlier this week...four soldiers were lightly wounded .... "

"They believe that Hamas and Islamic Jihad have become too moderate," the official said... "... the attack near Rafah...was the first in a series of operations that (t)his group was planning against Israel."

Newsweek Protest

... from Cox & Forkum

Thursday, May 19, 2005

... protesting over an unsubstantiated story... with murder and mayhem

Distorting Israeli Arab Reality published an excellent Communique today Distorting Israeli Arab Reality, refuting often-heard claims in AFP, LA Times and Christian Science Monitor that Israeli Arabs are
  1. treated as "second class citizens",
  2. as a "fifth column", and
  3. suffer from discrimination like African-Americans did in the US in the 1950s

The refutation includes

  • While Arab Israelis are not required to serve in the IDF, many (especially from the Druze and Bedouin communities) proudly volunteer to do so, and have served with great distinction.
  • a recent study indicated that the number of Arab volunteers to the IDF ― including Muslim Arabs ― is growing.
  • Though the government of Israel has officially recognized some policy shortcomings toward its Arab minority, it's ludicrous to compare that to the discrimination suffered by African-Americans during that period in American history.
  • As opposed to the U.S., the foundational document of the State of Israel upheld the principle of civil equality ― despite the fact it was drafted during a state of war with surrounding Arabs:
    "[The State of Israel] will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex... We appeal, in the very midst of the onslaught launched against us now for months - to the Arab inhabitants of the State of Israel to preserve peace and participate in the building of the State on the basis of full and equal citizenship and due representation in all its provisional and permanent institutions. (Israeli Declaration of Independence, 1948)
  • Eleven Israeli Arabs currently serve in Israel's Knesset, including two in the dominant Likud party.
  • An Arab Justice, Salim Joubran, holds a seat on the Israeli Supreme Court.
  • The Israeli government is currently implementing a 4-year, 4 billion shekel plan to develop infrastructures in the Arab sector.
  • Israeli Arabs attend and lecture in every Israeli university. In fact, prominent Arab Israeli academics such as Sari Nusseibeh were outspoken against the recent boycott of Israeli universities by the UK's Association of University Teachers.
  • Even diplomatic positions are open to Israeli Arabs, who have held key posts in Atlanta (Consul-General), South America, Finland (Ambassador) and elsewhere.
  • Israeli Arabs consistently state that they'd prefer to remain in Israel rather than join a future Palestinian state. A May 2001 survey found that just 30 percent of Israel's Arab population would agree to the Galilee Triangle being annexed to a future Palestinian state. By February 2004, according to the Haifa-based Arab Center for Applied Social Research, that figure had reached 90 percent preferring to remain in Israel.

Go to the full article for detail.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Gaza retreat will be followed by Palestinian war

Extracts from Daniel Pipes
18 May 2005:

Yasir Arafat's demise in November excited great hopes ...But those of us who saw the problem as larger than Arafat ...expected little change...

...Specifically, Abbas is unambiguously leading the Palestinians to war after the Israeli retreat from Gaza in August 2005. Consider some recent developments.

  • Hiring terrorists as soldiers...
  • Arming terrorists...
  • Inciting the population...
  • Pretend arrests of terrorists...

...The planned Israeli withdrawal from Gaza in August is likely to precipitate new rounds of violence. One could come in July, as the Israel Defense Forces engages in a massive sweep of Gaza to ensure that the forthcoming retreat takes place not under Palestinian fire.

...More violence will likely follow in September, as the Palestinians, Gaza now under their belt, begin a new assault on Israel. That round presumably will feature the substantial rocket arsenal that Hamas has been amassing.

...Ironically, the one thing that might prevent this scenario from playing out would be a Hamas victory in the Palestinian council elections scheduled for mid-July. Increasing numbers of Israeli voices are calling for the Gaza withdrawal to be postponed or even annulled should Hamas do well, as seems likely . For example, Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom has said if Hamas wins the elections, it would be "unreasonable" to implement the disengagement plan and allow Hamas to create a "Hamas-stan" in Gaza.

...So, there are many possibilities in the next four months. Their common element is that by September, the Arab-Israeli theater will be in yet worse shape than it is today.

Wiesenthal Center calls for Abbas to dismiss TV chief

Ynetnews - News - 'A blatant anti-Semitic broadcast':

The Simon Wiesenthal Center has called on Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas to fire the Head of Palestinian TV, after a televised sermon called Jews 'a spreading cancer.'

