Saturday, January 29, 2011

BDS, Anti-Semitism's New Face

From Israel National News, 16 January 2011, by Moshe Dann:

No need for swastikas and terrorism ...Anti-Semites around the world have found a new and more subtle form of attack: Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) campaigns.

The Ramallah-based Palestinian BDS National Committee, [is] an umbrella organization for dozens of Palestinian organizations supported by the Palestinian Authority is aided by the Muslim Brotherhood, with branches in 70 countries, and hundreds of campus and civic/social organizations and anti-Israel NGOs.

Wielding clichés like "apartheid," "war crimes," "stealing Palestinian land," "oppressing Palestinians," and "end the occupation," these groups seek to delegitimize and isolate Israel as part of their program to destroy Israel.

No need for swastikas and terrorism ...Bedecked with ethics, law and justice, they insist that Israel withdraw to the 1949 Armistice lines, or 1947 UN proposed boundaries, leaving it vulnerable to terrorists. Their weapons are non-violent resistance that appeals to a sense of idealism and fair play, civil and human rights.

Backed by European governments, the UN, and Arab and Muslim organizations and countries, a host of NGOs condemn Israel as a pariah state, unworthy of existence. Their hate-campaign is currently focused on the Conference on Racism, to be held at the UN in New York City this [northern-hemisphere] summer.

If this were just a handful of Islamist fanatics, one might dismiss them; but they have lined up diplomatic and organizational support from many non-Muslims. That's why the campaign to delegitimize Israel is so unique and dangerous.

Anti-Israel campaigns overlap with anti-Jewish sentiments, bringing together diverse groups that are otherwise ideologically, philosophically and theologically incompatible. Hatred of Israel seems to be the single overriding issue that unites fascists and communists, anarchists and fundamentalists, religious leaders and atheists, rich and poor.

Challenging Israel's identity as a nominally Jewish state - a form of de-legitimization - seems to be an acceptable way of denying Israel's right to exist. Objecting to the right of Jews to live in areas acquired in 1967, likewise, ignores Israel's legal and historical claims, the proven consequences of withdrawal, and the dangers posed by creating another Arab Palestinian state.

Claiming the moral high ground

...By arguing against what they claim are Israel's "racist policies," its "illegal occupation of Arab lands," its "colonialism," anti-Israel groups claim moral high ground.

Decrying "the occupation as a moral disaster" for Israel, therefore, identifies Jews as "occupiers," immoral, backed by a state-sponsored immorality, a legal and historical fraud that sharpens the sword of de-legitimization and justifies BDS campaigns.

When the Gaza Strip is considered "a vast prison," for example, then attacking those who made that prison is justified.

If a Jewish, democratic state is inherently discriminatory and "racist," those who oppose it can be honored as "freedom fighters." If Israel "steals Arab lands," those who struggle to regain what is rightfully theirs are reasonable and justified. If Israeli settlements are "illegal," that crime should be punished. This ugly representation of Israel is an intentional, one-dimensional portrait of evil.

The goal of BDS campaigns is not only to remove Jewish/Israeli presence from Judea and Samaria, the Golan and eastern Jerusalem, but total Israeli surrender.  ...The problem, therefore, is not territorial, but existential.

Ironically, BDS campaigns and unilateral Palestinian moves towards UN recognition and statehood sweep away illusions and clarify the real issues: Secure and recognized borders, and ending the conflict.

The convergence of BDS hate-campaigns, de-legitimization efforts, anti-settlement activities, anti-Semitism and a virulently anti-Israel media are not only dangerous to Israel; they are shameful examples of bigotry and intolerance.

Why the Call to "Boycott Israel" Is Crap

...we are faced here with a skilfully orchestrated but calumnious, bellicose, anti-democratic and, in a word, perfectly despicable campaign. ...because one boycotts totalitarian regimes, not democracies.

  • One can boycott Sudan, guilty of the extermination of part of the population of Darfur.
  • One can boycott China, guilty of massive violations of human rights in Tibet and elsewhere.
  • One can and should boycott the Iran of Sakineh and Jafar Panahi, whose leaders have become deaf to the language of common sense and compromise.
  • One can even imagine, as we once did with regard to the fascist generals' Argentina or Brezhnev's USSR, boycotting those Arab regimes whose citizens' freedom of expression is forbidden and punished, if necessary, in blood.

One does not boycott the only society in the Middle East where Arabs read a free press, demonstrate when they wish to do so, send freely elected representatives to parliament, and enjoy their rights as citizens.

Regardless of what one thinks of the policies of its government, one does not boycott the only country in the region and, beyond the region, one of the unfortunately limited number of countries in the world where voters have the power to sanction, modify, and reverse the position of said government. any event, this boycott campaign is in reality indifferent to the stance of the government of Mr. X or Mrs. Y. It is unaware, nor does it care to know, of what Israeli citizens themselves think, for example, of the resumption of settlement construction in the West Bank. It doesn't give a hoot about demands, parameters, actual conditions of peace between the citizens in question and their Palestinian neighbors.

Of the latter, their aspirations, their interests, their possible hopes and the way the Hamas regime has smashed those hopes in Gaza, it doesn't give a tinker's damn and never says anything, either. No.

Regardless of what its promoters and its useful idiots say, the only real, accepted, hackneyed goal of this boycott campaign is to de-legitimize Israel as such.

That is what the comparison with the South Africa of apartheid implicitly expresses. That is what the anti-Zionist rhetoric that serves as the common denominator of all the groups constituting this BDS movement explicitly says and, if words have any meaning, what signifies their intent to undermine the very idea that today, like it or not, binds the Israeli nation.

And that is why this campaign, in fact, contravenes the customs, rules and laws of international and, in this case, French or American national law.

... the declarations of Omar Barghouti, one of the movement's founders, affirming that his goal is not two States but two Palestines.

And those of Ali Abunimah, co-founder of Electronic Intifada and also opposed to the two-state solution, who does not hesitate to compare Israel to Nazi Germany and this or that of its philosophers to the columnists of Der Stürmer.

And the declarations of the leaders of Sabeel, this group of Palestinian Christians firmly implanted in North America who, anxious to lend the idea of "responsible investment" a "theological" basis, do not hesitate to subtly but surely reactivate the Christ-killing Jews stereotype. Not to mention some rather shady initiatives whose purpose is to mark Jewish--sorry, Israeli--merchandise with supposedly derogatory stickers intended for the attention of the vigilant French consumer.

...Presenting the promoters of this discourse of hatred as victims speaks volumes of the current state of confusion--intellectual and moral--of a Western world one would have hoped cured of its worst criminal past.

Clinton: “Let the Egyptians eat cake.”

From Commentary Magazine, 28 January 2011, by Abe Greenwald:

... As hundreds of thousands of Egyptians defy a state-imposed curfew, set fire to Hosni Mubarak’s party headquarters, overturn cars, and set off explosions nationwide while demanding that Mubarak leave the country, [Secretary of State Hillary] Clinton took a moment out of her day to note the following:

"We are deeply concerned about the use of violence by Egyptian police and security forces against protestors. We call on the Egyptian government to do everything in its power to restrain security forces. At the same time, protesters should also refrain from violence and express themselves peacefully. We urge Egyptian authorities to allow peaceful protests and reverse unprecedented steps it has taken to cut down means of communications."

...The protests are not peaceful and the regime is not so much cracking down as it is fighting for its survival.

The time to urge a dictator to grant his people freedoms is before he’s flitting between burning buildings. But back when that was the case the Obama administration was too busy being pragmatic and humble to raise the issue of human rights in Egypt.

Hang on, there’s more. Clinton outdid herself with this:

“We strongly believe that the Egyptian government needs to engage with its people on immediate reforms. We want to partner with the Egyptian people and its government.” 

...If we take this statement to mean anything in the real world it would be that U.S. intends to lead some sort of post-uprising group-therapy workshop between a dictator and his enraged subjects. Whatever else comes from the riots in Egypt, it has killed “smart power” in its tracks.

...and from Barry Rubin, 28 January 2011:

Any mass movement in Egypt will be taken over by the Muslim Brotherhood.

That does not apply to Tunisia or Lebanon, for example, but it does apply to Egypt. Have no doubt about that.

"Friend of Palestine" convicted of anti-Jewish harassment and vilification

From the Friends of Israel Western Australia (FOIWA), 28 Jan 2011:

[A Western Australian,] Brendan Lee O'Connell was today convicted on 6 counts of anti-Jewish harassment and vilification in the Western Australian District Court by a 12-person jury.