In a stinging press release, the center's Dean Rabbi Marvin Hier and Associate Dean Rabbi Abraham Cooper said the broadcast came days before Abbas's scheduled meeting with President Bush and during the week commemorating 60 years since the Nazis' defeat.

'Even in the days of Arafat, we did not see such a blatant anti-Semitic and Holocaust-denying canard broadcast on Palestinian TV, whose current chief was personally appointed by Abu Mazen (Abbas),' the two said in a press release following the incident.

Both Cooper and Hier have demanded Abbas inform Bush that the head of the Palestinian Broadcasting Company, and all those associated with the broadcast of this 'big lie,' have been fired in their upcoming meeting.

'Is this genocidal sermon the kind of peace dividend that the people of Israel can look forward to?' they said"

Hitler would be proud of him

Palestinian Media Watch reports on the Friday sermon by Ibrahim Mudayris broadcast on official Palestinian Authority TV on May 13, 2005:

"...With the establishment of the State of Israel, the entire Muslim nation was lost because Israel is a cancer that spread in the body of the Islamic nation; because the Jews are a virus similar to AIDS, from which the entire world is suffering. This has been proven in history. Read the history! ..."

"...the Jews are the ones who provoked the Nazis so the world would go to war against it. On the day the Jews provoked ... the nations of the world to fight Germany ... the anger of the Germans toward the Jews increased significantly, and what happened, happened ... "

"...For they are doing worse things than what was done to them in the era of the Nazi war. It is likely some of them were killed, and it is likely some of them were burned, but they're exaggerating the description [of the Holocaust] in order to gain [the attention of] world media, and world sympathy..."

"...We [Muslims] have ruled the world [in the past] and a day will come, by Allah, and we shall rule the world [again]. The day will come and we shall rule America, Britain, we shall rule the entire world, except the Jews. The Jews will not live under our rule agreeably permanently, since they have been treacherous in nature throughout history. A day will come when all shall rest from the Jews, even the tree and the stone, which have suffered from them. Listen to your Beloved [Muhammad], who tells you about the most dire end awaiting the Jews. The tree and the stone want the Muslim to bring every Jew to his end. You all know the Hadith."

Mudayris here is referring to following Hadith:

"The Hour [Resurrection] will not come until the Muslims make war against the Jews and kill them, and until a Jew hiding behind a rock and tree, and the rock and tree will say: Muslim, servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him!"

He explains that the fulfillment of the often-preached Hadith means the extermination of every last Jew is Allah's will and is, thus, inevitable.

Follow the link to the Palestinian Media Watch site, where you can see a transcript of the speech and video exerpts.

Good News from Iraq - Bad News from the ABC

The ABC claimed that The Australian's columnist Janet Albrechtsen misrepresented the nature and source of 'Good News from Iraq', a regular feature of the Wall Street Journal's web site.

ABC television's Media Watch program presenter Liz Jackson referred to Albrechtsen's 4 May 2005 column in The Australian, where she erroneously named as the URL for the feature rather than . Both are websites of The Wall Street Journal.

On the 9 May broadcast, Jackson mocked the Albrechtsen report. "Good News from Iraq is not published on the highly respected Wall Street Journal website ..." referring to as a "sister site", a "spin-off site" or a "Dow Jones website". Jackson did not make it clear that is a Wall Street Journal website. At best, the relationship between and was left muddied by the 9 May broadcast.

In a subsequent "correction" on 16 May 2005 Media Watch admitted that The Wall Street Journal in fact does pay for and edit the good news round-up and that it was wrong on these points. Hiowever Jackson reiterated: "As we pointed out the Good News isn't published on the Wall Street Journal's primary web site, but on a sister site," ( emphasis - note the continued use of the term "sister site" as a form of denigration. Sandgroper.)

The ABC made no attempt to point out that and OpinionJournal are both websites of The Wall Street Journal and that "Good News from Iraq" in fact is published by the Wall Street Journal. On the contray, Media Watch would not back away from the Albrechtsen attack, saying: "We stand by our story. Janet Albrechtsen's column gave ...(the OpinionJournal website) ...a journalistic credibility it doesn't deserve...."

The documentation is set out on

ALP soft on tyranny: Downer

The Australian: ALP soft on tyranny: Downer [May 18, 2005]
Dennis Shanahan, Political editor . . .