Mr O'Connell was at a South Perth supermarket in 2009 as part of a Friends of Palestine "BDS" [anti-Israel delegitimisation and vilification] protest against the sale of Israeli oranges, when he harassed and taunted a Jewish student, shouting that Judaism is a "religion and race of hate" and the student is a "racist homicidal maniac".

During the trial he compared Judaism to an organised crime syndicate, said he was proud to be associated with holocaust denier Fredrick Toben, and asserted that "Jews control the entire world".
The charges carry maximum penalties of up to 14 years imprisonment.

When the jury retired yesterday afternoon, O'Connell shouted from the dock that it would be "an honour" to be imprisoned "for Palestine and Iraq". After the verdict was pronounced he shouted "Free Palestine ...Free Iraq!"

O'Connell was remanded in custody until sentencing at 12 noon on Monday 31 January in District Court 3-4.

For further information see previous FOIWA postings of

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Lebanon faces isolation as Hizballah rises to power

From Israel Today magazine, Sunday, January 23, 2011, by Ryan Jones:

Obama Administration officials were quoted by Arabic media on Sunday as saying all US foreign aid to Lebanon will cease if the Hizballah ends up controlling the government in Beirut.

Hizballah brought down the Western-backed government of Prime Minister Saad Hariri last week, and appears poised to either score a major victory in upcoming elections or to use its superior military forces to seize control of the country.

Hizballah had been part of Hariri’s government, and was even granted veto powers as part of a coalition deal signed last year.

Christian leaders in Lebanon are panicked over what will happen to their country in the coming weeks. Samir Geagea, leader of the Christian Lebanese Forces, warned at a Beirut press conference on Saturday that Hizballah will “turn Lebanon in to Gaza,” referring to the current state of the Palestinian-controlled coastal strip after it came under the sway of Hamas.

Walid Jumblatt, whose Druze community is smaller and weaker than the Christians, apparently felt he must side with the stronger of the two opposing forces, and threw his lot in with Hizballah. Jumblatt’s backing may tip the scales in Hizballah’s favor when the Lebanese parliament meets on Monday to pick a new prime minister.

Israeli Vice Prime Minister Silvan Shalom on Saturday said these development had removed all doubt that Lebanon is now a satellite of Iran, which sponsors and even gives orders to Hizballah.

The situation in Lebanon also provides further evidence of why a Palestinian Arab state is a bad idea. Israel can sign nicely-worded agreements with the Palestinian Authority today, but there is no guarantee that Hamas will not tomorrow seize control of the entire Palestinian state and all the money and weapons the Americans have poured into it.

That has already happened once in the Gaza Strip, though the geography of the region has kept the terror group somewhat contained. Were it to happen in a fully sovereign Palestinian state incorporating Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem - and all indications are that it would - then Israel would be facing a new existential threat.

New Section of Ancient Sewer Discovered in Jerusalem

From TIP:

Jerusalem, Jan 25 – Israeli archaeologists have discovered a new section of an 2,000-year-old drainage channel that links the ancient City of David to the plaza in front of the Western Wall, Judaism’s holiest site.

“It connects the dots between the where Jews lived in the ancient city of Jerusalem, the city of David, and the plaza. For the first time, they connect,” said Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat in an interview on Fox News.

Archaeologist Ronny Reich of the University of Haifa and his team first uncovered the sewer in 2007. The walls of the tunnel, made of ashlar stones 3 feet deep, reach a height of 10 feet in some places and are covered by heavy stone slabs that were the road's paving stones.

The channel also served as an escape hatch for Jews desperate to flee the conquering Romans after the destruction of the Second Temple in the year 70 CE. As the temple was being destroyed, people took shelter in the drainage channel and lived inside it until they fled Jerusalem through its southern end, the historian Josephus Flavius wrote in “The War of the Jews.”

...The entire tunnel could be opened to the public within a year.

Australian ‘Friend of Palestine’ Charged with Anti-Semitism

From, January 24, 2011:

An Australian man is in court for assaulting a Jewish man and making anti-Semitic remarks during a protest against Israel. Brendon Lee O’Connell, 38, is accused of telling Stanley Keyser, who is Jewish,

“You think the world revolves around you. You have a religion of racism, hate, homicide, and ethnic cleansing.”
...The incident in question took place as O’Connell took part in a “Friends of Palestine” protest outside a fruit store. The group was protesting Israeli fruit.

Prosecuter Anthony Eyers said that in addition to the charges regarding Keyser, O’Connell also made anti-Semitic posts to his blog.

O’Connell represented himself last week in court, where he called to charge the judge with treason, termed the court a “kangaroo court,” and mimicked a kangaroo. He was supported by several friends who cheered from the gallery.

The trial will continue....

Abbas: We can't expect Israel to take in a million refugees

From JPost, 24 January 2011, by HERB KEINON:

In leaked documents, PA prime minister acknowledges that insisting on the "right of return" would be "illogical" and "would mean the end of Israel."

A second cache of Palestinian documents released by Al- Jazeera on Monday night showed Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat and his team, in Ramallah in June 2009, discussing the notion of 10,000 refugees and their families returning to Israel as part of a final peace agreement, as ostensibly offered by former prime minister Ehud Olmert.

In a dramatic comment on the refugee issue, furthermore, at an internal meeting that PA President Mahmoud Abbas had with the Palestinian Negotiations Support Unit on March 29, 2008, Abbas said,
“On numbers of refugees, it is illogical to ask Israel to take 5 million, or even 1 million – that would mean the end of Israel.

They said 5,000 over five years.

That is even less than family reunification and it is unacceptable.

There also has to be compensation, which has to come from the Absentee Property fund.”

The refugee issue has emerged as one of the major obstacles to any agreement.

In a meeting on January 27, 2008, soon after the Annapolis conference, Palestinian negotiator Ahmed Qurei implied a readiness to solve the issue and said that
if the Arab countries would “be part of the solution, there will be no problem in this issue.”

He added that the Palestinians could coordinate the matter with Jordan and even Syria.

“Even the Syrians want to be part of the process,” Qurei said, “and they don’t want to sit with you to discuss the matter, but with us.”

Also, according to the Guardian piece based on the documents, then-foreign minister Tzipi Livni – essentially adopting an idea put forth by Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman – proposed a land swap that would place some Arab towns now in Israel into a future Palestinian state in exchange for placing some settlements within Israel.

Then-US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice, according to the paper, suggested that some Palestinian refugees could be resettled in South America – for example, in Chile and Argentina.

Ma'aleh Adumim bone of contention with Palestinians
In documents released Sunday night, it became clear that while much of the Israeli public believed that Ma’aleh Adumim was part of the Israeli consensus and would be part of Israel in any agreement, this was a major bone of contention with the Palestinians.

The first batch of documents showed Palestinian insistence that the large settlements of Ma’aleh Adumim and Ariel become part of a Palestinian state, even if it meant the settlers remained there under Palestinian sovereignty. While at first Livni said this was an interesting idea she would have to think about, a few weeks later she said it was completely unrealistic because the settlers would be killed.

In a meeting at the King David Hotel on May 4, 2008, between Livni and Qurei, the latter said Ma’aleh Adumim, Givat Ze’ev, Har Homa and Ariel “cannot be included in a swap under any condition.”

This was Qurei’s position even as the Palestinians indicated they were ready for Israel to annex the Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem beyond the Green Line, with the exception of Har Homa.

The documents show that the Palestinians see the 1967 lines as a baseline, and view an agreement to a land swap for land that will be annexed to Israel as a concession. The Palestinian position, as laid out in the meeting, was that any land swap needed to be in the same area, meaning that if Israel annexed a Jerusalem neighborhood beyond the Green Line, it would have to give up land in the Jerusalem area in return.

When it became clear during the discussion that the PA position was that the settlers in Ma’aleh Adumim did not have to be evacuated, PLO chief negotiator Erekat said to Livni, “Can you imagine that you accept for the sake of peace to have Jews as citizens with full rights in Palestine like Arab Israelis?” Livni replied, “But how can I provide Israelis living in Palestine with security?” To which Erekat responded, “Can you imagine that I have changed my DNA and accepted a situation in which Jews become citizens having the rights that I and my wife have. Can you imagine that this will happen one day?” One of the Israeli negotiators in the room, Udi Dekel, then interjected, “I do not have such fancy.”

Livni, however, was more diplomatic. “I have to think about this. I do not know.