FOREIGN Minister Alexander Downer has accused Labor leaders from John Curtin and Gough Whitlam to Mark Latham of appeasement of Nazi Germany, communist Russia and Saddam Hussein, and provided a philosophical justification for invading Iraq and helping to free East Timor. . . .

The Foreign Minister accused current Labor leader Kim Beazley of adopting "a little Australia" policy consistent with a "pattern of weak Labor leadership nationally, particularly on the issues of appeasement, isolationism and shirking international treaty obligations". . .

"In Timor, in the wars of liberation in Afghanistan and Iraq and in the overall war on terror, the Coalition has been sustained by the conviction that Australia is a significant country with international military and peacekeeping obligations," Mr Downer said ...

Mr Downer's comments echo the post-election speeches of US President George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who have both stressed the importance of spreading democracy in the Middle East....

"In 2003, Labor went to water on Saddam Hussein and his regime, declaring Iraq an irrelevance in the war on terror. There was no shortage of so-called realists prepared to tell us that democracy was unsuitable for export, and even that the Islamic world would never accept what they airily characterised as cultural imperialism by force of arms," he said...

Mr Downer said it was too early to "reach triumphalist conclusions" but the idea that democracy could be used to find a way out of the "impasses of the Middle East can no longer be dismissed as naive".

"The much closer ties we now enjoy with Indonesia, relations with Afghanistan and Iraq, the momentum for change in Palestinian-Israeli relations - they are all encouraging signs for the future and for the prosecution of the war on terror."

Tuesday, May 17, 2005


SBS - The World News

Newsweek's editor Mark Whitaker: "Based on what we know now, we are retracting our original story that an internal military investigation had uncovered Koran abuse at Guantanamo Bay." He was referring to an article in May 9th issue, claiming that a Koran had been thrown into a toilet to upset Muslim prisoners. Last week at least 16 people in Afghanistan were killed in violent clashes sparked by the report.

But the magazine’s climb down hasn’t appeased its critics. In a rare show of unity, both the US administration and Islamic groups have rejected the magazine's apology. US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice described the story as appalling, admitting it had created a major problem for Washington in the Muslim world. The White House had said Newsweek's apology didn’t go far enough.

However White House criticism went as far as to suggest that the poor journalistic standards were to blame for the subsequent violence and deaths. "People lost their lives. People are dead," said US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. "People need to be very careful about what they say, just as they need to be careful about what they do." The Pentagon was also quick to condemn the Newsweek story. "The unfortunate part about it is you can't go back and undo or retract the damage that they've done, not only to this nation but those who have been hacked, injured and some even killed as a result of these false allegations," said spokesman Bryan Whitman.

However, while Newsweek's behaviour was appalling, it did not cause the deaths. . .The murderers did that...

Paul Heywood - Smith gets applause from the League of Rights

Birds of a feather flock together...

The latest Australian league of Rights newsletter, "On Target" ALOR - OnTarget Vol.39 - No.20 supports Paul Heywood - Smith's views on Israel....

"Terrorism," he says, "has resulted from 50 years of injustice. Palestine brought us September 11 and Bali." Australian political parties must state their positions - and why: He insists Australian political parties should be forced to state where they tand on this crucial foreign policy issue. "Israel," he says, "cannot be allowed to just react. It must act. It must dismantle the settlements, starting with those built since 2001."

On Target readers could take a leaf out of Mr. Heywood-Smith's book and ask their own federal representatives the same questions he poses: · Do they support the reation of a Palestinian state on the 1967 boundaries? · If not, what do they support and why? · And what should Australia do to force compliance with the 'road map' to peace drawn up by an international diplomatic team?

(My own emphasis added. Sandgroper)

We first reported on the views of the QC, who is also Chairman of the Australian Friends of Palestine Association, on Tuesday 10th May.

300 Right activists held for blocking Israel's roads

Jerusalem Post Breaking News from Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World

Jerusalem Post's YAAKOV KATZ reports....

... the right-wing on Monday proved to the police and the government they have the ability and the manpower to paralyze the country in protest of the disengagement plan. They were taken by surprise after activists succeeded in blocking 40 main intersections and roads across the country simultaneously. By Monday evening, close to 300 protestors had been arrested as thousands of policemen worked throughout the afternoon to disperse the demonstrators and reopen the roads.

Right-wing activists also planted fake bombs in Jerusalem on Monday in protest of the pullout plan. Police sappers discovered a bag on Rehov Bar Ilan containing a note reading: "The disengagement will explode in our faces. This is just the beginning of a stubborn struggle." Later in the day, another bag with wires and nails protruding out was discovered at a Jerusalem city bus stop. The bag also contained a note reading "Jews do not expel Jews."