You have proposed something, but I believe we have to be creative. My problem is that of security. Some said to me that there would be violence among my people if I evacuated them [from the settlements], but the pressure will be less if I give the right to choose. I cannot bear the responsibility of their life in case they are exposed to danger and then the army will have to interfere.

It is a legitimate question but we need to think about it.”

The issue came up again some three weeks later, in which Qurei said that the Jews in Ma’aleh Adumim “can live under Palestinian rule,” to which Livni replied, “You know this is not realistic.”

Qurei then said, “So take them [out], like you did in Gaza.” To which Livni responded, “We are going to [take out many settlers].”

Later in the discussion Qurei said he didn’t mind if the Israelis became Palestinian citizens, to which Livni replied, “You know this is not realistic. They will kill them the next day.”

At a meeting in mid-June 2008 between Livni, Qurei and Rice, Livni asked Qurei whether his problem with Ma’aleh Adumim was because of its size or location.

His reply was that it blocked Jerusalem from the east, and that Jerusalem was already blocked from the south.

“Perhaps Ma’aleh Adumim will remain under Palestinian sovereignty and it could be a model for cooperation and coexistence,” he said.

“We may also have international forces and make security arrangements for some time. It is the location of Ma’aleh Adumim [that is the problem], not its size.”

Qurei: Ariel set up to control water basin
The problem with Ariel, he said, was that it “was set up on the largest water basin. It was not set up simply to provide Israelis with housing units, but rather to control the water basin.” Livni replied, “The idea behind our desire to annex Ariel settlement was not to get more water but because thousands of people live there. We want to have an answer for those who have lived there for 40 years.”

Rice, at a meeting held a month later, said that no Israeli leader would cede Ma’aleh Adumim, and that if the Palestinians insisted on the matter, “then you won’t have a state!”

Though the publication of the documents created a storm in the Palestinian Authority Monday, the official response in Jerusalem was muted, with both the Foreign Ministry and the Prime Minister’s Office declining comment on the matter.

Only Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman related to the documents at all, saying in an Israel Radio interview that the documents showed that even “the most left wing” Israeli government of Livni and Ehud Olmert could not reach an agreement with the PA.

“I think they show that if the government of Olmert and Tzipi Livni did not succeed in coming to an agreement with the Palestinians, then that is a sign that everyone will in the end reach the conclusion that the only way is a long term interim agreement.”

Lieberman’s position is that a final agreement at this time is impossible, and that the goal at this time should be a long-term interim agreement.

He also said it was “interesting” that Livni proposed his land swap idea of Arab towns for settlements.

Livni’s associates responded to the new report by stating that during the talks, only four Israeli Arab border towns were raised as possibilities to be included in a Palestinian state, even though they are on the Israeli side.

They said that when the Palestinians rejected the idea, the talks moved on.

Sources close to Livni also said that during the talks she made a statement rejecting the application of international law, but said she was inaccurately quoted in the document.
Erekat quipped at the meeting, “Whoever will be able to reach an agreement to solve this conflict will be the most important figure in the region after Jesus Christ!”
Both Al-Jazeera and Britain’s Guardian newspaper put a decisively negative spin on the story, with the Guardian’s website headline reading “Papers reveal how Palestinian leaders gave up fight over refugees.”

Al-Jazeera declares PA leadership Treacherous

From JPost, 25 Jan 2011, by KHALED ABU TOAMEH:

After assuming the role of prosecutor and judge, Al- Jazeera, the Arab world’s most influential TV network, has ruled that the leaders of the Palestinian Authority have betrayed their people and must therefore step down from the stage.

The “defendants” have been found guilty of ceding control over most of east Jerusalem to Israel, relinquishing the right of return for millions of Palestinian refugees and conducting security coordination with Israeli security authorities.

In other words, PA President Mahmoud Abbas and his men have been convicted of high treason – which, in the Arab and Islamic world, is a crime punishable by death.

Al-Jazeera is now waiting for the executioner (the Palestinians, in this case) to carry out the death sentence.

Al-Jazeera’s dramatic show trial, which began on Sunday night, has undoubtedly caused massive damage to the PA leadership in the West Bank. The blow is so severe that it’s hard to see how the PA leadership can ever recover.

The beleaguered Abbas and his top aides have since been scrambling to control damage caused by the revelations, but with limited success.