Jewish population oldest in the world

Jerusalem Post's HILARY LEILA KRIEGER reports....

The Jewish population, particularly in the Diaspora, has a far higher proportion of elderly than the rest of the world, according to statistics to be released by the Myers-JDC-Brookdale Institute Tuesday.

The Jewish over-65 population average of 16% is more than twice as high as the global average, which stands at 7%. Report co-editor Jenny Brodsky attributed this primarily to a relatively low birthrate among Jews.

Brodsky also pointed to assimilation in the Diaspora as a partial explanation for the large number of older Jews. "The youngest sectors are those which tend to assimilate, leaving you with a higher proportion of the elderly population that identifies as Jewish."

An additional factor – though not a major one, according to Brodsky – could be the greater affluence of Jews in comparison to other world populations. "There is a significant relationship between life expectancy and socioeconomic status," she said.

Follow the link for the full article.

Monday, May 16, 2005

UK Academic Controversy

A paraphrased extract from The Jerusalem Report's Daniella Peled (London) article today....

The Association of University Teachers, the U.K.'s largest academic union, sparked a media firestorm in recent weeks...when it passed a motion launching a boycott of two Israeli universities - Haifa University, charged with infringing on the academic freedom of anti-Zionist professor Ilan Pappe (a charge the university vehemently contests), and Bar-Ilan University, condemned for its ties to a college (defiantly upgraded subsequently to university status by the Israeli cabinet) in the West Bank city of Ariel. The boycott triggered international condemnation and negative editorials and also prompted a slew of resignations from the AUT. A petition organized by members quickly drew enough signatures to force the boycott issue to be formally reopened in an emergency May 26 meeting in London.

Follow the link for some indepth background to the issue including an amusing account of the contribution of English lecturer Sue Blackwell of Birmingham University. She addressed the AUT conference wearing an outfit fashioned from a Palestinian flag and has attracted huge media interest in her that's overshadowed her academic work . But then Blackwell, a pro-Palestinian activist for more than 25 years, who peppers her speech with references to "worker solidarity" and other artifacts of a far-left rhetorical tradition, relishes her status as a persecuted fighter for Palestinian rights. "My personal exactly what it was toward South Africa 20 years ago. Did apartheid South Africa have the right to exist? No. And I would give the same answer about Israel, if it means non-Jews are treated as second-class citizens." While Blackwell seems to find it hard to understand why anyone might find an anti-Israel boycott offensive or prejudiced, she laments that the special May 26 meeting to reconsider the AUT resolution and how it was passed will be a waste of money for the union and a waste of time for the faculty at exam time. Rather optimistically - and without giving a reason - she predicts it will cause "a backlash against the backlash."

Pappe disputes "truth" at Haifa Uni

A Jerusalem Post article by By TALYA HALKIN today refers to a conference under the title "The Demographic Problem and Israel's Demographic Policy "planned for this Tuesday at the University of Haifa.

In an interview with The Jerusalem Post a few days ago, the university's Ilan Pappe (a lecturer) complained bitterly about the conference, which he incorrectly said was being held under the title: "The Arabs as a Demographic Problem in Israel." He told his Arab students that they are a "...demographic problem and they now have to be careful, because the Jews don't like demographic problems."

The discrepancy between the actual name of the conference and the name Pappe gave it exemplify the ongoing battle between Pappe and the University. Pappe has made several accusations which, influenced the AUT (UK) to resolve to boycott the University of Haifa.

Follow the link to see detailed explanation of the two versons of the "truth"- the University's and Pappe's.

Olga's Story on "60 Minutes"

Here's a story that Richard Carleton would never run (...would he?)

...Bouquets to 60 Minutes for "Olga's Story", aired on May 15, 2005. The Reporter is Liz Hayes, Producers: Hamish Thomson and Julia Timm.

Olga is a Sydney resident who was liberated together with her mother, from Bergen-Belsen concentration camp sixty years ago. She was close to death, weighing just 29kg when British and Australian troops threw open the gates of the camp. Her mother died that same day, after surviving years of horror with Olga.

The article was dignified and captivating, and made all the more relevant to Australian audiences by the testimony of an "embedded" Aussie army artist who speaks movingly of his memories which he also captured on film and canvas.

Follow the link to see a transcript of the programme, and don't forget to congratulate the producers via